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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Gas to the rescue of stricken Victorian energy system

The Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) says fast-start gas generation has helped Victoria avoid further rolling blackouts after storms overnight tripped all four units of Loy Yang A power station in the Latrobe Valley – which was providing more than 20% of the state’s electricity.

As solar generation fell away due to stormy weather and wind generation also dropped, fast-start gas turbines were periodically generating more than a third of Victoria’s electricity to prevent additional blackouts, said APGA chief executive, Steve Davies.

During the storms, the state’s underground pipeline or gas distribution networks reportedly recorded no outages or faults.

Mr Davies says such serious events reflect the importance of a diversified energy system
in order to deliver reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity to consumers.

“Victoria’s gas generators prevented a worse outcome from occurring,” he said.

“There aren’t any low-cost alternatives that can rapidly provide a third of a state’s electricity in response to an emergency event. We must secure this future capability by including gas in the Capacity Investment Scheme.

“As the energy transition progresses, there’s no guarantee gas will be there when it’s needed in future as it was on Tuesday if it continues to be excluded from energy investment policies.”

“The healthy gas market not only provides energy every day across the country. It acts as the safety net, storing huge amounts of energy that can be drawn on during a crisis – whether that’s cooking and heating at home during load shedding events or generating electricity for trams to ensure Victorians can get home safely from work.”

“Today, it’s natural gas. Tomorrow, it will be renewable gas in the pre-existing, underground network. Together, we must prioritise pragmatic energy policy that puts reliability, affordability, and sustainability at its centre.”

Hundreds of thousands of Victorians remain without power in the wake of the storms and bushfires which swept across state on Tuesday.

At the storm’s peak at around 4pm, 530,000 customers had lost power, most of whom were with Ausnet and United Energy in the state’s inner and outer east.

Energy market operators say it could take days, and possibly weeks, to restore electricity to some of the 220,000 properties still without power.

Victorian Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio (pictured, right) described the event as one of the largest outage events in the state’s history.

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