Peter Overton: It was hard to miss last week’s wintry weather. What you didn’t see, was our almost frozen electricity supply
A power crisis was narrowly avoided but it shone a light on the weaknesses in the network.
Ross Greenwood: As you sat down watching 9News last Friday, it was cold – 15 degrees in Sydney and raining…an unseasonal early winter.
Now, like most, you turned on your heater on – but that action again exposed the weakness in our electricity supplies.
At 6.30pm last Friday, wholesale electricity prices momentarily spiked 20 times above their level.
Now, you’ll pay for that eventually in your next bill.
The energy regulator, AEMO, says there were no blackouts but it admits there was a lack of reserves in New South Wales. In other words, it was close.
The shortage was caused by severally coal-fired power stations down for regular maintenance. Now, this is typical this time of year, before the Winter peak.
But three others – two confirmed by 9News as Energy Australia’s Mount Piper and Sunset Power’s Vales Point – had unscheduled outages.
And because of cloudy weather, solar – at home and at commercial solar farms – didn’t help.
But their small compared to the coal-fired power stations. AEMO says last week’s events are a sobering reminder adequate resources need to always be available.
The cold snap…caught them out.
Sadly, it could be a common story.
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