In spite of floor-crossing Tony and his recent tweet-bleat that Malcolm is flirting ‘unconscionably’ with the renewables sector, yet another industrial heavyweight has emerged from beneath the coal cloud to help Australia transition to a more rational energy future.
Not long after Elon Musk’s pledge to help out with South Australia’s recent energy crisis, British steel baron, Sanjeev Gupta has teamed up with economist, climate science convert and now renewables businessman Ross Garnaut to dispell the myth that Australian industry can only survive on coal.
Earlier this year Gupta bought the Arium steel works in Whyalla, South Australia, and saved it from foreclosure and its workers from the dole queue.
Following acquisition of the works, and in order to reduce the plant’s grid power consumption he bought a 50.1 percent share in Zen Energy, the company co-founded by Garnaut.
They plan to develop a combination of solar, pumped hydro, and battery storage solutions to power the Arium steel mills and deliver excess power to the grid.
Energy will still be taken from the grid, including a component of fossil-fuel power, however the company expects to put more renewable electricity back into the grid than it takes coal-fired electricity from it.
Gupta and Garnaut are amongst the many business leaders now calling on the federal government to agree on a market mechanism, such as (horrors) a Clean Energy Target, to provide industry with energy certainty beyond 2020.
“You have a country which is blessed with all the natural resources to allow you to be perhaps the lowest cost energy producer in the world,” said Gupta.
“And yet you are the highest cost producer of energy in the world. So to put it bluntly, it’s broken and it has to be fixed.”
Footnote: to learn more about who the real Energy “Unconscionables” are, read Katharine Murphy’s entertaining article in the Guardian