What is this work trying to achieve?

    This Green Paper, and the White Paper that will follow, will set out South Australia’s medium-to-long term energy policy as the state transitions to a net-zero emissions future.

    It is recognised and acknowledged that the development of this policy cannot be done by the Government of South Australia alone – it must be co-designed through meaningful and ongoing engagement with industry and South Australian consumers, who accept the challenges that the state will face, with solutions found by all three groups working together. 


    • A Green Paper is a consultation document that outlines various policy options for consideration and feedback by interested parties and the general public.
    • A White Paper sets out the government's legislative intention, that is a statement of the government policy on a particular issue.

    What is net-zero?

    Net zero means[1] cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible balanced by actions to remove any remaining emissions including by capturing and storing carbon (such as by planting trees).

    The goal of achieving net zero emissions is to limit the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere, which contribute to global warming and climate change.

    [1] Department for Environment and Water, Climate Change, Mapping a pathway to net zero, Department for Environment and Water - Mapping a pathway to net zero

    Has South Australia set emission reduction targets?

    South Australia has set targets of reducing state greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

    How is South Australia progressing against its emissions reduction targets?

    South Australia is making good progress towards its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. In the 2021 financial year, South Australia emitted 21.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2-e). This represents a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the 2005 financial year.

    Additional effort will be needed to achieve the state’s broader emissions targets.

    By reducing South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, we can work towards mitigating the impacts of climate change. It's an important step towards ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

    What else is the Government of South Australia doing?

    In relation to the state’s energy transition, several initiatives are underway. One project currently being progressed is the development of the world’s-first Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act[1]The proposed Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act aims to introduce a ‘one window to government’ licencing and regulatory system for the lifecycle of large-scale hydrogen and renewable energy projects in South Australia.

    Another project underway is the government’s response to the forecasted electricity price increases that were announced in the Federal Budget. The Government of South Australia has established the National Energy Crisis Committee of Cabinet, which is being supported by a National Energy Crisis Taskforce, to develop this response. The aim of this work is to implement measures that will reduce the scale of the increase and mitigate the impact on the community. 

    South Australia’s work on this topic is complementary to the broader measures being implemented at a national level, such as the work being progressed by the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council (ECMC) and by the Australian Government. 

    [1] Department for Energy and Mining, Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act, Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act | Energy & Mining (energymining.sa.gov.au) 

    Who is coordinating this work?

    The Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) has been tasked with leading this work on behalf of the Government of South Australia. Other departments and agencies are also contributing to this work, as it progresses.

    Why is the department releasing this Green Paper now?

    On 31 May 2022, the Government of South Australia was the first state parliament in Australia to declare a Climate Emergency, reaffirming the urgent need to decarbonise South Australia and continue our upward trajectory of renewable sources of energy.

    A broad range of actions to address this challenge are currently underway in South Australia, including (but not limited to): 

    • plans to create clean and sustainable energy with a grid-scale hydrogen plant in South Australia
    • gigawatts of electrolyser projects being proposed or underway in the state (including the 1.25 megawatt (MW) electrolyser at the Tonsley Innovation District and the Eyre Peninsula Gateway Project at Cultana, which will provide a facility integrating more than 75 MW in water electrolysis)
    • the export of hydrogen and other products both nationally and internationally (via hubs at Port Bonython and Cape Hardy). 

    These initiatives will help us address climate change, protect the environment and support jobs and growth.

    The release of a Green Paper on the state’s energy transition, and the White Paper that will follow, will complement the other projects underway. 

    What will the energy transition hope to achieve?

    For South Australia, the transformation of our energy sector provides an opportunity to reduce some of the impacts of the rising energy prices that have been forecasted, as well as contribute to broader outcomes of sustained economic development, social inclusion, energy security, improved health, job creation and other societal benefits.

    Will this work reduce my energy bills?

    Energy prices are a key focus that will underpin this work as it progresses, as any energy transition policy progressed in the state must deliver reasonable energy prices to all South Australian consumers.

    Why has the Green Paper selected several specific topics, such as the current and future role of rooftop solar, the current and future role of natural gas and education and workforce?

    The Green Paper is drafted as a factual document, that draws on past and current information on a range of topics that the Government of South Australia, consumers, and industry have discussed.

    It is not designed to be an exhaustive list, but to highlight some of the current and future challenges associated with each matter. The White Paper will outline the opportunities that can be achieved by addressing these challenges. 

    We are seeking stakeholder views on these topics, and any other topics that you think are relevant, in the context of South Australia achieving our targets to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

    DEM welcomes all submissions, be it in response to the questions set out in the Green Paper, or general feedback from stakeholders. 

    Who has been consulted so far?

    To seek early insight and views whilst the Green Paper was being developed by DEM, the Minister for Energy and Mining formed an Energy Transition Roundtable (‘Roundtable’). The first Roundtable meeting was held in late November 2022. 

    Membership of this Roundtable included South Australian consumer groups (residential, small business customers and commercial and industrial customers), as well as energy industry participants, investors, producers, market bodies, peak bodies and research institutes. Representatives from Government of South Australia agencies, as well as the Office of Hydrogen Power SA and the Office of the Technical Regulator, are also members.

    This group will continue to provide feedback and guidance as this work progresses.

    What are some of the risks that this work is trying to mitigate and/or avoid?

    With cost-of-living pressures increasing, including the rising energy price forecasts in the Federal Budget, this work is critical to charting a course for the state’s medium-to-long term energy policy.

    By not undertaking this work, South Australia could experience a disorderly energy transition, one which will impact the state and South Australians more broadly.