SA Greens MLC Tammy Franks saw firsthand the renewable innovation happening in the Upper Spencer Gulf during a visit to Whyalla and Port Augusta on Thursday.
Ms Franks was joined by her New South Wales colleagues David Shoebridge and Abigail Boyd MLC for a tour of renewable projects in the region. The trio visited the SSE Whyalla Solar Farm, the Liberty OneSteel Whyalla Steelworks, the Cultana Solar Farm site and Sundrop Farms at Port Augusta.
Ms Franks said there was 'extraordinary' innovation going on in the field of renewable energy in the Upper Spencer Gulf, but it was important to ensure there are flow-on benefits for the local community.
"These projects aren't great job generators in the long term but if the rewards and wealth from them can be shared across the community that would ensure the benefit is passed on," she said.
"Immediate direct jobs are the most obvious benefit from these projects. But the flow-on benefits are important, including the indirect jobs and the tourism opportunities that come out of this.
"Having a renewable trail to follow was raised as a tourism opportunity that comes out of having cutting-edge technology in the region."
Ms Franks described walking around the Sundrop Farms development at Port Augusta as similar to being on the set of a Sci-Fi film.
"The future is in the regions and it's happening now," she said. "It was quite amazing to witness the development first hand. South Australia has plentiful wind and sun which can power things like pumped hydro and battery storage.
"That ensures the industry here is diversified."
Ms Franks said her NSW colleagues were 'pleasantly surprised' by the innovative renewable projects in the region.
"They were inspired and hopeful they could see something similar in New South Wales," she said.
"They don't have the same conditions in climate and political will as South Australia does, you have the trifecta here."
"SA will be moving leaps and bounds ahead of NSW."