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South Australia Blackout:How can a whole state lose power?

September 29, 2016

South Australia Blackout:How can a whole state lose power?

The state of South Australia has the most expensive power in the entire nation.  Now it seems that the premium price offers now protection against a statewide blackout.

A major storm hits the state, a few high voltage pylons are blown over and suddenly the state’s power grid shuts down.  The entire state is plunged into darkness, street lights go out, buildings are left without electricity, people are trapped in elevators, hospitals must rely on emergency backup generators, houses must rely upon candles for lighting, home with electric stove cannot cook food, communication is restricted, even the phone network is reliant upon it battery backup and the odd generator at major exchanges.  This is just the beginning of what is being reported in the news.

The full scale of this disaster is yet to unfold.  Many of the stranded in elevators have not even been identified yet.  Sick people in home care may be without power to run the medical equipment that they depend upon to live.  The old, the sick, the frail have all been left to fend for themselves in a disaster that may have more to do with poor management and ideological decision making than the actual storm.

Before the statewide blackout, South Australia boasted that it was drawn most of its electrical power from renewable sources.  The state relied heaving upon using solar and wind power to provide the base level supplies of electricity.  At the same time the shutdown and destroyed their remaining coal-fired power plant.  The price of electricity skyrocketed to highest in the nation.

When the storm hit, solar panels no longer produced power and the high wind meant that all the wind turbines were shut down. Once the storm knocked over the pylons that connected South Australia to the national grid the entire state power supply was shut down.

How Could This Happen?

There is no equivalent example in Australian history to losing power to an entire state.  South Australia moved to using wind and solar power for ideological reasons.

Prime Minister Turnbull had this to say about the disaster:

“I regret to say that a number of the state Labor governments have over the years set priorities and renewable targets that are extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic, and have paid little or no attention to energy security,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Launceston.

“Energy security should always be the key priority. If you are stuck in an elevator, if the lights won’t go on, if your fridge is thawing out … because the power is gone, you are not going to be concerned about the particular source of that power. Whether it is hydro, wind, solar, coal or gas, you want to know that the energy is secure.

“Let’s take this storm in South Australia … as a real wake-up call. Let’s end the ideology and focus on clear renewable targets.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg had this to say about the disaster:

“Clearly there’s going to be greater focus as well on the impact of renewable energy on the reliability of the system.

 

It is early days yet and the anger over this blackout is yet to be felt by the politicians who run the state of South Australia.  The direct cause of the blackout and its roll on effect are yet to be fully understood.  However, this embarrassing disaster does shine an uncomfortable light on whether alternative energy sources are up to the task of providing reliable base load power.

Editorial Comment:

I figure that the Greenies will blame ‘Climate Change’ for the storm and ignore the ramifications of the blackout.

Just a mild suspicion, mind you.

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