Tech & Science

Major Victorian power plant goes offline in the middle of a heatwave


Half a million Victorians were left without power after all four units at AGL Energy’s Loy Yang A power station shut down and wild storms brought down power lines.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) described the outage that happened about 2pm on Tuesday as “a significant power system event”.

“The Moorabool to Sydenham 500 kilovolt transmission lines tripped, multiple generators disconnected from the grid and some consumers experienced a loss of electricity supply,” the operator said.

AEMO directed AusNet Services to enact load shedding – cutting power – “to keep the power system secure.”

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio posted on X that the situation was ‘dynamic’.

“The number of power outages caused by the physical collapse of transmission towers has increased to 500,000,” she posted.

“AEMO is working hard to restore power.”

Shortly after 5pm, she posted that one unit at Loy Yang A power station had come back online.

“As a result forced load shedding is no longer required to maintain grid stability,” she said.

The minister said wild weather had also had an impact on power supply.

She earlier tweeted that she had met with the CEO of AEMO “about the current unprecedented impact of extreme weather on our power grid” on Tuesday afternoon.

“There are currently outages affecting around 300,000 customers across the state. This is due to the physical collapse of some transmission lines caused by the severe weather,” she said.

“This a very dynamic situation, so I will provide updates as the situation evolves and timelines for restoration of power become clear.

“AEMO and the operators of the transmission lines and generators are working closely with us.”

Loy Yang is the largest power station by capacity in Victoria, capable of a maximum capacity of 2210 megawatts and reportedly generates about 30 per cent of Victoria’s power requirements.

The power station went down at 2pm, forcing the energy regulator to cut power to thousands.

said the cause was due to “multiple tripping of generation and transmission lines” in the state, and that it was beginning load shedding – switching Victorians off energy because of low supply.

“To keep the power system secure, AEMO has directed AusNet Services to enact load shedding,” a spokesperson said.

“Controlled load shedding is a mechanism AEMO uses as an absolute last resort to protect system security and prevent long-term damage to system infrastructure.”

A heatwave warning has been in place across Victoria on Tuesday.

Electricity infrastructure company CitiPower and Powecor said it was working on restoring power to over 100,000 customers affected by storm conditions also hitting the state.

“Crews are responding to more than 400 different faults across western and central Victoria, as well as Melbourne’s inner suburbs,” a spokesperson said, and advised customers to stay safe in the current conditions.

An AGL Energy spokesperson said the company was “currently investigating” the cause of the shutdowns at its power station.

Wholesale power prices in Victoria increased to $16,600 per megawatt hour as a result of the shutdown, a skyrocketed price compared to usual rates.

Weather will continue to be poor across Victoria for the rest of the day.

The Bureau of Meteorology says Melbourne will experience a maximum temperature of 37C for the rest of the day, with a high chance of showers and the chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon/evening, with the possibility of severe and damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall.

The Loy Yang A power station is scheduled to be closed by June 30, 2035, in accordance with a Structured Transition Agreement with the Victorian Government.

Read related topics:Melbourne


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