Don Harwin, the energy minister of the NSW Coalition government, has made a dramatic departure from the bulk of his state and federal colleagues by declaring that it was time to move on from the notion of “baseload” power as essential to the reliability of the future grid.
In an extraordinary speech to a CEDA energy function in Sydney on Thursday, Harwin looked back on his few months as energy minister, and underlined the huge gap between moderates such as himself looking to embrace new technologies and the conservatives locked into the past.
He particularly focused on the heatwave in February and the events that followed it, including major load-shedding for customers such as the Tomago aluminium smelter.
“There’s no better way to understand how an energy market works and doesn’t work than a heatwave,” Harwin said. “And there’s no better way of understanding the capacities and vulnerabilities of our generators than being in a heatwave