Senator John Madigan's concern for people who have lost power in the recent heatwave is admirable, but he is directing his anger at the wrong target, the Clean Energy Council said today.
Clean Energy Council Acting Policy Director Tim Sonnreich said clearly more needed to be done to help poor and vulnerable households deal with the effects of extraordinary heatwaves, but clean energy had helped the power system this week.
"Clean energy technologies such as solar power and solar hot water made a big difference in helping the state's electricity system cope with near-record demand. This is a case of Australia's Renewable Energy Target helping households to take pressure off our electricity system as a whole - while also reducing their individual power bills through these technologies," Mr Sonnreich said.
"Senator Madigan thinks clean energy is unreliable in extreme heat, but the simple fact is that everything struggles during a sustained heatwave like this. The public transport system has suffered delays, people have suffered from heat exhaustion and our electricity system has been pushed to the limit.
"Most of our power system performed very well under exceptional circumstances, but the large Loy Yang A coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley suffered unexpected outages for a long period of time as a result of the heat. No type of power plant can ever be 100 per cent reliable in extreme weather, but when a coal-fired plant suffers a fault the system loses a large amount of power. Wind farms and solar households are made up of thousands of independent generators, so a fault in one makes almost no difference.
"Without rooftop solar power and solar hot water acting to reduce the demand from large-scale power stations, it is very likely that Victoria would have set a new record for power use. And without the contribution from wind and solar energy, more homes may have had their power switched off over the last few days," he said.
Mr Sonnreich said the Renewable Energy Target had been very successful at delivering large amounts of clean energy from solar power, solar hot water and bioenergy at low cost to consumers, while delivering billions of dollars of investment and tens of thousands of jobs in regional areas.
Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.