The popular belief that the country’s electricity supply has become less reliable as more and more of the nation’s power is generated by renewables has been challenged by a new report released by the Grattan Institute.
The Keep Calm and Carry on report details how almost all outages throughout the country are caused by the transportation of electricity, rather than the methods of generation.
The report concludes that the idea that renewables leads to instability in the electricity market is dangerous and misguided, and may lead to over-reaction by politicians to misdirected public conerns, and may well even see hikes in power costs for consumers.
“What Australia needs now is not panic and politicking, but cool-headed policy responses to manage electricity reliability without unnecessarily adding to consumer bills,” says Grattan Institute’s Energy Program Director Tony Wood.
“Increased renewable generation does create challenges for managing the power system. But if we keep calm and carry on, these challenges can be met without more big price increases for households and businesses.”
The report took particular umbrage with political leaders and media commentators that linked South Australia’s 2016 blackout with the state’s high level of wind power, which the Institute blamed more on the market operator and regulatory framework.
Equipment failures, falling trees, inquisitive animals and crashing cars can all cause the power to go out in the local distribution network. Over the past 10 years, more than 97 per cent of outages across the National Electricity Market could be traced to the poles and wires that transport power to homes and businesses.