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Entire state of South Australia without electricity as storm hits

Posted By Jo Nova On September 28, 2016 @ 7:21 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

South Australia, population 1.7 million, has no electricity

SA, Storm, Electricity out. 2016.

Tweeted by the Country Fire Service @CFSAlerts

A storm hit, possibly the worst for 50 years. Winds of 90km/hr gusting to 140km/hr. Reports are that everyone is being told to use their radio’s and stay off the streets. The blackout struck at 4.30pm AEST. UPDATE: Power is coming back to some, but questions are being asked about the state which has more renewable energy than any other in the world. See updates below. It sure looks like a management disaster. Want to build subs by torchlight?

How long before someone blames climate change?


UPDATE#1: Bingo. Just 5 hours for Will Steffen to claim it’s “driven by climate change”:

9:55pm “Storms like the one which knocked out the entire South Australian electricity network are occurring in a warmer and wetter atmosphere, the Climate Council’s Professor Will Steffen said. “These conditions, driven by climate change, are likely increasing the intensity of storms like the one in South Australia,” he said. “Australians are being affected right now by climate change. “The atmosphere is packing much more energy than 70 years ago… This is a prelude to a disturbing future.

Nevermind that there was a worse storm 50 years ago. What was that a prelude too, Will? Fifty years of better weather.

Witchdoctors have no shame.


UPDATE #2: Is it due to the high reliance on renewables

The premier says “No” (not surprisingly)

Mr Weatherill said the system worked as it was designed to and rejected suggestions it was the result of SA’s high use of wind power or the decision to shutdown coal-fired power stations in the mid north.

But others say the reliance on renewables has made the network more complex and less reliable: h/t GWPF:

South Australia pays the price for heavy reliance on renewable energy

Wednesday’s event will trigger renewed debate over the state’s heavy reliance on renewable energy which has forced the closure of uncompetitive power stations, putting the electricity network in South Australia under stress.

Earlier this week, the Grattan Institute warned that South Australia’s high reliance on renewable energy sources left it exposed to disruptions. It pointed to the fact that while the renewable energy target had encouraged the development of wind and solar generation, it had the potential to undermine supply security at a reasonable price, because it forced the closure of inefficient power stations without encouraging the construction of the necessary new generation supply sources.

These issues are different to those South Australia is battling at the moment. But the increasing complexity of electricity networks, which are dealing with a more diverse location of power generators such as wind farms in remote locations rather than a small number of big power stations, means that at times of stress such as extreme storms which occurred in the state on Wednesday, outages can take longer to resolve .

South Australia relies more heavily on renewable power than any other region in the developed world.

It wouldn’t have helped that wind turbines are usually turned off during high winds.

More UPDATES posted below.

Channel Nine news. Statewide blackout

Power is out across the entire state of South Australia after fierce storms triggered widespread blackouts.

It is believed lightning bolt struck a transmitter around 3.50pm ACST, which caused the entire network to crash.

Watch a special bulletin…(at the link above. Flights full of passengers arriving were stuck at the airport unable to desembark. People caught in lifts. All trains stopped.)


A spokesperson for SA Power Networks says the interconnector did not cause the power outage rather the system has shut down as a response to protect customer safety.

The good news is that when SA blew they didn’t have to shut down the rest of the Eastern States. I guess no one was worried about customer safety in the rest of the national grid.

The best stories about this will come out tomorrow when the people who are off line now get hooked in. We just hope their day is not to bad.

The Australian energy market operator has taken control of the system and restoration has begun.

Federal Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg told Sky News he can not give an exact time for the restoration of power.

Mr Frydenberg says all hospitals are running on their back up supplies.

The bureau said the wild weather was the result of a front and intense low- pressure system.

It said records suggest such a severe system was last reported across SA more than 50 years ago.

Weather info

The BoM website has the current warnings. UPDATE: Mostly downgraded to “severe weather” in   SA, NSW and VIC.

SA Rain Radars    |  Current Weather Map Australia

I guess we won’t be hearing from South Australians unless they are have a generator, and maybe a satellite dish?

Questions should be asked about how resilient our electrical networks really are. Power can apparently still come in from Victoria, but how many people are getting it? The rest of the weakened storm will hit Melbourne tomorrow. There is a severe weather warning current for Victoria.

h/t David M.

People having fun on twitter @AdelaideStorm




UPDATE#3: There is back up power but the system needs to be “reset”? 

We are clearly not getting the whole story. Generators work, and interconnectors are connected, but the system was possibly shut for “network protection”? These are not the words of someone describing simple storm damage and poles down.  Hmm?

“Energy generation assets remain intact. At this stage there does not seem to be any damage to the interconnector with Victoria,” he said.

SA Power Networks’ Paul Roberts said they were investigating whether a network shutdown as a protection was the cause.

“We believe — and this is only early information — that there may have been some issue with the interconnector but the state’s power system is shut down I think possibly as a protection,” he said.

“It means we’re not receiving any electricity supply from generators to be able to supply to generators.”

Surely South Australia has some sort of back-up power?

Well, it does, but it has to reset the system.

“There are a series of back-up generators,” Premier Weatherill said.  “Power is restored but the number of hours this may take is something that we don’t yet know.”


Live Editing: There have been extensive  changes to the post as new information came in. But it’s goodnight now!

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