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SA Blackout: Three towers, six windfarms and 12 seconds to disaster

Finally, the gritty info we’ve been waiting for: The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) preliminary report. The message here is of how a combination of both transmission towers failing and probably the auto-shut-off of wind farms combined in 12 seconds to crash the South Australian system. It’s looking awfully bad for the wind industry. The AEMO pins the crash on the sudden reduction from the wind generators, but stops short of declaring why they dropped power so suddenly. Was it the auto-shut-offs, lightning strikes, a software glitch,  turbine failure, or was it a key transmission line that broke?  Reneweconomy is about the last-man-standing trying to defend the wind industry in Australia. Giles Parkinson argues it was the third transmission line that took out some wind generation.

Even if the third transmission tower took out two “farms”, the fragility of wind-dominated grids is on display. And above and beyond this, South Australian electricity is a management debacle. The only question is, which mistake was the worst: Is this is epic indulgence of running the wind farms flat out in a storm only to trigger a blackout with their auto shut offs? There’s a compelling case, but there are tenths or less of a second between events in these graphs, and no confirmation.

If it was transmission towers that ultimately broke the system, things don’t look better for wind power which needs so many long transmission lines to capture energy from sites spread far and wide, rather than connecting a few centralized spots like coal stations — and that’s expensive (thanks to Tom Quirk for pointing out that). 

We’re still left wondering why were these towers so weak, was it freak tornados — where is that documentation?  Then there is the unknowable — could it have been prevented if the Port Augusta  coal station was still running, or if the wind farms had turned off earlier in an orderly fashion, or if the transmission towers had been solid?

The bottom line is that wind energy comes at a very high cost and makes the system either very expensive or horribly fragile or both. Given that wind farms aren’t providing cheap electricity — when the infrastructure and the costs of having back up “spinning reserve”  and baseload is taken into account — what’s the point of adding all this risk to the system? To change the weather?

How many engineers saw this epic fail coming?

The grim detail: The SA electricity network went from go to woe in 12 seconds

There were faults on three transmission towers over 12 seconds. At the same time there was a sudden “reduction” in output from six windfarms within 6 seconds. Presumably this is when the storm triggered the automatic cutoffs at wind farms, but we can’t say that from this report –  it all overlapped. What a mess! So play forensic detective with me and pick through this data.

It  appears that the reduction of generation in Hornsdale and Snowtown II wind farms were the killer last straw, but it also appears that the Heywood interconnector to Victoria was already well over the safe limit in the seconds before this. Too much energy was being pulled over into South Australia — perhaps the interconnector was destined to fail anyway. Against that is the diabolical size of the combined Hornsdale–Snowtown crash of 180MW.

The storm rolled in with a north-west to south-east diagonal frontline and must have hit several wind farms and transmission lines at the same time. The dominant form of power in SA at the time was from wind, and mostly from a bunch of “farms” to the north. All up, wind was supplying 880MW out of a total of 1900MW.

This is the twelve seconds that mattered. This is how fast the whole system had to shut down.

(Note that in Grid-land, an open line is a bad thing, it means “no electricity”. A closed line is good, it has no gap where the electrons can’t flow.)

SA Blackout, renewables, wind farms, AEMO report.

Fig 4 SA Frequency during the event (Click to enlarge)

From 4:18 and 15 seconds things unraveled very fast (that’s AEST time).

This graph below shows the leading six minutes of the main Heywood interconnector – it was happily supplying 525MW, but as the wind farms cut out up to 800MW was being pulled out of Victoria (that’s the death-spike!). That was 200MW over the design limits. At 15.8 seconds after 4:18pm the interconnector shut down.

 

SA Blackout, wind farms, output, AEMO report. Renewables.

The death-spike of the lifeline interconnector to Victoria just before it cut out. The safe limit is 600MW.

 

In the table below we see that in the space of 6 seconds, six windfarms suddenly reduced their output. The last two windfarms took out 180MW in two tenths of a second from the system at 4:18 and 15.1 and 15.2 seconds. This reduction is what caused the massive overdraw from Victoria through Heywood, which then shut down six hundredths of a second later. (As pure electro-trivia, we note that briefly Hornsdale and Snowtown were sucking 2MW each from a system about to collapse.)

 

Wind farms, renewable energy, SA, AEMO, blackout, table of wind farm closures.

(Click to enlarge)

Here are the locations of these windfarms thanks to Aneroid Energy:

Almost all the ones that matter are lined up in a row, but it was Snowtown II shutting a tenth of a second after Hornsdale that were the straws that broke Electronet’s back.

Map of South Australian wind farms (northern sector). SA Blackout. Wind energy. Aneroid Energy.

A map of the location of the windfarms in South Australia (Aneroid Energy).

For the nerds, the detailed timing of the event follows:

The transmission lines were failing first from 4:16pm, and by 4:18pm (and 13 seconds) the third transmission line was out of action. It’s not clear here how much generation power was lost from these transmission lines. (See my adapted grid map below). The AEMO remarks that there was no change in generation with the first tower out, but doesn’t say anything about the second and third.

SA Blackout, table, AEMO report. Timeline of events.

(Click to enlarge)

The Grid Map

Just to see if those transmission lines that fell were critical I tried to mark them on the grid map below. Using the descriptions of “Davenport — Belalie” for example I marked crosses between those two locations (but I can’t pinpoint where the exact break is). The AEMO report (3.1.2) doesn’t say if break number 2 blocked the two windfarms North Brown Hill and Bluff at 4:18:08pm, though the graph below this shows them reducing their output almost immediately after, but apparently still generating something according to the table above. Hornsdale is not marked on this map (as far as I can see). It is close to North Brown Hill but the two “farms” are reported as reducing output 6 seconds apart which suggests that transmission tower fall #2 did not  block both (the cross was probably left of where I marked it). We’re not absolutely sure it even blocked one…

Grid Map. South Australia, Electronet, Blackout 2016.

Grid Map. South Australia. The transmission towers that fell in the critical two minutes leading up to the blackout are marked as blue crosses (estimated). The red arrows point to the wind farms.

Does anyone know where Port Augusta used to fit on this schematic? UPDATE: I’m guessing it would be between Davenport and Cultana and Olympic Dam. ie on the far left main line after the Brinkworth branch).

NOTE: I haven’t marked in all 22 transmission tower faults, so a clear line does not mean a fault had not already occurred in one of the other 4 tower failures before the blackout.  (Can anyone figure out where those failures were and if they were fixed before the blackout?)

During the 12 second Interconnector spike

Clearly the 200MW draw on the interconnector is the key moment. So here is a graph of that spike spread out over 12 seconds:

Heywood interconnector. AEMO report, SA Blackout. Windfarms. Transmission towers.

Figure 3 Flow on Heywood – South East interconnector during the event (click to enlarge)

The thing that triggered the beginning of the spike above 600MW was the Davenport–Belalie 275kV line (cross 2 on the schematic grid map), followed in a fraction of a second by four wind farms reducing their output. At this point the interconnector with Victoria is already far over the safe operating limit. Then the Davenport — Mt Lock line breaks, pushing things up higher, followed a tenth of a second later by the last two bigger windfarm reductions, the 180MW pair which pushes the draw from Victoria over the interconnector to nearly 900MW.

Can we blame that transmission tower?

Giles Parkinson at Reneweconomy puts on a brave face and argues that the critical point was the third tower (Davenport – Mt Lock) going out:

…the Coalition will point to the loss of 315MW of wind power highlighted by AEMO in the press release after the collapse of the last of the transmission lines that preceded the failure of the inter-connector. At which point all the remaining gas and wind generators tripped.

But there is a question about whether this loss of wind capacity really mattered. The data in the actual report suggests not.

Wind generators were producing a total of 883MW at the time (gas was providing 330MW and 613MW was coming from Victoria) – and had ridden out the loss of the first two transmission lines.

A small amount of wind capacity dropped out after the second transmission line collapsed, possibly – the operators say – as the result of lightning strikes and a software glitch that has since been rectified.

But as this chart below shows, there was no impact on frequency. [That's Fig 4 at the top of this post -- Jo]  It was only the failure of the third transmission line at 1615.18 that some generation was lost, the frequency dropped the system went black 1.2 seconds later.

Not so. The third line went down at 14:18:13. The frequency of the SA grid started falling apart from 4:18 and 15 seconds, exactly when Snowtown and Hornsdale went down.  The frequency was smashed when Heywood went down, but the two faults of transmission lines causes jiggles, it was the loss of 180MW that dropped the frequency to 49.25Hz which tripped the interconnector.

The loss of the third transmission line took away the delivery mechanism for two other wind farms, which suggests it wouldn’t have mattered which power source was operating on that line. Within another half a second, all remaining gas and wind plants had gone after the interconnector tripped.

Giles seems to be sure the third tower stopped generation from two wind farms, but it doesn’t say that in the AEMO report. Hornsdale wind farm which is near that break was still generating (for another 2 seconds!) The other two stations close to that break (#2) are Bluff and North Brown Hill, which were already shut down (and for 6 long seconds).

The best friend of renewables in Australia is left to lamely call on what the report doesn’t say.

The report does not say why this happened, or why they stopped generating. It could be because they had nowhere to send their output. Or that, as mentioned earlier, some were hit by lightning, or tripped after repeated voltage drops.

Nor does the report does not say if the total blackout would avoided by having a brown coal generator on line, or if the outcome would have been any different with no wind power.

The report also point to problems with conventional generation, saying that contracted but un-named providers of “black start” services – peaking gas fired and diesel power stations – failed to deliver and could not be used to restart the main gas generator, meaning the operator had to wait until a new link was established with Victoria.

Frequency hell

To give you some idea of how important frequency is and how fast it falls over, here’s a couple of paragraphs from the AEMO report. At the Heywood interconnector, the extreme frequency limits appear to be 4Hz for a “quarter of a second”:

Generator performance standards after 2007 require generating units to remain on line for a Rate of Change of Frequency (RoCoF) of 1 Hz/second for 1 second as a minimum, and up to 4 Hz/second for 0.25 seconds. RoCoF must be maintained within this limit to prevent damage to generating units and effective operation of protection relays and emergency control schemes such as the automatic Under Frequency Load Shedding (UFLS) scheme.

 The sudden loss of around 850–900 MW of supply to SA due to the tripping of the Heywood Interconnector resulting in a rapid reduction in the power system frequency.7 AEMO analysis has identified that the RoCoF was between 6 and 7 Hz per second. Consequently, UFLS was not able to arrest the frequency decline and as a result the frequency fell to zero. Note that generating units are unable to operate (and are not required to do so) where frequency is below 47 Hz. With the frequency below 47 Hz, generating units subsequently tripped off line resulting in the SA region Black System.

This is the real story of dire problems with a wind dominated grid. Even if it was transmission towers that crashed the system, and even if the auto-shut-off stupidity could be managed away, that still leaves the grid very fragile because of the frequency dilemma. A stable grid needs “synchronous inertia” — big reliable turbines that drive at near constant speeds. Coal turbines are 600 tons and spin at 3000 rpm. That’s inertia.

What of the other 19 transmission towers?

Of the transmission towers, seven were damaged before the blackout and 14 afterwards.

AEMO report makes renewables defence looks foolish

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

And seven big towers were damaged in the lead up to the blackout.

But AEMO said data currently available indicates that the damage to the Davenport to Brinkworth 275 kV line on which 14 towers were damaged “occurred following the SA Black System”.

The big event was a 123 MW reduction in output from North Brown Hill Wind Farm, Bluff Wind Farm, Hallett Wind Farm and Hallett Hill Wind Farm at 16.18.09.

It was wild weather, but not that extreme

The AEMO report sums up the weather, but as far as weather disasters go, it doesn’t rate. This is not a “Yasi” or even a baby-Yasi.

Throughout the duration of the event, long periods of sustained winds of 50–70 km/h were experienced across South Australia…

Wind gusts, notably more erratic in occurrence and frequency during intense weather systems, were significantly stronger than the reported sustained winds. Peak winds gusts on Wednesday 28 September of 90–110km/h were reported for locations…. including Snowtown…

The system as a whole brought 40–60mm over large parts of southern and south-eastern Australia, exceeding 100 mm in parts of south-eastern South Australia and the interior of Victoria. Large and destructive hail, together with large amounts of small hail were observed with both thunderstorm bands on Wednesday 28 September.

The key weather contribution was this:

In particular, a line of severe thunderstorms moving in a northwest-southeast line from Snowtown to Blanchtown between 15:00 and 17:00 CST would have led to large hail, damaging wind and a tornado near Blyth.

So the stormfront ran diagonally and hit a string of windfarms at the same time. The actual recorded peak wind gusts don’t correlate with the disaster, they were spread out all afternoon, not at the key time of 3:48pm in SA time. It was pretty bad luck that the storm front hit at the right angle to take them all down at once, but Snowtown is not in the same line, or on the same transmission line and would have been hit earlier, and this wind direction is not unusual for the region. Furthermore, with wind farms often clustered along the top of a row of hills, it’s probably not that unusual to find them in a “string” arrangement. With faults and cut offs occurring for several hours,  the electricity grid was being peppered with “contingencies” and earlier warnings for months had predicted state-wide blackouts.

h/t to David B, Pat, Scott, Geoff Derrick, David E. David of Cooyal, OriginalSteve, El Gordo, ROM…

BACKGROUND to the SA Electricity crisis (all the links).

People saw The South Australian black out coming. There were warnings that the dominance of renewables made it vulnerable. Then when it came, it all fell over in a few seconds — read the gruesome details of how fast a grid collapses: Three towers, six windfarms and 12 seconds to disaster. Ultimately the 40% renewable SA grid is crippled by complexity.   The AEMO Report blames renewables: The SA Blackout was due to lack of “synchronous inertia”.  The early estimates suggest the blackout costs South Australia at least $367m, plus their normal electricity is twice the price, and there are reserve shortfalls coming in January 2018 (pray for a cool summer). Welcome to the future of unreliable electricity: Rolling blackouts ordered in SA in 40C heat. And  more bad luck for South Australia, yet another blackout, 300 powerlines down, 125,000 homes cut off.  See all the posts on and  .

 

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SA Blackout: Three towers, six windfarms and 12 seconds to disaster, 9.5 out of 10 based on 122 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/gnsq6ox

236 comments to SA Blackout: Three towers, six windfarms and 12 seconds to disaster

  • #

    This is what happens when there’s not enough spinning reserve to make up the difference. I see the same thing happening here in California sometime in the near future.

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    • #
      Olaf Koenders

      In California there’d be enough greenies willing to pedal bicycles with generators to create a constant spinning reserve – if they didn’t need a gun to the head to stop them quaffing chardonnay and going to parties to yak about Climate Change©®™ and at least get them to take turns at the helm. That would finally make them useful idiots.

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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      SA fell over because the petulant children ( greenies ) are making descisions – time for the adults ( skeptics ) to be back in charge….

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    • #
      David Maddison

      If the CA grid fails it will be much worse than SA. SA has a population of under 1.7 million vs CA at 39 million.

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  • #
    Darrin Smith

    Port Augusta power station was attached to Davenport.

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    • #

      Thanks Darrin, I’m pretty sure after googling now that the reason the vertical line on the left is thick is because it was the Port Augusta line, the dot for PA must have been on it and between the Brinkworth and Cultana lines. I’d still like to see the other tower failures marked on that map.

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        • #
          Gary Meyers

          Got to chuckle. Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are that’s funny!

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        • #
          Albert

          The International Space Station was so confused, 2 North Koreas in 1 night

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        • #
          John in Oz

          Definitely worth placing on a t-shirt to remind the sheeple, otherwise this event will move lower and lower on everyone’s Facebook page and then be forgotten.

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      • #
        ianl8888

        It was pretty bad luck that the storm front hit at the right angle to take them all down at once …

        No.

        The geographical line of the “windfarms” was deliberately chosen to take advantage of the traditionally-prevailing wind direction. That is, planning (such as it was) was based on traditional wind direction data to try and maximise efficiency but did not allow sufficient redundancy for emergencies – demolishing the coal-fired plant was an example of moral vanity quashing experienced engineering advice.

        Understand – these people are so wilfully ignorant in their vanity that they deliberately risk other people’s well-being and even lives. “Bad luck” is a Pollyanna excuse for criminal negligence, I’m afraid.

        612

        • #
          Bulldust

          Question: Why is the SA Premier still in his job?

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          • #
            Bulldust

            For context: Former Premier of NSW resigns over an undeclared gift (bottle of wine). SA Premier cripples entire state, still in job.

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            • #
              ROM

              For further context and this is something that I simply cannot understand or even believe the total and absolute base ignorance, the outright abject hubris and the elist arrogance of the likes of Weatherill, Dopey Despotic Dan Andrews of Victoria and other State premier DW’s who want to make the whole of Australia run on the not so renewable energy, re mostly wind and solar power.

              The utter stupidity being displayed so openly by these miserable excuses for leaders of the nation is that they seem to be either totally ignorant of the experiences of other nations that have had two or more decades of experience with renewable energy in the form of wind power in particular.
              Or they are totally and willfully, near criminally willful in not knowing or avoiding the known facts and experiences of other nations with renewable energy, particularly if lives will be destroyed due to their arrogant insistence on unreliable, unpredictable and utterly inefficient both technically and economically, renewable energy as seems to have happened already with embryo’s in Adelaide when the power went off.

              Spain is a very viable comparison with the Southern Australian situation.
              Spain has a population of about 44 million versus Australia’s 23 million population
              It is an obviously Mediterranean climate similar to large parts of southern and south eastern Australia
              Its GDP is almost identical with Australia’s although using the Purchasing Power Parity data as a GDP base is it is a somewhat larger economy than Australia’s.
              ——————–
              Spain’s experiences and now the Spanish reaction to renewable energy;

              A Madrid University study which I have read a long time ago back in around 2011.

              Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources

              This study by an economist aroused intense, vicious and bitter opposition amongst the greens and renewable energy scammers and showed quite conclusively that for every job created in Renewable Energy cost the Spanish more than two jobs in the rest of the economy due to much higher energy prices.

              In fact the creation of each “Green” job cost the Spanish economy US$770,000.

              Spanish Wind, Revisited

              Spain had 22% unemployment at the time and I think close to 28% unemployment amongst the young first job seekers.
              ———-
              The following article is a couple of years old but I believe reflects the current Spanish situation re Renewable Energy which in Spain also includes numerous Micro Turbine generators on sections of the privately owned streams and rivers.

              Since this article was printed Abengoa, the very large Spanish renewable energy manufacturer has gone bust soon after Obama praised it to the heavens.

              Spain at a standstill

              SPAIN: New legislation has left one of wind power’s biggest and most successful markets in a state of complete paralysis, with some Spanish developers seriously considering dismantling their projects and selling the turbines on the second-hand market.
              &
              On 9 June [ 2014 ] the Spanish government rubberstamped its austere and retroactive regulation, slashing income for all existing renewables technologies and ending support mechanisms for new capacity. As a result, the national wind-power market entered a stage of full paralysis, according to practically all speakers at Spanish wind energy association AEE’s annual convention.
              &
              The developers behind Spain’s 23GW of total wind capacity, which have made the country the fourth-biggest wind market in the world — after China, the US and Germany — are now focused entirely on exports. “Right now, we are more British, American and Mexican than Spanish,” said Ignacio Galan, chairman of utility Iberdrola, the world’s biggest wind operator for the best part of the past decade.
              &

              In the grips of recession, Spain’s electricity demand is at 2005 levels. With peak demand at 45.5GW last year, according to grid operator REE, and more than 100GW installed capacity from all technologies nationwide, Spain now has far more generating capacity than it needs.
              The industry ministry does not expect any new capacity from any technology until 2017 at the earliest.

              Uprooting

              Capacity already online is also in danger because of the regulation’s retroactive impact.
              The cuts will cost operators of existing wind projects just under EUR 608 million in 2014 alone, according to an analysis of the draft by the energy regulator; but according to APPA this figure is closer to EUR 1 billion.
              &
              Devil in the details

              The new regulation gives details on the PP’s reform law, passed in July 2013. The law ended the power price-support mechanism — a feed-in tariff and alternative production incentive — that had been driving Spanish renewables since 1999. New renewables capacity must now compete in the power market without any support.

              But it is the far-reaching retroactive measures for existing capacity that are bringing a barrage of law suits against the government. The regulation applies a “reasonable profit” standard, set at 7.5%, pre-tax, across the useful life of all existing renewables plants, in contrast to the double figures attained by older wind farms. Useful life officially remains at 20 years, as under previous regulations.

              The 8.4GW of wind online in Spain before 2005 — 37% of today’s cumulative total — has already exceeded the regulation’s “reasonable profit” figure, and will only receive the wholesale electricity market price.

              This is totally unfair, says AEE. Polo points out that investors in that capacity — built when wind was still considered high risk — were lured onboard by promises from the highest possible guarantor: the state itself. In successive regulations since 1999, the state guaranteed feed-in tariffs and production incentives would remain in place throughout useful life. Breaking that promise sets a very dangerous precedent, warned Justin Wilkes, EWEA deputy CEO. “

              And then there is Germany and the immensity of the problems created by the irrational rush to Renewable Energy and the truly horrendous social cost imposed on the lower earning strata of Germany’s citizens as roughly 800,000 German citizens are cut off from power each year due to their inability to afford the constantly escalating costs of the now fast failing Energiewende, the German Green driven transition to Renewable Energy.

              This along with many other examples of the almost complete failure technically, economically and job creation wherever Renewable Energy has been attempted on a large scale is all out there for our politicians to educate themselves about and has been for over a decade past.

              Their seemingly total and complete and abject failure to do so and to realise the implications of such rigid, inflexible arrogantly elitist imposed energy policies and the increasingly obvious and abject failures of the so called Renewable Energy to come anywhere close to their claims of a replacement for the fossil fueled power generators over the whole range of power generation requirements, all reinforce the abject failure of the politicians to realise the impact of their abjectly rigid, irresponsible and irrational energy policies on the society they profess to represent and govern.

              All of which is a devastating indictment on their entire individual personas and their intellectual arrogance and rigidity as individuals and their political and personal and individual abilities as somebody who has claimed they are the most fit to represent the people they profess to represent and govern.

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        • #
          Ursus Augustus

          “How many engineers saw this epic fail coming?”

          I reckon just about all of them.

          ‘How many climate scientists?’ you might ask. None it seems.

          The crumbling walls of this pseudo scientific Tower of Babble On must surely be exposed by this. Surely?

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        • #
          Rick Bradford

          It could be time for another read of Carlo Cipolla’s Basic Laws of Human Stupidity.

          He defines stupidity well: “Someone who causes loss to others and makes no gain for themselves.”

          Add that to Law 1: “Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid people in circulation.”

          He notes that the West, which tries to be egalitarian and thus not to believe in human stupidity, is therefore encouraging stupidity at higher and higher levels in society.

          https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dA-ZoY25k0PWtG2ffjHBBt3iWp0yJN1E1sa31Q-zcgo/edit?pli=1

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        • #
          stan stendera

          +1776. An American cheering.

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          • #
            stan stendera

            Another American is cheering Jo Nova. Another shout out from the Manhattan Contrarian blog referring to this very post.

            30

      • #
        Andrew McRae

        My interpretation of the diagram key was that the thick vertical line represents a solid bar connection between incoming line at an interconnect point. The diagram is an electrical schematic, not a strictly physical map.

        Can someone else confirm?

        21

        • #
          RB.

          Olympic Dam is about 250km north of Pt Augusta and the Hallet/Brown Hill windfarms are 150km SE of PA. Its not a good indicator of distances at all.

          30

      • #
        Climateskeptic

        Coal turbines are 600 tons and spin at 3000 rpm. That’s inertia

        That’s called “momentum” not “inerta”

        314

        • #
          Glen Michel

          Is that a fact.Maybe you can discern potential from kinetic as well.Typical Green: no nuance.

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        • #
          Reed Coray

          Actually, mass that “spins” possesses “angular momentum,” which is the product of the angular velocity and the moment of inertia. So calling it “inertia” is every bit as correct as calling it “momentum.”

          201

        • #
          Climateskeptic

          So calling it “inertia” is every bit as correct as calling it “momentum

          Is that a fact

          What a load of nonsense, its like saying a ton of feathers has the same density as a ton of lead.
          A 600 ton turbine has the same inertia or “moment of inertia” when its turned of and stationery or spinning at 3000 rpm.
          This is the problem when science novices delude themselves that they are experts in physics or climate change.

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          • #
            Graeme No.3

            “This is the problem when science novices delude themselves that they are experts in physics or climate change”.
            I fully agree with your statement.

            200

          • #
            Rod Stuart

            Question for you then:
            Does a 600 tonne rotor at rest impart the same amount of energy to an unstable electricity grid as does a 600 tonne rotor synched at 3000 rpm?

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            • #
              Graeme No.3

              I thought that the arc/ tag would be unnecessary.

              50

            • #
              Climateskeptic

              Does a 600 tonne rotor at rest impart the same amount of energy to an unstable electricity grid as does a 600 tonne rotor synched at 3000 rpm

              Well the answer could be yes or no or somewhere in between, depends on how much “power” it is producing when its rotating at 3000 rpm, which could be anything from zero to 500MW. You are confused if you think that just because a power source is larger it is better at stabilizing the grid frequency. A bigger power source can also be more destabilizing to the grid if not synchronized

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              • #
                Rod Stuart

                One of us is very confused, and it sure as Hell isn’t me.

                110

              • #
                Climateskeptic

                You need to go and read some basic physics as well cause you sure dont get it.
                “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” – Confucius quotes

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              • #
                AndyG55

                Your trouble CS, is that you never got passed basic junior high physics.

                You totally lack any real knowledge.. because you seem to be totally ignorant of the extent of your own ignorance.

                100

              • #
                AndyG55

                Thursday evening again.

                CS’s dole payment has arrived and he can afford an hour or two down at the local net café, over a decaf latte. !

                90

              • #
                AndyG55

                DOH ! the whole idea of having a series of large massive synchronised rotors is to provide stability to the system.

                That is how a modern, reliable grid should operate.

                It is the mass of synchronised heavy rotors that allows wind turbines to be synchronised.

                As you reduce the amount of consistent, spinning heavy mass in the system, giving preference to a large number of unsynchronised, irregular inputs, you edge the system closer and closer to instability.

                That is a what has happened to the SA network.

                It has become UNSTABLE!!!

                … and totally reliant on the brown-coal fired electricity from Victoria.

                And it will not be the last of the green agenda grids to go into total collapse.

                120

          • #
            RB.

            You are talking out of your a—. Inertia is tendency for an object to remain still or continue moving at a constant speed. Momentum is mV.

            90

            • #
              RB.

              mv rather than millivolts.

              30

            • #
              Climateskeptic

              You can cut and paste from wikipedia, great, but do you understand it? You are confusing the term “inertia” as used in “Classical mechanics” with the frequency stabilization of a grid. Explain to me how they are connected?

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              • #
                AndyG55

                The only person confused here is you, CS !!

                If you cannot understand how a 600t rotor spinning at 3000rpm provides an inherent stabilisation of the grid frequency, you really do need to go and sue your teachers for incompetence.. because your education has been a monumental FAILURE.

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              • #
                Climateskeptic

                Noddy go and do some reading, your ignorance is breathtaking.

                29

              • #
                AndyG55

                You present another empty post.. your only quality.

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              • #
                RB.

                Wikipedia -Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion; this includes changes to its speed, direction or state of rest. It is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant velocity.

                I don’t how anyone could come up with something radically different so that its similar doesn’t mean cut and paste.

                The point was that inertia is qualitative and as wikipedia states it – “inertia” is more properly understood as shorthand for “the principle of inertia” as described by Newton in his First Law of Motion

                Momentum is a measurable property/quantity – mass times velocity.

                For rotating objects, there is a moment of inertia but the quantity is angular momentum.

                Now you can better pretend that you understand all of this better than the other readers.

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                Climateskeptic

                Your are still stuck in “Classical Mechanics” mode. Everything you say is correct, but its also irrelevant to the grid frequency. The connection you think exists is not there. Grid frequency stabilization has nothing to do with inertia, you are living in an alternate Physics universe.

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                AndyG55

                Poor CS.. ignorant to the very core. !

                Good laugh for all and sundry, thanks CS :-)

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              • #
                RB.

                Climatesceptic – I didn’t study the general relativity of electricity networks (if anyone actually teaches the course) but your first comment showed that you didn’t have any idea about classical physics and thought inertia was for things standing still and momentum when moving.

                Poor attempts to cover up your poor understanding of physics.

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            AndyG55

            Frequency inertia, dimbo.

            do try to comprehend something at least once in your life.

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            • #
              Climateskeptic

              Frequency inertia

              Hahaha, Noddy says it and it become so. What is this thing you just invented “frequency inertia”? You don’t have a clue how the grid works do you?

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              • #
                AndyG55

                Your lack of basic comprehension or intelligence, astounds even me. !!!

                Jo has explained how frequency stability is tantamount in the grid.

                If you do not understand that a massive 600t rotor spinning at 3000rpm provides an incredible amount of frequency inertia, then even going back to primary school isn’t going to help you.

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              • #
                Climateskeptic

                “Its big so it must be so” Do you honestly believe that one large power station somewhere in the “gridosphere” is used as a frequency reference for the entire grid? The reason that the grid frequency dropped was because demand exceeded supply, where the supply comes from in inconsequential.

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                AndyG55

                roflmao !!

                Without the stability of the solid stable grid frequency, wind power is worse that useless.. it is actually disruptive.

                There must be solid synchronisation in a grid network for it continue to function.

                But, I’m guessing you know very little about any of that sort of physics.

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              • #
                AndyG55

                Seems that you have ZERO comprehension how a large scale electricity grid works.. you seem to live in a realm of anti-knowledge.

                Please keep posting so we can all have a good laugh. ! :-)

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              • #
                RB.

                Inertia is a qualitative description. Frequency inertia is the same as keeping frequency constant.

                As an engineering blog described it

                From a reliability perspective, system inertia is a good thing. The large rotational mass providing system inertia slows the decline in frequency should there be a sudden change in the generation or load of the system. System inertia helps prevent protective load shedding mechanisms from kicking in by providing time for compensating control systems to adjust generation to the changing environment.

                Before you go on about you knew that system inertia was more commonly used than frequency inertia, you wrote that it should be momentum.

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                Climateskeptic

                Hahaha, system inertia has nothing to do with the size of any single generator, Ill say it again, the frequency dropped because demand exceeded supply and no amount of system inertia is going to fix that.

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                AndyG55

                Again, your lack of knowledge or comprehension comes to the fore.

                So funny to watch.

                Pointless trying to educate you, though.. you have way to much anti-knowledge to get rid of first.

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              • #
                ROM

                OK I’m the electrical power novice here!

                I was doing some reading on the synchronisation of power station generators to the Grid frequency between some serious coughing bouts this morning.

                There doesn’t seem to be any doubt that grid frequency stability is the most important of the three of frequency, voltage and wattage out puts of the three key requirements for a viable industrial sized grid.

                Some reading some time back said that there is usually just one generator in a major power station that is designated as the Grid frequency controller .
                All other generators in that station and no doubt across any grid they are the major component of are synchronised with that generator’s frequency beat so the key generator must be held to a degree or so per revolution accuracy per time factor as it spins at its grid RPM.
                ——–
                This following is not grid related but makes SA’s Black out look like some kid blew out the candle.

                The Russian Yenisei river Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro Power Plant Disaster [ Aug 17 2009 @ 8.13am.]

                The 1860 tonne turbine and rotor spinning at 600 RPM was literally blown from its pit when its out of balance vibration broke the bolts holding the turbine lid down against a head of water of some 242 metres and then still spinning at high RPM made its way across the generator hall.

                In another article on this accident it is mentioned that the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro plant had been using a generator at the very large downstream Bratsk River Hydro generation dam as the phase synchronising generator for the entire grid system.

                However a major fire at the Bratsk Dam hydro had put the communications system out of action so the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro was using one of its own generators to synchronise the local generators to the grid.

                About 70% of the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro power output is used to supply power to one of the world’s largest aluminum smelters.

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                RB.

                Don’t “haha” when you’ve been shown up to be ignorant. Its a cheap trick used often by trolls.

                the frequency dropped because demand exceeded supply and no amount of system inertia is going to fix that.

                So you’re blaming all South Australians for not switching off their tele at 1618 on Wednesday? You must be the only one not aware that supply was the problem.

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              • #
                AndyG55

                “between some serious coughing bouts this morning.”

                You got the lurgy too, have you ROM….. darn its hard to shake it !!!

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              • #
                Climateskeptic

                Bravo, My point exactly
                “However a major fire at the Bratsk Dam hydro had put the communications system out of action so the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro was using one of its own generators to synchronise the local generators to the grid.”

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              • #
                AndyG55

                The reason the grid frequency dropped was because there was not enough large synchronised turning mass to stabilise it.

                and that is the big problem with preferencing wind turbines over real energy supply generators, the reduction of heavy synchronised turning mass.

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              • #
                AndyG55

                So, you have just admitted that one generator is used to synchronise to the grid… Well done.

                Now, where do you think that grid frequency comes from ?

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              • #
                Climateskeptic

                You still don’t get it Noddy. It doesn’t matter where the power comes from, the “heavy synchronised turning mass” wont help you if demand exceeded supply and no amount of Pseudo-physics will help you there

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              • #
                AndyG55

                Furthermore, when they re-start the system do you think they start all generators at once and just hope ???

                THINK.. if you can. !!!

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              • #
                OriginalSteve

                CS – actually once the generator reaches its max output there is no ill effect, it’s just pumping out as much as it can. If the rest of the grid can’t supply the extra required it’s no big deal…..of the deficit causes problems it gets dropped off the grid so it doesn’t drag down voltage or frequency…

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              • #
                RB.

                Bravo, My point exactly

                How quickly people forget

                That’s called “momentum” not “inerta”

                was your point, wasn’t it?

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            • #
              Mark D.

              CS, you are silly:

              “heavy synchronised turning mass” wont help you if demand exceeded supply

              The “heavy turning mass” IS the supply! There wasn’t enough of it available. You are saying the same thing.

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          • #
            Reed Coray

            CS. Two definitions of “inertia” are: (1) “a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged”, and (2) “a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force” [https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1EODB_enUS545US701&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=inertia%20definition].

            I’d like to see you try to “change” the behavior of an object with a mass whose weight is 600 tons that is spinning at 3000 rotations per minute. I’d say the motion of such an object has a “tendency” to remain unchanged.

            Furthermore, I didn’t say calling it “inertia” was correct (although in the sense of the first definition, it is correct), I said calling it “inertia” was as correct as calling it “momentum.” And your comparison with the density of a ton of feathers and the density of a ton of lead is ludicrous in the sense that the density of feathers and the density of lead at least have the same units (mass, not weight, per unit volume). “Momentum” and “angular momentum” don’t even have the same units. Momentum has units of mass times velocity (kilogram meter per second in the MKS system). Angular momentum has units of moment of inertia times angular velocity (kilogram meter squared per second). So calling the property of a spinning mass “momentum” is like calling a horse a spider.

            I do find merit, however, in your statement: “This is the problem when science novices delude themselves that they are experts in physics or climate change.” Maybe a little introspection on your part would be a good thing.

            Finally, for what it’s worth, I admit I’m not an expert in climate change; but I do have a PhD in physics, so although I may not be an “expert” in physics, I do have some awareness of the field.

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            • #
              AndyG55

              Basically, the HUGE momentum of several synchronised 600t generators provides an enormous amount of frequency inertia to the system.

              If they are not spinning, there is no frequency inertia.

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      • #
        Big Dave

        Hi Jo,
        I found google maps with the satellite overlay to be useful.

        The search for ‘Davenport, South Australia’ iresults in an intersection in a field with no visible structures 3-4 km east of the town of Stirling North.

        Port Augusta power station is 14km south west of the town, quite visible on the waters edge with cooling ponds to the east. There is a rectangle, 6 km due east of the power station.

        If you zoom in on it you’ll find a massive switch yard with several transmission lines coming in. I suspect this is ‘Davenport’ from the Appendix A diagram.

        Would be good if someone familiar with the area can confirm.

        Cheers,
        Big Dave

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      • #
        Delta

        You can go to the network diagrams on the AEMO web site. Scroll down to South Australia. I think the Port Augusta PS was known as Northern and you can see where it is connected in the system on the top left of page 8 of 9.
        [I am holding this in the moderation queue to ensure Jo sees it.] Fly

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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Jo,

    I can see just from the detailed graphs that you’ve done your usual high standard of homework. I’m reminded of nothing quite so much as this saying I once read. It was presented as a joke but it’s an all too real syndrome. Just apply it to the SA power authority and state government, maybe also to Canberra.

    PLAN AHEAD. YOU MAY NEED ONE SOMEDAY.

    Joking aside, I guess that in their zeal to prove renewables were the right prescription for nearly every complaint the human race has, they failed to ask the obvious question, what would happen if something failed?

    And now they know :-(

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Of course nothing is completely bulletproof, especially in the face of the unpredictable. Weather in general and especially lightening striking the wrong thing can be big problems.

      But still, there’s that well known problem of complexity that makes managing everything, not just power generation and distribution, a lot harder.

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        Gary Meyers

        Why weren’t these stations protected from lightning strikes, if that’s possible?

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        • #
          Olaf Koenders

          They usually have a lightning rod at the tallest point running straight to ground. Metal transmission lines themselves are rarely hit because they’re insulated from their metal towers that are grounded and which lightning prefers.

          Likewise wind turbines are grounded with a lightning rod. However, lighting is unpredictable and when a sufficiently powerful bolt manages to flow beyond the grounding capacity, such as when everything’s wet or even a rare strike at a weak point in the system, there’s no way to stop a local blackout, but that wouldn’t affect the entire state.

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        • #

          They are. In the report there are comments about connector lines shorting to ground, e.g. wires touching each other or the tower or the tower falling over. I don’t remember comments about lighting, take a look and report back.

          Transmission lines often have a 4th wire above the three phases. That’s to attract lightning and ground it.

          Wind turbines blades generally have a lightning rod inside each blade, I’m not sure what they do at the rotor. Likely an air gap of some sort. Still, most IWT fires are caused by lightning.

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          Why weren’t these stations protected from lightning strikes, if that’s possible?

          A power systems engineer might give you a different answer. But I’m thinking there probably is some protection possible in the form of simple devices to intercept or divert lightening to a more desirable target. I see cables tied directly to the towers that run above some power lines and I think that is their purpose. Others have made this same observation.

          But being completely bullet proof seems to be impossible. I think it’s a matter of there always being the possibility of a stronger counter-countermeasure against your countermeasure.

          The real challenge is to keep the damage localized when it does happen so the rest of your system stays up and running. With all those windmills reacting unpredictably any such measures in place apparently couldn’t do their job. And lightening isn’t the only threat. Anything that takes out a transmission line’s supporting towers or brings down one of the conductors is going to cause a massive short circuit. Theoretically this can be localised but again, a big enough problem can overpower your protection measures. If you take out a single generating facility and the load can’t be transferred elsewhere because there’s not enough capacity, you may have more of your system down than the one failed plant.

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          • #
            Rod Stuart

            A power systems engineer might give you a different answer

            Not much different.
            Lightning rods used in Australia are manufactured by companies such as Erico, Strikeguard, Thunderbolt, ECO, etc.
            Power stations tend to prefer ELLIPS or Franklin devices manufactured in France.
            The French have developed standards in their AFNOR standardisation body for lightning rods that are technologically advanced. This technology is embodied in products from French suppliers that conform to the French standard NFC17-102.
            Australian standard AS/NZS 1768:2007 establishes the placement of lightning protection equipment, and systems which comply with this standard using equipment compliant with the French standard is generally considered the optimal compliant choice.
            While such a protection system might not be boiler plate, lightning strikes to power stations are rare and nearly always the asset remains undamaged.
            Lightning strikes on power lines in the network are more likely, and can certainly result in voltage spikes and surges and the operation of protective devices. Apart from localised power outages, physical damage is rather unusual.

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    • #
      cohenite

      It’s a great post. There’s nowhere to hide for wind. The flip side is: would this have happened with a fossil grid?

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      • #
        Olaf Koenders

        Before the development and reliance on wind farms, I don’t recall any state in Oz entirely blacking out, even during those dark times in the 70′s. I may be wrong if the world is included. Someone may have a better memory than me.

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        • #
          Greg Cavanagh

          Even in the 70′s the screams of hospitals and people who need electricity for medical care were loud. With the union strikes that did happen, they’d shut down power in an area for hours, and I can’t remember if it was 2 hours or 4 hours.

          I remember it didn’t really bother us unless the power outage was at dinner time. Most of the time we had warning of exactly when our area was going to be without power, so we planned ahead. I guess they did this to forewarn people who needed electricity for medical devices.

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        • #
          Another Ian

          Not Oz but the blackout in UK in WW2, while caused by Hitler, wasn’t from lack of power IIRC

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        • #
          Greg Everard

          In the late 70s, early 80s I worked in Berri in SA and we had a statewide blackout that lasted for quite a few hours or perhaps a day. If I recall correctly, there was a gas valve failure at the Torrens Island plant and the Port Augusta power station couldn’t supply the extra (unsurprisingly), the computer screens wavered weirdly for 3 or 4 minutes on low voltage before everything dropped out. so yes, it can happen if a critical piece of equipment goes AWOL.

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      • #
        BruceC

        The flip side is: would this have happened with a fossil grid?

        Does QLD have a state-wide blackout during a cyclone?

        Does NSW have a state-wide blackout during an east-coast low?

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        • #
          BruceC

          BTW, I have asked one Nick Stokes this very same question several times over the past week on various forums ….. he has yet to answer me (or is avoiding/ignoring the question).

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        Greebo

        I suppose it could. If something came along to cause the sudden and complete shutdown of the main generators. Hmm, Victoria has four major coal fired generators, seven gas turbines, one gas thermal, and a number of other, smaller reciprocating gas, plus well over a dozen small hydro plants. About the only thing I can think of that could threaten ALL of that is Daniel Andrews.

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        Mark D.

        would this have happened with a fossil grid?

        IMHO this happened because of greed. The operators of the wind farms SHOULD have anticipated the oncoming weather event. Operators of the rest of SA grid should have started up reserves in anticipation of wind NEEDING to furl. Instead they were all fiddling……

        Now if there were no reserves left to start, that would provide the answer to your question right?

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        • #
          ROM

          The operators of the Torrens gas powered steam plant and other generators are NOT paid to begin to start and run their generators at grid phase speeds but unloaded if it looks like a severe weather event is on the cards and the turbines MIGHT drop out.

          No CEO inn his right mind would tell his engineers to start those gas powered generators up and then run them for an unknown period of time using lots of fuel just in case the wind turbines were going to possibly go black.

          The British have in fact panicked as their margins between the availability of power from fossil fueled generated energy and the potential demands are down to a few percent if the wind stops blowing.
          Which it has a number of times in the UK over the years, sometimes many times during the year and the UK is the windiest part of Europe.
          One comment was and the data just about confirmed it at the time, the whole of the UK’s wind turbine fleet, all 30,000 [ thirty thousand ] of them weren’t generating enough power to boil a kettle, that is “a kettle”, singular!

          So the British are now paying all sorts of fossil fueled generator operators lots of moola to be on full start up standby when conditions deteriorate ie; become calm which is often in mid winter when the most power is required.

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          • #
            Mark D.

            ROM: No CEO inn his right mind would tell his engineers to start those gas powered generators up and then run them for an unknown period of time using lots of fuel just in case the wind turbines were going to possibly go black.

            ROM, I don’t know if I’ve ever disagreed with you before. But there might be a first.

            The reliability of electric power is not (or should not) be at the whim of one CEO. This is a life-safety issue IMHO and your point is also based on the greed that drives your gas CEO isn’t it? The same greed that made the CEO of windfarms leave them on line in high winds and bad weather. Trying to get the most $$$$ ?

            The problem is we have permitted wacky priorities to creep into the decision tree.

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        • #
          tty

          Hydropower is very valuable for system stability. It is extremely reliable, has a large spinning mass and the capability to change power level very fast without risk of damage.

          20

          • #
            Mark D.

            No Argument there tty. Trouble is there is little development of hydro in western nations. In fact there is effort to undo hydro via regulations.

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  • #
    Peter Miller

    South Australia has a relatively warm climate, so I assume this idiotic blackout caused no deaths from hypothermia.

    Now if this had happened in the UK or Germany – both countries are ridiculously over-reliant on wind energy – in January or February, the death toll from hypothermia would have been in the tens of thousands.

    It is time for wind energy producers to guarantee their supplies. In other words, they should be compelled to build rapid reaction gas fired power stations to compensate for periods when there is either too much or too little wind.

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    • #
      Joe Public

      The UK has 14.1GW of turbines, but they seem to be constrained to about 6.5 -7GW.

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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Peter Miller:

      SA has been relying on OCGT for rapid response, but they are small units and expensive to run** and have relatively high emissions (less than old coal fired). They are not suitable for long term operation. The fluctuations of pricing due to the on/off wind supply has driven both coal and gas CCGT out of the market (hence the State Treasurer having to ask (beg) Pelican Point to start-up again on occasions.

      ** There have been suggestions that the operators have been ‘gaming’ the system, i.e. waiting until the price offered soars before bidding. Even a suggestion – without any evidence offered – that the operators had decided (independently) not to bid below $300 a MWh. That would make them quite profitable.

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      • #
        Peter Miller

        Wind energy, as we all know, is expensive and unreliable. It only becomes ‘economic’, when there are large government subsidies available and the back up cost of reliable (fossil fuelled) electricity generation is ignored.

        So who actually benefits from wind energy? Not the consumer, as they have to pay taxes to fund the subsidies and in most instances find the cost of wind energy reflected in their soaring electricity bills. Th climate? Well, leaving aside the sentient sceptic view, all the wind energy in the world over the next 20 years is unlikely to have more than an 0.01 degrees C impact on global temperatures, but at such an incredible cost.

        The answer? Capitalists love it when governments try and distort markets, there are always fat pickings all around for those prepared to exploit the situation, which is usually a classic instance of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

        Graeme, your comment of: “operators have been gaming the system” is not surprising, there are emergency back up systems in the UK, but none of these will be sufficient if there is a prolonged period of cold weather again, as in the winters of 1946/47 and 1962/63, then it will not be a case of hundreds of thousands dying from hypothermia, it will be millions. Unfortunately, it is this type of catastrophe which is needed to bury the Green Blob forever.

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    • #
      Rod Stuart

      All that is really necessary is to insist that wind farm operators adhere to the same power generation rules as conventional generation.

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    • #
      Glen Michel

      I note that in the “heads up”stage of this weather event someone from BoM used the term “cyclonic”. Interesting. The media grabbed this one for all its alarmist worth-followed by the apologist pollies.

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    • #
      Phillip Bratby

      I suggested at an examination of a proposed offshore wind farm in the UK that the operator be made to build and operate a synchronous power station of the same capacity as the wind farm so as to guarantee a firm supply. Needless to say, such sensible ideas gain zero traction with the decision makers.

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      • #
        tom0mason

        But why have synchronous power station running, that will not achieve the object of installing the off-shore plant. Sounds like you want Britain to retain some industry and reliable residential power, which is not the UN’s objective.

        /sarcoff

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  • #
    Harry Passfield

    Incredibly impressed with the quality of your forensic report, Jo. Of course, there are those who would argue (that’s you Mr Stokes) that it’s perfectly OK to crowbar 350MW within six seconds and it won’t have any effect. KBO, Jo!

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    duker

    remember South Australia has TWO inter connectors with Victoria, the one with Heywood in the southern part of the state ( which seems to be AC ) and the DC line from near Mildura to Berri, which is east of Adelaide.
    is there any information about this lines performance at the time of the collapse in the grid ?

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  • #
    OriginalSteve

    My morning giggle…..at least the ABC has *finally*!! got it right and labelled *any* criticism of the Green Religion as heresy….

    I’m “heretic” and LOVIN’ IT!!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-06/uhlmann-on-power-blackout-in-south-australia/7906844

    “The blackout of an entire state is rare. And bad.

    Having all the lights go out in a storm, even a big one, is not a sign of an electricity grid that’s working well.

    And the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) preliminary report has not yet determined why the whole of South Australia went to “black system” at 4.18pm local time on Wednesday September 28.

    “The root cause is subject to further analysis being conducted,” it says.

    Once those statements would have seemed uncontroversial but not in the political storm that has raged since South Australia was shut down over a week ago.

    Now to dare suggest that the state’s heavy reliance on wind generation might have made it’s grid more vulnerable to a blackout is heresy…”

    Don’t you love the irony….greenism is finally hoisted nice and high for all to see , on its own petrard….

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      OriginalSteve

      Hee hee…loving it further…same article…..

      “System had further flaws

      In the eerie dark that followed the operator immediately began working through a pre-determined restoration plan. And that revealed more deficiencies in the system.

      The operator has two contracts in South Australia for System Restart Ancillary Services (SRAS). Their identities are a secret for contractual reasons, so the report calls them SRAS 1 and SRAS 2.

      Plan A was to use SRAS1 to jump start the thermal power station at Torrens Island and, at the same time, restore the interconnection with Victoria.

      “This was seen as the quickest and safest way to restore supply to South Australia,” it says.

      In a footnote it adds, “wind farms cannot be used in the initial stages of a power system restoration due to the variable nature of their output”.

      Things didn’t go well.”

      Popcorn and deckchairs for all….a public flogging coming up for this sort of foolishness ….and long overdue

      Clearly they haven’t tapped into any biblical wisdom whatsoever:

      “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly”
      (Proverbs 26:11 )

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      • #
        Bulldust

        I must say I enjoyed reading that article just before coming here. If only the ABC could digest this, internalise it, and begin more even-handed reporting on renewables and their various short-comings (which are many).

        I am still shocked somewhat, that the ABC is finally coming around on this lunacy. I guess it took a whole state being blacked-out (are we allowed to say that?) for them to pay attention.

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      el gordo

      I like Uhlmann’s tone: ‘Here, it’s worth noting that gas plants can’t just spring into action — they need time to warm up. Pelican Point had been off-line before the storm, bid out of the market by cheap, abundant wind.’

      The greenblob has him down as a heretic of the first order.

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      • #
        Glen Michel

        Though he sees it as inevitable that renewables will succeed as soon as these technical difficulties are resolved.I disagree with that assessment.

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        • #
          OriginalSteve

          “….that renewables will succeed…..”…because glorious Green Commisar says so….

          The Communist Red Army used to execute people who didnt thrown themselves as canon fodder into harms way during WW2 – the Commisars had to show that the Communist ideology was all conquering ( iroically the UK & USA managed to do it to – so much for the ideology argument…) and so if any soldiers didnt prove they were right, they got executed.

          Its abit like flogging a dead horse….or idealogy…or wind towers…

          Meh.

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        • #

          these technical difficulties

          It’s ironic that the people who promote these follies because they “love nature” need to overcome the laws of nature to fulfill their dreams.

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        • #
          el gordo

          ‘I disagree with that assessment.’

          Me too, so lets hope the SA debacle is a wake up call for Uhlmann and politicians.

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      • #
        ianl8888

        Except the actual cost of cheap wind is dangerous, unreliable supply.

        Even now, Uhlmann cannot bring himself to see the full catastrophe.

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        • #
          el gordo

          Uhlmann is an old fashion journalist (with a renewable bias) but the blob have turned on him for saying they are being hysterical. He goes on to say skeptics shouldn’t be burnt at the stake.

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        • #
          el gordo

          Graham Lloyd at the Oz

          ‘The nation’s renewable energy strategy has officially blown a fuse.’

          I can’t get behind the paywall but I’m assuming heretics are fighting back.

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      • #
        Greebo

        So, why doesn’t Uhlmann ask why, given that SA knew the storm was coming, were Pelican Point and Torrens idling? Even someone as ignorant as me knows that wing turbines have to disengage to protect themselves.

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    • #
      David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

      He’s surprised me, and so has the ABC for letting his report out!?
      I also liked:
      “That weather sparked a series of events that spiralled into a state-wide blackout. That it was the sudden loss of wind power that tripped the interconnector with Victoria and that loss of generation is yet to be explained.”
      I also reckon the loss of wind power was the result of a number of turbines simultaneously experiencing “cut out” windspeeds, 20km/hour greater than their 90km/hour upper limit. Gusts of 110km/hpur were reported in the area.
      Cheers,
      Dave B

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  • #
    pat

    power-crazed:

    5 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Ed King: Paris climate deal to enter into force on 4 November
    Tweet from UN climate chief confirms global pact to curb use of oil, gas and coal will become international law by November
    TWEET: 72 Parties accounting for 56.75% GHG emissions have now ratified the #ParisAgreement! Entry into Force is in 30 days! #COP22 pic.twitter.com/usg26FAQOO
    — Patricia Espinosa C. (@PEspinosaC) October 5, 2016
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/10/05/paris-climate-deal-will-enter-into-force-on-4-november/

    5 Oct: The Hill: Devin Henry: UN makes power play against Trump
    International governments have made a power play against Donald Trump by ratifying an international climate deal earlier than expected, effectively preventing him from “canceling” the deal as he has promised to do.
    The European Union’s Tuesday decision to join the Paris climate deal will push the deal over the threshold for ratification; it will formally take effect in 30 days.
    That means Trump, should he be elected president in November, could not “cancel” or renegotiate the terms of the agreement…
    ***Still, Trump could ignore the goals that Obama has set — and some conservatives expect he would do just that.
    William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, said Trump could also insist the Senate needs to ratify the deal and send it to lawmakers, who would likely vote it down…
    But Trump would have the power to shape American policy in other ways, including by nominating a ninth justice to the Supreme Court…
    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/299310-un-makes-power-play-against-donald-trump

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    • #

      “The European Union’s Tuesday decision to join the Paris climate deal will push the deal over the threshold for ratification; it will formally take effect in 30 days. That means Trump, should he be elected president in November, could not “cancel” or renegotiate the terms of the agreement…”

      The US Constitution requires that ‘only’ Congress may enter into “treaties” and such that somehow provide long term ‘obligations’ for the sovereign US Government! The Paris agreement is only another treasonous attempt by Obummer! He took ‘Oath’ to support and defend the US constitution! Perhaps he can have someone read the US constitution to him, prior to punishment for treason.

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        OriginalSteve

        Hey I dont think they ever established that the incumbent is a US citizen, as such he is Prez illegally…and if they can pull that off…well….

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        • #
          OriginalSteve

          In the USA the sale of firearms have been growing pretty much year on year. In a way, its a direct commentary on how the USA citizenry views how things are going internally, and pretty close to complete lack of trust in the Executive Branch of govt.

          Now bear in mind while the Leftist media are quick to label americans “gun nuts” ( well the MSM would – its a Socialist outfit and socialists love gun control ), the reality is that the USA as an experiment in democracy and freedom of religion and individual liberty, has been wildly successful….which is why the Collectivists ( Communists ) hate it so much….

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    pat

    “most influential thinkers”? or raving lunatics?

    5 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Karl Mathiesen: Why the new climate math is a declaration of war
    Some of the most influential thinkers about climate change have decided that the time for negotiation with fossil fuel companies is over
    There is new climate math and it is the most irresistible yet. So we’ve heard from two of the most eloquent voices for action on climate change: Bill McKibben and George Monbiot.
    Writing in response to a report released by US NGO Oil Change International (OCI), McKibben and Monbiot echoed OCI’s conclusion that no new coal mines or oil or gas wells can be opened up, lest we exceed the carbon budget imposed on us by atmospheric physics.
    In New Republic, McKibben had a characteristically elegant device to explain the findings…
    Thus, said McKibben, the earth’s response to climate change would be henceforth governed by this inequation:
    942>843

    Writing in the Guardian, Monbiot frames it as the conflict we must have: “Preventing climate breakdown means defending democracy from plutocrats. It’s their interests versus the rest of humanity’s.”
    The war has already begun. Climate activists are drawing “red lines” in the grassy hills of Dakota and the courtrooms of the US, in the mud of the Ecuadorean Amazon, on the backs of whales in the Great Australian Bight and dozens of other places.
    Calls for a moratorium on new coal mines will now shift to all new fossil fuel extraction. The above formula will be cited as the justification…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/10/05/the-new-climate-math-is-a-declaration-of-war/

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  • #
    Dave Ward

    Is this epic indulgence of running the wind farms flat out in a storm

    It doesn’t sound that different to the Tasmanian power authorities running their hydro system flat out (and earning lots of money), then ending up with a critical shortage of water when the undersea link failed.

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    • #
      Greebo

      Now Tassie wants to duplicate BassLink ( at our expense, of course ) to provide hydro and wind “stability” to the national grid.

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  • #
    TdeF

    The real question is why spend billions of borrowed money building a clearly fragile wind power grid and blowing up working stations when South Australia already had a stable, adequate and long term power supply? Why did they close and even blow up previously working electricity generation?

    Forget CO2 and Global Warming and Climate Change. We can see the hundreds of millions in losses, the potentially fatal commercial damage to Whyalla and the upset and damage to a whole state.

    What actual benefit was there for the people of South Australia? Isn’t that the sole concern of the South Australian government?

    Who is going to compensate the many individuals and companies who are the victims of this failed policy? Who is taking responsibility for this disaster? Are we really supposed to accept this is an act of God when it is totally clear this is vandalism by an elected government responding to the ideas of a vocal minority? There is no justification at all for this reprehensible conduct by any government acting against the best interests of the electors, spending wildly and putting safety and security last.

    They must quickly restore the original power stations and inspect and maintain the wind towers.

    Never has an elected Australian government acted so blatantly against the bests interests of the electors. How much damage has been done to Whyalla? Why would they want to build their own power stations? How much damage has been done to the image of a State? Who wants to move to South Australia and live with candles, defrosted freezers across the State, shut businesses or trapped at Adelide International Airport? Could you imagine the outcry if this happened in Singapore or Dubai or Paris? Surely the head of state would not be blaming the weather?

    Imagine if a private company did this? Weatherill must resign and the wind tower program stopped now immediately and Port Augusta turned on again quickly. Then you do not need the wind farms, a testament to the political power of a vocal group spending everyone’s money to cripple a state. Unbelievable. Unconscionable. Unacceptable.

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    • #
      TdeF

      Sorry, inspect and maintain the transmission towers.

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      OriginalSteve

      The same reason the ACT govty has decided to sink $1,000,000,000 into a tram that service sonly the wealthy inner city areas….despite the fact the ACT has a highly geographically dispersed population – its an attempt to cripple the ACT economy as an excuse to raise exorbitant taxes but gee whiz they look green doing it….

      The ACT has also put in large solar farms at great expense, but with no net financial benefit to residents – except a smug feeling of the gummint ( leftist labor and Greens ) looking “green”.

      The ACT has artifically created the same problem as Sydney has – the poorer wont be able live close to jobs, and taxes will surge massively upward to pay for somethingthe ACT doesnt need.

      In terms of economic management is a complete fail ( they are left wing, so that was expected….)

      The chief monster in the ACT is an inner city dwelling, car hating bike rider, who rides bikes everywhere….

      Another #CensusFail #Skywhale moment brough to you by the Letter “L”, the number 1,000,000,000 and the Green ACT ( allegedly) “gummint”…

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      • #
        ROM

        Original Steve @ 11.2
        .
        The closer you get to the political power centres , the more irrational, stupid, outlandish and imbecilic the understanding of life’s realities and the real world outside of the Halls of Power along with the associated decision making it all becomes.

        You only got the half of it re the ACT government.

        Canberra Times; April 29 [ not the 1st ] 2016.

        ACT commits to 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2020:

        The ACT government has boosted its commitment to renewable energy still further, announcing Canberra will be fully powered by renewables in four years.

        The 100 per cent renewable target will add $290 to the average electricity bill at its peak in 2020
        &

        The government is signing 20-year deals, offering a guaranteed payment to the renewable projects for the energy they feed into the national grid.

        The solar projects, all in and near Canberra, are more than twice as expensive.

        In all, the wind and solar projects have 640MW of capacity, which is equivalent to 76 per cent of Canberra’s energy use.

        Because the clean energy costs more than coal-fired power, Mr Corbell said the move to renewables would add $290 a year to the average electricity bill at its peak in 2020, before declining. The average electricity bill is about $1500 a year at the moment.

        The costs would be largely offset by savings that households are making through programs including the free replacement of downlights, adding to an average $260 a household per year.

        Mr Corbell said Canberra was leading the nation on renewables, and reaping the benefits.

        Companies bidding for government energy contracts must promise investment in Canberra as part of the deal, and Mr Corbell said the projects had so far secured $400 million in local investment.

        Although the projects are almost entirely interstate, companies are funding tertiary courses in renewable research and to train workers for the renewable industry, and setting up headquarters and maintenance bases in Canberra.

        [ Unbelievably there is more of this Government Central utter irrationality and spurious arm waving justification here. ]

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        • #
          ROM

          Darn! Missed the critical bit;

          The 100 per cent renewable target will add $290 to the average electricity bill at its peak in 2020
          &
          The cheapest price to date is the $77 a megawatt hour it has agreed to pay to a French-owned wind farm at Hornsdale in South Australia.

          The government is signing 20-year deals, offering a guaranteed payment to the renewable projects for the energy they feed into the national grid.

          The solar projects, all in and near Canberra, are more than twice as expensive.
          &
          To date, the government has signed contracts for:

          200MW capacity of wind energy at Hornsdale (the first to begin operating in 2017, the second in 2018)
          80.5MW of wind energy at Ararat (2017)
          19.4MW of wind at Coonooer Bridge, Bendigo
          100MW of wind at Sapphire (2018)
          20MW of solar capacity at Royalla
          13MW of solar at Mugga Lane (this year)
          10MW of solar at Williamsdale (this year)

          Only the Royalla solar farm near Tuggeranong and the Coonooer Bridge wind farm near Bendigo are operating.

          Going to load the road system a heck of a lot as they truck all that Renewable Energy all the way from SA’s Horn’s Reef wind farm and all those other wind farms in Vic to Canberra , if any of them have got any turbines left or going by then.

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          • #
            OriginalSteve

            Well they have found a way with more wind farms to finally harness all the hot air in Canberra……we live in hope….

            Canberrans have a collective Stockholm Syndrome if they elect a win farm loving leftist govt….again…..

            Harf harf…..

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  • #
    Graeme No.3

    At least the Tasmanian hydro – while it lasted – didn’t result in emissions. I notice that the interconnector was running about the maximum capacity of the shut down Northern Power Station, during winter, not the peak demand time in summer. This suggests to me that the only big reduction in emissions that SA has achieved is by relocating them to Victoria.
    Whether all this expensive and erratic wind energy has resulted in any real reduction in emissions must be questioned since that is the supposed reason for the cost.

    Since SA is responsible for roughly 0.01% of World emissions and these are expected to rise by 13% over the next 10 years, a maximum reduction of 0.004% hardly makes sense.

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    • #
      Rod Stuart

      Tasmanian hydro – while it lasted – didn’t result in emissions

      IF there were such a thing as a “greenhouse effect”
      IF there were such things as “GHG’s” which result in a GHE
      IF CO2 and CH4 were in in fact GHG’s
      Then a hydro power station, at least one fed with a reservoir large enough to provide the generation of electricity over long periods of natural drought/flood intervals produces as much or more of these “GHG’s” than a modern coal fired power station. This is because the extent to which biological organisms in an artificial reservoir of this size produce very significant amounts of these gases. This is borne out by a study of Lake Pedder, among others.
      One could argue that this is not necessarily true in the case Hydro Tasmania, since so much of the hydro electric generation takes place with run of river stations.
      One could argue that wind farms in Tasmania are backed up by a very much larger fleet of hydro machines which are in fact FCAS capable.
      One could argue that hydo electric generation in Tasmania is economically viable, especially due to the fact that most of the infrastructure is amortised.
      I doubt that one could argue that production from new hydro-electric infrastructure and new wind farms could even hold an economic candle to a new coal fired power station of state of the art 42% thermal efficiency.

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      • #
        TdeF

        If the tiny saving in world CO2 was significant considering the rampaging growth in China and India. Why all this self harm when there is no benefit for anyone and especially the people of Tasmania who are making huge sacrifices for no quantifiable reason at all. Like South Australia, this is a government waging war on its own people for ideological reasons. The victims are countless.

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    • #
      ROM

      Not sure which commenter in one of Jo’s posts a few weeks ago made this comparison so I will do,it again.

      Wind turbines exist for only one [ non ] viable reason, to supposedly reduce the amounts of CO2, the dreaded “carbon” of the “natural climate change denying” activist ignorati that is supposedly emitted according to the “models of emissions”, nothing is ever measured in climate change circles, its all just guesstimated and modelled including the world’s CO2 emissions based on the national estimates of fossil fuels burned which is only relatively accurate for a couple of dozen nations out of the 196 or thereabouts on this planet.
      —————
      So to a couple of facts re CO2 emissions here in Australia.

      1 / A human being when breathing out has a breath CO2 reading up to 40,000 ppm or about 100 times the current atmospheric levels of 400 ppm
      [ ppm = Parts Per Million ]

      2 / A human being will breathe out about a kilogram of CO2 gas each day or roughly about 350 kgs per year

      3 / Australia’s CO2 emmissions are currently modelled as being around 550 million tonnes of CO2 this year

      ————-
      .
      4 / There are about 1.35 billion Chinese each breathing out about 350 kgs of CO2 each year

      5/ 1.35 billion Chinese breathe out at the rate of 350 kgs per year each, about 472 million tonnes of CO2 each year.

      6 / 1.35 billion Chinese BREATHE OUT each year nearly 86% of Australia’s TOTAL annual CO2 emissions from all sources

      ————-
      Now wash, rinse and repeat with 1.25 billion Indians.

      And these imbecilic whack jobs that now pass for State Premiers imagine in their arrogant, ignorant hubris that they are going to make a difference to the climate of this planet by sacrificing our people on the altars of their ignorant ambition for which they are seemingly quite prepared to destroy our industries and our standards of living that has taken past generations some two hundred years to create.

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  • #
    David S

    The response of the SA government and greenies is typical of the whole AGW modus operandi. Look at a set of facts. Ignore the parts of it that destroy your argument. Change or reinterpret those that don’t suit the meme. Release press releases that supports the green renewable agenda. Hope that no one looks at the facts too closely. How anyone can interpret the AEMO report as anything other than a monumental condemnation of the green dream beggars belief. The description of this weather event as cyclonic and once in 50 year weather event is just telling porkies. Ironically in the same week in WA and I think one of the Eastern states there were localised blackouts which cause power disruption for a short time in local areas. ( presumably from the same weather system. This is how a grid system should work and would work if it wasn’t structured like a house of cards like SA . The crazy part of the green argument here is that the reason for the failure here was the inability of another state to supply base load energy generated by dirty brown coal when the renewables all shut down simultaneously . If renewable need fossil fuel backup as regularly as they do how does that reduce the CO2 levels anyway. With Victoria looking to shut down its coal fired capacity we will all be in the dark in the future.

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    braddles

    It seems too much of a coincidence that the storm would bring down power lines AND shut down multiple wind farms hundreds of kilometres away, spread over a large area, all in the space of a few seconds. Wouldn’t logic suggest that the fluctuations cause by loss of the power lines then tripped the wind farms in some way (upsetting frequency or phase?). In that case, the storm did not shut down the wind farms, it was the wobbles in the grid. Perhaps some experts could comment.

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    pat

    so how is the “stakeholding” Carbon Brief describing the SA blackout preliminary report?

    CarbonBriefing 5 Oct: SA blackout due to ‘transmission system faults’ in extreme weather, report finds
    South Australia’s extreme weather was the cause of a blackout last week, causing “multiple transmission system faults”, according to a preliminary report from the Australian Energy Market Operator. In 12 seconds, three major transmission lines were lost, and 315MW of wind generation disconnection after “multiple faults in a short period”. One economist told the Guardian that there was nothing in the report to suggest wind was a more unreliable technology than any other technology in an electricity system, as the wind farm difficulties would have been inconsequential following the fault in the transition lines. The Australian Energy Council’s chief executive, Matthew Warren, thought differently. He said that Australia needed to think about “how we run a decarbonising electricity system”. The Guardian also has a comment piece by the same writer on the report, explaining the role of wind in more detail.
    Guardian
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/daily-brief/paris-climate-deal-eu-backs-landmark-agreement-cod-regional-accents

    CarbonBrief Team: Leo Hickman is our director and editor.
    Leo previously worked for 16 years as a journalist, editor and author at the Guardian newspaper. Before joining Carbon Brief, he was WWF-UK’s chief advisor on climate change…
    Robert McSweeney covers climate science.
    Robert holds an MEng in mechanical engineering from the University of Warwick and an MSc in climate change from the University of East Anglia…
    Tim Osborn
    Tim is a professor of climate science at the Climatic Research Unit, within the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, where he has worked since 1990…
    Peter Stott
    Peter is the scientific strategic head for the climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office Hadley Centre…
    Thomas Harrisson
    Thomas completed an MA in digital journalism at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2015. He has several years of experience working in digital communications and content management for environmental non-profit organisations, such as ClientEarth and Stakeholder Forum…
    Funding
    We are grateful for the support of the European Climate Foundation, which provides our funding…ETC
    https://www.carbonbrief.org/about-us

    5 Oct: Guardian: SA blackout due to ‘transmission system faults’ in extreme weather, report finds
    Energy economist says preliminary report makes clear South Australian event was ‘a transmission failure, not a generation failure’
    by Katharine Murphy, Political editor
    The report also notes that in the lead-up to the statewide blackout, generation reduction occurred at six windfarms, while there was no reduction in thermal generation.
    Aemo says each reduction coincided with a drop in voltage observed at the windfarms’ connection points, but it says it is too soon to say why…
    Energy economist Bruce Mountain told Guardian Australia the report, while preliminary, made it abundantly clear that the South Australian event was “a transmission failure, not a generation failure.”…
    Mountain noted the report had identified localised issues with windfarms, possibly linked to lightning strikes during the storm, “but kind of ‘so what?’ This happens all the time in an electricity system.”…
    The ACT – which has a bipartisan renewable energy target of 100% renewables by 2020 – has urged the federal government to get its story straight on renewable energy…
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/oct/05/sa-blackout-due-to-transmission-system-faults-in-extreme-weather-says-report

    permanent blackout in Canberra would be welcome.

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    • #
      ROM

      Pat, your post got me thinking again and its a point that hasn’t been commented on anywhere I’ve seen so far.

      Unlike a major fossil fueled power station with a number of big generators and where all the control systems are robustly constructed to last for decades and have a hundred plus years of station instrumental and control system experience backing their construction and operations plus being in A/C controlled conditions and being overseen constantly by an operator or a few, the wind turbine control systems, sensors and electronics are small, isolated 30 metres above ground level, inaccessible for days or weeks or even months at a time, are operating in conditions from freezing to high temperatures during heavy generation, are surrounded by near continuous vibration, severe oil pollution on occassions, noise and maybe large magnetic fields, copping the odd mega million volt lightening strike and only have a couple of decades worth of experience to support any design characteristics.

      And unlike power stations when reconnecting after a fast glitch or a few fast glitches, the turbine electronics and sensors may have to cop a very heavy current burst as they re-synchronise with their local wind farm phase.

      All in all the internal wind turbine electronics and major internal sensors may really be operating very close to their limits for reliability.

      So to those who have suggested that the turbines when they drop out for a fraction of second or so before re-connecting, suggest that the turbines should be able to do that a dozen or more times in very fast succession, it is quite possible that the electronics and sensors might not be able to handle more than a very small number of rapid drop outs ie 3 as seemed to be the case in SA, and re-connections before frying themselves way up there in that nacelle.

      If that is the case, well then there goes another major liability of wind turbines, the unreliability of individual turbines compared to a fossil fuel power generator.[ which a power plant operator told me a few years ago is much, much higher than the turbine operators are prepared to admit to. As he was in the generating industry with a number of generating specialists under him, he watched and counted the numbers of times the very specialized cranes needed to service the high nacelles were brought in and how many turbines they had to service with heavy lift equipment each time those cranes turned up at any particular farm..
      Due to the expense of getting those highly specialized heavy lift cranes in to a wind farm, then operators often left a number of turbines go out of service and then brought in the crane/s to service and repair the lot in one go.]

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    Neville

    Andrew Bolt’s editorial on his TV show last night provides a fair summary of the SA blackout . Even their ABC gave Weatherall a hard time this morning on AM and he didn’t sound very convincing. Here’s a link to the Bolt summary, graphs and timing included.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/tips-for-thursday-octobe r-6/news-story/b10a9152462857b0a1facc0bf265bee2

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    David Maddison

    Well analysed Jo. I love reading the post mortem analyses of major system failures to see what can be learned.

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    pat

    politicking:

    4 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Joseph Curtin: Why Trump would doom international climate action
    The Donald’s energy vision is a dystopian nightmare, which would increase US emissions and collapse international efforts to combat climate change
    (Joseph Curtin is a member of the Irish Government’s Climate Change Advisory Council and a Research Fellow at the Institute of International and European Affairs, Dublin, and University College Cork)
    Without concerted global efforts to reduce emissions over the next decade we and out children will be living in a world utterly transformed.
    While the international community has taken efforts to plan for a climate-skeptic in the White House, it is clear that a Trump Presidency would kill global climate action. Early ratification of the Paris Agreement cannot protect us…
    First, the U.S. must dramatically reduce emissions at home; second, it must encourage others to follow suit by deploying all soft power instruments at its disposal. While not sufficient to guarantee success, without these necessary prerequisites the international community will certainly fail.
    This equation is understood by Obama Administration…
    U.S. emissions increased in 2013 and 2014 and gasoline consumption has increased steadily four years in a row…
    While Mr. Trump’s commitment to end “all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs” is one concern, the devastating political impact of losing American support for international action cannot be overstated…
    A Trump victory would be wind in the sails of all recalcitrant forces…
    On 8 November American citizens have the power to decide the future. They decide not just for themselves, but for us all.
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/10/04/why-trump-would-doom-international-climate-action/

    Dec 2009: IIEA Blog: Joseph Curtin: Leaks no Impact on Copenhagen Blueprint
    Without entering into the minute details of just what was or was not exposed by the thousands of leaked emails, it is clear the credibility of one of the world’s most respected institutions of climate science has been undermined.
    In a sense this is a reality check for anyone who tend to the view that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is the greatest threat facing humanity. It poses an important question: is the science behind climate change now more open to question as a result?…
    What strikes me more generally about the average sceptic is that they come to the debate with preconceived notions that either the earth’s orbit, volcanic eruptions, or solar flares are responsible for recent warming. But surely they understand that these would be the first variables that any scientist worth his salt would consider; they have all been discounted as plausible explanations.
    Other explanations proffered by sceptics such as the increasing warmth of God’s love, or cosmic fairy dust, have admittedly yet to be assessed by the IPCC.
    The scientific consensus among experts seems to be holding strong. Many have called for a thorough investigation, though I can’t find one whose view has been suddenly altered by these revelations…
    http://www.iiea.com/blogosphere/leaks-no-impact-on-copenhagen-blueprint

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  • #
    GrahamP

    “We’re still left wondering why were these towers so weak”.

    These towers are apparently about 40 years old, so I take objection to them being described as “weak”.
    They were probably designed by engineers using slide rules, pencils and paper to the design standards of the day.

    We do not know the design life but the fact that they have withstood the test of time and withstood previous storms, in my opinion, validates the original design.

    The regulator (ie the Government) knocked back a request to allow the company to upgrade them, (Gillard’s ridiculous “gold plating” comment comes to mind), so the company can hardly be blamed on that account.

    Never the less what makes me really hot under the collar is the pathetic political in-fighting between the State and Federal politicians who seem intent on scoring point against each other rather than doing their job and governing in the best interests of the citizens.

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    • #
      David Maddison

      Engineers with slide rules were perfectly capable of designing appropriately strong structures. And when they designed these towers back in the day they would actually destructively test them to confirm their calculations were correct.

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    • #
      beowulf

      The “pathetic political infighting between State and Federal politicians” as you frame it, is EXACTLY what we need right now. It was having politicians of all persuasions reciting verbatim from the same greenie script that got SA to where it is now, with the imminent prospect of the rest of us going down the same tube. Let them go at it hammer and tongs. The more back-biting and blame-shifting they engage in, the greater chance the public will have of finally learning the facts. Turnbull and Hunt have both criticised wind power in the days following the SA shambles. The media can’t ignore the subject. Is that not good? Would it have happened otherwise?

      This infighting IS for the public good. Without it, we would get more of the same old same old. It has already thrown a spanner in the green works.

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      • #
        Olaf Koenders

        Agreed 100%. This shows their true colours – in a way. With excuses from the Leftard Greens coming thick and fast that don’t correspond well at all to the evidence and pollies that would originally have backed “unreliables” are either slithering back under their rocks or coming out with the facts, if not merely to derail the Left that’s attacking them.

        Maybe they also need to design high speed wind turbines similar to a jet engine with cowling that doesn’t need to be shut down at just 54 knots (100k’s). Either way, Nature proved them wrong and now everyone’s taking a hit for it. Thanks Green hubris, you owe us all an apology at minimum.

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    • #

      Graham, how old were those towers? I would like to know. A lot of the wind installed in SA is probably very recent. How many of these towers were added just to cope with that? I really have no knowledge of the age on that schematic grid.

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      • #
        GrahamP

        Jo, I am only going on newspaper articles which have said they were erected in 1980. I cant find the article so I can’t provide any links.

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  • #
    pat

    5 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Ed King: Is the UK about to break G7 fossil fuel subsidy pledge?
    Funding gas plants to prevent electricity blackouts goes against a G7 promise to nix polluter handouts, says NGO
    That’s the warning in a new report from the Green Alliance, a London-based NGO…
    The next round, in December, could see the construction of up to three large-scale gas plants, Green Alliance projects. Outlay is set to rise from £833 million (US$1.0bn) in 2015 to £2.6bn ($3.3bn).
    That means guaranteeing further millions of state funding through the next decade to power plants that would have to close or use carbon capture technology to meet 2030 carbon goals…
    A spokesperson from the UK energy department said the capacity market was an “insurance policy” and did not favour gas over other sources of energy.
    “A wide range of energy providers and technologies are able to participate as well as giving users the opportunity to turn down their electricity consumption at peak times,” they said…
    According to the IMF, US$5.3 trillion is spent by governments around the world supporting oil, gas and coal use, although the Paris-based OECD more conservatively estimates the sum at $160-200 billion…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/10/05/is-the-uk-about-to-break-g7-fossil-fuel-subsidy-pledge/

    5 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Karl Mathiesen: New Zealand ratifies climate deal amid accounting fraud claims
    Climate change minister claims historic gesture puts New Zealand at the top climate table. But questions remain over use of carbon credits
    But questions have been raised over accounting tricks the government plans to use to meet the more immediate 2020 goals of the Kyoto Protocol – the Paris agreement’s predecessor.
    An investigation in April by the Morgan Foundation claimed these carbon credits – which overwhelmingly originated in Ukraine and Russia – were fraudulent. As a proportion of their emissions, New Zealand holds four times more of these credits than any other country.
    The government closed the loophole in 2014, but plans to continue using the benefits from those credits for its 2020 goals. The Morgan Foundation raised concerns that New Zealand plans to continue using its surplus of credits to attain its 2030 goal…
    Simmons said that if New Zealand was looking to continue using international carbon markets, “we’ve got a real credibility deficit to make up in terms of showing that our future transactions will be ethical”.
    The centre-right government, led by John Key, has also been criticised for allowing expansion of the country’s oil and gas drilling programme…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/10/05/new-zealand-ratifies-paris-agreement-diddling-numbers/

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  • #

    The Athens of the South is now the Pyongyang of the South.

    Mind you, it still has the Athens-like debt and unemployment.

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  • #
    pat

    links to 28 page PDF CDP report “It Takes A City” (any similarity to Hillary Clinton’s book title – “It Takes a Village” – is purely coincidental, no doubt!)

    5 Oct: BBC: Mark Kinver: ‘Significant opportunities’ for low-carbon cities
    Low-carbon markets was worth US $33bn (£26bn) to London’s economy, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) said in its latest report.
    However, collaboration between public and private sectors was an essential ingredient needed to deliver economic growth and carbon cuts, it observed.
    The findings examined the commitments made by 533 cities around the world.
    The report, It Takes a City: The Case for Collaborative Climate Action (LINK), added that the cities spread over 89 nations had identified more than 1,000 economic opportunities linked to climate change. Almost 300 cities featured in the report were also developing new business industries, such as clean technology.
    CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, describes itself as “an international, not-for-profit organization providing the global system for companies, cities, states and regions to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information”.
    ***The report was published by CDP and AECOM, a multinational engineering firm, and sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37552880

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  • #

    What Bill Shorten is actually saying is,” Don’t worry,those planet saving turbines will soon stop all strong storms and the problem will never occur again with all that perfect weather”.
    The main reason I stopped voting was they and the A.B.C. truly believe we are their useful idiots.
    The game is up you delusional pompus …. !
    [Editorial discretion applied] Fly

    62

  • #
    Robber

    Interesting to note that AEMO have not reopened the SA electricity market to the normal 30 minute bidding system to supply demand.
    Their website says: Spot prices and ancillary services prices in South Australia are determined by the relevant market suspension pricing schedule developed and published in accordance with clause 3.14.5(l) of the NER.
    As I understand it, they are dictating how demand will be supplied, presumably with an eye on reliability. I couldn’t see at what level the wind farms and the Victorian interconnector are running, but I suspect that for some time they will be limiting wind farm supplies.
    Interesting commentary on the reneweconomy website:
    By Sophie Vorrath on 13 July 2016
    Extreme weather conditions across Australia’s south-east have helped wind energy to deliver more than two-thirds of South Australia’s electricity over the weekend, and even higher levels on Monday, with wind turbines providing a huge 83 per cent of the state’s power needs in the 24 hours to 4pm on July 11.
    Clean Energy Council policy manager Alicia Webb said the state’s nation-leading wind energy resource was “blazing a trail” for the rest of the country, and illustrating that other mainland states could install much more renewable energy capacity without losing reliability – particularly as battery storage technologies became cheaper and more flexible.

    Time for Sophie to eat humble pie?

    60

  • #
    Alistair

    Its a bit obvious to point out that the siting of the wind turbines was specifically chosen because they have a history of high winds. There shouldn’t be too much of a surprise when that happens again.
    On the other hand a bit of a trawl through historical data would probably be rewarding. My memory suggests that the region through Port Broughton – Snowtown is something of a “tornado alley” in South Australian terms. I very much doubt that these winds are anything near ünprecedented.
    Anyone out there with local Snowtown knowledge?

    60

    • #
      Ian Hill

      I have a book and on page 196 is a photo of a decent size tornado at Booleroo in the mid-north of SA. The book “The Wonders of the Weather” was published by the Bureau of Meteorology in 1995. The photo could be any age.

      10

  • #
    pat

    Al Gore to campaign for Clinton, hoping to galvanize young voters on climate change
    Highly Cited-Washington Post-19 hours ago

    Al Gore to hit the trail for Hillary Clinton in the coming weeks
    Highly Cited-CNN-8 hours ago

    Al Gore to hit campaign trail for Clinton
    Politico-9 hours ago

    Al Gore Hops Into 2016 Race To Back Hillary Clinton
    Huffington Post-18 hours ago

    5 Oct: Vox: Jeff Stein: Hillary Clinton’s plan to use Al Gore to win over young voters doesn’t really make sense
    “There’s not a lot of reason to believe they do know him,” says Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, a Tufts University researcher on youth politics at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement…
    But the much bigger problem here is that the Clinton campaign’s decision suggests a broader misunderstanding of what young people are looking for in their presidential candidates.
    Overwhelmingly, the youngest voters are rejecting what they view as “establishment” politicians — those they see as connected to Washington…
    For all his crusading against climate change, Gore reeks of this same kind of establishment politics…
    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/10/5/13173032/al-gore-hillary-clinton

    CAGW-infested CNN gets excited:

    5 Oct: CNN Money: Energy Boom: Caelus lands massive oil discovery in Alaska
    by Jackie Wattles
    In a press release Tuesday, the company announced its discovery could yield between 6 billion and 10 billion barrels of light oil — which is recovered from the ground more easily than other types of oil…
    “It has the size and scale to play a meaningful role in sustaining the Alaskan oil business over the next three or four decades,” Caelus CEO Jim Musselman said in a statement. He added that Caelus was drawn to Alaska by tax credits the state offers to companies that search for oil…
    Dubbed the Smith Bay development, Caelus estimates the field could potentially provide 200,000 barrels of oil per day.
    The discovery comes less than a month after Apache (APA) laid claim to a multi-billion oil discovery in Texas…
    http://money.cnn.com/2016/10/04/investing/alaska-oil-discovery-caelus/

    30

  • #
    bobl

    JO,
    Predicted months ahead
    https://www.energycouncil.com.au/analysis/which-way-is-the-nem-s-energy-flowing/

    I want you to look at figure 3 –

    SA’s total generation is LESS THAN IT’S DEMAND SA Cannot function without the interconnector. It’s not meant to be like this.

    Now SA has shuttered even the 2000 GWh of Coal it did have in May 2016 – just a few months ago, exacerbating the gap that it had even then. The result is obvious, even if SA had all its generation assets running it would STILL be around 30% short of meeting demand.

    When I look at the report from the AEMO into the Heywood upgrade, they report that the line between the interconnector and the SA grid is old. Old lines are corroded, they break during storms.

    The way I read it without Solar and Wind SA does not have enough generation assets to keep Heywood below its trip point – the real issue is the start of the graph the 500 MW continuous load that Heywood was under BEFORE THE STORM at 500MW there was only 150 MW of headroom effectively the loss of even one of its major generation assets was sufficient to trip the interconnector at 650 MW and there was a storm on the way with wind gusts 50% greater than the shut down limit of the wind farms.

    Heywood was always going to trip from just after point 2 at 16:18:09.2 if it had stayed under 10% overload it would have taken 30 seconds or a minute depending on settings but once it reached 900MW it was outside the overload limit and inevitable.

    A big issue here is that there was 4 seconds in which the SA system should have shed load to get things under 650 MW, and save the hospitals and other essential services, it’s clear from this graph that no controlled load shedding happened. Maybe this is the scandal.

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    • #
      bobl

      PS Jo,
      Look at the demand curve on the same chart, that doesn’t happen in expanding economies it shows SAs industry is moving out.

      Table 2 in the same report paints a tidy picture the Power leaches are SA, and interestingly NSW both Nett importers for 6 years! Tas oddly is self sufficient provided it has water, QLD and Victoria hold the whole NEM together as the reliable exporters. To me this doesn’t look good as Victoria considers shuttering Hazelwood.

      110

      • #
        Rod Stuart

        Tas oddly is self sufficient provided it has water

        An interesting truism.
        It has been essentially the case for more than a hundred years. Bell Bay Power was a necessary insurance policy against drought constructed in the early seventies. The replacement TVPS was to also serve as an economic justification excuse to build a gas pipeline to provide an alternative energy source to industry and the populace in general.
        Because virtually all of it is old, the statement remains true fundamentally because so much industrial demand has been sucked dry by the giant green leech.
        Perhaps due to the grace of God the current government will survive the next election.
        If it does not, and the destructive green left insanity gains more traction, it is conceivable that one or more of the big industrial customers might pack it in. (South 32, BBA, and Nyrstar).
        If that were to occur, hydro electric power is about the only commercial product the State would have to sell.
        Perhaps that is why some are so quick to spruik a second Basslink.
        The only possible salvation for the apple isle is new investment. As is the case with SA, who in their right mind would invest in Tasmania if energy is held hostage by the Indian Ocean dipole? Things might well have been radically different had the radical left not quashed HEC plans for hydro-electric expansion of two new dams back in the seventies. With inexpensive reliable energy to augment the island’s abundant resources, it might have become an economic powerhouse. Perhaps a more discreet way to express that is to say that things might have been radically different had Tasmania not been infected with chronic green left absurdity in the sixty’s and seventies.
        Democracy is a theory in which the common man is allowed to get what he deserves, and Taswegians deserve to get it good and hard.

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  • #
    duker

    This interesting site Wattclarity has done some analysis of the SA blackout and others including the 16/1/2007 bushfires which led to the black out of much of Victoria.
    This post is very interesting regarding windspeeds plotted to electricity demand.
    http://www.wattclarity.com.au/2016/09/wind-speeds-and-the-blackout-of-south-australia/

    10

  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    We are seeing the result of a massive bureaucracy in power supply.
    When I first read of gold plated towers and transmission lines I assumed it meant those comfy buildings in the CBD and the travel and meetings with nice lunches while ideas for screwing the public were transmitted by bureaucrats.
    Four years ago I wrote to Ministers to suggest that we return to a simple needs based electricity whereby private operators would own and run local and regional plant in much the same way as in the 1960s. That was the era when you paid your doctor with cash or cheque for services rendered no complication from bureaucratic Medicare.
    For electricity, we have layer on layer of bureaucrats doing planning, oversight, financial analysis etc but above all regulation in mind numbing detail, with each layer adding its costs before passing on to the next layer.
    I have high regard for engineers. Did part of a BE Aero myself. They know about performance under pressure. They know about backups and replication and safety margins. To them, having the extra load of coping with all this bureaucratic interference, I tip my hat and say thank you.
    With SA we are now at the post mortem stage where different groups of bureaucrats have failed to make an engineering standard analysis of cause and effect and thus a coherent public summary. Committees of bureaucrats are like that.
    Let us hope that’s Phoenix will arise from these ashes, one where factual essence and excellence trumps dreadful science, political dreams and destructive green ideas but above all, unqualified bureaucrats in droves making their empires ever larger at public expense.
    Geoff

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  • #
    David Maddison

    On page 13 of todays Herald Sun (VIC) Andrew Bolt’s column shows a picture of a windmill with a broken blade. Does anyone know if any windmills broke in SA or is this picture for illustration only?

    11

  • #
    Mark M

    @catallaxy:
    “While on the topic of renewable energy Niki Savva skewers the greenies, who are out and about claiming it was the storm that caused the power outage in South Australia not the reliance on renewables, with this great line:

    … they, as climate change believers, are the ones preaching catastrophic weather events will become more frequent.
    If they are right, we can expect more freakish storms more often, wreaking the kind of havoc witnessed in South Australia.”
    . . .
    How many windfarms & solar panels does South Australia need to install before South Australia prevents it’s first storm?

    The truth be known, the answer can be found in this unintended truthful utterance from Old Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, when speaking of her desire to triple the number of Queenslanders with solar panels@0.17 secs: “I can’t control the weather.”

    NB: We’re saved!
    Adelaide charges ahead with world’s largest ‘virtual power plant’
    “AGL project to roll out 1,000 battery systems to homes and businesses will operate like a 5MW plant, and optimise energy produced from solar panels”

    Offered to homes and businesses with solar systems, the $20m AGL project, backed with $5m from Arena …

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    • #
      Olaf Koenders

      LOL. That’s perfect.

      Greenie Annastacia: “We’ll triple the number of QLD solar panels so we can control the weather, but we can’t anyway. Vote for me.”

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  • #
    duker

    Another detailed look ( with images) at the SA weather events concentrating on the tornadoes which touched down. Including Melrose near Port Pirie where the downed transmission towers were located.
    higginsstormchasing.com/aftermath-south-australias-wildest-storm-supercell-outbreak/

    Melrose is 100km directly north of the windfarms at Snowtown so shouldnt affect supply south towards Adelaide?

    30

    • #
      David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

      Thanks duker,
      Unfortunately the report doesn’t include the times the tornados hit. Do you have such detail?
      Cheers,
      Dave B

      20

  • #
    TdeF

    There is another point. When we did have blackouts in Victoria, they were caused by strikes and militant unions in the power stations. Jeff Kennett privatized the power stations and Hazelwood was sold for $2.5Bn. The staff dropped x4. The Liberal view was that governments have no business generating electricity, running trains or banks or a courier service like Australia Post. The Unions were not happy.

    Now successive Labor governments have fought to get back in control of Victoria’s power, using our taxes to push their windmills and shut down the privately run power stations. The same with the sale of Telstra. It took Unionist Stephen Conroy to come up with a plan to spend $100Bn getting back in charge of the telephones, internet, emails, faxes, twitter and all communications with his NBN plan on the back of a beer coaster. We all know why, to put Labor back in charge of communications using the power of the state and private companies will all wear red underpants on their heads as far as Stephen was concerned. In his words, he had ‘unfettered power’. This was our Federal communications minister in a conference on communications in the US.

    So with the Greens and their Labor acolytes, we are being led down the path of government control of electricity, communications and even schools. Private schools vastly out perform state schools at examination and cost almost precisely the same, so that is very embarrassing for Labor. Even though only 10% of the cost of teaching in private schools is from the government, even Malcolm’s Liberals are questioning the cost and ‘privilege’ of paying taxes and getting nothing back.

    We need a government which is not trying to take over every aspect of our lives, trying to tell us what to think, that windmills will last forever and that Tasmania can save the planet from nothing much at huge sacrifice and cost. Bring back Tony Abbott. We need someone who makes sense, some one who publicly said Climate Change is crap.

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    • #
      Olaf Koenders

      Mark M at #26 said:

      How many windfarms & solar panels does South Australia need to install before South Australia prevents it’s first storm?

      I’d be happy for Abbott to quote a similar line: “Let any state prove it saved itself from a CO2-induced weather catastrophe before we take any of this crap seriously.”

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      • #
        PeterS

        We can use SA as the experiment to test a variety of ideas. For example, how many wind mills and solar panels does SA need before the interconnect between SA and Vic is tripped multiple times causing extended blackouts every week sending businesses broke and unemployment skyrocketing?

        60

        • #
          TdeF

          It looks like they are there already. Is SA’s grid even viable and adequate without Victoria? Do South Australians really believe that generating CO2 in Victoria is preferable? Is no one awake to the absurdity of that idea?

          You can see the pitch. “Come and enjoy sunny South Australia, land of romantic candles with the lowest CO2 in the world!”.
          *Please arrive by steam train as the airport is unreliable, cars and planes are banned and bring your own long life dried food.

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          • #
            TdeF

            Can someone advise here?

            I have the SA budget and while tens of millions are to be spent on electric cars and carbon neutral Adelaide and ‘greening our fleet’, there is not a mention of power lines, transmission towers, energy infrastructure or even windmills? Even the interconnectors, Heywood and Murray? Where is all this buried? Water infrastructure gets one mention at $1.6Bn as a project. Where is the budget and planning for the SA electricity grid and the windfarms?

            What I want to see is how much money the SA government has spent to cripple the electricity system they inherited? Then Cui Bono. A storm like this would be hardly a storm in Queensland or New Zealand, but the damages so far is in hundreds of millions. This was not an act of God. Storms happen. You could blame the storm on ‘Climate Change’ but according to Adam Bandt, that would be playing politics.

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            • #
              Olaf Koenders

              If SA’s power requirements are already beyond what it can handle, then imagine the brown-outs every night when just 10% of SA’s cars in the future being electric are being recharged.

              Greenies simply don’t think this stuff through and invent pie in the sky schemes for their own feel-goodery. The consequences of which they’ll happily blame on everyone else. This is why Vic is a contributor as it was far easier for these loons to justify scuttling their own power supplies, put up some wind farms they eventually realised were not as their rated capacity advertised and plugged in.

              I just hope Vic’s charging a whole heap for this power in order to make up for a useless desal plant that’s been forced into action recently to justify its existence.

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            • #
              philthegeek

              i can advise comrade Tdef.

              SA’s power networks are private since 1999. I am a bit surprised to see you advocating the kind of welfare to capitalist running dogs that would be the SA taxpayer handing over bulk funds to a private, overseas company to upgrade a network that they may have allowed to become unfit for purpose?? But maybe you are actually advocating siezing it back it in the interests of the people having an essential service that works?? :)

              http://www.sapowernetworks.com.au/centric/corporate/about_sa_power_networks/history_of_sa_power_networks.jsp

              10

  • #
    David Maddison

    A look at wind turbines. Let’s get rid of these things!

    https://youtu.be/zr3z_7iQ35s

    42

    • #
      TdeF

      Great video. There is nothing wrong with the idea, a single windmill in a village in Africa. A real improvement in quality of life. A host of windmills, a devastating blot on the landscape for no reason I understand.

      Our biosphere is earth, sky and land. CO2 levels are set by the balance between the 98% of CO2 in the water and the 2% in the tiny, thin atmosphere above, 1/400th of the weight. CO2 levels are not set by man and cannot be changed by man. This is schoolboy physical chemistry. The air is only 2% of the biosphere. 400x as much water by weight is in the oceans and all weather is dictated by the sun and water. We are near irrelevant. Except in the minds of ego driven eco people. They care more about themselves than the planet and everyone else. Forests of near useless windmills are their most selfish expression. Reneweables? Every 20 years they have to be replaced.

      Close the wind famrs. Turn them off. Turn on the 1970s power stations built by a smarter, practical generation. Give the windmills to needy people, people who have no power. We have coal for hundreds of years and it is all natural power and brown coal is just as good as black coal.

      You would think what has happened in South Australia was impossible, the self harm unimaginable, the responsibility clear. Weatherill should admit he was wrong and apologise and resign for the massive damage he has wrought. The very quality of life is harmed. Can you imagine what is means for one million refrigerators to defrost on the same day, all the cool stores, all the supermarkets? All down to one man who says it is an act of God. No.

      As a devastating cyclone bears down on the Carribean with winds triple the speeds in SA, no one is blaming CO2. It is man versus the planet. Except in South Australia and soon Victoria where a political minority are closing the power stations, stealing our taxes to undermine and destroy what worked for a generation. Unbelieveable.

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  • #
    Ruairi

    The collapse of electrical juice,
    That wind-farms have failed to produce,
    In Australia’s south state,
    Is humanity’s fate,
    If warmists are let on the loose.

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  • #
    John Watt

    Has the AGW panic tsunami become unstoppable? Obama says Paris agreement is now a goer. COAG is about to discuss how to achieve a (reliable) renewable supply target. All of this on the basis of green mythology. Surely someone in charge has to ask why we want to pay more for unreliable energy?

    Solar and wind supplemented by diesel is cost effective for small,isolated off-grid loads.However for long term urban and commercial/industrial loads renewables are expensive and unreliable. Batteries may be helpful for small domestic loads but I suspect lifetime and disposal issues may be costly.

    Perhaps the most we can hope for out of the SA debacle is a more common-sense approach to supply system design. The optimum result would be one of Malcolm’s Royal Commissions tasked with examining the delivery of cost-effective, reliable electricity. It could compare all available technologies and would give all players the opportunity to present the pros and cons of their particular favourite energy source.

    Frydenberg needs to consider what sort of reliability he expected of his tennis kit and translate that expectation into the energy supply system in Oz.

    52

  • #
    pat

    ***you will do as we say:

    5 Oct: Sacramento Bee: Alexei Koseff: Arnold Schwarzenegger back in Sacramento, says California ‘terminated’ climate change opponents
    Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a rare sight in Sacramento these days, but he occasionally finds time between hosting reality TV shows and crushing things with his tank for return visits to celebrate his legacy.
    A 10th-anniversary commemoration of Assembly Bill 32, which established California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, marked one of those rare events. Schwarzenegger appeared Wednesday at the California Museum with Gov. Jerry Brown and other supporters of the landmark law he signed in 2006.
    “Ten years ago we passed a law that I think is the most powerful environmental law, period,” Schwarzenegger said, touting that no other state or country since has come close to California’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020…
    “How stupid must you be to say that greenhouse gas is not a pollutant?” he said. “We pushed back and pushed back and we terminated them.”…
    “Arnold, thanks for being for climate change, cap and trade, the tunnels project, high-speed rail and all the other unpopular issues I’m saddled with,” Brown joked.
    ***As Schwarzenegger left the event, he expressed little concern for the growing resistance to California’s climate change policies among even normally sympathetic Democrats, which tanked a bill last year to mandate a reduction in gasoline use and nearly derailed another measure this session to extend the provisions of AB 32.
    “They’re gonna get through it,” he said.
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article106252992.html

    how funny the writer mentions Arnold is doing a reality TV show, but doesn’t say he replaced Donald Trump as host of The Celebrity Apprentice. wouldn’t want to make that connection!

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    pat

    have no idea if this is an accurate recollection, but posting it in case anyone else can verify/refute it or explain if it matters at all one way or another:

    6 Oct: Bolt Blog: Adelaide, truly the Athens of the South
    COMMENT by Maurice: At least part of the report is misleading rubbish. By an extraordinary stroke of fate, my plane landed in Adelaide at 3.25pm. Ten minutes to pick up my bag (carousel fine, lights on), and my sister picked me up, and we were off out of the airport by 3.55 max. Most of the traffic lights were already down, and the lights in all the buildings en route to her house were already dark. Thank God she had candles and gas cooking.
    Parts of the system were failing even earlier than the report tries to pretend.
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/adelaide-truly-the-athens-of-the-south/news-story/7f7a0cb4f744fb0acc9febf06a0121af

    30

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    pat

    wow:

    6 Oct: ACT Liberals defy coalition renewable plan
    by Elise Scott and Katina Curtis – AAP
    The ACT Liberal opposition is standing by the territory’s 100 per cent renewable energy target despite a federal government push for states to give up their freedom to set their own goals.
    The nation’s energy ministers are expected to lock horns over the Turnbull government’s push for a single national target during an emergency meeting of the COAG energy council on Friday…
    But the ACT’s 100 per cent target by 2020 has bipartisan support and the Liberal Party insists it’s “very comfortable” with the policy.
    “We’ll stick to our target,” Liberal leader Jeremy Hanson told AAP on Thursday.
    “The contracts are locked in, it’s legislated and we supported that legislation.”…
    The ACT will achieve its target through reverse auctions awarding 20-year government contracts to renewable providers.
    But the renewable generators don’t have to be located in the territory and the government has signed contracts with two wind farms in Victoria and one in SA.
    That quarantines the territory from any instability when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, because renewable energy is expensive to store.
    The ACT is also well connected to the National Electricity Market through the NSW electricity grid, unlike SA which only has the two connections with Victoria…READ ALL
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/32820408/act-liberals-defy-coalition-renewable-plan/#page1

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    pat

    read all…lots of quotes/detail:

    6 Oct: AFR: Ben Potter: Wind power drop key event in South Australia blackout
    A big drop in output from six South Australian wind farms was a key event in the sequence leading to the state’s blackout last week but the Australian Energy Market Operator assigns no reasons for the reduction in generation.
    That left protagonists in the debate about whether wind power was the culprit – such as South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill – clutching at straws. A detailed report is a month away.
    But a leading energy expert and the chief executive of company that owns Snowtown 2 wind farm – which had the biggest drop in output – said this didn’t change their understanding that “the critical cause” of the blackout was transmission failure.
    “The storm event took down the transmission. Subsequently a chunk of wind generation came off,” Vince Hawksworth, chief executive of New Zealand-based Trustpower, told The Australian Financial Review…READ ALL
    http://www.afr.com/news/wind-power-drop-played-key-role-in-south-australia-blackout-20161005-grvbqf

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  • #
    pat

    original headline:

    Premier stakes his career on renewable energy
    The Advertiser-4 hours ago

    changed to the following. lots of quotes/details in text. read all.)

    VIDEO: 1min42secs: 6 Oct: Adelaide Advertiser: Paul Starick: ‘Multiple faults’ led to huge South Australian blackout, preliminary report
    PREMIER Jay Weatherill is staking his future on renewable energy in the wake of a report blaming the state’s disastrous blackout on multiple power network faults.
    The outage was caused by an overloaded interstate electricity interconnector switching itself off, after fierce winds knocked out high-voltage power lines, and wind farms were disconnected…
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/multiple-faults-led-to-huge-south-australian-blackout-preliminary-report/news-story/f9d66b196d1756a4ed1af8a899a387df

    above video, at 55secs, makes reference to the operator ordering ten wind farms to limit generation, while quarantining those that failed in the blackout. presumably, all these are still offline or only providing limited energy! Weatherill looks stunned in the video:

    5 Oct: DailyTelegraph: Paul Starick: Australian Energy Market Operator orders 10 SA wind farms to limit generation after statewide electricity blackout
    TEN South Australian wind farms have been ordered to limit generation in the wake of the disastrous statewide power blackout because the national electricity market operator has declared they have not performed properly.
    The state’s biggest wind farm, at Snowtown, is among those which the Australian Energy Market Operator has targeted in its “management and analysis” of last Wednesday’s unprecedented power outage as it gradually restores the power network.
    The move will prompt further questions over whether renewable energy jeopardised electricity grid stability and triggered the cascading blackout…READ ALL
    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/australian-energy-market-operator-orders-10-sa-wind-farms-to-limit-generation-after-statewide-electricity-blackout/news-story/25b0a37f5f74cedc7e4c2afdab7f8fc9

    20

  • #
    Dennis

    The Labor Government of South Australia has no fear of a voter backlash, they arranged an electoral gerrymander years ago, had the electoral boundaries rigged so that only a massive landslide of votes against them would result in them losing government.

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  • #
    RB.

    Belalie, and Canowie are on the Brown Hill Range, 20km and 10km NW of Hallet, respectively. Very close together with Mt Lock and Mokota near by.

    Davenport must have been where the pylon with its feet stuck up above the salt bush just 5-10km west of Pt Augusta and 80-90km NE of Belalie. Mount Lock is just East of Belalie. The two parallel lines go along Brown Hill Range and do not meet until PA which must be below the 3x. It must be just outside PA, where one line went down so the two line probably meet near the old Pt A power station.

    Bungama is outside Pt Pirie, 90km south of Pt Augusta. Pt Augusta would be between the 3x and where the line to Bungama meets the thick line.

    Blyth is the one between Brinkworth and Templers west.

    Very unfortunate that a freak tornado hit the lines 80-90 km apart (and another 50-60km from the Belalie failure and over 150km from Devonport) without taking out a bird chopper.

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    • #
      RB.

      Looks like the lines from Mt Lock and Belalie travel on the same pylons to Devonport but different pylons took the different lines out. Sturctures 93 and 97, 1.5 km apart???

      So the 2x and 3x are 42-43.5 km before Devenport?? Its in the wrong spot on the map.

      10

  • #

    Bear with me for one minute here.

    I mentioned this in the earlier Thread, but it’s worth repeating in a slightly different way.

    Just prior to the crash, there was around 900 to 1000 MW of wind online, so around 400 nacelles on towers all with their blades spinning.

    Theoretically, that’s the equivalent of 1.4 Units at Bayswater, so let’s say 2 units at the one plant, nice and compact, all running continuously, as long as they keep feeding in the coal.

    Nothing’s going to make them stop, not a storm, not a lightning strike, not a transmission tower coming down, just feed in the coal.

    With the wind towers, that front moves in, the wind speed spikes, and the towers automatically turn off, feather the blades and there’s no power. It can happen in a short time, and as it seems they all seem to be in a relative line, they all stop.

    All that’s left is the Heywood Interconnector, and Torrens , whichever on was on, and now they are hopelessly overloaded and they also shut down, all of this in (actual) seconds.

    Had there been two equivalent Bayswater units on line, the areas where the towers went down would have been isolated from the grid, and the remainder of the grid still operational, and there would have been isolated blackouts.

    See the point here.

    The reliance on wind did not take into account all of them going out at around the same time.

    They can go off one here one there, and other standby plants will have time to run up, and take over, and you only need look at the AEMO price data in conjunction with the wind site data to see when that happens, and the State coped. True, the price spiked, but the State stayed on line.

    This was a sudden loss of virtually all of them, and with no time to run up other plants, hence blink blink blink, at that speed.

    Two equivalent Bayswater units and none of this would have happened. There would have been localised blackouts but not the sudden catastrophic loss across the whole State.

    But hey, what would I know?

    Tony.

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    • #
      John Watt

      Tony,
      Sounds like a plan. Also a more diversely distributed set of windfarms would be less vulnerable to such events. I find it hard to understand why SA let themselves be placed in such a vulnerable position. Pretty sure the ETSA crew I knew way back when would not have agreed to this folly.

      John

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      • #
        Another Ian

        John

        Like most things of the green dream facts not required

        There is a quote around farming that seems to fit – to the effect that the lack of a prudent plan has the result that failure comes as a complete suprise

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    • #
      bobl

      Tony, I contend that they could have saved the interconnector with some targetted automatic load shedding to keep the interconnector under 650MW yet that didn’t happen. Indeed they could have dropped most of the state but kept the interconnector up and then bring it back up to 650 MW over say 15 minutes avoiding the long blackout and giving them time to spin up some gas generation.

      The load management equipment is not set up right to avoid an interconnector overload. This is probably a consequence of using the interconnect to import baseload power rather than to export the odd bit of excess wind power (as it was actually supposed to do). IIRC Correctly the report said before the event they were importing 610MW which only gave them headroom of 40MW – Yikes.

      Even Jo’s story has it at 525MW (115 MW headroom) and that’s less that the largest internal generation asset so they were effectively operating at N rather than N+1 redundancy. This was always going to happen, just a matter of time. They were always one lightning strike (failed reclose) away from a black system.

      As I understand it the UK system is in a similar crisis they have sacrificed coal to the point they have no redundancy, during the winter they will be one storm away from black (though they might have load shedding or islanding that actually works).

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      • #
        Dave Ward

        Though they might have load shedding or islanding that actually works

        Maybe I should contact National Grid offering to disconnect from the mains while running my generator at high demand times? Who knows – a kilowatts worth of load taken off the network might just avoid a country wide black out…

        20

    • #
      Greebo

      But hey, what would I know?

      More than Jay Werherill, that seems certain.

      30

    • #
      David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

      G’day Tony,
      Overall I agree with you, but do disagree with part of this paragraph:

      “With the wind towers, that front moves in, the wind speed spikes, and the towers automatically turn off, feather the blades and there’s no power. It can happen in a short time, and as it seems they all seem to be in a relative line, they all stop.”

      Jo uses the term “reduced” to describe what happened to wind power just before the connector drop out, which is supported by the numbers. That reduction caused an increase in demand across the Heywood connector and put it into an overload situation and drop out. So the situation didn’t require a complete shut down of the whole wind farm.
      It seems to me that while the winds were strong, they were probably less than cut out speeds for most turbines, and only exceeded that number in the gusts which reached 110km/hr (as reported) or higher, and which could have been scattered across the farms.
      The widespread strong winds enabled all the farms to operate at or near nameplate production, (at least to point of cutout), so backups were not active. The already high use of the Heywood connector added to the vulnerability. So the net result is as you described.
      Cheers,
      Dave B

      10

    • #
      Reed Coray

      Tony, I have a solution. You’re probably aware of the geodesic domes used to protect radar antennas from the elements. Let’s use them to protect windmills from high wind speeds. Over-rotation problem solved; and they’re more attractive (they look like giant golf balls) than those three-armed monsters.

      10

  • #
    theRealUniverse

    Wonder what it would have been like if SA was all powered by NUCLEAR! (Sarc).

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    • #
      Olaf Koenders

      SA would find itself invaded by Peter Garrett and millions of his noisy and brainless green followers. Imagine the tofu sales!

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  • #
    Jan.nl

    New generation powerswitches: TR-UM/P-2016-US/EL

    This device switches the power to the people.

    [Cute trick - I have to give you marks for originality. But we prefer to keep politics at arms length, on a science blog.] Fly

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    • #
      dlb

      Domestic politics would seem to be at fingertip length on this blog.
      Mod – you can get good deals on lenses at that optometrist store, you know.

      20

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    crakar24

    Haven’t read all the comments but the story in the Adelaide paper is blaming wind.

    “gone in 90 seconds”

    1, Northfield harrow line faults and repairs
    2, 275kv phase to ground fault brinkworth templers line
    3, 275 kv davenport belalie line faults comes back
    4, above line fails again and does not come back
    5, 123 mw of wind fails (5% if demand)
    6, daven port mt lock 275 kv line faults and does not come back
    7, 192 mw of wind fails
    8, interconnect load rises to 850 mw
    9, interconnect dies with one leg in the air.
    10, gas spinning reserve trips and we welcomed in the third world

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    • #
      RB.

      It was the wind. As Barnaby said to today “No joke, Sherlock” but wind doesn’t have much of an effect on a coal powered generator while it stops a wind farm if it doesn’t blow or blows to hard.

      3, 275 kv davenport belalie line faults comes back
      -
      6, daven port mt lock 275 kv line faults and does not come back

      If you read the details, those two lines are carried by the same pylons and failed 1.5km and 4 pylons apart. I guess the wires could be still connected while the pylons are on the ground but it is something that needs to be cleared up.

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  • #
    crakar24

    “We have a choice here and i’m prepared to be judged on this choice- arenewable energy future or a coal industry future”

    Premier Jay Weatherill

    So this smarmy prick destroys the back bone of power generation of the state and along with it the economy and he tries to appeal to flock of religious zealots to keep him in power what an a@#h0le

    “The SA government and the renewables industry can no longer credibly argue the reasons for the for the fault relied solely on the weather. Images of downed pylons do not tell the whole story”

    Institute of public affairs research director Brett Hogan

    And now from the land of nod, the home of fairy dust and a place where unicorn hatchlings frolic freely.

    “This report makes it crystal clear that the storm caused the SA blackout. Anyone saying otherwise is only doing so for cheap political reasons”

    Greens senator Sarah Hanson Young

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    • #
      Another Ian

      crakar24

      ROM to the rescue

      “And now

      Whirling Dervish Windmill Weatherill in SA who whirling furiously on the media spot blames towers falling down for no power whereas the towers falling down were a secondary result from the advancing storm front as it swept across SA after his favorite grandiosely hyped “no carbon” equally fast whirling wind turbines cut themselves off to save themselves from destruction as the frontal system arrived, overloaded the Victorian links, blew the connectors out and cascaded the whole damn thing for a thousand kilometres north to SA’s most lucrative economic industries and shut them and most other SA industries down for who knows how long.
      But then what would Whirling Dervish Windmill Weatherill know about storm fronts and etc? He’s only a politician !

      No ratings allowed above as we would all vote for our own premiers as the winner of being the best political SNAFU artists of implacable policy FU’s emanating from an utterly mindless adherence to what is currently deemed political correct by the inner city elite.”

      From

      http://joannenova.com.au/2016/10/german-environmentalists-say-renewables-are-destroying-their-landscapes/

      If onomatopeia didn’t already exist in English ROM and some others would have done it IMO

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    PeterS

    I think we all heard comments from the Greens side stating the SA disaster is “proof” we should move to renewables much sooner that previously thought to prevent storms like the one SA received from happening again. I say OK, let SA ramp up it’s reliance on renewables and see what happens (ie, blackouts galore). It’s the best way to shut them up.

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    Thomho

    Re Chris Uhlmann of the ABC

    Some unkind words were directed in his direction on this blog because he is from the ABC
    But I recall reading an interview article about him and it was made quite clear that Uhlmann has no time for the Greens

    So he is a rare bird among most of ABC compatriots so give him some slack

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    pat

    6 Oct: ABC: Nick Harmsen: Flow restrictions on SA, Victoria interconnector revoked, AEMO responds to emergency order
    Temporary flow restrictions were placed on the major electricity interconnector between Victoria and South Australia, but were later revoked as the national market operator scrambled to respond to an emergency order from the SA Government.
    The order, which aims to prevent a repeat of last week’s catastrophic statewide blackout, was issued under the state’s Essential Services Act.
    It requires the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to maintain a stable rate of change in frequency across the state’s power network should the interconnector fail…READ ON
    PHOTO CAPTION: ElectraNet has installed temporary towers near Melrose in SA.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-06/flow-restrictions-placed-on-sa-victoria-interconnector/7911276

    6 Oct: ABC: SA Weather: Appalling management to blame for prolonged blackout , Barnaby Joyce says
    The devastating impact of a mid-latitude cyclone that smashed SA on Wednesday last week and brought with it several tornados has sparked nation-wide debate about the state’s renewables and what contribution they made to the outage…
    Mr Joyce criticised the State Government for blaming the storm for the prolonged nature of the blackout.
    “It wasn’t a hurricane. It was a severe thunderstorm. They’ve had severe thunderstorms before,” he said.
    “But this idea that a storm caused the blackout. No rubbish, Sherlock, we got that part. But why couldn’t you get the system up and running again?”…
    “There’s things in common. It’s unreliable. It’s expensive and it’s in South Australia,” Mr Joyce said.
    “And now you’ve had power spikes in the last two months.
    “You’ve got an absolute crisis down there. It’s appalling management.”…
    PHOTO CAPTION: ElectraNet is installing temporary towers near Melrose in SA.
    ElectraNet has begun installing temporary transmission towers in the state’s Mid North to replace those which collapsed during the storm.
    It said engineers had described the damage to the lattice steel towers, which were made in the 1980s, as unprecedented…
    A number of energy experts and economists have spoken in favour of renewable energy at a summit held in Adelaide today…
    Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel said his reading of the situation was that the source of the electricity was irrelevant.
    “If you had a natural gas generator there, and the voltage was collapsing, and the frequency was collapsing, that natural gas generator would have taken itself off the grid just as rapidly as the wind farms had taken themselves off,” Dr Finkel said…
    Premier Jay Weatherill is touring Melrose today after officially opening Sundrop Farms’ new solar powered greenhouse near Port Augusta…
    Mr Weatherill acknowledged the intermittency of wind power was an issue that needed to be addressed urgently…
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-06/appalling-management-to-blame-for-prolonged-black-out-in-sa/7908032

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    pat

    6 Oct: Australian: Matthew Denholm: Tasmania to back national energy plan with wind farms

    Tasmania will back a national energy plan and argue it can help provide energy security to other states via its unique blend of base-load hydroelectric power and untapped wind potential.
    The Hodgman Liberal government will tell tomorrow’s COAG energy meeting in Melbourne that a second, $1 billion Bass Strait power interconnector would allow Tasmania to significantly expand wind energy…
    Tasmania has up to 1,000 MW of new wind farms on the drawing board, but some analysist believe they are not commercially viable without a second interconnector to allow export of excess power to the mainland.
    For a second high voltage cable under Bass Strait to be viable, other states would need to meet some of the transmission costs, while federal capital funding would be essential, as well as with private sector investment…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/tasmania-to-back-national-energy-plan-with-wind-farms/news-story/c0416848459202c7028748d3d6b1ba87

    6 Oct: 9News: AAP: Tas push agenda at national energy meeting
    Tasmania has the answer to Australia’s renewable energy future and the state wants $1 billion to build a second Bass Strait cable to deliver the goods…
    Tasmania’s ambitious plan comes just months after the state was forced to spend scores of millions of dollars to bring in diesel and gas generators to keep its own lights on…
    http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/10/06/15/50/tas-energy-agenda-at-national-meeting

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  • #
    TdeF

    So we have supercomputers modelling the weather. Surely someone could model the SA electricity grid. The rules are in place at every point. I would suggest that the system is extremely fragile, that the number of ways in which it could fail are endless and the likelihood of failure high and frequent. It was not the storm, but the presumption that the system would not have a storm or failures which allowed this house of cards to be built. I am sure the power generation experts would have warned repeatedly of the dangers and in writing and have been ignored. That is why Weatherill is not blaming the suppliers. He knows who is responsible. God apparently.

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    • #
      TdeF

      Or Climate Change. Except that as the state is flooded, no one believes that story anymore. Not even the ABC.

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      • #
        TdeF

        It is likely that you can determine my modelling a limit on windpower as a % of total power for a stable electricity supply. I would suggest it is well under 20%. Base power cannot be unpredictable and intermittent wind power. 40% windpower is obviously too much. However the Labor party wants 50% for the whole country and shutting down basically half our power generators. That does not even make sense. Why shut down what is working and will work for a century for an intermittent, expensive, unsustainable power source which can and does vanish in an instant? Who benefits? Why replace steady generators with windmills which have a lifespan of 20 years?

        The other problem is that if you have 40% wind power coming and going, you have to add another 40% to the system to cope with when the wind power suddenly switches off? So what was the point exactly of adding wind power in the first place? We were warned in 1908 by an 18 year old girl that Australia was a land of droughts and flooding rains, but the BOM, CSIRO and Flannery knew better.

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  • #
    English Pensioner

    I note that the Greens, just as in England, rely on someone else to pick up the pieces when their windmills fail. Why should Victoria have to supply back-up and have to have enough capacity to help out? Presumably if Victoria had had a problem and had no spare capacity, they would have been entirely to blame for what happened!
    In England, we have back-up via an inter-connector from France where the bulk of electricity comes from nuclear generators, something the Greens like to keep very quiet about. Why should we have to rely on the French?
    I take the view that every wind-farm builder should be made to supply an equivalent amount of conventional spinning reserve to take over when the wind fails, why should someone else have to help out?

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    • #
      Dave Ward

      In England, we have back-up via an inter-connector from France where the bulk of electricity comes from nuclear generators, something the Greens like to keep very quiet about. Why should we have to rely on the French?

      Since we voted for Brexit that may not even be a certainty for long! And even if the French don’t throw a big sulk and pull the master switch, their government is talking about shutting down many of the older nukes, and going over to wind power…

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  • #

    Great article Jo. What would we do in this country without objective alternative media commentators. It’s not like the ABC would spend 1/1000th the time and resources excoriating the sources of blame for this debacle as they spent engineering the hit piece to drive the destruction of the Northern Territory Liberal Party.

    One thing though … do any of you think it is possible for a dramatic change in magnetic flux caused by vast current increases, in transmission lines once the turbines shut down, to actually CAUSE lightening to become hyper-attracted to such conductors? Such vast changes in electromagnetic flux would never have occurred in a grid composed of base-load thermal power stations, because they give out constant currents and voltages which are changed up and down gradually, rather than in a surging nature.

    Could this be another dynamic which the drastic inclusion of wind power has introduced into a formerly stable power grid???

    Renewables adding the following negative dynamics:
    – Loss of predictability in power outputs.
    – Inconvenient increases in transmission line distances.
    – Inconvenient increases in transmission line capacities (& higher costs) to handle higher grid distribution.
    – Introduction of over-reliance on power load across the state border (a ‘weakest link’ introduction).
    – Impulsive Changes in magnetic flux attracting lightning activity ???

    … I remember reading somewhere about the ‘positive streamers‘ of lightning actually being effected by power cycling in artificial structures, and that this can act as a catalyst to attract lightning. One wonders whether such a mechanism of quickly changing flux in power cables straddling metal power towers, could actually contribute to the attraction of what are called ‘super bolts’, which carry much higher current and a higher qty of current cycle repetitions than average lightning. I’ll try and find the reference, but it was a long time ago in a hard copy of a physical science text book I was perusing.

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    • #

      Eyeswideopen, I have no idea, it sounds at once unlikely, but interesting. It’s an idea worth tossing in there…

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    • #
      bobl

      No, I wouldn’t think so
      It’s AC so currents are constantly varying anyway, however EHV power lines do ionise air, and the ionised air around them provides a preferential path for lightning which is constantly trying to find a lower resistance path to the deck.

      Any lightning bolt with even a minor leader coming within 10m of a power line ends up discharging to the powerline.

      10

  • #
    Dave Ward

    A general observation about overhead lines. I worked in telecoms for 20+ years, and all our cables and wires were carried on wooden poles (but then so is the vast majority of local mains distribution, sometimes sharing the same poles). They will take quite considerable side loads SO LONG AS it is applied (and released) gradually. All it takes is a sudden shock load (such as car hitting a pole), and it will snap like a matchstick. Apply this to a long straight line route, and a single failure will ripple along and demolish the lot. It was (I don’t know if it still is) good practice to provide cross and/or in line bracing every so often. This limits the potential damage to a small section.

    The comments (both here and elsewhere) describe relatively lightly built towers in line of route, and far more substantial constructions at changes in direction. Maybe (in efforts to reduce costs?) the builders didn’t provide sufficient additional bracing (or more substantial towers) at intervals along these HV routes? Also, the effects of very strong winds & gusts will obviously be far greater if blowing across a route, than along it. Many times I have been driving in strong winds and noted even massive 275 & 400kv lines and their supporting insulators clearly hanging several degrees off vertical. I can only imagine the force being applied to the supporting towers in these conditions.

    20

    • #
      English Pensioner

      There is a picture of one of the collapsed towers in the Melbourne Age (http://www.theage.com.au/comment/whats-really-going-wrong-with-electricity-20161005-grvyih.html)
      It doesn’t seem to be of particularly sturdy construction compared with those in England, although it is probably wrong to judge from a photo. However, in spite of our weather, I’ve never seen a similar picture of one collapsing like that in the UK. The main cause of line failure is, I understand, due to the weight of snow and ice damaging the insulators.

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      • #
        Rod Stuart

        Very observant, EP.
        Apart from local areas in the Snowies, Australian infrastructure does not need to contend with ice.
        On the Great Plains of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and early April “Ice Storm” with freezing rain is almost to be expected.
        Conductors can easily achieve a diameter of 300 mm of Ice, and the weight stretches them until they nearly touch the ground.
        A wind then topples miles and miles of poles or towers like dominoes.
        This is unheard of in SA, until the next Maunder Minimum perhaps.

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    • #
      ROM

      On the main very high voltage transmission lines that run from the Latrobe Valley brown coal fired stations to a major substation at Horsham and then run due north to the big Mildura substation closing the ring with another main transmission line coming up through Bendigo and Swan Hill to Mildura, there is a regular repeating change in the height of the big transmission line carrying towers, a dipping and then rising in height of a number of metres over a repeating sequence of number of towers.
      This regular change in the tower heights plus I think the distance apart the towers are from each other are repeated along the entire length of some hundreds of kilometres of the lines.
      And it is all to do with breaking up standing wave harmonics developing in the transmission lines and their support towers due to wind and weather effects and the power transmission cyclic frequencies coinciding with the natural harmonic and vibration frequencies of the complete tower / wire unit and reinforcing those harmonic resonances until the whole thing sets up a huge and rapidly increasing excursion from the standard allowances for flexibility in the structures and then the consequent break up usually quite spectacularly of the structure as it exceeds the elastic limits of the structure and its materials.

      It is a very common harmonic resonance / cyclic vibration problem across engineering of every type including piston engines including some aircraft engines which must not be run in specified bands of RPMS or they will self destruct over a short period of time running in those RPM bands..
      The are accelerated or decelerated through those natural engine harmonic vibration RPM and power bands.

      The big hydro power generators and turbines and no doubt the steam powered turbines and generators must not be run in certain RPM bands or at certain power loadings as the harmonics and resonances co-incide with the natural vibration frequency of the turbines and generators leading to the possibility of severe damage occurring to the units.

      The well known video of the break up of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the USA in the 1940′s is an excellent visual example of the effects of a strong wind on a structure co-inciding with the structures natural harmonic frequency due to poor design and ignorance in this case of those wind /natural frequency harmonic reinforcing effects leading to an accelerated and spectacular break up of the bridge.

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  • #
    Steven Richards

    I note from the report, that 4 of the 6 wind generators reduced their power output, only 2 stopped berating and went into negative per. Para 3.3 shows…

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    Egor TheOne

    Back to medieval power supplies and true b’lverism in SA.

    So much for ‘the Enlightenment’!

    When are ‘Witch Burnings’ to start I wonder?

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    • #

      If Mark Stein is any indication, they’ve already started; but instead of burning heretics this time around, ‘death by justice system’ and ‘attempted process bankruptcy’ have replaced the pyre. I’d prefer the pyre, because it’s more visible to the public, and seems to invoke more sympathy.

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  • #
    OzWizard

    Synchronizing (as in a power grid) involves more than just “frequency” control; the two systems also need to be “in phase” before they are connected.

    Those who want to understand the importance of ‘synchronization’ in a power grid should stand next to a 1 MW diesel generator set when it is being connected to “the grid” and slightly “out-of-phase” with the grid.

    It is not safe to connect the generator to the grid even though “the grid” and the gen-set are both running at exactly 50 Hz. You need to trim the generator speed to bring the AC power cycle peaks “exactly in phase” on both systems before you throw the switch.

    Even if they are at exactly the same speed (50 Hz) but slightly “out of phase” when you connect, the nature of AC electricity is such that, when you connect the “out-of-phase” unit to “the grid”, “the grid” will INSTANTANEOUSLY FORCE the generator to “catch-up” (if behind, in phase terms) or “slow down” (if ahead).

    And I mean INSTANTANEOUSLY!!!

    Try to imagine instantaneously forcing a 1 MW diesel engine to rotate more (or less) than it wants to in less than 0.0001 of a second! You can, in fact, destroy such a machine by trying to do this incorrectly.

    This work should not be placed in the hands of “dream-chasers” or “harvesters of unicorn-manure”!!

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  • #
    oldbrew

    ‘How many engineers saw this epic fail coming?’

    They did see it coming, after a fashion. This article discussing a study on battery storage in Australia says:

    ‘Indeed, the report notes that frequency control – and the ability to keep the lights on in the event that the state’s interconnector to Victoria goes out – could be critical.’ – April 2016
    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/biggest-battery-storage-array-mooted-for-south-australia-wind-farm-15699

    Study: Energy Storage for Commercial Renewable Integration in South Australia (ESCRI-SA)

    00

  • #
    Rocky

    Why ?

    Was the load by voluntarily asking for power demand to be reduced ?
    Turn off all non essentual items [including fridges half an hour will not make any difference]
    Buildings off the grid and on standby power as well as all major hospitals.

    Surely everyone turning off until the storm passes is a better idea.

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  • #
    Steve Richards

    Lets look at power grid frequency another way.

    It is just a proxy indication of the balance between electrical supply versus electrical load.

    Increase the load ie a factory starts up, or a generator unit fails, the frequency will go down. It is designed to. All electrical generators that are paralleled to share a load, reduce their speed/frequency when their load is increased. Look up ‘generator droop’. The current UK droop value is 4% within a range from 3 to 5%.

    Decrease the load ie a factory stops using electricity or another generator unit comes online, the frequency will increase. It is designed to do this.

    In a well designed electrical supply system, then will be a mix of generating units, large and small, of differing types, all working together to give a stable voltage and frequency to users.

    You can see the realtime UK frequency here:

    http://www2.nationalgrid.com/uk/services/balancing-services/frequency-response/

    You can see the frequency varying between 49.9 and 50.1 Hz. This is quite normal. The limits in the UK are: ‘statutory (49.5Hz – 50.5Hz) and operational limits (49.8Hz – 50.2Hz)’.

    The grid frequency is an instantaneous indication of whether you have enough generator capacity connected to your grid at any one time.

    In the UK we have a range of units, and it would be realistic to assume that large low cost generators would be running at maximum output and high cost flexible ones running at low output power to give a fall back in case one of your low cost efficient units trips off due to a fault somewhere.

    To protect the whole grid further, the UK has a range of mechanism to adjust boths sides of the system: generation or load.

    On the generation side, we have arrangements with smaller suppliers that, for a retainer, will provide power automatically within a second or two. Other suppliers are on 30 min standby.

    On the load side, we have arrangements with heavy users of electrical power, furnaces, ovens etc to accept, for a retainer, the loss of power for 30 minutes at a time up to 30 times per year. These power to be disconnected must be 3MW or more, and respond within 2 seconds.

    In the above ways, the grid operators can aim to provide a good level of service to the countries users.

    Then enter the wind turbine power generators, you know, the machines that generate an unknown, non despatchable amount of power that can stop and start without notice!

    Below is a link to series of presentations on the trouble Ireland foresee with the addition of 40% penetration of WTGs to their grid by 2020.

    http://cigreireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Session-2-The-Impact-of-Non-Synchronous-Generation-on-System-Inertia.pdf

    With respect to Rate of Frequency Change, all countries are investigating this and updating their regulations as WTG penetration increases. A good report here:

    http://www.cer.ie/docs/000260/cer13143-(a)-ppa-tnei-rocof-final-report.pdf

    documents the request in Ireland to increase the ROCOF from 0.5 Hz/s to 1 Hz/s due to the expected increase of WTGs.

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    • #
      Rocky

      http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/index.php

      UK is 25% Nuclear and has France Nuclear to back up as well.

      There are a number of interconnectors as well across the channel.

      With some degree of foresight and common sense this mess would not have happened.

      Certainly a declaration of a NON market situation BEFORE the event rather than letting it all happen. Asking clients to reduce load is another easy way.

      Small Co-Gen Units for buildings which can sell heat [hot water] to surrounding buildings is another sensible way of moving the load off the grid in a small way.

      Coopers Brewery is a text book example of how to manage risk of power outages and most Breweries might consider co-gen with a deal to supply neighbours excess power [food processors are another]

      Mission Critical Installations who need power will consider their options and location near a Co-Gen System with a deal to collect excess power to keep operations happening.

      Lack of foresight and planning caused this with known points of failure allowed to fail rather than be removed for a half hour while the storm passed.

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    Rocky

    Note missing weather Radar WA-SA Border ?

    Storms are off the radar for some time.

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    [...]     http://joannenova.com.au/2016/10/sa-blackout-three-towers-six-windfarms-and-12-seconds/ [...]

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    [...] to return South Australia to Victorian times, and the blackout lasted for over a day and a half. Check out the post from JoNova, and, although technically-biased in certain areas, gives the reader a better understanding of what [...]

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