Heatwave, bushfires threaten Victoria’s electricity grid, power outages possible.

It comes as a key generator unit the Loy Yang A coal-fired power plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, which has been out of service for several months, was brought offline again on Friday due to an “installation issue”. The plant operator, AGL, said the unit could remain out of action for several days more.


“We have been offline since Friday night and will be for a number of days while we conduct work on an installation issue,” an AGL spokesman said.

An AEMO spokesman on Monday night said it had secured 1140 megawatts of reserves available in Victoria after entering into negotiations with energy users and generators.

It was not forced to implement rolling power cuts, known as “load shedding”, to prevent the system from becoming overloaded.

“AEMO dispatched emergency reserves to improve the supply availability in Victoria, with a combination of unplanned generation outages and bushfires impacting transmission powerlines limiting generation availability,” a spokesman said.

“AEMO will continue to closely monitor reserve levels to maintain adequate supply and will provide further updates.”

Summer poses the most challenging time for the energy grid, when the high use of airconditioners can put the supply-demand balance on a knife-edge. With a drought, bushfires record-breaking temperatures, authorities have bracing for a particularly challenging peak summer demand period in Victoria due to unplanned outages at thermal power plants.

AEMO, in its assessment of the energy market last month, said the biggest risk of blackouts this summer would come from the impact of severe weather events such as fires and storms on power generation and transmission networks.

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