The Clean Energy Council has urged South Australians to stay safe during a state-wide blackout due to extreme storms which have caused damage to the state’s electricity network.

Clean Energy Council Policy Manager Tom Butler said early reports were that one of the worst weather events in decades has caused damage to electricity pylons in multiple locations, and the entire state grid had shut down as a protection for the whole system.

“The resulting power outage is obviously frustrating for everyone in the state, but it is important to note that this could have happened in any state given today’s weather conditions,” Mr Butler said.

“Despite the extensive effort put into planning for emergency events by the electricity grid operator, not every event can be predicted. Power is expected to be restarted, but not for some time.”

Mr Butler said no connection has been established to the state’s renewable energy generation.

“Wind power was generating lots of electricity at the time the system went down, with the rest of the state supplied by gas-fired power and the interconnector," he said.

“It is important to remember that this is a once-in-50-year storm, and no power system can fully prepare for the savage winds, lightning and hail that pounded the state today. It is a freak event.

“Some reports have said this was some of the strongest wind to hit South Australia since 1964, with gusts of 120 km/h.

“Both the Australian Energy Market Operator, which operates the market, and ElectraNet, the transmission grid operator, have acted using established emergency planning procedures to re-start the system and bring everything back online as quickly as possible.

“Our thoughts are with the many families, residents, businesses and SES workers affected by this wild storm. We hope that everyone has managed to stay safe and that damage to homes and businesses is limited and quickly fixed.”

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.