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A fact sheet released by the Australian Energy Council (AEC) and Energy Networks Australia (ENA) outlines how the energy sector prepares for the impact of summer’s extreme weather on power supply.

As the weather heats up, electricity demand is often at its peak and the electricity grid is put under strain.

We have also seen the impact of an extended La Nina in recent times, in particular the weather pattern has resulted in flooding events, while we also saw the impact of strong winds on the power grid in South Australia last year and more recently cyclone activity in Western Australia.

ENA CEO, Andrew Dillon, said powerful storms, cyclones and flash flooding could cause disruptions to transmission and distribution networks.

“Networks, operators, regulators, governments, retailers, and emergency services know when heatwaves are coming and plan accordingly. As the effects of climate change are felt across the country, extreme weather events are becoming increasingly regular and intense.

“We understand how inconvenient outages are and networks work throughout the year to ensure the grid is prepared for the extreme weather events we can experience in Australia. 

“Power disruptions can result in life threatening situations for some vulnerable customers and networks work at pace to ensure the power is restored to these customers as soon as possible,” Mr Dillon said.

The AEC’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said while generators worked throughout the year to ensure that demand was met during peak times, high temperatures could affect key infrastructure.

“Ongoing maintenance takes place throughout the year to keep the grid and generators in good working order before summer,” Ms McNamara said.

“We also saw last year how an extended cold snap can push up demand unexpectedly. Both planned and unplanned outages at plants saw tight supply conditions with generators working closely with the market operator to maintain supply throughout that period.”

The factsheet is available here.

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