Record temperatures, weak energy system shows why NSW interconnector is needed


The Marshall Government used ‘every tool at its disposal’ to prevent residential load-shedding yesterday, amid record high temperatures in Adelaide and across the state and low power supply in SA and Victoria.

Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the Government was prepared and practiced, having been in close coordination with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and finally declaring an Energy Emergency at 7pm.

“The Government acted swiftly early and reduced power consumption in its own operations and sites, with the largest contribution from SA Water,” said Minister van Holst Pellekaan.

“We also worked closely with large energy users such as GFG Alliance’s steelworks at Whyalla and Nyrstar’s smelter at Port Pirie to reduce demand on the grid.
“After close consultation with BHP and AEMO to facilitate voluntary reductions from their operations, the Government issued an emergency declaration to most effectively allow these users to contribute load reductions within their contractual obligations. These directions to AEMO were conditional on there otherwise being a requirement for load-shedding and, fortunately, were not required on the day.

“We used every tool at our disposal and avoided residential load-shedding on our hottest day on record, despite the weaknesses of our power system. I want to thank those who contributed to this outcome, including South Australian businesses.”

Minister van Holst Pellekaan said he understood the frustration of the many families who were without power yesterday due to distribution faults. Overnight, SA Power Networks had restored power to almost all households affected by failures in its infrastructure.

“I appreciate and sympathise with the discomfort of those who were affected by distribution faults caused by the record extreme conditions,” Minister van Holst Pellekaan said.

“The weaknesses of the South Australian power system have emerged over a decade of policy failure, and it will take time to restore strength and resilience to our system.

“AEMO cannot be clearer that in the coming years an interconnector with NSW, new generation and the co-ordination of distributed resources such as batteries are critical to arrest the decline and restore the strength of our power system.

“That’s why it is so critical for the Government to continue to deliver on its energy solution to fast-track the interconnector with NSW, develop grid scale storage, and support the world’s largest rollout of home batteries per capita in the world.”