The Australian government is to conduct an independent review to examine the causes of power blackout in South Australia State last week.

Besides looking at the role played by renewables in the power outage, the independent review will also examine measures supported by Australian power generators for increase the competitiveness of natural gas.
Malcolm Turnbull
Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s federal energy minister announced the news amid criticism of the government for blaming the proportion of renewable energy in the state’s mix as causative of the almost 24-hour outage.

“The Australian government would like to see greater harmonisation of renewable targets, and I made that clear to the state energy ministers,” Frydenberg said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – leader of the country’s ruling conservative government, which supports traditional coal and natural gas power generation – is accused of letting ideology get in the way of the facts. The government’s position is that South Australia relies on intermittent renewables for 40 per cent of its power, and when those sources fall short there is not an alternative such as gas or coal to pick-up the slack.

Gas-fired power generation has struggled to complete with cheaper-to-operate renewables, and that has led to up to 15 percent of Australia’s natural gas-fired power capacity being mothballed.