June 14, 2022 June 14, 2022
Australians were warned on Tuesday of possible power outages on the country’s densely populated east coast, at a time when the country, a major gas and coal producer, is going through an energy crisis.
The energy market regulator warned that the states of Queensland and New South Wales, adding 13 million residents, could suffer from supply shortages.
Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese blamed the crisis on the Conservatives, who have been in power for a decade.
“Today we are feeling the consequences of the old government’s failure to establish an energy policy,” the official said.
The national regulator tried to negotiate with producers on Tuesday, but the idea of capping prices at AUD 300/MWh (about $210) discouraged many from feeding more energy into the system.
The body is also trying to force companies to produce more electricity to avoid supply shortages.
Australia is one of the top three coal and gas producers in the world, but a quarter of the east coast’s power plants are currently shut down for outages or maintenance.
In addition, the war in Ukraine also increased Australian gas exports and any surplus that could have been used to alleviate this shortage in the domestic market disappeared.
Finally, the problems were exacerbated by a cold snap on the country’s east coast.
Energy Secretary Chris Bowen said on Tuesday he was confident there would be no blackouts unless there were new disruptions to the system.
But he warned Australians that “the winter is going to be tough”. Various factors such as low temperatures, coal-fired power plant outages, geopolitical pressures and flooding on the east coast could fuel the energy crisis.
Last year, according to official figures, 71% of Australia’s electricity came from fossil fuels, with 51% specifically from coal.