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Australia's Energy Crisis

Australia's Energy Crisis

Can Australia keep the lights on in the face of record-breaking heat?

Australia grows ever hotter. The winter of 2017 was the warmest since records began in 1910. But the country’s attempt to curb greenhouse gases is creating its own problems, writes Robert Milliken for The World In 2018.

Australians will start 2018 with warnings that an ailing energy system may not see them through the summer. The lights started going out in 2016, when South Australia suffered a blackout. More blackouts hit New South Wales during a heatwave in 2017. Faults at Liddell, a 45-year-old coal-fired power station, left that state short of power. The body that operates most of Australia’s energy market says there is an “unacceptable risk” of blackouts in 2018 and over the next four summers.

The crisis has mounted as Australia tries to cut carbon emissions. It has closed ten coal-fired power stations since 2012. But it has yet to agree on how to replace them. Political wars have torpedoed plans to devise a reliable energy policy that includes more renewable sources. 

Written: Wednesday January 10th, 9:22pm 2018