Last Saturday afternoon, lighting strikes in Australia temporarily interrupted transmission lines that interconnect the electrical grids in the eastern part of the country. For a time, the grids in Queensland and South Australia were turned into energy islands, cut off from the national grid infrastructure. The Australian Energy Market Operator termed the incident a “power system emergency.”
Customers in New South Wales and Victoria experienced widespread power outages while those in in Queensland and South Australia noticed little more than a momentary flicker of their lights. In Queensland, that happy circumstance was due to an abundance of renewable energy available to meet that state’s energy needs. Some of the excess was being shared with NSW before the transmission line between the two was put out of commission.