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Move to renewables key to keeping power on

The energy crisis gripping much of Australia shows why it is vital to transition to renewables, NSW Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean says.

People across NSW were urged to reduce their energy usage on Wednesday night to prevent blackouts after a number of coal-fired power stations unexpectedly failed to come online, despite intervention by the electricity market operator.

Mr Kean said people should limit their use of electricity over the next few days if it was safe to do so, after the Australian Energy Market Operator suspended the electricity spot market in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria until further notice.

Mr Kean said the situation was a result of international factors like the war in Ukraine that sent gas prices soaring and exacerbated by ageing coal-fired power stations that were becoming less reliable.

“I take responsibility for putting in a plan to make sure we don’t have these events in the future,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

“We need to move to new technology that’s going to keep the lights on and drive prices down,” he said.

“Right now we are relying on old technology that’s not reliable,” he said.

The existing coal-fired plants needed to be maintained while new infrastructure for renewable power was being built, he said.

“We should be moving towards those newer technologies that protect us from global price shocks, that protect us from unreliable equipment and can be financed by the private sector.”

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