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Dear the Hon. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,
Cc: The Hon. Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Energy, Steven Marshall, Leader of the Opposition, South Australia,
The fossil fuel lobby has been attacking South Australia’s renewable energy leadership for months. In July, fossil fuel lobbyists blamed renewable energy for a price spike caused by big energy companies gaming the market while transmission infrastructure between South Australia and Victoria was being upgraded. In September, they blamed renewable energy for causing a statewide blackout rather than the obvious cause—a one-in-fifty year storm that damaged transmission lines. It is trying to stall the transition of Australia’s electricity grid from one heavily reliant on polluting coal and gas generation to a modern system powered by clean renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. These attacks put jobs, investment, and our climate at risk. At the time, you and several other politicians wrongly singled out renewable energy as the cause of the South Australian blackout.
The Australian Energy Market Operator has stated that the “intermittency” of wind farms was "not a material factor" in the blackout. A Bureau of Meteorology investigation found “the loss of supply corresponded with a widespread outbreak of supercell thunderstorms with an exceptional number of tornadoes.” Former Liberal party leader John Hewson branded efforts to blame renewable energy for the electrical faults as “irresponsible.” Talking down the South Australian electricity system and blaming the blackout on renewable energy is a threat to thousands of jobs and billions of dollars worth of investment. It is also at odds with the Australian government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change as well as the community’s vision of a clean, renewable energy powered future.
We ask you to show political leadership by correcting the record about the cause of the blackout. And in the likelihood any future event, we ask you to stand up for wind farms and solar power, as well as the community’s strong vision for 100 percent renewable energy.
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