Australia’s energy grid isn’t prepared for extreme heat, Climate Council says

The Climate Council has called for Australia’s energy system to be overhauled, in a bid to ensure reliable power in the face of severe heatwaves and other extreme climate change driven weather.

Climate Councillor Andrew Stock said load shedding in South Australia last week, and threatened in New South Wales, shows the system is crumbling under the pressure.

“Government has had years to prepare strong climate and energy policies,” Mr Stock said.

“It’s critical that Government focus on bringing our ageing and polluting energy system into the 21st Century.”

Mr Stock said Australia is in desperate need of a decentralised energy network in order to offer people secure and reliable power while facing extreme weather like rolling heatwaves and violent storms.

“Highly centralised systems can’t adapt to the rapidly changing physical environment we’re experiencing with more and more severe weather. And huge old fossil power stations can’t adapt quickly to rapidly developing clean technology, which is being embraced globally – but not in Australia,” he said.

“Instead of putting our eggs in the coal basket, it is far better to modernise our system for the challenges of the 21st Century, using clean renewable energy and storage technologies than don’t exacerbate climate change.”

Mr Stock said its clear the current energy system is on the cusp of failing when power stations are available but don’t run because the system operator does not dispatch them or owners withhold them for commercial reasons.

Australia’s new energy system must drive dramatically lower emissions to reduce extreme weather risks in future, and so we meet our international commitment to the Paris Agreement.