SA Government Axes EV Smart Charging Subsidy

South Australia EV smart charging subsidy

South Australia’s Malinauskas Government’s axe swung yet again yesterday on support for renewables  – this time in relation to EV charging.

As electric vehicles increasingly appear on South Australian roads, they’ll be able to act as a very useful “solar sponge” soaking up surplus solar energy goodness in the grid when charging during the daytime. But not all EV charging is going to happen during the day. The Marshall Government understood all this and had the foresight to come up with an Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Subsidy.

The $12.25 million initiative was to provide up to 7,500 subsidies of up to $2,000 each to households installing eligible EV smart charging systems. It was to support the installation of 7kW+  EV chargers that actively manage charging to optimise benefits not only for the EV owner, but to also help support South Australia’s electricity grid.

It was all about aligning EV charging electricity demand with periods of high renewable energy generation and/or low grid demand. An Authorised Remote Agent would also be able to take direct control of these chargers in a situation where network stability was threatened for whatever reason. It’s a smart approach.

The subsidies should have been available from around about now. But that hope evaporated yesterday when the SA 2022-23 Budget Measures Statement revealed on page 37 (under “Operating Savings”) the subsidy is being ditched.

What Is Going On In South Australia??

South Australia’s $3,000 EV subsidy and a 3-year registration exemption on eligible new battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles appear to remain unmolested – for now.

Commenting on the EV smart charging subsidy axing, SolarQuotes founder (and electric vehicle owner) Finn Peacock said:

“They may regret this when everyone plugs in their EVs to charge at 6pm – and the grid dies.”

The decision is a real head-scratcher and followed news yesterday the state’s Home Battery Scheme and Switch for Solar program will also be axed.

When providing comment on ABC radio yesterday1, SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis showed a lack of understanding of both the Home Battery Scheme and Switch for Solar program, which while not perfect, should perhaps have had their wrinkles ironed out rather than being dumped. Switch for Solar could have been particularly beneficial given looming electricity price rises in SA (and everywhere else).

Minister Koutsantonis seemed more interested in focusing on the Malinauskas Government’s hydrogen fixation, some of which runs a real risk of blowing up in its face and casting a shadow over renewables generally. Generating electricity using hydrogen isn’t efficient and there are better ways of storing energy – for example, batteries and pumped hydro.

It’s almost as though the Malinauskas Government is intentionally wiping out the good the Marshall Government attempted to do on renewables where it feels it can be gotten away with – simply out of spite and to help fuel its hydrogen fantasies. As Finn mentioned on the same ABC Radio segment, this type of behaviour creates instability and is just destructive.

Through the previous Labor Government and following Liberal Government – which had a number of “road to Damascus” moments – South Australia cemented its reputation globally as a solar power stronghold and renewable energy powerhouse. Here’s hoping the Malinauskas regime doesn’t squander some of that hard-earned street cred as a result of too much hydrogen huffing.

Footnotes

  1. At that point, it hadn’t been revealed the smart EV charging subsidies were going out the door as well.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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