The Energy Change Institute and Engineers Australia has issued a statement following a forum of industry experts today calling on increased energy security in the face of climate change, cyber hacking and greater complexity in the energy system.
The call follows a series of blackouts in Victoria and South Australia, following severe weather events over the past few weeks.
The expert forum in Canberra was represented by industry, government and academia.
Engineers Australia energy security spokesman Neil Greet said the energy sector was increasingly vulnerable as Australia’s energy systems became more complex.
“The energy sector around the world is in a state of transition,” Mr Greet said.
“Both energy networks and the internet are critical services heavily interconnected and extremely vulnerable to a range of threats.”
ANU Energy Change Institute director Professor Ken Baldwin said consideration was needed on the inter-dependency of the electricity system, the heavy reliance on internet connectivity and the geopolitical risk of fuel supply chains.
“We have to take all these factors into account and develop a systems approach that looks at all these risks and keeps our energy sector strong,” Professor Baldwin said.
Professor Baldwin said that absolute security would be impossible to achieve, but cooperation and a systematic approach could minimise risk to energy security.
Mr Greet said cooperation between governments and industry was crucial.
“Technology is not the issue here – what we don’t have is the human, collaborative and cooperative mechanisms to make our systems work well,” Mr Greet said.
“This requires the political will to make the necessary regulatory and institutional reform happen.”