Evergen chief says storms caused SA blackout

Evergen CEO Dr Glenn Platt

As the fall-out from the South Australian storms continue, more and more industry experts are trying to moderate the debate to focus on the real cause – a 50-year weather event.

Evergen CEO Dr Glenn Platt has joined a growing number of industry experts saying the political debate about renewables being the cause of the statewide blackout in South Australia is wrong.

“The blackout in South Australia on Wednesday was caused by unprecedented storms knocking out major pieces of state infrastructure,” Dr Platt said.

“Recent debates about renewable energy in South Australia are around the effect large-scale renewable generation is having on energy prices in the State.”

Dr Platt previously led the energy program at the CSIRO and is still an advisor to a number of energy stakeholders. He has 17 years experience in technology, including 11 years at the CSIRO.

“Small-scale solar and battery systems can actually improve the reliability of power supply,” Dr Platt said.

“Concepts like microgrids and virtual power stations, that coordinate lots of individual solar and battery installations, can actually provide support the broader grid, improving reliability in extreme weather events.”

Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg wrote in The Australian today he recognised the storm had been a once in 50-year event which included more than 80,000 lightning strikes.

“Questions, however, will be asked as to why the initial outage couldn’t be contained, preventing the blackout cascading across the state, and what measures should now be implemented to enhance the resilience of the system,” Mr Frydenberg wrote.