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South Australia generating electricity from rubbish and diesel powered jets, if they could only burn government regulations instead

A little update on our favourite green state.

SA tries to fix a Big-Government mess with a Bigger Government:

Man-made regulations created the grid-crisis in South Australia, so the Weatherill government has decided to take what didn’t work and “do more”.

Australian rulers subsidized unstable energy, and lo, created an unstable system.  The SA state govt thinks it can solve it by running an opposing scheme simultaneously. The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme meets the Energy Security Target (EST). Don’t laugh. The Electricity Price Target (EPT) is probably next. This is magic wish-fairy governance where the guy in charge doesn’t take the effort to understand the cause of a problem and unwind it, he just waves a wand and issues a decree.  Perhaps Weathrill thinks the hamstrung-market can squeeze some stable electrons out the ether, but cheap stability only came from coal in SA. His kind of stability-on-command comes out of wallets instead.

The fairy plan looks so bad even the wonder-hero, Elon Musk, is getting nervous that electricity bills will stay painfully high (making his battery power solution not look so attractive to the rest of the world). SA is going to be held up as the global text book example of how not to run a state. It’s the impossible bind for Tesla — the only politicians crazy enough to buy their biggest battery are too crazy to run an efficient, productive polity:

Battery giant Tesla has joined power generators, retailers, major energy users and experts in voicing concerns about a central component of the South Australian Government’s $550 million energy plan.

The SA scheme operates in a similar way to the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET). But instead of incentivising new renewable projects, it would require retailers to source 36 per cent of the state’s electricity needs from gas generators and other synchronous power sources.

Join the dots: There are no other serious synchronous sources in SA outside coal, nukes or gas. Coal and Nukes are forbidden on religious grounds, but gas prices are at record highs. So the SA govt chooses gas, gas and more gas, plus some diesel in the interim.

Everyone –Elon Musk, industry, the AEMO, even, fergoodnesssake the owners of the gas power plants themselves, can all see what’s coming — pocket-busting power bills.

Fellow power retailer Alinta said while it supported the Government’s pursuit, it was not convinced and thought it “would lead to inefficient pricing outcomes [at least in the short term], sub-optimal dispatch outcomes, increased uncertainty and deter new investment in generation in the South Australian market”.

Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) chief executive Andrew Richards echoed those concerns by writing “we believe it will add significant cost to the annual electricity bills of South Australian energy users without necessarily altering the nature or structure of the local market to provide greater system security”.

The EST is a second-degree fixit to solve a side effect of the first-degree fixit. The solution is to stop trying to change the global weather with our electricity grid. Until the RET is axed, and every other clean-green-scheme — every fixit will need another fixit, and so on forever.

SA to emulate Soviet Union

As it is, the SA solution is to get the government not just to pick the winners, but to own them. (Let’s face it, private industry won’t be building two “spare” gas generators to sit around, and do nothing most of the time, just wait there, burning capital, to rescue the state at peak moments. Governments are the only organizations that are inefficient and stupid enough to do this.) The state is becoming a money-hole, where capital goes to die. Only West Australian GST dollars plug the drain.

Do I hear diesel jet engines?

On August 1, the SA Govt announced an updated “plan” which includes something that sounds like giant jet engines running on diesel:

They will operate on diesel fuel over the next two summers before being relocated to a new site to become a power plant and be switched to gas, the Government said.

The Government has bought nine new General Electric aero-derivative turbines through US company APR Energy.

In his $550 million energy plan announced in March, Premier Jay Weatherill had proposed the installation of temporary generators before a new Government-owned generator could be built.

Together, the turbines will be capable of quickly producing up to 276 MW of energy, more than the 250 MW originally outlined in the government’s plan. The state-owned generators will be tested monthly and only used when required to prevent an electricity supply shortfall.

Those blackouts, which occur when the total demand for electricity exceeds supply, occurred three times last summer.

The power plant will have a lifespan of 25 years.

The Australian helpfully pointed out that other states use GE turbines like this to cope with summer demand — namely Indonesia, Algeria, Greece and Egypt. Add SA to that list of economic powerhouses.

Fast-starting turbines running on diesel will temporarily back up South Australia’s intermittent power supply for the next two summers..

The GE TM2500 turbines, a derivative of the jet engines used by Boeing and Airbus, will be purchased from APR Energy.

Mobile plants have been used to provide peak summer demand in Indonesia, Algeria, Egypt and Greece. They will initially be installed at two sites — the Adelaide Desalin­ation Plant at Lonsdale in Adelaide’s south and the Holden factory at Elizabeth to the north.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the generators “are the type of generators every modern city in the world is putting in”.

“Every modern city” in this case means Lombok, M’Fila, Rhodes, Camama and Cazenga. Yeah.

South Australia, leading the world in solar-rubbish-power

Things are getting pretty desperate. The new plan is to put the solar panels right over the landfill (sorting out the end-of-life arrangements right there with pre-disposed panels?)

“The solar farm is designed to integrate with the landfill gas ­renewable energy facility situated at the Uleybury Landfill and supplement its output, therefore combining base-load and solar PV technologies that will produce renewable energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Mr Faulkner said.

“The collective electricity generated from both energy sources will be over 11,000MW hours per annum, which is enough to power more than 1800 homes.

So 1,800 homes will get stable rubbish-power, and the other 727,000 homes, not so much.

My sympathies to all the South Australians who didn’t vote for this.


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