POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, Australia

Australian regulator sues four wind farm operators over 2016 blackout

On 28 September, two tornadoes damaged facilities that triggered protection features at nine wind farms and caused blackouts.

Reuters reports that the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is seeking compensation against four wind farm operators, AGL, Neoen, New Zealand's Tilt Renewables, and Pacific Hydro, over a state-wide blackout in South Australia in 2016.

Each of the companies faces claims that several of their power generating units contravened regulations over a period of several months, not just on 28 September 2016, the day of the blackout. South Australia is the country's most wind power-reliant state. 

As well as seeking the introduction of new compliance programmes and legal costs, the regulator is targeting penalties of up to A$100,000 ($67,220) per contravention. If the court rules in the regulator’s favour, that could mean potential overall charges of at least tens of millions of dollars.

The state lost all power on 28 September 2016 after two tornadoes damaged transmission lines, disrupting voltages, which triggered protection features at nine wind farms that suddenly reduced their output.

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