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White elephant solar panels: “force-feeding” high voltage, raising costs, breaking things, shutting themselves down

Solar Rooftop panels, photo.Some days I wonder if I should spread stories that make us sound like a recidivist third-world backwater struggling to maintain our voltage. But the ABC is already smashing away.

Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another drawback to solar panels, lo! Solar Panels are pushing up the voltage at midday often as high as 253 Volts when it supposed to be more like 230 to 240V. This means appliances are using more electricity, that makes bills even higher. It may also be breaking appliances (making other bills go higher too). We’re not really sure about that, but when that study is done, it’ll already be 1.8 million panels too late.

Non-solar users are paying for this surge (and the appliances) — for every 1% increase in voltage, the costs go up 0.7%. Then, to ice that gravy-cake, the inverters on solar panels are also shutting off at 253V, meaning that poor home owners who paid thousands are not generating power for the grid. All up, solar is bad for you, bad for them, bad for our light-globes.

The warning comes from groups running the electricity networks in Australia.

Spot the key word missing from the ABC headline — starts with ‘s’, ends in ‘lar’:

Power bills up? Appliances burning out? You may have a voltage problem

Liz Hobday, ABC

 Travel 40% of the way through the article to find the key point:

Andrew Dillon, spokesman for Energy Networks Australia, the peak body for Australia’s poles and wires companies] said the rapid uptake of rooftop solar systems was a particular issue for the networks, because solar systems are supplying extra electricity to the grid, and boosting voltages.

But to be fair, the ABC did highlight “solar” in the three key points at the top — wait for it: “Voltage” can be a problem, but solar panels can only be victims. No sacred cows are sacrificed in this story.

  • Key points

    • Higher voltage on power supply to homes is a major concern, researchers say
    • Impact on home appliances and potential ‘burnout’ needs more research
    • Could be causing a significant amount of solar energy to be wasted

Solution: give us more money, try another experiment

“There are technologies we could adopt today, to be able to manage the voltage challenges we have from solar better than we are now,” he said.

“The problem we have is we are not willing to pay billions of dollars further on the network … [we're] after a smart, cost-effective transition.”

Some poles and wires companies are trialling voltage reduction on a large scale, and there is evidence that this could cut electricity consumption.

Don’t mention the third way: Stop subsidizing weather-changing-white-solar- elephants, and ask solar owners to cover the costs to stabilize the system as is. We could make a case that solar owners should be subsidizing bill payers who have been carrying the cost.

Higher voltage means higher bills

The results of a recent trial, by the Victorian network United Energy, showed that when voltage was reduced at 20 substations in and around Melbourne, every 1 per cent reduction in voltage saw, on average, an estimated 0.69 per cent reduction in demand for electricity.

But there is also research by the Queensland network Energex showing the scale of the problem the networks are facing.

When Energex reviewed almost 34,000 of the electrical transformers on its network in 2014, it found 76 per cent of the transformers were set too high, and were sending too much voltage through to households.

 ”Lucky”, a quarter of transformers in Queensland might be working properly. Err, “congrats”.

High voltages turn solar PV in white elephants

Above 253V solar panel inverters themselves shut off, making the panels into white elephants just at the point when they are generating the most electricity.

High volts could mean wasted solar

There is one area where high voltage is definitely causing headaches, and that is for people who have installed rooftop solar systems.

Pensioner Paul Ryan installed solar panels on his house in the Victorian town of Warragul more than a year ago, but for much of that time they have not been working. The system often has to shut off to protect itself from high voltages coming in from the grid.

“It turned out to be a bit of a white elephant in a sense,” Mr Ryan told 7.30.

Rooftop solar systems are designed to operate at a few volts higher than the grid, so they can feed electricity back into the local network.

But with network voltage supplied to households already running at the high end, solar energy feeding into the grid can boost the volts even higher, and over the 253-volt limit — causing solar inverters to shut off.

The whole point of solar panels is to stop storms and hold back the tide which makes them a white elephant from the moment they are installed. The high voltage cut-off makes white elephants into double elephants.

Not something you want on the roof.

With 1.8 million solar systems installed in Australian homes and businesses, a significant amount of renewable energy may simply be wasted.

Not to mention the significant billions used to install equipment that was never going to achieve anything bar making expensive green electrons that we didn’t need in the first place.

h/t Pat and Dave B

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218 comments to White elephant solar panels: “force-feeding” high voltage, raising costs, breaking things, shutting themselves down

  • #
    StephenP

    Is it fraud or hubris?
    A car that only worked when the sun shone in the daytime would be useless, even if you got the fuel for free.

    130

    • #
      StephenP

      Moderator. I think hubris is the reason, owing to the proponents of solar energy not taking account of the law of unintended consequences.
      The car with free fuel that only runs when the sun is shining needs backup from a taxi.

      311

    • #
      Latus Dextro

      …a significant amount of renewable energy may simply be wasted.

      No amount of virtue signalling is ever considered “wasted.”

      130

      • #
        yarpos

        much of it is wasted as compared to nameplate capacity, that everyone talks about, only 60-70% is ever delivered. Even then its delivered and random times whether you need it or not.

        30

    • #
      Rosco

      It is a total lack of knowledge by the promoters of this.

      Some years ago I was listening to Conversations with Richard Fidler on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC Radio’s most popular podcast, discussing solar with various people who either installed it or had a system.

      Fidler said that one caller must be pleased that they always had power during the day even during mains power outages.

      He was shocked to be informed that without mains power to the inverter the panels could not provide useable power.

      This from an “expert” commentator who insulted critics with “they’re physicists, they’re not even climatologists” when interviewing the classic know nothing alarmist Naomi Oreskes.

      He didn’t even understand the only mechanism proposed for the greenhouse effect is radiation theory and that physicist’s understand that far better than any climatologist on the planet.

      Ignorance, arrogance and possession of the microphone – that is all the alarmist media personalities have – also sounds like a PM I’d rather not name or think about !

      251

      • #

        Heat transfer and thermodynamics are engineering subjects which most physicists do not understand and about which all so-called climatologists have no clue. Naomi Oreskes can not do much with the appearance she inherited but she could look up some history of communism & socialism, and why people such Stalin, Mao, H*tler or Pol Pot where such failures for the people of their countries.

        110

      • #
        toorightmate

        I thought Richard Fidler was good – until I heard the “Fine Cotton Story” which was complete fuctuinal crap.
        Or as a well-known man would say, “Fake news”.

        20

  • #
    Mark M

    “The whole point of solar panels is to stop storms and hold back the tide …”

    … while others believe riding a bamboo pushbike will prevent droughts and floods …

    GHANAIAN BAMBOO BIKES CELEBRATED AT COP19 IN WARSAW

    https://sgp.undp.org/resources-155/our-stories/340-christiana-figueres-and-ban-ki-moon-celebrate-sgps-innovative-ghanaian-bamboo-bikes-at-the-unfccc-cop-19.html

    81

  • #
    robert rosicka

    From experience-

    Light globes blow unexpectedly.

    Battery chargers go to an early grave.

    Pumps , well they blow the capacitors quite frequently.

    Must start doing voltage checks again bu t our power is due to be shut down for 6 hours overnight for system upgrades so they say .

    91

    • #
      tom0mason

      With voltages (and probably the frequency) flapping around look out for fridges and A/C unit failures.
      Compressor motors are not made for variable supplies.

      100

      • #
        ivan

        Don’t forget computers. Their power supplies are designed to work from 100v to 240v and they don’t like much over that 240v because of the transistorised switching 245v appears to be the maximum they are happy with. The same applies to the smartphone chargers.

        70

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          In short, the renewables foolishness is a complete foul up.

          But….( big sigh ) ….what else do you expect to get from Socialism?

          High voltage can lower appliance life by up to 50%. This means we are being robbed of the value of our own property….which is socialism….

          91

        • #
          yarpos

          Sounds like manufacturers are going to have to beef up power supply handling in their products and/or there will be a good add on market for external protection. People will need to go off grid to protect themsleves from it :-)

          50

          • #
            Bob

            There are certain appliances which can’t protect themselves from overvoltage and must carry on working, shortening their service lives. Medical equipment, incubators, etc. No amount of beefing up is available. A start capacitor for example “fires” at 10% above the rated supply. In Australia the rated supply is 230V, so we can see where that 253V ceiling for inverters comes from.

            30

      • #
        tom0mason

        Also of note is that all generators and the customer loads are effectively in parallel across the (local) grid. If your tiny solar tries to force 256V on to a grid at 250V (held by the MW available from all other generators), your generator output will be at 250volts!

        00

  • #
    robert rosicka

    The only useful renewable power is hydro , as long as it rains .

    121

    • #
      ivan

      robert, you can use solar BUT it does require a shed full of high capacity deep cycle batteries and a stand by auto start diesel generator.

      I have friends that live way out in the foothills of the Pyrenees that have that setup and it has been working for them for the last 15 years. It was not cheap and required such things as high efficiency freezers and refrigerators. For the last 5 years they have been able to use an A/C after we added another inverter to run it.

      70

    • #
      Rod Stuart

      Interesting that hydro is considered to be “renewable”.
      If the advantage enjoyed by renewables is power generation without production of CO2, (for some reason there are ill-informed sould who think this is somehow an advantage), then I suppose one could say that “renewables” can gbe defined as a means of electricity production without the by-product CO2.
      If that definition is accurate, then Hydro is by definition not a renewable.
      The creation of artificial reservoirs leads to biological processes which produce CO2 to an extent that would not exist without these reservoirs. Such reservoirs produce more CO2 per MW-hr than a fossil fuelled power station. Admittedly, this is not the case for run-of-river hydro, but by and large hydro the world over requires artificial reservoirs.

      90

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Rod:
        hydro is considered “renewable” for 2 reasons.
        The major reason is that adding it into the figures makes “renewables” look competitive.
        The second is that some of the brighter Greenies have realised that trying to run an electricity grid with variable source requires lots of storage. Hence the sudden enthusiasm in South Australia to put salt water ponds on top of any hills they can.
        The extra cost of the storage doesn’t get counted when they do their costings.

        70

        • #
          neil

          15 years is a good run, most batteries only last 10 years and are only guaranteed for 200 recharges about 2 years. And you are looking at $10~30K to replace them.

          20

  • #

    Makes a diesel generator for the household even more appealing.

    110

    • #
      robert rosicka

      Power went out for 15 mins in northeast Victoriastan, Herr Andrews must be getting us used to blackouts for summer .

      91

      • #
        robert rosicka

        Apologies to our glorious leader ,the power went out because some hoons were we’re seeing how much airtime they could get if they hit a railway crossing at increasing speed .
        Turns out you lose steering at 150kmh after hitting the crossing but lucky for him the power pole stopped him ,this was a main line into the town and although we only lost power for 15 minutes the power has only just been restored in town .

        20

  • #

    Before our interglacial ends (which is for sure but not for now) they reckon we will experience a solar grand minimum…very soon, maybe now.

    What disturbs me is that the same big fibbers selling us dud solutions to unreal problems will simply put on a different hat and sell us dud solutions to an actual problem. Remember the 1970s and sooty poles.

    According to Zharkova and other astro people, there’ll be cooler summers in this hemisphere and horror winters in the north. Orbits, doncha know. Some disagree. Some had better disagree or else. The debunking of Zharkova is vigorous, but too obviously jumbled and defensive. (It’s the Fawlty approach. Mention the sun or orbits, and they just say you’re from Barcelona and leave it at that.)

    Whether the predictions are right or not, it’s certain that long periods of horror N Hemisphere winters have occurred in recent millennia and it’s certain that major solar minima have to come round regularly if not predictably. It’s a bit like major volcanism. These things have to come round.

    Buggy grids, solar panels, whirlygigs and big batteries may seem the stuff of comedy now. But even I won’t be laughing if Zharkova is even half-right.

    150

  • #
    sophocles

    Wait! I can feel a Prophecy coming on … I can see …
    <prophecy>
    I see … I see a rise in appliance failures, more appliances going into land fills … appliance fires, battery chargers too, and maybe even battery ones, yes, burning houses from assault and battery,,. I see … burning roofs, flaming glass falling to the ground …
    </prophecy>

    Elevated voltages are not good for anything.

    The latest and greatest appliances are built to very tight margins and tolerances to keep them cheap … I already have a TV which waited thirty days after its two year warranty period before expiring. The swinish thing did it very sneakily by just not turning on, on day thirty one.

    NZ law (I can’t say anything about Aussie standards because I know nothing about them except for those NZ adopts … :-) ) establishes limits for the nominally 230V mains voltage of +/- 5% which means, it must not stray over 241.5 volts on the + 5% side, or slide below 218.5 V on the – 5% side. I used to monitor my mains voltage for years. It was just an analog meter plugged into a wall socket, and after a decades of seeing 230V … 230V … all the time—except for the `maintenance’ and `car hits pole’ outages, when it was 0V … 0V… for a few hours, all I continued to see was 230V … 230V and I got bored and stopped monitoring it. I might just start again, it will be interesting for, say, another year.

    Ergo: check your state (or national) Standards for power supply tolerances. If 253V is 10% above standard, your supplier may be carrying a significant liability. Go for the jugular.

    Start monitoring. It’s easy with a computer to hand interfaced to a $15 digital multimeter (a $10 or even $5 one will do …) and receiving an atomic clock signal from the Internet for the date/time stamp of each reading. Computers can multi-task far easier than we can. Check your evidential requirements: and date/time stamp each recorded reading. If you have an overvoltage trend, you can enjoy the entertainment value of writing snotty letters complete with threats (be careful here) to power suppliers who deserve them. Have fun.

    170

    • #
      sophocles

      a little bit of clarity required:

      where I said If 253V is 10% above standard … , it should be If 253V is 10% above nominal, and your standards set 5% above nominal as the maximum then ….

      My BF (Brain Fart).

      70

    • #
      theRealUniverse

      Most appliance powersupplies are (should be) rated from 85-265V AC 50/60 Hz as of standards. Being in electronic design. AU NZ standards for mains are the same expect AU is nominally 250V NZ 240, but there is local variation due to load. If you ‘thing’ blows up then take it back. Bad components and manufacturing faults.

      30

      • #
        sophocles

        Not so. Power supplies offering that sort of flexibility are usually switchmode supplies, similar to those in desk-top computer equipment. Switchmode supplies are used where multiple voltages at very different currents are required and loads within the device are very constant. (eg desktop computer power supplies.)

        New Zealand standard is 230V nominal at +/- 5% variation. I have in my hand the NZ Wiring Regulations. An appliance power supply rated at 240V is basically saying: “this will accept 230V nominal at up to +5%. Go over that at your own risk.”
        230V nominal + 5% = 241.5V.

        You say AU uses 250V as it’s rating, then it’s saying: 230V nominal + 10% max which is 253V (!) and go over that at your own risk. Some appliances sold in NZ use the 250V description so they are aimed directly at both markets without discrimination. (Usually imported into Aus and some shipped on for sale in NZ)

        As this is 50Hz AC power supply, all voltages are RMS.

        The 85-265V supplies will be switch-mode power supplies, only they can offer that type of flexibility and remain safe.

        Wall-warts can’t: they’re conventional simple power supplies with a 230V -> Whatever primary -> secondary winding transformers connected into 2 or 4 diodes and a filter capacitor. Component ratings will be very close to marginal to keep costs as low as possible. A higher cost wall wart will have a single chip linear regulator in there. Luxury!

        42

        • #
          ivan

          Wall-warts I think you will find are now either full switch mode or, for the low current ones, capacitor limited – at least all the dud ones I have taken apart are and almost all of them show failure from over voltage.

          30

        • #
          theRealUniverse

          I know I was referring to switching supplies found in most electronic appliances, and small chargers. Ive designed them and for commercial lighting equipment.
          ‘Wall-warts can’t’..the old transformer supplies wont have the range.
          The other thing is motors found in various machines if older run at small vltage ranges. As you stated +- 5% or 10%.
          Yes Ive read the regs I meant to put 230V for NZ not 240..
          My LG monitor is happy on 250V even though it says 100-240.

          10

      • #
        James

        I disagree. Some years ago the Australian voltage standard was revised to be 230 volts, from 240 volts. This change occurred in 2000, to meet international standards.
        Here is a paper about that change:
        https://www.powerlogic.com.au/Attachments/Voltage%20and%20Equipment%20Standard%20Misalignment%20PaperV.pdf

        Western Australia was 250 volts up until 1985. I recall that you could buy buck down adapters/ transfomers to drop the voltage 10%.

        Here is a history of the voltages used in the past.
        http://members.iinet.net.au/~cool386/plug/plug.html

        60

    • #
      Hanrahan

      In Oz, our nominal is 240V so 253 V [why that quoted figure?] is 5% above nominal.

      Are you sure about appliances being more fussy about voltage? I haven’t seen it and some phone/laptop chargers accept 110 – 250V IP.

      20

      • #
        sophocles

        In Oz, our nominal is 240V so 253 V [why that quoted figure?] is 5% above nominal.

        My bad, thanks for the correction.

        Any appliance with a computer built in will use a switch mode power supply which will make it less fussy about supply voltage and somewhat more reliable because of highly stable and well filtered internal voltages. TVs, phones/laptops use switch-mode power supplies and suffer the extra reliability from that use. Sometimes, technology does improve.

        40

    • #
      FarmerDoug2

      “253 volts” RMS? Average? Peak?
      Wave shape, (harmonic distortion) is important and not mentioned. It is the peaks and rise times that wreck things.
      Doug

      40

  • #
    Peter C

    Pensioner Paul Ryan installed solar panels on his house in the Victorian town of Warragul more than a year ago, but for much of that time they have not been working. The system often has to shut off to protect itself from high voltages coming in from the grid.
    “It turned out to be a bit of a white elephant in a sense,” Mr Ryan told 7.30.

    Huh!

    More like a Wrecking Rhino than a White Elephant.
    Not only has Paul Ryan got no benefit from his solar cells, but he has contributed to stuffing up the whole grid and causing appliance failures for all users.

    101

  • #
  • #
    Kinky Keith

    Don’t blame the professional engineers.

    This is Strictly Politics telling us that we have entered the twighlight zone.

    A PC electricity generation and distribution system.

    KK

    61

    • #
      Greebo

      Don’t blame the professional engineers.

      Why not? Surely they are the ones who should be shouting from the rooftops. The way I see it, engineers like a buck as much as anyone else. I can’t hear their protests from where I’m sitting, except on here.

      70

      • #
        Kinky Keith

        Yes, of course we can blame them for lacking the courage to speak out.
        We should also blame many university physics, chemistry and geology professionals who could can this in a few minutes. But look at Ian Plimer, no one hears him.

        The blame for silencing these people lies in domineering politics.

        161

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          Er……as an Engineer, I cant believe this…its like watchibg the Marie Celeste under full sail….

          https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/News/engineers-australia-and-climate-change

          “Climate change is a mainstream issue that all aspects of politics and society are tackling. Global CO2 emissions have flattened since 2016 and, optimistically, we are now heading in the right direction to manage our future sustainably.

          “Since the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 the climate debate has changed; instead of arguing about the validity of the science we’re now arguing about renewable energy targets and how urgent change needs to be.

          Whilst this is an ongoing argument, it has proved to be vastly more constructive and alludes to a more sustainable future.”

          90

          • #
            Kinky Keith

            Yes.
            The world has gone Crazy.

            70

          • #
            D. J. Hawkins

            If he were in the USA I might make a complaint to the licensing board for his blatant failure to protect the public interest by promulgating this sort of nonsense.

            80

          • #

            Never mind Paris, Kyoto, Cancun and the rest of the lobster sandwich venues.

            The “debate” has always been over and it’s always just been a matter of how much ruin to inflict, with the so-called moderates and lukewarmers calling for smaller and more agile white elephants to squash your economy for longer. The frequent use of the word “tackle” makes it all seem less clumsy than the more fitting word “trample”. Our Green Betters are great tacklers.

            The leader of any institution now has to mouth this authoritarian guff about climate couched in buzz-language and management-speak. It alludes to sustainable funding and sustainable job tenure.

            110

  • #
    Kinky Keith

    Everyone’s a winner.

    Except the community, business and industry.

    Pretty soon our Local Government Councils will be operating out of Indonesia or somewhere where the power is affordable.

    61

  • #
    Graeme No.3

    Ah! but the good news is that all that solar generation during the day forces conventional generators to shut down. Then when the sun goes down and the evening peak demand occurs, then extra “rapid response” generation is needed. As we haven’t built any hydro** and cannot afford “big batteries” all over the landscape this means either ‘peaking’ gas plants or the (slightly cheaper and more reliable) diesel plants. WOW! extra cost AND CO2 emissions, a Green Triumph!

    ** I know we might have some in 2024 with Snowy 2 which will add $40 (minimum) per MWh to any stored electricity but other schemes are more expensive.

    110

    • #
      Chad

      Snowy 2s extra 2 GW generating capacity, wont go far towards the loss of 20+ GW of coal generation capacity !

      91

      • #
        BoyfromTottenham

        Sorry, Chad but Snowy 2 is just pumped storage (like a big battery), it doesn’t generate any new power. In fact it wastes about 20% of the energy fed into it. It is a dumb idea, and very expensive, like many politician brain farts. Pollies should never be allowed to make technical or business decisions, they should stick to politics.

        140

        • #
          Chad

          Sure BfT… I understand the tech., and the shortcomings of PH.
          But just pointing out that its even its max POWER potential fall way short on that needed to substitute for lost coal generation
          PH has its uses, but also its limitations !

          60

  • #
    Lionell Griffith

    When it is your hidden goal to destroy, no unintended consequence is undesirable except actually delivering as promised.

    Remember? “Don’t let a good crises go to waste!” This has been changed to: “If you don’t have a good crises, create one and then build upon it.”

    The really sad thing is that all of this could have been predicted with only a few minutes of rational thought taken in full context of reality. In fact, it was predicted many times in many places. Yet, “they” continued. I suspect they continued BECAUSE they knew what they were doing would self destruct catastrophically and at an unimaginably high cost. Thereby achieving their real goal of destroying whatever is good for living humans.

    90

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Destroying the middle class is the goal of communism.

      I suspect in the long run, all Collaborators, especially in politics, will view light poles with some fear….

      70

      • #
        el gordo

        Our biggest trading partner is a Communist dictatorship and they want to grow the middle class at home and around the world.

        In the same way that capitalism has changed over the years, becoming mixed economies, your shares and property are safe as long as the cultural Marxists don’t seize the Treasury Benches next year.

        30

        • #
          el gordo

          Cultural Marxists Merge

          ‘For the first time in the party’s history members will be asked in two surveys if they want to have a say in the federal leadership, and whether the minor party should grant Labor only supply and confidence, enter a formal agreement or even take ministries in a Labor-Greens government.

          ‘The surveys – to be conducted this week – will give preliminary results to be discussed at the Greens national conference on 18 November, with full results to be released to members in early 2019.’

          Guardian

          20

  • #
    Hanrahan

    This means appliances are using more electricity,

    I’d need more detail before accepting this on face value. I accept that filament light bulbs will fail sooner but they haven’y been in stores for years.

    All your electronics running on low V DC would be the same as always. They use a switch-mode power supply which has a Very efficient regulator. My bore pump may pump more water which is not in my interest because it is a little over powered already.

    In principal we should get the advertised volts, I agree, but didn’t the old meter with the spinning wheel measure current only? If so you get more watts per amp with a higher V.

    Not saying the article is wrong but I’m a sceptic of many things. :D

    20

    • #
      ivan

      Switch mode power supplies are built down to a price and there is very little allowance for over voltage. Depending on the actual equipment the switch mode PS runs it might or might not go fizz when the PS burns out – on the other hand the PS might just go up in flames (something I have seen). Low voltage (5v DC) chargers going fizz can take out the charge regulator in smart phones connected to them.

      20

    • #
      sophocles

      To Hanrahan @ # 14.

      It’s because of those old meters that the supply limits were imposed by law to allay people’s fears of being overcharged. You notice: things are only regulated where money is involved, and not necessarily the customers.

      To Ivan: @ #14.1:
      I’ve had to repair a lot of switchers. It’s always been the switching devices which go and, of course they take out the regulator IC and whatever other electronix may be there. The discreet regulators always survived that but they were way back in time.

      I’ve never seen one go up in flames. At least Not Yet! :-)
      All the failures I’ve had to deal with didn’t even let their smoke out. They just stopped. Analysis always showed underrated (breakdown voltage) in the switches.

      30

    • #
      RickWill

      Your bore pump will be one thing that reduces current when the voltage is increased assuming it is an induction motor. Its power demand depends on speed which is tightly linked to frequency. So at constant frequency it is a constant power device and increased voltage will result in reduced current.

      The demand from water heaters will rise to the square of voltage. The increase in demand with voltage will be dominated by resistive heating. Still lots of electric room heaters being used and also water heaters.

      30

  • #
    pat

    New wind and solar generation costs fall below existing coal plants
    Financial Times – 18h ago

    above concerns the latest Lazard report (the latest of many) spruiking “renewables”:

    8 Nov: Lazard: Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2018
    View the Full Levelized Cost of Energy Report (LINK)
    View the Full Levelized Cost of Storage Report (LINK)
    Lazard’s latest annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 12.0) shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind. In some scenarios, alternative energy costs have decreased to the point that they are now at or below the marginal cost of conventional generation…

    Additional highlights from LCOE 12.0:
    The low end levelized cost of onshore wind-generated energy is $29/MWh, compared to an average illustrative marginal cost of $36/MWh for coal. The levelized cost of utility-scale solar is nearly identical to the illustrative marginal cost of coal, at $36/MWh. This comparison is accentuated when subsidizing onshore wind and solar, which results in levelized costs of energy of $14/MWh and $32/MWh, respectively…
    https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-and-levelized-cost-of-storage-2018/

    Wikipedia: Kenneth M. Jacobs
    Kenneth M. Jacobs is the chairman and chief executive officer of Lazard since November 16, 2009. Jacobs joined Lazard in 1988…
    He also focused on bringing in new staff specializing in energy, technology and healthcare…
    Jacobs is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago and the Brookings Institution. Jacobs earned a B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago and an M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_M._Jacobs

    on the Board of Directors:
    Richard Nathan Haass…has been president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003.

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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      pat:

      The levelized cost of utility-scale solar is nearly identical to the illustrative marginal cost of coal, at $36/MWh.
      This comparison is accentuated when subsidizing solar, which results in levelized cost of energy of $32/MWh,

      Let me see……utility-scale solar is nearly the same ‘cost’ as coal AFTER it is subsidized. Remind me not to waste time on Lazard’s waffle.

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    • #
      yarpos

      LCOE is yet another highly manipulated and non standard model with opaque internals. The output can be whatever you want it to be, and just like alarmist climate models the results speak more to the biases of the modellers than real world outcomes.

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    • #
      Chad

      They seem to have dropped their cost data for solar and wind with storage ?
      It was there in ver 11 and did not do alternatives any favours,..even though it was only for 10 hours of storage !
      A MWh of cheap solar power is of little use if you need it at 5 am !

      50

  • #
    Fin

    Sorry, I don’t have a physics symbols keyboard, but here goes (from a medico..):

    Since energy, E, is what we pay for in our bills and energy is measured in joules or commonly the larger units of kW.h, how can voltage (think pressure) V affect energy E used?

    Energy used = power x time ” switched on”, or E = P x t, or E=P.t

    Applying Ohm’s Law to this simple equation, now E = V squared divided by R resistance of an appliance, all multiplied by t still.

    In other words, energy used (and paid for) is DIRECTLY proportional to the SQUARE of the applied VOLTAGE. Ouch. Simply put, more the voltage, more the energy used by an appliance. (Or, more voltage pushes more current through a fixed resistor which unloads the energy from the current.)

    A friend asked me to look at his inverter a week ago; sure enough the grid voltage on the lines was already high at 250V; when a cloud moved away from the sun and his roof panels rose to 253V the inverter promptly switched off at this legal threshold. A very narrow window indeed to make any money.
    The sun’s shining its heart out and the inverter has isolated his power station from the grid. Too bad. Cold comfort for the poor bare roofed consumer, though, who is paying for the forced higher energy usage at those high voltages. Great for the energy supplier.

    And no wonder electricians are being flooded with complaints about LED lights blowing at 500 hours instead of 50,000 hours.

    What a racket.

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    • #
      MatrixTransform

      My son’s parents-in-law are the most upstanding correct thinking greenest and most righteous inner city dwelling heros.

      My boy adores them since they apparently represent correct-think in all ways whereas his Old Man (thats me) is wrong-thinker….a climate denier
      (amongst other things Im also a priveleged toxic stupid white male)

      Anyway, they asked me (the Tech Wallah) to look into their poor old Inverter shutting down to see if it could be could ‘fixed’

      I wrote them a small treatise trying to school them all on the problems of grid voltage regulation and why their solar installation is, to some extent, a bit of waste of time and money.

      For smart people (both doctors), they sure did look dumb-struck.

      Apparently these real-world electromification problems are a fiction that I invented so that I could have an opportunity to show-case my wrong-thinking climate catastrophe denialism.

      As far as I can tell, they are a little bitter about not being rewarded for their $25k investment.

      My boy is a primary school teacher and according to him, everything the Electrical Engineer says, is just plain wrong.

      What ever you do, dont mention science because the science is settled … and all the primary school teacher agree

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    • #
      Lance

      Slight correction:

      Energy is in units of Joules or N-M or Watt x Second. Power is in units of Joules/sec, N-M/Sec or Watts.

      For: V = voltage in volts, I = current in Amperes, R = resistance in Ohms and Z = impedance in Ohms
      Z = AC impedance ( capacitive + reactive ) Phi = phase angle between voltage and current (AC)

      V = I x R , DC systems

      Power: V x I = I x I x R = Watts DC. in AC systems, kW (real) = V x I x Cos (phi) = I x I x Z

      Power is related to the square of the current, not the voltage, in either AC or DC systems.

      Energy is measured in Joules. Power is measured in Joules/sec or Watts.

      DC systems voltage and current are always in phase. Phase angle = Zero

      AC systems voltage and current are rarely, if ever, in phase. Phase angle is not 0.

      AC Generating plants must provide Apparent Power: RMS value of the Voltage and Current. VA or kVA or MVA.
      What you actually benefit from is the “Real” power or the P(apparent) x Cos(phi). W or KW or MW
      The Reactive power is P(apparent) x Sin (phi). Vars, KVars, or MVars.

      The “Mains Voltage” would be Peak to Peak value of the sinusoidal voltage. That’s where the voltage problem arises. Switching power supplies can compensate for a swing in input voltage. Analog power supplies can only provide the ratios their transformers allow up to the limit of the insulation rating as do motors.

      In a DC system the motor speeds are voltage dependent.
      In a synchronous AC system motor speeds are frequency dependent.

      This is simply to clarify that AC and DC systems are somewhat different in how they depend upon and react to, voltage variations.

      Most certainly, voltages above the insulation design norms is harmful. In an AC system, both voltage and frequency effects have to be considered. The worst possible situation for an AC generating system is under voltage and under frequency. For a motor, anything over or under either voltage or frequency is bad if it wasn’t designed for those conditions. Try running a 60 Hz motor at 50 Hz and see how long it takes to fry an egg on the casing.

      The major issue with solar/wind power and their inverters is that they do not provide any frequency stability and their output voltages are either synchronized to the mains voltage or are fixed in output voltage or are allowed to swing some % above/below mains voltage. None of these behaviors are helpful to mains stability.

      The Mains are chasing the Load. Wind/Solar are chasing the Mains. The Load simply exists. Load reacts badly to voltage or frequency instability.

      Complicated issue. Sorry for the length of reply.

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      • #
        Fin

        “Power is related to the square of the current, not the voltage, in either AC or DC systems”.

        Lance, E = P.t – we both agree, of course.

        and P = V.I – think we both agree.

        so E = V.I.t – we still agree.

        and from Ohm’s Law I = V/R

        hence E = V.V/R .t
        = V squared/R .t

        ie, E is directly proportional to the square of the voltage.

        You say, “not the voltage”. Where have I gone wrong?

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  • #
    pat

    Dembicki is the perfect CAGW pawn…and a media darling, of course:

    15 Oct: Vice: Geoff Dembicki: Solar Power Could Still Save the World
    Award-winning solar scientist Martin Green says the technology ***is being underestimated in climate predictions.
    (Geoff Dembicki is the author of Are We Screwed? How a New Generation Is Fighting to Survive Climate Change)
    Our future on this planet is totally, irrevocably, screwed. That would seem to be the message from last week’s major UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report…
    Yet in early October I spent several days with an Australian scientist who argues we may be less screwed than many people think. “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a data-driven optimist,” said Martin Green from the University of New South Wales. Here’s what the data are telling him: The cost of solar energy is dropping faster than anyone expected: 34 percent this year alone. And installations of it are skyrocketing…

    Green told me that it’s conceivable greenhouse gas emissions could begin plummeting at rates needed to avoid the worst-case impacts of climate change…
    “Suddenly in 2016 we started seeing these abnormally [low] solar prices.” Solar rapidly went from being one of most expensive sources of energy to one of the cheapest. He is now certain “the time of solar has arrived and this is good news for the world.”

    Green has been part of the industry since its earliest days. He founded a research group that in 1989 created the first solar cell with a 20 percent efficiency rate, a world record at the time. “We took efficiency way beyond what anyone thought possible,” he said. Green invented something called a PERC solar cell, which now accounts for over $10 billion of solar sales. His fellow lab researchers—including Zhengrong Shi, now the head of Suntech Power—played a crucial role in creating China’s solar energy industry, the world’s largest.

    Green beat out Elon Musk to win this year’s Global Energy Prize, a scientific award given out annually in Russia, which he shared with Russian thermal power scientist Sergey Alekseenko. I was at the Moscow award ceremony on October 6 to receive an energy journalism prize. I attended several of Green’s talks and we spoke one-on-one about his research…

    Political leaders such as Trump portray our shift off fossil fuels as costly and unreliable. “That’s an old argument,” Green told me…
    Two years ago total installations of solar amounted to 230 gigawatts. By the end of 2017 that number was 400 gigawatts. The US National Renewable Energy Lab predicts it could pass 1,000 gigawatts by 2023. Green thinks it may go as high as 10,000 by 2030…

    Earlier this year a group called Lazard calculated that the cost of solar in North America fell from over $350 per megawatt hour in 2009 to $50 in 2017, while the cost of coal remained at around $102. “This recent change could be a sign that the world is on the verge of an energy revolution,” Business Insider reported…

    And the type of solar growth Green predicts would require massive—and unprecedented—levels of investment. The IPCC report estimated the world has to invest $2.4 trillion per year in renewables for any hope of hitting the 1.5 C target. Last year about $333.5 billion was invested…
    https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/a3p8w5/solar-power-could-still-save-the-world

    Twitter: Geoff Dembicki
    TOP TWEET: Socialism is more popular than ever. So what does that mean? For @VICE I asked @sunraysunray @BlackSocialists @profwolff @DemSocialists @RashidaTlaib @VoCommunism @cmkshama @NicoleAschoff @carterforva and got fascinating answers (LINK)
    5 Oct 2018

    12 hours ago: Hey everyone just another friendly reminder that the oil industry sucks
    My latest for @VICE (LINK)
    https://twitter.com/GeoffDembicki

    Trump Has Declared Climate War. But My Generation Will Win.
    by Geoff Dembicki
    New York Times – Nov 15 2016

    Aug 2017: Guardian: Radical millennials are a climate force to be reckoned with
    by Geoff Dembicki
    The window for hope is closing rapidly for the planet. But young activists are demonstrating their power at the ballot box to push for a different future
    If progressives can’t take back control of the White House and Congress from climate change deniers in the next three years, it’s conceivable that humankind could be screwed…

    “While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence,” argued Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a leading climate researcher.

    Trump is inflicting wound after wound. His exit from the Paris climate treaty is a blow to the global fight against climate change…
    If momentum persists, it’s plausible that millennials who expelled an oil and gas leader in Canada, turned a socialist into a serious challenger for US President and invigorated the UK’s far-left could block Trump’s climate agenda as early as 2018…

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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Um…in reality, no one cares about social media…its all white noise….

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      • #
        yarpos

        If only that were true. Many young people live out their lives through social media and it is the lens through which they see the world. Its a major culprit in the tendency to not be able to discuss different views but to see everything as a battle between good (me) vs bad (anyone who doesnt think like me)

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        • #
          OriginalSteve

          I always take them to task – i always ask for the proof about what they read on social muddle( media) if you cant, you are a gullible fool….

          Thats stops them in thier tracks. Yes they will hate me, but deep down they know im right which means they have been made to question the propaganda….not that a 20 something doesnt always know everything….which they think they do ..as ling as they can look cool…

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          • #
            el gordo

            My approach is different, I tell them global cooling has begun and the proof is unseasonal weather. Why are we still wearing winter clothing in mid November?

            Further to that, just to show off my knowledge, Donald Trump is being advised by Will Happer, a high ranking member of the Denialati, so if it looks like the millennials are going to form a push then the President will reveal the truth.

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          • #
            sophocles

            OS: your problem is not unique:

            When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

            Mark Twain.

            And also:

            If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.

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    • #

      Solar Power Could Still Save the World

      Until people actually understand that the tiny amount of power generated on a rooftop, or any number of rooftops, goes nowhere even close to the tiniest fraction of a percentage of the Base Load of a whole Country, a State, a Capital city, a large city, a small city, a large town, a small town, then this persistent nagging meme that solar can save the World will just go on and on and on. The home with the panels consumes most of the generated power and the smallest amount is fed back to the grid, used by other homes close to the one with the panels. None of that power makes it out into the wider area of larger power consumption.

      Rooftop Solar Peak Power yesterday 3420MW at around Midday to 1PM. Australia, at that same time was consuming 21000MW. NO amount of rooftop solar will ever supply that, and supply it consistently.

      Base Load at 4AM – 18000MW, the lowest power consumption gets down to here in Australia. Rooftop power at that same time – ZERO

      Tony.

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      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Tony, i calculated for the USA to run on solar alone, would require 12% of its total land surface area to be covered in solar panels….

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        • #
          Steve

          OriginalSteve, according to my back of the envelope calculations, that many solar panels would cost about 235 trillion dollars just to buy the panels… haha! But what does the country do at night? And have you accounted for clouds?

          – Another Steve

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        • #
          Greebo

          And another 12% or more for the storage batteries. Mr Musk would be salivating.

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        • #
          Lance

          To replace the US grid capacity with Solar PV would take 900 years and 7 to 10 times more silver than exists in the entire world. Not to mention Cobalt for the Li-Ion batteries.

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/04/going-solar-system-requirements-for-100-u-s-solar-generated-utility-baseload-electricity/

          Silver requirements
          https://seekingalpha.com/article/4044219-enough-silver-power-world-even-solar-power-efficiency-quadruple

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          • #
            Hanrahan

            Talking of a shortage of silver, for a long time there were many tons missing: It was somewhere but who knew?

            Turns out that the Manhattan project needed massive electro magnets but there was a war on and the copper couldn’t be spared. Treasury loaned them silver to use instead.

            WASHINGTON (ISNS) — In the middle of World War II, Secretary of War Henry Stimson asked Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau if he could borrow some of the government’s silver on repository in West Point, N.Y. With metal in high demand for weaponry, silver was needed for a top-secret project. In this case it was silver’s electrical properties, not its monetary value which made it important. The secret project was being carried out at several undisclosed locations and required immense resources.

            Silver was usually handled in amounts measured in ounces, but this time the Army was asking for tons. So great were the Army’s requirements that almost 15,000 tons of silver — 30 million pounds — were withdrawn from federal vaults over two years, taken to a factory in New Jersey, and formed into coils of wire. Shipped to Wisconsin in train cars watched over by armed guards, the coils were fashioned into magnets. The magnets in turn went back east to Oak Ridge, Tennessee where they were put into action.

            At Oak Ridge huge currents of electricity flowed through the coils, producing potent magnetic fields used to separate different types of uranium. Only uranium-235 atoms, slightly lighter than the more prevalent uranium-238, could blow apart in the kind of chain-reaction explosion that occurs in an atom bomb. The enriched U-235, obtained using the silver magnets in a painstakingly slow process, eventually found its way into the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

            Cameron Reed, a physics professor at Alma College in Michigan, looked at government microfilms obtained from the National Archives to trace the odyssey of the silver from New York to Oak Ridge. Reed said that if all the silver borrowed by the Army were made into a cube, the dimension of each side would be 35 feet.

            Although it took many years, all the silver was returned to the Treasury. General Leslie Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project which built the first nuclear weapons, was so scrupulous about returning the silver to the Treasury. He insisted that everything that had come in contact with the silver be scrubbed so that no shavings were lost. When in 1970 the final bars of silver were returned by federal nuclear officials, only about four-hundredths of one percent could not be accounted for.

            In addition to the great effort required to ship and machine the silver, it took prodigious amounts of electricity to refine the uranium, said Reed. “The electrical energy run through the magnet coils to separate U-235 for the Hiroshima bomb was equivalent to about 1400 kilotons of TNT — about 100 times the energy released by the bomb itself.”

            https://www.insidescience.org/news/silver-crucial-wwii-bomb

            That’s what happens when you do a search, you contradict yourself. According to that the silver was never “forgotten”.

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          • #
            Geoffrey Williams

            Keep going Lance we need your expertise to to understand the reality of solar . .
            Geof d W

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      • #
        Robber

        Tony, it’s only going to get worse. Australia has been installing around 100 megawatts of new solar power every month in 2018 and there are predictions that the country could become the first country in the world where the grid cannot handle the excess level of distributed electricity generated. Another 2.7 GW of new large-scale solar is also under construction.
        So let’s say by 2020 we are generating 7.5 GW at midday from solar – about 35% of the demand of 21 GW. Add another 4 GW from wind and our reliable coal/gas generators that provide stable frequency will be operating at very low capacity factors, yet they must be ready, with some help from hydro, to meet peak evening demand of 32 GW.
        Meanwhile some state governments are promising further rebates and high feed in tariffs for solar installations. Will it be this summer or the next that we have a catastrophic collapse of our grid? See Jo’s July 29 post: “Solar overload — “Costs a fortune” as the super Duck Curve flood of electricity hits Australia”.

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        • #
          Greebo

          Meanwhile some state governments are promising further rebates and high feed in tariffs for solar installations.

          RedDan is in the vanguard. And it would seem that in two weeks from today he will be re-elected to continue on his ruinous path. I hope I’m wrong about that, but I’ll bet I’m not. Victorians are more and more on the public teat, with no thought or idea of what a massive Ponzi scheme that really is. It’s almost time to go bush.

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      • #
        PeterS

        Also, it’s not really about saving the world. It’s about controlling it by an elite group of authoritarian people and treating the rest like fools. If only George Orwell was alive today. He would be crying and laughing at the same time.

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      • #
        Lance

        No disagreement with your analysis.

        That said, I should like to point out that:

        Solar Panels depend upon Silver. Some 20 g / panel.

        Wind turbines depend upon Samarium, Neodymium and Cobalt for their magnets.

        Li-Ion batteries depend upon Cobalt for their manufacture.

        There isn’t enough Silver, Cobalt, Samarium or Neodymium in the entire world to support enough manufacture of the necessary components for either Wind or Solar to EVER be a realistic source of world energy.

        They are resource limited. Period.

        That which cannot be done, will not be done. QED.

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        • #
          Hanrahan

          The defence industries compete for all these resources too. Smart phones use a small, but measurable amount of them as well, too little to bother recovering though

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        • #
          sophocles

          At the start of 2017, Cobalt was about USD2,000 per ton. On the London Metals Exchange, it’s current price is c. USD50,000.00/ton.
          Welcome to the real world.

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  • #
    pat

    omitted from the following AP & Reuters’ reports:
    U.S. District Judge Brian Morris – Appointed by Barack Obama.

    the perils of activist judges:

    8 Nov: CTV: AP: U.S. judge blocks TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline
    GREAT FALLS, Mont. — TransCanada’s $10-billion Keystone XL pipeline project has suffered another setback after a U.S. federal judge blocked its construction to allow more time to study the potential environmental impact.
    The Great Falls Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ order on Thursday came as the Calgary-based energy giant was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana.

    Indigenous and environmental groups had sued TransCanada and the U.S. Department of State after Nebraska authorities approved an alternative route to the one TransCanada had proposed through the state…

    Morris said in his decision Thursday the government’s analysis didn’t fully study the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of current oil prices on the pipeline’s viability or include updated modelling of potential oil spills…
    Two other export pipelines, the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline sold to the federal government and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline replacement, also face uncertainty.
    – With files from The Canadian Press
    https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/u-s-judge-blocks-transcanada-s-keystone-xl-pipeline-1.4169859

    9 Nov: Reuters: U.S. judge halts construction of Keystone XL oil pipeline
    by Brendan O’Brien
    The ruling deals a major setback for TransCanada Corp and could possibly delay the construction of the $8 billion, 1,180 mile (1,900 km) pipeline…
    U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris’ ruling late on Thursday came in a lawsuit that several environmental groups filed against the U.S. government in 2017, soon after President Donald Trump announced a presidential permit for the project…
    Morris wrote in his ruling that a U.S. State Department environmental analysis “fell short of a ‘hard look’” at the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Native American land resources…

    “The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can’t ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities,” said the Sierra Club, one of the environmental groups involved in the lawsuit…
    Trump, a Republican, said the project would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-pipeline-keystone/u-s-judge-halts-construction-of-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline-idUSKCN1NE0HL?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews

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  • #
    observa

    Well AGL and Origin refer to it as unfirm power so all we need to do is firm it. Simply really so what’s all the fuss about?

    20

  • #
    ren

    Sorry.
    The center of the arctic high is located over North Dakota.
    https://files.tinypic.pl/i/00974/sf3o33cjvacd.png

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  • #
    Mark M

    Ms Zibelman said solar panels were less efficient on days of extreme heat however.

    She said AEMO was factoring in the drought conditions in NSW into its planning on how to meet summer peak demand, and was convinced that heatwaves in Australia were extending for longer periods when they happened than in the past.

    https://www.afr.com/business/energy/better-to-turn-off-pool-pumps-then-build-power-stations-aemo-20181002-h164s0

    Peak stupid and ‘the peter principle’ collide in fustercluck of Turnbull green idiocy.

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  • #
    Another Ian

    Re solar panels and other things

    “Another good T shirt is: “I would agree with you but then we’d both be wrong.””

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/index.php/2018/11/09/how-the-left-destroys-lives/#comment-1158459

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  • #
    Steve Richards

    If it is correct that the local grid is providing power at near 250v and the invertors trip at 253v then the homeowner is not providing the grid with much power and for very short periods. Is this lack of supply reflected in the payments they receive?

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    • #
      yarpos

      If all this is true then a downward trend would be evident. Would anyone notice, I think the large majority of people wouldnt even know if their solar panels where working.

      60

    • #
      Robber

      Payments are based on meter readings. I looked at one friend’s solar exports by quarter and they ranged from 400 kWhr in winter to 1400 kWhr in summer, with a feed in tariff of 9.9 cents/kWhr.

      30

  • #
    Travis

    Will a surge protector help protect appliances in my household?
    A washing machine has just failed (although it is old), but my ageing solar (ballast type SMA inverter) has shut down a couple of times from an unknown fault. It reboots and continues to work, but im concerned as it may be failing without observing whilst operating throughout the day.

    20

    • #
      ivan

      Simple answer – NO. Surge protectors are designed to protect equipment from very short term voltage spikes on the mains lasting a few milliseconds. Such spikes are produced when very large industrial equipment (large electric motors normally) is switched off or when lightning strikes the high voltage grid wires.

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  • #
    yarpos

    I guess the good news in all this is that we have a MSM renewables fanboy organisation actually saying that its not all rainbows and unicorns, and that real world problems exist.

    Then we have the backdrop of Daniel Andrews (and assorted fixed grin noddy dogs standing beside/behind him) making announcements to just keep on spraying panels and turbines around the countryside. Its Weatherdill repeating , they took absolutely no lessons away from SA at all.

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    • #
      Greebo

      they took absolutely no lessons away from SA at all.

      Yes they did, they were just all the wrong lessons, lessons in how to hoodwink and dumb down the populace. And Dan will win in two weeks….. “A perfectly good civilization” is going to waste faster than many of us had thought.

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  • #
    TedM

    Add to Jo’s comments the myriad of harmonics that the solar inverters produce. It’s dirty power. I have little doubt that this is a contributing factor to electronic devices that are being powered from the grid locking up, and requiring to be powered down for a minute or so to reset them.

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    • #
      robert rosicka

      Dirty power was described to me by an electrician years ago at the mill , sensitive electronic components were constantly dying and affecting the production of a lot of my machines .
      I spoke with a machinery component supplier who was clued up and he suggested trying a UPS on one of the machines sensor units , results were conclusive and after a week five more units were ordered .

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    pat

    naturally, Giles has had something to say about this:

    27 Apr: RenewEconomy: Lousy power quality? Blame the grid, not rooftop PV
    by Giles Parkinson
    Apart from the occasional blackout, caused by storms, bushfires, equipment failure or political bluster, many consumers suffer from sudden surges in voltage that can either dramatically “pop” an appliance, or significantly reduce its lifespan.

    It is a significant but hidden issue that could be costing consumers billions of dollars in failed appliances, and is also affecting the performance of inverter-based technologies such as rooftop PV and battery storage systems.
    In recent years, the overwhelming temptation among network owners and many in the media has been to blame the power quality problems on the arrival of rooftop solar PV – which now sits on some 1.8 million household and business rooftops.

    But a major new study led by a team from Queensland’s University of Technology – analysing the power quality in homes in four different states over a year – suggests that the problem is not solar PV, but the way the grid is managed. And the way it has always been managed…READ ON
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/lousy-power-quality-blame-grid-not-rooftop-pv-46568/

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    • #
      pat

      should have suggested reading the comments at reneweconomy.

      Energy Matters spruik a solution:

      9 Nov: EnergyMatters: 7:30 Report on ABC investigates growing concern over high grid voltage
      (SCROLL DOWN)
      EdgeIQ voltage regulator curbs high grid voltage
      The EdgeIQ acts as a buffer between the home and high voltages, maintain a constant, reliable voltage to the home.
      According to Edge Electronics, this can save up to 10 per cent on power bills while extending the life of appliances…
      https://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/abc-730-report-high-grid-voltage/

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    • #
      yarpos

      Its like we never enjoyed 50-60 years of stable power that we could take for granted. Yep sure Giles, its the grids fault, not what intermittents are doing to the grid.

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  • #
    PeterS

    It’s nothing new apart from the means of achieving more control over our lives. Various groups are now using CAGW as an excuse to introduce more and more draconian rules. Many are doing so with good albeit misguided intentions but eventually it ends in tears for everyone. Then the cycle repeats.

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    pat

    earlier 7.3 Report segment:

    VIDEO/TRANSCRIPT: 11 Apr: ABC 7.30 Report: Energy distributors push for a cap on solar power
    LIZ HOBDAY, REPORTER: Mitchell Spinks is an electrician who has just started a solar installation business.
    When he put up panels on his own home in the New South Wales town of Scone, he was surprised he couldn’t get a smart meter installed.

    MITCHELL SPINKS, ELECTRICIAN: Yeah, I’m not very happy about it at all. I’m just about sick of it.
    So 12 months is way too long to wait for something to be changed that should have happened within a couple of weeks.

    LIZ HOBDAY: He says he’s been waiting for a smart meter since last December and paying bills he shouldn’t have to.

    MITCHELL SPINKS: I would guess that I’ve probably been charged $1,200 extra on what my usage should have been and I don’t think there will ever be a return on that.
    So effectively, I’ve had the solar for 12 months for nothing…

    ANDREW DILLON, CEO, ENERGY NETWORKS AUSTRALIA: The engineering reality is once we get too much solar in a certain space it does start to cause technical issues.
    If there is too much energy coming back up the system in the middle of the day it can cause either frequency, voltage disturbances in the system which will lead to transformers and other equipment tripping off to protect themselves from being damaged and that will cause localised blackouts.

    LIZ HOBDAY: There’s no evidence yet of a rooftop solar system causing a widespread blackout or damaging infrastructure.
    But the industry that owns the network says the way customers are charged for electricity will have to change or expensive upgrades will be needed to keep solar customers on the grid…

    ANDREW DILLON: There are pockets of the grid in some states already where we have significant penetration and we are starting to see technical issues and we are starting to see networks requiring customers to pay significant upgrades in order to be able to get on.
    We are working very hard to try and minimise all of these outcomes…

    LIZ HOBDAY: Do you accept at all that your members have a vested interest in making the argument that solar power destabilises the network?

    ANDREW DILLON: Absolutely reject that claim.
    What we, as networks, have an interest in is running a safe network, running a reliable network, enabling the transition to a low carbon future and doing all of that while keeping costs down as much as possible…

    LIZ HOBDAY: The poles and wires companies, long criticised for their overspend on infrastructure, are responding to the challenge of rooftop solar in various ways.
    Networks in Queensland have reduced voltages to better support rooftop solar, while in South Australia they’re experimenting with home batteries…READ ON
    https://www.abc.net.au/7.30/energy-distributors-push-for-a-cap-on-solar-power/10366612

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      Robber

      The poles and wires companies each run a monopoly in their area, with a guaranteed return on investment provided they can justify the investments to the regulator. Money for jam.

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    pat

    despite the headline, “Guy backs coal” gets a single line, with no quote, at the end of the relevant solar/coal piece:

    9 Nov: Guardian: Victorian election roundup: Andrews pushes solar while Guy backs coal
    by Calla Wahlquist
    The Andrews government has announced a rooftop solar rebate for renters and pledged to extend its renewable energy target in an effort to push its environmental credentials ahead of the 24 November state election.
    The proposed $82m solar rebate will allow 50,000 renters to share the cost of installing solar panels or solar hot water on their rental home with the state government, which would pay 50%, and their landlord, who would pay 25%. The cost borne by renters would be spread out over four years and paid incrementally through monthly rent.

    It builds on the rebate for 720,000 owner-occupied homes announced in August and mirrors schemes for renters already in operation in some local government areas…
    The announcements were welcomed by the lobby group Environment Victoria, which warned that the future of Victoria as a national leader in renewable energy was “on a knife edge” and depended on the election result.
    The Greens have proposed a 100% renewable energy target while the Coalition, which plans to announce its energy policy next week, said it favoured a “national approach”…

    ***The opposition leader, Matthew Guy, has also put his support behind the construction of a new lower-emissions coal-fired power plant in the Latrobe Valley…
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/nov/09/victorian-election-roundup-andrews-pushes-solar-while-guy-backs-coal

    12 Oct: AFR: Vic solar, fed interventions show failure of energy policy
    by Ben Potter, Angela Macdonald-Smith
    Record growth of rooftop solar in Australia’s eastern states, alongside a 9000-megawatt wave of utility-scale wind and solar farms, is taking its toll on the grid…

    Audrey Zibelman, chief executive of AEMO, says she would prefer to see encouragement for batteries rather than solar panels so that solar power can evolve from being part of the problem of managing a rapidly changing grid to being part of the solution.
    “It actually does hurt the stability of the grid. We’ve identified already in areas that we are worried about voltage and managing the voltage of the system, particularly in the mid-afternoon where there’s very low demand,” Zibelman told ABC Radio National this week…

    Zibelman is concerned that the hollowing out of daytime demand on sunny days could force coal plants out before their scheduled retirements, exacerbating the problems in managing the grid and potentially resulting in the sort of price spikes seen after the closures of the Northern generator in South Australia and Hazelwood in Victoria. It was an issue also highlighted by Origin Energy boss Frank Calabria at the Summit this week.

    “Free electricity” may sound great in theory but when the sun goes down consumers will be paying far more if “dispatchable” generation has been forced from the market, says Catherine Tanna, managing director of EnergyAustralia.
    Rooftop solar systems may end up never paying for themselves as households would be selling power for zero dollars during the day and buying it back at much higher rates in the evening…

    AEMO would like state governments with subsidy programs to also look at storage and incentives and requirements for individuals to participate in the electricity market…READ ON
    https://www.afr.com/news/vic-solar-fed-interventions-show-failure-of-energy-policy-20181011-h16jw1

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      Greebo

      Of course, if Matthew Guy had spent less time lunching with “prominent” identities, and more time attacking Labor’s policies over the last four years he might be getting some traction now. He’ll need the luck of Stephen Bradbury to even get a look in now, despite the obvious and very public corruption of the electoral process by the Labor Party, with Members openly defying VicPol, who will no doubt not perform any arrests before November 24.

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      Kinky Keith

      Who said Turnbull was gone.

      Business as usual.

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        PeterS

        Worse than before actually. Morrison needs to grow up and sack him from the party. Perhaps there is a rule that says he can’t except for criminal actions. If there is such a rule it must be changed. How can any party put up with such sedition?

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      yarpos

      Personally I think it would be better if solar installations were controlled, with customers having to demonstrate what their typical load is. Solar installations would then be approved to with a (say) 20% margin of this number. Export to the grid would be incidental, not a designed in overload. However it would be just more rules, enforcement etc to deal with.

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    pat

    what a laugh:

    9 Nov: NBC: South Park issues rare apology for ‘ManBearPig’ skewering of Al Gore
    Show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker made amends for a dis that is more than a decade old.
    By Janelle Griffith
    In a 2006 episode during season 10 of the animated series, Al Gore issues a stern warning to the students of South Park Elementary School about the “single biggest threat to our planet.” He was talking about ManBearPig, a creature meant to represent climate change.
    At the time the episode aired, Gore was a month away from releasing the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” The problem is that, per “South Park,” ManBearPig was fictional, which suggests the threat was imagined by Gore.
    “South Park” was effectively mocking the global issue at the center of “An Inconvenient Truth.”

    Now, 12 years later, show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have orchestrated a mea culpa.
    In this week’s episode, “Time to Get Cereal,” the children discover Gore was right all along when the character Stan sees an attack. They seek Gore’s help, which he provides, but not before they apologize for not taking him seriously years ago
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/south-park-issues-rare-apology-manbearpig-skewering-al-gore-n934156

    just to show Al demands the apology:

    9 Nov: Fox News: ‘South Park’ apologizes to Al Gore for not taking climate change seriously
    By Kathleen Joyce
    During Wednesday’s episode titled “Time to Get Cereal,” the four boys look for Gore for help after one of them witnesses an attack. Before he helps them, Gore asks them to apologize in the episode. The boys end up saying sorry…
    https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/south-park-apologizes-to-al-gore-for-not-taking-climate-change-seriously

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      pat

      9 Nov: TheBlaze: ‘South Park’ characters apologize to Al Gore for mocking him over climate change: ‘Say you’re sorry’
      by Dave Urbanski
      How things, um, change
      But in this week’s episode, “Time to Get Cereal,” ManBearPig turns up and kills several residents.
      So the kids track down Gore in a bowling alley and confess he’s “totally right” and that ManBearPig is “real” and ask for Gore’s help.

      His reply? “Sucks for you.”

      After they beg, an indignant Gore turns on them: “Oh, is it inconvenient now? I tried to warn you all, but you didn’t take me cereal. You all just made fun of me, didn’t you? Well, now you can just deal with it yourselves.”
      Gore finally relents — but only after he forces the kids to apologize: “Say you’re sorry for making fun of me.” They do, and the hunt for ManBearPig moves forward…

      A writer for AV Club noted that “it was enjoyable and cathartic to see Trey and Matt admit they were wrong” and that “when you consider that no one was really asking them to make this episode, the fact that they took it upon themselves to do so is an admirable display of responsibility.”
      https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/11/09/south-park-characters-apologize-to-al-gore-for-mocking-him-over-climate-change-say-youre-sorry

      short Gore clip:

      TWEET: South Park
      Believing ManBearPig to be a demon, Al Gore summons the Dark Lord for help…
      https://twitter.com/SouthPark/status/1060528849807704064

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    Serge Wright

    I read the ABC news story and the take-away message is that the grid operators have set their nominal transformer output voltages too high, robbing revenues from end-users who own panels. Of course this is fake news, designed to counter the real cause of the problem, which runs against what is deemed permissible within the ABC’s ideological vacuum.

    The local transformer output is controlled by secondary taps and a suitable output (~240-250 VRMS) is chosen to make sure the furthest users from the transformer will always have a voltage level above the nominated minimum value. They also need to cater for peak demand after sunset, which is when we have the maximum voltage drop, meaning this is the time the voltage measurements need to be taken, rather than during the day. Of course all of these engineering decisions were made before solar panels were added to rooftops.

    Ironically, I pointed out this pending problem many years ago in comments in an article on The Conversation. Noting that current only flows downhill (higher to lower voltage) and once enough users within the local transformer zone have panels/inverters and supply exceeds demand, it will create the problem we are now observing. I also pointed out that you can’t move this energy upstream above your local transformer zone due to the voltage limits and therefore excess solar power could not be re-distributed elsewhere in the grid. Of course those comments invoked an angry response from the hyper-alarmist viwes of those readers.

    Whilst my comments at TC were deleted after a day or so later along with my account, which was an attempt to make sure I didn’t return, the truth always has a knack of emerging and coming back to bite ;)

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    [...] is the upside of all the things we are doing to save the planet? Jo Nova reports on the voltage issues caused by solar [...]

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    robert rosicka

    Not totally OT .

    How to save energy and money during summer .

    Ditch the beer fridge – WHAT !!!!

    Run aircon at 27c , ok but 29c is a heatwave according to BOM last year .

    Don’t run the aircon and open up your house to cross ventilate just like the old days before air conditioning — yes we were a lot tougher back then but along came progress ,electricity was cheap and plentiful and life was made just that little bit easier .
    Do they seriously want us to reverse our living standards and go back to the sixties ?

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-10/using-your-aircon-better-to-cool-a-home-in-the-tropics/10477238

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      Greebo

      Don’t run the aircon and open up your house to cross ventilate just like the old days before air conditioning

      Which conveniently overlooks that there hasn’t been a mass market house built that can do that with any efficiency for at least twenty years.

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      Chad

      Do they seriously want us to reverse our living standards and go back to the sixties ?

      Actually, if they get all they propose , we will all be living in 1860′s conditions.

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    pat

    10 Nov: AustralasianLawyer: HSF helps in finance deal for Qld solar farm
    by Sol Dolor
    Renewable energy experts from Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) acted for Pacific Hydro on the $115m project financing for the first stage of the Haughton Solar Farm in north Queensland.
    The 100MW solar farm, expected to be operational by early to mid-2019, is Pacific Hydro’s first large-scale solar project in Australia. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the National Australia Bank, and Westpac Banking Corporation provided project financing, with legal counsel from Gilbert + Tobin…

    “The HSF team really enjoyed working collaboratively with Pacific Hydro on the offtake, procurement and project financing of its first large-scale solar project in Australia,” Pike said. “It is great to see a 100MW large-scale solar project in Queensland achieve financial close without any state or federal government finance, funding or offtake support and we look forward to Pacific Hydro and RCR achieving completion as quickly and smoothly as possible.”
    https://www.australasianlawyer.com.au/news/hsf-helps-in-finance-deal-for-qld-solar-farm-257302.aspx

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    pat

    10 Nov: TheDiplomat: The Belt and Road in Victoria: No Big Deal
    The furor over Victoria’s MoU with China overlooks that – in Beijing’s eyes – the BRI is already at work in Australia.
    By Jacinta Keast
    (Jacinta Keast is a Research Assistant at China Matters, an Australian public policy initiative. She is also a member of the Young China Watchers Global Editorial Team)

    The Australian media has framed the country’s participation in the Belt and Road markedly different from Chinese sources. Chinese companies, provincial governments, and media routinely list any kind of outbound foreign investment by a state-owned enterprise or Chinese private company as a BRI project, even if the host country is not yet a BRI country. From this point of view, Australia is already participating in the BRI…

    Former Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo himself has admitted that large investment projects from Chinese firms, such as the Port of Darwin or the controversial AU$400 million (around US$290 million) Australian Legend World theme park in Queensland, could be considered Belt and Road projects.

    Other examples abound. In real-estate, the Silk Road Information Service, a product of state-backed Xinhua Media, lists an AU$630 million dollar project on the Gold Coast, financed by two Chinese construction conglomerates, as a BRI deal. In finance, the Bank of China’s issuing of AU$3.2 billion worth of “Belt and Road bonds” via several international branches, including Australia, was classified as a Belt and Road deal.

    ***Similarly in solar energy, Chinese firm Risen Energy’s AU$160 million dollar acquisition of Western Australian solar farm project Merredin has been noted as a BRI deal…
    https://thediplomat.com/2018/11/the-belt-and-road-in-victoria-no-big-deal/

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    Anton

    Effects of mucking about with free markets:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46152853

    Tens of thousands of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) bought with generous government grants may be burning as much fuel as combustion-engine cars. ​Data compiled for the BBC suggests that such vehicles in corporate fleets averaged just 40 miles per gallon (mpg), when they could have done 130. Many drivers may never have unwrapped their charging cables, The Miles Consultancy said. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), which represents many fleets, said higher taxes on diesel cars incentivised companies to buy plug-ins, even if they had no intention of using their electric capability. “We unfortunately have got a situation where a poorly designed tax regime is driving some poor behaviours,” said Toby Poston, ​the BVRLA’s communications director.

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    OriginalSteve

    Funny…i got sent a photo showing a electric vee-hicle plugged in at a campsite, charging from a diesel portable gennie which was sitting in a ( covered ) trailer, pulled by a petrol engined car.

    The caption was :

    ” Its a bit like a vegan that secretly eats meat…”

    Priceless…sums the whole latte eco warrior joke up reaaly really well….

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      Greebo

      The poorer man’s version of virtue signalling from the steps of a Gulfstream.

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      Yonniestone

      Steve today I rode into town where the only Tesla recharge stations are and while I’ve NEVER seen a Tesla recharging there there was a genuine Boss Hoss V8 motorcycle parked right in front of the recharge stations, I managed to get a photo of the bike with the riders Ok as I thought it was quite a poignant image.

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        Greebo

        It’s fascinating. About 900 metres from me as the sole surviving crow flies there is a cafe with a Tesla charging point in it’s carpark. Why? I get about up here, and I have seen, regularly, one Tesla S, which presumably lives here, as I see it weekly, and therefore is likely to plug in at home. I go past this establishment often, and have, like you, NEVER seen a Tesla plugged in. Of course, up here the two wheeled interference will be ridden by folk clad in lycra, but the Tesla will still be hard pressed to park in the slot. Could it be some sort of badge of pride to put “Teslas Welcome” on their website?

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    pat

    9 Nov: Forbes: Counting The Cost Of A Faster Energy Transition
    by Simon Flowers, Wood Mackenzie
    Slowly but surely the energy mix is changing. Renewables, increasing efficiency, electrification of end-use demand including electric vehicles (EVs) are all driving the energy transition. Even so, we’ll depend on coal, oil and gas for quite some time. Demand for fossil fuels continues to rise for the next two decades at least in Wood Mackenzie’s base case forecasts and the share of global energy demand stays above 70% through until 2040.

    What if it happens a lot faster? Our Carbon Constrained Scenario envisages a world in which existing and viable technology trends accelerate, steer policy, and become bound together to shape far faster cuts to carbon emissions than we see today under current pledges. I talked through the implications for the energy mix with David Brown, Senior Cross Commodities analyst…

    Q: David, rapid decarbonisation must be great news for renewables?
    DAVID BROWN: Yes – the uptake would be explosive. The electrification of demand across all regions drives power demand at nearly 2% p.aer annum through 2040. Wind and solar capacity grows nine-fold from over 900 gigawatts today to just under 8,000 gigawatts by 2040; renewables share of global power output jumps from 7% to 40%. It’s transformational. Large-scale energy storage isn’t commercial today, but we’d need 780 gigawatts of storage capacity by 2040.

    Q: And the big loser?
    DAVID BROWN: Coal is the first casualty of decarbonization. Coal demand halves by 2040 even with no international carbon dioxide pricing regime as the power sector switches to gas and renewables. That’s wildly different to Wood Mackenzie’s base case where coal demand stays broadly flat. India is the only major consumer in the scenario where we see demand for coal increase through 2040. We don’t see carbon capture and storage playing a big role…READ ON
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/woodmackenzie/2018/11/09/what-would-a-faster-energy-transition-mean-for-the-markets/#3092cf2cc018

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    pat

    9 Nov: NextBigFuture: Brian Wang: China’s giant ultra-high voltage grid is ambitious as its high speed rail
    ABB helped create the 1.1 megavolt transformers and key equipment for world’s first 1,100 kilovolt (kV) project in China…
    When fully operational the UHVDC link will be capable of transporting 12,000 megawatts of electricity over a distance of 3,000 km from the Xinjiang region in the Northwest, to Anhui province in eastern China. This vast amount of electricity is equivalent to twice the average annual power consumption of Switzerland…

    By the end of 2017, 21 ultra-high-voltage lines had been completed in the country, with four more under construction.
    If the world wants to move energy around on a continental scale then ultra-high voltage grids are needed.
    China’s high voltage grid will be nearly 23,000 miles long. It will be able to deliver about 150 gigawatts of electricity. This is roughly the output of 150 nuclear reactors…

    In September, China said it will sign off on 12 new ultra-high-voltage projects by the end of 2019.
    In a study published in Nature in 2016, Clack found that using high-voltage direct-current lines to integrate the US grid could cut electricity emissions to 80% below 1990 levels within 15 years…
    State Grid has signed a deal with Korea Electric Power, Japan’s Softbank, and Russian power company Rosseti to collaborate on the development of a Northeast Asian supergrid connecting those nations and Mongolia…

    China could place coal or nuclear power generation in the Gobi desert and then transmit the power to Korea, Japan and the coastal areas of China. Natural gas power could be generated by Russia in Siberia and transmitted to other countries in Asia. Massive solar and wind farms could also be built in Mongolia and Siberia.
    Less than half of the ultra-high-voltage lines built or planned to date in China are intended to transmit electricity from renewable sources, according to a late-2017…

    State Grid’s main target markets are in poor countries where fossil-fuel plants dominate and Chinese companies are busy building hundreds of new coal plants. So there’s little reason to expect that any ultra-high-voltage lines built there would primarily carry energy from renewable sources anytime soon…
    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/11/chinas-giant-ultra-high-voltage-grid-is-ambitious-as-its-high-speed-rail.html

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    pat

    Updated 9 Nov: Bloomberg: Xi’s Import Fair Offers Deals But Leaves Many Barriers Intact
    Over 350 deals were announced from Nov. 5 to Nov. 8 in Shanghai, according to a tally by Bloomberg News, with the vast majority of those coming in the energy sector. The biggest batch was Sinopec’s $45.6 billion signing of import contracts with nearly 50 companies for oil and chemical products, among others…
    https://www.bloombergquint.com/china/xi-s-import-fair-offers-deals-but-leaves-many-barriers-intact#gs.Nqm0qcM

    9 Nov: The Hill: Timothy Cama: Canada ‘disappointed’ with court ruling blocking Keystone XL
    Canada’s government is joining President Trump in criticizing a Montana judge’s ruling that blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
    “We are committed to supporting our energy sector and the hard-working Canadians it employs. Our government has always supported the Keystone XL project, and we are disappointed by this decision,” Vanessa Adams, spokeswoman for Canadian Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, said in a statement.
    “It is important for good, middle-class jobs in Canada and for a successful energy export market. The project has received all necessary approvals in Canada,” she said.

    Adams said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government “is taking an approach to resource development that will grow our economy and protect the environment. These priorities go hand-in-hand.”
    Support for Keystone XL has been consistently strong in Canada since developer TransCanada Corp. first proposed it in 2008…

    Opponents of Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party are also mad, and are blaming him and his government.
    “This is a wake up call for Justin Trudeau. We can’t rely on foreign governments to help us get full value for our resources,” Andrew Scheer, head of the Conservative Party and leader of the official opposition in Parliament, said on Twitter.
    “We need to take matters into our own hands and build our own pipelines so all Canadians can benefit from our oil and gas industry!”…

    Environmental and indigenous rights groups have cheered the decision as a significant win for the planet.
    Trump, on the other hand, called it “a political decision” and “a disgrace.”
    https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/415989-canada-disappointed-with-court-ruling-blocking-keystone-xl

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    robert rosicka

    Voltage here has been increasing since morning 244 volt, 247 volt and just now 254 volt .
    Going through my Origin usage and feed in graph over the previous sixty days there is wide variations in consumption ,exported , number of hours in the day the solar is producing and it’s now obvious the hours it shuts down for what I assume is over voltage .
    These disconnects can be early , peak or late with most occurring early rather than at peak .

    Using a Fluke meter

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      MatrixTransform

      you can probably get reams of data directly from the inverter if you can find a way to connect a PC to it.

      Voltage increasing…its Saturday, low demand, and the sun is out.

      Surrounded by solar panels all pumping potential and not much flow

      When demand comes on, the sun angle will be getting low guessing outputs would be down by 50% at 1800

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    Synergy, the Western Australian QUANGO monopoly supplying electrical power to domestic consumers in the State, sent through a blurb flogging solar power; alluding to savings of almost $900 a year out of my $1600 annual electrical power consumption by installing a “2.4kW” solar power system. I was interested to find out how they could work out that figure; my estimate being between $300 and $400; tops, based on insolation records and my power consumption profile (it’s no savings in a bad year – which is approx 1 in 20 years). The blurb points to synergy.net.au/SaveWithSolar … which redirects to a different page promoting solar + battery.

    Alas, when I used their calculator by following “how much could I save”; there’s no 2.4kW system in the configurations so I selected the 2kW system and came up with $615 in “savings”. The total cost was up to $4700. Now, if I have nothing better to do with $5000, I could place it in a fixed investment account and reap about 5% p.a.; that’s $250 in interest – which is pretty close to my estimate of how much I’d actually “save”.

    Nowhere, do Synergy show their work. Their calculator doesn’t consider present electrical power consumption at all; beyond “how many in the household”.

    The solar promotion blurb says that 23% of households in my suburb have solar power so without Western Power rebuilding the distribution grid to a collection grid, it doesn’t bode well for solar PV at peak solar times; they will be voltage-limited. Those with tricked-up inverters (I’ve seen in excess of 270V on the front panel of inverters as their infeed voltage) will do the bulk of infeed.

    Synergy btw now charge for “paper bills” on top of their dollar a day for the pleasure of being connected to an increasingly dodgy power supply grid. And they still can’t add up numbers correctly on the bill; their total payable is always fudged to be a multiple of 5 cents; which would randomly occur in only 20% of their invoices.

    So I have no confidence that anybody at Synergy is capable of doing arithmetic based on things in the real world. They are just like “climate scientists”.

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    Roy Hogue

    This is off topic but this thread is now old enough that probably Jo won’t mind.

    If you have heard anything about high wind driven fires tearing up Ventura County and adjacent Los Angeles County cities, believe it. There has been destruction of homes all the way from Thousand Oaks to Woodland Hills with the fire being driven clear through to the west to Malibu where it will no doubt rain down fire on the Pacific Coast Highway and homes with multi hundred million dollar price tags.

    This is the worst I have ever seen. Thankfully no injuries have yet been reported and evacuation orders were gotten out early.

    Unlike the last fires that raged through miles of chaparral, this one is aiming squarely at an area as densely populated as it could find. More than 75,000 homes are under mandatory evacuation orders. And with exit routes being limited and some were closed by the fire at times it has been a problem to get to safety.

    We are home and in no danger since the first evacuation order came at roughly 2:30 AM. The wind was blowing the fire away from us. But I never want to go through another night like the last one.

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      Roy Hogue

      Need I mention the lack of the proper fire control measures plays a big part in this.

      On the other hand, winds with as much as 60 MPH gusts might render any preparation moot.

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        Kinky Keith

        Sadly I think the radio mentioned some people had died while trying to leave in their cars.

        There are three rules for dealing with bushfires.

        Preparation, Preparation and Preparation.

        Hope it eases up.

        KK

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          Roy Hogue

          So far it’s still going. Last figure I heard was 10% contained.

          I know you in Oz have range fires like this from government refusal to allow clearing of brush from private land. How do you get prepared for a fire that the wind might blow at you at 40 to 60 MPH? I’ve still not seen a figure for number of structures destroyed. But it must be well over 100 by now. And there are several deaths.

          And another fire is going in northern California which makes part of the state’s fire fighting capability unavailable for this one.

          This will be a long siege. Prolonged drought, high wind and low humidity are a bad combination. And now when it does rain there’s sure to be flooding that would never be a problem but for the fire.

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            Kinky Keith

            Roy,

            When there have been so many recent fires in California the Government has absolutely no excuse for allowing this one to happen.

            Unfortunately it seems that they preferred to avoid the political kick back that would result if they went ahead and made some smoke during controlled hazzard reduction burns.

            Undergrowth build up will eventually catch fire; and it did.

            This fire was staring everyone in the face, and nobody saw it????
            Despite what politicians want us to believe, this fire was preventable.

            Good luck.

            KK

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      Annie

      This is dreadful to hear Roy. What a nightmare. I hope you and yours remain safe.

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      Roy Hogue

      As of a news conference I just watched, 10:00 AM Pacific Time the fire has burned over 75,000 acres, there are 150,000 evacuees and the fire is still 0% contained.

      The number of structures destroyed is a complete unknown.

      Drought, high wind with low humidity and poor preparedness to handle something this bad are all stacked against ending this any time soon.

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      • #
        Roy Hogue

        I finally heard no less than a fire chief echo Jerry Brown that climate change is responsible for the severity of this fire. I don’t know whether I should cry or laugh.

        The fire is still going and the wind is back and…and…

        Now over 200,000 evacuees and the count of structures destroyed is still growing.

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  • #
    TdeF

    What is wrong here is the assumption that having paid at least half the cost, the public should pay again for unwanted lunchtime solar, the least needed power in the country. Why even bother connecting these solar panels to the grid? The cost in having to provide backup power probably exceeds the value of the power but still people receive cash for something no one wants.

    Worse for the solar panel people, if they are connected to the grid and the grid goes down, they get shut down too. What’s the point really?

    If a consumer thinks solar is a good idea they should pay the entire cost themselves. We don’t want to pay and we do not want what they do not want let alone having to pay them for it.

    Why have the big rotors spinning in case of a cloudy day? We are all paying again for nothing. Ripoff on ripoff.

    So stop connecting them except perhaps in isolated small communities where they make sense and you can use Tilly lamps at night or put in a big battery.

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      TdeF

      Like all distribution systems, water was not meant to go back uphill. Like Snowy II. It does not make economic sense. As for the savings in CO2, what savings? The carbon dioxide debt of all this exceeds many years. Nonsensical and useless solutions to non problems, all at our expense. Electric swimming pool heaters for the middle classes, paid by taxes on the poor.

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  • #

    With all the media commentators spruiking up rooftop solar power, and how it will be the answer to our problems, the average person is being force fed false information.

    Rooftop solar can ONLY be used for a small section of the Residential power consumption.

    That Residential sector only consumes 30% of all the generated power, and currently rooftop solar power is averaging around 5.5% of power generation, all of that in the Residential sector, as none of it makes it out into the overall total areas of ALL power consumption.

    So, when you take into account that if the residential sector is consuming 30% of power, then we are left with 70% being consumed in the other two sectors of power consumption, Commerce and Industry.

    5.5% (rooftop solar) consumed in the Residential sector versus 70% ….. PLUS the 30% consumed already by those without panels in the residential sector. That rooftop solar is only subtracting slightly from just what is consumed already in that Residential sector.

    Rooftop solar will only ever be a niche provider for a small part of just this one sector.

    Tony.

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      TdeF

      And there are cheaper, simpler ways to heat your swimming pool with solar.

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      • #
        AndyG55

        Mate of mine got a whole heap of black drip irrigation pipe, put it in big zig-zags on his garage roof, circulates using a small solar driven pump.

        Works well for most of the year. :-)

        Cost.. basically nothing.

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        • #
          Yonniestone

          Now that’s a real use for solar, heat the pool get some nice feature lighting but never I repeat never entertain the idea of using it to contribute or run a major electricity grid!

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    • #
      Chad

      Tony,
      Im not sure the reality is quite like that..
      SA is the best example we have locally of a high RT Solar % compared to demand.
      Whilst i do not believe the data on RT generation is accurate,..only estimated,..it is apparent that the mid day peak of demand on the grid is significantly reduced on sunny days…suggesting that the domestic demand is a serious proportion of overall load on the grid.
      A similar effect is seen in the USA..California, where the “Duck” curve of demand has grown more prominent (lower mid day grid demand) each year as more RTS being added.
      Infact , in CA this is causing a bigger issue with the rate of demand increasing between 4-7pm to require a 15-20 GW ramp up as the solar input dies down.

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  • #
    Hanrahan

    Nominal voltage is set at the generator, they mainly control frequency. Subscribers’ voltage is controlled by auto-tapping transformers which compensate for demand variations on different sub-stations.

    In a new subdivision where all the houses have PV cells and most of the parents work and kids go to school, it’s easy to see feed-in exceeding demand on a bright day and over-voltage would be a problem but surely only in homes and businesses fed from that sub. The next suburb which has a large shopping mall and modest take up of rooftop solar would not have the problem, their substation keeps things under control, so if you are worried about high voltage avoid housing estates where the developers do you a favour and put cells on every roof.

    I can see a grid scale problem in WA where they have high take up of rooftop solar and no interconnectors so that on a good day solar can virtually supply the market.

    An electrician I know who is now filling an engineer’s post with Ergon, the local distributor, says a neighbour of his who is also an electrician has tweeked his inverter so it can supply at higher voltage. This means he is still exporting when other non-cheating neighbours can’t. I doubt this is widespread though. If it was then it would cause problems.

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    • #
      TdeF

      Quite right. No one transforms this power back up the system, a number of times to put it up on the National grid. A dormitory community generates power their neightbours do not want either because they are all at work too. So solar panel people earn more money from the wider community for nothing at all, while everyone pays the infrastructure cost and the standby power and night time power and they line their pockets for no reason at all. There is no CO2 reduction but the cash flows to the lucky ones.

      When you consider that this alone is forcing electricity prices up, it is not even a nett benefit. No one is better off, but some are better than others. Greed not Green. Stealing from your neighbours while they are stealing from you and in the end no one is better off but someone who cannot afford a swimming pool is suffering as 10% of their disposable income goes to the rich.

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      • #
        RickWill

        The transfer payment from consumers to grid scale solar and wind generators is significantly more than consumers pay to local rooftop generators. STCs are about 1/3rd the price of LGCs and most FITs are now lower than the average wholesale price. Retailers can achieve their RET obligation at much lower cost buying rooftop solar compared with grid scale wind and solar.

        Also there is nothing stopping electricity flow in any direction in the grid. It is simply a matter of setting the voltage levels to get it to flow from one location to another. The rooftops in South Australia could very well be supplying part of the load at the aluminium smelter at Portland. (But not toady; at 1pm SA wind was only 161MW while SA rooftops are supplying 744MW of the 1332MW SA load. Local gas and import are making up the shortfall)

        One of the issues for SA Power Networks over the last few years has been setting local voltage levels to reduce the instances of solar inverter overvoltage. No doubt that issue is one factor behind the push to subsidise household batteries.

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    TdeF

    So we pay, though STCs for half the cost of the solar panels and installation. We get nothing back that we want and we pay again. However the middle class home owner gets to a point where they are getting free energy from a system for which we paid in full and they keep earning. Where is the fairness in that?

    Consider private Green group Hepburn Wind which paid off its giant windmill years early including State subsidies. With no debts at all it still gets LGC cash simply for producing wind power. Money for nothing at all of any benefit for anyone else. $800,000 a year. $13,000 a week cash. Even if no one buys the electricity. Plus the highest electricity prices in the world for what they do produce, if anyone wants it.

    Why? Why the cash, our cash. This is robbery. Why isn’t the money turned off? Don’t tell me that with the highest electricity prices in the world, a free windmill and free distribution and infrastructure, they cannot turn a profit?
    Outrageous, like the Solar panel people. It is not Green. It is Greed.

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    TdeF

    The same greed with electric cars. 3c-4c per km instead of 5c per km for hybrids and 10-18c per km for petrol cars (12 litres per 100km @$1.60 per litre is $18 for 100km) However the CO2 emitted is far higher because of all the losses in generation and distribution compared to a direct drive petrol car.

    Then consider the economincs of a Tesla. $104,000 to $300,000 to buy. Savings. Sure 3c per km but over 100,000 you are paying $1.04 to $3.04 a km just for the privilege of driving an electric car.

    Consider someone in a Camry hybrid at $30,000 is paying 33c+5c or 38c, up to a tenth of the money and emitting half the CO2.

    There should be a huge tax on electric cars because of the cost to everyone in infrastructure which does not yet exist and for which we all have to pay and the higher CO2.

    Why have carbon taxes on coal and encourage electric cars? We cannot afford them. There is no saving for anyone.
    There is no lower CO2. Again it is greed, fun, prestige, virtue signaling at everyone else’s expense. Still we are told this is the future. For the rich.

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      theRealUniverse

      ‘ cost to everyone in infrastructure which does not yet exist ‘
      Some electric cars are getting down to petrol prices ~ 40k or so (dont quote me). Some have 300-400km range BUT finding a charge station which requires 900V 400A, ~ 300 – 400kW to charge your battery in the desert isnt a winner.

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      • #
        Another Ian

        Looks like Clarkson has some words around this area in today’s Australian.

        That paper isn’t available around here so I can’t buy one to read it.

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        • #
          Another Ian

          Screen cap

          “You’d be mad to buy one of these
          Jeremy Clarkson

          The range-ometer said I had 210km left, but the farce that followed should make us all think twice about going electric. “

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          • #
            TdeF

            Everyone buys into the lies

            ‘Replaceables’ in solar, wind, hydro are cheaper than coal/oil/gas/petrol. No. They are much more expensive.

            Replaceables are a full substitute for fossil fuel power. No, they aren’t unless you have more mountains and water than people, like Norway or New Zealand. Plus a very long power cord on every appliance or car.

            Fully electric cars are the future. No, we have no substitute for coal/oil/gas/petrol. So unless you want to build all the electricity infrastructure again to charge millions of cars simultaneously, it is not the future.

            Fully electric cars are CO2 clean. Except that they are worse than existing cars in CO2, price. Everything except acceleration and if you use that acceleration, you will not make it home. Lugging a 2.2tonne electric Tesla around ultimately costs much more than a 1.5tonne Camry hybrid.

            In volume, electric cars will be cheaper. There is no evidence of that despite the fact that there are over 2 million electric cars being used today. Generally at least 3x the price of petrol cars or hybrids.

            We should all pay for the infrastructure because they are the future. No, we can’t afford it.

            There is nothing nett Green about electric cars. It is a fantasy. Just like there is nothing Green about diesels which pump out nitrous oxide which becomes nitric acid in your lungs.

            The total cost to society of moving to all electric cars, windmills, solar panels is horrific, unsustainable.

            For no nett benefit at all. Utterly unreliable, unsustainable, an idi*tic Green fantasy.

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      • #
        yarpos

        wake me up when the some below $40 k , are the same some that are doing 400km comfortably

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        • #
          TdeF

          The Toyota Camry is amazing at $30k. Half the consumption because braking recharges the batteries. Downhill recharges the batteries. If everyone used hybrids, total consumption would halve. If everyone used fully electric, Australia would be devastated and people would have to walk to work.

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          • #
            TdeF

            And puts no load on the grid at all! You can always drive home, out of petrol or with a flat battery. Just not both. Refill the 50 litres in a few minutes, not two days.

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      toorightmate

      TdeF,
      The next green initiative which works will be lonely.

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    theRealUniverse

    On the topic of this thread, injecting uncontrolled (or marginally) controlled power back into the grid from household solar can create grid instabilities as noted.
    The problem is an engineering problem. I think the back feed power idea from domestic solar was a bad idea. Solar is fine if it just powers the house.
    To inject power into the grid which requires stable frequency sync as well as voltage.
    that should only be done from proper generating sources.

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      TdeF

      Sure, but why ‘solve’ these problems. Useless lunchtime solar is no help to anyone. Let people pay for their own batteries. We should not have to pay people for what they don’t want, can’t use and which we cannot get back upstream to other areas. It is all based on an unproven concept that we are all somehow better off. We are not.

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    robert rosicka

    OT the latest green scheme , they’ve replaced the ordinary globes in the house then they replaced the downlights and now they’ve just replaced the security light globes .
    Didn’t complain as half of them were blown but one had the cord cut not far from the light and hadn’t been used in over 15 years they replaced it anyway as well as another unplugged one that’s redundant.

    Thank you comrade Dan

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    neil

    In 2003 I bought a projector TV which was awesome at the time, I noticed however that if left on standby it would shut itself down and I had to cut the power and wait 10 minutes before I could turn it on, tech support couldn’t find a problem with it. Reading the manual there was a warning not to use it over 245V so I checked my voltage and sure enough it was consistently 250~253V. The unit was shutting down to protect itself. I contacted my power provider but they told me they had no control over the delivered voltage, so I just had to make sure I turned off the power when I wasn’t using it.

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    • #
      Rocky

      The only solution that is cheap and this might not work is to fit a UPS which might tone down the high voltage?

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      • #

        A full-conversion UPS … one that converts incoming AC to DC and then produces a quasi-sine-wave output at the proper voltage and frequency.

        Costs about $1000/kW for a proper unit with reasonable efficiency (>80%). Poor “modified sine wave” output has lots of steps in the voltage output which produces a great deal of electrical noise and problems in more than a few appliances. Look for “total harmonic distortion” or “THD” in the specifications. Less is better. If none is specified, look at another product.

        THD of less than 3% under the nominal load is generally acceptable, but some electric motors can still complain (audibly) at the harmonics. [FWIW: Large AC motors in machine tools can "image" the AC supply distortion in the surface of the material being machined. High quality finishes require high quality inputs; including electrical power.]

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    pat

    9 Nov: Daily Reporter: Wind towers coming down under court orders
    FAIRBANK, Iowa (AP) — Developers are taking down three northeast Iowa wind turbine towers under court orders.
    The first was removed last week and the second is going down this week, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.
    The 450-foot-tall towers were erected in 2015 just east of Fairbank in Fayette County. They drew opposition from housing developers and neighboring homeowners who believed the towers would be detrimental to the city.

    Fairbank City Council members filed a lawsuit that said the county issued construction permits without following zoning ordinances. Woods Construction, which had been developing a residential subdivision near the wind farm, filed a separate suit.
    A judge sided with the city in 2016, and the Iowa Supreme Court upheld that ruling. The turbines must be removed by Dec. 9.

    Resident Joyce Kerns said she’s happy with the decision to remove the turbines.
    “I’m thrilled,” Kerns said. “The constant whoosh, whoosh, whoosh sound they make is nonstop, and the shadow effect was like I was back in the ’70s with the disco strobe light.”

    The developers — Mason Wind, Dante Wind 6, Galileo Wind 1 and Venus Wind 4 — are still appealing in the courts…
    “While we continue to seek other avenues to allow those investments in wind energy to remain in Fayette County, until we get a different ruling the wind LLCs will continue to fully comply with the order currently in effect,” said Bret Dublinske, an attorney for the companies.
    https://dailyreporter.com/2018/11/09/wind-towers-coming-down-under-court-orders/

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    JPM

    This statement seems unlikely : “When Energex reviewed almost 34,000 of the electrical transformers on its network in 2014, it found 76 per cent of the transformers were set too high, and were sending too much voltage through to households.”
    In order to change the output voltage of transformers you need to change the input voltage unless you have a tapped transformer or a variable (variac) transformer. As I understand it, the method used to control the voltage is by increasing or decreasing electricity supplied to the grid. When the sun is shining brightly and the PV solar is generating max electricity, the grid manager must sense that and reduce the output from the generators that they can control (dispatchable) such as the fossil-fuel fired ones.
    I think that it is marvellous that the PV solar inverters shut down at 253V a they are the cause of the problem anyway! That may help to control the over-voltage condition.
    When the sun sets is the time to check the voltage on the grid as the PV solar will not be contributing to the problem. If they managed to reduce the output voltage by making adjustments to taps on the transformer (should that be possible which I doubt), the voltage would be too low when the solar ceases generating as the sun goes down.
    The statement : “were sending too much voltage” demonstrates a lack of knowledge concerning electricity. Voltage is just the unit of measurement of EMF (electromotive force) which causes the current to flow. EMF can be sensed along the way and will vary for a host of reasons but it is not what you are sending, it is the current, it does the work. It has been a long time since I studied the subject and I may have phrased this poorly. Whoever from Energex that made these statements is surely wrong!
    Controlling the voltage on the grid was difficult enough without the variable, intermittent and uncontrollable sources.
    John

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    pat

    ***note the reference to “climate change” near the end:

    9 Nov: Sacramento Bee: PG&E reports power line problem in Butte County near time and place where wildfire sparked
    By Tony Bizjak
    Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has informed state officials one of its power lines in Butte County suffered an outage at about the time that county’s devastating Camp Fire ignited in the hills near the town of Pulga.

    Cal Fire officials have not disclosed a cause for the Camp Fire, which has consumed more than 70,000 acres, destroyed more than 2,000 homes and caused a reported six deaths.
    However, PG&E submitted a report Thursday to the California Public Utilities Commission about an outage at a 115-kilovolt line on Pulga Road in Butte County at 6:15 a.m. that day, and noted that the site was near the Camp Fire.
    Cal Fire has listed Pulga Road as the Camp Fire starting point…

    PG&E officials declined to comment. However, in a public statement, PG&E wrote that customer safety is its No. 1 issue and that the fire’s cause remains undetermined.
    “The cause of the Camp Fire has not yet been determined. PG&E has provided an initial electric incident report to the (PUC). The information provided in this report is preliminary and PG&E will fully cooperate with any investigations.”

    The utility company has been criticized in the past year by residents and state officials after a bevy of wildfires tied to downed power lines swept through the state in October 2017.
    Investigative reports in May and June from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection linked PG&E to 16 fires in 2017 that killed 18 people and destroyed thousands of homes and other buildings.

    The PG&E service area covers much of Northern and Central California, and includes 18,000 miles of power lines. It will spend up to $70 million this year to clear vegetation near those lines, a spokesman said in an email.
    In three cases, Cal Fire contends PG&E violated state codes by failing to get rid of trees and vegetation near power lines. PG&E said it is reviewing Cal Fire’s findings.
    “Based on the information we have so far, we continue to believe our overall programs met our state’s high standards,” spokesman Paul Moreno said in an email to The Bee last month.

    He added that the utility has been increasing its efforts lately, writing, “in response to the increased risk of fire danger ***brought on by climate change and drought, we are doing more to ensure PG&E facilities are safe and reliable.”

    PG&E also has come under fire for cutting down trees near power lines as a safety precaution.
    https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article221448500.html

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    pat

    9 Nov: Mercury News: Matthias Gafni: PG&E power lines may have sparked deadly Camp Fire, according to radio transmissions
    PHOTO GALLERY: #1/24: PARADISE, CA – NOVEMBER 09: Smoke rises beyond PG&E’s Poe Dam off I-70, in Pulga, Calif., November 9, 2018, near the reported start of the Camp Fire blaze that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed at least six people

    PARADISE — Downed PG&E power lines, amid high winds, may have sparked the deadly Camp Fire that has destroyed the town of Paradise and killed at least nine people, according to hours of firefighter radio transmissions reviewed by Bay Area News Group.

    At about 6:33 a.m. Thursday, firefighters were dispatched to a vegetation fire “under the high tension power lines” across the Feather River from Poe Dam, where Cal Fire officials have pinpointed the fire’s origin, according to the transmissions. The first firefighters arrived there at 6:43 a.m and noted the fire was being buttressed by 35 mph winds.
    “We’ve got eyes on the vegetation fire. It’s going to be very difficult to access, Camp Creek Road is nearly inaccessible,” one firefighter told dispatch. “It is on the west side of the river underneath the transmission lines.”
    As firefighters rushed to Poe Dam early Thursday morning, each truck acknowledged over the radio, “Copy, power lines down,” as part of safety protocol for firefighters.

    The utility, which already has been criticized and sued in a number of other large and deadly fires across California, had announced two days earlier that it might shut down power to parts of Butte County amid forecasts of high wind and low humidity. But it never did.
    Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean emphasized the cause is still under investigation but added that the probe would include “electrical equipment.”
    PG&E disclosed in a Friday filing to the state Public Utilities Commission that it had detected an outage on a transmission line in Butte County, occurring about 15 minutes before the fire was first reported. It said a subsequent aerial inspection detected damage to a transmission tower on that same transmission line a mile northeast of the town of Pulga “in the area of the Camp Fire.” That is the approximate location of Poe Dam…

    PG&E faces billions in potential liability because of the role of its power equipment in other destructive wildfires, including those last year in the Wine Country. Stock traders sent PG&E’s share price plunging Friday amid word of the latest round of California blazes.

    On Thursday morning, after the first radio call, an immediate, multi-alarm response was sent to the area along Pulga and Camp Creek roads, near the dam that is popular with kayakers and one of PG&E’s 10 hydroelectric stations along the north fork of the river. Google satellite images show PG&E transmission lines above Pulga and Camp Creek roads.
    “The (reporting party) is calling from Poe Dam looking across under the high tension power lines. There’s a possible power line hazard,” a dispatcher alerted responding crews, including six engines and a number of personnel.
    At around 6:33 a.m. Thursday, firefighters received a call from Poe Dam that a vegetation fire started under the high tension power lines, above the Feather River. The caller reported downed power lines and firefighters first on scene found a 10-acre blaze nearing brush and timber not maintained by PG&E. The firefighters asked dispatch to evacuate the town of Pulga, immediately southwest of the dam.

    Meanwhile, at 6:34 a.m. and about eight miles west, another fire crew was dispatched to a report of a tree branch taking down residential power lines in the neighboring town of Magalia.
    During last year’s Sonoma and Napa county fires, within the first 90 minutes of the fires’ origin, Sonoma County dispatchers sent fire crews to at least 10 different locations for downed wires and problems with the electrical system amid high winds.
    The first firefighter to reach the Poe Dam area Thursday morning quickly recognized the seriousness of the situation and called for an additional 15 engines, four bulldozers, two water tenders, four strike teams and hand crews.
    “This has got the potential for a major incident,” he told dispatch, alerting them to evacuate Pulga, the town immediately southwest, and to find air support.

    About six minutes later, another firefighter estimated the fire at about 10 acres with a “really good wind on it,” warning that once it left the “maintained vegetation under the power lines” the fire would reach a critical rate of spread when it hit the brush and timber.
    On Tuesday night, with a looming forecast of high winds and low humidity, PG&E first tweeted that power might be shut down to certain Northern California counties, including Butte County and about 26,500 customers in cities and towns including Berry Creek, Chico, Forest Ranch, Magalia, Oroville and Paradise.
    Over the next 48 hours, the utility tweeted out 17 different warnings of an impending Thursday morning shut-off. It even tweeted out a warning at 7:56 a.m. Thursday, more than an hour after the Camp Fire was reported, that the shut-off was still an option.
    PG&E released a statement Thursday afternoon, almost nine hours after the Camp Fire first sparked, calling off the shut down “as weather conditions did not warrant this safety measure.”

    “We want to thank our customers for their understanding and for their actions in preparation of a possible Public Safety Power Shutoff,” Pat Hogan, PG&E senior vice president of Electric Operations, said in the statement.” We know how much our customers rely on electric service, and we will only consider temporarily turning off power in the interest of safety and as a last resort during extreme weather conditions to reduce the risk of wildfire.”
    On Friday, King declined to get into specifics about why PG&E called off the shut down, saying only: “We chose not to implement the public safety power shut off in any location.”
    In its warnings, PG&E had forecast sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph forecasted overnight Wednesday into Thursday, lasting until late afternoon…

    PG&E’s stock plunged Friday by almost $8 a share, a more than 16 percent drop amid the fires blazing across the state. The decline wiped out PG&E’s entire gains for the year and was the biggest one-day decline for the stock since 2002.
    PG&E could face substantial liability from the Camp Fire if its equipment is deemed to be at fault, but its financial risk has been diminished by a controversial law passed earlier this year. That law allows the utility to pass the costs of fire damage onto ratepayers under some circumstances.
    Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said Friday that his office has been in discussions with Cal Fire to preserve the fire scene and any potential evidence for a possible criminal investigation.
    Ramsey said he had no information that the Camp Fire was intentionally caused. He also said it was too early to know whether the cause of the fire could have involved negligence.

    Attorney Frank Pitre, who is co-counsel representing more than 600 clients suing PG&E over the North Bay fires, said any connection to the utility would trouble him.
    “I am just sick to my stomach that PG&E’s wires may be involved. It’s just too tragic for words,” he said. “And I’m angry as hell if it’s true it’s PG&E’s wires again for them to not cut off power when they have a system for that in place.”
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/11/09/pge-power-lines-may-have-sparked-deadly-butte-county-wildfire-according-to-radio-transmissions/

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    toorightmate

    QUERY
    One of my daughters has a huge array of solar panels (which have deprived pensioners of money and continue to do so).
    She goes through light bulbs like they are going out of fashion. Is the solar power the reason?

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    • #
      robert rosicka

      Been in our place for 25 years and always hard on globes but worse since the solar was installed , no idea why because solar only works during the day (well sometimes) .

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    Jeremy C

    How do inverters on the O/P of a collection of roof top solar panels ‘push’ up line voltage?

    Inverters are generally voltage followers i.e. they are designed to follow the mains line voltage they are connected to so as to fit in with operational parameters. Think about it.

    It’s the line voltage that is changing and you haven’t shown why or how ‘inverters’, plural, are affecting that either at the end of a line or near the transformer or nationally. There are lots of other things that affect line voltages such as sizeable loads being added or coming off the grid and where they are located, changes in the impedeance of loads and sources, this post ignores everything else that happens on a grid……

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    • #

      Lagging or leading the mains voltage alters the waveform and the RMS voltage.

      AS-4777 e.g. limits the inverter output rise to 2% relative to main-board; but the 2015 version of (Part 2 of) it also makes provision for (. drum roll …) DRM facilities allowing the grid operator to send signals to shut down or to reduce the output of inverters.

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        Jeremy C

        In reply to lagging nad leading……yes……but, you have to show that inverters do not follow line impedance and that if they don’t this can affect line voltages significantly

        The second sentence of your reply quoting Australian Standard would appear to contradict the whole blog.

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        • #

          There is no contradiction. It’s a 2% rise relative to the voltage that the inverter sees at the mainboard input.
          There is also a hard limit – which varies throughout Australia, depending on the grid operator. ISTR 264V being applicable to the SWIS grid here in W.A..

          The mention of DRM relates to the potential for the grid owners to signal generators to shut down or to reduce output. That only applies to recent installations (since 2016) but those buying now must know that their inverter can be controlled remotely; with consequences on the infeed credits and indeed their power consumption bills for what they draw off the grid.

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      ivan

      Since the inverters for rooftop solar are supposed to allow feeding power back to the grid their output is set to produce a voltage 10% over input line voltage with a maximum set to 253v.

      If they didn’t feed back power to the grid there would be no problem – as in off grid situations where the panels charge batteries and the inverter only supplies 230v, set by internal control circuitry.

      The two types of inverters are very different. The grid feed inverter relies on the grid connection for control and hence output voltage (no grid -power cut – no output). The stand alone inverter relies on quire sophisticate internal control circuits to provide output voltage and battery charge regulation.

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        Jeremy C

        Since the inverters are supposed to allow feeding power back to the grid their output is set to produce a voltage 10% over line input voltage.

        This doesn’t make sense, where did you get this from?

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          • #
            Jeremy C

            The first paper’s abstract is only available imediately so we can’t tell why it gives evidence for the asserted figure of 10% and neither does the Wollongong uni paper. The Wollongong uni paper is about the possible need for voltage regulation and a design approach to realise it….plus it was written five years ago and doesn’t test inverter designs in production then for voltage regulation.

            If you have more material from the first paper that would be good and can you show me how the second paper from Wollongon backs up the 10% figure.

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            • #
              Kinky Keith

              Hi Jeremy,

              If you know anything about Electrical Engineering you will understand that dealing with power use fluctuations is a big enough problem to master.

              If you add to that the issue of trying to feed varying inputs of direct current that needs “transforming” from too many roof top solar installations, there is only one way to make the meter turn so you can get paid.

              The output voltage presenting at the gateway to the Main Power Source (coal fired power) needs to be higher.

              To make their product more efficient, solar panel manufacturers can increase the presenting voltage of their PC product to gain an advantage over other competitors.

              Unfortunately this stuffs up the grid and damages equipment.
              This is known in electrical terms as PIGS or politically induced grid shambles.

              It seems we now have Pseudo Politicians who can act as Pseudo Scientists and Pseudo Electrical Engineers to the great benefit of the Hidden Money Reapers.

              KK

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            • #
              MatrixTransform

              Jeremy, your answers are derived by reading between the lines … pun intended

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        • #
          ivan

          Jeremy, you are obviously not an electrical or electronic engineer otherwise you would know that to get electricity to flow from one place to another you have to have a difference in potential between them and the flow is always from the higher to the lower.

          You ask where I got the 10% figure, it comes from monitoring several grid-tie inverters in real world industrial situations – I will say all the inverters were from the same manufacturer and that setting may be different for other manufacturers but I doubt it.

          In Australia I understand that the relevant standards are AS/NZS 4777,1:2016 and AS/NZS 4777,2:2015. I have not read them because I see no point in paying for something I will never use si I can’t be sure that they specify the over grid volts percentage range permitted.

          There are other things to be considered when looking at the voltage being feed back into the grid and depends on if the inverter computer ‘sees’ an inductive or reactive load and that depends on where the feed-in is in the distribution leg.

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          • #
            Chad

            Ivan , 10% over line voltage (240v) , would imply a inverter output at 264 v nominal.
            That is way more than anyone is reporting seeing in reality ?
            Are you sure you didnt mean 1% more ?

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            • #
              ivan

              Chad, since the manufacturers specifications for the AC output of the inverters is 180 to 280vAC and we logged them outputting 270vAC before they settled down to 260vAC with the grid voltage of 230vAC.

              We assumed that a lot of the voltage depended on the type of load the inverter computer was seeing – inductive or resistive.

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          • #
            Jeremy C

            Ivan, I think you meant ‘Kirchhoff’s Law. You are half right in saying a potential difference is needed for current to flow but if you have a number of sources tied in parallel all putting out the same voltage, current will flow if they have an impedance connected across them.

            Your original post was worded as though inverters per se were configured to put out 10% above line voltage however your latest post just says a couple you tested and we don’t know under what conditions your testing regime was nor how the inverters were configured internally for output. Testing a couple of inverters is just a specific case and not a general case, that sort of reasoning is faulty and as Jo Nova quite rightly constantly points out on this blog, correlation aint causation.

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  • #
    observa

    Well to firm all that unfirm solar the great hope was battery storage but note what is happening after the initial sugar hit of technical skill and economies of scale with large scale production have kicked in and then demand tries to call forth more supply. The 18650/2170 lithium lego bricks that build the battery modules and in turn the overall size battery pack is mature technology and as such don’t expect falling prices from now on. Never, never, never. So where on the horizon is their better affordable alternative to lithium to firm their unfirm?

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  • #
    Steve Richards

    Inverters designed to feed the grid must, by definition produce a higher voltage than the grid. Otherwise, no power would flow from inverter to grid.
    It is a 2 stage process, the inverter produces a 50 or 60hz done wave, it synchronises it’s phase to the grid phase, then increases the voltage output, step by step until power starts to flow out of the inverter. Phase and voltage and current are monitored every millisecond, making small changes, to try to push the most power out.
    As long as the sun shines….

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  • #
    MatrixTransform

    “As long as the sun shines … ”

    … and the output voltage does not approach 255V.

    AS/NZS 4777.2:2015
    Grid connection of energy systems via inverters

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  • #
    tom0mason

    Consider a two generator condition, one generator is rated at 200MW and the other is 2kW.

    A 200MW generator at 250V (RMS) supplies a maximum of 800kA of current, the 2kW can supply only 8Amps.

    When the 2kW generator is put on a grid with 200MW available, the 2kW generator must be in phase and initially it is at the same voltage as the grid line. (NOTE: If it were less then the grid would attempt to supply current into the 2kW generator! Hopefully a safety circuit would save it by disconnecting it.)
    As it stands, with all voltages equal, NO current flows from the 2kW to the grid (there is no potential difference between the 2kW generator and the grid). To get the 2kW generator to supply current to the grid the voltage control is adjusted up until a maximum of 8Amps flows from the 2kW generator. The 2kW generator is supplying all that it can — there is no more.
    So what is the voltage at the 2kW generator output terminals, and what is the voltage on the grid? It is all still 250V!(or so very darn near it virtually immeasurable!). The 2kW generator can not push the 200MW grid over-voltage, it ain’t big enough! Also note that each generator is effectively in parallel with each other across the grid wires, so they both ‘see’ the same grid voltage.
    If the demand stays the same at 200MW then the larger generator could (if it could see this amount) reduce it’s output by 2kW.

    So in effect your solar panels are equivalent to the 2kW generator and the grid is the giant 200MW. When the solar panel outputs start to become an appreciable part of the grid supply that is when problems of grid stability in both voltage and frequency start to become the problem. Hundreds or thousands of tiny generators all trying to put their (variable) amounts of power on the grid while the big generators try to maintain stability.

    Good luck Australia.

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    • #
      Steve Richards

      Tom, I agree with you however!

      Your 2kW solar installation is not feeding the 200MW generator directly, you are feeding the same wires from your local distribution substation. Or worse case, connected to the secondary winding of a pole mounted transformer that is connected to another 20 properties each with a solar installation.

      What happens now? How should we view the 20 properties connected to the transformer secondary, sized to provide perhaps 10kW to each house worst case.

      Assume all properties are are consuming 5kW each. The terminal voltage of the transformer is 250V.

      An inverter gets power from its solar panels and generates output.
      The output voltage of the secondary of the distribution transformer will rise. No way round it. As you know, the output voltage of the transformer is related to its turns ratio and its regulation factor.

      Draw more current (or power if you wish) and the voltage will fall. Draw less power ( of feed in some local solar electricity) and the voltage will rise.

      The operators will have no means of measuring your final delivery voltage via a small pole mounted transformer. It is assumed that they will feed the transformer with 11kV etc and select the output voltage tap to give the required voltage on the secondary under normal load conditions AND, assume that all wiring from the transformer to each property is the correct size to limit volts drop.

      Moving to a more active solar situation. Bright sunshine, puffy clouds, each inverter of our 20 property set, will be ramping up and down the output power supplied, causing the local voltage to wander all over the place, I assume that some inverters will be tripping out, some spikes may be produced, the supply company will have no visibility of this.

      I suspect when house holder inverters were first muted, the electrical supply industry though it was daft, but would not have a serious impact because of cost a low take up!

      Now we know for sure that uncontrolled, unregulated grid connected inverters are not a satisfactory solution to any thing.

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  • #
    DonS

    Ha! A few months ago I heard that Western Power (Western Australia’s power generation corp) was having to tell its coal & gas generating plants to shut down in the middle of the day due to high solar PV inputs destabilizing the grid. Nice to see others (the ABC) are starting to report on the problems their renewables madness is causing. It is a bit like a reporter starting a fire then reporting on the terrible outcomes of that fire.

    If I generate excess garbage I can not just dump that excess in the street and then expect someone else to clean it up and pay me for doing the clean up, but that is exactly what goes on with rooftop solar power. Put panels on the roof, pump excess back into the grid, destabilise the grid for everyone else, then get paid a feed-in tariff paid for by all those suckers not “smart” enough to take advantage of the governments stupidity.

    The solution is simple. If you want solar power for your house you also pay for a battery to store it for later use and your house is disconnected from the grid. Any other solution will lead to higher power prices for everyone, or else we can just wait for grid to completely fry before our dim-witted politicians see the problem. The more panels go onto roofs the sooner that day of crisis is coming.

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  • #
    Rocky

    Another fun gig with Solar Panels.

    Not For Profit Service Group had grant for Solar Panels and Installed Same.

    Power Meter ran backwards* and Power Coy sent a large bill for Solar Power which Our Group Supplied to Grid.

    Now finally fixed with no hope of ever getting our money back.

    * Dont know the exact science but it cost us heaps and the Power Coy did not care all that much.

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  • #
    Rocky

    Old Power Coy engineer, wise and quiet, looked around and said: Once over 10% Solar there is a number of issues which affect grid stability.

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  • #
    Rob

    It’s a bit like watching a bullet travelling in slow motion.
    We know it’s going to hit the target, and the damage that will be done, but right now the shooter is still being lauded as responsible.
    At least the evidence will ultimately be there for everyone to see.

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  • #
    simple-touriste

    I’m quite surprised that energy would significantly vary with tension. How was it tested? Which devices have been measured?

    I assumed intuitively that energy use would be almost independent, with a small advantage for higher tension.

    Some people fed their computer with much higher tension (in direct current) without issue (I suppose they check the electric schema first).

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