Delays at Victorian gas plants accentuate fears of summer electricity cuts

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Delays at Victorian gas plants accentuate fears of summer electricity cuts
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"Unfortunately, bad weather and delays in recruiting commissioning technicians have affected our schedule."

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Mortlake is a state of the art power plant in West Victoria. The affected unit accounts for 3% of the state's installed production capacity. Origin said the generator 's expected return date, December 30, was "ahead of schedule" compared to the peak summer electricity consumption peak period.

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Recent summers have been marked by power outages due to grid pressure, but the upcoming season may be particularly painful, particularly in Victoria. The Australian energy market operator (AEMO) is expected to release on Wednesday its assessment of energy market readiness to manage peak periods of summer consumption in the coming months, when the network is set to open. hard test as millions of people turn their air conditioning units at once.

"If the two plant failures (Mortlake and Loy Yang A) were extended during the summer, and if no additional source was provided, unintentional unloading could occur in Victoria during extreme weather events, potentially on several occasions. events, equating between 260,000 and 1.3 million homes without electricity for four hours, "he said.

The Victorian energy minister, Lily D & # 39; Ambrosio, said the company had to make sure its plant was working properly.

"Private energy companies have made it clear that they have a responsibility to ensure that their plants are responsive to their needs and responsible for any unforeseen failures". she said.

AGL remains confident that the generating set at its Loy Yang A plant will be repaired and put back into service by mid-December. Credit: Simon O & Dwyer

Ms. Ambrosio said that the market operator was responsible for managing the "balance between supply and demand for energy", which included contingencies to provide a reliable power supply.

Tony Wood, director of energy think tank Grattan Institute, said that Victoria 's supply for the summer was "extremely tight".

"People will watch nervously, especially if weather conditions deteriorate," he said.

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But the biggest risk of summer heatwave was from January to late February, he said.

"In the current state of things, things have not changed much and we are in the best position possible under the circumstances," Wood said.

AGL, Australia's largest energy supplier, said it remained confident that the generator at its Loy Yang A plant would be repaired and returned to service by mid-December.

In a joint statement Monday, the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Association of Energy Users, Energy Suppliers and Transportation Companies called for "caution" in order to Avoid panic reactions and a game of reproach in case the lights go out.

"We must recognize that with an energy system exposed to extreme elements and subjected to periods of intense stress, accidents and unexpected events can occur," the statement said.

"It's just that consumers expect optimal performance from our energy system and the companies that run them, we must recognize that no one can guarantee that the lights will never go out. "

Business reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

Benjamin is a political journalist of state

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