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SA 'better placed' to combat blackouts

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South Australia is better placed to combat blackouts, but still may experience summer outages, a report warns.

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The State Government’s new battery storage and temporary diesel generators will help but unexpected major weather events could still plunge the state into darkness, the Australian Energy Market Operator says in its “Summer Readiness” report.

“We can never protect against everything and if we did it would be very expensive,” chief executive Audrey Zibelman told ABC radio today.

The report also says the State Government’s emergency diesel generators will be able to provide about 170MW of power in extremely hot weather – a lot less than their 276MW maximum capacity.

Earlier in the year, Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the generators would be able to provide more than 200MW, even in extreme heat.

“While we think we can get to the nameplate capacity in the right weather conditions when we talk about summer availability we always know these systems are constrained,” Zibelman said.

However, Koutsantonis said AEMO’s figures were based on a worst case scenario and there will be sufficient power available.

“That is a trial in a hypothetical scenario where they have put in place generators being down for upgrades and generators needing maintenance,” Koutsantonis told ABC radio.

The State Liberals today promised to appoint a “special investigator” to look into “all aspects” of Labor’s electricity plan, including the decision to acquire diesel generators.

“The Weatherill Government’s decision to acquire these dirty diesel generators on hire-purchase is a criminal waste of taxpayers’ money,” said deputy leader Vickie Chapman.

“It is utterly scandalous that the Weatherill Government is prepared to waste hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on a cynical political ploy.”

She called on the Government to disclose the total cost of the generators.

– with AAP

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