Transition to renewables debate on the right track, now

Photo: Debbie Prosser

The debate surrounding the South Australian statewide blackout in September was one of the ‘least informed political debates of all time’ according to the Electrical Energy Society of Australia.

EESA President Dr Robert Barr made the comments in the lead up to the EECON 2016 Conference to be held in Perth later this month.

“Clearly people and industry were hurting in South Australia and they needed answers,” Dr Barr said.

“Hours after the blackout, conclusions were being drawn out of politicians under intense media scrutiny that could only be justified after months of painstaking detailed power system research and analysis.

“Anyone coming up with underlying root causes of the blackout without the detailed analysis was unlikely to get it right – that is what we all saw in the media.”

Dr Barr said the debate was corrected by the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) quick response to the outage, producing a ‘facts only’ report just five days after the event.

“What AEMO is doing is undertaking a methodical and thorough ‘air crash investigation’ style study and the initial report and follow up report has already lead to a much more sensible and informed debate,” he said.

“Gaining a detailed understanding of what happened is the first step in putting in place changes that will prevent it happening again.”