October 25, 2006 04:39pm
Article from: AAP
NEW South Wales has Australia's most reliable energy system despite a study which warns it is fast running out of power, the state government said today.
A report by independent power regulator National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO) forecasts demand for electricity in NSW will outstrip supply by 2010/11.
It warns that NSW faces blackouts at peak times and greatly increased electricity prices unless the Government boosts supply.
But NSW Premier Morris Iemma said NSW was better placed than just about any other state to meet its power needs, adding NEMMCO agreed with him.
The NEMMCO report showed that if no additional capacity was made available to the market, NSW would fare better than Victoria, Queensland or South Australia.
In those states, reliability could be expected to fall below the standard in the summer of 2007/08 in South Australia, 2008/09 in Victoria and 2009/10 in Queensland.
Tasmania fared better, with a "beyond the outlook period'' of 2015/16.
Mr Iemma said the construction on two gas fired power stations on the NSW central and south coasts would begin within a couple of weeks, and he was confident NSW would not suffer blackouts this summer.
Energy Minister Joe Tripodi said the NEMMCO report was an endorsement for the state's power supply.
"What this says is for another close to five years we don't need more (electricity) generation to meet our needs,'' he said.
"You need to compare that to Victoria, South Australia, Queensland - all of them rate worse than NSW.
"NSW is leading the way in terms of capacity.''
Mr Tripodi said there were no indications blackouts will be a problem this year.
But Opposition energy spokeswoman Peta Seaton said families and businesses were facing blackouts because the government had been covering up a looming energy crisis.
"The experts in Australia have been warning the NSW Government now for more than two years about looming shortfalls,'' Ms Seaton said.
"The only reason last summer we didn't have blackouts was that the hottest day happened by a fluke to be a public holiday on New Years Day when businesses and factories were largely not operating.''
Energy retailer Origin Energy Ltd says Australia's state governments should allow private sector investment to avoid blackouts in the future.
Origin chairman Kevin McCann said his company did not face blackouts even as reports said some states faced the possibility.
"I think as a corporation we don't believe that we face blackouts,'' Mr McCann told the company's annual general meeting today.
"We are certainly going to have high demand two or three days a year and we know blackouts are not acceptable.
"We think that the answer to this is to allow the private sector into the states in order to meet the capacity requirement.''