South Australia will review the events that led to the state’s biggest blackout, but premiere Jay Weatherhill is resisting calls for an independent inquiry according to a report by Cleantechnica.
He stated that the severe storm that brought down the transmission towers in the north caused the statewide power failure and was not linked to South Australia high use of renewable energy.
No energy system in the world would have been able to cope with severe winds that tore towers from the ground and brought down high transmission lines. He added that the government would review want happened to see what could be learned from the experience.
The Australian energy market regulator would have their technical review to establish the sequence of events, while the federal, state and territory energy ministers would meet to go over what happened in South Australia. The transmission company ElectraNet which operates the damaged infrastructure, will also look at what could be done to avoid any repeat of the crisis.
Mr. Turnbull accepted the winds and lightning strikes were the primary cause of the statewide power failure, but he has “no doubt” that the aggressive shift to renewables has strained the electricity network. He also said that the number of state Labour governments has set priorities and renewable targets over the years that are extremely aggressive, unrealistic and paid little or no attention to energy security. He said to end the ideology and focus on clear renewable targets.
According to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, it was poor form to make political points about renewable while the crisis was ongoing in South Australia. He said that what happened was a super storm with 80,000 lightning strikes, and it did not happen because of the renewable energy target; it’s just Mother Nature.
The Australian Wind Alliance, said that blaming renewables is very irresponsible. The wind farms were providing nearly 1000 megawatts of power into the system meeting 50% of the demand before the network tripped. Alliance coordinator Andrew Bray that about 960 megawatts were coming from South Australia’s wind farms at 4:30 pm last Wednesday, which covers 50% of the demand.
He also said that extreme weather knocked out 23 transmission pylons. Storms of such magnitude will knock out any power network no matter what the source is.
Featured Image Credit: Sebastian Vandrey