Petty finger pointing will not solve Australia’s energy challenges, the Clean Energy Council said today following a disappointing week in which politicians showed they were more interested in point-scoring rather than working together for the good of the country.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said it was time for national leadership rather than more cheap politics over energy.

“We have an ageing electricity system full of old coal-fired power stations, a long and fragmented national network, and a regulatory and market framework in need of updating. When we combine this with increased extreme weather events, it’s clear we need a new approach to planning and managing our energy system – one that ensures both resilience and the integration of new technologies like renewable energy and energy storage,” Mr Thornton said.

“The whole energy industry is united on this – the system needs to change, and for that to happen we need politicians to cross the divide and work together on stable energy and climate policy that will endure beyond the next election cycle.”

Mr Thornton said South Australia had enough power generation to meet its energy needs on even the hottest days, and trying to blame renewable energy for a brief outage during a heatwave was missing the point.

“The 40-minute outage on Wednesday this week for was a system management issue. Gas power generation in the state was sitting idle which could have been used to ensure an uninterrupted power supply when energy demand exceeded previous forecasts,” Mr Thornton said.

“Extreme heat is challenging for all kinds of infrastructure and this extends to power generation and other parts of the electricity system. Both our power stations and our poles and wires operate much less efficiently when the heat ticks upwards of 40 degrees, and this affects the system’s ability to continue running smoothly.

“New South Wales faces the prospect of potential blackouts today, and we hope it is able to maintain a secure power supply. Less than 10 per cent of the state’s power comes from renewable energy, showing that the extreme weather rather than the generation mix is the main factor causing issues this week.
“The majority of Australians want a shift to a cleaner, more diverse and resilient energy system. Cooperation between political parties, the states and the Commonwealth is desperately needed to ensure a safe, reliable and clean energy future for Australia.”

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