Last week’s storm and blackout in South Australia highlights the need for a national plan to guide the transition to clean energy, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.  

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s preliminary report into last week’s electricity blackout in South Australia has confirmed the incident was triggered by extreme weather.

Cyclonic winds and 80,000 lightning strikes hit the state on Wednesday last week, crumpling transmission towers and causing a statewide electricity blackout.

ACF’s Suzanne Harter welcomed the process of inquiry and said she looked forward to more definitive findings.

“At present what is clear is the transition to clean renewable energy remains central to Australia’s efforts to address global warming and it also offers enormous opportunities for jobs and investment,” Ms Harter said.

“South Australia’s power outage should not scare Australia into retreating from this important change, rather it should prompt us to better understand what is required to support a smooth, secure transition to clean energy.

“Let’s not forget, Australia’s reliance on coal for electricity is fuelling climate change, which means we can expect more extreme heat, more flooding and more big storms.

“Clean power sources like solar and wind, with battery storage to store energy during blackouts, provide energy security and don’t provoke angry weather like coal does by contributing to global warming.

“Friday’s meeting of federal and state energy ministers should work towards a coordinated national plan to transform Australia’s energy system and help affected communities with the transition,” Ms Harter said.

A growing chorus of voices – including the Australian Industry Group, the Grattan Institute, the Clean Energy Council and major electricity generators like AGL – is calling for a coordinated national approach to transform Australia’s energy systems.

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@acf.org.au.