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March 10, 2017

Unreliable Renewable Energy Leads To Blackouts In Australia

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The Guardian reports that the Australian state of South Australia has faced electricity blackouts since increasing the use of renewable energy sources:

A blackout in South Australia that has intensified a political brawl over energy policy was caused by three factors: demand for power was higher than forecast, wind generation was lower than forecast and several thermal generators were unable to step into the breach, according to the energy market operator.

South Australia has experienced three major electricity blackouts in recent months:

As the partisan conflict about energy continued in Canberra on Wednesday, the Australian Energy Market Operator issued a report detailing the sequence that led to the blackout in South Australia last week – the third such outage in recent months.

A natural gas plant that could have provided supplemental electricity was not available at the time to prevent the blackout:

Aemo said load shedding became the only option available when it became clear a gas plant at Pelican Point was not available to respond to the surge in demand as local temperatures in SA soared last week.

Some want to expand the use of renewable, but less dependable, energy sources in the U.S. Leading American environmentalist Bill McKibben supports a plan to shift America’s energy infrastructure to 100% renewable energy. America Rising Squared recently released a white paper explaining the astronomical costs and harmful economic effects of this plan.