AEMO warns of Victorian summer blackouts

31 August 2023

Written by: Isabella OBrien

Australia's operator of the largest gas and electricity markets has flagged supply issues with the transition away from non-renewable power.

Victoria and South Australia is at an increased risk of blackouts this summer according to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Australians have been warned of hot, dry, and windless days in summer, as an increased risk of an El Niño event looms, raising the demand for excess power.

The AEMO has also said that power supplies from Australia’s largest grid are predicted to run short over the next ten years.

AEMO CEO Daniel Westerman said in a statement that following recent coal plant closures, they are urgently calling for renewable energy generation and transmission projects.

“Over the 10-year outlook, we continue to forecast reliability gaps, which are mostly due to the expectation that 62 percent of today’s coal fleet will retire by 2033,” he said.

“To ensure Australian consumers continue to have access to reliable electricity supplies, it’s critical that planned investments in transmission, generation and storage projects are urgently delivered.”

Market operators have warned the failure to replace older coal plants with cleaner power plants and greater demands of supplies from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have raised the risk of blackouts.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s most recent Climate Driver Update, developments of El Niño have increased to 70 percent and will remain above the threshold until early 2024.

Westerman says that despite the industry’s focus on managing the issue, some risks will remain.

“In the longer term, AEMO will continue to collaborate with industry and governments to deliver energy projects to maintain reliable and affordable electricity for all consumers,” he said.


Photo: Photo of wind turbines under cloudy sky by Harry Cunningham is available HERE and is used under a Creative Commons license. This photo has not been modified.