Stormy times: Living with uncertainty

John Spoehr

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    IN SEPTEMBER 2016, South Australia was buffeted by the most ferocious storm in half a century. Apocalyptic clouds gathered as thousands of lightning strikes hit the saturated landscape. The nation watched the unfolding crisis as an intense low-pressure system, two tornadoes, flooding rains and high tides demonstrated nature’s raw and unforgiving energy. Cyclonic winds felled transmission towers in the north, triggering a blackout that plunged the state into darkness. Meanwhile, torrential rains threatened flash flooding, provoking two days of collective trepidation as swollen rivers broke their banks, destroying crops and inundating houses.

    The blackout was met with incredulity, triggering a political storm centered on the state’s reliance on wind-energy generation. That transmission towers laid strewn across the landscape was an inconvenient truth – the power of wind rather than wind power was the problem. It was a cruel visitation in a state already buffeted by economic headwinds.

    South Australia enters 2017 facing mass layoffs in the automotive manufacturing industry and the potential closure of the local steel industry. These two shocks combined threaten to obliterate more than twenty-five thousand jobs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGriffith Review 55
    Subtitle of host publicationState of hope
    EditorsJulianne Schultz, Patrick Allington
    PublisherText Publishing
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)9781922212368
    ISBN (Print)9781925498295
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • South Australia
    • economic growth
    • unemployment
    • underemployment
    • South Australian economy


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