Sweltering temperatures late last month broke electricity records across Australia, highlighting problems associated with a heavily constrained grid. The problems are also blocking a significant volume of wind development (page 53). As demand for electricity for air conditioning soared, more than a million people were hit by power cuts during the heat wave. The problem is not going to go away, says the secretary of the Electrical Trades Union, Bill Game. "The system is close to breakdown every time there is a storm or some other form of crisis." Earlier in the month the lack of grid capacity was exacerbated in South Australia after a fire in January had knocked out the Moomba gas plant. "Restricted gas supplies from Moomba to South Australia and New South Wales have highlighted the need for an examination of the capacity of gas and electricity infrastructure," said South Australia energy minister Patrick Conlon. "Because the networks transcend state borders we all need to work together to ensure that electricity supplies are optimised to meet the ongoing energy needs of each state," he said.
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