THE CLIMATE COUNCIL is urging Australia’s energy market operator (AEMO) to better prepare for extreme weather events, to avoid preventable power outages.
Climate Councillor and energy expert with more than 40 years experience, Andrew Stock said AEMO’s primary accountability is to manage the national market to deliver reliable and secure electricity supplies for consumers.
“When weather forecasts confirmed New South Wales would experience skyrocketing power demand in the face of extreme heat last week, AEMO intervened to ensure generators were on and encouraged customers to cut back usage. Even so, supply to the state’s biggest user, the Tomago smelter, was involuntarily cut,” he said.
“However, AEMO did not adequately protect South Australia. Despite many days notice of the looming heatwave there, AEMO did not ensure reserve supplies were operating in the event demand increased suddenly.”
The comments come after the energy market operator released its official statement explaining why South Australia was left in the dark last week, experiencing “planned outages” during a forecast severe heatwave.
The South Australian resident said AEMO had failed to direct available gas power stations to operate and didn’t intervene when generators withheld supplies for their commercial benefit, but to the detriment of the State.
“South Australians have a right to feel disappointed and forgotten in the face of a completely preventable event. AEMO says market rules prevented it from intervening. If that’s the case, the power market and rules are failing the very people they are meant to serve – consumers.
“It’s well past the time changes need to be made to modernize the system for the 21st century.”
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said it’s clear our energy system in trouble from worsening extreme weather.
“Load shedding on a day exceeding 40 degrees is extremely dangerous, especially for old, young and ill people who are particularly vulnerable in such heat. Doing this is actually putting lives at risk,’ she said.
McKenzie said the Federal Government must urgently overhaul Australia’s ageing and polluting energy system to provide secure power for ALL Australians.
“These extreme weather events will only intensify and become more frequent as climate change worsens.
“This shouldn’t be about an ideological competition between energy sources. This is about modernising Australia’s power system for the 21st century to provide affordable, clean power. Polluting energy sources like coal and gas are driving more extreme weather.”
“We can take serious action now by using clean renewable energy and storage technologies than don’t exacerbate climate change.”
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