Greens climate change and energy spokesperson, Adam Bandt, responded to the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) announcement that they will launch legal action against four wind farm operators over the 2016 South Australian blackout, saying the regulator needed to explain why only a few months ago it investigated the blackout, found that breaches of the market rules did not contribute to the event and advised it would not take companies to court.
“The AER shouldn’t be doing the Coalition’s dirty work,” said Mr Bandt.
“In its investigation into the blackout last December, the AER declared that ‘we do not intend to take formal enforcement action in respect of these matters.’ Yet just over six months later they’ve launched legal action.
“Energy Minister Angus Taylor, a known wind-farm opponent, needs to come clean on what role he has played in facilitating this complete about-face from the AER.
“Ageing coal-fired power stations are regularly failing in the heat and they get off scot-free, but wind farms get taken to court by the very same body that investigated and cleared them just a few months ago.
“According to The Australia Institute, Australia has experienced 195 coal and gas breakdowns since December 2017, but the Minister and his regulators turn a blind eye to fossil fuel failures.”
From the official investigation by AER (Black System Event Compliance Report released 14 December 2018):
- “Overall, the investigation found a high level of compliance by market participants with their obligations. However there were instances in which obligations were not complied with. The AER considers the breaches found did not contribute to the state going black, and that all core obligations were met”
- It goes on to say (in the detailed report): “While we have found some areas of non-compliance with administrative requirements in the Rules, we do not intend to take formal enforcement action in respect of these matters, as we consider that it would be more effective to focus on remedial recommendations for improved processes. Further, we have noted the unprecedented circumstances as part of our consideration of all the available information.”