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AEMO orders South Australian load shedding blackout while Gas turbine remains idle #SAheat

Over 40,000 households endured a blackout yesterday evening for about half an hour during an extreme heatwave. AEMO ordered the load shedding, but questions remain why AEMO did not order the Pelican Point 2nd gas turbine to fire up.

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  1. Quick Summary Wednesday 8 February SA Heatwave Blackouts

    10:31am BOM SA advise an extreme heat warning issued by the SES based on BOM heatwave forecasting

    1:30pm Briefing for media on heatwave conditions

    2:17pm NEM watch reported the lack of online reserve in South Australia.

    5:17pm Actual lack of Reserve (Level 1) , Actual Lack of Reserve (Level 2) at 6:17pm.

    6:03pm AEMO ordered 100MW of load shedding to last to 7:30pm.

    8:32pm SA Power networks tweeted that it was an "upstream generation issue managed by AEMO the Australian Energy Market Operator, not SA Power Networks".

    9:16pm SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says that "Power shedding tonight was avoidable. There was sufficient local generation to meet our demand tonight, but AEMO didn't instruct it on! Why?"

    10:23pm Tom Koutsantonis says to a question "Yes gas, South Australian Gas fired generation that should have been told to be on & wasnt!"

    11:27pm SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says that "AEMO have informed the SA Government they got their demand forecast for SA wrong."

  2. Given by mid afternoon there was notice of peak demand and lack of capacity, why did AEMO not order the Pelican Point second gas turbine - a peaking plant - into action? This is exactly what peaking gas plants are designed to do: fill short term demand requirements.

    If the operator failed to bid for the supply of power from the 2nd generator, then there is a huge problem in the privatised power generation sector in which generators can hold the state to ransom.

    Don't forget that gas generators have been keen to supply their gas to fulfill export contracts, rather than turn on turbines to supply local power. In the middle are the citizens of South Australia.

    NEM watch has also forecast a lack of supply on Thursday with extreme heatwave conditions.
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