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Turnbull ignored advice that renewable energy not to blame for SA blackouts


Malcolm Turnbull's decision to link last year's blackout in South Australia to the state's high renewable energy target was made directly against confidential public service advice.

Freedom-of-information documents reveal a senior bureaucrat at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet was so concerned about the spreading of misinformation in the immediate aftermath of last September's SA storm that she emailed officials in the Departments of Environment and Agriculture asking for help.

"Helpful if we can have some information on the cause and why the system responds as it did," the senior bureaucrat wrote in an email time-stamped 8.31pm on Wednesday 28 September 2016. "I listened to the premier who repeatedly indicated the outage is not generation related but some are suggesting related to renewables.

A good example of spin doctors at work. Half trutsh used to push a political adgenda, in this case, shutdown renewables at all costs.

Key Points

  • Malcolm Turnbull's decision to link last year's blackout in South Australia to the state's high renewable energy target was made directly against confidential public service advice
  • I listened to the premier who repeatedly indicated the outage is not generation related but some are suggesting related to renewables
  • I'm concerned that if the reason is because the system shut down to protect itself and it is not a supply issue we do no repeat misinformation
  • The initial event was the loss of four major transmission lines, caused by high wind conditions
  • This was followed by the Torrens Island gas power station shutting down shortly afterwards
  • The two interconnectors then shut down to protect the network
  • Australian Energy Market Operator's advice is that the generation mix (ie renewable or fossil fuel) was not to blame for yesterday's events
  • Despite the advice, in three separate interviews on Thursday morning, the Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, argued South Australia had become too reliant on renewable energy, wind in particular, and said its lack of coal-fired baseload power had contributed to the blackout
  • Turnbull also linked the blackout to South Australia's use of renewable energy, calling it a "wake-up call" for state leaders who were trying to hit "completely unrealistic" renewable targets


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