Australian Energy Market Operator has 'done everything possible' to stave off summer blackouts
The head of Australia's energy market regulator says the organisation has done everything possible to stave off further blackouts this summer, declaring she wants energy policy to become "boring" again.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) faced a blizzard of criticism last summer when power shortages caused mass blackouts in South Australia and put the energy grid in New South Wales under strain.
Since then, the Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria's LaTrobe Valley has also shut down — taking another 1,600 Megawatts of generation capacity out of the system.
But AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman said the regulator had built up reserves of energy which could be used to keep the lights on when demand peaked.
"I think we all want to make it better for Australians, we want to get back to the point where energy is boring and nobody is interested because we're doing it so well," Ms Zibelman said.
She said AEMO could deliver 800 megawatts of additional power from gas generators.
The regulator is also planning to ask big power users and utilities to cut their use of power when demand rises.
AEMO said that would allow them to pump more than 1,000 megawatts of power into the system if needed.
Still, AEMO is not guaranteeing the lights will stay on when temperatures soar.
The operator's summer readiness report said demand could be "precariously tight" if any major power generators are taken offline for maintenance.
And Ms Zibelman conceded the grid could still struggle if bushfires or other natural disasters forced several generators to shut down.
"We can't solve for every potential event … there are always things you can't anticipate and can't control," she said.
"[But] all in all — compared to last summer — we're in a good, strong position."
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Subscribe to weekly updates
- Bid to put power ball in Turnbull’s court
- 'Unprecedented': Solar panel installations soar, on track to triple 2017 record
- Cap energy mergers to bring down power bills, ACCC tells Malcolm Turnbull
- ACCC calls for major reset of energy sector to drive down power bills
- 'The short answer is yes': Abbott's vow to cross the floor over government's energy policy
- Gas to the fore after Liddell power station closure
- East coast gas shortage eases but Longford outage puts pressure on prices
- Renewable energy set to supply one-third of market needs by 2020
- South Australia rides renewables boom to become electricity exporter
- Big power resists AEMO 'strategic reserve' push after NSW squeeze