If you are put off by political-environmental topics you might want to stop reading now. I was ready to post some fun pics of the unique and amazing Banksia plants that I saw yesterday but decided that was a tad ordinary for the prompt Green.
Sandy’s Friendly Friday prompt of Green made me think of Green energy sources, particularly as there have been rumblings about load shedding and power blackouts since the energy regulators here stamped their foot.
Power-saving Measures at Times of Peak Energy Demand
People in my state, ironically called the Sunshine State, are being asked if they can manage their electricity usage by:
- Considering the number of rooms being heated by air-conditioners
- Turning off computers, TVs and other household appliances in standby mode
- Turning off your pool pumps and second fridges
Commercial businesses are suggested to manage their electricity usage by:
- Considering the amount of interior and advertising lighting used
- Turning off water heating systems and urns, except for food and beverage preparation and cleaning
- Turning off advertising lighting and any unnecessary exterior lighting
Yet the city lights were ablaze in the CBD!
So Who or What Was to Blame for the Power Crisis?
The timing of the announcement of price hikes, potential load shedding and an energy crisis – shortly after a national election – sent my “scepdar” (my sceptic radar) spiking wildly!
This situation must have been obvious prior to the election but was kept from the public? Was there coercion to do so?
The federal energy minister, Chris Bowen, claims the previous Coalition government left behind a “bin fire” that meant Australia was “ill-prepared … for the challenges we are facing today”.
Zero power shortfalls from renewable energy
The above graph, though dated to 2018, is at odds with the former government’s blame-shifting for the power crisis to an over-reliance on renewable energy sources and their hesistancy at decommissioning old coal-fired power stations, but this was in a Pre Covid world and before the Ukrainian war. So ……
What Caused the Energy Crisis in Australia?
An Antarctic blast of cold weather, the war in Ukraine (the reason used for so many things), ageing coal, and Covid restrictions combined to create the ‘perfect storm’ in Australia’s power market, according to the Guardian.
What, I might ask, were those former Government ministers doing to address power shortages up to May 2022?
Did they not foresee a potential crisis, or did they choose to ignore it, thinking that a crisis would play into their hands? Manipulating public opinion to favour building more coal-fired power stations and opening more coal mines and away from renewable or green energy?
If so, what they didn’t factor in was that they would lose the election.
Energy in general has been getting more expensive since about the September 2021 quarter onwards. As economies started to come out of Covid restrictions there was a rush of demand as businesses ramped up and people returned to offices. But Covid also restricted the supply of energy, and if you’ve got the same demand, but less supply, prices will go up.
The Role of Coal Power in Australia’s Power Crisis
Producing coal is cheap in Australia and unfortunately, our country has been reluctant to move away from reliance on its production. Australia still relies on coal to supply electricity, but many coal plants are close to the end of their lifespan, break down and are not maintained. Coal supplies have been affected by the recent summer rains and flooding.
A third of the coal capacity is offline, which has also contributed to rising electricity prices.
And of course, the suppliers do want their money, so they refused to sell extra electric power needed at the ‘capped’ prices the government set, as it meant they would stand to lose money. The cap is to protect the public from price gouging during times of peak demand. (please correct me if I am wrong).
It was a kind of stalemate.
The crisis appears to be averted as the energy suppliers turned on the extra power generation to cover the energy shortfall after they were advised by the Government or regulatory body, that they would be compensated for losing money under the capped prices.
Win-win for them.
And the lights did not go off.
If you have a green energy story or a green photograph for Friendly Friday, join in over at Sandy’s blog.
Because it is better being Green.
Was it Kermit who said that?