The Australian mainstream media refuses to be intimidated in its campaign against renewable energy by such diversions as facts, context and perspective.
Just a few days after The Age headlined its front page with the warning of 72 days of energy shortages caused by the closure of the Hazelwood power generator, and after the Australian Energy Market Operator issued a statement saying it was predicting no such thing, the Adelaide Advertiser has gone even further.
On Monday, it led its front page (subscription required) with the banner headline: “125 days of energy shortages coming” – extrapolating data that it said it had found “exclusively” from the AEMO website, just as The Age had found the same “exclusive” data late last week and the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann a few days earlier than that.
RenewEconomy explained last week why that Fairfax story was a load of bollocks, because the shortfalls it said were being predicted by AEMO were not shortfalls at all.
They were an estimate of potential extreme demand peaks (one in ten years) plotted against an estimate of “average” supply, well short of what’s actually available.
The graph displayed on its “medium term outlook page” is used to advise generators to plan their maintenance at other times and to ensure their plant is ready and operating.
AEMO responded to The Age’s front page beat up with this statement.
“In response to some media reports, AEMO confirms its previous advice that the closure of Hazelwood will not compromise the security of the Victoria electricity system nor the broader National Electricity Market (NEM) next summer.
As noted in earlier AEMO reports, there are power generation resources available in Victoria and the NEM that currently are not operating at all or to their full capacity that can be made available to replace the power currently supplied by Hazelwood.
AEMO’s market analysis reveals these resources exceed the 1600 megawatts (MW) capacity of Hazelwood.
AEMO has the necessary authority to ensure the security of the system and over the next several months will work with market participants in gas and electricity markets to ensure all necessary plans are in place to secure summer reliability.”
Just in case AEMO fails to exercise that power, or seeks to do so too late in the day – as happened in the February heatwave that led to rolling blackouts while a major generator sad idle – the South Australian government has taken matters into its own hands.
As part of its state energy plan, it will release on Tuesday its EOI for a new government-owned gas peaking plant that it will use as an emergency back-up, and to also ensure there is enough frequency and other services on the local grid to prevent any repeats.
That EOI is to close within two weeks. A separate EOI for 100MW/100MWh of battery storage is due to close this coming Friday, with the state government expected to move quickly to a full tender with the hop of having the system or systems installed by next summer.