JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Rolling blackouts ordered in SA in 40C heat

South Australia, with 40% renewables, is lucky this has been a mild summer.*

Welcome to your load-shedding future:

Rolling blackouts ordered in Adelaide as city swelters

Widespread power blackouts were imposed across Adelaide and parts of South Australia with heatwave conditions forcing authorities to impose load shedding.

About 40,000 properties were without electricity supplies for about 30 minutes because of what SA Power Networks said was a direction by the Australian Energy Market Regulator.  — The Australian

Premier Jay Weatherill blamed the AEMO for not ordering a gas power station to come online.

Electricity prices spiked to $13,440 MWh. Total demand was about 3,000MW. Things are expected to be the same tomorrow.

At 6pm tonight wind power was producing less than 100MW (about 7% of its rated capacity):

Look at the price spike and the forecast for tomorrow:

AEMO, Electricity Prices, Feb 8, 2016

Perhaps with better planning and more money they can reduce the need for planned blackouts — but why bother?I guess they’ll have those gas powered stations running tomorrow.

It has been smack on average at Adelaide Airport at 28.1C for January 2017.

*The Wind power graph was supplied in WA time, so [...]

Big win: Turnbull wasted billions, but now backs super critical coal, copies skeptics 5 years later

Back in 2011 Anton Lang, Tony Cox, and I wrote here about why Australia would be better off with super critical hot coal generators (which China already uses, and which even Indonesia will get before us). Not only do we get cheap reliable power, but it would be a better way to reduce our emissions (if we want to pretend to change the weather).

Now, finally, in 2017 Malcolm Turnbull is saying the same thing as the skeptics he mocked years ago. This is how the “climate meme” dies, one unacknowledged step at a time. Gradually all the skeptical positions get picked up, years later and after burning billions at the altar of “climate control”. This is a big win for skeptics, but don’t expect Turnbull or the ABC to be honest enough to say so. This marks a major turning point in the discussion about coal in Australia which has mostly never got past the “coal is dying” and the “stranded assets” inanity which implied that coal has no future and our massive coal reserves were useless instead of being our major export industry.

Last week Tony Abbott, former PM, called for stop to subsidies for wind power – [...]

China has giant unused wind farms — thousands of spinning white elephants

Wind farm in Xinjiang viewed from the Lanxin railway. | Image by “Train to Xinjiang Provnice” (sic)

The command economy strikes again. China is touted as the renewables leader, installing a gobsmacking one third of all the worlds wind towers. But with a recent economic slowdown, when push comes to shove, coal power is used and wind farms are not.

It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle.

[NY Times] — More than 92,000 wind turbines have been built across the country, capable of generating 145 gigawatts of electricity, nearly double the capacity of wind farms in the United States. One out of every three turbines in the world is now in China, and the government is adding them at a rate of more than one per hour.

But some of its most ambitious wind projects are underused. Many are grappling with a nationwide economic slowdown that has dampened demand for electricity. Others are stymied by persistent favoritism toward the coal industry by local officials and a dearth of transmission lines to carry electricity from rural areas in the north and west to China’s fastest-growing cities.

[...]

Wind turbine manufacturer admits liability for noise damage. If word gets out…

These are Enercon wind turbines in Germany, Lower Saxony. Image: Philip May

This could be a watershed — if word gets out that turbine manufacturers will not even contest claims of noise damage, there could be many more claims around the world. There are rumors these cases are often settled out of court with confidentiality agreements, but who would know?

In an update to the Irish court case we discussed last month, the latest news confirms that the wind turbine manufacturer has admitted liability without contesting it. The court will be deciding damages in April. As I deduced at the time, the wind industry was using desperate wordsmithing to minimize attention on the story. The news item related to it even disappeared from the Irish Examiner.  The turbine industry must be hoping no one notices this story.

Stop These Things has an update:

Wind company admits nuisance damage to neighbours Irish Farmers Journal Paul Mooney 5 January 2017

High Court to determine compensation for seven families in April hearing.

[...]

If only “free energy” was free. UK Govt spending £319bn on quest to change future weather

(More at the Daily Mail)

UPDATE: Full GWPF report (PDF) A bargain at half the price

The geniuses in the UK government decided to take £10,800 from every UK household to cool the world by a figure which, rounded to the nearest tenth of a degree, is 0.0 degrees C a century from now.

The Daily Mail:

Hot air: Bombshell report shows green levies backed by government will cost the economy £319bn by 2030 The radical shift to green, renewable energy will have cost £319bn by 2030 The huge sum is three times the annual NHS budget for England The policy will be adding an average burden of £584 a year to every household by 2020 and £875 by 2030 Shocking report takes its calculations from official figures issued by government

The real cost to poorer families paying vastly higher electricity bills might be measured in terms of people choosing second best health options, putting off treatments, foregone holidays, going cold, and for some on the brink, perhaps divorce or worse. (It’s hard to imagine how forcing people to do £10k of pointless work will improve mental health stats).  If the UK government came knocking at doors asking for [...]

Parts of South Australia blackout again: BHP Chief warns of jobs and investment cuts

 Just another day with a grid on the edge

Adelaide and surrounds

It was only 200,000 “customers”, only for an hour or so in the middle of the night. But yet again the Great Green Experiment that is SA ran out of electricity. Olympic Dam (the largest uranium deposit in the world and fourth largest copper deposit) was not operating properly for four hours. A fault at the Victorian interconnector meant 220MW of load had to “shed” — a fancy term for throwing the switch so the whole system didn’t break. SA was “islanded” — cut off from the rest of the national grid for about 3 hours, and clearly it can’t make it on its own. Total power lost was about a fifth of the SA grid.

Remember, this has absolutely, definitely nothing to do with the last blackout or renewables says the SA Energy Minister:

Mr Koutsantonis said there was no way renewable energy generation in SA could be blamed for the loss of power.

Andrew Dillon from AusNet said the overnight outage had no link to factors that caused a recent state-wide blackout in SA, and this time was hindered by the timing [...]

Victoria paying big to drive at breakneck speed to repeat South Australia’s blackout

Victoria is driving down Blackout Drive. They have reports from South Australia up ahead, they know where the road goes, but the state is paying for the first class ticket on a trip to RiskyGrid.

Victoria has 5.7 million people, over three times bigger than South Australia. Right now SA relies on the Victorian grid stability to keep running, and gets up to 800MW of reliable electrons from the state-next-door. But Victoria wants to add more wind power — theoretically the equivalent of a big coal fired plant (like Hazelwood).

Tom Quirk and Paul Miskelly looked closely at the numbers and patterns and see the writing on the wall. To help expensive, unreliable, intermittent green energy survive the government subsidizes it by around 9c per KWhr (bear in mind the wholesale rate for coal fired power is 3 – 4c per kWhr.) The government also demands retailers have a 12.5% mix of renewables, and that they accept most electrons from wind power whenever and wherever it is available. This strange anti-free market rule is called “nondispatchable” power, meaning the system can’t just throw it away if there is any demand at all. Whereas coal [...]

How much wind power can a grid handle?

Could Australia end up with synchronous failure across states?

When wind power is maxing out it’s bad for grid stability — it pushes out the reliable spinning inertia — the massive rolling turbines that relentlessly pull the grid back to 50Hz. Here’s a graph of SA and Victoria wind farms last month, and you can see that for all the thousand kilometers that might separate them, they are controlled by much larger common weather patterns.

Wind power in South Australia and Victoria often both max out or crash together.

Tom Quirk looks out our national grid in light of the SA blackout debacle. The message from South Australia is that wind power does not make for nice stable and synchronous grids. As I mentioned before the whole idea of alternating current (or AC electricity) is about the exact push pull of electrons at a set frequency. The grid lives and dies by its frequency. We can’t add a 53Hz current to a 47Hz one and get a 50 Hz average. When different frequencies meet we get interference patterns –  a mess of spikes and dips.  Say hello to Lumpy Electricity. Say goodbye to your computer.

Indeed when the frequency [...]

German environmentalists say renewables are destroying their landscapes, killing nature, wasting money

 

….

Pierre Gosselin reports that environmental experts, professors, and some green leaders in Germany are fed up at the deforestation, the fraud and the futility. They are protesting at the waste of money in the name of ecology as trees and birds get destroyed, electricity prices skyrocket, but nothing gets achieved for the climate. One has put together a book titled: “Sacrificed Landscapes – How the Energiewende Is Destroying our Landscapes.”

They might mistakenly think there is a man-made crisis in the climate but they are honest players, and they realize that real environmental causes are being used as a guise for a planned economy and self serving corruption:

Now that Germany’s Energiewende has been in full swing for a number of years, many leading environmentalists are in a state of shock as huge areas of the country are being deforested and landscapes disfigured to make way for hundreds of wind turbines.

Environmentalist Georg Etscheit is a regular contributor at Germany’s leading climate alarmism site, Klimaretter, and he as well, has had enough. Etscheit will be releasing a book in early November.

Wind farms dominate the landscape in Germany. From the promotional video.

The book contains [...]

The South Australian black out — A grid on the edge. There were warnings that renewables made it vulnerable

Australians are going to be talking about this for weeks. Indeed, the SA Blackout is the stuff of legend.

The Greens are blaming coal (what else?) for causing bad storms and blackouts. Forget that Queensland gets hit with cyclones all the time and the whole state grid doesn’t break. Some greenies are also raging against “the politicization” of the storms. Yes, Indeedy. Go tell that to Will Steffen.

We are not being told the whole story. We do know that South Australia has the highest emphasis on renewables in the world. It also has a fragile electricity network, and wild price spikes to boot. (Coincidence?) The death of a few transmission towers should not knock out a whole state, nor should it take so long to recover from. The storm struck worst north of Adelaide near Port Augusta but the juicy interconnector from Victoria runs in from the south, and goes right up past Adelaide and most of the population. Why couldn’t the broken parts of the system be isolated?

Digging around I find ominous warnings that while the lightning and winds probably caused the blackout, the state of the South Australian grid appeared to be teetering on the brink, [...]