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Snowy 2.0, twice the cost, half the value, wastes a quarter of the energy, and wrecks the environment

The Snowy 2.0 Scheme is a $10 billion bandaid to make up for Wind and Solar’s unreliability. Hydro storage is an anti-generator that destroys 20-30% of the electricity fed into it. It turns out it also destroys three quarters of the money fed into it, and some of the environment as well. What’s not to like?

White Elephant, Snowy Hydro Cartoon, Steve Hunter.

by Steve Hunter. h/t StopTheseThings

Today a Who’s Who of Australian engineering are scathing about Snowy 2.0 in The Australian

The mammoth pumped Hydro scheme is a $10 billion dollar disaster that will never pay for itself, is already being superceded by battery technology, and will scar the land, infect pristine alpine lakes, risk critically endangered species, damage fishing grounds, and breach the Biosecurity Act in a National park. (Where are the environmentalists, Tim Flannery? Does anyone care?)

Pumped Hydro doesn’t even work on a small scale. Projects like it are being junked around the country before they get built and there has been only one other pumped hydro project “committed” in the last 20 years.

On the revenue side, the output of Snowy 2.0 from 2025 to 2042 is now forecast to be less than half the business case estimate, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator. AEMO forecasts Snowy 2.0 to be largely idle before 2033, as the existing 1800 megawatt Tumut 3 pumped hydro station can provide most of the forecast output from both stations until then. Also, AEMO forecasts Snowy 2.0 would never attain the maximum annual output estimate in the business case.

Not only has output been over-estimated by 100 per cent, Snowy 2.0 is not urgent or critical for the transition to renewable energy, nor itself “renewable”.

On the cost side, the business case estimate of $3.8bn to $4.5bn is understated, also by about 100 per cent. … Once all costs are added, including the associated transmission lines, we predict the total to be in the vicinity of $10bn.

It is now clear that Snowy 2.0 will never pay for itself. Analysis by the Victoria Energy Policy Centre finds that even Snowy Hydro’s inflated revenue projection will cover only a quarter of the capital cost.

Origin Energy was planning to spend $250 million building a extra 235MW of pumped hydro in Kangaroo Valley. But costs have risen to $600 million and just a few weeks ago they pulled the pin unable to justify the investment. Origin notes that the capital costs were 15-20 times the forescast annual revenue.

The AEMO estimates we will need up to 19 vast gigawatts of reliable back up in the next 20 years. But government policies have made reliable energy uncompetitive — to the point where no one can justify spending money to build it as a part-time second fiddle to the green hallowed random electrons produced by the sacred weather-changing unreliables.

Snowy Hydro map

Tantangara is the high pristine reservoir. Talbingo is the lower, infected, pest laden water which by definition must be pumped up into the top reservoir.

Batteries may be cheaper than Snowy 2.0 but Unreliables-plus-batteries are not as cheap as good old coal:

Everyone is missing the point in the debate about batteries versus pumped hydro:

AEMO recently revised its modelling costs, increasing pumped hydro costs by 50 per cent and decreasing battery costs by 30 to 40 per cent, with a further 50 per cent decrease in battery costs by the end of this decade.

Those old brown coal reliables in Victoria settled their market bids at bargain basement prices like $10 – $20 per megawatt hour in 2017. But Murray Hydro settlement costs were $44 – $122 per megawatt hour. So even hydro that runs with the help of totally free water pumping thanks to rain and Mother Nature is not remotely competitive against brown coal. How’s that supposed to work if they have to buy electricity to push water uphill, and pay for the tunnels and transmission lines as well?

Let’s destroy the environment to save it

The financial and technical flaws of Snowy 2.0 are reason enough to halt the project. An equally compelling reason is the recently revealed magnitude of damage to Kosciuszko National Park. The bulldozed moonscape scar along 5km of the Yarran­gobilly River at the Lobs Hole construction site is already visible on satellite images. Much more is to be destroyed across 35km of the park. Most of the 20 million tonnes of excavated spoil is now to be dumped on parkland rather than in the reservoirs.

Your governments have conceded the inevitability of pest fish and pathogens being transferred from Talbingo Reservoir to Tantangara Reservoir and then throughout the Snowy Mountains and downstream rivers (Murrumbidgee, Murray, Snowy, Tumut).

Native fish and recreational fishing will be devastated. A critically endangered species, stocky galaxias, will become extinct.

… it is now evident that the NSW government has no option but to grant exemptions to its own biosecurity protections to “legitimise” the spreading of declared noxious pests, throughout a national park no less, and beyond — this will be unprecedented.

The Snowy Hydro 2.0 proposal has “money” written all over it.

Snowy Hydro Diagram

Snowy Hydro Diagram  h/t Euan Mearns

Some of the names on this letter:

  • Ted Woodley, former managing director PowerNet, GasNet, EnergyAustralia, GrainCorp;
  • Russell Bridge, foundation chair, civil engineering, Western Sydney University;
  • Roger Evans, former chief electrical engineer, John Lysaght and BHP Steel;
  • John Dembecki, former system control engineer, Electricity Commission of NSW, chair Energy Authority of NSW
  • Peter Garlick, former director, Queensland Generation Corporation; Peter Graham, former CEO, Pacific Power
  • Paul Lopert, former senior manager, Energy Authority of NSW, EnergyAustralia
  • Jim Ryan, former engineer, Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, executive engineer, Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation
But even the renewables fan club hate Snowy 2.0 as well:
What’s interesting is the number of die-hard renewables advocates who think this is a bridge too far.
  • Bruce Mountain, director, Victoria Energy Policy Centre, Victoria University
  • Ian Lowe, Science, Technology and Society, Griffith University, former president, Australian Conservation Foundation
  • Rob Pallin, former chair, Nature Conservation Council NSW
  • Bruce Robins, former head project development, BP Solar International, energy adviser, Federated States of Micronesia;
  • Max Smith, former general manager retail, Great Southern Energy; Andrew Stock, councillor, Climate Council, former executive, Origin Energy
Who loves it? Malcolm Turnbull, the Member for Goldman Sachs, and the Snowy Mountain Hydro corporation, who turned into an instant renewables cheer squad the moment the first unreliable generators needed hydro back up.

In 2003 Tim Flannery called the original Snow Hydro Scheme a “lie … that did untold damage to our river system for the sake of white immigration.”. Where is he on Snowy 2.0? Crickets.

The cost of “storage” and frequency stability was zero in our old pre-renewables grid. The new hydro battery scheme costing $10,000 million is entirely a renewable energy chargeWind and solar drive up the price of everything around them. When will we start adding that cost to the estimates of adding new solar and wind power?

Even this white elephant isn’t big enough for a 100% renewables future:
Roger Andrews at Energy Matters details the pitiful contribution Snowy 2.0 would make to shore up the unreliable nightmare of our renewables future.
To support a 100% renewable electricity sector Australia will need approximately 10 terawatt-hours of long-term energy storage. The multi-billion-dollar Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project will supply only 0.35 terawatt-hours, a small fraction of this, and conventional pumped hydro potential elsewhere in Australia, including Tasmania, will not fill the gap.
The only world Pumped Hydro makes sense in, is one where we all pay the rorted high prices that South Australia does while we pray to the God of CO2 to stop the storms and put out the fires of unmanaged forests.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (73 votes cast)
Snowy 2.0, twice the cost, half the value, wastes a quarter of the energy, and wrecks the environment, 9.6 out of 10 based on 73 ratings

119 comments to Snowy 2.0, twice the cost, half the value, wastes a quarter of the energy, and wrecks the environment

  • #
    William

    What sort of lunatic could have dreamed up this looming catastrophe – add to the criticism from the engineers that it is insane to build a water reliant battery in a drought prone land. Who gets precedent in a drought? The environment, farmers or the electricity grid?

    310

    • #
      Dennis

      Noting that during the recent drought years and after the Hazlewood brown coal fired Power Station was shut down the storage of water at the Snowy Mountains Hydro was at an historically low level, and therefor hydro generated electricity for Victoria was not much.

      140

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Well, the same peopke who are ruuning a huge power grab right now – marxists.

        So what happens when the money runs out? All our Superannuation money gets “nationalized” to pay for this and the covid bailouts.

        Think about it – run the coffers diwn using the lie if “covid” then “borrow” our super to fun something that wont work. It will complete the fleecing of the average joes total savings.

        Then as we create Sovereign risk, no one will lend to us.

        If this happens, what will follow could make the Callodin and the french revolution look tame…

        Are we seeong a systematic finacial destruction and looting of an entire country? It seems to be.
        The greenists are systematically draining the countries like vampires.

        It has to stop. Govts are completely out of control. Where is a decent conservative party when you need one? MIA.

        310

        • #
          truth

          There is no conservative party in Australia now..just a handful of conservatives left from the Turnbull/Morrison purge…assisted by their GetUp and assorted RE carpetbagger comrades.

          They’ll try to get rid of the last of the conservatives at the next election too…the Morrison/Photios faction won’t tolerate Craig Kelly telling the truth on both the CAGW hoax and the COVID anti-virals.

          On the ABC series ..The great Acceleration …the usual suspects re CAGW admit that batteries are not the answer to the storage problem for intermittents.

          They …Steffen, Blakers et al …are still betting on pumped hydro and huge extra transmission lines and interconnectors.

          David Leitch at Watt Clarity says there is no available storage solution for the seasonal storage problem that’s worsening every year…and extra transmission won’t do it…with too much correlation in non-availability of wind and solar across the NEM.

          Neither batteries nor pumped hydro will solve it because there’s always unavailability with that battery type of storage…with the battery/dam being inconveniently charged or discharged at
          inconvenient times…being unavailable for generation at certain times or unavailable for storage at certain times.

          The total build of wind and solar is projected to be 7 times total demand and with all the props that huge build requires in an attempt to make intermittents seem to work… the cost to Australia will be enormous.

          IMO Morrison has been totally derelict in all of this…only now feigning concern at five minutes to midnight with the ultimatum on a Liddell replacement…and gas which will be much more expensive than coal…and still pretending the government’s doing a feasiblity study into the proposed small Collinsville HELE plant …the mythical feasibility study that he’ll still be promising to do during the next election campaign…ie a massive con….and a cat and mouse game with the Shine energy company that wants to build it.

          60

          • #
            Kalm Keith

            A Good outline.
            Tragic.

            10

          • #
            Ted O'Brien.

            The Snowy pumped hydro has worked marvellously well since it was established, both for energy supply and for agricultural use. The problems that we have seen in recent times arose not from lack of dams, nor even drought. They were the result of the way the dams were managed since the Greens took over the management.

            Meanwhile, all that is needed for the Collinsville power station to go ahead is a guarantee that no “renewable” power stations will be subsidised in north Queensland.

            10

    • #
      Geoff Croker

      First time I have seen the design overview. The pressure shaft will cavitate. A stainless steel liner will be proposed. It will not work. The forces are too great.

      50

  • #
    Dennis

    The Snowy 2 Project reminded me about the Desalination Plants built following various government impositions and restrictions on the use of water and construction of new dams, even on raising the wall height on old dams.

    The key is Wind Turbine business in both examples.

    * Desalination plant high usage of electricity was excused by offsetting the extra grid demand via installations of Wind Turbines by private sector businesses for those born lucky.

    * Snowy 2 water pumping electricity would be supplied from Wind Turbine installations, also private sector business owned and operated.

    What a good deal, a consumer of wind generated energy that is produced when not required for grid purposes, like charging big battery banks owned by businesses. And later selling the stored electricity/water for hydro power station Snowy 2 at a premium price, and consumers paying via even higher electricity bills.

    160

    • #
      William

      I wonder Dennis, if the Snowy2 water is to be pumped up using electricity generated from wind, how will it be pumped up if the wind is not blowing when the water is sitting in the bottom cactchment? I can see it now – brown outs in the peak of a heatwave so that we can use what little coal and gas power we have to pump water up a hill to later generate a fraction of the electricity used to pump the water up.

      The more you look at it, the more insane it becomes!

      321

      • #
        John PAK

        While much energy is lost during the pump-storage and hydro generation cycle it did work with the Dinorwic Scheme in Snowdonia. Surplus night-time electricity from the Magnox reactor at Wylfa Head on on the isle of Anglesea transferred water from one lake to another. During times of peak grid demand it only took 3 mins to activate the Dinorwic hydro generators. They say it paid for itself in less than a dozen years. Perhaps we need a pair of small modular Rolls Royce reactors in the Snowy 2.0 plan. Anything would be better than the stuttering windmill fiasco we currently have.

        20

        • #
          William

          Did they actually need the electricity on Anglesea or was the daytime output from Magnox sufficient? In any case, Anglesea and Snowdon get much more reliable rain than the NSW Alps so I would imagine less water will be needed to be pumped up hill.

          10

        • #
          truth

          Isn’t the point that the pumping electricity was surplus electricity …and generated by nuclear power …not by intermittents?

          Here any pumped hydro that’s built is expected to pump the water using RE ie intermittent electricity …that of course may or may not be available when needed.

          If the intermittents are not available within an economic distance from Snowy2…the ‘authorities’ are relying on new transmission lines they’re demanding be built to even more distant RE zones…and presumably the extra cost of the transmission will be excluded from the business case because if included the whole justification for Snowy2…ie arbitrage… would be shot to bits….if it’s not anyway.

          The Australian taxpayer would of course pay for the new transmission and all that goes with it…but that cost would be hidden in order to con us into thinking the whole thing’s viable.

          This Morrison LW LNP government…like its Turnbull predecessor …has become adept at and shameless about deceiving the Australian people….it’s a skill that comes easily and naturally to Scott Morrison IMO….like breathing.

          If an Australian government got to the point of getting the social licence to build modular nuclear reactors for the pumping …they’d extrapolate that to building nuclear plant for generation …negating the case for Snowy2.0…surely?

          30

    • #
      Dean

      Recently worked on a project which had as one of the options a Pumped Hydro system.

      It didn’t work economically despite
      - being right on the main connector powerline in the Hunter Valley.
      - all the tunnels already dug.
      - dams already in place.
      - the water being pumped out of the mine already.

      40

  • #
    Crakar24

    Its another cog in the perpetual energy machine being built by those wishing to save the planet.

    Another such cog is the SA-NSW interconnector

    250

    • #
      Dennis

      Maybe the BBC could produce a new episode for Yes Minister, the South Australia Transition To Renewable Energy?

      Stages:

      1. Welcome the Federal Labor RET and subsidies to attract investment into wind and solar installations by private sector businesses and also subsidise the feeder transmission lines from installation sites to main grid.
      2. Shut down power stations.
      3. Increase dependence on interconnector from Victoria’s power stations.
      4. Panic as grid destabilisation increases as unreliable wind and solar energy is supplied intermittently.
      5. Spend more money on gas fired and diesel stand by back up generators.
      6. Panic when the destabilisation continues.
      7. Obtain a private sector business battery storage facility to jump start the grid until back up is operating.
      8. Try to pass off ever increasing electricity prices to consumers as climate hoax emergency investment, and explain renewables will get cheaper, don’t mention not more reliable.
      9. All of the above still dodgy so negotiate for another interconnector, to New South Wales. After all, Victoria has jumped on board the transition to unreliable energy.

      270

  • #
    Mal

    Water for the snowy scheme heavily relies on snow melt
    During poor snow seasons there is virtually no snow melt.
    I have seen talbingo dam totally empty In the last 20 years
    In addition evaporation rate is approx 1.7m per annum
    A couple of poor snow seasons and there will be no water to pump.
    As an engineer, there is nothing sensible about this scheme, it’s just another boondoggle
    Ps didn’t Tim flannery state we will never see snow again 20 years ago.
    You can’t have it both ways
    If there is no snow then there is no water for the snowy mountains 2 scheme

    290

    • #
      Murray Shaw

      Mal, no you have not seen the Talbingo Reservior empty. If you are referring to Juanama, it is the receptor for the Tumut 3 Power Station that holds water that is pumped back up to the Tumut Pond Reservior. So the level rises during peak demand morning and evening and lowers as the Off=Peak cuts in and the water is pumped back up hill.

      00

  • #
    PeterS

    An apt description of the federal government is stupid is as stupid does. Why do our state and federal governments go out of their way to make such decisions that only add more nails to the coffin of a dying Australia? We should be pulling them out to save the body, not make sure it is going to die by adding more nails.

    150

    • #
      el gordo

      We all blame Malcolm, it was a flippant pathetic attempt to show his green credentials. Its basically meant as a backup for renewables, but it only runs for half a day.

      ‘The reservoirs used with pumped storage are quite small when compared to conventional hydroelectric dams of similar power capacity, and generating periods are often less than half a day.’ wiki

      120

      • #
        PeterS

        No, he is not the only one to blame. He’s not PM today. When Morrison became PM he should have scrapped the project. It was the most sensible thing to do but of course we all know politicians most of the time have no common sense.

        300

        • #
          el gordo

          Yep, Morrison was Treasurer at the time, disgraceful behaviour. The majors twist and turn on a whim.

          ‘Anthony Albanese is in the same bind and his caucus colleagues know it. The reason? Gas is the new Adani. Those who wanted to keep coal in the ground at the last election want to keep gas there, too, and they have a powerful support base to make life hell for Labor and its leader.

          ‘Things have changed from the old consensus that gas is part of the transition to renewable energy. The Greens, the environmental movement and parts of the media have given up on that notion, and they want Labor to join them.’ SMH

          80

  • #
    Jim

    The below was published in the Sydney Morning Herald dated March 1st, 2018.

    “NSW and Victoria will share a $6 billion “bonanza” from the sale of the iconic Snowy Hydro project in a deal that will pour new money into road and rail projects.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sealed the agreement with the two states late on Thursday to buy their stakes in the iconic scheme, clearing the way for a dramatic $4.5 billion expansion that promises more reliable power for the east coast electricity grid.”

    I assume they haven’t factored that money into the construction cost.

    90

  • #
    MCMXLIII

    Batteries vs. Snowy 2.0 is a ‘Zugzwang’ type situation.
    Mark P. Mills at The Manhattan Institute has calculated:

    The annual output of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the world’s largest battery factory, could store three minutes’ worth of annual U.S. electricity demand. It would require 1,000 years of production to make enough batteries for two days’ worth of U.S. electricity demand. Meanwhile, 50–100 pounds of materials are mined, moved, and processed for every pound of battery produced.


    Unless and until radially new battery is technology developed there is simply not enough raw material in the world to manufacture the battery storage required to render dilute intermittent renewable energy sources viable alternates to thermal sources.

    200

  • #
    Mike Jonas

    Hey, Snowy 2.0 isn’t quite as bad as some are portraying it. Pumping water uphill does work. It’s used routinely and effectively in many places, from Tasmania (Arthur’s Lake) to the north of Scotland (Loch Awe). The reason for using it is that hydro can’t be turned up and down instantly, so sometimes there’s excess generation and using it to pump water uphill is a cost-effective way of managing it. The reason for Snowy 2.0 is that Australia has built a large amount of renewable capacity (wind and solar) which produces too much power when it’s not wanted, and too little power when it is wanted. Germany discovered this feature of renewables years ago, but seem to be able to keep very quiet about its disastrous impact (high imports of expensive electricity, high exports of cheap electricity; the export price sometimes goes negative, ie. they have to pay someone to take it).

    Undoubtedly, it would have been better for Australia if they hadn’t built so much wind and solar (a modest %age of renewables is OK). But they have. The question now is: what is the most cost-effective way of managing the situation? To my mind there are four main alternatives:
    1. Snowy 2.0.
    2. Batteries.
    3. Turn off renewables when not needed (I think this is in fact possible).
    4. Dismantle most of the existing wind and solar, and don’t build any more.
    When I said above that Snowy 2.0 isn’t quite as bad as some are portraying it, I do think that is correct, but it doesn’t mean that it is as good as or better than the alternatives. I suspect that it is way better than alternative #2. Looking at #3 and #4, both of these need capital expenditure for reliable replacements such as coal, gas or nuclear, but I suspect that each of them is a lot better than Snowy 2.0.

    I think that if proper unbiased studies were done, they would show that a combination of #3 and #4 would be easily the best way to go. This would start with #3, and would need significant early investment in reliable energy (I think it would be a lot less than the cost of Snowy 2.0). But after that, as each wind or solar farm started needing a lot of maintenace and/or replacement parts in order to keep functioning, it should instead be scrapped. During this phase, it would be necessary to build more reliable generation, but forward planning would be pretty easy.

    So is that my recommendation? Well, no. What I think the government should do is immediately stop all mandates and subsidies, get out of the business (eg. auction Snowy 2.0 as is), make it clear that all proposals for new generation capacity – coal, gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro or whatever – will get fast-tracked but with proper scrutiny for safety, environmental impact, etc., and then sit back and see what happens.

    212

    • #
      PeterS

      Many good points but the main problem with your final solution is it’s never worked anywhere else in the world with perhaps a few exceptions, and it would not work here as no one would put up all the capital investment to build any of the solutions. They all need subsidies and/or incentives to attract the investments, or in the cases like China they are nationalised. Yes, we do need a level playing field but the field needs to be promoted first with fertiliser. So, yes cut out all the lob sided subsidies but that is not enough. To attract more base load to the system we need governments here with the foresight to create incentives for businesses to steer towards such solutions. Tax incentives would be one way but not the only way. Alas we don’t have such governments in power. They have created incentives to promote renewables and disincentives for coal and nuclear, which is the wrong way around. Go figure.

      30

      • #
        PeterS

        This is why I actually am inclined to believe in combined public/private funded projects be instigated to build coal and nuclear power stations rather than letting the so called “free market” decide what to do.

        30

        • #
          el gordo

          Coal fired power stations don’t require public monies, but gas and pumped hydro do because they cannot make a profit.

          63

          • #

            Seems to me one of the big problems is allowing one corporation to own so many competing generators.

            If Liddell were owned as a single entity, or was part of a coal portfolio instead of controlled by a group that also owns gas and renewables, would the owners see it as more valuable to be discarded and not maintained and extended?

            The government has failed to protect consumers from predatory capitalism. AGL simply owns too much. It is able to benefit from actions that weaken the grid but raise the wholesale price of electricity.

            210

            • #

              AGL is currently having some frustration at least.

              Their huge Macarthur Wind Plant is still off line. Now, while they (AGL) are not one of the two owners, those two owners have AGL as the plant operator, and all electricity generated by the plant is sold to AGL the retailer for sale to consumers.

              It has not delivered one watt of power in the last 25 days, totally and utterly stationary, every tower.

              There was a problem with a trip (an electrical tripped circuit) at the sub station at Tarrone on that Western ‘feeder’. (Tarrone is around half way between Macarthur and Port Fairy or Koroit) They are replacing the large, and costly transformer, and hopefully, the plant will be back on line later this Month, well, for a short time anyway, because they have planned maintenance in October, so I was told when I inquired as to why it was out of action.

              With all these faults etc, this would not be a good year for power generation for Macarthur, and a 420MW outage for so long would tend to subtract a little from the overall Capacity Factor for wind generation here in the whole of Australia, now running at only 28.5% over the last two years.

              It must be costing AGL a lot of money too. At the average CF, they are losing around $150,000 a day, just from the sale of electricity alone, so that’s now around $4 Million in lost income.

              Oh, and if some of you may be wondering why they have not brought forward the maintenance from next Month to this down time, that could also be a pretty large hint as to another point from the LCOE that is rarely, (in fact never) mentioned. When it comes to maintenance, they have to ‘tee up’ a lot of things, when it comes to wind nacelle maintenance. They have to do that work inside those small, and very very cramped nacelles, each of them 85 Metres off the ground. For those of you who cannot really visualise that height, it comes in at ….. 25 stories high, inside a cramped and confined space.

              So, you may wonder how they get there. Inside each tower is a very very steep ladder, and I could not even imagine how long it would take to climb or how many steps on that ladder for those 25 stories height, or the safety procedures. They have backpacks with all their gear, and because of the safety, there are two of them doing the work.

              Soooo, long story short here. It’s easier to lower them from a helicopter to the platform on top of the nacelle, and they enter it through the roof. So you have dangerous operations lowering from the helicopter, extra wages for the workers, for working at heights and working in confined spaces, all added extra costs and all of those not in any way cheap at all.

              140 individual towers. Can you see now how the costs for maintenance mount up, and here I mean really mount up.

              Now why they cannot move the maintenance for a Month earlier. There is the work force to line up, the time it takes to do those 140 nacelles, and the hiring of the specialist helicopter and crew for all that time. You tee all that up for a specific time. You can’t just ring up and say, can you come a Month early.

              So, AGL is not getting it all their own way.

              Tony.

              130

              • #
                Bright Red

                Because of the expense of the maintenance crews and support equipment the servicing and repairs are done during the seasonal lowest wind periods windows. Ever wondered why you see windmills parked (stoped) when others around them are running? They are simply waiting for the service window when the crews and equipment arrive which can be a long wait. So at any given time it would seem quite a lot of wind turbines are out of action at any given (subsidy) farm. So next time you pass a wind farm look for the stopped or much slower spinning turbines as they are just hanging around waiting for the service crew to arrive at some point in the future.

                10

          • #
            Graeme#4

            If gas power stations never make a profit EG, then there would be a lot of broke enterprises in WA, who have 46% of their power derived from gas. It’s the Bluewaters coal power station that’s in financial trouble.

            50

            • #
              el gordo

              Okay thanks, then the PM’s plan to build gas plants in western NSW is not so farfetched? We’ll have to wait for the Narrabri inquiry to end.

              11

              • #
                Graeme#4

                From a pragmatic viewpoint, nuclear is still some years away and coal has fallen out of favour, so gas seems to fit. However, the price of gas on the eastern network HAS to substantially reduced, and surely the only way is for the states to frack their own gas. To do this, I also believe that land owners should receive royalties as per the U.S.

                50

              • #
                PeterS

                Graeme#4, it therefore appears we are locked into a spiral of never ending disputes, debates and controversies over what the future base load power will be based upon. It’s typical of nations who have weak leaders with little or no foresight. As I said the only one to short circuit this madness is provide intensives to the best form of base load power available; which is coal. What most people here don’t appear to understand is all forms of power generation are expensive. There is no cheap solution. If there was one companies would be popping them up all over the place. So government intervention is essential, just as is in most other countries.
                In the US for example, the federal government has paid US$145 billion for energy subsidies to support R&D for nuclear power ($85 billion) and fossil fuels ($60 billion) from 1950 to 2016. During this same time frame, renewable energy technologies received a total of US $34 billion. Furthermore, many coal and nuclear plants over there have received payments from the government to keep them running, otherwise they would have been closed down a long time ago. What have we done for nuclear and fossil fuels, zip and very little compared to renewables. Stupid is as stupid does.

                20

              • #
                el gordo

                ‘I also believe that land owners should receive royalties as per the U.S.’

                That won’t happen.

                10

  • #
    DevonshireDozer

    A few years ago I visited the pumped storage facility at Llanberis in Wales (https://www.electricmountain.co.uk). It was an excellent trip & the guide was a knowledgeable young woman, married to an engineer who worked there.

    At the start of the tour she asked how many people believed the facility was to do with renewable or sustainable energy. Of the entire busload, mine was the only hand not to go up. She then explained that it wasn’t & talked a bit about efficiencies, load balancing & stuff like that – very well IMO for a lay audience.

    After the trip, before leaving the coach, she asked the same question. I was astonished to see almost every other hand go up again – possibly 1 or 2 others had actually listened & understood what she had said earlier. Unbelievable.

    It reminded me of something Mark Twain is supposed to have said; “It is easier to fool someone than to persuade them that they have been fooled”. Nothing has changed.

    DevonshireDozer

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      Peter C

      At the start of the tour she asked how many people believed the facility was to do with renewable or sustainable energy. Of the entire busload, mine was the only hand not to go up. She then explained that it wasn’t & talked a bit about efficiencies, load balancing & stuff like that – very well IMO for a lay audience.

      Maybe cross purposes here DD. But what is the point of all the load balancing etc, if not for the existence of the intermittent renewables?

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        A C Osborn

        It was built in 1984 way before “renewables” became fashionable.
        It was used to cover “peak” demand and any shorfalls while Output from stations was changed over.
        It paid for itself in 2 years.

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        ivan

        Peter, It was designed to supply the peak demand when people left their TVs at the end of a program and all went and made tea or coffee. Those were the days when the UK relied on coal fired and nuclear power generators. neither of which can ramp up output very quickly like the CCGT units used today. It is still used for the same reason today except the unreliable ‘renewables’ are added to the mix – ‘renewables can’t ramp up output quickly, even if the wind is blowing, because they would shed the blades if they did.

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          John R Walker

          Precisely – Dinorwic PS kicks in most afternoons around 1600hr when the kids come home from school and all the TVs and kettles and cookers are switched on. It stays on for a few hours until the evening peak load dies down. It has worked very reliably since 1984 and paid for itself many times over, as well as providing quality jobs in a rural area that badly needs them. Environmental impact is near zero because it used existing holes in the ground left over from slate quarrying and the run-off goes into existing small glacial lakes – slightly modified but not much. If anything it has probably slightly enhanced the landscape and environment. That’s my opinion derived from living on its doorstep for nearly as long as the facility has been there. We still benefit from better roads than average locally ‘cos many were significantly upgraded to facilitate the construction of this facility. It’s in an area of high rainfall – so high that sometimes they don’t even need to pump water at night to refill the ‘battery’. Sadly, the Wylfa A Magnox nuke has been decommissioned so that local cheap source of electricity no longer exists but there is surplus output from wind sometimes ‘cos it’s also a very windy area. Having the ability to use surplus power from wind when turbines would otherwise have to be turned off on windy days to protect the grid actually makes unreliable wind slightly less inefficient! It’s not that important in this case because although the action of pumping water into a ‘battery’ is not very energy efficient it is cost efficient because the power used to pump it is cheap off-peak at night and the power generated is expensive peak-load and load-balancing output. Dinorwic’s ability to run up from zero to 1.8GW synchronised in around 15 seconds has made the north west of Wales one of the most energy-secure places in the UK, as well as its regular contribution to peak-load requirements through the grid. Now that we are cursed with an increasingly unstable grid due to over-use of unreliable renewables this facility’s ability to deliver significant power in seconds is arguably more important than ever. I would be looking to build more of them rather than rely on assorted chemical batteries with a much higher long-term environmental impact than cheap, boring, renewable rain water.

          The point is that pumped hydro is NOT all bad as the article you quote states. It is about designing and engineering projects which work and which fit into their environment. Dinorwic has been so successful that a similar smaller PS hydro is being planned on the other side of the valley, also using existing redundant holes in the ground left over from disused slate quarrying. Like Dinorwic most of the ‘guts’ can be located in existing tunnels and holes underground. It’s a project that looks to me as if it could be significantly scaled up but planning and green-blob difficulties in the UK sadly make it more sensible to start small.

          https://www.snowdoniapumpedhydro.com/

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    Peter C

    All good Mike except this:

    The reason for using it is that hydro can’t be turned up and down instantly

    I think you meant that hydro can be turned on and off very quickly. I think it is used right now to balance the grid as required. If not you can explain.

    I like option 4 best and option 4 and 3 second, allowing for existing solar and wind capacity until they expire.

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    This is the price we have for having no engineers in Parliament, or engineers like Karen Andrews (Science Minister), with no or little real world experience. She dropped it and went off into industrial relations…

    Us engineers could have told you immediately that this was never going to work and there was no justification, but it appears that such real world and accurate advice is not wanted these days, especially if it endangers the approval of some politically correct ruinables project.

    John Dembecki who is one of those signing was a friend of my fathers and he is the type of person we need. Real engineers who can provide real solutions.

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    MP

    I have been on about since its conception, absolute theft. This is not stupid, this is by design.

    Why not just pump the water through the turbines back to the pump suctions and just pump it around in circles, will make exactly the same amount of power (-30%) Very small foot print relatively minor earth works, very minor storage, minor losses to evaporation, no movement of invasive species, relatively minor losses from our wallets all for 30% less power then we started with and as with Snowy Hydro 1 we will do it with coal.

    I went to a web site after Turncoats announced his first successful heist, renew energy I think there was an actual big discussion on how this idea makes more energy then it consumes, these future leaders believe that perpetual motion has been achieved. Whatever happened to Logic, common sense.

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    Pandumic

    Engineers calling catastrophe a 10 billion dollar waste of time …..but wait the 100 per cent Aussie Government-owned Snowy Hydro Scheme being advised by the 100 per cent foreign-owned Snowy Mountains Engineering Company would seem an excellent entry point for an investigation given The World Bank had imposed sanctions on subsidiaries of Australian engineering company SMEC after corporate misconduct in 2017 involving alleged KICKBACKS

    SMEC started out as the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, formed in 1949 to build the iconic Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme.

    It was bought by Singapore-based Surbana Jurong in 2016 for $400 million.

    Last year a Fairfax Media/ABC 7.30 investigation revealed SMEC was being investigated over alleged bribery scandals in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

    The allegations included claims SMEC staff sought approval to pay KICKBACKS to foreign officials.

    Follow the money you will, unfortunately, find the answer.

    0

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    Tumut Three is the major pumped storage plant in the Snowys.

    It has a Nameplate of 1650MW from its 6 turbine/generators. It is not a generator of power. it is a recycler of power, and it does that at a net power loss. It releases its water/power at peak power times when the cost is high, and it uses coal fired power at its cheapest to pump the water back up the mountain, and this Snowy 2.0 will be doing exactly the same thing as Tumut Three, exactly the same.

    Okay, sunk in yet.

    Tumut Three is the youngest of the seven hydro plants in the Snowy Scheme, and it is ….. FORTY SEVEN years old ….. the youngest.

    Guthega – 65 years old
    Tumut One – 62 years old
    Tumut Two – 59 years old
    Blowering – 53 years old
    Murray One – 53 years old
    Murray Two – 51 years old

    Wind and solar can only dream of longevity like this.

    This is a money making exercise once it is up and running, but you can bet that while fortunes will be made on Snowy 2.0, it will never be economically viable, no matter how long it lasts.

    Tony.

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    Analitik

    Roger Andrews RIP
    Energy Matters has withered without his contributions.

    A wonderful gentleman to all those who ever had contact with him.

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    Robber

    Wasn’t Tasmania going to become the “battery of the nation” with pumped hydro and a new connector?
    “Marinus Link unlocks a pipeline of investment in renewable energy and long-duration energy storage with an estimated value of up to $5.7 billion and 2,350 jobs – which includes Hydro Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation initiative.”

    Marinus Link has progressed into the ‘Design and Approvals’ phase, thanks to $56 million in funding provided by the Australian Government, with an aim to be ‘shovel ready’ by the mid-2020s – an objective supported in the draft 2020 Integrated System Plan prepared by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

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      Graeme#4

      And Bob Brown is criticising the link and associated wind farms in The Weekend Australian today, saying that this project shouldn’t go ahead.

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    robert rosicka

    I’m sure this project could be fixed by throwing more money at it , after all it’s supposed to be green and therefore good for us !

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    • #
      PeterS

      Computer modelling is a lot like psychology. Both are not sciences.

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        Kalm Keith

        Peter,

        that’s a very open and generalised statement.

        Models are what you make of them.
        When done correctly they’re extremely useful.

        Psychology? What exactly do you mean?
        Psychology is a science, but perhaps what you are worried about is the common misrepresentation it suffers from?
        Admittedly some courses can involve the assessment of advertising in terms of pseudo psychology: this is marketing and exists only because of the failure of our education system on a large scale. That should not detract from the reality that Psychology is a science.

        KK

        KK

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          PeterS

          Observational science involves the scientific method whereby an observation can be repeated by experiment to show the same result is achieved without fail. An example, is the temperature at which water boils under certain conditions. People confuse that with historical science, which is the study of the past through the interpretation of available evidence. These can’t be replicated by experiment. An example of this is the formation of our moon. These are the only two groups in science. Psychology doesn’t fit into either of these. Hence, it’s not a science. One could call it a social science but that’s deviating from the normal meaning of science. Psychology does overlap real fields of science, such as biology and neuroscience but by and large psychology is more of a philosophy because there are so many different and often contradictory explanations discussed in the field of psychology, just as there is in philosophy. One only needs to study ancient Greek philosophy to understand that. In fact, psychology has its roots in philosophy.

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    Another Ian

    “Backpedaling on energy is politically inevitable – even Biden will embrace hydrocarbons if in power, there is no other choice”

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/index.php/2020/09/18/backpedaling-on-energy-is-politically-inevitable-even-biden-will-embrace-hydrocarbons-if-in-power-there-is-no-other-choice/

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    • #

      Ian, they can always keep outsourcing industry to the largest cheapest coal fired nation on Earth.

      Unless that industrial supergiant declares war. Then, there might be “no choice”.

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    David Maddison

    The concept of Snowy Hydro 2 has been known for decades, since the scheme was designed, but was never built because it was always known to be not economically viable.

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      Chad

      David Maddison
      September 19, 2020 at 9:25 am ·
      The concept of Snowy Hydro 2 has been known for decades, since the scheme was designed, but was never built because it was always known to be not economically viable

      Certainly it is not a economical or even a sensible project from a purely utilities viewpoint,..
      ….BUT i see it as a possible indicator of some common sense creepinng into the decision makers .
      It suggests that “someone” realises that the Green RE power madness cannot work without a lot of storage, and that Pumped Hydro is currently the only form of storage know to be capeable of providing any realistic amount of storage .
      Yes, i know. This is insufficient ( only 2 GW output, ) and non ideal from many aspects , ( cost, location, Civil build problems, etc) but it is a STATEMENT to make the point that we will need much more than wind and solar.
      In addition, it is a votr winner for a Gov’mt that is considered pro coal.
      One detail no one seems to have mentioned is the “surplus” (additional?) power needed to utilise the facility.
      Even if it is only used to suppliment overnight supply , at 2 GW for 12 hours… in order to do that on a daily basis, it would need that 24 GWh pumped back up during the next day (12 hrs)
      With PH round trip efficiency at 75% and wind/solar CF of say 25% ……that would mean a “nameplate “ supply of 11 GW for 12 hrs just to replace the overnight usage.
      What is the extra cost of providing 11GW np of wind or solar ??..
      …..approx another $10bn. !

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      • #

        I’ve seen credible arguments that the point of Snowy 2.0 — buy low, sell high — means buying coal power and selling during peak times.

        If so, the real point of Snowy 2.0 is to find a way to make cheap coal viable while it runs in a volatile, unreliable grid. That would solve the lack of inertia too. ;- )

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          Joanne, it’s not credible arguments, but actual fact,

          and, as I mentioned above that’s exactly what Tumut Three (pumped storage) has been doing for many years now.

          It’s also an easy thing to check as well. Unwittingly the lefties who set up the OpenNEM website to (ostensibly) show how good their weather dependent power generators are (wind and solar) what they don’t realise is that it’s also a good resource for those among us who know what they are actually seeing when they look at all of this.

          Okay, now go to their website (at this link) and wait for the default image to open, and that’s the seven day 30 minute power generation/consumption image, and luckily that’s the image you need to be looking at, so there’s no need for me to explain how to navigate around the site. If you want, you can change from the 30 minute to the five minute graph, by pressing the button at top left there. (you’ll see it)

          Okay, look now at the actual graph for seven days in front of you. Note at the very bottom of the graph, you see the downward little bumps there in the brown area signifying brown coal.

          Okay now look at the sources table to the right of the graph. Go right to the bottom, and you’ll see second from the bottom, the wording …..”Pumps”.

          DO NOT click on this button, just hover your mouse over it. Now note that the graph goes ‘grey scale, but those little bumps at the bottom change colour to the light blue colour of the Pumps heading.

          Now, those Pumps ARE the pumps for Tumut Three.

          Now look at those bumps again, and correlate that with the time along the top above the graph. (as you now move your mouse across the graph, you’ll see a red vertical line following your mouse. At the top right immediately above the graph, the time where you mouse is, the red line, indicates the time at that point, you’ll see what I mean here)

          Now, note the time on each of those last seven days when the pumps have been in operation. All of them around the mid afternoon, when overall (actual power plant) power generation is at its low point for each day. At that low point, the largest power plant generating source is (hey surprise surprise) coal fired power, and the cost of power for the day (in NSW, where Tumut Three is located) is at its lowest. Now it’s not just that it was fortuitous that this happened in the last seven days, because it is like this ALL THE TIME.

          Luckily, today, right now, is a Saturday, the day of lowest power plant consumption for the week and as you can see, they have fired up ALL of those pumps to take advantage of the lowest cost for the week, every Saturday.

          So, when those greenies scoff at you for ‘making up’ that meme that pumped hydro uses cheap coal fired power to pump the water back up the hill, (and exactly that has happened to me, people laughing at that ‘meme’) there is ACTUAL proof that this is EXACTLY what is happening.

          Tony.

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            RickWill

            So, when those greenies scoff at you for ‘making up’ that meme that pumped hydro uses cheap coal fired power to pump the water back up the hill, (and exactly that has happened to me, people laughing at that ‘meme’) there is ACTUAL proof that this is EXACTLY what is happening.

            I expect you would have great difficulty identifying where the energy came from. In fact, to me it is more salient that the only times the pumped were working was when the rooftops were singing. Rooftops are forcing the negative prices. Good money if you can get paid to pump the water up hill.

            South Australia is already approaching the nightmare where there is ZERO demand. They need every bit of load they can find to avoid instability. Variable load, like pumped storage, will be the only thing ably to keep the grid stable. At this point there is no means of controlling all those rooftops. They just pump out power and it is no longer trivial.

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              Peter C

              Ok,

              They had better build some pumped hydro ASAP.

              Sea water pumping up a nearby hill might be their best solution.

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              • #
                RickWill

                There have been thousands of small scale coastal pumped hydro sites identified but the environmental hurdles make them impossible to fly.
                https://arena.gov.au/assets/2018/10/ANU-STORES-An-Atlas-of-Pumped-Hydro-Energy-Storage-The-Complete-Atlas.pdf

                Note the disclaimer:

                None of the PHES sites discussed in this study have been the subject of geological, hydrological, environmental and other studies, and it is not known whether any particular site would be suitable.
                There has been no investigation of land tenure apart from exclusion of national parks and urban areas, and no discussions with land owners and managers. Nothing in this list of potential site locations implies any rights for development of these locations.
                The commercial feasibility of developing these sites is unknown. As with all major engineering projects, diligent attention to quality assurance would be required for safety and efficacy.

                Essentially wishful thinking!

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              Analitik

              I expect you would have great difficulty identifying where the energy came from.

              That is true now (just as the ACT cannot account for all of their electricity coming from renewable sources) but not when the Tumut 3 was built (completed in 1973). Until renewable deployments became significant, it used off-peak night time generation from the Latrobe Valley brown coal power plants to pump water to “reload” the Talbingo Reservoir for peak periods during the day.

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        MP

        Pumped Hydro and batteries make Zero energy as a matter of fact they are net losses.
        This whole green scam is just fixing problems created by trying to fix a problem that never existed, you can polish it as much as you like but at the end of the day all you got is a big shiny T#rd that smells as bad as before.

        “Certainly it is not a economical or even a sensible project from a purely utilities viewpoint”
        Its not sensible from any logical point of view, but keep polishing and if you harness the energy from the friction you create doing that you would of made more energy then all the batteries and pumped hydro world wide combined.

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    David Maddison

    The original Snowy Hydro Scheme was properly engineered and based on proper economic analysis.

    It does a great disservice to the reputation of the original scheme for this SH2 Green Left Turnbull fantasy to lever off the reputation of that.

    SH2 should be classified in the same category of improperly engineered and non-economically viable schemes like solar and wind subsidy farms.

    The original Snowy Hydro Scheme is properly engineered and has a place of honour among other proper energy producers like coal, gas and nuclear. And it provides irrigation services as well.

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    RickWill

    One of my recent observations is that the NEM often has generators running or not running under directions. This is required to keep the system stable.

    When directions apply, the wholesale price is no longer a reflection of the price being paid. There is a whole lot of intervention involved to arrive at a new price. It occurred to me that the NEM is becoming an unmanageable mess and the team to manage would be growing fast. Each day has endless Market Notices regarding interval price for those intervals not settled at the time of dispatch. All those adjustments take manpower.

    Checking the fee AEMO charges for the cost of their manpower gives:
    2018 $0.44/MWh
    2019 $0.50/MWh
    2020 $0.54/MWh

    They actually required $0.55/MWh for full cost recovery in 2020 but have kept it to a 9% increase rather than 12% to reduce the burden in tough times. AEMO will increase its deficit to accommodate the shortfall this year. Next year could be more than 12% increase.

    The cost is not a huge impost but it gives an indication of the growing mess. And, with a 12% annual increase, it is not long before it becomes significant.

    I did not see anything in the Finkel report about the cost to manage the unfolding mess that the NEM has become.

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    Serge Wright

    When you look at the price tag, which is something near $10B, and remembering that this facility will be a large net consumer of energy, then you wonder how on earth the business case or cost benefit analysis could ever stack up.

    Once up and running, Snowy 2 will be able to deliver 2GW of output at maximum flow for one week starting from a full dam. However, getting water back up the hill is not so easy. Most likely, the uphill refill capacity will be equivalent to 1GW/h or less, meaning it would take over 3 weeks of continuous pumping to refill the dam from empty. To recharge the dam using only RE would be very difficult as you would effectively be limited to daytime periods of up to 8 hours a day where solar plus wind might provide a surplus. Therefore, the recharge time using surplus RE would be more likely to be over 9 weeks and it won’t matter how much more solar is added to the grid, because the maximum uphill pumping rate will limited by the pumps.

    Because of these limitations, Snowy 2 can really only operate effectively if we have sufficient thermal baseload generation to allow it to top up both day and night, otherwise it will be restricted to providing power mainly during the evening peak for around 3 hours per day and it will probably be left at near maximum capacity to act as risk mitigation for unreliable RE periods. In terms of retiring thermal coal or gas generation, it would not really make much difference because of it’s long and restricted recharge time. Possibly 1GW max, but at enormous cost.

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      RickWill

      The pumping capacity has the same electrical rating as the generating capacity; both 2GWe.

      The NEM is facing the serious risk of no lunchtime demand. In 2020, Sunday lunch in South Australia is proving to be a high risk period as demand is getting perilously close to zero. That means it is impossible to control the grid stability. There is very high risk of the system tripping on high voltage or high frequency. By mid November the Sunday lunch problem in SA should reach its worse for 2020 but it will be even worse in 2021. Queensland right now has signs of the same problem emerging. Other states are lagging but the same situation will eventually emerge in NSW and Victoria.

      The 2GW of pumping capacity of Snowy 2 and other storage systems will become essential to providing grid stability as the amount of rooftop solar grows.

      Pandora’s box was opened when the first weather dependent generator was permitted to connect to the grid. It has been downhill ever since and will continue to build momentum.

      By the time Snowy 2 is operational, it could be viewed as the grid’s saviour. The problem is that it will not be operational until the middle of this decade and there could be serious stability issues before then. The feature of batteries is that they have a small footprint and environmental approvals are trivial compared with building dams. We have seen that a battery can be up and running in a matter of months rather tham many years for a dam.

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        Graeme No.3

        RickWill:

        SA runs with a reserve amount of dispatchable generation (by decree of the AEMO) so theoretically this could be reduced a little at the risk of more blackouts. Alternately and much safer would be to continue generating and dispatch the excess to Victoria. This would mean that at times the large scale solar and wind turbines would have to shut down. Boo Hoo!
        The m*r*n currently collecting his pay as Minister in SA has said that renewables make the system prone to collapse, but his “solution” is MORE renewables.

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        • #
          RickWill

          SA is increasingly dependent on Victoria for stability services. At Sunday lunch, Victoria is close to being the only thing keeping SA stable. If the link was out, the SA system could be unstable during Sunday lunch when demand dries up. Locations around SA with high solar would have overvoltage and that becomes a risk for the entire system. Hopefully the inverters would shut down progressively to avoid an unstable condition but that is yet to be tested.

          An emerging problem is that there is growing rooftop solar in Victoria and it now has reduced ability to sink SA Sunday lunch output. I expect November this year to provide some interesting perspective on the future. Forecast minimum demand in SA for tomorrow is 293MW. Rooftop solar will peak at around 750MW. If it stays cool then the minimum demand could be under 200MW during November when the sun is further south.

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            Graeme No.3

            RickWill:

            Good news? Heavy black clouds over Adelaide from 4 p.m. If only they stay we will be OK (until next Sunday).
            Solar panel inverters are supposed to cut out at 255V but this seems to vary. Perhaps some work on German 255V and others on Chinese Volts?
            I expect rolling blackouts esp. in areas with lots of roof top solar (i.e. Greenie rich areas).

            The answer by politicians will be to blame the lack of interconnectors and want to spend $1.5 billion to get one to NSW. What happens if Gladys’s dream then comes true and lots of new renewables are installed near Dubbo? Where will the excess be dumped?
            How does Tennyson go?
            Morons to the right of them,
            Morons to the left,
            Into the Valley of Darkness plunged the gullible…..

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              RickWill

              What happens if Gladys’s dream then comes true and lots of new renewables are installed near Dubbo? Where will the excess be dumped?

              Grid scale solar are not the issue. They can be easily curtailed when the price goes negative. It is the current generation of rooftop solar that does not permit central control. The only way they get limited is by over voltage shutdown. The latest ones have progressive power reduction but the old one are on or off. Anything that goes off and on in short sequence could cause instability.

              I think South Australia will be very close to limiting further connections until the ability to control them centrally is sorted. There are some places in WA that have restricted solar connections for years now so that is not new.

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                Graeme#4

                The solar inverter design Standard was updated, so the new solar inverters, which I’m using, are better and I believe don’t export when the grid volts are high. Don’t know if the inverter can be controlled remotely, but I’m guessing that it’s possible because the European supplier or myself can remotely monitor its performance.

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              • #
                Analitik

                export when the grid volts are high

                This has been a basic requirement of grid connected inverters for as long as I can recall. Not behaving like this would be dangerous not only to the household with the inverter but also to all other households connected to that local phase.

                Which leads to a fairly simple solution for stabilising a grid with too much residential PV – raise the line voltage to be just under the threshold for inverter shut off so that output from these systems is limited to a safe proportion of the total demand. Unfortunately, this pragmatic solution is not legal but there are signs that it is being performed, leading to complaints from some households for not receiving their expected export credits.
                https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/grid-voltage-rise-solar/

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    Ronald Bruce

    An exercise in how to waste billions of $ on the green warmist scam. Dump Snowy 2.0 dump all green warmist subsidies build new coal power stations just like China is doing and build at least 2 nuclear power stations so we can get the expertise in nuclear with a plan to dump the overpriced dinky toy submarines and buy 4 Virginia class nuclear subs saving billions and we will have them before the first dinky toy will be delivered.

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      Graeme No.3

      Ronald:

      Surely you jest? Do you expect
      politicians to stop wasting money?
      politicians to think clearly?
      politicians to plan for the future?

      As for nuclear power stations I suggest some delay** while we select the best option. The Canadian CANDU is already in use in a number of countries but is a little more expensive to run than the ones that can supply materials for nuclear bombs. Russia has recently committed to a larger (170MW) homogeneous reactor for a remote area (not that there is any danger of explosion as has been known for this type in 60+years of operation). Then there are the various thorium types, modular reactors etc. In any case they have troubles adjusting to variations in demand. It can be done as the French have shown but usually nuclear stations run continuously and other sources have to adjust. It would be unfortunate if the wind started blowing and the windfarms were told that we didn’t need them.

      Up-grading our existing coal fired stations would reduce our CO2 emissions by about 0.09% of world emissions, but would have the benefit of more reliability and less coal use.

      ** but then I don’t believe the nonsense about rising CO2 bringing catastrophe).

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      el gordo

      Nuclear power plants are too expensive to build and we don’t need that much power. Same goes for the nuke subs, dinky toys are expensive but that is par for the course.

      Better not to attract undue hostile attention from our biggest trading partner.

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    David Maddison

    For those interested I wrote an article on pumped hydroelectric storage in the January 2017 Silicon Chip magazine.

    http://www.siliconchip.com.au/Issue/2017/January/Pumped+Storage+Hydroelectricity?res=nonflash

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      Peter C

      Thanks David,

      I liked your suggestion that “renewable” sources should be used exclusively to pump the water uphill and only the hydro output turbines be connected to the grid.

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        Analitik

        For that, you need a pumping station (ideally with capacity equal to the nameplate capacity of the renewables) separate to the generating station. That was done on El Hierro for the Gorona del Viento power plant at astronomical cost.

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      Peter C

      Also you have partly answered my question about how much subsidy the King Island Integrated Renewable Energy Project (KIRIEP) needs to run.

      I asked Tasmania Hydro that a few years ago but never got a reply.

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    David Maddison

    If we must have a big battery it may as well be pumped hydro.

    The Hornsdale Power Reserve cost 161 million for 193.5 MWh. $832,000 per MWh.

    SH2 is costing $10 billion for 350,000 MWh. $28,500 per MWh.

    Hydro is about 29 times cheaper than lithium big batteries (it says 60 times cheaper on the SH2 web site.)

    Plus, if SH2 is built to normal hydroelectric engineering standards and not “renewables” standards it will probably last a hundred years and be available for future generations to laugh at Turnbull’s and the rest of the Left’s folly.

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    David Maddison

    SH2 is yet another example why politicians shouldn’t be allowed to make engineering decisions.

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    David Maddison

    As Australia sinks further into dictatorship and self-imposed economic ruin due to complete wastes of money like SH2, consider the factors outlined in this article.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Societal_collapse

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    TomR

    Strongly disagree about the negativity of “wasting 20-30%” concept. The economic idea behind all forms of storage is:
    1) Store some energy at the time it’s cheap to acquire energy, off peak, like at night.
    2) Release said energy at the peak times, when the price skyrockets.
    Treated as such – an offloader for peak hours – energy storage – including both hydro and batteries – is a great thing overall.

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      Rowjay

      Snowy Hydro 2 (SH2) is there to take the belly out of the “duck curve” created by future excess solar during the day when the wind blows as well – not necessarily an off-peak user. More weather-dependent generation in a reducing base-load system = grid instability. TonyfromOz has shown us the wild output swings from the weather-dependent generators of mass grid destruction (WGMD’s) that have to be neutralised in some fashion.
      :
      I blame the engineers that have designed coal-fired power stations that have lasted so long for this mess – just like my 13 year old diesel peugeot approaching 400,000 kms and still going strong with an 800-1,000 km range before a 10 min recharge? (/sarc).

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      Graeme#4

      It would be great if this was done for the benefit of the tax paying consumer, but unfortunately they are being asked to pay for these systems while the profits earned only go to the operating company. So it doesn’t result in lower energy costs.

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    Peter

    as the existing 1800 megawatt Tumut 3 pumped hydro station can provide most of the forecast output from both stations until then.“

    Tumut 3 has 6 x 309MW generators but only 3 of them can pump water back uphill so someone didn’t do their research and it rarely gets used as a pumped hydro station.

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      Analitik

      It was designed that way on purpose – the overnight reloading of the Talbingo Reservoir could easily be done with the 3 turbines that can pump while the peak periods that the station was built to help assist do not last long enough to drain Talbingo if it was refilled from overnight pumping.

      It was not designed to cater for the wild and unpredictable variations from renewable generators so it should not be judged in that light.

      And what leads you to say that it rarely gets used as a pumped hydro station?

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    Peter

    [Duplicate]AD

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    Environment Skeptic

    Personally, i like Skeleton technology.

    Especially because carbon is awesome.Just cannot get enough carbon in view of instant high amperage spikes….carbon storage of electricity still fascinates me.

    https://www.skeletontech.com/skelcap-sca-ultracapacitor-cells

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    dp

    Pumped storage is a net consumer of electricity and as such competes with consumers for energy. It translates, by time shifting, energy for which there is little market (overnight) into energy for which there is a big market (peak load). It serves no other purpose than to prop up profits.

    Another way to look at it – if it were hydro it would be equivalent to useing night time generated energy to pump water back up behind the dam.

    If you think of it as a green Ponzi it begins to show its real colors.

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      Chad

      dp
      September 20, 2020 at 12:51 am · Reply
      Pumped storage is a net consumer of electricity and as such competes with consumers for energy. It translates, by time shifting, energy for which there is little market (overnight) into energy for which there is a big market (peak load). It serves no other purpose than to prop up profits.

      You are ignoring the technical and operational benefits of PH. …
      …such as conserving energy which would otherwise be wasted, and enabling generators to operate in a more efficient mode…even without wind or solar.
      At the very least, they prevent unnesessary waste of energy resources..
      Currently, it is the ONLY technology that can do this on a significant utility scale

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        dp

        I’m at a loss for words. This technology wastes 25% minimum every day. It does not conserve energy. There is no waste energy to conserve unless they are dumping generated energy into the earth. No energy is created by the utilities that isn’t immediately consumed so there is no wassted energy to reclaim. It is impossible to improve energy efficiency with a process that is a net consumer of energy. It is less efficient than battery storage which is another net consumer of energy.

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          Chad

          You need to brush up on generator efficiency, and why its not very efficient to ramp down coal or gas plants, let alone a nuclear unit !
          Even wind and solar are being “curtailed” to prevent over supply.
          All of these situations are costly , and add to the price we consumers pay.
          And the response time either way is poor compared to hydro.
          Further , yes generators do waste /“spill” power, typically by “exporting” unwanted power…often at negative prices…to close by states or countries.
          Sure , batteries are more efficient, and have super fast response, ..but they are no use at all for utility scale storage of any significant capacity..
          Try a cost estimation for a 350 GWh battery !

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            dp

            But you don’t mind that non-dispatchable solar stops working every day for several hours or that wind power is at the whim of nature? There are long established solutions for load variability.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Load_following_power_plant

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              Chad

              We all agree that wind and solar are a joke,..intermittent, unpredictable, unreliable, low CF,..etc… they are not the point here.
              If you read that link you posted, it defined “Load Following “ power plants as being less efficient than Base load.. Less efficient means wasted energy, leading to higher cost generation.
              so if you can keep a Base load generator ( Coal, Nuclear).. running at optimum efficiency (designed output), feed any surplus power to a “storage” medium until it can be used (peak demand) then you can minimise wasteage and costs of generation..
              Sure, PH is not as efficient as Batteries, but as i said before , batteries are simply not a realistic option for Utility scale storage.
              PH may not be ideal or perfect, but it is the best option we have for “load balancing” ..which is why it is universally used throughout the world for power storage.

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                dp

                It would help your case tremendously if you could identify for us what exactly is consuming this wasted energy you are recovering at great cost savings and how an energy drain can contribute to load balancing.

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                Chad

                ……. what exactly is consuming this wasted energy you are recovering

                Efficiency loss …..caused by “load Following” of conventional high output , generators.
                You cannot run a 2 GW generator at 40% capacity without wasting energy and increasing power costs

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          dp

          Uncreated energy is not waste. Waste energy is energy consumed by a parasitic process such as a tree across the power lines, or excess energy that is dumped into waste loads in the ground. That can only happen if you can’t control your generation processes (load following). There is no free energy.

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    STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    An analogy for pumped hydro: paying for lift tickets to cart you up the hill just so you can ski back down the hill.

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    Russ Wood

    Comment to 1.1.1
    The South African ANC government is already talking about ‘accessing’ the funds ‘locked up’ in private pension funds (you call that ‘superannuation’ in Aus). The idea is that these Socialists will make a law that a certain percentage of the pension investments MUST be directed to ‘participation in projects of public interest’. I.e. All those government-owned enterprises that are currently in deep dwang, such as the single electricity provider, passenger rail, SA Airline, Post office, etc. None of these are running at a profit, and continually require HUGE amounts of taxpayer funds to keep them out of the holes they are in. Let’s hope that “the lucky country” will learn from this ongoing disaster!

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    tygrus

    Things to consider:

    Don’t confuse the spot price with the cost to generate. Some will take a temporary loss and this reduces what they were paid during peak demand. These are both extremes of the market. Less stability will cause greater price volatility. Track averages.

    Current batteries + inverters are cheaper per MW capacity compared to pumped hydro (peak power, not like kWh).

    But, pumped hydro is cheaper per kWh to keep running for many hours or a week of lower wind+solar. Batteries of the order of 6 to 15x cost compared to Snowy2.0.

    Battery+inverter about 11 to 14% for round trip losses (depends on energy source & location). Still need grid upgrades to boost interstate interconnections and across state. Most likely placed near existing intermittent generation.

    You might build 15GW wind turbines (>3000 of them to build) to get 4.5GW @ 30% average. Then add 4GW, 8hrs= 32GWh batteries+inverter. About $20B for turbines and $7B for storage (another $10B if you wanted 24hrs @ 4GW). If the load is lower, it lasts longer. But if they don’t use the full capacity of batteries each day, they become very expensive to sit idle. Recharge when getting low price, sell when demand>generation.

    The point is you need to force weather-dependant generators (non-scheduled, unreliables) to pay for a reliable backup to guarantee a more reliable supply (their own or contract with someone else’s eg. Snowy2.0). A condition for connecting with grid.

    Then work out total cost, finance costs, yearly management, yearly maintenance, cost of charge/discharge losses, value or cost of disposal at EOL…
    What’s the real cost of $/kWh to users during it’s life?

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      Chad

      tygrus
      September 21, 2020 at 12:37 am ·

      You might build 15GW wind turbines (>3000 of them to build) to get 4.5GW @ 30% average. Then add 4GW, 8hrs= 32GWh batteries+inverter. About $20B for turbines and $7B for storage (another $10B if you wanted 24hrs @ 4GW). If the load is lower, it lasts longer. But if they don’t use the full capacity of batteries each day, they become very expensive to sit idle. Recharge when getting low price, sell when demand>generation.

      Exactly, and if you scale that up to the Snowy 2 capacity of 350+ GWh , the cost of batteries makes your eyes water. ( note, Hornsdale battery cost $1.2m per MWh !)
      …and , of course there are not enough batteries in the world to do that currently.
      And fully agree with your other points.

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        Chad

        Just to be clear, ..
        .. i agree that Snowy 2 is a poor choice in terms of optimising PH costs and efficiency ( long tunnel system is bad) and was mostly a “political” project to passify critics , and calm the Greenies a bit.
        But from a Grid operational and supply viewpoint , it is a better choice for storage than any other option

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    Pól McRurai

    You have quoted a lot of figures and statistics but have no supporting evidence for the accuracy of that information which it would appear is second hand, third hand or worse.
    I hope you live long enough to see your grandchildren and great grandchildren suffer the consequences of your “clean” coal and anti environmental rhetoric. Only time will tell that environmental consideration and responsibility create the pollution free future we deserve and history will list stories like yours along side the positive health benefits of cigarette smoking.

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    • #

      Nice to hear from you Pol,

      you might want to check on the second-hand information used to predict global apocalypses. We skeptics like first hand raw data. People panicking about the weather prefer adjusted, homogenised, filtered fourth hand data.

      History already shows that the richest nations with the cheapest electricity have the cleanest air, and spend the most protecting the environment.

      But big bankers and conglomerate corporations thank you for supporting their profits.

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      Kalm Keith

      Sad, obviously a follower with no real education on which to base that belief.

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      MP

      Well you won me, time to change sides.
      I especially like how you broke down the argument by throwing children at it, good use for the little terrors.

      “Positive health benefits of cigarette smoking”. You don’t get the Rona, that’s got to be a positive.

      And they call me a conspiracy theorist.

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    DonS

    Hi Jo

    Only $10 billion? From what I recall the Snowy corp, told Turnbull it was only going to cost $2 billion which he gladly gave. Then they spent $6 billion buying the rights from NSW and Victoria. Then during the Eden-Monaro by election a few months ago Morrison promised another $5 billion to expand the thing. That’s $13 billion gone already without the cost blow outs and support infrastructure that will be needed. This thing will cost well over $20 billion in the end, mark my words.

    You know I think they will end up using coal fired electricity to pump water up the hill during the day. The crack pot power generators will supply the grid during the day but instead of putting real power generators in hibernation they will use their electricity to pump the water up. In this way when the renewables output suddenly drops off due to clouds or whatever they will be able to almost instantly save the grid by switching over to reliable base load. Better to have your real generators running at high capacity when you need them rather than risk the time delay to ramp up from just ticking over. Sounds crazy but that’s the way it will end up working otherwise you will see widespread blackouts every time the renewables falter, as they regularly do.

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    Jan Smelik

    ”Let’s destroy the environment to save it”. I made a video about just that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fcUt5_sN6A.

    Enjoy!

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