Letters to the editor

Energy security

The lack of outcome of the visit of state Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis about the blackout and reliability of the Eyre Peninsula transmission system and the non performance of the Port Lincoln power station is a major concern.

It seems we are all hitting our heads against a brick wall.

At a meeting of the local Energy Security for SA Working Party with federal Member Rowan Ramsey on December 22 last year, he evaded the issue by stating it is a state issue. But is it? The prime role of the Port Lincoln Power Station is to back up the 132 kilovolt transmission line from Whyalla to Port Lincoln. Under the National Electricity Market (NEM) Rules, Electranet are required to have two means of supplying the load at Port Lincoln. This is traditionally done by having two lines but to date Electranet have opted to continue a contract with Engie to provide a power station to meet these requirements.

The reliability criteria allows for the failure of any one critical piece of infrastructure to not affect supply, thus providing a continuous supply to the customer. In this instance, we had the failure of four critical components, the loss of the transmission system as a consequence of the storms, the power station was brought on line to restore power supply for a short period, before all three engines failed. No explanation has been made by Engie and in turn Electranet as the accountable party as to the failure and the breach of the reliability requirements.

Compliance with the NEM rules is the responsibility of the Australian Energy Market Regulator and operation of the system is the responsibility of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which are both  legislated and administered by the Federal Parliament.

AEMO are also evading the issue. In the second Interim report into the September 28 event, AEMO had a paragraph describing the events on Eyre Peninsula and that no explanation had been received from Engie. The latest Interim Report No 3 released on December 12 mentions only the Port Lincoln outage times involved. So it would appear that AEMO are also denying the problem suffered by Port Lincoln by not holding the relevant parties to account and sweeping it under the carpet.

Therefore it is not the responsibility of the state government but the domain of the federal government. I sent this information to Mr Ramsay recently but have not received a reply yet. We need strong leadership from our federal politicians and currently they seem to have gone missing.

The clear message from the recent visit by the Prime Minister and colleagues was energy security. Let’s hope this message is transformed into some actions.

The estimated loss to Eyre Peninsula was $8.6 million, and there is still no explanation of the problem, no assurance that this has rectified to prevent further occurrences (which could see another $8.6M loss) and there has been no testing of the system (which would require a planned outage to Port Lincoln to prove).


Member of the Energy Security for SA Working Group

Look to power of tides

Heard PM Turnbull espousing that higher electricity charges will probably happen this year. On one hand he vows to promote industry and employment and on the other he contradicts himself by failing to prevent industry crippling higher power bills. It is evident in both cases he has little concern regarding SA.

It is time to review our natural resources for another means of power generation. Seems tidal generation has been clearly overlooked. Unlike the wind or solar, all tide levels and flow times are predictable and already logged in charts. A serious investigation into how this supply of energy can be harnessed is now, more than ever necessary. So let’s do it without any poly-crap excuses. Both Spencer and St Vincent’s Gulf entrap billions of tons of water daily. This would be an obvious place to begin looking.



Festival foresight

I have attended Tunarama for the past 14 years and I would like to commend the committee for their foresight and confidence in Sally Neville. This year’s event was the best run and most enjoyable from my local opinion, I particularly liked the Eyre Square concept and support that celebrates our local artisan produce and local performers.

If in the event that the committee can't retain some one of Sally's ability and expertise, it would be great if the council were to create a position for her and that she could then be on loan to all of our local events.


Port Lincoln

Remove the rings

I would like to ask the council wouldn’t it be smarter to remove the rings from around the swimming enclosure before the warranty on the enclosure runs out?  Or do the council think the enclosure won’t stand up to the wave conditions that it is supposed to? We are being told there is no need to have the rings there anymore, but they are leaving them there anyway. Seems a bit fishy to me.

On another matter – when the London Street bridge is closed for rebuilding how much pressure is going to be on the Dublin Street bridge? There are already queues on it now at busy times of the day, and our fire and emergency services are located in this area of town. All it will take is a train going through so that the St Andrews Terrace crossing is out of action and a traffic jam at the Dublin Street bridge, and our emergency services won’t get through. I wonder if the council have thought of other traffic solutions.


Port Lincoln