Wednesday 22 June 2022 02:35 AM AEMO restores energy market: Electricity boss says Australia must ditch coaL trends now
Australia must quickly transition to renewable energy to avoid future blackouts, according to Chris Bowen and the boss of the energy market operator.
Last week cold winter weather, failures at coal-fired power stations, low wind and solar output and high global gas prices created an energy crisis on Australia's east coast.
With generators refusing to provide power because they would make a loss, the Australian Energy Market Operator suspended the spot market in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria for the first time ever.
The national electricity market was suspended for the first time ever. Pictured: Bondi residents wrapped up warm on a cold morning
Today the operator said the market would be restored by Friday morning after blackouts were avoided following its intervention.
CEO Daniel Westerman said the way to avoid such a crisis in the future is to move away from coal-fired power.
About 25 per cent of Australia's coal power capacity has been missing in recent weeks due to planned and unexpected outages at ageing power stations.
'This situation is caused by a multitude of factors. Yes, ageing plants which break down and have more maintenance issues is an issue,' he said.
'The war in Ukraine and the impact of global commodity prices is an issue, yes.
'It points to the long term answer which is a transition to firmed renewables and transmission.
'That is the long term answer to delink us from international price shocks, as well as ageing infrastructure.'
The new Labor government wants 82 per cent of Australia's to come from renewables by 2030.
Energy Minister Bowen said: 'This is a transformation which we need to get moving on.'
Of the renewable sources, solar makes up about 37 per cent and wind 36 per cent. Pictured: A Wind farm in Tasmania
He has backed a 'capacity mechanism' which would pay generators to provide extra power during the transition to keep the lights on.
'We need to make faster progress on the transformation and we need the capacity mechanism to help us do that to provide that safety net underneath as we engage in this significant transformation to a more renewable economy, a more renewable energy system with more storage,' he said.
'I have made clear, and ministers have made clear, we want