Queensland's electricity network should cope with soaring temperatures

Energy Minister Mark Bailey has assured Queenslanders the electricity network will cope with the upcoming hot weather.
Courtesy: Glenn Hunt

Queenslanders can be confident the state’s electricity network is ready for hot weather and the associated power demands this week and during the coming summer, authorities say.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said while many cities and towns would experience much higher than average temperatures in coming days, the network was ready.

Brisbane was expected to reach 35 degrees on Thursday – almost 10 degrees hotter than Wednesday’s maximum – and Ipswich could hit 39 degrees.

During the summer heatwave earlier in 2017, the demand for electricity in Queensland spiked to hit a record 9369 megawatts.

The state still had 548 megawatts in reserve capacity when the state hit the maximum demand level.

Queensland helped keep the lights and airconditioners running in New South Wales in February, as energy demand skyrocketed.

Mr Bailey said the state’s network providers Powerlink, Ergon and Energex, along with the state’s electricity generators, were ready to meet demand again.

“In Queensland, we have a diverse mix of electricity generation, including baseload coal-fired, gas and hydro generation, complemented by other renewables including wind and solar,” he said.

“This diversity means Queensland’s electricity network is ready to meet the expected customer demands for electricity during our hot weather.”

However, Mr Bailey urged people to use their electricity wisely, including by setting their airconditioners to 24 degrees to run more efficiently.

The government will soon release its “summer preparedness plan” under its Powering Queensland Plan.

But LNP Energy spokesman Michael Hart said if Mr Bailey was truly confident there would be no shortage of power this summer, why was he asking people to use electricity wisely.

Mr Hart reiterated the opposition’s commitment to build a new high-efficiency, low-emission coal-fired power station in north Queensland with the private sector.

“That will mean more jobs, more competition, more supply, better energy security and less uncertainty,” he said.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has issued a low reserve warning for Queensland for Thursday from 4-5pm.

Acting Agriculture Minister Leeanne Enoch asked people to remember their pets if travelling this long weekend and consider the weather conditions.

“All animals need to have water, food and appropriate shelter available to them at all times, especially when temperatures soar,” she said.

Queensland Ambulance Service clinical director Tony Hucker advised people to keep to airconditioned buildings, drink plenty of water and wear loose-fitting clothing to beat the heat.

“Avoid the hottest part of the day – if you’ve got any physical activity or work planned outside try and reduce that. If you have to, make sure you take lots of breaks and keep your fluids up,” Mr Hucker said.

A QUT health expert has warned Queenslanders to stay hydrated and check their urine as temperatures soar past 30 degrees.

Professor Gerard FitzGerald said heatwaves were the second biggest killer behind pandemics in terms of major public health threats.

“Those most badly affected or likely to die during heatwaves are people with chronic diseases, including the elderly and those with diabetes, renal failure or cardio or cerebrovascular disease,” he said.

“The signals to be aware of that will alert you your body is dangerously dehydrated include dizziness, nausea, looking flushed, skin not bouncing back, aggression, sleepiness and high temperature.”

Professor FitzGerald suggested people needed to drink enough water to have relatively clear urine, stay in cool environments, check on relatives and pets and avoid vigorous exercise.

In January, then-acting health minister Stirling Hinchliffe also delivered the golden advice that people check the colour of their urine .

“If you are feeling that your urine is dark, you should make sure that you increase your fluid intake – that’s the best way of making sure you keep yourself safe,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

Longreach, in the state’s central west, had already topped 30 degrees by 8am on Thursday morning and parts of the Maranoa and Warrego districts were in the high 20s.

A severe fire danger rating was in place, along with fire bans, across south-east Queensland.

Source: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/queensland-s-electricity-network-can-cope-with-soaring-temperatures-20170928-p4yw5u.html