MELBOURNE (Reuters) - South Australia was hit by a short power outage late on Wednesday as searing heat led to a spike in electricity use, just months after a major blackout hit industry and forced a review of energy security in the renewables-dependent state.
Load-shedding, which began on Wednesday evening, lasted for about half an hour and affected around 40,000 people, the country’s electricity market operator said in a statement, adding that it would investigate the issue.
“South Australia has been a basket case when it comes to energy policy,” Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg told Sky News. He added that the state’s experiment into renewable energy had failed.
South Australia, which is heavily dependent on wind and solar energy, was crippled by several outages late last year, after heavy winds knocked out an interstate power connector and cut power to residents and industry.
BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam copper mine was left without power for two weeks, forcing the miner to cut output, while the future of Alcoa’s Portland aluminium came under threat after the crippled plant had to scale down to a third of its production capacity.
Broader issues about the transition to renewable energy are being reviewed by Australia’s federal and state governments. State energy supplier Electranet said it was looking at options for building high-voltage electricity interconnectors it could link with other states.
Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Dominic Evans and Sandra Maler