The fallout from the small blackout last week will cost jobs and reduce production for months to come. In Victoria, the Alcoa smelter in Portland was hit at the same time as 200,000 customers in South Australia. But the short power outage meant that hot metal turned solid at the smelter, damaging equipment. One potline is totally shut down, the other hobbles along.
Manager of Portland Aluminium, Peter Chellis, said crews had been working tirelessly to stabilise the plant since it was taken offline.
“Obviously a long power interruption freezes the metal, and when you bring the power back on that creates what we call ‘burn offs’,” he said. “So we’ve been taking the pots that can’t be fixed out of circuit, and at this point in time line two is looking quite stable.”
He said the smelter was operating at just 27 per cent of its capacity. “At the moment we haven’t started to work on any scenario other than stabilising the plant,” he said. “But I think in three to six months we can turn around lines one and two.”
– Source: Alcoa smelter to run at 27% due to unexplained power failure
“”[If Alcoa closes] this will be a much bigger impact on the local economy, due to the small size of the town, and the large number of jobs.” says (ironically) Victorian Greens leader who wants a taskforce set up to manage the “transition”, as if talking heads can generate MW of spinning reserve.
h/t David B