South Australia emergency brings infrastructure resilience debate to the fore

Jonathan Russell | National Manager, Public Affairs

Engineers Australia highlighted the risks to Australia’s energy supply in its 2014 report, ‘Energy Security for Australia.’

“While the debate continues on how and why South Australia’s power network was shut down, the engineering profession is highlighting the critical need for coordinated planning to ensure we have a resilient and secure energy supply,” said Neil Greet, Engineers Australia’s spokesperson and author of the 2014 report ‘Energy Security for Australia.'

“As Engineers Australia has said previously, our current energy security policy settings are insufficient, and it’s critical that we open up the discussion to a whole-of-society, whole-of-government perspective.

“Our current energy debate is framed in a narrow way, limiting energy security discussions to a few issues. This reduces the opportunity for systematic engagement with other policy areas that can have an effect by either worsening energy insecurities or building better security.

“The areas of energy-related concern, such as agriculture, water, sustainability and social policy, do not usually fall within the boundaries of what’s deemed to be energy security. We need to change this narrow view or problems like we’re seeing in South Australia will continue to occur.

“A resilient energy network can adapt to unforeseen and extreme circumstances, whether that be climate change, natural disasters or deliberate damage or interference.

“Engineers have always argued that our infrastructure needs to be planned with the future in mind. With threats like climate change now a reality, we need to move beyond the status quo and start building energy networks, and the policies under which they operate, with resilience and adaptability in mind.”

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