Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel will chair a review to assess the security and reliability of the National Energy Market (NEM), a move prompted by a major blackout in South Australia last week.
At a meeting Friday the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council agreed that state governments need a “coordinated, national reform blueprint” to outline policy, legislative, governance and rule changes required to ensure energy security, reliability, affordability and sustainability. One of the topics discussed was the growing share of renewable energy and potential solutions of integrating that into the NEM.
Finkel said Friday a preliminary report from the review to Australian governments will be delivered by December, and the final report will be ready early in 2017.
The events in the state of South Australia, caused by a superstorm, have led to heated discussions related to energy security, with anti-renewables campaigners being quick to blame the blackout on the growing share of green energy. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week called for a nationally-harmonised renewable energy target, as many states have much more ambitious goals than these of the federal government.
The Energy Council has now asked the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) for updates on the implications on security and reliability of current and proposed investment in the national electricity market, renewables included.
As regards to the blackout, a report by the AEMO shows a weather front on the afternoon of September 28, including high winds, thunderstorms, lightning strikes and heavy rainfall, moved through South Australia, resulting in multiple transmission failures. Three major 275 kV lines north of Adelaide were lost.