Sunday, 2 April 2017

Cyclone Debbie turned out the lights in Queensland – isn’t that the Prime Minister’s cue to start criticising sustainable energy?

Cyclone Debbie, 28 March 08:20 AEST
Credit: Himiwari/ABC

On the afternoon of Wednesday 28 September 2016, a once-in-50-year storm damaged critical electrical infrastructure in South Australia, blacking out the entire state. At 07:20 the next morning, the Prime Minister’s office was informed that the black-out was unrelated to the 40%+ renewable energy in that state. Despite this, those on the conservative side of politics, primarily the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull & Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, rushed to criticise sustainable energy.1

Another extreme weather event on 08 February 2017, caused load shedding in South Australia. Once again, those on the conservative side of Australian politics rushed to judgment.2

At the moment, as a result of cyclone Debbie, electricity supplies are down in much of the coal-dependant state of Queensland.

Prime Minister, isn’t that your cue to start criticising sustainable electricity? Josh?

If the above seems to make little of the disaster (including deaths) still unfolding in Queensland, that was not my purpose. To anyone offended: please accept my apologies. The people of South Australia are still waiting for an apology from the Prime Minister & Energy Minister.

1 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Turnbull knew renewables were not the cause of SA blackout the next day”,

2 HitchHiker’s Guide 2 Tech: “Keeping the lights on in a rapidly changing world”,

/ Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ministers were told wind not to blame renewables for South Australia blackout Turnbull government statements blaming last year's South Australian blackout high renewable energy target ignored confidential public service advice was not the cause emails obtained under freedom-of-information rules febrile debate renewable energy versus coal-fired generation raging in Canberra revelation undermine Coalition's energy messaging shatter confidence call for investment sober debate bipartisan policy solutions government denies it ignored the early advice it was the storm which brought down lines ministers canvassed publicly central state's high renewable energy reliance contributed subsequent assessment refer to the state's energy mix complicating factor security of supply advice to the government dated 29 September 2016 day after the whole of SA went black devastating storm suggested problem state's high reliance on wind generation key parts electricity distribution network wrecked during a severe weather event email trail senior official from Malcolm Turnbull department seeking explanation blackout 8.31 evening of the storm next morning outlines subsequent discussions 5am phone hook-up departmental political staff email sent Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's own officials assessment of the blackout including advice Australian Energy Market Operator unprecedented damage network bigger than any other event in Australia 20+ steel transmission towers down State wind damage Adelaide Port Augusta electricity network unable to cope sudden large loss generation capacity AEMO's advice generation mix renewable or fossil fuel was not to blame yesterday's events loss 1000 MW power such a short space of time transmission lines fell over within hours of the calamity Turnbull government capitalising on the blackout suggesting state's unsustainably high quotient wind generation failed to keep working in the conditions Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce chorus from Canberra state Labor government's unrealistic energy policies other senior ministers including Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg major storm major blackout across a whole state South Australia renewable energy target storm capacity to handle it intermittent renewables pose real challenges state Labor governments priorities renewable targets extremely aggressive extremely unrealistic energy security blackout South Australia extreme heat event energy blame game intensified evidence again suggests adequate supply gas turbine generation sitting idle wind contribution fell Labor's spokesman climate change energy Mark Butler hysterical Mr Turnbull playing politics very deep crisis enveloping our energy system renewable energy sustainable energy electric power solar photovoltaic photo voltaic coal fired power station wind power wind turbine gas fired power station accurate weather forecasting grid /