GMB urges UK to learn about Australia’s power cuts caused from ‘the country’s switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources’

There have been at least four major power outages in several states in Australia over the last 5 months impacting millions of customers due the country’s switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources, according to UK-based union GMB.

GMB, the union for workers in the energy sector in the UK, is calling on the UK and devolved governments as well as Ofgem and National Grid as well as the energy select Committee to urgently evaluate the lessons that should be learned from the widespread power cuts in Australia arising from the changes from sourcing power from renewable sources instead of coal and oil fired stations.

Justin Bowde, GMB National Secretary for the Energy Sector, said:"It is essential that all involved in energy policy in the UK learn the practical lessons from the widespread power cuts in Australia.

"There have been at least 4 major power outages in several states in Australia over the last 5 months impacting millions of customers.

"Preliminary indications suggest that the transmission systems are not able to cope with the scale of power that has to be moved from one part of the country to another when renewable sources are not generating supplies at times of peak demand in the areas the renewable sources are located. 

"The same changes from fossil fuels to renewable sources is taking place in the UK so it is essential that lessons are learned from these power cuts in Australia.”

‘Keeping the lights on’

Bowde  added: "GMB remains very concerned about possible power supply shortages across the UK as a whole  at times of peak demand as the fossil fuel stations are phased out but before the new nuclear power stations fleet is on stream on the one in eight days that renewable sources are not supplying energy to the grid. 

"This concern is real but added to it has to be concerns arising from regional dimensions and the capacity of the grid to move power for one part of the country to another.

"In particular if Scotland closes Longannet and Peterhead fossil fuel power stations as seems likely and if there are technical outages at the two nuclear power stations in Scotland is there enough capacity in the grid to supply Scotland when renewables are not generating power? It would seem prudent to keep Peterhead open. 

"This will become an even more pressing issue when the two Scottish nuclear power stations close and are not replaced.  The new nuclear power station at Sellafield will be needed to put power into the grid on these days to replace them. 

"It is essential that proper planning by experts is enabled across the UK as whole to avoid power cuts like we are seeing in Australia. 

"GMB is calling on all stakeholders to commit to enabling the experts to tell elected representatives what we need to do to keep the lights on while aiming to decarbonise the economy. The electorate will punish representatives who refuse to listen to the experts and fail to make the necessary investment to keep the lights on. “

“Lobbyists and axe grinders can no longer be relied on to maintain the secure power we need for prosperity and civilisation."

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