Coalition MP Craig Kelly is blaming wind and solar energy for Victorian power outages last month – despite the fact it was coal-fired plants which failed.
Kelly told 2GB radio presenter Alan Jones that renewables are responsible for Australia’s rising power prices and grid problems, including power outages. He said it was therefore “dangerous stupidity” to try and replace baseload power like the retired Hazelwood power plant with wind and solar power.
The most “energy rich nation in the world” can’t keep the lights on in Victoria, he said.
State Premier blames Victorian power outages on coal
Kelly was referring to Victorian blackouts leading up to the Australia Day Weekend. Around 200,000 households lost power during an extreme heat event.
However, the power outages came after the failure of two coal-fired power stations in the Latrobe Valley. Energy Australia’s Yallourn power station and AGL’s Loy Yang A station both struggled in the heat, failing to meet output targets.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio says the state lost an “extraordinary” 1,800 MW of power capacity as a result.
Ageing coal and gas infrastructure is therefore failing Victorians, she claims. That’s why Victoria has set an ambitious 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target (RET) by 2030.
Pro-coal Kelly slates South Australia’s renewable ambitions
During the 2GB interview, Kelly said South Australia’s big Tesla battery was “laughable”. He also said SA’s 50 per cent RET had been an “unmitigated disaster” for the state.
“It’s tripled electricity prices, given them unreliable supplies and threatened the economy,” he said.
However, a report in December 2018 claimed it was gas generation, not renewables, causing electricity price hikes in South Australia.
Higher network and retail charges along with raised production costs also contributed to bigger bills, the study by Victoria Energy Policy Centre claimed.
South Australia will take solar lead within decade: AEMO
A report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) says utility-scale and home solar batteries are reducing grid demand in South Australia. Subsequently, power prices are falling across the state.
According to AEMO data, SA will also lead Australia in solar power over the next decade. It will then have the highest ratio of rooftop solar installations to operational consumption in the National Electricity Market.
The Australia Institute Twitter feed also noted multiple breakdowns for coal and gas-fired power plants last summer. Fossil fuelled plants tend to go offline as a result of extreme heat – while solar power thrives.