Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull [Image: Donkey Hotey, Flickr]
On 28th September a big storm hit South Australia, the largest in 52 years according to The Adelaide Advertiser. The storm knocked out twenty two electricity pylons and three transmission lines in the Port Augusta region and also hit a power station, while wind turbines, which supply 40 percent of South Australian electricity generation, were unable to operate due to the extra high wind speeds. The cumulative effect of all this was to cause a blackout across the state.
“This is a catastrophic natural event which has destroyed our infrastructure” South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said. “There is no infrastructure that can be developed that can protect you against catastrophic events that take out not one, not two, but three pieces of infrastructure.”
Typically, those opposed to clean energy in Australia, including, One Nation senator and climate change denier Malcolm Roberts, Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and Senator Nick Xenophon blamed renewables for the blackout, while the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, demonstrated that things haven’t actually moved on that much from the days of Tony Abbott, by stating that this proved state governments have to abandon their renewable energy targets.
SA Premier Weatherill responded by correctly pointing out that the removal of 22 transmission towers tripped the system, so the blackout actually had nothing to do with renewable energy at all. While South Australian secretary of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, John Adley, said that the people making such claims [against renewables] don’t know what they’re talking about.
“The outage is simply being used by friends of the coal industry to bash renewables” Mr Adley said. “It doesn’t matter how you generate your electricity, when 22 transmission towers blow over in an extreme weather event, the power goes off.”
In other words, the predictable response of climate change denying, anti-renewables Australian regressives is to put the blame for blackouts on the very technology that, ultimately, is going to stop it happening, or at least prevent it getting worse.