Oct 05 2016

Blackout report suggests new thinking needed for decarbonised power

An independent preliminary report into last week’s major blackout in South Australia highlights that more detailed analysis is required to understand what occurred and therefore what steps could be taken to improve system security, the energy industry said yesterday.

The preliminary report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) suggests a cascading set of events from the storms that hit South Australia last week, resulting in the entire state being blacked out for most of Wednesday night. 

Australian Energy Council Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, said the report raised a number of operational issues that required more detailed analysis, particularly given the high levels of intermittent generation now operating in South Australia.

“The Preliminary Report by AEMO suggests we need to think differently about how we run a decarbonising electricity system, reflecting the significant differences between using conventional thermal generation compared to a mix with higher levels of intermittent renewables,” Mr Warren said.

“Of key importance is how the mix of generation in a high renewables grid responds to events like the sudden loss of transmission in the mid-north of the state and the supply that it was carrying that triggered events last Wednesday afternoon.

“We see from the AEMO report that the remaining generation in Adelaide and in the south-east could not respond quickly enough, putting too much load onto the interconnector with Victoria which in turn tripped and sent the entire system black.

“This preliminary report provides clarity around the sequence of events that occurred, but also reveals the need for more detailed information to fill in some of the blanks that will help improve system security into the future.

“It reinforces that we may need to think differently about the potential effect of extreme weather events, given we are now operating a more weather-dependent electricity system.”


About the Australian Energy Council

The Council represents 21 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia and sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses.

Media contact             Carl Kitchen                0401 691 342

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