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SA: Still at risk of blackout, one third of solar PV “switching off” to save state, needs $1.5b interconnector bandaid to NSW

Transmission lines, interconnectors. Photo MArcus Wongm

A $1,500 million dollar emergency line  is needed to rescue South Australia from renewable blackouts.  Image: Marcus Wong Wongm

 

Why do so few see the enormous subsidy cost of keeping the South Australian electricity experiment alive?

Having got too much intermittent, unreliable electricity, the state is still in danger of another statewide blackout. One third of the solar panels on homes are being switched off automatically because the electricity they provide is not just useless, but dangerous. What the state needs is baseload power, but the solution we’re told is to spend another incredible $1.5billion dollars on an interconnector with NSW, presumably so SA gets a lifeline to the reliable coal power in Queensland.

That’s a $1,500,000,000 repair bill for an unreliable system that cost a fortune to build, but is unsustainable without a giant bandaid.

Price rises coming in NSW and QLD:

As more unreliable generation and random green electrons infect the NSW and Qld grids, their cheap baseload providers will also find it harder to compete. The increased downtime will chew out some of their profit margins, but their costs will be almost the same. So, as sure as the sun rises, they will have to raise their charges during the shorter profitable time they operate. Thus costs for electricity per kilowatt hour will rise in NSW and QLD thanks to the increase in useless electricity coming from SA.

The subsidized interconnectors will make property developers and renewables investors happy though. They will profit from the giant transmission lines, paid for by hapless consumers. The new lines will open up vast arid zones where land is cheaper and investors can now afford to build a few more solar and wind plants that were otherwise uneconomic.

Instead of spending $1.5b to subsidize renewables, SA could afford 5 new gas power plants, or could put it towards a new HELE coal plant which would make industry and manufacturing affordable again in the post covid world.

Lest we forget, as I keep saying –there was a cheaper option: Not long back, Port Augusta had a thirty-one year old coal plant generating 520MW.  The Premier could have spent $30 million to keep it going.

Imagine having 1.47 billion dollars to spare to help the nation recover economically? Could have been handy.

SA power link with NSW to avoid blackouts

Emily Cozenza, The West Australian

The South Australian government wants to prevent further statewide power blackouts by developing an interconnector with New South Wales.

Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the interconnector was critical to the long-term security of SA’s electricity system.

“We are still at a real risk of another statewide blackout. We have identified the problem, we’ve asked for expert advice and we’re going to follow that,” he said.

278,000 solar panels on homes threaten to dump too much electricity on the SA grid.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said an area of concern was that the amount of electricity going into the grid from the 278,000 homes with solar panels could outweigh what was drawn out. “We’re not far away from that. That could create a statewide blackout.

“Up to one-third of all (solar) inverters used in SA have already been cutting themselves off in response to voltage changes. We weren’t aware of that so we’re going to fix that.

Despite getting subsidies and being the cause of the problem, Solar Citizens Campaigner Stephanie Gray, said that curtailing the solar panels needed to be the “last option”. Solar home owners have no idea what a burden their panels are on other electricity consumers. Until the media, or some politicians start to discuss that awkward fact, solar panels owners will remain in the dark and continue to insist on more subsidies and bigger handouts.

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Rating: 9.8/10 (102 votes cast)
SA: Still at risk of blackout, one third of solar PV "switching off" to save state, needs $1.5b interconnector bandaid to NSW, 9.8 out of 10 based on 102 ratings

100 comments to SA: Still at risk of blackout, one third of solar PV “switching off” to save state, needs $1.5b interconnector bandaid to NSW

  • #
    Peter C

    Why do so few see the enormous subsidy cost of keeping the South Australian electricity experiment alive?

    I don’t know. It is a mystery to me. There must be lots of people who do see. including some of the people who promote these mad schemes, yet they/we are invisible.

    180

    • #
      RickWill

      The RET manages to disadvantage some to the advantage of others.

      You can be certain that those with large rooftop solar systems are paying less than they would if they did not have the system. In fact they are likely paying less than they would if all the grid scale generation was supplied solely from gas or coal.

      Rooftop solar, distributed battery and distributed diesel generation would be close to the most economic means of powering households and commercial premises in South Australia. Rid the state of all grid connected heavy industry and that is what will be left.

      Some mines in Australia that are not connected to the grid are taking advantage of solar to reduce the cost of power from just diesel generation. Solar IS low cost electricity but there is a high cost involved in making it dispatchable. If there is existing dispactchable plant fuelled with diesel then solar provides a zero fuel replacement. Some examples of small off-grid systems here:
      http://www.renewablessa.sa.gov.au/topic/off-grid-renewables/off-grid-projects
      But there are much larger schemes in operation, like Weipa and DeGrussa, and others in the feasibility stage.

      The benefit of extending the grid to remote locations is reducing as the existing grid becomes more expensive trying to make grid connected intermittent generation dispatchable. There is no benefit of scale and the diversity fairy tale is just that.

      On the current trajectory, it will not be long before off-grid is lower cost than grid connected. Most Australian mines are well located for solar and Australian miners are noted for their efficiency.

      61

    • #
      Ted O'Brien.

      Peter they are too ignorant to know it. Their mentors are too ignorant. And for that we must blame our education system, Whitlam’s downgraded universities.

      Not quite the same topic, but the same system: It would be about 35 years ago Australian fertiliser manufacturers talked the federal government into applying tariffs to imported fertilisers because the price was too low, they couldn’t compete with imports. The National Farmers’ Federation protested, and convinced the government that the tariffs were not warranted, and they were removed.

      The ABCTV 7pm News that night opened with: “The federal government today caved in to National Farmers’ Federation demands for a subsidy on imported fertilisers”.

      Enraged by this blackguarding of our industry I immediately rang ABCTV News to protest that this was not a subsidy but the removal of tariff. The bloke on the phone said: “What’s the difference?”

      The ABCTV Newsroom didn’t know the difference between a subsidy and a tariff! In those days phone charges were one of our major expenses on an isolated farm, and all I could do was hang up. I couldn’t afford to pay STD rates to try to educate the ABC.

      In those 35 years since I have not seen any improvement in the quality of instruction in our academies. So how could “The People” know the truth?

      20

      • #
        Kalm Keith

        All they can do is trust their elected leaders to do the right thing but that’s a lost cause.
        Years ago I recall reading about the subsidies provided to farmers in the EEU. Since then Australian farmers have been shafted every which way but loose, being forced to turn their land into potential fireballs, losing water supplies to the “vironment” and Chinese interests and dealing with activist nutters.

        10

      • #
        Ted O'Brien.

        I was intrigued by Marcus Wong’s power line photo. Bundles of four says 500kv, and I didn’t know of many of them in Oz, and none on flat country like that. So where are there two side by side? So it was interesting to read the info with it. They are near Melbourne.

        We used to live with the Bayswater to Mt Piper one hanging across a corner of our farm. I didn’t know at the time, but for twenty years it operated only at 330 kv. Then when they bumped it up to 500kv the kids told me on a humid day that they could hear the line crackling. My hearing wasn’t good enough.

        So I wonder how much power is lost from those lines? Especially the extra 55km that they built there to avoid going through a national park.

        10

  • #
    AndyG55

    A bandaid link to NSW. ???

    NSW is almost consistently getting power from Queensland and sometime Victoria’s brown coal!

    A new link would just put the whole of the Eastern seaboard in jeopardy.

    The whole system need a heart transplant..

    Like 2 or 3 new HELE coal fired power stations.

    380

  • #
    Graeme No.3

    This is the minister who wants 78% renewables. This is the State government giving ‘free’ loans for people to install batteries and MORE solar. This is the State government that has banned gas exploration over the populated third of the State.

    But Jo, I would point out that SA won’t get reliable cheap coal fired electricity from Queesland, it’s too far for connection. At best they might get some (coal fired) generation from NSW while it makes up the shortfall themselves from Qld. How much electricity SA can get from NSW is yet to be spelt out, as it is a long way from the power stations in NSW to Adelaide (the major user); over 1,000km.
    The major consideration is to supply an outlet for wind farms when the wind blows strongly, as these are currently switched off as required – their CF has dropped from just over 30% to 27%, i.e. they are missing out on 10% of their possible generation, and the subsidies for that. Whether the electricity benefits anybody in NSW is a minor matter, but there is talk of it getting as far as Dubbo. And what will happen when “The new lines will open up vast arid zones where land is cheaper “? More wind farms and solar subsidy harvesters.
    What is the difference between renewables and a sheep station? IN a sheep station it is the sheet that get clipped.

    200

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Sorry, left outthe ‘good news’ bit.
      SA doesn’t intend paying for the interconnector, it is almost broke, possibly (allowing for size) worse than Qld. They want the Commonwealth Government to pay, and as they have no money either the burden will fall on all taxpayers.

      160

      • #
        Sceptical Sam

        Commonwealth Government = All Australian Taxpayers.

        The Crow-eaters live in a mendicant State. They voted for their green loony State governments of both persuasions. Let the Crow-eaters pay the price.

        I’m sick of bailing the bludgers out.

        180

        • #
          Bill In Oz

          Most South Australians don’t want this dopey inter connector and certainly don’t want to waste money on it.
          Only the ruinable advocates want it so their precious wind towers a cane export to NSW.
          So the secret to to stopping this silly project ?
          Don’t fund it !
          No money will kill it.

          52

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Ok…drop out the interconnector and leave the SA eco-loon “leadership” stew in thier own little 3rd world nirvana….

        50

    • #
      Rowjay

      Came across this article (also posted on the Friday thread):

      Solar power’s greatest challenge was discovered 10 years ago – it looks like a duck!

      It’s about the California experience, but it seems that SA is heading in that direction – curtailment unless someone spends up really big on batteries. I agree with Graeme No. 3 – they are trying to stabilise their grid by dumping excess energy at times and quantities that no-one else really wants.

      130

      • #
        Maptram

        Then there’s daylight saving. It’s still a duck curve but it would move to the right at the start and left at the end of daylight saving.

        30

    • #
      yarpos

      There is a grand plan to develop the area north of Dubbo into an “RE” zone. So pretty soon it will all be duelling with SA for limited demand in Western NSW. This interconnect will join Rogerston and Wagga

      50

  • #
    Crakar24

    Adelaide Advertiser head line screams “Solar Shemozzle”

    90

  • #
    george1st:)

    Economics is meaningless with other peoples money .
    The new religions of today are their only meaning in life it appears .
    and so easily led into .

    100

  • #
    Just Thinkin'

    They could always build a Coal Fired Power Station.

    Cheaper and would give the South Australian quite a few more jobs.

    And they could use Australian coal.

    The best in the world.

    Or so a lot of foreign countries seem to think.

    150

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      The original Playford station at Pt. Augusta was built because of all the interruptions with coal deliveries from Newcastle. Cite chosen as close to Leigh Creek for their coal supply. The Northern power station followed.
      Both the Playford and Northern power stations have closed and been demolished, and Leigh Creek shut down.

      Quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat – “those whom God wishes to destroy he first drives mad”.

      180

      • #
        Another Ian

        G No 3

        There is a variation on that which says “first makes confident”.

        Seems some confidence in it doing something.

        20

      • #
        Just Thinkin'

        In South Australia they have just finished installing 12 Diesels that can run on gas.
        For about 110 MW.

        Reckon they might get plenty of use.

        30

  • #
    King Geo

    The South Australian Govt’s fast-tracking to RE’s [mainly wind power generation] is turning out to be a nightmare. SA are the “RE test case dummy in Oz”. Most Asian nations know that this is a futile exercise – that is why they are focused on maintaining “fossil fuel base load power generation” and import a lot of Oz’s coal & LNG to fulfill their energy requirements – is this a joke? Knock knock!! No it is really happening. This is beyond dumb. Why would a nation like Oz with ample supplies of high quality coal & gas go down this route? It all started with Kevin 07 13 years ago – and it seems Oz is destined to have by far the most expensive & unreliable base load energy generation in the Asia-Pacific region because “political ideology” in Oz today is aligned with that of the “leftist EU” – and look at their electricity costs – without France’s nuclear power plants (~75% of their electricity generation) and Belgium’s nuclear power plants (~50% their electricity generation) the EU would be totally cactus. Imported Russian gas is impt but it has its “sovereign risk issues”. Why would Germany close down its nuclear power plants after the “Fukushima nuclear accident” in Japan (2011)? That was a knee jerk reaction by the Merkel Greenie Govt – like putting a wrecking ball through the Germany Economy. And look at what this once powerful economy has done to replace its cheap & reliable nuclear power generation – phase out fossil fuels and fast track to RE’s & biomass (wood & biofuels) – total madness.

    190

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      KG:
      Perhaps Merkel was worried about tsunamis racing up the Rhine river. All that wind lead to a reliance on exporting the surpluses to other EU countries, which meant strains on the Polish and Czechia systems. The result has been for both countries to block sudden surges from Germany, and the last I heard both France and The Netherlands were doing the same. Denmark would get overwhelmed except they direct the inflow to the Norwegian and Swedish hydro schemes. Very profitable for those countries, buy cheap and sell at at least 3 times the price. The ‘system’ falls down if there is less rain in Norway.
      Germany has had to start up a new coal fired station this year.

      120

  • #
    PeterS

    No one has yet to explain how we are to reverse the current trend that both major parties have taken, namely to keep reducing emissions with whatever means, such as more and more renewables. It’s also going to get tougher to reverse this madness being perpetrated by both major parties now that we are being told that the way out of the economic mess caused by the pandemic is to dump fossil fuels and move to renewables ASAP:
    World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert
    I thought things were crazy before. Now it’s going to get much worse. Meanwhile, countries like China, Japan, Indonesia, etc. are building many more coal fired power stations. Are we stupid or are we stupid?

    210

  • #
    Lance

    I’d like to see the critical path construction schedule for that interconnector, inclusive of lead times for design, contract actions, right-of-way, substation transformer and switchgear, towers, conductors, foundations, concrete batch plants, access roads, permitting, environmental impact studies, legal disputations, etc.

    5 to 7 years would be about right, if you’re lucky, and hope you don’t need it any sooner.

    Controlling a bi-directional 800 MW transmission line will be a true exercise in control system design, especially if the priority is letting the unreliable partners take precedence over the thermal partners.

    Next up, who is going to provide reactive power to stabilize voltages for this? Inverters won’t do it. NSW thermal plants might not have sufficient capacity either. AC systems have impedence that can’t be ignored.

    The pols appear to believe that proposing a solution is unrelated to implementing it .

    Good luck, mates. You’re going to need it.

    200

    • #
      Analitik

      Spot on.

      Additionally, given the lack of demand along the path that any interconnector linking SA to NSW would necessarily have to take (else it would have to run via Melbourne), sufficient capacity to stabilise the SA grid would need to be a huge UHVDC link of the sort that links Germany to Denmark and Norway. These things cost a bomb to deploy, especially since we have almost no capability in this area, and are equally costly to maintain and require skilled operators to manage.

      The really good news out of all of this is that South Australia will have run out of money to continue to both subsidise the costs of renewable generation and the emergency generation and power imports from Victoria before this pipe dream interconnector gets implemented. And by then, Liddell will be long gone and NSW will be struggling to keep their own grid up in the face of local renewables just as Victoria is stretched to provide enough assistance now.

      132

      • #
        Lance

        Agreed. HVDC/UHVDC lines are uneconomical at distances less than about 600-750 kM. Each substation is about USD 500 Million and the system is limited to about 5 total substations. The DC systems cannot handle overloads. There are advantages and disadvantages to either the AC or DC systems, but the economics that drive the decisions can be clearly known up front.

        Jo was/is right. They should have spent the 30 Million and kept the thermal plant at Port Augusta.

        Here’s an idea: All the pols pushing this 1.5 Billion “solution” ought have no problems signing over their entire personal assets in case things don’t work as advertised. Get the agreement up front.

        180

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Lance:
          the decision seems to have been made. Electranet are installing sychronous condensers on the existing line to the NE where any interconnector would start.

          80

          • #
            Lance

            Yeah. I get that.

            But the synchronous condensers consume about 30% of their rated output, continuously, just to keep them spinning. Large parasitic load most of the time. Expensive. Sometimes necessary, but not a panacea.

            The synchronous condensers only offer a few seconds of frequency control when needed. Cheaper than running a “hot spinning reserve” plant, but just barely, over a year’s time and the hot plants can offer much more in terms of reserve power, frequency and voltage stabilization.

            The decisions may have been made politically, but that’s not how the grid, the load, and nature, allow.

            Pols may get an up front decision. After that, Reality deals all of the cards. Reality wins. Always.

            130

            • #
              Analitik

              The synchronous condensers are possibly being installed to provide reactive power control to balance the line inductance rather than add any appreciable inertia to the supply (that’s a fools errand if ever there was one). More expensive control processes needed to cater for an inappropriate solution to an entirely avoidable problem.

              BTW there are inverters that can provide reactive power but as with generation, it is at the expense of greater component costs and reduction in real power capacity (which is why highly reactive load points would install synchronous condensers – their true function in a properly implemented grid). It’s also possible they are siting the condensers up that corner of the grid the eliminate the need for reactive capable inverters in a UHVDC link.

              80

              • #
                Rowjay

                Analitik or Lance or others:

                Does anyone out in the blog community know how a wind farm can operate outside the umbrella of the AEMO but still supply to the grid? Is there something like a nameplate capacity minimum under which they can freelance?

                20

              • #
                Robber

                Rowjay, don’t think so. For how small can you be, see Hepburn Springs Windfarm, community owned. “The Hepburn Community Wind Farm comprises two REpower MM82 (Senvion) wind turbines, each with a maximum capacity of 2.05 MW. The wind farm has been designed to output 4.1 MW when operating at full power. The wind farm has a predicted capacity factor of 34%. (delivered 29.5%)
                Revenue from electricity sales $1,058,223, from sale of renewable energy certificates $646,173.
                Net profit before tax $621,806. i.e. zero without the RECs.

                70

              • #
                Rowjay

                Just curious because the 19.4 MW nameplate Coonooer Bridge wind farm, plus the 11 MW Williamsdale Solar complex do not appear in the AEMO daily SCADA reports. Was keen to check on Coonooer Bridge as according to the ACT Govt, it managed a capacity factor of 52% for the quarter Jan-March this year.

                I wonder how many other smaller operators are out there without being registered in the AEMO daily database.

                30

              • #
                Graeme No.3

                Rowjay:

                I don’t know where the Coonooer Bridge wind farm is, but if it has 52% CF then it isn’t located in Australia.
                The highest CF reported was the (small) wind turbine at the North Cape (Arctic coast of Norway) and that was 57%. There were claims that a small turbine in the Australin base in Antarctica reached 75%, but it was blown down after a short life. Don’t know what happened to the North Cape turbine.
                So the only sites on Australian territory that might return such a CF are Heard and Macquarie Islands.

                Even the small (3 turbine) farm in Shetland** barely reached 50% CF, and the variability was such that the locals planned to use the output to heat large tanks of water for distributed house heating.
                ** that’s the place with no trees because the gales blow them over.

                I wouldn’t invest in them if offered a chance.

                10

    • #
      yarpos

      Being Australia there will be multiple indigenous sacred sites along the way (even if previously never known) and these will extract a toll in time and $

      130

      • #
        Analitik

        It’s probable that indigenous groups claiming ownership of said (or to be discovered/invented) sacred sites will seek some form of rent to allow infrastructure to be deployed in the vicinity

        100

  • #
    Chad

    Mr van Holst Pellekaan said an area of concern was that the amount of electricity going into the grid from the 278,000 homes with solar panels could outweigh what was drawn out. “We’re not far away from that. That could create a statewide blackout.

    That man has no clue about the situation, issues, causes, or solutions !
    But i guess that means he fits in well at the SA Government !

    70

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      The Van Pelican is a dumbnut.
      How does the SA Liberal party mange to recruit . such idiots ?

      42

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Bill, much of the SA Liberal Party is controlled by Birmingham and Pyne, and they select dutiful dreamers. We have plenty of other pelicans in SA and they are all bird brains but aren’t interested in a political career.
        Just be thankful that after having Briggs dumped on them, and the disaster he was, the local branch ‘revolted’ and selected your current State member. The Federal seat has gone to blazes.

        50

  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan and others from the South Australian government are watching a presentation. Two green energy experts have filled a chalk board with equations, numbers, symbols, and related solar and wind turbine doublespeak.
    On the far right side of the indecipherable material is the word “Success.”
    Just before that, in somewhat smaller script, there is this . . .
    and then a miracle occurs

    {you can search up the original cartoon, by Sidney Harris}

    50

  • #
    edmh

    UK Generation productivity

    Onshore wind 24%
    Offshore Wind 31%
    Solar PV 10%
    Combined Renewables 22%
    Conventional Generation 90%

    What do these productivity numbers mean?

    Think about electricity generation as an ordinary business, which provides a product which has to be of consistent high quality and which is vital to all the other businesses of your Nation.

    But more than half of your labour force only turn up on 1 day in 5. And you don’t really know which day that might be. Quite often even if they do turn up they walk out when they feel like it in the middle of the shift.

    But the unions insist that if they do turn up you have to employ them and lay off some of the guys that can work full time.

    And worse than that, almost to half of those guys only turn up 1 day in 10. And those ones usually arrive on days when you are not likely to need them but you still have to pay them in full. Anyway, they always go home before the time of your maximum demand.

    These workers get tired quickly and retire a third of the way through a normal working lifetime. The unions also insist that you pay them about 5 – 15 times as much as your ordinary productive workers. Quite often you have to pay them not to work at all.

    And when these guys do arrive, they cause difficulties with quality assurance, severe industrial disruption and they, at a whim, can suddenly close down your production altogether.

    But apart from your responsibility to provide a good quality of service, in the end the extra costs don’t really matter to you, you can just pass the costs on to your customers who don’t have any real choice because you have a monopoly for the supply of the product.

    This is the scale of business problems faced by Electricity supply managers that the ill-informed decision to opt for collecting dilute and irregularly intermittent energy from the environment and calling it Renewable. And the problems get worse as more Renewables are forced onto the system.

    And all this in the UK is insisted on by law to show your neighbours how virtuous you are at tackling a fabricated non-problem. However, your regulators self-destructive actions can only ever affect perhaps ¼ of a diminishing 1% of the perceived global problem. At the same time your own politicians and regulators seem to want to pay out these sums which in combination with your worker’s unreliability will trash your own economy for the possibility of very marginal effect at the end of the century if at all.

    The competitors in your market don’t think you are either wise or virtuous. They will not be following the “lead” you have established. They are mocking you.

    They will be delighted to take advantage of the huge commercial disadvantage that you have had imposed on your country.

    260

    • #
      wal1957

      I love the way you laid that out edmh.

      60

    • #
      yarpos

      Always surprises me that the UK bothers with solar, on an annual basis it would make a miserly contribution.

      60

    • #
    • #
      bobl

      I use a Cola analogy to explain the RET.

      There are two Cola producers Coking Cola and RenewedPep Cola every one likes Coking Cola because it’s cheap and tastes best. RenewedPep Cola is expensive only occasionally available and tastes horrible.

      The government however has chosen to prioritise RenewedPep Cola for what ever reason.

      So, it mandates. All Cola must be sold in identical cartons and containers. Customers are not permitted to choose Coking Cola. Coking Cola must hand over to RenewedPep the equivalent of the wholesale price of 2 Cartons of Coking Cola for every Carton it sells Driving the price if Coking Cola to three times its wholesale price, of course this means that RenewedPep Cola can sell it’s inferior product at three times the price, and gets to keep the two carton subsidy that Coking Cola must pay it for their CCC Cola Consumption Certificates. No retail outlet is permitted to sell Coking Cola unless all supplies of Renewed Cola have been sold first.

      Would we tolerate that sort of interference in the Cola Market? Is it even legal for a government to do that? This is however what is legislated. If the answer is no, then why do we tolerate it in the electricity market?

      81

  • #
    pattoh

    Correct me if I am wrong, but am I to understand that the SA Gov does not want its oversupply of mid-day solar power because the grid can’t handle it, but wants the thermal power states to “Gratefully take it” when it probably does not want it either & then it can have the paying consumers in the other states subsidize their peak load requirements & virtue signalling?

    WOW – Hubris, Ignorance Arrogance & Stupidity! [must be the Soros effect - like what is breaking all that US glass]

    We REALLY need a better class of politician & voting population in this country.

    170

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      pattoh:

      The Grid in SA works on this equation
      (Demand + capacity of interconnector to Vic.) minus (solar output + gas (or diesel) generation(1) +amount of wind generation)=ZERO otherwise there is a blackout. Too much from wind or a sudden drop in solar and diesels have to scramble to avoid blackouts.
      And I am sure the grid controllers just LOVE having an equation with 4 variables.

      If there is more solar power it cuts down on the amount of wind generation that can be used (and some farms are cut off (2), so more solar(3) means less wind, hence the desire of the wind farms for another interconnector, so they can collect the subsidy. At the present they all bid low prices to get those subsidies, with that ninny at renewable energy waffling about wind being cheapest form of electricity (ignoring the subsidy and the other costs). With extra capacity the pressure on prices will relax allow the SA consumers the delights of higher prices.

      (1) there is a minimum specified by AEMO so the State could recover rapidly from a blackout.
      (2) as currently happens because their (combined) Capacity Factor has dropped, meaning that they can generate all they like and get those certificates.
      (3) current State government policy. They are pushing for households to install batteries which are supposed to charge during the day and keep the State from blackouts during the maximum demand when the sun goes down. This has lead to advertisements offering larger solar capacity. Currently 6.6kW to charge a 12 kWh battery, so where does the extra go when the sun shines? And how long will those batteries supply after 3 overcast days. See Bill In Oz 10.1.

      20

  • #
    Sean

    What renewableS need is a buffer (battery) to store power when needed and supply power when needed but not being generated. Perhaps the price for home owners connecting to the grid Is that they must be able to store two days worth of generation in batteries such as Tesla’s power wall. It could even be sold back to the grid at a higher price When demand is high and generation is low.

    111

    • #
      Just Thinkin'

      The home owners wouldn’t have enough land for the batteries.

      120

    • #
      Lance

      Why would anyone spend $150 to store 1 kW of energy that can be made “on demand” for a fuel cost of 6 Cents at an existing thermal power plant?

      The PowerWall warranty decays rapidly, to something like 50% capacity after 7 years. The existence of the battery within a dwelling voids the fire insurance on the building.

      Further on, if the thermal plant shuts down, all of that solar/wind automatically disconnects from the grid because the synchronization signal is lost.

      Nearly every single aspect of unreliable energy generation requires massive taxpayer/ratepayer subsidy and a plethora of band aids to force functionality on an otherwise economical and stable grid.

      AU wouldn’t have a grid problem if it were not for the politically driven mis-allocation of capital and resources and the subsequent distortion of real market economics.

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        Sean

        My point about making batteries a part of a solar installation is to make that energy available when needed. If they can put carbon taxes on dispatchable fossil fuels, isn’t fair to force the renewable energy providers to spend the money to make their electricity more reliable?

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        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Sean;
          would be simpler to demand that the large scale producers supply a continuous amount of electricity, by some means of storage. That would lead to closure of most wind farms.

          80

          • #
            Lance

            Graeme No 3: “Large” producers ought be required to enter into “Absolute Delivery Contracts” just like the thermal generators must do.

            Backbone generators “bid” for specific, guaranteed, delivery of power at specific times AND include all voltage or frequency support costs in their bid. Or not as the contract is specified.

            If they fail to deliver the contracted power, they become liable without limitation of costs, for others to make up the missing power. That’s what absolute delivery means.

            Wind and Solar avoid those responsibilities and offload them to the thermal plants by political means.

            Force ALL generators to “bid into the load” and you’d see a lot less solar/wind.

            “Gas, Cash, Grass or @ss, Nobody rides for free”, unless they are subsidized.

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            • #
              Analitik

              Yep. I’ve often argued that destroying the financial viability of renewables only requires the removal of the “semi-scheduled” generator designation that lets them bid without having to guarantee supply. Renewable proponents always try to present how easily output can be forecast with modern weather services so they really shouldn’t have any opposition to guaranteeing supply.

              The fact that earnest opponents of the direct subsidies (via the LRET) cannot grasp the importance of this designation shows how easy this would be to get through legislation,as opposed to the all in bar fight that any discussion of the LRET produces in parliament and on the streets.

              10

          • #
            Just Thinkin'

            Graeme No.3

            “would be simpler to demand that the large scale producers supply a continuous amount of electricity, by some means of storage.”

            Storage of energy…..solid sunshine…..COAL….then steam……then electricity….

            10

        • #
          Lance

          Agreed.

          Every rooftop solar system owner, technically, already owes the utility company compensation for being connected to the grid.

          Let’s say that a solar owner “saves” 1000 kWh / mo from their billing by having a solar system.

          The residential rate of X cent/kwh is approximately 40% generation and distribution costs, + 60% of X in operational costs such as maintenance, overhead, profit, equipment, spares, salaries, and benefits.

          So, if the rate X is 20 Cents/kwh, then every 1000 kwh the solar owner “saves” is avoiding a grid connection overhead expense of $12/mo. Those expenses exist no matter how the power is generated. And, the solar owner is taking from the grid all impulse power costs that occur whenever an inductive load is connected. For a 4 kw heat pump, it takes 24 kw to start it. If the solar PV owner wants to avoid the grid convenience fee for connectivity, they are welcome to disconnect. But their 5 kw PV system will not start their HP.

          I’m totally in favour of allocating costs where they rightfully are consumed. Be it batteries, voltage/frequency support, low power factor, or demand charges. And the solar / wind generators ought pay their fair share of those costs.

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  • #
    tom0mason

    [Removed by request]AD

    01

  • #
    Robber

    To visualise SA’s collective stupidity, go to Anero.id and click on the month of June and SA. Then select just wind and see the fluctuations from zero to 1.3 GW. Then click on solar and see the midday peak of 0.4-0.8 GW. Renewables in SA vary from zero to 2.1 GW in a market that varies from 1.3 GW overnight to 1.8 GW at midday to 2.1 GW in the evening. Add in 0.3 GW minimum of gas to maintain grid stability, and then require gas to be available up to 1.8 GW plus imports of up to 0.5 GW to meet evening peak demand.
    Go to OpenNEM and click on South Australia and 7 days and you can see on June 17 imports varying from 0.2-0.6 GW and gas peaking at 1.6 GW. A day later on June 18 the wind came back to deliver 1.3 GW, solar 0.8 GW at midday, gas 0.3 GW, requiring exports of 0.7 GW.
    Is this any way to run an electricity grid? One day a famine requiring imports, the next a surplus to be exported. Lucky they have some considerate neighbours.

    80

    • #
      yarpos

      Basically they started out without having an overall plan and any idea of the final operating State. All they wanted to do was virtue signal, and once that was done they have had to pick up the pieces ever since. Now they seek to export the problem. Its insane, but is being repeated across Australia

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  • #
    el gordo

    Method in the madness.

    ‘The new South Australia Energy Plan has been prompted by new analysis by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which suggests that the growing amount of rooftop solar will mean that the state grid could experience “zero operational demand” within the next one to three years – much earlier than expected – and it needs to be able to “shed” rooftop solar on rare occasions to avoid the risk of a state-wide blackout.’ RenewEconomy

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  • #
  • #
    John in Oz

    Mr van Holst Pellekaan said an area of concern was that the amount of electricity going into the grid from the 278,000 homes with solar panels could outweigh what was drawn out. “We’re not far away from that. That could create a statewide blackout.

    The Pelican has just realised that clouds exist and can vary the amount of power from solar systems, requiring a rapid response from a base-load generator which, if not fast enough, would cause a blackout.

    There would also be a blackout in part of the system should there not be more power going into the grid than is being used. His comment is meaningless and non-descriptive, typical pollie spouting nonsensical words and hoping we will believe everything is under control.

    I have written to my local member several times who then passes my message on to The Pelican. All I get back is dross about how the SA Government is lowering costs, adding more renewables and there are unicorns at the bottom of every SA garden to make it all work. My power prices have stayed at pretty much the same rate for several years and I have analysed many offers to get the best deal possible.

    I have solar panels at the original FIT to offset high power prices. Now The Pelican would have us believe that we are the problem and he has a solution – turn us off so that we have to pay the price that the system was there to alleviate in the first place.

    I doubt he has ever listened to an engineer explain the realities of power systems yet they would be the scapegoats he would blame for the system not working according to his fantasy.

    /end rant

    91

    • #
      robert rosicka

      John what is it with politicians and the law of unintended consequences?

      50

      • #
        Lance

        Robert, the issue/problem with “politicians and the law of unintended consequences?” is quite simple.

        Politicians bear ZERO responsibility for being wrong about their policies and offload consequences to future generations.

        The “actual problem” is that Citizens/Voters somehow believe in the fantasies advertised by the politicians. Call it what you want: Laziness, Stockholm Syndrome, Ignorance, whatever.

        The world has been/is/will be divided into 2 partitions: Those who sell a vision, and those who deal with reality.

        Reality is harsh and unforgiving. Illusion is anything that isn’t Reality.

        Visions are cheap. Reality is expensive.

        One may have the “easy life” so long as someone else pays the price of that illusion or insofar as one is willing to enslave one’s progeny, or others, to enjoy said illusion.

        Reality dictates that debt must be paid. illusions have costs. denial of reality is not an option for survival.

        Politics dictates that for Politicians to retain power, everything is an illusion, no costs ever need be paid by anyone who is politically powerful, and that survival depends upon submission by realists to the political class.

        Average people going about their lives, trusting in their elected officials, become sheep to be herded into submission. The chicken lives its life in fear of the wolf, only to be eaten by the farmer.

        Whatever does not serve the lives of average people ought be suspect, and denied at every turn, for a free people to remain free. People, at Liberty, are a threat to Power.

        Power exists to preserve Power. Power does not exist to Serve. Be very careful in how much power is delegated to others.

        Read some Sun Tzu. But realize that for Politicians, there is NO moral law except by means of deception.

        http://www.artofwarsuntzu.com/Art%20of%20War%20PDF.pdf

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    • #
      Bill In Oz

      But John, people like you with solar panels on their roofs are the problem.
      :-)

      The Pelican is a nutter.
      He has been blind to facts for years..
      Zealous in his pursuit of a ruinable power economy ..
      Indoctrinated !

      43

      • #
        John in Oz

        Bill (we still haven’t caught up with each other),

        Solar panels on my roof is a solution to a problem that the governments, in their wisdom, foisted upon us with increasing energy costs.

        My first responsibility is to look after myself so that I can then look after my family, then my community/state/country.

        If you pay tax, do you not look for ways to minimise the amount you pay, regardless of what the government wishes you to pay?

        If they put in a toll road, would you look for ways to avoid paying the toll? If so, are you then a ‘problem’ because you are not contributing to the upkeep of the toll road, as the government wants you to do?

        If The Pelican actually dropped power prices, I might not consider putting solar panels on the new house I am about to move to. The ball is in his court.

        41

      • #
        John in Oz

        Bill,

        Apologies if you meant the ‘problem’ comment as irony. I missed the smiley.

        10

    • #
      Chad

      If the SA Gvmt had ANY savvy at all. ( political if not technical). They would not keep trying to quietly fix this mess , but instead make it very clear that these problems are the result of years of Green/ Labour policy direction that is going to cost the SA consumers mucho lucca to fix.

      60

  • #
    mark jones

    It is sickening! The Public Service are the real enemy. Energy is run by environmentalists not engineers. Politicians come and go but the PS remains…their collective remains..their ideas remain! Politicians do not run the department. The department does not reflect the minister’s opinion and in turn, the department does not EVER reflect the voter’s opinion. The Minister must chose the department head personally. The head must be tasked with structuring the department to implement the minister’s brief…and the bloody minister needs to follow up by randomly inspecting the coalface to ensure the policy is enacted.

    70

    • #
      Serp

      The push back from within the public service would be massive (think of the difficulties Ita Buttrose has had shutting down a staff Climate Crisis Group) but I agree that clear direction must be enforced because social collapse will inevitably follow the loss of reliable power generation.

      50

  • #
    Philip

    But what about the Battery, the worlds biggest battery at that ?? your average fellow thinks that solved all the problems. Every time a Labor politician (or a Liberal these days) gets cornered in an interview, they always say batteries will fix it all.

    50

    • #
      Serp

      Yeah, because the journalists interviewing them are too lazy to do any basic homework on power generation and in today’s dismal stultifying woke world people who ask awkward questions are more likely than ever to be cancelled and never work again.

      50

    • #
      Bill In Oz

      The battery ‘works’ for about 15 minutes.
      If there is a power failure like what happened in SA in 2016,
      Then it’s dead and needs re-charging.
      Waste of money !

      42

      • #
        Analitik

        In a major supply shortage situation, the battery gives the grid operators a little more time to enact the load shedding plans they now have ready, in order to prevent a repeat of the total grid collapse of 2017. Otherwise,it acts as a rapid frequency support provider – in fact,this is its primary purpose and the “backup” capability is a small bonus (mainly in marketing that SA has a solution)

        The 2017 blackout was actually highly instructive to grid operators worldwide. I seriously doubt that the UK National Grid operators would have blacked out large portions of London last year without the lesson provided by South Australia.

        41

        • #
          PeterW

          Yet it is sold to taxpayers – who paid for it – and the electricity-dependant as a solution to blackouts, not as a minor smoothing device.

          20

        • #
          Bill In Oz

          What I notice is that Weatherall
          Who presided over this stuff up
          And championed wind & solar & the big bloody battery,
          Has now pissed off to WA
          And no loner lives in SA
          With the consequences of his stupid idiotic policies.
          But we who live in SA are indeed coping the consequences.
          Thanks a lot Weatheral !

          00

  • #
    John Watt

    In the past this used to be fairly straightforward stuff. Base load coal, some hydro including pumped storage and some gas peakers. Largely govt. owned and we had some of the lowest prices for reliable electricity supply in the developed world. And we did have some very capable system planners. Since then for various reasons we have (mis)managed to mess it up …privatisation, green subsidies and apparently an inability to plan for the impacts of privatisation and green subsidies have delivered some of the higher prices in the developed world for unreliable supply. Reliable supply ,once the industry’s goal, is suffering at the hands of an obsession with unreliable sources. Perhaps the most effective thing Scomo can do to revitalise the virus stricken economy is to buy back the electricity supply industry so we can re-develop a reliable energy supply on which to re-establish manufacturing. Of course that would mean some revamped coal-fired sources.In the 10 years since John Nicol demonstrated that whatever is causing climate fluctuations, it is not CO2 emissions, the green warriors have not delivered a rational anti-coal-fired argument…so let’s get some commonsense into our energy supply planning.

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    • #
      Rob

      Yes, yes, yes – the day is coming when a clever government will employ a professionally competent and honest force of electrical and mechanical engineers to rejig the entire grid and all of its generating components.
      The entire system will, of necessity, be entirely government owned because after all, a public utility is the only provider that can deliver us the cheapest electricity without fear or favour.

      21

  • #
    Serge Wright

    The obvious takeout to this saga is that the entire left-wing narrative surrounding the failed RE experiment, which was to store the excess renewable energy, in either batteries or pumped hydro, both of which we were told would be vastly cheaper and more reliable than fossil fuels, was a blatant lie. Instead, the only solution is to switch off the solar panels and spend another 1.5B on an interconnect to use mainly thermal coal from NSW.

    Of course the more intelligent conservative voters knew this would happen, because what else would you expect ?. The reality of today is that we need a left-wing voting tax, paid for by all people who vote Labor or green (recorded by electronic voting), to allow society to recover the wasted money caused by these people who are either incredibly stupid or willfully dangerous. When you consider we have wasted around $100B in stupid left-wing schemes over the past decade, the extra green voting tax on these people would equal around $10B per year. Which would equal around $1500 per year / per left-wing voting person, assuming 40% of people vote left-wing. Once these people realise they would need to be responsible for their decisions and pay for their own money wasting schemes it might create an opportunity for IQ improvement.

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  • #
    GD

    Why do so few see the enormous subsidy cost of keeping the South Australian electricity experiment alive?

    Most people get their information from the media, not from a research article or a science blog.

    The Australian mainstream media is firmly in the thrall of free energy from wind, solar, and fairy dust.

    The average Australian concentrating on working, raising a family, and paying the bills hasn’t got the time or inclination to read further.

    Is there a way to compile a short, succinct bullet-point summary of the lunacy of forcing wind and solar onto the grid?

    One that could be sent to every member of parliament?

    30

  • #
    frednk

    I know you are all a lost cause, but this article deals with reality.

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/australia-s-summer-of-extremes-pushed-grid-to-the-limit-aemo-says-20200621-p554m4.html

    Evan the mineral council has pulled their head out of the sand.

    https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/minerals-council-commits-to-decarbonising-economy/12378698

    On this subject your blog is nothing more than a soap box in the park, man holding bible aloft, frothing at the mouth.

    02

    • #

      Still got no actual evidence eh Fred?

      The Mineral Council is just another groupy-think conquest.

      20

    • #
      AndyG55

      Poor fred, only thing you have is Age and ABC links.

      These are both the epitome of “climate” mouth-frothing.

      NOTHING of any actual “science” can be found in either of your comedic links.

      Yep, those hot windless evenings are certain a challenge, because of NON-supply from wind and solar.

      What would fix that would be a couple of new HELE coal fired power plants along the east coast somewhere.

      Odd that Tania Constable of the Minerals council, doesn’t appear to have anything in the way of relevant qualifications in “minerals” anything.

      Last job was at “Cooperative Research Ctr for Greenhouse Gas Technologies”

      Just another far-left career bureaucrat in a position that she has been promoted to beyond any relevant knowledge.

      20

    • #
      AndyG55

      At least the mineral’s council is making vague murmurings on nuclear power.

      But that would take so long to push through the green agenda roadblock that I doubt any of us will see any in our lifetimes.

      Coal is a much better option anyway, because it actually provides much-needed extra CO2 to the atmosphere.

      Wild and solar are a waste of time and space, because they CANNOT provide as needed.

      20

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