Australian power station fire will not worsen energy crisis

Share Talk reports on the third fire in three days in the energy sector across the globe.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which said Sunday that a fire at a New South Wales power plant on Saturday will not disrupt the electricity supply, assured that there was no danger of an increase in the country’s energy crisis.

The supply has been stretched in the densely populated east since May, with 25% of the 23,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired power taken offline for maintenance and unplanned outages. The situation has been exacerbated by disruptions in coal supply and the surging global prices for both coal and gas.

The AEMO, which oversees the electricity and gas markets and systems in the country, stated that there was sufficient electricity supply to meet the forecast demand for the weekend. This alleviated the immediate concern about potential blackouts on the east coast.

The agency posted late Saturday on Twitter that it was aware of a substation fire at Tallawarra’s power station. It is located at Yallah, a suburb in Wollongong about 80km (50 miles) southeast of Sydney. However, it said that the fire was unlikely to cause further damage to the power supply.

“We want to reassure customers (New South Wales), that this will not affect the electricity supply,” AEMO stated.

According to fire officials, the fire was caused by a mechanical problem in a redundant transformer. More than 60 firefighters worked together to put it under control.

News website Nine reported that more than 10,000 litres (or 2,600 gallons!) of oil caught fire and that it would take several days to extinguish the flames.

Matt Kean, Treasurer of New South Wales, said that conditions in the energy markets were strong following Saturday’s return to service of another generator.

Kean stated that there is enough supply to satisfy the demand for the foreseeable near future.

The AEMO suspended Wednesday’s national electricity market. It took control of supply pricing and price in an unprecedented action. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese backed the move, stating that it was necessary to reduce “gaming” within the system.

The Australian Energy Council stated that since then, 1,900 MW of coal-fired power plants have been brought back online, which has reduced blackout risk.

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