International industrialist Sanjeev Gupta has hailed a breakthrough agreement to supply power to the South Australia Government as a major first step towards a prosperous new era for industry nationwide, based on clean, lower-cost, energy.
His comment follows the formal SA Government announcement today (18th December) that SIMEC ZEN Energy, part of Mr Gupta’s GFG Alliance, will supply the state government with more than 80% of its energy needs in 2018, rising to 100% in 2019 when new renewable power sources come on line.
The government announcement described the agreement as: “bringing much-needed competition to the retail electricity market and putting further downward pressure on prices.”
Mr Gupta, disclosed that he is already in talks with senior figures in other states about bringing similar benefits to both industrial and domestic users.
He said: “I see today’s milestone as signalling the dawn of a new Australian industrial era, led by a revolution in energy prices; bringing down costs, achieving productivity gains and boosting long-term competitiveness for manufacturing and engineering businesses right across the country.”
This is the latest step in the GFG Alliance’s blueprint for an energy-led industrial revival across Australia following its acquisition of the country’s largest integrated steel producer in August; now named Liberty OneSteel.
Only weeks later it announced the launch of SIMEC ZEN Energy after taking a majority stake in leading Australian power firm, ZEN Energy, and approving plans for a A$1billion investment in the development of renewable energy generating capacity, including 1 Gigawatt of solar and hydro pumped storage.
Commenting on today’s agreement Mr Gupta, who is founder and executive chairman of the GFG Alliance said: “This is the first major contract that SIMEC ZEN Energy has concluded since GFG's investment in the company. I am very pleased that this milestone is in partnership with the South Australian Government. Working hand in hand with governments to deliver solutions to real problems in the market place has long been the hallmark of GFG Alliance.
“This is the beginning of a journey that will see SIMEC ZEN Energy redefine the energy landscape of Australia, bringing down costs dramatically and making globally competitive energy a key advantage for Australian industry. Australia deserves a competitive energy industry. This will drive jobs and growth, it will encourage the private sector to invest and entrepreneurs to take more risk, not only in South Australia but across the country.”
South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said: “It’s fantastic that we were able to secure the electricity to supply our hospitals, schools and electrified rail for the next few years while supporting the growth of a new retail business that will bring some much-needed additional competition into the energy market.
“Earlier this year, we used our power supply requirements to underwrite the entry of the Port Augusta solar thermal plant to the market, which will put downward pressure on power prices for all South Australians, but also create hundreds of jobs for locals in the Upper Spencer Gulf. Now, we have been able to use this bridging contract to support the entry of home-grown renewable energy company SIMEC ZEN Energy into the retail market, which will support high-skilled local jobs.”
Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis added: SIMEC ZEN Energy is a great local success story. Through their partnership with GFG Alliance, they are set to become a major national player in the supply of renewable energy firmed by storage, providing large energy users with power at better prices than we have been seeing from the established providers. This contract will help underpin SIMEC ZEN Energy’s investment in South Australia and add new competition to the retail market, putting downward pressure on power prices that will benefit all South Australians.”
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