Monday, 13 February 2017

SA renewables not to blame for blackout - Turnbull secret email released

South Australia's big storm the other month where 20 electricity towers blew over, was quickly politicised by the gov, blaming renewables for the blackout. There was much talk about SA's state renewable target being too high and the state relying too much on "intermittent" renewables, alleging that this was the cause of the blackout.

Quite simply everyone could see that this was a blatant lie, with pictures all over the media and internet of blown over towers. There was a blckout because 20 towers fell over, duh.


Now emails have been released under a freedom of information request showing that the gov was told in confidential advice from the public service that the blackout was caused by the sudden drop in power when the towers blew over. Not, as the gov tried to make us all believe, because of renewables.

Another from 7.20 the next morning outlines subsequent discussions including a 5am phone hook-up involving departmental and political staff.

That email, sent to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's own officials and others, conveyed the first-blush assessment of the blackout including advice gleaned from the Australian Energy Market Operator: "There has been unprecedented damage to the network (ie bigger than any other event in Australia), with 20+ steel transmission towers down in the north of the State due to wind damage (between Adelaide and Port Augusta). The electricity network was unable to cope with such a sudden and large loss of generation at once. AEMO's advice is that the generation mix (ie renewable or fossil fuel) was not to blame for yesterday's events – it was the loss of 1000 MW of power in such a short space of time as transmission lines fell over."

Yet within hours of the calamity the Turnbull government was capitalising on the blackout, suggesting it was a function of the state's unsustainably high quotient of wind generation which had failed to keep working in the conditions.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce led a chorus from Canberra about the state Labor government's "unrealistic" energy policies and was quickly joined by other senior ministers including Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and Mr Turnbull. Sydney Morning Herald.
And from the same article, Turnbull is on record attacking the states over the renewable energy targets they had adopted as being unrealistic, with Turnbull introducing a new buzzword in doing so. Suddenly we were talking about "energy security"; a phrase sounding suspiciously in the terror vernacular:
By that evening, Mr Turnbull was sending a similar message on the 7.30 program: "These intermittent renewables do pose real challenges," he said.

"Now, I regret to say that a number of the state Labor governments have over the years, set priorities and renewable targets that are extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic, and have paid little or no attention to energy security." Sydney Morning Herald