Australia is a hot country with lots of resources and a major supplier of energy to the world, including gas and uranium. Off the coast are huge gas and oil mining operations and around the country are major power-producing resources, such as the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme. The latter supplies electricity to major cities in the Southern Highlands, such as Canberra, and others in the region.
On top of that we are a large coal-producing nation with the biggest mine ever about to open in Queensland, although there is huge environmental problems that many are focused on. Despite all of this we are not immune from the huge energy crisis that is looming over us and supplies of electricity and gas cannot be guaranteed over summer.
Last summer South Australia experienced a disaster when a massive storm brought down the poles holding wires and the lights went out. It was a time of a massive heat wave as well. Fridges stopped working, food rotted, and people sweltered in homes where the air-conditioning failed in temperatures in the low 40’s. One region in the state reached 48%.
As it recovered slowly the questions and accusations came thick and fast. The Premier and the Federal Resources Minister went head to head live on television. The leader of the government, Joe Wetherill, had pushed for renewables and many of these facilities were supplying the grid. The other, Josh Frydenberg, was standing firm on his policy of using coal-fired power stations as the most reliable.
The ridiculous notion he put forward that the power went down because of the renewable energy carried over the wires left most viewers stunned. He could not justify wind as the cause although they had reached peaks of almost 200 kph during the storm. Trees had toppled over them and the grid was failing because of the closure of a coal-fired station in Victoria, which had previously fed power to the state.
While we wait for genuine solutions summer is again just around the corner. Already in July, the middle of winter, New South Wales has experienced temperatures in the high 20 degrees Celsius. People took to the beach and went swimming. While the climate is uncertain and the future looks rather gloomy the power crisis is extremely serious. Lets hope something positive comes from the meeting planned for next week.
The Prime Minister has called all the power suppliers to Canberra for a meeting in an attempt to solve the problems and curb rising prices that are already crippling many.