The government had planned to cut funding to its renewable energy agency by a A$1.3 billion, in an effort to plug a major budget shortfall, but was forced to reduce the cut to A$500 million in September to gain parliamentary support.
The Age reports that the “mass blackout” started around 3:30PM local time. “What it did is it ripped out about 22 – probably even more – high voltage pylons”, says State Premier Jay Weatherill.
Synoptic maps show the incredible ring-like low pressure system that has smashed the southern and eastern parts of Australia since Wednesday, pushing unprecedented winds up into South Australia and across to NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
It pointed to the fact that while the renewable energy target had encouraged the development of wind and solar generation, it had the potential to undermine supply security at a reasonable price, because it forced the closure of inefficient power stations without encouraging the construction of the necessary new generation supply sources.
However heavy industries, such as minerals giant BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine and Arrium’s Whyalla steelworks which Weatherill said drew “very substantial amounts of power”, faced a longer wait.
Ports were closed, while train and tram services were also suspended.
Much of the network around Adelaide is on line and operating normally, with power companies re-starting power generators from mid-evening Wednesday, after being forced to shut down earlier in the day.
Scenes from the storm were predictably nutballs.
“There’s an increased level of risk that we really haven’t seen before anywhere in the world, so it doesn’t mean we’ll have more blackouts, hopefully if we’re smart we can sort out solutions so power supply can be the same as usual, but it’s an increased risk”.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has turned on state Labor governments over their renewable energy targets as federal politicians blame South Australia’s wind farms as well as extraordinary “cyclonic” weather for the state’s catastrophic power blackout.
The storm prompted gusts of wind up to 87 km per hour (54 mph) and hailstones which rained down in parts of the state.
There were no implications for other states from the extensive blackout in South Australia, the energy market operator said.
The state was also hammered by an estimated 80,000 lightning strikes, hail and rain.
Courtesy of essentialretailer.com