Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dubbed South Australia’s energy plan an “experiment” that should have been conducted behind closed doors.
Mr Turnbull told the annual meeting of the SA Liberal Party on Saturday that the plan was based on ideology and idiocy.
“You really have in South Australia, of course, been subjected to an experiment by [Premier] Jay Weatherill,” the prime minister said.
“People really should conduct these experiments, as dangerous as that, privately somewhere in expert company rather than inflicting it on an entire state.”
The $550 million SA plan includes the construction of the world’s largest battery to store renewable energy, incentives to increase gas-fired electricity generation and the installation of extra, state-owned generators at two sites.
Mr Turnbull said Labor’s approach to energy was a combination of ideology and politics, comparing it unfavourably to the Liberal focus on economics and engineering.
“But on reflection, I think I’ve been too kind to them. It’s actually ideology and idiocy in equal measures,” he told the Liberal Party faithful.
As a result, South Australians had been subjected to the most expensive and least reliable electricity supply in Australia, he said.
A better approach, he said, 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.
Mr Turnbull said the Snowy strategy would be able to deliver 2000 megawatts of power for seven-and-a-half weeks.
“That’s the scale of the vision and the planning that a Liberal government puts in place when it talks about storage,” he said.