RISK OF BLACKOUTS IN NSW THIS SUMMER INCREASED AS STATE GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ACT ON ENERGY SECURITY

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A report from the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer’s Energy Security Taskforce released yesterday reveals NSW is at risk of blackouts on the hottest days of this summer due to a shortage of supply. 

Despite NSW narrowly escaping grid-wide outage in February the Liberal-National State Government has failed to secure more supplies of energy for the state.

The Taskforce reported that NSW is not well prepared for a prolonged black-out when peak demand on the system and extreme weather events collide:

The Taskforce is concerned that NSW is not well prepared for a prolonged black out or a black system event, particularly the Sydney CBD where load restoration following a black system event would take a long time.

Such an event would lead to significant economic costs at the state and national level, and pose health and safety risks to the community.

Industry sources have revealed that in the past week alone four coal units have tripped leading to fears about the state’s preparedness for energy security over the summer.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said the Government should have done more to prevent a repeat of the past summer. NSW is lagging the other states and territories when it comes to renewable energy generation.

On 10 February 2017  power outages at Snowy Hydro’s gas-fired Colongra (724 MW) and Energy Australia’s Tallawarra (440 MW) gas plants, as well as reduced output from a number of thermal generators led to the shortfall of power during the extreme weather on that day.

As a result the Tomago smelter – a major industrial user of energy and a key Hunter employer - had its power cut off for over 3 hours.

Earlier this year Mr Foley called on the Government to act by massively increasing the solar energy generation on the rooves of government buildings, and to tender for 100 megawatts (MW) of storage to be delivered and in place for this summer.

The Government has failed to act on either call meaning that thanks to this Government’s inertia households and industry are once again at the mercy of the elements and an insecure energy supply. 

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“This Government had failed to diversify sources of electricity supply and that is why we are at risk of power shortages on the hottest days of summer.

“There is an immediate need for more energy generation that can reliably contribute towards meeting demand on the hottest summer afternoons.

“It is disturbing to know that the Berejiklian Government has still not acted to prepare NSW for a black system event.”