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A cold snap in Queensland cut the state’s solar power to just 5% of its average daily output

As Paul McArdle of WattClarity says: “the NEM* is becoming increasingly dependent on the weather

Saturday week ago in Queensland was cold enough to break records. Brisbane “only” made it up to 17.9C (64F). It hasn’t been that cold there in May for 40 years. At the same time a band of cloud covered the populated slice of the state.

The cloud cover meant all the large solar “farms” in Queensland — with a total rated capacity of 1.7GW — produced only 79MW as an aggregate average daily output.

 Sunshine State forgets its own branding on Saturday 23rd May 2020

Averaged across the 24 hours in the day yesterday, average aggregate output across all of the Large Solar plant in QLD was a very meagre 79MW only:

1a)  Dividing this by an aggregate 1,664MW installed capacity* across the Large Solar plant in QLD this represents a capacity factor the day of just 4.7%

Not surprisingly the same clouds that ruined the large solar farms also wrecked the rooftop solar.

One in three homes in Queensland have solar panels. With 1.8GW of theoretical capacity, rooftop solar is Queenslands largest generator (except it hardly ever produces that much). At its peak in January the Qld solar farms worked at 31% of capacity. That’s a big slice of generation that may or may not be there.

There goes another Gigawatt — there one day and gone the next:

As Rafe Champion would say, “this was a chokepoint for solar”. We have to have the backups there to cover the worst days — even if the bad days are only a few days a year.

McArdle estimates that Queenslanders used 17% more electricity that day than the Saturday a week earlier. It was cold (for Queenslanders) so power use went up at the same time as clouds cut the states main generator. When clouds rolled into Alice Springs, they ended up with a nine hour blackout. That didn’t happen in Queensland, but there are five million people who depend on electricity there. There are similar warnings about clouds and solar power causing blackouts in Western Australia.

Coal was, of course, what saved Queensland:

Queensland Electricity Generation , May 23 2020

Watch the Australian experiment

If you think this is crazy, worse is coming. Wikipedia has a list of QLD solar farms. Ominously,  another 1.7GW are under construction and another 8GW have been approved. All of which would have been useless together on May 23rd.

Hey, but it’s only one day. They could just close some factories.

For those wondering if Queensland just needs to build some more solar plants “out west”, remember that generators need to be closer to the demand, and regional generators have been punished by price reductions because of the inevitable transmission losses. It’s just not economic to build far distant solar panel farms that earn less per MW than farms near cities. (Not that it’s economic to build solar farms near cities either.) Solar panels are so uncompetitive in 2016 the National Govt allocated $100m to set up 482MW of solar capacity throughout Australia. That was on top of the giant national RET scheme.

But let’s not forget the reason we are building solar panels in the first place: to change the weather.

To that end, consider that 2 million expensive solar panels cut Australian total CO2 emissions by a tiny 1%


Everything you don’t want to know about Solar power in Australia

__________________________________________________________________

 

*NEM. National Electricity Market. (Australian Eastern States Grid from SA to QLD and Tasmania).

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (66 votes cast)
A cold snap in Queensland cut the state's solar power to just 5% of its average daily output, 9.6 out of 10 based on 66 ratings

120 comments to A cold snap in Queensland cut the state’s solar power to just 5% of its average daily output

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    This is off topic but the sub heading;

    “There goes another Gigawatt Plant”

    triggered off memories of that old song;
    “There goes million gigawatt plant.”

    Sorry, that got mixed up with the old song by Frank Sinatra.

    https://youtu.be/wOOTF8vu6ps

    If any point’s to be made, it’s probably that Renewables have about as much Credibility as a Rubber Tree Plant.

    KK

    101

  • #
    Travis T. Jones

    “But let’s not forget the reason we are building solar panels in the first place: to change the weather.’

    Fail.

    March 2, 2020: India’s renewable energy generation grows 9.46 per cent in Jan 2020

    https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/indias-renewable-energy-generation-grows-9-46-per-cent-in-jan-2020/74442008

    May 20, 2020, NEW DELHI: “The coronavirus-triggered lockdown has led to a steep fall in carbon (sic) emissions in early April as compared to 2019 levels with India’s emissions dropping by 26 per cent, according to a study.

    That figure would mark the largest annual decrease in carbon emissions since World War II,” researchers said.”

    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/17-decline-in-global-carbon-emissions-due-to-covid-19-lockdown-study/articleshow/75840410.cms?from=mdr

    June 4, 2020: Cyclone Nisarga: India’s Mumbai escapes its worst cyclone in decades
    https://au.news.yahoo.com/cyclone-nisarga-intensifies-approaches-mumbai-024755859.html

    >> It is insane to think any form of energy production is simultaneously causing global warming cyclones & cold records, or has/can/will prevent it in the past, now, or future.

    131

  • #
    Zigmaster

    Sounds like proof to me, Queensland has its coldest May Day in 40 years after building a huge amount of renewables , and there were no bushfires on that day either . All we have to do is build some more and climate change / global warming is solved. I can’t believe that so many people can’t just follow the science.

    340

    • #
      Greg in NZ

      Comrade Ziggy, language, please!

      It’s THE SCIENCE, as ordained by The Party (pieces be upon them).

      Here in our happy little gulag archipelago, renewables (hydro) have been de rigueur since the LAST not-so-great Depression, hence our perfect, uniform, most-equal climate… for everyone!

      Perhaps if Premier Pollychook followed our magnificent world-leadership and introduced Daylight Saving(s), the Land-of-Queens would/could/might have ‘sustainably equitable weather’ as we do. Forward, together, tomorrow!

      90

      • #
        sophocles

        Ssssh! Just don’t mention the storms — cyclone Bola and the sinking of the Wahine. Ok?

        30

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    A recent discussion following one of Tony’s posts led Ivan to identify a new socially acceptable source of energy appropriate for the times.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2020/06/tuesday-open-thread-15/#comment-2334556

    It has a political and social compliance rating of 97% , can’t fail.

    KK

    91

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      He he…apparently the new “socially acceptible” means a third world power grid …

      If people want that, maybe they should emigrate to a third world country…..

      And a related point I made to a friend about the scourge of PC…PC is *political*…or put another way…a bunch of stupid lefty idelogy, dresing up morally toxic decay and corrosive ideas, and marketted as “healthy”.

      Its completely messed up…..only Marx would approve….

      131

      • #
        PeterS

        Point of order. Most third world power grids rely heavily on coal and nuclear power, and building many more of both. We are the ones heading the wrong way.

        131

  • #
    Travis T. Jones

    “But let’s not forget the reason we are building solar panels in the first place: to change the weather.”

    January 22, 2015: The Queensland Leader of the Opposition Annastacia Palaszczuk has spoken of her desire to triple the number of Queenslanders with solar …

    0.17 sec: “I can’t control the weather.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezbhVrb7zMs

    >> Quite so.

    60

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    The AMEO may invite legal redress upon itself, if its actions facilitate an unreliable grid that incurs losses to companies and citizens and impacts our ability to protect the country militarily…

    Just sayin’….

    120

  • #
    Rowjay

    The simple solution to the intermittent energy problem is to MANDATE that any commercial solar (or wind) collective install at their own cost, sufficient battery backup to cover their energy obligations without disrupting our grid stability. Easy!

    170

    • #
      robert rosicka

      I think that WA and NT are already pushing for back up generation so the site provides 24/7 generation but only for solar farms though .

      20

    • #
      Analitik

      No, the simple thing is to remove the semi-scheduled designation for renewables so they have to guarantee supply as well as pricing, just like the thermal (and hydro) generators.

      90

  • #

    We’re not used to cold in Qld, especially not here in Rocky. The Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 23rd to 25th, Rocky had the record for May maxima- coldest day, coldest 2 days, and coldest 3 days. That’s since 1940. 23rd was second coldest day of any month (if you can rely on BOM data). If we had electric heaters we would have had them on. On 23rd there was thick cloud across nearly the whole state so very little solar radiation.

    170

    • #
      William

      if you can rely on BOM data … You can rely somewhat on the current BOM temperatures now Ken, but come ACORN-Sats 3,4 and 5, you will one day be looking back at Queensland’s 2020 start of Winter heatwave.

      40

      • #
        Environment Skeptic

        The ‘world of meters’…..William, the only way for the BOM is to homogenise their data through World Of Meters..the only brand we can trust :)

        21

  • #
    Maptram

    Then there’s the story from Renew Economy a couple of weeks ago about a solar project planned for the Pilbara that has received environmental approval. The plan is to export the electricity to Indonesia and Singapore. Talk about transmission losses.

    130

    • #
      Graeme#4

      Actually the transmission losses from long-distance underwater HVDC lines should only be about 3%. But this would be the longest HVDC line.

      70

      • #
        RickWill

        A 3,000km undersea cable with AC to DC conversion at either end, operating at about 40% capacity factor will suffer a lot more than 3% losses. The conversion alone at one end is probably more than 3%.

        It is surprising how many cost estimates for intermittent generators use the average power flow to arrive at losses rather than the time variant power flow. A tracked array in the Pilbara will have peak to average of about 3. Power loss in any electrical system is close to the square of the current. So the peak losses from a solar array will be 9 times the peak loss of a steady supply.

        It would seem to make sense to incorporate gas generation in the system to value add to the gas coming on shore at Dampier. But I have not looked at what is being proposed.

        A tracking solar array in the Pilbara, combined with local gas, could make power quite economically.

        Pilbara has an average daily full sunshine of 6.3 hours. If there were no clouds the average would be 7.5 hours. So it as close to cloudless as possible with exception of places like the Atacama Desert.

        40

        • #
          Bright Red

          Yep basing the loss calculations on average capacity shows a complete ignorance of reality. Solar transmission infrastructure needs to be rated at name plate capacity but in reality will only deliver approx 25% of that at best so you have to 4 x over design a system with associated costs to deliver what a continuous supply could do. That’s bigger transformers, bigger AC-DC converters, bigger wires, bigger poles all because the source is intermittent but you need to cater for the rare accession that it actually generates its rated capacity.

          21

  • #
    robert rosicka

    At least they managed 5% but for these solar farms in Victoriastan they built the farms but because of delays and buck passing they can’t seem to get connected to the grid .

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/lawyers-picnic-and-47m-at-play-as-sunraysia-solar-farm-faces-further-delays-93927/?fbclid=IwAR0_8t2hR3ZEE7o56bEoLrTa_Q6Bapt5hDy5-IXsOLJs1k_THqXc5MIbr9Y

    60

  • #
    Robber

    And it was no better across the entire AEMO grid. For the week ending May 24, according to OpenNEM, large solar delivered an average of 405 MW, rooftop solar 792 MW. That’s well down on the YTD averages of 676 MW and 1378 MW respectively.
    And as we enter winter, on June 2 total demand on the AEMO grid reached a maximum of 30,100 MW at 6pm, the highest since February, solar contribution 0.3 MW.

    110

  • #
    Drapetomania

    Travis T. Jones
    June 4, 2020 at 6:01 am · Reply
    “But let’s not forget the reason we are building solar panels in the first place: to change the weather.’

    Fail.

    Let you dont back up your idiotic “fail” comment..
    Oh the irony..
    Do keep up mate.
    The whole premise of the subsidised “renewable” is to change the weather in the future.
    Are you Off the grid, growing your own food, sold the car??
    Thought not..
    Now scramble back to your protected enclave of thought bubble cool memes for the brain dead..

    21

  • #
    Jonesy

    By the way, where is the dip in ebil carbon dioxide concentrations?

    80

  • #

    Some of you might want to go and have a look at the rooftop solar generation for that day, and if you do, you’ll see how useless it really is.

    So, let me explain.

    Also, the new total for ALL Queensland rooftop Solar Power is now 2.35GW. (See this link, a 38 page pdf Document, with Qld total on page 36)

    Here’s the link to the Aneroid site for rooftop solar power for the day in question, Saturday March 23rd 2020.

    Now, when that link shows up, you’ll see the graph for all Australia. This is waht’s called an Insolation curve, in other words the Sun shining on the panels and generating power. Note it starts at zero (around 6.30AM) and goes back to zero (around 5.30PM) and rises to a maximum at around Midday to 1PM. So, see how it’s generally only generating reasonable amounts of power between 10AM and 2PM, around four hours a day.

    Okay then, see under the graph is a ‘legend’ for each of the States, and here we want to isolate just Queensland, so ….. UNTICK all the boxes without QLD as the suffix. Also UNTICK the Total

    There’s now just four boxes ticked. QLD Total, Central, North, and South. (the black line is Total, and if you UNTICK Subtotal, you’ll see it’s the same as Qld Total)

    Hover your mouse over the maximum for the day at 1.30PM and it’s 560MW, meaning that even at its maximum for the day, it still only made 23% Capacity Factor. (CF)

    The average for the time of all generation is 309MW. (the average of that insolation curve) So the average power generation for the whole (24 hour) day comes in at 129MW, giving it a daily operational CF of 5.49%.

    And that’s pitiful.

    Now, keep in mind that all of the above is viewed as a ….. TOTAL.

    In actual fact, it’s lots and lots of tiny weeny little generators, 4KW here 6KW there.

    Not ONE actual REAL power plant cut back its output at any time because rooftop power was delivering power. There was the usual and totally normal winding back of power generation between the morning and the main evening peaks, but this winding back has been going on since grid electrical power first started, as this is the nature of power consumption.

    Those teensy little bits of generation here and there were all being consumed by the homes themselves, especially on days like this of really low power generation.

    Even on average days and even good days, rooftop power delivers very very little power outside of the homes which actually have the panels on their roofs.

    Even so, and ….. IF rooftop solar power was the bee all and end all of the way of the future, then what is going to happen when they do have days like this. We just wait around for the cloud to clear or something.

    Nup! This actually is pitiful.

    Tony.

    160

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      And the opposite effect in the middle of a sunny day in Spring or Autumn (when AC is optional) will be driving down dispatchable generation so far they will shut down, either temporarily or permanently. Then if the weather changes** and clouds roll in, then demand will exceed supply and CRASH goes the system.
      Then comes the “joy” of a black start, which with less and less reliable generation will be prolonged. It took nearly 6 days in SA.

      I wonder what that would do to the poll figures? These seem to be the only ones our politicians ever think about.

      ** It does still, even though the Govts. are all gullible believers in renewables.

      70

    • #

      Tony
      Speaking with Michael Hart, shadow QLD Energy minister, he paints a picture of the current QLD govt utterly clueless on the actual impact of solar on the grid, and the impact on the state owned generators. Anna is desperate to APPEAR to be green and nice, and cares nothing about actual Queenslanders, QLD industry or their power bills.

      The throwing of more intermittent, unreliable solar into the system just creates huge swings from cold days as Jo describes to v hot days. The only thing which has saved QLD so far is far sighted investment in gas and coal generation capacity in the past.

      Any engineer, like myself, can see this is completely wrong . But it appears nobody listens to engineers anymore – only to “scientists” (and then only the “right” scientists) or activists. Good luck when it all falls apart.

      140

  • #
    AndyG55

    Currently in Victoria

    Brown Coal 83%,, Gas 3%, solar 3%

    Wind ZERO%

    60

  • #
    Robber

    More evidence that we are doomed.
    “A new think tank backed by former Liberal ministers Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne has found investment in renewable energy should be a key part of the federal government’s COVID-19 recovery plan.” “The report found 73 per cent agreed that a strong economy was not important without a healthy environment.” Talk about polling to get the answers you want – disgraceful.

    The Blueprint Institute, founded by Ms Bishop’s former adviser Harry Guinness, polled 1000 respondents at the weekend for its first research paper.

    80

    • #

      So Robber, we take our ques on technical matters from voters??? And what precisely environmentally will more renewable energy do???

      The voters want more beer? Then provide free beer…. Talk about bad logic

      Bishop and Pyne are idiots and we are much better off without their presence in parliament.

      90

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      As usual Graham Lloyd’s article doesn’t allow comments (or puts them off until tomorrow when most have forgotten about it). Anything with his name on it brings out the gullible idiots making multiple comments (actually the same newspeak repeated) and the other 90% disagreeing with the idiots.

      And while I am enraging the Mods see tall bloke’s blog (from the GWPF) about what it would take to switch everybody in the UK to electric cars.

      60

    • #
      AndyG55

      Another leftist totalitarian brain-fart tank. !

      30

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      I thought she had gone.

      The whole business is devoid of scientific, engineering, environmental or economic Truth and would never get past an Ethics committee.

      Unless the committee was funded by the same people.

      51

  • #
    Peter Fitzroy

    And yet, and world wide, solar continues to eat into the market. It’s not like the intermittency is unknown. At the same time some countries are investing in new coal production, the total number of operating plants has dropped, the total number of new and planned plants is in the basement.
    Pointing out one bad day for one segment of one grid is the same as saying a cold day on a mountain means that global warming has stopped

    021

    • #
      AndyG55

      Current NSW grid solar 1%

      Current Victorian grid solar 1%

      Fantasise some more. Its all you have.

      “the total number of operating plants has dropped,”

      Big new replacing small old.

      But you knew that, didn’t you..

      … just trying to peddle more mis-information.

      170

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      An excellent comment Peter and thank you for so clearly illuminating the problem.

      Anybody who reads that and can’t see the problem is having a very bad day.

      KK

      71

      • #
        AndyG55

        Yep.. HIGHLIGHTING the problem of solar when there are clouded. Thanks Peter. :-)

        What would have happened if there was no coal to carry nearly all the load. !

        80

    • #
      AndyG55

      “the total number of new and planned plants is in the basement.”

      China building 100′s around the world is “in the basement”

      You are hilarious !

      And remember, ALL those new power stations will still be operating in 40-50 years time.

      NONE of the current fleet of wind or solar will be.

      130

    • #

      No No, Peter Fitzroy is 100% correct.

      We SHOULD be sinking every available dollar we have of other people’s money into something that is proven not to work. That’s the way we do things now.

      Oh and he’s 100% correct on this point as well:

      At the same time some countries are investing in new coal production, the total number of operating plants has dropped…..

      For every new 2000MW high tech plant that is opening up, they are closing down 20 or more of those ancient technology 10MW Plants.

      And another million or more consumers get access to electricity.

      ONE plant opened ….. 20 closed.

      So, without even knowing the first thing about what he wrote, Peter Fitzroy was absolutely correct on both counts.

      Who would have thought, eh!

      Tony.

      180

      • #
        AndyG55

        And let’s not forget all the old USA coal-fired plants shut-down and replaced with GAS.

        Also as you have pointed out, wind and solar in the 3 main states have had basically zero effect on coal fired electricity.

        80

    • #
      Peter Fitzroy

      For those who would dispute the facts
      https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-coal-power-plants

      Like motorised transport replacing the horse, it will not happen overnight, but it is happening.

      The main point is that despite all that you claim for coal, not one new plant is even in the planning stages for Australia

      016

      • #
        AndyG55

        Look at all those NEW ones that will last for 50-60 years !

        Oh dearie me, plenty of CO2 for many years to come.

        And there is nothing your moaning and fairy-tails can do about it :-)

        Reason for no new coal plants in Australia is purely political, nothing to do with actual need or science.

        But you knew that didn’t you.

        No sign of any coal production slowdown

        Or global coal usage for electricity

        Look at China, India, and the rest of Asia go for it
        !

        60

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          Yeah well it will be interesting when it sinks into the punters heads…

          41

        • #
          Peter Fitzroy

          But it’s not happening, and it won’t happen.
          you are flogging a dead horse, but you know that

          010

          • #
            AndyG55

            Yep wind and solar can only exist by political will.

            Coal exports still growing

            World coal fired power, still expanding.

            Those new coal fired power stations all over the world, especially Asia, India will still be going strong in 40-50 years.

            Current wind and solar will be LONG GONE, just like a dead horse.

            60

          • #
            AndyG55

            Currently in NSW grid coal and gas 95% Wind ZERO%

            Victoria coal and gas 90% Hydro 7% Wind ZERO%

            And when the sun goes down.. Coal, gas and hydro will have to basically 100%

            Wind and solar .. totally USELESS. !

            Pretending they can charge batteries.. total idiocy !

            80

          • #
            AndyG55

            “But it’s not happening,”

            Yep, Wind and solar are NOT HAPPENING……. at all !

            NSW.. BLACK COAL 94%, Gas 5% hydro 1% wind and solar ZERO%

            QLD… COAL and GAS 94% wind 2% solar 1% hydro 1%

            VIC… BROWN COAL 70% gas 7% Hydro 23% wind and solar ZERO%

            Even SA.. gas 92% wind and solar 6%

            We all know where the DEAD HORSE is , and its NOT coal. !

            60

      • #
      • #
        AndyG55

        Current NSW grid wind 0% !!!

        Coal 94%

        Thank goodness for COAL !

        90

      • #
        AndyG55

        Current NSW grid wind ZERO%

        Coal 94%

        Current Victoria Wind ZERO%

        Solar 3%….. pretty pathetic, hey !

        Brown Coal 93%

        Thank goodness for COAL !

        80

      • #
        TedM

        “Like motorised transport replacing the horse, it will not happen overnight, but it is happening.”

        One difference is that motorised transport actually worked.

        90

        • #
          TedM

          Even when there was no wind and lots of clouds. Just like fossil fueled power stations.

          60

        • #
          Dennis

          Like late 1800s electric vehicle sales were quite good until Henry released his Model T Ford with internal combustion engine that could travel out of town and return, and could be refuelled quickly and conveniently from spare cans of fuel carried on board to areas where “gas” was unavailable at the time.

          EV sales never recovered, but there were niche markets for milk delivery, forklift trucks and golf buggies.

          Like wind turbines and solar panels best suited for caravans and boats, small scale applications.

          90

          • #
            RickWill

            A small electric motor actually made internal combustion cars acceptable in polite company by overcoming the need to hand crank.

            Henry persisted with hand crank into the 1920s. But it was not a task for most women of the era.

            Apparently a Ford built tank was the first Ford vehicle to have a starter motor in the standard build – that was 1917.

            40

      • #
        TedM

        I followed the link Peter, the graph supports Tony from OZ. The increase in capacity in China dwarfs anyone else. India’s not doing a bad job either.

        90

        • #
          Peter Fitzroy

          Yes – and I mentioned that upthread.
          China is not world though.
          Worldwide, solar, wind are taking over

          17

          • #
            TedM

            No solar and wind are not taking over. Look at the graph on the link that you provided.

            40

          • #
            AndyG55

            “Worldwide, solar, wind are taking over”

            LOL.. so funny and so totally delusional.

            NSW, current grid supply wind just starting to blow, managing a measly 3% of supply, after all the cost..

            Victoria, wind is still at ZERO%, and reading negative 4MW

            It isn’t overtaking anything !!

            Globally, “installed” wind and solar are growing at about the same rate as installed coal, so actual coal fired electricity is increasing faster than wind and solar supply

            And of course, all that new coal will still be there in 40-50 years time, well after the wind and solar has been left to rust and pollute with their decay.

            40

      • #
        AndyG55

        Not only that , but the Carbon Briefs map has got all NSW/Vic coal fired power marked as “closing” in 2019.

        Not unlike Peter to choose a link which is obviously based on wilful ignorance.

        But then, Zeke horsefather is on the “team” of this far-left propaganda farce site

        … expect rampant disinformation.

        10

        • #
          AndyG55

          And if you push the slider to the right, to “Future”

          You can see all the “New, Planned and Under construction”in China, India, Asia, Turkey, Indonesia, and Africa.

          Very useful site for showing the MASSIVE future growth of coal.. thanks Peter :-)

          30

      • #
        • #
          Bill In Oz

          Rob did you see what the ABC has as a link at the end of this report ?
          A report on how the electricity grid is now antiquated and being replaced.
          I don’t think they talk to Alinta about why they bought this huge new transformer.
          Dopey dumbnuts !

          10

          • #
            robert rosicka

            That transformer must have cost millions Bill and I don’t think they would be spending that amount of money on capex unless there was a return .
            No didn’t read the links they’re usually propaganda disguised as news .

            30

        • #
          • #
            robert rosicka

            Answer is simple Andy we just need more windmills and Solar and maybe a few gazillion triple “A” batteries !

            10

    • #

      Peter
      You mention “its not like its intermittency is unknown”.

      Well bless me, when we have idiots like Anna here in QLD pushing for solar plants to the horizon then its obvious she and others do not understand its intermittency at all. On a bright sunny day we will completely overwhelm the grid and shut off all coal plants, oh, problem, you cannot just shut off coal plants. Then we have to try to turn it all on again in the afternoon, or if the clouds roll in. But what will happen is that we will have to shut off the solar panels, not vice versa, and then Anna and co will be wanting to pay the “poor” renewables millionaires money for all that lost revenue….

      There is no thinking going on at all. In the early days of solar I remember reading one researcher warning that the absolute max a grid could take of intermittent renewables was 20%. His logic was completely correct, but logic does not mean anything it would appear when Anna and Anthony Lyneham get involved. They have no idea what they are doing.

      And we also have stupid idiots saying we can charge our electric cars off the panels at night.

      I rest my case…

      60

  • #
    el gordo

    The cold snap in Queensland will continue for at least another week, the misplaced blocking high is the culprit.

    40

    • #
      Greg in NZ

      Cool, crisp, calm…

      Camped in Queensland’s Carnarvon Gorge, June 1984, under a ‘misplaced blocking high’ and she was below freezing every morning – brrr! – until the sun rose above the canyon walls.

      It appears history may ‘repeat’ after all (not merely rhyme). And that slightly warm blob of SST east of us has dissipated while in the North Atlantic, the Gulf Stream is a cooler shade of blue – just in time for the UK’s long-prophesied Ripley’s ‘barbecue summer’… believe it or not!

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        el gordo

        ‘It appears history may ‘repeat’ after all …’

        And its predictable.

        ‘During the minimum transit from solar cycle 19 to 20, there were a total of 227 days with no sunspots. This was the lowest number since 1850.’ wiki

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    • #
      Dennis

      NSW Mid North Coast cold at this time, frost and snow in places along the Great Dividing Range, and southern end Snowy Mountains skiing season off to an early beginning.

      When I used to drive my son and school mates ski team to Thredbo for July school holidays snow season was just underway.

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  • #
    STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    Cap in hand & tug the forelock to bad coal when PV dies in the derriere in winter. Blow raspberries at big bad coal in the summertime.

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    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Swings and roundabouts.
      Who knows where we are going.

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    • #
      AndyG55

      Actually, summertime in Australia puts a pretty big load on the electricity system.

      Sudden clouds when solar is actually producing, will cause even bigger swings and instability.

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      • #
        Peter Fitzroy

        pity nobody thought of putting a couple of grid scale batteries into the mix

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        • #
          AndyG55

          Which would operate for 5-10 minutes.

          I wonder why ;-)

          There is no solar to charge it with anyway, just coal.

          Again, you show your abject ignorance for battery storage requirements for grid usable supply.

          Even the SA one with their small consumption only provides electricity for a maximum 20 minutes.

          Spends most of its time combating the instability of the grid from wind and solar.

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          Analitik

          Who pays for these batteries, Peter?

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          el gordo

          La Nina Watch will be up in a couple of months, with 10% less radiation available to the system. All things considered, will the growth in solar energy over the past decade be severely tested and should they now invest in batteries?

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        • #

          No no, Peter Fitzroy is again 100% correct where he says this:

          pity nobody thought of putting a couple of grid scale batteries into the mix

          They have just done that in fact, in Victoria, within the last ten days, opening up the Bulgana Green Power Hub, which includes a MASSIVELY HUGE grid scale battery. It supplies 0.025% of Victoria’s power. So another FORTY (40) of these and you’ll have ONE PERCENT of Victoria’s power covered.

          Or for even better perspective, another ONE THOUSAND of these grid scale batteries, and you’ll equal the power delivery of the now blown up Hazelwood.

          Peter Fitzroy, big day for you eh! Keep it up, you’re on fire.

          Tony

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          • #
            RickWill

            Or for even better perspective, another ONE THOUSAND of these grid scale batteries, and you’ll equal the power delivery of the now blown up Hazelwood.

            For how long?

            My 5kWh battery is fed from 3kW of solar panels. It operates a load taking around 2.5kWh per day. The battery cut out on low voltage this week for the second time this year. Been very cloudy in Melbourne so far this year.

            Record rainfall in Melbourne in 2020 to beginning of June. That means a lot of cloud cover.

            The storage required to get through this week supplying 1600MW continuously would need an 80GWh battery at least. Bulgana is 34MWh. So there needs to be 2400 Bulgana batteries and 40GW of solar panels just to match Hazelwood at continuous output during this week.

            Just eyeballing the chart for solar output at the top of the thread gives a clue. Look at 20th and 21st. You need a battery big enough to carry though two days of cloud cover.

            The new words invented for ambient sourced energy producing intermittent electricity are intended to hide the reality. Please talk about variable renewable energy, curtailment and firming rather than intermittent generation, demand constrained and back-up generation.

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            • #

              I think Peter’s battery idea is all good.

              Let’s go with it and give people the option on their power bills to pay.
              Pick your favourite electrons: “From solar plus battery @$?” or “From Coal at 12c/KWh”.

              We all know what 98% of Australians would chose.

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              • #
                SteveD

                For the true believers why not offer a renewables only supply option? You get a smart meter for home and a bumper sticker so you can claim bragging rights.

                So long as there is sufficient renewable power being supplied to the grid to balance the power usage of the renewables only consumers they stay attached. Once consumption exceeds renewable supply then a program of selective curtailment and/or blackouts is applied on a per consumer basis.

                Simples ;)

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          • #
            Environment Skeptic

            I don’t think we can fully explore the battery idea… until rather large carbon based super capacitors are incorporated into the mix….non toxic, they live practically forever, and are super cheap…Yes they are slightly larger than conventional Li Ion batteries when considering power to weight ratio and so forth.

            https://www.skeletontech.com/

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            • #
              Environment Skeptic

              Get a grip guys..carbon based batteries are not sci fi,,,, lol… mate…. and carbon is still cheap..!//..somewhat…just build some carbon based super capacitor storage.

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            • #
              AndyG55

              Funny how some people just don’t seem to understand the ramifications of attempting dense energy storage for grid scale electricity.

              Quite odd.

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              • #
                Environment Skeptic

                It is mainly that there is no money in practical solutions. The super/ultra capacitor is a grid stabilisation and storage solution all in one. Markets demand esoteric, dubiously green, and highly expensive power sources like the nuclear option. Carbon based energy storage via Carbon ultra capacitors has come of age. IMNESRO (in my non expert student researcher opinion.

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              • #
                Chad

                Environment Skeptic
                June 4, 2020 at 8:08 pm……. Carbon based energy storage via Carbon ultra capacitors has come of age. IMNESRO (in my non expert student researcher opinion.

                Probably best to keep researching for a better solution ES.. !
                Capacitor systems ( inc “Super” and “Ultra” )..have many useful applications where their high power , low weight, long life, etc abilities can be beneficial…..
                …but utility scale ( multi GWh) power storage is not one of them..!
                Their specific energy is far to low to be practical for that type of application at 50+ times more volume for the same energy capacity as a Lion battery.
                Imagine even a 15kWh domestic storage pack (Tesla Powerwall) equivalent in supercapacitors would be 50x bigger !…
                ….litterally the size of a garage !

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          • #
            TedM

            “It supplies 0.025% of Victoria’s power. ” For how long Tony? I’m not sure if you are talking about the hub or the battery here. Maybe I’m having a seniors moment and have miss understood your comment.

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      • #
        el gordo

        Summer is more demanding on the system, but the unpredictable nature of weather and climate suggests it can all change very quickly.

        ‘Queensland is set to shiver for much of this week due to a cold blast powered by strong winds, with reports of snow falling on the state’s doorstep.’ Courier Mail

        La Nina will begin to show in Spring with wet and cloudy weather for Summer.

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      • #
        David-of-Cooyal-in-Oz

        The wind supply will be interesting to watch over the next few days, if the BoM forecast proves accurate:
        http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/charts/4day_col.shtml
        Cheers
        Dave B

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  • #
    BoyfromTottenham

    Thanks, Jo.
    But nobody ever talks about the RET – the ‘Renewable Energy Target’ legislation that’s title is cleverly misleading, because the Target’ in this iniquitous piece of green legislation is trivial.
    The real purpose of the legislation is to embed a long-term, massive, hidden tax on electricity consumers to pay for equally massive subsidies to the ‘renewable’ power generator operators. The only weakness in this legislation is the market price of Renewable Energy Certificates, which renewable generator operators receive free for every megawatt of power that they send to the grid, which electricity retailers have to buy in a closed ‘market’. These certificates were worth over $90 each but have now fallen to about $33, thus reducing the tax / subsidy proportionately. Aren’t we lucky – the federal government is stealing less from us poor electricity consumers to give to wealthy RE operators!

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    Chad

    One in three homes in Queensland have solar panels. With 1.8GW of theoretical capacity, rooftop solar is Queenslands largest generator

    That statement of RT solar being the largest generator, is from Giles Parkinson at RE and is a typical brain fart from someone with a inferiority complex ! …and 5h1t for brains !
    Who else would compare the theoretical nameplate rating of millions of separate facilities , with any one single utility generator station ?
    Solar , even at its peak , on a good day, is still only a bit part player ,..part time, in power generation.
    Also, i will again call BS on that data for daily solar outpot …it is NOT MEASURED and can only be “GUESSED” as possible maximum outputs,….( which will be wildly overestimates.) … since it is behind any meter (other than the private owners equipment) ..and is not reported to any authority.

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    • #
      RickWill

      and is not reported to any authority.

      AEMO would not be needing to control it if it was all behind the meter. Most of the solar I produce in summer gets expected.

      Rooftop solar is such a large slice of generation in SA during the middle of the day in spring and summer that it has caused stability issues.

      Distributors are now having to retrofit their systems to handle the power flow from rooftops back up the network.
      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-08/authorities-look-to-control-house-rooftop-solar-power-in-wa/11773436

      “While the grid was not originally envisaged to support two-way power flow, Western Power has been managing the new opportunities and challenges that residential rooftop solar generation has created over the last decade.”

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      • #
        Chad

        Rick, the vast majority of RT solar is consumed behind the meter….hence AEMO have no way of knowing what the total RT solar generation is at any one time.. let alone in hourly or half hourly data points !
        But even with no export , it has the same effect since it reduces demand on the grid forcing the grid generators to critically low output levels and prone to instability

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        • #
          RickWill

          the vast majority of RT solar is consumed behind the meter…

          No it’s not. You have no evidence for this. On the other hand reverse power flow would not be an issue if it was all consumed behind the meter. Reverse power flow is the new challenge for distributors.

          Most of the new systems are the maximum permitted. In Victoria that is 6kW. A good system will peak above its rating on cool, sunny days in late spring, summer and early autumn.

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          • #
            Chad

            Rick,
            “Reverse flow”. Is NOT the problem !
            The problem …according to the AEMO report, is too much RT solar generation at midday, causing critically low loads on the grid generators, which can lead to unserviceable load fluctuations when clouds roll over. ( Alice Springs last year ?)
            The vast majority of existing RT systems average 3kW peak..with few ever reaching peak output, other than at midday in high summer,..if there is no cloud, or trees, or dust etc etc.
            Further , most “new” systems are eiither installed with advice on how to reshedule appliance use to match the solar generation , and/or with a battery to suck up any surplus generation. FIT rates have reduced for new RT installs , to render that idea unattractive to most.
            You may have a perfect, high output, modern, system Rick… but 90% of RT systems never make their nameplate output

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      • #
        Chad

        RickWill
        June 4, 2020 at 5:06 pm ·
        AEMO would not be needing to control it if it was all behind the meter.

        Rick, Have you read the latest AEMO “RIS” report which spell out the need to controll RT Solar behind the meter by having remote control over inverters to shut down panel generation if necessary.
        https://aemo.com.au/-/media/files/major-publications/ris/2020/ris-stage-1-appendix-a.pdf?la=en

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  • #
    Paul Miskelly

    Peter Fitzroy,
    Indeed, quite correctly, there should be “grid-scale” batteries in the mix. They, or some sort of (fossil-fuelled) backup generation are required to both smooth the output of these solar, and wind, plants, and to supply the very necessary synchronous inertia component, both of which together just might begin to make these intermittent generators something that approaches being usefully dispatchable 24/7, 365-plus days of the year, every year.

    Furthermore, Peter, to be fair to all, all of this very necessary equipment should be provided at the intermittent generator’s cost, from behind, (that is, on the same side as the intermittent generator), the intermittent generator’s connection point to the grid.

    Now, Peter, we should always keep very firmly in mind that batteries, (and all those extra over-capacity transmission lines presently otherwise required), required for those intermittent generators are NOT themselves generators. This simple fact is often overlooked, but it has profound consequences.

    As the recent Michael Moore film demonstrated, and has been known for a very long time, and by engineers for, well, since they became engineers, all of those batteries, and transmission lines, and solar panels, and/or wind turbines, all of them, require vast quantities of materials, some of them rare, to be processed in order that they can be manufactured into these always-huge facilities. All of that mining, crushing, extraction, refining, fabrication, transport to the site, (the latter whose vast scale has already been prepared as a result of massive civil works), all of it requires the consumption of not insignificant amounts of CO2-producing fossil fuels. Yes, yes, rooftop solar might omit the civil works, but the CO2 emissions that go into the component’s fabrication are not insignificant.

    So you see, Peter, to be fair, each such installation should commence operation only after a meticulous, properly conducted audit of this upstream CO2 emissions requirement has been prepared, and debited against any subsequent electricity production by the installation. The CO2 emissions supporting any required external backup generation ought also be properly debited against the installation’s electricity production over the life of the installation.

    As well you know, Peter, at present none of this audit trail is required by the planning authorities, these installations being permitted to obtain RET certificates on an evaluation addressing merely the amount of so-called “emissions-free” electricity that they produce.
    So, yes, Peter, let’s have those grid-scale batteries in the mix, so long as their upstream CO2 emissions, their not inconsiderable environmental impacts, and losses, are properly and accurately costed.

    Regards,

    Paul Miskelly

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      Dennis

      Must not forget “spinning machines” to stabilise the grid, RenewEconomy has recently reported that SA is installing spinning machines, yet another expensive attempt to fix the problems RET created in SA.

      The at no extra cost spinning machine power station (since demolished) generators are not mentioned.

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    BoyfromTottenham

    Very well put, Paul Miskelly.

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    Rowjay

    A very well thought out response by Paul indeed:

    ..each such installation should commence operation only after a meticulous, properly conducted audit of this upstream CO2 emissions requirement has been prepared, and debited against any subsequent electricity production by the installation. The CO2 emissions supporting any required external backup generation ought also be properly debited against the installation’s electricity production over the life of the installation.

    The ones that cause the instability should pay the price.

    The other thing to consider amongst all this discussion is the availability of the raw material used to create dispatchable electricity, namely:
    — sun for solar panels: about 6 hours a day if not cloudy
    — wind: a bit of a lucky dip in SE Australia, feast or famine springs to mind
    — hydro : water of course, a precious resource but never going to be base load
    — gas : hours or a day maybe if the pipeline is disrupted as I don’t think anyone has on-site storage?
    — coal : usually around a month on stockpile
    — nuclear : don’t know how long the rods last but more than a month I would think.

    Worth thinking about, especially as it is almost impossible to build a gas pipeline these days with farmers shutting the gate and others implacably against any land disturbance – would not be surprised to have to convert my excellent ducted natural gas heater to bottled gas (as it was 40 years ago where I live) if the gas peaking plants spread out around the east coast multiply as is predicted.

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    • #
      Amos E. Stone

      “nuclear : don’t know how long the rods last but more than a month I would think.”

      In the UK Sizewell B is our only PWR, and, I believe, is the only one that has to be shut down to refuel. It does that about every 18 months. One of our gas-cooled reactors held the world record for continuous operation for a while at 940 days, generating 14TWh during that time – which from a ~600MW plant is pretty near full tilt 24/7 start to finish.

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      • #
        Rowjay

        Thanks Amos

        Can you give us a quick lesson on the types of nuclear plants operating know – the technology is never spoken of in Australia but I sense that it will be necessary to embrace it in the future. Wind and solar are just not up to maintaining a stable baseload in our climate, and with our ever-changing weather patterns, I also sense that we will be relying more on de-salination plants in the future to provide potable water for an expanding population. So if the insistence on shutting down our fossil fuel economy continues, then nuclear technology must be in the mix.

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    Just Thinkin'

    On the Saturday of heaps of cloud, the 23rd, my 16 panel produced 2.334 kW.

    Mind you, this was not our worst day.

    On the 11th of January, 2011, when we only had 12 panels, we could manage
    a measly 0.561 kW. That’s right 3/5th of bugger all.

    Coal fired power stations forever.

    Always remember, for every Mega Watt of “ruinable” power we have we
    MUST have AT LEAST the same amount of coal fired power rolling in reserve.

    I do NOT want black-outs; I’ve tripped over enough extension cords in my life already, thank you very much.

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  • #
    Paul Miskelly

    Peter Fitzroy,
    You wrote earlier, presumably as a comment on this, Jo’s post: “Pointing out one bad day for one segment of one grid is the same as saying a cold day on a mountain means that global warming has stopped.”

    At the risk of similarly being accused of cherry-picking, might I remind you that in addition, all night, every night, all of that solar generation produces absolutely no electricity at all. I thought to mention that just in case you had thought to have us believe that this form of generation is some sort of a replacement for all that coal-fired generation whose shutting down seems to cause you such delight.

    Meanwhile, looking at that other form of intermittent generation, wind, you might care to notice that today’s total wind energy generation has dropped yet again into one of Rafe Champion’s “chokepoints”. See: https://anero.id/energy/wind-energy for today, 04 June 2020. If you then check Andrew’s forecast for the next few days at his home page (https://anero.id/): “A cool, dry air mass over the Tasman Sea and clear, stable skies to its west. Further frosty nights ahead for SE Australia.”, it seems to me that there’s not going to be much wind generation during the next few days either.

    Peter, I’ll leave it to Anton to inform you as to what happens to electricity demand on these really cold nights and why it is vitally important that all generation is up and delivering during these winter cold snaps. Or is this merely more cherry-picking on my part?

    Perhaps we can hope that on these coming brilliantly clear, full-moon-lit nights, the solar panels might generate a wee bit of electricity? Wait, do I see a line of pigs crossing the moon?

    My point is this: Anton has informed us over many months that the maintenance schedules for real generation have to be arranged so that at the times of peak demand, such as during the height of summer and on these cold winter days and nights, every skerrick of real generation capacity is up and available, instantly. Something about: “When the going gets tough … .”

    Yet, to your way of thinking, it seems perfectly OK that, on those days of maximum demand, such as on Saturday 23rd of May last, solar generation can simply take a holiday, as indeed wind generation is doing today.

    Might I suggest that, seen from this wider perspective, far from cherry-picking, Jo is making a perfectly valid point: on the worst days the real generators are expected to be fully operational, unlike the solar and wind parasites. And, these days, not only do “the tough” – that coal- and gas-fired generation – have to cover these maximum demand periods, they also have to cover, in addition, the dropouts in whatever electricity contribution these weather-dependent parasites may have been making before going on holiday.

    Regards,
    Paul Miskelly

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    Chrism

    Looked at from a distance, the requirement to ring fence legislatively the support for renewables is sufficient for me to conclude that they haven’t, on their own, yet reached price parity with coal or gas.
    And yet there are committed individuals who think that baseload power remains a conspiracy … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPcsx9l5eNM
    It would be good to have a zoom’ed debate
    I look forward to Jo opening a channel that we can all Patreon

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