Bushfires, storms and floods regularly leave thousands of Australian homes and businesses without power.
Sydney’s wettest weekend in three decades left more than 130,000 households without power on Sunday.
South Australian storms two weeks ago blew over the transmission towers connecting the state to the national energy grid. The Royal Adelaide Hospital was among the buildings affected.
Tens of thousands more households in Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia have endured blackouts lasting from hours to days in the past month or so due to bushfires.
It’s timely to consider how we can build a better system—one that’s more resilient in times of disaster and also doesn’t contribute, through carbon emissions, to making disasters more frequent.
One part of the solution is more connectedness, so one transmission line being severed is not the crisis it is now.
But just as important is ensuring connectedness isn’t crucial.
This means moving away from centralised systems—powered by a few big generators—to decentralised ones, with many local and small-scale generators. Instead of one big grid, we need many microgrids, interconnected but able to operate independently when necessary.