AEMO preliminary report on South Australian blackout Statement

Oct 05, 2016 - 10:47am

AEMO is clear that the primary cause of the power failure was the weather, which resulted in "multiple transmission system faults". In response to an "extensive number" of these faults, for safety reasons, a number of wind farms reduced generation. This put further pressure on the system and led to the shutdown of the interconnector with Victoria.

- Caution should be applied in interpreting this sequence of events. AEMO notes that its report is preliminary and is conducting deeper investigations into of the causes and effects of each element of the state-wide blackout. Jumping to conclusions or using AEMO's preliminary findings to promote a single solution or scapegoat a single problem is irresponsible.

- What is clear is that the South Australian grid is not resilient to the extreme weather it has experienced in recent days. It is also clear that the Australian electricity system faces increasingly extreme weather as a result of climate change. Even if the world succeeds in limiting climate change to less than 2C, today's extremes will become the new normal.

- Multiple challenges face Australia's electricity sector. It needs to provide secure, affordable power while reducing emissions to net zero levels and coping with more extreme weather. Pretending that some of these goals are unnecessary will not make them go away.

Currently we are seeing multiple stresses arising from the absence of a national plan to drive an orderly transition to a zero emissions power sector. The sooner we stop playing politics with the sector, sit down and define a long-term strategy for the inevitable transition the better it will be for consumers, industry and our climate efforts.

In 2012, The Climate Institute noted the sector was under-prepared for stronger winds, more intense rainfall, and more extreme heat. Energy market institutions and energy ministers should integrate climate change risk management into the national energy market framework as a matter of priority.

P.S. In other news the Paris Agreement on climate change is now set to come into force next month with the threshold of 55 countries and 55% per cent of global emissions to be passed on Friday. Countries such as EU, Canada and Indonesia are likely to ratify this week joining India, which ratified on Monday, the US, China and others including New Zealand - which ratified today. The Australian government is going through the ratification process with Ministers Bishop and Frydenberg describing ratification as being in our national interest. The Paris Agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, and acknowledges the need for net zero emissions to achieve this goal.

 For more information:  Brinsley Marlay ● Media Manager ● 0422 140 555


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