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In a fluke moment SA and Vic have got cheap electricity (but only thanks to Black coal, and a screwed market)

Map Australia, National Energy Market. NEM.

Yesterdays free advertisement for the Renewables Industry comes from Peter Martin, ANU, and was swallowed whole by The Conversation, and then repeated by The ABC. (If only the ABC had three million dollars a day to spend on checking things before it published them, they might have warned the economist that he doesn’t understand much about the grid or even the energy market.)
This kind of anti-coal PsyOps might work on teenagers:

Yallourn, in the Latrobe Valley, provides up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s power. It has been operating for 47 years. Since late 2017 at least one of its four units has broken down 50 times. Its workforce doubles for three to four months most years to deal with the breakdowns. It pumps out 3 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions.

And here’s Macarthur Wind Power plant, Victoria’s largest at 420-never-attained-MW. It breaks down nearly every single day:
Macarthur Wind farm, Graph, March, 2021. Generation.

Fig 1: Anero.id Macarthur Wind output 

Martin goes on in a non-stop infomercial for wind and solar

He must be aiming for 12 year old voters, or perhaps dogs and cats, with genius comments like this:
 Nationwide, wind and solar including rooftop solar supplies 20% of our needs. It turns on and off at will.
Even 12 year olds know he can’t turn on the sun and wind. Though the AEMO appear to be happy about this level of national debate, as do The Conversation and the ABC editors. Perhaps it’s worth asking if they even read what they publish?
As for his understanding of maintenance: coal plants can be continuously refurbished. If one turbine at Yallorn isn’t being maintained properly perhaps that’s got something to do with the forced transition to random generators which strips profits from reliable power? Maybe ramping up and down this generational infrastructure “with the wind” costs more to maintain?
The bottom line:After closing two coal plants then spending four years installing renewables at world record levels, for one whole quarter, South Australian retailers have finally paid lower wholesale rates than QLD and NSW. Proving that if you take a jagged line and draw a line to a cherry picked point you can find any kind of trend you want.
Coal-fired plants close, then prices fall
Before Northern closed, South Australia had Australia’s highest price. Five years after the closure of Northern in 2016, and four years after the closure of Hazelwood in 2017, South Australia and Victorian have wholesale prices one-third lower than those in NSW and two-fifths lower than those in Queensland.
Something happened after the closure (largely as a result of the closure) that forced prices down. South Australia became a renewables powerhouse.
“Something happened”? Something indeed. Wholesale rates fell from a crisis peak, while retail prices and other costs rose (like storage, stability, and emergency control). What matters is the total cost and South Australians on average, pay 33 cents per kilowatt hour, nearly 60 percent more than people in Queensland. The closure of coal plants doesn’t cause a renewables boom, only Big Government junk subsidies can do that for junk generators.

And the closure of coal plants doesn’t cause prices to fall either. More coal means cheaper electricity.

Retail cost of electricity in Australia. SA, Vic, NSW, and Qld. Graph.

Fig 2. SA consumer still pay more.

None of our grid now is as cheap as it was for years before renewables were added to the system
Peter Martin has cherry picked with a surgical scalpel. The last quarter, where South Australia was finally cheaper (on wholesale rates) than NSW and Qld, was the first time this has happened in eight years.  For the last four years during the rapid rise of renewables, the cheapest electricity comes from the black coal state of Queensland.
NEM National Prices, electricity, coal, renewables. Graph. Wholesale prices.

Fig 3: All those renewables, and yet prices are still not as low as what they were when we didn’t have them.

South Australia might be a renewables superstar but guess where their cheapest reliable power comes from …  black coal

The only thing cheaper than black coal is brown coal. Most of the hours of the day the price in South Australia is not being set by solar or wind power.

SA system costs keep rising

Another record!  South Australia had to spend $15 million last quarter on “system security directions”. The AEMO were very busy ordering the Gas Powered generators (GPG) to stay on.

In 2020, total costs for directing South Australian generators for system strength was $49 million (or
$4/MWh), $23 million higher than 2019. During the quarter, AEMO continued to issue directions to GPGs in
South Australia and initiated directing hydro generators in Tasmania to maintain system security.
In contrast to falling wholesale electricity prices in South Australia, out-of-market costs in the region have been rising. This quarter, South Australian generators’ time on directions reached a record quarterly high of
64%, surpassing the previous record set in Q2 2018 (45%). This resulted in South Australian system strength
direction costs reaching near record quarterly levels of $15.6 million (Figure 40).

AEMO quarterly report. 2020.

Fig 5: The AEMO has to manage the system, and the costs of keeping back up on standby are rising.

 

NSW prices spiked because 3,000 MW of coal power was out of action (mostly planned maintenance)

The spike in NSW electricity prices that Martin builds his case on, was minor and temporary. According to the AEMO Quarterly report, the wholesale costs went up in NSW last quarter because it was the quietest quarter of the year, and plant managers decided to catch up on maintenance (see figure 6). Up to 3,000 MW of  its black coal generators were offline. Thus, it follows, if they had more coal they would have been even cheaper than SA and Vic. Doesn’t fit the narrative…
It also follows that the AEMO knows Peter Martin is wrong. When will they speak up and serve the public that pay them?
Why is that left to unpaid bloggers?

Figure 6. Look which state turned of it’s cheap black coal supplies last quarter for planned maintenance.

More solar PV is the system vandal that makes coal power more expensive

Solar PV on rooftops in Australia, photo.

Critics may argue that Solar PV on rooftops doesn’t bid, but “sets” the price by reducing demand. But renewables and coal are not swappable services. Being cheaper at noon can mean being more expensive at most other hours of the day. Random “free energy”, just steals profits from coal, makes a whole lot of infrastructure and staff sit around doing nothing on a long lunch, and run less efficiently when it tries to fill in for the energy vandal forced on the system. When the sun goes down the whole solar team and capital sit around powering nothing too.

Coal plus solar can not possibly be cheaper than coal alone. It takes more people, more capital, more land, more maintenance. In the hours solar runs, all the useful coal infrastructure has to still be there, waiting to step in. The only cost “savings” to the large coal plants is a few truckloads of coal. All the other costs are the same or higher. The solar electrons are simply surplus random supply that “is the part of the jigsaw that doesn’t fit in” (to use Peter Martin’s words).

Coal also used to provide all that frequency stability we need for free and on call 24/7 and then feed our crops free fertilizer as an unlisted bonus.

How to create market chaos and a price spike

After Hazelwood shut in 2017, the cheapest form of electricity (brown coal) suddenly couldn’t supply enough electricity to set the final price of supply very often. That’s why the system price leapt. Hazelwood was in Victoria but the effect can even be seen in South Australia in Figure 3 above, where brown coal stops setting the price as often from Q2 onwards in 2017. That was “the Hazelwood effect”.

Brown coal fired generators are still sometimes setting the final winning bids at under $10/MWh. Its unbelievably, unbeatably cheap. No wonder all the junk expensive system vandals want to close brown coal stations.

The screwed market — a world of negative prices

The low quarterly prices in South Australia were partly due to negative prices, which “cut South Australia’s average by $8.7/MWh.”

This is a graph below of the main fuels setting wholesale prices in South Australia.  The brown coal average winning bids are so low they are hard to see. Gas power and hydropower are obviously setting higher prices. The black coal winning bids have settled now in the new post Hazelwood bountiful world of renewables, at a higher price than they were. Genius.

Price setting wholesale electricity, SA, Australia, Graph. Coal, Gas, Hydro.

Fig 7: Some fuel sources set the price all the other fuels earn. Lower bars mean cheaper winning bids.  Black coal wins bids at higher costs now that cheap brown coal plants closed and renewables have been added. | Click to enlarge.

But sometimes solar and wind power win bids too. Have a look at what happens to this same graph when their winning bids are added in (below). The effect of the large deeply negative bids changes the scale of the graph and pretty much defies any sense at all. Why would anyone pay money to provide electricity?  In a normal market we only pay people to take away rubbish.

Is this craziness entirely a product of the subsidies? Is that what makes it possible to bid so deeply negative and “still make a profit” or are some of the players trying to game the system but losing?

Price setting wholesale electricity, SA, Australia, Graph. Coal, Gas, Hydro. Solar and Wind

Fig 8: The Negative price bids are all thanks to solar and wind power and are “off the chart”.   |   Click to wallow in a fake market.

 

On the NEM, suppliers bid in the hope that someone bidding a lot higher than them wins the last successful ticket in the stack. Then all successful bidders all get paid at that same top winning rate. Obviously, generators don’t want to bid too high, or they earn nothing at all. But the race to the bottom seems kinda odd (to say the least). If they win at minus $1,000/MWhr, then they have to supply the electricity AND pay til it burns for it too.

In the end, if the negative bids reduced the wholesale price of electricity by $8/MWh but that’s only due to subsidies, it’s not a savings at all, it’s just a redistribution. Someone else had to pay. It’s false advertising yet again.

The AEMO report remarks on the record amount of negative prices in Q4 last year.

1.3.3 Negative wholesale electricity prices
During Q4 2020, negative and zero spot prices occurred in 7% of all trading intervals, surpassing the
previous record set in Q3 2020 (4.6%), with calendar year 2020 averaging 4.4% compared to 1.7% in 2019.
Negative spot prices were most prevalent in South Australia and Victoria, with both states reaching record
quarterly levels. South Australia’s spot prices were negative 17% of the time during Q4 2020, exceeding the
previous quarterly of 10%, while Victoria reached a new record of 10%.

Despite the record occurrence of negative spot prices, the impact on the quarterly average prices was limited.
Negative prices cut South Australia’s average by $8.7/MWh, while the impact was less in Victoria ($2.4/MWh)
and Queensland ($0.9/MWh) due to fewer very low prices below minus $100/MWh

Peter Martin — economist of some sort, thinks negative pricing means being paid to “turn off”. His junk commentary is “not even wrong” but for 17 years he was the ABC’s economics correspondent. He is so wrong he was awarded an Member of the Order of Australia (AM). Flinders uni taught him economics. They have a lot to answer for.

Peter Martin says:

Being even cheaper than the power produced by the old brown-coal-fired power stations, there is at times so much it that it sends prices negative, meaning generators get paid to turn off in order to avoid putting more power into the system than users can take out.

It’s one of the reasons coal-fired plants are closing: they are hard to turn off. They are just as hard to turn on, and pretty hard to turn up.

He is making mistakes piled on mistakes. Firstly he’s confusing negative prices with something called “Demand management”. Secondly he thinks the new random and volatile grid is progress instead of being an unnatural artificial forced transition that no one needed to have but we were all coerced into paying for.

In the new vandalized grid, no one wants to put money into coal maintenance. Plus the companies that own coal own the unreliables. What could possibly go wrong?

And who said the ABC doesn’t have advertising? It has the worst kind — the sort dressed up as “reporting” and funded –mostly —  through taxpayer dollars. Pace Viv Forbes. Carbon Sense who said this earlier this week.
There are zero comments on this article at The Conversation. And presumably comments will be closed five minutes after I publish this.

REFERENCES:

Australian Energy Regulator (AER) https://www.aer.gov.au/wholesale-markets/wholesale-statistics/annual-volume-weighted-average-spot-prices-regions

Australian Energy Regulator (AER): aer.gov.au/wholesale-markets/wholesale-statistics/quarterly-price-setter-and-average-price-set-by-fuel-source-south-australia

AEMO Q4 2020: Quarterly Dynamics

9.5 out of 10 based on 73 ratings

114 comments to In a fluke moment SA and Vic have got cheap electricity (but only thanks to Black coal, and a screwed market)

  • #

    I know I’m just looking at one small part of the whole overall for this Thread, but I would like to mention that Macarthur Wind plant that Joanne has included the delivery graph for the Month there. At the left of the graph it indicates what is being shown here and that is the percentage Capacity Factor (CF) for the plant for the Month.

    As you can see there, there were only a couple of days when it was over 40%, not up around its Namaplate of 420MW but just those very few spikes over 40%, barely 170MW with the high on one day of 63%, so just 265MW. A couple of days mind you in a whole Month, and honestly, that’s nothing out of the ordinary really.

    This plant has NEVER even got close to its 420MW Nameplate, not even for one five minute recording period.

    While the WHOLE FLEET of wind plants can only average 29.5% CF, Macarthur averages close to just 25%. So, with a Nameplate of 420MW and a 25% CF, then the year round average for power delivery is the equivalent of just 105MW.

    ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE MEGAWATTS.

    And to think that it only cost $1.2 Billion.

    Oh, and what about this case then.

    Macarthur Wind went off line totally, zero output on August 25 2020, and did not come back on line until the morning of September 20, so 26 days without one watt of output.

    Macarthur Wind opened in January of 2013.

    It has delivered just under 7.4TWH of power in all that time.

    You know, the same amount of power delivered by Bayswater in 160 days.

    And only ONE POINT TWO BILLION DOLLARS.

    And you wonder why I keep pointing out these failings of wind power, you know, the way of the future, the replacement for those coal fired plants, those wonders of modern engineering, those shining examples of just how far we have come.

    “Beautiful plumage though!”

    Tony.

    591

    • #

      Tony says, ” with a Nameplate of 420MW and a 25% CF, then the year round average for power delivery is the equivalent of just 105MW.”

      True, yet as Jo very well pointed out, even that 105 MW is over rated substainally, as on any given day or night, it may drop to a small fraction of that 105 MW for minutes or an hour. Those brief drops have to be covered for by someone.

      And that is where the biggest hidden subsidy for the wind and solar comes in. (Jo outlined this well) Natural gas and Coal saves the day daily, nay hourly, ramping up and down, politically forced to lose a large portion of their revenue and generating capacity, forced to over-staff, as it takes personnel to ramp up and down throughout the day! And Jo is correct, it is very hard on the generating infrastructure. Any time one starts and stops machinery it is maximiseing wear and tear via stress and heat cool heat cycles increasing wear on equipment. Wow, Government reduced revenue and increased costs!

      A WAG at the cost is that 25 percent of the cost of coal and natural gas should be charged to wind and solar.

      Jo is also very correct that the energy market is anything but a free market. What a system! ” Only the Government could create a sand shortage in the desert.” M.F.

      310

    • #
      Kevin kilty

      I appreciate your very cogent posts on these matters. One tremendous problem that I see in this, and you must sense it too, is its shear complexity, which puts it beyond the understanding of I don’t know how many “nines” of the populous.

      On one level there is the technical complexity. Just basic facts like generation must equal consumption on a moment by moment basis, the energy density of the wind versus that of coal or natural gas, lack of means of storage, the need for voltage and frequency support, and who knows how many other topics…

      On the next level is the complexity of the markets. Ercot for example has a process for determining a day ahead operating plan that involves a lot of input projections, a day ahead auction, plus some time period for adjustment of plans before the day ahead plan becomes firm. At some point on the “day ahead” the day ahead plan becomes the current operating plan, and so on. And if the current plan is failing, then turning to a spot market to fill in at costs that would give Jeff Bezos a nodebleed. The auctions are heavily fudged in favor of generators who have other revenue streams like subsidies or credits to sell. It must sound like conspiracy to good ‘ol average Joe.

      How does a person get at least a sense of this across to the average Joe, let alone get average Joe to sit still long enough to just listen to an outline?

      The advantage is to those people who merely have to say “the fuel is free.” It is a real-life example of how a lie gets around the world while the truth ties its shoes.

      231

    • #
      Just Thinkin'

      Always great articles, Tony.
      I look forward to reading them.

      I have long considered the NEM and AEMO
      a PONZI Scheme.

      91

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        The globalists’ stooges, the pollies of both persuasions appear to have faciltated a clever slow motion sabotage of the power grid by creating a debilitating deadlock.

        But the answer is easy…demolish all but 10% of total grid capacity in terms of renewables, and imprison anyone who tried to make it more.

        Then establish a tech advisory board with real scientists and real engineers.

        20

  • #
    Dave

    And the link in the little map in the top right hand corner is:
    https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/files/electricity/nem/national-electricity-market-fact-sheet.pdf

    It’s called a FACT SHEET by the AEMO?
    Yet go to the diagram on page 4 (the last page)?
    It says:
    1. Megawatt (MW) 1 MILLION watts =
    2. The output of a power station is described in megawatts
    3. The Tesla Battery at Hornsdale, South Australia, can produce 100 MW of electricity.

    When is the bulldust going to stop?
    A Battery does not PRODUCE electricity!

    The whole article is a RENEWABLE CON JOB!

    Only blackouts on large scale will correct this garbage!

    430

    • #
      David Wojick

      Citing batteries in MW as though they were generators, instead of MWh, is the universal practice here in the US. Every news article cites MW. That is buying juice based on how fast it will pour, not how much is in the jug.

      300

    • #
      Graham Richards

      And all the numbers men in Government, you know the ones that draw up budgets, the one’s that can really add numbers quickly & accurately the ones that can forecast where the economy is headed are the ones who never ever question the numbers generated by the Green/ Renewables “geniuses”.
      Why does the PM, his Treasurer, never tell the truth about Renewables, why do they insist on following thru with the Paris Accord, why do they follow the climate dogma preached by the UN,
      the EU What is their hidden agenda in implanting more secret UN agreements which we don’t get to vote for or against.
      Maybe Wayne Swan should be put in charge of the power generation numbers .He was really a whiz bang genius at turning deficits into surpluses ??
      Australian politicians on both sides of the house are going to be called to account soon & there won’t be too many survivors.

      70

  • #
    MrGrimNasty

    My UK supplier has just gone up to the equivalent of 37.1 cents per kwh plus a standing charge of 51.1 cents a day. Yep, even if I use none it costs me the best part of 200 AUD a year in the UK for the privilege of being connected to the grid. They tell us renewables are getting cheaper and cheaper.

    I might be able to nibble the cost down a bit by switching supplier but by the time you juggle the different standing charges and rates it amounts to peanuts. Yet our gov. tells us we can save £hundreds by switching and it’s our own fault for paying too much.

    The scary thing is to get to net zero, even my conservative estimate is that these already extortionate prices will go up 300-500%, with a restricted/unreliable supply on top!

    280

    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Thanks for the update Grim, I did not realize just how expensive electricity is in the uk . .
      And pretty soon everyone will have to switch to electricity for their heating !!
      Regards GeoffW

      60

  • #
    robert rosicka

    Martin’s target audience is those wedded to the lefty ideology that coal is bad and unreliable expensive renewables is good , take away all subsidies from every player then make them have open bids 24 hrs in advance with massive penalties for non conformance and we all know which ones will survive .

    281

    • #
      williamx

      Sad to say RR,

      Politicians, both serving and retired whom are invested in green tech, the lobbyists, factional leaders, merchant bankers and hedge funds, they just won’t allow it.

      It’s their cash cow.

      231

      • #
        Maptram

        And lets not forget the industry super funds. I remember seeing TV ads in which former Union leader, Labor Federal MP and now Chair of the Industry Super, telling viewers what they are investing in, while I didn’t hear him say wind power, there was video of wind turbines. In other words Industry Super funds have investments in renewable energy. So the left have to keep talking up renewable energy, otherwise members superannuation funds lose money.

        241

        • #
          williamx

          Maptram,

          My Industry super fund has changed its name from “First State Super” to “Aware Super”.. With a focus on investing in “renewables”.

          A quote from their website.

          “As one of Australia’s largest super funds, Deanne has led Aware Super’s drive to be a ‘Force for Good’ through its responsible investment philosophy..”

          end quote.

          My comment.

          Deanne seems to be focused on the drive to be a “force for good”
          I’d prefer that the CEO and board focuses on maximising returns. Not using MY money to promote and fund their “force for good”.

          https://aware.com.au/member/investments-and-performance/our-approach-responsible-ownership

          Their quote

          “We believe climate change is a significant long-term risk to the planet, our investment portfolio, and ultimately our members’ retirement outcomes.

          For this reason, we have for over ten years invested in renewable energy and new technologies that can deliver strong long-term investment returns and be a force for good in society.

          Through our Climate Change Transition Plan, we’re transitioning our portfolio to a low carbon economy with bold action and setting of clear targets:

          Divesting from thermal coal by October 2020
          Reducing our equity portfolio emissions by 30%
          Advocating for an economy-wide 45% reduction in emissions by 2030
          Read about how we’re taking bold action on climate change.”

          end quote….

          My comment.

          I am changing my super Fund

          300

    • #
      Analitik

      take away all subsidies from every player then make them have open bids 24 hrs in advance with massive penalties for non conformance

      In other words, make the renewables generators operate under the same regulations as all the other generators

      160

      • #
        Lucky

        Make the industry superfunds operate under the same regulations as others – in particular to invest for the benefit of members superannuation only, not to be a ‘Force for Good’ and such like posturing.
        That is what the law requires, but governments and regulators are selective in enforcement.

        171

    • #
      Frank from NoVA

      Correct – it’s not only that the rightful remedy, it’s simple to implement.

      10

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    Thanks Jo for once again highlighting the complex interaction of money, power generation, politics, and I mustn’t forget, money.

    The cheapest, cleanest and most reliable power system is through coal fired generation plants.

    The propagation of Renewables on rooftop and plain is one of the greatest abuses of public trust ever perpetuated.

    Undoubtedly there’s a Skim involved in the push for renewables and the whole thing will leave a further kick in the butt for the gullible, trusting public when roof damage is assessed and the plains are left with broken mirrors and windmills.

    KK

    If we can’t set up and run a sensible, clean electricity generation system then I don’t see much hope for the future of Australia because it signals that we are open to be abused and enslaved by the Elites.

    There is no accountability in Australia, just get elected, and go for it.

    220

  • #
    Peter Fitzroy

    According to the AER the negative bids are on the spot market, not the contract market. Combined the Spot and Contract markets make up the wholesale market, which is what where the distributors and retailers add theirs costs to make the retail market. The post also does not explain that the spot market only has a small effect on the wholesale price variation, and the wholesale prices are only a small fraction of the retail price.

    224

    • #
      Rowjay

      Hello Peter – you seem to have some inside knowledge on the commercial workings of the NEM.
      :
      Do VRE generators still get renewable energy certificates for curtailed power?

      180

      • #

        Hmm Peter, suddenly an expert? — but I’m keen to learn. Why are they bidding so low? Why isn’t minus $50 enough, there must be some advantage to taking it all they way down to minus 1000?

        How big are the subsidies these days — Is it still worth generating electricity at minus $1,000? What point is it worth “winning” the bids? New wind farms are working to be “responsive” to negative bidding (the AEMO said so). That means it must be worth avoiding those -$1000 moments.

        PS: The post does explain what effect the negative bids have. I quoted the AEMO on exactly — the negative prices reduced the last quarter of wholesale prices. $8.70. Pretty significant.

        211

        • #
          Peter Fitzroy

          In my last job, I was working for an energy distributor, all this was bread and butter for the modellers and planners, The negative price signals are mostly because demand has fallen below contracted supply. This is the impact of rooftop solar, and it why South Australia is now cutting out RTS delivery to the network at these times. The was the crux of the article I sent you.. As I explained previously – it is the contracts which supply the expected demand.

          So, in South Australia, and soon in Victoria, you will not be able to sell your excess output to the network at times of low demand, and high RTS output (like midday) Best to buy a battery, charge your EV or run your washing machine, dishwasher etc at those times.

          Suddenly and expert ? – it is obvious that I know more about this subject than all of your contributors combined

          224

          • #
            Peter Fitzroy

            Oh – I’m quoting the Regulator – it sets the prices, not the operator
            FYI – Contracts
            https://www.aer.gov.au/wholesale-markets/wholesale-statistics?f%5B0%5D=field_accc_aer_sector%3A4&f%5B1%5D=field_accc_aer_stats_category%3A895
            FYI Spot
            https://www.aer.gov.au/wholesale-markets/wholesale-statistics?f%5B0%5D=field_accc_aer_sector%3A4&f%5B1%5D=field_accc_aer_stats_category%3A893

            As grid scale solar and wind grab more of the contract market – that is seen in the volatile pricing on the spot market.

            For example, Yallourn has contracts for supply stretching out 5 years, this is the main reason that the operator gave such a long lead for the shutdown. But with a decline in consumption because of the impact of RTS + Batteries, (and please note it is retail consumption, not wholesale) which is driving down the prices. But again these are the wholesale price, your retail price is not changing as much, as profits come before customers

            120

          • #
            Just Thinkin'

            “Suddenly and expert ? – it is obvious that I know more about this subject than all of your contributors combined.”

            DON’T go out in the wind.

            161

          • #
            robert rosicka

            I find it amazing that you worked for an energy retailer when you didn’t even know how much you were paying for electricity a few years ago !

            161

          • #
            Rowjay

            Can any of our learned bloggers describe what happens to the unwanted power when the AEMO curtails generation output – does the AEMO request that the producer being curtailed shut down their generation output or is it jut “dumped” somehow?
            :
            I ask this question because I have seen power output graphs showing, for example, wind generation output with a curtailment line lower in the graph. My question is – can the VRE generators still claim renewable certificates for the portion of their output that has been curtailed?

            50

            • #
              RickWill

              Unless there is a system security issue, curtailment is voluntary.

              Large negative excursion of prices set by intermittent now are the result of poor forecasts on the their part. Wind generators used to have large standing bids at the floor price (was $1000/MWh) but the coal generatators learnt that they could recover negative costs if they underbid the wind generators. Now the coal generators bid a chunk of energy at large negative price to ensure they can stay on line. That forces the weather dependent generators to curtail because the price has gone lower than their bid offer.

              Bids are taken for every 30 minute block and each registered generator can bid energy in 10 blocks at different prices. The coal generators do not want to completely go off line. They can take negative prices for a period in the knowledge that they can force prices up to the cost of gas generation during most evening peaks.

              The subsidies for the WDGs are drying up because there is now a surplus to the “renewable energy target” so the price of certificates is falling; currently $32/MWh and going down fast.
              http://lgc.mercari.com.au
              That means if prices go below minus $32/MWh the WDGs are losing money with limited prospect to recover it. The other change is that the WDGs carry a significant component of the FCAS charge directly. That charge could be $10/MWh or more and around half would be paid directly by the WDGs. When the SA-Vic interconnector failed last year, the FCAS charge was as much as the wholesale price.

              When you see any article on “policy certainty” for the electricity industry, it means an increase in the RET to give a surge in the price of the LGCs. Without that, investment in WDGs will dry up until the next coal power station closes.

              Bidding in the electricity wholesale market is complex and it is apparent that each generator has to know the market very well to make a profit. Until the next coal power station closure, it will be tough to make money for any generator.

              Any Australian who owns a roof can control their electricity costs. Technically it is smarter to have distributed generation from solar than having remote central wind and solar. The rot started once the first WDG was given permission to connect. I doubt Australia will build another large coal generator. The electricity system is becoming more like “public” transport where the passenger pays all the costs and subsidises those getting a free ride. The number of paying passengers is reducing. For example, Coles announced this week that it will fit all stores with solar panels by 2025. That means they will no longer be a paying passenger.

              60

              • #
                Peter Fitzroy

                you are mixing spot and contract, and spt is only a small fraction of the Wholesale price

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              • #
                RickWill

                Peter F falsely claimed:

                you are mixing spot and contract, and spt is only a small fraction of the Wholesale price

                The wholesale electricity price quoted in AEMO and AER documents is simply the volume weighted spot price.

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              • #

                This is where it gets complex, and, as kevin kilty wrote in comment 1.2 above it becomes difficult to explain, because there are so many ‘balls in the air’, so to speak.

                Look at the image at this link. This is a typical bid structure for the AEMO and is taken from their site. By its very nature, it is simplified to the nth degree so that you can get the faintest idea of what happens.

                Okay then, in conjunction with that image, now look at the image at this link. This is the average year round Load Curve for power consumption, and that exactly equals power generation as well, and this image shows as many indicators as possible at the closest to their year round average that you can get.

                See that red line across the image showing the Base Load, that total of 18,000MW, the lowest point that power consumption gets down to an a daily basis, and again, that 18,000MW is the year round average.

                Okay, below that line, and at that 4AM minimum point in time, the makeup is 13,000MW of coal fired power, with the next largest contributor being wind power and then hydro (Tasmania, and Snowy Hydro) but 75% of that total is coal fired power. Now spread that Base Load figure across the whole 24 hours, so 18,000MW X 24, so 432GWH. The average consumption for the whole day is 556GWH, so that Base Load (everything under that red line) makes up 77.6% of all the consumed power. (THAT is the Base Load)

                Got that?

                Now back to the first image, the bid structure.

                ALL of that Base Load is either at or lower than the lowest coloured band (grey brown) on that chart. As coal fired power ramps up across the day, as it always has, to a figure of around 18,000MW, (higher in Mid Winter, and Mid Summer, sometimes over 19,000MW) then they also join that bid structure, but as they can deliver huge amounts of power, then they can bid (relatively) lower than most other bidders.

                The bid structure shown in that image is for all power demands ABOVE that red line across the page on the Load Curve. (the Base Load)

                So, as power increases across the day, then this bid structure comes into play, as each of the smaller contributors bid to have their power ‘allowed’ to come onto the grid ….. or in fact as it is required to fill the demand, and the lowest bid of ALL the bids is what comes on next.

                Everything below the line, already existing power, stays exactly as it always was.

                So, each new power source coming on line actually amounts to the smallest thing when you consider that humungous amount of power already being delivered.

                So, at that top coloured band, (orange) the lowest bid of all the absolute high bids is bidding for what is the tiniest amount of power to come onto the grid as needed.

                Then, at the end of the half hour, the costs are averaged for that half hour on a percentage basis, so that top colour is basically the smallest percentage.

                So, from that average, ALL power suppliers get paid that average for EVERY MWH of power they delivered in that half hour, not just the recent bids to top up the grid, but ALLLLLLL the way back to the bottom of the Load Curve, so those existing suppliers will get the average.

                So, while the cost of power might momentarily be as high as ten gazillion dollars per MWH, that is for the smallest point in time, and then average out for the half hour and then extrapolated across the whole day, for every MWH of power delivered, so that eleventy twelve gazillion dollars per MWH is for one bid for perhaps a five minute period for a few MWH in a whole day’s power consumption of 556,000MWH.

                NOBODY, absolutely nobody gets that sum of lebenty brazillion dollars at all.

                Of that 556,000MWH delivered across the average day, coal fired power supplies almost 385,000MWH, and I mentioned above, 432,000MWH of that is below that Base Load line at the absolute lowest price for power that there is, so no matter what, coal fired power always makes a shirtload of money, and wind power is bidding for just 50,000MWH across the whole day, so to make any money, then the cost of power HAS to be high for them to ‘make a buck’, while coal fired power just hums along, delivering what it always has, absolutely monumentally humugously large amounts of power, without which Australia ….. grinds to a halt.

                For wind power to even begin to make a buck, then they have to get onto the grid, so it’s in their interests to bid low, so that their minute amount of power comes onto the grid, and ….. gets the average, which is always higher than their super low cynical bid, knowing that their minute amounts of power will always be accepted onto the grid, no matter when it is being generated. The fact that rooftop solar is now impacting their income must be galling in the extreme for them.

                See now how complex it all really is, and how difficult it is to explain to ‘joe public’ with even the most basic simple image of that bid structure.

                I wanted an explanation of the bid structure, so I phoned up the AEMO. After some back and forth about what I wanted to know, I’m sure that the person had an idea of what I was looking for, so an appointment was made for one of their engineers in that area to phone me back, and that happened around an hour after my initial call. Once I explained what I wanted to know, he directed me to the most recent bid structure image and text, and then we spent almost an hour talking on the phone about just those things. Then I had to write it all down, but this was all from an engineer at the AEMO.

                Tony.

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                Peter Fitzroy

                Rick – did you follow the links?

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              • #
                Peter Fitzroy

                Tony, you still do not understand the difference between contract and spot. I could be that like Rick ,you don’t want to know.

                However, what is your explanation for the negative bids then? I’ve given you the supply vs demand answer, but in your world you never consider demand so I am interested in your take.

                /mind you if it is too hard, I will expect your usual whine

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              • #
                RickWill

                Peter F asked:
                Rick – did you follow the links?

                I know what is on the links – has Peter actually read the links and tried to comprehend heir meaning?

                The wholesale electricity price is the Volume Weighted SPOT price.

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            • #
              Kalm Keith

              A good question.

              “or is it jut “dumped” somehow?”

              Well the acronym RTS has two different applications; the first is for daylight when the AEMO see it as accepted input from Roof Top Solar and credit it to comsumer/supplier accounts.

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          • #
            peter

            Hey Fitzy, what job did you do at that “energy distributor”? And what was your qualifications for that job? We know it couldn’t be in science or logical argument since from your previous comments on this blog, we can see that they are not your strong suits. So you agree with Jo’s other points on the false economy of renewables?

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            • #
              Peter Fitzroy

              I was a planner for 10 years

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                Kalm Keith

                I’ve always been a Planner.
                Welcome to the club.

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              • #
                peter

                Fitzy, you were a planner for 10 years? Planning, that’s modelling. That might explain a lot about your views. But “planner” is not a qualification, there is no Bachelor of Planning degree. Just Like former PM Christopher Pyne was a “fixer” who fixed Australia right-up with those French Subs but he didn’t have a Fixing degree. What is your real qualifications?

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              • #
                Peter Fitzroy

                Peter, What is this, a job application? The problem is that you will not believe/accept any qualifications/experience I give you.

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              • #
                peter

                Fitz, “What is this, a job application?”, well, yes it’s a credibility application if you like. I believed that you were a planner for 10 years with an energy distributor, just on your say-so. But now we are just trying to determine what that means. Is this a case like a lot of your other comments where when challenged for evidence for what you claim, you fail to provide factual evidence or provide links that don’t turn out to support your argument? Just asking.

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                Paul Miskelly

                Peter Fitzroy,
                You were an electricity market (?) planner for 10 years?
                Would that be a correct designation?

                So, can we therefore presume to lay the cause of the present absolutely dreadful state of the Eastern Australian Electricity Market directly at your feet?

                Cheers,
                Paul Miskelly

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              • #
                Richard Jenkins

                Peter I will believe you. Please tell us what formal educational qualification you have and where and when you qualified?
                Planner does not mean anything.

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              • #
                robert rosicka

                I have to wonder what you actually planned or is this a fancy term for “Telemarketing” ? As has been stated already whoever has been planning our electricity generation for the last 10 years has some explaining to do .

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          • #
            TedM

            Apology to tonyfromoz pending, I assume.

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          • #
            Frank from NoVA

            Peter,

            You bring up a good point here – not only do renewables create grid instability from the supply side, they also destabilize demand. Implementing consistent rules for energy dispatch, along with commensurate penalties for non-performance, would go a long way to fix the supply issue. The variability of roof-top solar, on the other hand, will be harder to ameliorate absent the ability to isolate this impact from the grid.

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        • #
          Mike Jonas

          Hi Jo – I think that both Peter Martin and Peter Fitzroy are both not wrong, just explaining themselves badly. It’s not very impressive for self-confessed experts not to be able to explain themselves, so please allow this non-expert to explain it clearly:

          Negative prices are indeed sort of paid to “turn off”, but it’s a bit more specific than that. They are paid for negative production. A high negative price looks absurd, and negative production sounds absurd, but they are only absurd in the logical world that you and I live in. The electricity market in the renewables age is so ludicrously distorted that things that are completely logical to people inside the market seem absurd to people in the real world.

          The key is in Peter Fitzroy’s “The negative price signals are mostly because demand has fallen below contracted supply.”. The solar suppliers who have over-contracted supply in the wholesale market can be paid to take it back in the spot market, which they do by simply not producing it at all. Obviously it is in their interest to make very high negative spot bids at times of contracted over-supply. They get paid the contracted amount for the contracted supply. Then for every part of it that the grid operator doesn’t want, they can be paid again by simply not supplying it. They are paid twice for supplying nothing!

          There is quite a good training manual for logical people like you. It’s “Through the looking glass, and what Alice found there” by Lewis Carroll.

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            Peter Fitzroy

            Close enough, except you misunderstand the nature of the supplier response. A coal plant cannot respond easily to an oversupply situation, where a wind farm, solar plant and, to a lesser extent, a gas plant can. This is why south Australia is turning off RTS when such conditions occur.

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            • #
              robert rosicka

              Coal can be ramped up or down easy enough but not completely switched off and back on again without a few hour delay but having said that it is able to gradually fire into life again unlike wind or solar if there’s no wind or that pesky cloud hangs around .
              Having to design a functional system with these constraints must be one huge juggling act that relies purely on the weather and luck to function .
              I often wonder exactly what would happen if we had an extended period of cloud cover and no wind in summer , obviously no issue if all generation is dispatchable but it’s not and batteries don’t generate power only subsidies.

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              • #
                Kalm Keith

                The test.

                A theoretical test, which could be sorted by qualified electrical engineers is as follows.

                Create three small cities, say half a million people and associated infrastructure, which are solely run on one of three electricity generation systems and cost the power.

                Coal fired.
                Solar.
                Wind.

                Where necessary determine the battery storage needed to guarantee continuous 24hr availability.

                Because there’s no cross linking allowed the solar and wind will require equipment to translate the generated power to the 240V 50 Hz used in Australian homes, businesses and industry.

                Cost everything and report results.

                Note: an annual allocation must be included to cover the replacement of all equipment used over the appropriate life cycle of each system.

                Compare.

                Have a guess about the winner.

                KK

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                Mike Jonas

                It seems to simple me that the system could have remained a simple market system if it had not been corrupted by governments forcing renewables into it. If they simply took bids for supplying energy for each time period, with penalties for not supplying, I think the system would be relatively simple to manage. It would probably have some wind and solar farms, genuinely harvesting wind and sun rather than subsidies, but nothing like as many as we have now. There would be nothing like the ability to game the system that we are seeing now.

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              • #
                Analitik

                If they simply took bids for supplying energy for each time period, with penalties for not supplying, I think the system would be relatively simple to manage

                Yes, Mike – it truly is that simple. The “semi-scheduled” designation that exempts solar and wind generators from having to supply the power that they bid into the market totally corrupts the market. I have argued numerous times that this is at least as important for the economic viability of the renewabubbles as the LRET and would be easier, politically, to repeal. It really is a get of of jail, free card to be able to bid in a price and not be contractually bound to actually provide power.

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            • #
              Analitik

              A coal plant cannot respond easily to an oversupply situation, where a wind farm, solar plant and, to a lesser extent, a gas plant can

              In reality, a coal plant could vent steam in response to an oversupply situation. The Canadian CANDU reactors in Ottawa do this all the time now due to the intrusion of all the wind farms that have been deployed in the province. It’s a waste of fuel but technically straightforward.

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            • #
              Analitik

              This is why south Australia is turning off RTS when such conditions occur.

              Balderdash. Not only does South Australia no longer have any coal plants but the issue is grid stability. Enough synchronous generation is needed to maintain stability, especially with the high monment to moment variation in output from wind and solar generators. Read the following and learn something.

              https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-17/solar-panels-switched-off-in-sa-to-stabilise-grid/13256572

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            • #
              TedM

              P[ease explain how you can control the wind and the sun Peter.

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  • #
    John Watt

    I suspect one of the major drivers of Australia’s electricity price dilemma is the profit taking market. Like many public utility activities there is a common sense case for a not-for-profit government controlled operation. All forms of generation can be run together with a single oversight organisation ensuring that the generation mix at all times is managed to deliver lowest price to consumers….as opposed to the current playground for profit chasing opportunists. Some decades ago Australia had such a system and enjoyed some of the lowest prices in the world…as well as being able to create jobs via cost-effective energy for energy intensive manufacturing enterprises.
    Governments to make offers for Liddell etc.? Dream on!
    As for rooftop solar impacting on operation of the supply system I suspect there is a case for community batteries run in conjunction with (i.e. linked to) the local distribution transformer. (Not sure that the necessary control technology is available yet.) Collect the surplus rooftop generation and use it at peak load times. Such an approach has the potential to offset the impact of voltage fluctuation arising when random rooftop solar is simply dumped on the grid. In the longer term such an approach would reduce daily usage of coal/gas and therefore prolong the availability of what are finite resources.

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    • #

      Yes John, with greatly increased what? $$$$$$

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        Kalm Keith

        Electricity generation is just one of the many functions of public service that has been adjusted to move money in the right direction, and in the more recent usage that could be money moved either to the Left or Right.

        Laba has supported it’s base, and I do mean base, with expensive building project: school Sun shelters, major road projects, water desalination plants and other less visible work.
        Libls no less active and in NSW privatisation of electricity generation helped spread the wealth.

        Australia: a country without jobs, the most expensive electricity in the world, politicians without a soul and, at the moment, little future.

        Politics: money for jam.

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          Richard Ilfeld

          Ah yes, precisely the point.

          Sometime in the 20’s, we collectively (in the US at least) decided that there were four fundamentals for contemporary life:
          Clean water, safe sewer, dial tone 24/7, and alternating current 24/7.
          It was clear that leaving these purely to the market would result in an 80/20 effect; the low hanging fruit would be picked and the difficult to serve would never get service; yet government proved not up to the tasks. We developed and deployed regulated utilites, and within a generation, across a difficult geography, and a disparate population got virtually 100% dial tone, 100% electrification, clean water and responsible sewage. The difficult to serve were connected, the average costs were low, the reliability was high.
          The system was tweaked to a bit higher cost to factor in rapid disaster recovery.

          Even the uninteresting stocks were virtuous, providing regular incomes as dividends to windows and orphans.

          Rates were set annually in public process based on costs of operation plus investment.

          The system worked far to well for politicians to leave it alone; with political attention costs could soar, reliability could
          plummet, and access could depend on political favor rather than being a universal right;

          and so it has.

          More politics is not better.

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    • #
      Analitik

      The “profit taking market” provided cheap dependable power. The profit allowed investment and maintenance in the generation infrastructure with lower overheads than under government bureaucratic management.

      Then it was distorted by renewables operating with subsidies (LRET) and classified as being “semi-scheduled”, which exempts them from having to actually provide the power that they bid in to the day ahead market.

      It is these exemptions that make it seem that power generation should have remained as government owned enterprises.

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      Lucky

      In a free market, profits are earned not taken.

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    • #
      Kalm Keith

      It was good until you hit the “community batteries”.

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    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      ‘Community batteries’ and who will pay for these expensive, short term fixes . .
      Count me out! Regards GeoffW

      40

    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Community batteries you must joking . .
      And who wants to pay for those expensive short term fixes. Not me.
      This idea won’t change a thing !
      GeoffW

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    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      [Duplicate]

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  • #
    Klem

    The Lefts love of solar shows no bounds. Where I live a local church covered it’s roof in solar panels. Half of them are facing east, so those panels will never generate enough electricity to pay for themselves, and for the past four months all panels have been covered in snow. The real expense will come when it’s time to re-shingle the roof, all of the panels will have to be removed and the reinstalled again.

    Kudos to the salesman who closed that sale. Lol!

    Leftism truly is a mental disorder.

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    feral_nerd

    The last line is classic: “As cheap as coal-fired power is, it is being forced out of the system by sources of power that are cheaper and more dispatchable. We can’t turn back.”

    I cannot imagine a more inane assertion.

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    • #
      Jojodogfacedboy

      But this is how our governments work today.
      All in no matter what and never look back.
      Free and cheap energy is what they tell us.
      All else is ignored.
      Is it any wonder we have a fantasy governments created to reality that they need to manufacture stories around to fit their stories.
      Costs us real money and jobs, our governments and politicians, not so much…

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      • #
        PeterS

        The failed logic by supporters of renewables is amazing. Coal is “free” too. All one has to do is burn it. Of course it’s not about the cost. It always has been and still is about reducing emissions to save ourselves from am alleged catastrophic global warming, which most of us here know is a hoax and a scam.

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    Dennis

    I am seeking financial support from investors who would be prepared to invest in my proposed bus passenger service, proposed trading name Windsun Bus Company.

    We will of course seek government subsidies from taxpayer’s monies, and for competitors burning fossil fuel internal combustion engines to be penalised, an emissions levy and other handicaps including not being given access to routes that are profitable. And higher passenger fares.

    The business will operate electric buses and they will be guaranteed to run 2.1 days in every 7.0 days, we cannot guarantee which days they will be available because we will only use renewable energy for recharging purposes.

    Obviously our business model would not pass scrutiny (business plan) without government assistance and interference in what should be a free market for all businesses however, reducing “carbon” emissions is very important to Australian governments and politicians so investors can rest assured their return on investment will be worthwhile.

    sarc

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    RobK

    WA case example:
    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/julius-susanto_today-at-around-1pm-this-large-cloud-band-activity-6777516776726106112-yDxf

    Julius Susanto
    Principal Engineer at AEMO
    3d

    Today at around 1pm, this large cloud band rolled over a big chunk of the SWIS leading to a reduction of roughly 300 MW of rooftop PV output in less than 30 minutes. The speed and scale of the PV output reduction (which was ~15% of total SWIS demand at the time) caused system frequency to fall to 49.5 Hz, something we would normally only see when a large generator trips!

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    • #

      Thanks Rob. Ouch. That’s a big fall.

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      Maptram

      A doctor’s surgery where I live in country Victoria has a metre on the wall in the waiting room that is supposed to show how much electricity is being generated from solar panels, I presume on the roof. When I started going to the surgery about three years it was working, and it was easy to see how the generation changed during cloudy days and in winter and in the evenings. I went recently and noticed that the metre was not working. I don’t know whether it was broken and the “free” electricity doesn’t pay for repairs or it has been decommissioned because it shows what really happens with solar generation

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      • #
        Analitik

        Yackandandah?
        They made a song and dance about being self sufficient through renewables a couple of years ago but when I was there this summer, I only saw 3 or 4 buildings along the main shopping/commerce area with large arrays of panels on their roofs.

        10

  • #
    Amos E. Stone

    300MW in 30 minutes? Is that all ya got? Last night our (UK) 26GW of wind fans dropped from 6.7GW (21:00) to 5.6GW in 2 hours, and then down to less than 1.5GW in the next 13 and a half hours. Perfectly anti-correlated with the increase in demand Friday morning. There were a couple of nice swoops in there too. 22:30 to 23:00 was 500MW drop. 4:30 to 5:00; 460MW. 8:00 to 8:30; 560MW. And it’s not unusual.

    As Tony from Oz says ‘Nice plumage’

    But our nukes have crept back up to over 5GW and we’re burning coal for 1.25GW at the moment. And we have some ‘carbon free’ Russian methane to burn!

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2021/03/13/gazprom-delivers-first-carbon-neutral-lng-to-europe-and-shell-believe-them/

    So that’s OK.

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  • #
    Penguinite

    For all those anti-nuclear power people out there let us not forget that the sun is one big nuclear fusion plant and the third rock from it, Earth, is but a pea in comparison. Its gravitational pull will one day drag us into its all-consuming ferment! In the meantime, no amount of CO2 saving will be worth a jot or tittle!

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    • #
      TIP

      some also say the moon will shift/change orbit by enough to be human life altering before all that too……

      still, its the decades of consistent false prophecy that blows MY mind..

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    Robber

    The crazy “wreckonomics” of renewables in an electricity grid.
    Assume that those Macarthur windmills can supply the average demand for a part of western Victoria.
    420 MW nameplate capacity, average generation 105 MW, capital cost $1.2 billion.
    But wait, sometimes those windmills provide 210 MW – what is to be done with the excess? A fire sale, a very big battery, or pumped hydro, or trim the blades?
    And on other occasions, the wind doesn’t blow. How do we keep the lights on?
    Fortunately some other investors spent $0.64 billion to build a 566 MW open cycle gas-fired power station near Mortlake in western Victoria. Open cycle means that it can respond very quickly to variations in demand.
    However, during the month of March, Mortlake has only operated on March 12, when it delivered 256 MW for 5 hours to meet the evening peak demand.
    At that time, Macarthur windmill output dropped from 20 MW down to zero. Lucky there was backup available.
    That adds up to very expensive backup for an unreliable, intermittent bunch of windmills.
    It’s a wonder that Mortlake hasn’t been mothballed.
    Meanwhile, for most of March, Yallourn brown coal station (recently announced scheduled to close in 2028) has been generating 1480 MW, although output reduced to 1100 MW March 11-15 and 19-20.

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    • #
      Dennis

      Yallourn generates 22 per cent of baseload electricity for Victoria, Hazlewood was generating 25 per cent before closure.

      Oh well, 53 per cent of reliable generator capacity will remain available for the time being.

      Better build more and bigger wind turbines.

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    Rob

    We don’t have an electricity market, we have a byzantine swamp.
    Imagine there are large apple orchards, heavily subsidised by government, that can sometimes supply 20% of the market’s demand for apples. The unsubsidised orchards will of necessity hold the price down by competing with each other while the subsidised orchards are being helped to readily move all of their product.
    It won’t be long before the subsidised orchards double and treble in size while the disadvantaged orchards start collapsing.
    The first disastrous trigger point will come when the last unsubsidised orchard bites the dust.
    The final disaster arrives when the first of the subsidised orchards start reaching their cyclical “end of life” (say 20 years) and need pulling / replanting.
    Who will pay for the replanting and will the subsidies continue ?
    As governments try to extricate themselves from such a horrific scenario, the price of apples will reach astromical levels.

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    • #
      Dennis

      Who will pay?

      Not the major shareholders, removal and replacement would wipe out their taxpayer subsidised dividends, so they will probably sell their shareholding to unsuspecting investors a few years before replacement is necessary.

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  • #
    David Maddison

    Let them close all coal plants and show the Sheeple what their beloved “renewables” are capable of, or rather not capable of.

    We need to stop tinkering trying to keep a fundamentally disabled grid going through patch-up measures.

    Close down all reliable and cheap producers (coal, gas, proper hydro) and let the Sheeple freeze in the dark.

    Australia needs massive grid failure and economic disaster as a wake-up lesson.

    I’m sick of trying to convince the Sheeple and politicians that unreliables are unnecessary and unviable to run a modern economy with and that they only benefit the Leftist Elites (e.g. union managers, promoters of the anthropogenic global warming fraud, socialist billionaires etc.) who are invested in them.

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      Analitik

      Liddell will provide the example soon enough. The closure of Hazelwood stripped the NEM of appreciable baseload reserve and the loss of Liddell will leave it in outright deficit for any period that is not optimal for the renewabubble operation.

      The result spikes in wholesale pricing when the peaking plants are needed to cover prolonged periods will flow through to retail (consumers), let alone the rolling blackouts that will be needed as a matter of course, and there will be no hiding the disaster that has been forced upon us by the CAGW alarmists. Sadly, a baseload power station cannot be built overnight so we will have to endure the higher costs and massive reduction in reliability for a couple of years.

      The good thing that will come out of this is that the greentards will push for more renewabubbles and batteries as the solution and these can be deployed relatively quickly and proven to be inadequate which will make the general public finally realise the lie that has been sold to them. Short(ish) term pain for long term gain (although it’s more about a return to what worked).

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    Zigmaster

    I always argue the logical conclusion that it is impossible for a renewables system to be cheaper than a base load system. I explain as follows . Assume that emissions are irrelevant. If technology limitations mean that
    Renewables(A) can’t operate without baseload back up (B) then A + B can never be cheaper than B alone.
    Whilst the renewables industry will use every slight of hand to show that renewables are cheaper facts are well entrenched that ever since renewables have been seen to be competing with base load that those countries with the highest penetration of renewables have the highest costs.
    The other wild card is what is the cost to the nation of a less reliable electricity supply. The revenue lost to the nation of manufacturing exodus that is associated with renewables growth should be part of the calculations that are done. There is no business case that makes renewables a viable alternation to baseload, coal,gas, nuclear for a countrywide grid.
    In part that is why the renewables argument has to be fought not just on costs ( because the real costs are well hidden ) but on the most basic principal that emissions are irrelevant because there is no crisis or at the very least that pretty much no matter what we do makes no difference and all attempts to impact the climate and temperature are merely an exercise in futility.

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    • #
      RickWill

      With China, India and Africa increasing coal consumption, the price of coal will continue its sporadic price rise:
      https://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=coal-australian&months=360
      There is a point where the cost of generating electricity from wind and solar becomes cheaper than paying for fuel. I expect that will be reached within the next 30 years.

      There is not a lot of cost attached to getting 20% of electricity from weather dependent generators once the distributed infrastructure is in place. Australia is close to that level now. Getting beyond 20% requires storage and that is still too expensive unless there is existing hydro.

      It has taken 2 decades and massive investment to get 2% of global energy from weather dependent generators. It is likely the cost of fossil fuels will force the transition to another energy source given how difficult it is proving to be. Right now the alternatives are nuclear fission or managed forests.

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      Analitik

      Renewables(A) can’t operate without baseload back up (B) then A + B can never be cheaper than B alone.

      This is the point that the general public cannot grasp because the renewabubble lobby present the case that Renewables(A) can operate without baseload back up (B) which WE know is patently false but is masked by heroic efforts by the grid operators keeping the grids largely operational in the face of decreasing stability due to the increasing penetration of renewabubbles. The general public are totally unaware that generation MUST match demand at all times and that the 2016 South Australian blackout and the 2019 Melbourne partial blackout were due to the inability of renewabubble generators to provide the generation that their nameplate capacities purport.

      The renewabubble lobby have done an outstanding job in deflecting the failings of wind and solar as actually being an issue with thermal generators not being able to cover for the non-dispatchable nature of the renewabubbles. Their twisted logic really can only be exposed to the mathematically illiterate by the hard lessons of increased blackouts and electricity prices – something that will manifest shortly with Liddell’s upcoming closure. Sadly, the recovery will take time while new coal plants are built to replace Liddell and Hazelwood (plus Yallourn which is approaching the end of its useful life) but having to endure an extended period of third world electricity unreliability will drive home the fact that you are trying to pass on to others.

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        Matthew

        Maybe it’s time for the coal baseload generators to jack up and refuse to provide the stabilising jiggerypokery to cover for wind and solar’s inadequacy and let the cards fall where they may, like a mini preview of life after Liddell. Do that for a week and see what develops.

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    Dennis

    And right now Turnbull Party MPs are advocating for a forced transition to electric vehicles, taxpayer subsidies of course added to the $300 million already provided to encourage leasing firms to sell EV to their fleet operator clients.

    But where would the electricity come from, and how would recharging mostly from fossil fuelled generators reduce the ridiculous “carbon pollution”, carbon dioxide said to be a major climate hoax problem?

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    Simon B

    Surely the bottom line with all this smoke and mirrors has to be that both South Australia and Victoria put in giant extension cords to NSW and Tas to cover their deliberately inefficient baseloads? Why isn’t this question being asked of every politician in the country? Lunatics who swallowed Flannery’s sales pitch that it’d never rain again are now tying their baseload electricity needs to hydro, coal and gas, which then doesn’t show up on their emissions LCEO! Smoke and mirrors of the highest order.

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      Analitik

      New South Wales will shortly join South Australia and Victoria in the unreliability pool when Liddell closes. I suspect Queensland will island their grid during periods of high demand, leaving the rest of the NEM to cope with their foolish commitment to renewabubbles.

      Tasmania only has 2.2GW of generation capacity so even if the 650MW capacity of BassLink was massively augmented, it wouldn’t save New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria when the “right” conditions like those of January 24, 2019 presented.

      And I hope you meant insufficient baseloads (generation capacity), not inefficient.

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        Matthew

        Queensland, not being as ‘woke and up to date and finger on the pulse’ as the rest of OZ, were still building highly efficient coal plants when everyone else was holding their collective noses, now who’s laughing, QLD supports NSW grid every day now, we have MW to spare, let’s hope they keep out of the coal demonising BS for as long as possible.

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    george1st:)

    The biggest money tip is the transmission costs (extension cords) that try to keep the lights on .
    If that investment had only been in keeping the coal fired system alive we would have been so much better off .

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    Matthew

    Norfolk Island power management have the right idea, when solar output at midday comes close to overwhelming grid control, they just dump the excess into aircooled and buried grids and then run their generators at a rate that gives them grid control.
    There should be ripple controlled relays to trip solar excess during low demand like SA have adopted recently.

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    williamx

    Can Diverting Solar To Air Conditioning Help Reduce Overvoltage? Paladin Says Yes

    https://blog.solarpowerandenergytips.com/2020/09/02/can-diverting-solar-to-air-conditioning-help-reduce-overvoltage-paladin-says-yes/

    My comment.

    Who is the author Richard Chirgwin?

    In his words:
    “Richard Chirgwin is a journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering a wide range of technology topics, including electronics, telecommunications, computing and science.”

    His article is dated September 2, 2020.

    Ken Smith, Chief developer, of Paladin was interviewed by Richard Chirgwin.

    A quote from the reported article:

    “modern air conditioning units have included a “Demand Response Enabling Device”, or DRED.

    The DREDs were implemented at the request of electricity companies so that if there’s a shortage of power (for example, during a heatwave or when electricity supply is disrupted), the network can turn air conditioners down or off.

    Smith told us his idea was the INVERSE of what the networks do – turn the aircon on or up to soak up excess solar electricity from a household PV system.”

    End quote.

    My comment.

    Brilliant!

    Stabilise the EXCESS energy in the grid, by using my privately owned air conditioner.

    So I will have to give the network total control of my air conditioner.
    As well as having the control to shut my AC off, they now want the control to turn it on at their whim.

    Why do I need my A/C remote controller when I can just let the network decide what’s best.

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    Yarpos

    The “fluke moment” is going to be a characteristic of our grid as we move toward the great unicorn of the “transition to RE”

    Instead of having a stable, available and affordable grid we will have an expensive one that relies on good luck and the weather. Expect to hear lots of weasel words about “perfect storms” and unprecedented events. Texas and SA a couple of years ago provide a preview of whats to come for the main population centres in Oz.

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