Australia’s Energy Market is out of Control – Yallourn Must Remain Open to Avert Blackouts

Written by:
21 May 2024
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“Australia’s energy market and its so-called transition is out of control. Today’s warning by AEMO of impending summer blackouts across the east-coast means the Victorian government must keep the Yallourn coal-fired power station open well past its artificial closure date of 2028,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

Today, the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Update to the 2023 Electricity Statement of Opportunities has, again, warned of potential blackouts across the National Energy Market, this time during the 2024/25 summer period.

“This latest warning is exactly the same as two years ago, when AEMO took the unprecedented and extraordinary step of suspending the operation of the National Energy Market in order to avert system wide blackouts,” said Mr Wild.

AEMO’s assessment has been made on the basis that vital, coal-fired, baseload power generators are having their operating life artificially shortened and shut down before a like-for-like replacement is secured.

“Our state and federal political leaders have been repeatedly warned that the rush to unreliable and expensive renewables, and the ideologically motivated termination of coal-fired power, would lead to system shut downs unless dramatic corrective action was taken,” said Mr Wild.

“The only political leader acting like an adult has been New South Wales Premier Chris Minns, who is sensibly working to extend the artificial closing date of the Eraring power station, which currently supplies approximately 20 per cent of his state’s energy needs.”

“Victoria needs to follow Premier Minns’ lead and work to ensure the Yallourn power station, responsible for 22 per cent of the state’s energy generation, remains open past 2028 to ensure the lights stay on in Victoria and across the National Energy Market,” said Mr Wild.

AEMO’s latest blackout warning highlights the naïve and ideologically driven approach to managing the nation’s energy security, which advocates for the early closure of critical, affordable, and reliable power stations, to only be replaced by unreliable renewable energy generation.

“Victoria’s catastrophic blackouts earlier this year demonstrate what the future will hold if Australia continues to destroy affordable and reliable baseload energy generation before future baseload generation is deployed in its place,” said Mr Wild.

“The so-called energy transition has failed, and our political leaders must immediately pause their commitment to net zero, and restore baseload power supplies, as we are now entering a potential national emergency,” said Mr Wild.

To download the IPA’s previous research click here.

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