South Australia’s fragile electricity system exposed again

The State Liberals say the closure of the Northern Power station has delayed reconnecting electricity to homes cut off in the latest blackouts to hit South Australia.

“Re-energising the electricity network is much more difficult and time consuming process as a consequence of the closure of the Northern Power station,” said Shadow Minister for Energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“The presence of synchronous power generators is essential to the swift and efficient re-energising of an electricity network after a blackout and the closure of the Northern Power station has left a gaping hole in South Australia’s capacity.

“Electricity networks are vulnerable during storms – everybody accepts that fact. What isn’t acceptable is the extended period of time so many South Australian households and businesses are left without power.

“Once again South Australians are paying a very high price for the Weatherill Government’s foolish energy policies.

“The Weatherill Government stood by and allowed the Port Augusta station to close despite being repeatedly warned that it would drive up the price of electricity whilst reducing reliability.

“South Australians have the most expensive and least reliable power in the country as a result of the disgraceful policy failures of the Weatherill Government.

“The inconvenience and cost to families without electricity in the middle of school holidays is enormous.

“The cost to businesses in lost trade and damaged goods is even more damaging as they grapple with surging electricity prices.

“Businesses looking to invest in new job creating opportunities shun South Australia due to the most expensive and least reliable electricity in the nation.

“The Weatherill Government’s over-zealous rush into wind farms without associated large scale battery storage is directly responsible for the surging price of electricity in South Australia.

“There is a place for a healthy component of sustainable energy in the South Australian market but it must be in balance.

“We must transition away from fossil fuels towards renewables, but until renewable energy can be stored at scale there is a point beyond which we cannot go without destablising the market and skyrocketing prices.”