Australia is looking at making the switch to clean energy, but it might have to go easier. Using clean energy is of course a good idea. It’s better for the environment and with new technology, it even makes sense economically. So, powering up with clean energy seemed like a logical next step for states in the country.
State governments in Australia rushed to switch to clean energy sources. But the move could undermine the energy security of the country. The federal government issued a warning on Thursday after an entire state in Australia lost power.
Rough Weather Affects the Electrical Grid
Australia’s federal government is taking the energy security of the country very seriously. It doesn’t want Australia relying on clean energy too much too soon.
On Wednesday, the state of South Australia lost power as it was hit by two tornados as well as thunder storms and powerful winds. The power outage caused chaos in traffic and led to incidents such as people remaining trapped in elevators. The police issued a warning, recommending that people stay inside. A power plant was struck by lightning and high winds toppled as many as 22 transmission towers.
The state is larger than the state of Texas by almost 40 percent. It covers more than 980,000 square kilometers, that’s 380,000 square miles. 1.7 million people live in the state of South Australia.
By Thursday, over 90 percent of households had their power back on. The state capital of Adelaide was up and running without any problems. But there are still difficulties in the rural north of the state. Some households there could remain without power for another couple of days.
Prime Minister Warns Against Renewables
The federal government said that extreme weather caused the blackout. But the event raised questions about South Australia’s reliance on wind-generated and solar power. Was the network less resilient because of that?
The state of South Australia is governed by the Labor Party, a center left political party. It gets 41 percent of its electricity from renewable sources of energy. The second state on the list of green states is Tasmania, that mostly uses hydro-electricity. South Australia aims to increase the quota of green, clean energy. It has plans to raise the share of clean energy to 50 percent by the year 2025.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the press that clean energy is less reliable. He said that intermittent renewables place strains and pressures on the electrical grid. Something that wouldn’t happen with traditional sources of power.
The Prime Minister continued by saying that energy security should be the number one priority. He went on to lament the decision of a number of states to move to fast on clean energy. Turnbull said that he regrets certain Labor state governments have set renewable targets that are aggressive and unrealistic. And that did not take into account energy security.
So it looks like from the point of view of the federal government of Australia the move to clean energy should slow down somewhat.
Image source: Wikipedia