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.