Heatwave causes coal generator shutdowns

heatwave, renewables

With a heatwave gripping the nation, energy levels are, according to CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator Audrey Zibelman, at “unprecedented levels”.

While the forecasted temperatures were, and are, anticipated to provide challenges to the energy sector, it appears renewables may come to the rescue of coal as a third power generator at Yallourn Power Station shut down.

Wind power and other reserves will likely prevent brown-outs according to the market operator, which has warned Victorians to avoid non-essential electricity use.

But, Victorian Energy Minister Lily d’Ambrosio said she could not rule out brown-outs at this stage.

“We have ageing coal-fired power stations,” d’Ambrosio said.

“They are becoming less reliable.”

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“What we are asking Victorians to do is just be aware and be mindful that the activities we undertake when we’re home do put that further pressure on our energy system,” she said.

Almost 6000 homes in Melbourne’s west experienced blackouts last night, but despite this, Zibelman says the networks are performing really well.

“We’ve had some localised outages yesterday, but we had 20,000 (outages) out of six millions (customers); for this time of year, that’s amazing,” she said.

“That’s not to say we’re out of woods.”

In South Australia, about 25,000 customers lost power, but SA Power Networks says this was due to blown fuses on transformers caused them to crash, not a lack of demand.

SA Power Networks (SAPN) spokesman Paul Roberts said, “The fuses on the transformer did their job and they failed first to prevent a catastrophic failure of transformers, which meant that’s why we could get everybody back overnight”.

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