Rachel Fieldhouse

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Vivid cops backlash amid national energy crisis

Vivid cops backlash amid national energy crisis

The organisers of Sydney’s Vivid light festival have been the subject of widespread outrage online, as the lights continue to shine amid an ongoing energy crisis.

The annual festival returned in late May, with nearly a dozen locations being illuminated every night that are set to power down after this weekend.

However, locals have taken to social media to question whether the event should be continuing while businesses and public servants have been urged to reduce power use.

“Vivid looking an absolute treat tonight on my arvo walk - let’s see if there’s still power to keep the lights on in a few hours,” one person tweeted.

“Nobody turn on your heaters because we need to preserve energy but let’s light up the whole city for 2 week,” another wrote.

“Sydney, please stop wasting electricity. Turn off the air con. Dim the lights. We’re trying to keep Vivid switched on,” a third added.

NSW Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean defended the festival on Thursday, stating that the event put minimal pressure on the system due to its low-energy LED and energy efficient lights.

“The New South Wales Government obviously looked at ways that it could minimise the electricity usage among non-critical services in the public service,” Mr Kean said.

“That’s not unusual. We do this from time to time.

“We were advised by the Australian energy market operator that we didn’t need to take steps to turn off Vivid.”

It comes after residents in NSW have been asked to turn off dishwashers and find other ways of cutting down their power usage, as Australia’s ageing coal plants - which are the biggest supplier of electricity nationwide - struggle with increased demand due to the onset of winter weather and return of people to offices and businesses. According to The Guardian, a third of the country’s coal capacity has been offline and coal supply has been affected by the recent flooding across NSW and Queensland.

On Wednesday, Mr Keen said people were being asked to conserve energy as the government looked to “get through tonight and the next couple of days”.

“Perhaps not using the dishwasher until we go to bed, that would help,” he said.

“This is a result of a number of our coal-fired power stations not working when we need them to do so.

“What we’re doing is focused on making sure that we get through tonight and the next couple of days.”

On Friday, Mr Kean said the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) which sets the price of energy for NSW, south-east Queensland, and South Australia had delivered “good news” that the condition of the system was improving.

“AEMO have described the energy situation as much healthier and that’s good news,” he said.

“Generators that were offline have now come back online. We had a generator come online yesterday. That added 600 megawatts to the system that wasn’t there the night before.”

Another generator is also expected to come online on Saturday, per The Sydney Morning Herald, further improving conditions.

Image: @vividsydney (Instagram)

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