Senate debates

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Questions without Notice


2:24 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Education and Training) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Fawcett, from my home town of South Australia. As I was just referencing to Senator Di Natale, and it's important to Senator Hinch, who indicated that he wanted to hear the answer, the threat to energy security and reliability in states like South Australia and Victoria—and across New South Wales if Liddell were to close—is a real threat. That is why we've been getting on as a government with focusing on how it is we enhance reliability in the system and issues of affordability that flow from that.

It's why, as a result of the state-wide blackout that our state faced last year in September, we made sure emergency measures were put in place: at least two synchronous generators must be running at any given time, given the unreliability that comes from the wind generators within the system in South Australia. It's why we've also taken action to ensure that a new generator-reliability obligation is in place to ensure that intermittent sources of generation have an appropriate level of backup in place to guard against blackouts. It's why we've taken the action, in relation to energy security obligations, to provide necessary support services around frequency control and ancillary services and inertia—again, to deal with the issues that come from having a higher reliance on intermittent sources of energy rather than on base load dispatchable power sources. We want to make sure as well, as I indicated in my previous answer, that large generators have a minimum period before closure. Ideally, we want to extend the life of those large generators to get maximum use out of the investment, maximum reliability into the system—again, to keep prices down.


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