By Chris White
January 10, 2018 - Parts of Australia have managed to escape widespread blackouts during the country’s hottest summer in recent years, thanks in large part to a coal power plant that is scheduled to be shuttered in 2022.
New South Wales (NSW), an area located on Australia’s East Coast, has relied on black coal to stave off energy blackouts during 100-degree Fahrenheit days. Blackouts occurred Sunday in Ausgrid, which lost power to 4,000 homes on the Central Coast.
“The higher risk of outages occur in later January early February during sustained heatwaves that‘s when temperatures are above 40 degrees for three or four days,” Energy Council CEO Matthew Warren told 9News, a local media outlet in Australia.
Black coal was the resource providing the bulk of power, with Snowy Hydro, gas, solar and wind also contributing to the area’s energy network. One NSW official criticized the government for being ill-prepared for the heatwave and the energy crunch.
It was fortunate that the heatwave occurred when much of industry was not using energy, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley told 9News, saying “the government’s only plan seems to be that heatwaves occur on weekends.“
Energy giant AGL plans to shutter its NSW based Liddell coal plant by 2022 – the company has so far refused government request to keep the plant open. AGL plans to divert future investment toward state-subsidized green energy projects.
The Australian Government warned in September that 1,000 MW of power will be required to replace the Liddell coal plant, and that policy incentives are not delivering enough flexible power to ensure energy grid stability.