Australia's electricity grid operator has moved to head off the risk of power blackouts in Victoria next summer by offering to pay big industrial energy users to shut down during heatwaves.
|Powering down: Energy users could be paid |
to reduce demand at peak times.
In a highly unusual move, the Australian Energy Market Operator has dusted off previously dormant emergency powers, issuing a tender to free up 600 megawatts of energy from early January to the start of March 2018.
That would be the equivalent of saving about half the power generated by a typical coal-fired plant.
Under the plan, which comes amid alarm about the security of the state's energy supply following the shutdown of the Hazelwood coal-fired plant in March, a little-known mechanism called a "Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader" would be triggered to contract power-hungry businesses such as smelters to stop using electricity during periods of extreme heat.
Read Josh Gordon and Farrah Tomazin’s story in the Melbourne Age - “Energy users could be paid to shut down in heatwaves amid power blackout fears.”