Heat phenomenon El Niño threatening to send an entire country into meltdown

El Nino: What is the weather phenomenon?

A major energy price comparison site has issued a stark warning about the looming threat of summer blackouts for millions of New South Wales (NSW) residents in Australia.

Adding to the concern is the looming presence of an El Niño event, a climatic phenomenon notorious for exacerbating extreme weather conditions.

Compare the Market, a leading authority in energy pricing trends has revealed that even on the sunniest days, NSW could face power disruptions as the electricity grid grapples with surging demand.

The summer staples of air conditioning and pool pumps, typically running at full tilt during sweltering months, are poised to strain the electricity market, potentially leading to inadequate supply to meet the heightened demand.

The analysis from Compare the Market has raised concerns that power generators might experience heat-related stress during heatwaves, prompting the need for strategic grid shutdowns to maintain supply stability. The concurrent presence of El Niño is amplifying these worries, as it typically brings about prolonged periods of drought and heatwaves in Australia.

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An El Niño is declared when sea temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific rise 0.5C above the long-term average. NSW has  already recorded temperatures this year as much as 16C above the September average. Temperatures in Sydney reached 34.4C on Tuesday, just under of the all-time September record of 34.6C, set in 1965. And temperatures are set to stay high, as the threat of El Niño looms.

Chris Ford, General Manager of Compare the Market, stressed the urgency of preparing for potential blackouts while taking into account the El Niño factor.

“With no one knowing just how high the mercury will rise in the coming months or what weather events we will face, now’s the time for households to take back the power and prepare a plan ahead of potential blackouts,” Ford told news.com.au.

He underscored the confluence of factors contributing to grid strain, including increased power consumption driven by soaring temperatures, intensified reliance on air conditioning, extended use of pool pumps, elevated screen time for entertainment, and additional electrical loads like supplementary refrigeration during the summer season.

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He added: “Those of us with solar systems should be maximising our electricity usage while the sun is shining, and doing our bit to reduce the solar feed-in to the grid during daylight hours when demand isn’t as high.”

During heatwaves, power generators are expected to operate at maximum capacity to ensure residents’ comfort, adding further stress to the electricity infrastructure.

In response to these concerns, Ford implored every Australian household to craft a blackout readiness plan, stressing the need for proactive measures to mitigate potential electricity shortfalls during the impending scorching summer months, particularly in light of the El Niño’s influence.

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