Power outage a wake-up call

sa-blackout.jpgDistance makes it hard to truly comprehend the real impact of the weather events in South Australia last week. News reports showed the world the enormous damage done by wind and water, and highlighted just how fragile some of our infrastructure is. Nothing highlights this fragility more than the electricity grid failing across the entire state.

Notwithstanding the foolishness of being so reliant on unreliable green power, the lack of investment in appropriate interconnectors and redundancy power indicates just how the State Government has failed the people of South Australia.

But the events of the past week also demonstrate two other points. The first is the idiocy of the ideological extreme Green agenda, which promises the earth but fails mankind. The second is just how vulnerable modern life is to external shocks.

The lunacy of the Left has been well documented over many years through this blog. Their fanciful ideas about remaking society whilst dismissing the practical realities of human need are legion. That some people, albeit a shrinking group of fringe dwellers, persist in the pursuit of their utopian ideal whilst demanding the rest of us pay for it, should concern us all.

There are billions of dollars of taxpayer funds subsidising the work of groups, organisations and lobbies that actually want to downgrade our standard of living. They demand higher taxes, more subsidies for their pet projects, greater welfare and bigger government.

When their grandiose plans fail, as they do time and time again, it only leads to them demanding even more money to make them work. Unfortunately, these green dreamers are rarely held accountable thanks to the praetorian guard of cheerleaders in some of our established and influential institutions. Last week they were at work defending unreliable and uneconomic wind power whilst maintaining their condemnation of coal-fired base load electricity generation.

The events of last week also give cause to focus on how dependent we are on power to sustain almost every aspect of our lives.

Without power we can’t pump petrol, use credit cards, get cash or preserve our food. None of this may be a problem if the outage is brief or intermittent. However, in the event of a sustained blackout, like the three days regional centre Port Lincoln experienced, modern life quickly becomes chaotic. Some reports were that even the town’s supply of drinking water was under threat.

It has been mooted by some security analysts that the real warfare of the 21st century will be electronic or cyber. Such attacks have the potential to shut down electricity grids, telecommunications and internet access for millions of people. If it were to happen it could economically paralyse a country and see widespread civil unrest.

Last week’s electricity grid failure provided a small glimpse of the potential impact such a scenario could have. Whilst the South Australian community managed to work together to overcome the adversity, it provided a salutary lesson in the necessity of planning for the future.

That’s an important lesson for individuals and governments alike.


  • commented 2016-10-12 19:01:08 +1030
    Dear Cory, I read today that Arrium says the power outage has cost them about $30 million. This is a steelworks with its back to the wall and in the hands of Administrators. How does this state Government even imagine anyone will buy Arrium without a reliable and cheap electricity supply? Other companies are reporting similar stories. Today, BHP announced they will not proceed with oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight. Our state Treasurer is unable to understand why companies are pulling away from here.
    Mr. Weatherill said he would stake his job on the power outage NOT being caused by ‘renewable energy’. I truly wish he would just go, but of course he is staying.
    Some of the people here are very angry, and others simply accept the government lies and weaselling – personally, I’m angry.
  • followed this page 2016-10-12 18:52:00 +1030
  • commented 2016-10-06 11:32:57 +1030
    I’ve just read that Playford B power station is presently being demolished and it was used to provide power only during peak loads. There are also plans to decommission the Torrens power station, one of Australias largest gas fired power stations. South Australia will have worsening problems with unreliable power supply with the loss of these peak and base load power stations.

    Andrew Bolt presented graphs from the investigation into the failure showing the outage was caused by power fluctuations caused by generators tripping when the wind speed exceeded a limit. The wind generator caused power fluctuations resulted in the feeder from Victoria to trip. 15 of the poles fell after SA lost power.

    The reason why power poles collapsed when they shouldn’t have indicates a lack of pole maintenance. There is no doubt that green demands for renewables have caused SA to have an unreliable power system. It seems there has been a multitude of green inspired political interferences that have caused the SA power supply system to be run into the ground. Because of the critical importance of having a reliable power supply The decisions on a country’s power supply need to be based on economics, risk assessments and sound science and engineering instead of left wing and green insane agendas.

    The rest of Australia needs to learn from South Australia’s experience with green power. It is clear that wind and solar power is expensive and unreliable. It is also clear that Australia is trashing its own competitive position in the world economy by setting unrealistic targets for renewable power. Australia needs to set renewable power targets only when renewable technologies produce power that is competitive with coal fired power.
  • commented 2016-10-05 19:19:05 +1030
    You are 100% correct about the importance of critical infrastructure, especially telecommunications. And yet YOUR government continues to pursue the “franken-noodle network to nowhere” that is the FTTN copper based mess, NBN. Something that will take billions more spent to rectify, once someone there finally wakes up.
    Get your own house in order before you criticizing failures elsewhere.
  • commented 2016-10-05 14:40:02 +1030
    Dear Cory,

    Excellent commentary, I do note that there has been some very worthwhile expertise on this power outage on Joannenova’s blog. However the most nauseating aspect of the reporting was the immediate faux outrage by the usual MSM commentariat and the assorted leftwing, marxist green and labor politicians lining up to condemn any criticism of the SA march toward Green Nirvana.


  • commented 2016-10-05 14:39:06 +1030
    The South Australian calamity may have at least one good POTENTIAL BENEFIT!

    Here we have a “real event” and a golden opportunity to analyse the possible consequences of such persistent and deliberate future war-like event!

    Please Cory, this is about the security of the whole of Australia and life after a probable future war-like situation. You are the right person to make sure this sad “S. A. opportunity” is not wasted! Australia can benefit from a big investigation of such predictable consequences and how to better protect the Australian society at war.

    Please think about it Cory!

    With thanks

    Bob Norlin

    PS: Many countries (like the Scandinavian of course…) have created a mind-blowing ECONOMIC DEFENCE STRATEGY that is just as important for community survival as a armed military defence force! The S.A. experience shows that Australia have no such fully developed economic defence strategy in place… something to think about?