Oct 03 2016

Interconnector may not be the right solution: industry

It is critical we complete a full and detailed analysis of last week’s blackout in South Australia before committing to major and expensive infrastructure that may reduce, not increase, system security in South Australia, the energy industry said today.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, said “it is clear that last week’s blackout was triggered by severe weather events.  There is continued investigation into what transpired following the loss of the interconnector and other high voltage infrastructure that led to the entire state being blacked out, and what, if anything, could have been done to minimise this.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator is still completing its preliminary review of what happened last week.  This should inform careful consideration of which measures should be taken to make the South Australian grid more resilient.

“Increased interconnection should be part of a considered national energy strategy, not a political response to a major blackout.  These are 50 year assets that have material impacts on generation at both ends of the interconnector.  The risk is they increase costs without solving, or indeed undermining, the system security problem they were meant to solve.

“What South Australian electricity customers are entitled to see now is a careful and considered response that reduces the fragility and the risk to their electricity grid in the future.  Until we have greater clarity about the details of what occurred last week, we are at risk of making things worse, not better.

“South Australia has been pioneering integration of high levels of intermittent generation.  Last week’s events should provide new insights into how we can reliably manage greater intermittency at scale in the electricity grid of the future.”


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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