SA premier defends energy strategy

South Australians have stopped listening to the constant criticism of their state from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Premier Jay Weatherill says, a day after the PM bagged the SA’s energy strategy.

Addressing the South Australian Liberal Party annual meeting on Saturday, Mr Turnbull described South Australia’s strong focus on renewable energy as equal parts “ideology and idiocy”.

The PM said it was an “experiment” that should have been conducted in private, not inflicted on an entire state.

But Mr Weatherill said the majority of South Australians strongly believed in renewable energy as the future and no-one was listening anymore to the criticism from Mr Turnbull and his ministers.

“There’s a long list of them. The prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, Scott Morrison, every time they come into town they bag South Australia,” the premier told reporters on Sunday.

“I just think we’re sick of it. I think people have stopped listening to him, it’s so routine now.

“He comes to town, and his ministers come to town and they bag us all the time. I just think it’s becoming a bit boring.”

The South Australian has pledged to continue its strong support for renewable energy.

But in response to rising energy prices and fears of the future reliability of electricity supplies, the Labor government has embarked on a $550 million energy plan which includes the construction of the world’s biggest battery to store renewable energy, incentives to increase gas-fired electricity generation and the installation of extra, state owned, generators at two sites.

On Saturday, Mr Turnbull derided the battery for only supplying a limited amount of power for a limited time.

He said a better approach was the commonwealth’s plan to supply baseload power through the development of pumped hydro in the Snowy Mountains and its efforts to bring down domestic gas prices through controls on exports.

The Snowy scheme would be able to deliver 2000 megawatts of power for seven-and-a-half weeks,” the PM said.

“That’s the scale of the vision and the planning that a Liberal government puts in place when it talks about storage,” he said.

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