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Diesel generators to bolster Victoria’s energy network over summer

Diesel generators to bolster Victoria’s energy network over summer

DIESEL generators will be hooked up to Victoria’s energy network in the coming weeks as part of a last-ditch effort to keep the lights on this summer.

The new generators are part of a battle plan providing backup power to guard against blackouts in heatwaves.

Energy crisis: Victorians paid to cut energy during peak periods

They will provide up to 100 megawatts of electricity if requi­red, enough to power an estimated 40,000 households during peak periods.

The Australian Energy Mar­ket Operator has secured the extra diesel generation as part of a widescale effort to shore up Victoria and South Australia’s energy supply, amid warnings of potential shortfalls after the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station.

Worst-case scenario forecasts show homes could face having their power cut in ext­reme weather during summer.

It is understood AEMO will announce the full scale of its electricity insurance program later this month, which is ­designed to provide enough cover to during extended periods of hot weather.

The “reliability and emergency reserve trader” is expec­ted to tie in deals with energy-intensive businesses to power down at times of peak demand.

The agreements, which are in the final stages of negotiations, could also include ener­gy generators bringing more capacity online as required.

Demand management schemes which reward households and businesses for using less power at peak times are another element of the energy security package.

AEMO’s decision to bring in diesel generators is a slap in the face for Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, who said earlier this year: “Victoria has more than enough capa­city to meet our energy needs.”

She also said the State government was “not considering any diesel back-up because we are building the generation and storage necessary to protect Victorian consumers”.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the measures being put in place by AEMO occurred “on a regular basis when an ext­reme summer is forecast”.

“(It) last took place in 2014 under the previous Liberal government, when Hazelwood was still in operation,” she said.

The costs of AEMO’s program, including the new diesel generators, will predominantly be paid for by energy retailers, although some charges could be passed on to consumers.

Herald Sun

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