Politicians “shocked” at the power crisis waiting in the Australian electricity grid

Did some politicians just wake up? The news today is that our Energy Minister may realize Australia is conducting a wild experiment with our electricity grid and may have managed to convince other Australian federal politicians of the risk.

Coalition MPs shocked by energy threat

The Australian: Robert Gottleibsen (even Gottleibsen gets it).

When Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg walked into the Coalition party room with his energy policy earlier this week he faced a sea of hostile faces. But they left the room shocked. At last, the government politicians understood that Australia faces a long-term blackout power crisis the like of which has never been seen in modern times.

It’s one thing to read commentaries warning of what is ahead but another to see a minister use confidential information from independent power authorities and regulators to show the desperate state of affairs that is looming for the nation. And then Frydenberg went to the ALP and showed them the same material.

Frydenberg was, if anything, even more alarming than me …  [says Gottleibsen who wrote about how the “Energy crisis risk is criminal. March 2017″].

Between 2012 and 2017 Australia has built 1,850MW of weather-linked “intermittent capacity” and only 150 MW of “dispatchable capacity”.

At the same time “dispatchable capacity” has been reduced with the closure of coal and gas-fired power plants and the failure to maintain existing coal-fired plants.

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator back in 2012-13, we had 20 per cent “reserve capacity”— power generation capacity above maximum demand. Currently, that’s down to 12 per cent and if the Liddell power station is shut there will be a big shortfall. We, therefore, face the clear certainty of frequent and long blackouts in all our cities if we do not invest in “dispatchable capacity”.

This graph shows what a fantasy-land that most Australian state governments exist in — look at the targets set in Queensland and Victoria. Look at how far gone South Australia is:

Renewables Generation, Australia, states, wind solar power, graph, 2017

State-based penetration of solar and wind generation 2017

Gottleibsen doesn’t show this graph but here’s the SA Medium-term outlook for the next two summers according to the AEMO:

Medium Term Outlook, SA, 2017, 2018, AEMO, electricity generation, supply demand, graph.

Predicted outlook for demand and supply of electricity in South Australia from Nov 2017 – November 2019.

The red bars are the reserve shortfalls predicted to occur in summer next year and the year after. In itself, that doesn’t mean there will be blackouts but it means that SA is likely to be completely dependent on the interconnector to the coal plants in Victoria and the risk of blackouts is higher. SA is not self-sufficient.

Read more at JoNova

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