South Australia decommissioned its coal-fired power plants and plans to expand its renewable power generation capacity with a factor five. The state wants to align its renewable energy transition with a shift to a circular economy (CE) and invited Shifting Paradigms to help optimise synergies.
The South Australian climate change action plan is focussing on practical measures to address climate change. Aided by the notion that up to 67 percent of the world’s carbon footprint is related to material management, South Australia is embracing the circular economy to enable even deeper reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The circular economy also represents a major opportunity to improve resource efficiency and supply chains, reduce waste, create green jobs and preserve natural assets for future generations.
The government entity Green Industries South Australia (GISA) is leading the development of South Australia’s transition to a circular economy. Together with stakeholders from the private sector, government and communities, it is defining a vision of a circular future and setting priorities for action.
South Australia does not start from scratch in the transition to a circular, net-zero carbon future. It already generates renewable energy similar to the amount of energy it uses and hosts established industries which practice circular economy principles. Examples are composting, remanufacturing and pioneering the replacement of carbon-intensive construction materials with engineered timber products. Such products store, rather than emit, carbon dioxide.
Building on these achievements, the state has an ambition to attract green processing and manufacturing industries with the promise of excess renewable energy capacity. It also aims to electrify its transport sector, become an exporter of green hydrogen and use only renewable energy to power its heavy industries.
Supported by GISA, work has commenced on the next 5 year South Australian Circular Economy Strategy. Shifting Paradigms completed an analysis of circular economy transition opportunities in South Australia and the material flows identified by GISA. It also explored existing and new synergies with the state’s climate change action plan. The discussion paper was delivered in December 2022 and is being used to inform the development of the circular economy strategy for the state.