May 25, 2021
A fire in the turbine hall at Callide C power station near Biloela has been blamed for widespread blackouts across Queensland on Tuesday.
A Powerlink Queensland spokesperson said Powerlink, Energex and the Ergon network have been managing the unexpected power outage.
The fire broke out at the CS Energy plant about 1:45pm after a reported explosion, knocking offline three units that were generating at the time.
An estimated 2000MW was removed from the grid.
The power station was immediately evacuated and emergency services called to the site.
The Powerlink spokesperson said there were no reported injuries at this stage.
“We thank customers for their patience during this unexpected incident. We will provide more information as it becomes available,” the spokesperson said.
At 3:45pm, multiple fire crews were still at the site.
A 550 metre exclusion zone was set up while firefighting operations took place.
A QFES spokesperson said power to the station had been isolated.
“This incident is expected to be a prolonged event. Residents and community members are asked to avoid the area,” the spokesperson said.
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The Australian Energy Market Operator has advised that some customers in Queensland may experience further outages on Tuesday evening following the incident at Callide C Power Station.
Energy Minister Mick de Brenni thanked Queenslanders for their patience and understanding.
“I’m thankful no one was injured in this incident and we’re working hard to resolve these unprecedented issues as quickly as we can,” the Minister said.
“Essential services such as hospitals, transport networks, ports, airports and other key infrastructure will stay online.
“AEMO have advised this should be resolved by 9:30pm.
“The best way to ensure this is done as quickly as possible is to conserve energy use.
“If you and your family are in a position to, please consider conserving energy by turning off appliances, heaters and reverse-cycle air conditioning.
“Commercial and industrial users can also contribute to the effort by reducing energy use where it’s safe to do so.
“Importantly, this may affect traffic lights so it is important people stay off roads unless absolutely necessary. If you are on the roads, be careful.”
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AEMO declared a forecast Lack Of Reserve 3 for Queensland power supplies from 5:00pm.
LOR3 exists when the available electricity supply is equal to or less than the operational demand.
This means there are no reserve supplies available.
Controlled load shedding may be required as a last resort.
To minimise the stress on the system, AEMO requested consumers in Queensland to temporarily reduce their energy usage from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, where safe to do so.