The minister made the remarks during a televised address as Australia, the world's largest coal importer, is in the throes of an energy crisis
Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, asked people in the state of New South Wales and its biggest city of Sydney June 16, 2022, to conserve electricity for two hours every evening as the country battles one of its worst energy crisis.
“If you have a choice about when to run certain items, don’t run them from 6 to 8 pm,” Bowen said in a televised address in the federal capital, Canberra. He added that he was confident that blackouts could be avoided.
Australia, located in the southern hemisphere, is currently witnessing a cold snap. This has led to a surge in demand for energy. The state of New South Wales is home to eight million people and is the most populous state in Australia.
The country is currently in the grip of an energy crisis due to a number of reasons. It is the largest importer of coal in the world and most of its energy — 65 per cent — is generated from coal, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the national power system operator.
Coal mines in the states of Queensland and New South Wales have been hit due to floods earlier this year, according to the BBC. Other reasons for the energy crisis include the Russian invasion of Ukarine and the subsequent sanctions on Russia, which have increased electricity costs.
Yet another reason is that several power plants in the country are ageing and thus have technical issues.
The AEMO June 15 took an unprecedented step and suspended the country’s wholesale electricity market, the National Electricity Market (NEM), citing a surge in power prices. The NEM caters to almost the whole of Australia except the state of Western Australia.
Bowen had tweeted his support for the move on the same day.
AEMO has said it is watching the developing situation very closely: “AEMO, as the national power system operator, will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates should conditions change,” it said in a statement June 15.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is meeting with the premiers of all Australian states June 16 to discuss the energy crisis.
Australia’s biggest electricity producer AGL Energy said June 16 that one of the three dysfunctional units at its Bayswater coal-fired plant in New South Wales would restart operations and another one June 18.
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