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Still teetering: Blackout warnings across the Australian grid next three days

All the rules are breaking.

AEMO NEM Map, Australia, Electricity Grid.The price market broke on Sunday night and now the interconnectors rules are broken too. The whole Eastern five state “National” grid is flying seat of the pants — the reserves are so incredibly thin that there are LOR3 forecasts — meaning Lack Of Reserve Level 3 rolled out for all five states. It doesn’t mean blackouts will happen, but it means all the protective layers of this onion are gone. The system is running bare.

UPDATE: There were some blackouts in Sydney’s northern suburbs last night. “Millions of homes” were apparently told to conserve their power in Brisbane and Sydney. Welcome to RenewableWorld!

ht/ WattsUp, Eric Worrall, and RicDre

The price market broke on Sunday night when for the first time the AEMO imposed somewhat anachronistic price setting clauses it had never used. By fixing the wholesale price in Queensland, market bidding suddenly phase-changed into a twilight world where prices were set too low (at an obscenely high $300/MWh, but not high enough now), and generators didn’t want to bid. So offers to supply “Yo-Yo’d” and the AEMO had to run emergency orders of a different kind to force generators to run. In days to come, some bureaucrats will work out later what they should all really be paid post hoc after their compensation claims are filed. The Administered Pricing in Queensland quickly spread to NSW and Victoria and South Australia.

It’s not 100% clear how thin actual generation reserve is, or how much the crisis is due to generators not wanting to bid at these prices. Even the lawyers are busy. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has sent out letters to all the generators today reminding them they have an obligation to provide electricity generation and play nice, and they must not omit intentionally or recklessly anything that might contribute to current (ahem) circumstances.

Last night, the AEMO got through the night (in Queensland)*. But to avoid blackouts the AEMO broke its own rules on interconnector flow to allow some energy through to Queensland. The interconnectors are normally limited by automatic equations which are designed to stop a situation like the total Black-State-SA that occurred in 2016. As I understand it, states need enough reserve power so that the largest single generator can go kaput and trip out without also causing a cascading system collapse. Last night things were so on-the-brink that Queensland didn’t have that reserve. Someone in central control had to override the protection formulas to allow megawatts from NSW to sneak through to Queensland, even though it meant that last layer of protection against a system black was stripped away. Bare knuckle stuff in the control room. It’s fine as long as everything works.

Graphs that show the market is broken

Here the forecast price for the whole of NSW is a blistering $15,100/MWh for nearly every single minute of the next 24 hours, but the actual price is coming in at the mandated $300.00. The Queensland graph looks almost exactly the same. There has not been a day like this…

All those solar panels at midday (with their subsidies) are reducing the price forecast to $12,855, whatever that means.

AEMO, NSW, Graph, RPice, demand, June 14 2022.

The flatlining graphs show that this is not a “market”. Prices are forecast at $14,000 but coming in at $300.

 

Teetering on the brink all night, and tomorrow, and in all five states

AEMO Market Notices are like a ticker tape parade. Queensland has warnings issued today running from 4.30pm right through to midnight. NSW is in trouble from 5pm to midnight. Loads that may be interrupted are in the order of 1500MW in both states, though both appear to have made it through the day’s peak load. Currently NSW sits at LOR2 (Lack fo Reserve Level 2) and there are forecasts of LOR2 for no less than 7 time periods tonight. Even Victoria is running thin enough that there is a warning of a 218MW forecast of load to be “interrupted”.

WattClarity is struggling to keep up with AEMO Market Notices. The pace is so blistering that dedicated market watchers missed LOR3 forecasts for Tasmania and South Australia — normally something that would be the most exciting news that year, but now, just another blip.

Similar warnings apply for tomorrow night in all three largest states in Australia.

Where is all that global warming?

Today’s peak demand for the grid was 31,200MW — a high reading for winter in Australia. It must be cold on the East Coast today, but luckily there was some 4GW of wind power (green band) which arrived today in time to keep things afloat for the evening peak. There was only 1GW of wind or less overnight last night. So cold windy nights are OK. It’s the cold windless nights that break the system.

Anero.id. Load demand pricing, Australian NEM Grid. Graph. June 14 2022

Total peak demand was 31.2MW which is high for winter.

Breaking the interconnector safety rules

For a couple of hours from around 6 – 8am this morning Queensland was importing more energy from NSW than was considered safe:

Paul McArdle, Wattclarity

Desperate times call for desperate measures on Monday 13th June 2022

1)  NEMDE can’t find a feasible solution to dispatching the NEM for 07:10 this morning without ‘violating’ some constraint equations.

2)  This has the effect of allowing more transfers into QLD from NSW than what would be ordinarily considered safe to do so.

3)  However it comes with a risk … particularly, in this case, had Kogan tripped during this period we would have been a heightened risk of Voltage Collapse in the grid.

4)  Should this have happened, it may well not have been as ‘controlled’ as what might happen if this forecast LOR3 for this evening does not get resolved … rather, what might have happened might be more catastrophic, and longer to recover from (more like the SA System Black).

5)  The AEMO’s done this because the market presented them with very few other options…

The graphic included in the post includes a data table with words like “Out=Lismore SVC, avoid Voltage Collapse on loss of Kogan Creek”“. Presumably this translates as we’re over-riding the normal requirements and if Kogan coal trips, the interconnector will load-shed Queensland, and the whole system goes down. (Hey but a “System Black” in Queensland is only billions of dollars and potentially a life and death situation for a few people.)

Various government agencies are currently reminding all the players that they have to play whether they like it or not. It’s a totally Soviet system now, with only the illusion of being a free market.

As an aside, for the true energy-nerds, it appears Australia doesn’t have much in the way of “pre-programmed” blackout capability to deal with this type of crisis. Those are called rather cutely, “Negawatts”. Wattclarity analyzes the Wholesale Demand Response during these extraordinary times, and finds that it essentially amounts to almost nothing. Apart from the two giant aluminum smelters in NSW and Vic that use about 10% of each state’s generation, there were only 12 units registered to provide “wholesale demand response” which is a big total of 59MW in a system that is currently drawing around 30,000MW.

Evidently, it’s harder to get people to voluntarily give up their electricity even when there are payments on offer.

 

9.3 out of 10 based on 48 ratings

142 comments to Still teetering: Blackout warnings across the Australian grid next three days

  • #
    rowjay

    Last century, SE Australian grid power production was essentially coal-fired. Peak electricity usage was in the summer months when cooling using air conditioners caused the increase. Less grid power was needed during the winter months as reverse cycle air conditioners were not terribly efficient on frosty mornings, and wood or gas took care of heating requirements. The Autumn shoulder period when cooling or electrical heating was not required were the traditional scheduled coal-fired generator maintenance periods.

    A real-world example of electrical/gas usage is the ACT, where gas still provides 55-60% of the Territories winter energy needs. The ACT’s dubious 100% renewables claim only relates to electrical generation and not overall energy use. A similar situation exists in southern NSW and Victoria. This means that if a 100% renewables/no gas scenario is adopted, the peak power usage period for SE Australia would now be winter when the peak electrical generation need would likely be double the summer peak.

    Renewable energy generation during the cooler months are most compromised by short, cloudy days and common wind stagnation events when the new energy model needs them to perform at their optimum. The current crisis is our real-world example of looming grid failure – totally predictable.

    What a mess!

    441

    • #
      Geoff+Croker

      The only cherry missing on top of the icing is a meeting of COP in Australia.

      COP meetings primarily revolve around negotiations and debates. The aim is to review progress towards the overall goal of the UNFCCC: to limit climate change.

      When we have a scheduled COP meeting in Melbournistan we will ALL KNOW when our economy is scheduled to be utterly destroyed.

      251

      • #
        James Murphy

        We have decimated our manufacturing and basic oil/mineral refining capabilities. Any turn-around will take decades, and there is no will for autonomy or manufacturing/processing independence.

        There is general support for buying “Australian made” until it comes to actually paying for something, and few people or governments follow through with it to the point where it makes a difference.

        I know there is innovation and there are some smart people, and developments happening in Australia, but unfortunately it really feels like rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.

        251

        • #
          Dennis

          Research United Nations Lima Protocol 1975 signed by the Whitlam Government of Australia, the beginning of the end of most manufacturing industry here.

          Then consider UN Agenda 21 – Sustainability, Kyoto Agreement and Paris Agreement on lowering emissions.

          Ans ask why UN identified “developing nations” are constructing new power stations while in Australia governments discourage any proposals, meaning State Governments, the Morrison Coalition Government proposed 1 coal fired power station and 1 gas generator for QLD, 2 gas generators for NSW and 1 gas generator for VIC. So far just one of them has been given development approval, NSW Hunter Valley location.

          This is social engineering on a grand scale and we can complain as much as we do and they are not listening.

          60

    • #

      The difference in summer and winter generation from solar is quite significant but rarely acknowledged by the activists.

      What this means in engineering terms is that if solar is looked on as needed for part of the grid then one must have enough to deal with demand on the worst case basis, which is winter with cloudy weather.

      This then means one has to deploy far more panels than one normally needs, one has a gross excess of generation during summer months, or we need “something else” to cover when solar does not provide what is expected.

      To deal with this the activists just resort to name calling or wave their hands and say “it will be sorted”. This is utterly irresponsible and in particular the need to back up unreliable renewables properly has been dodged for far too long. This in effect means we need an alternate grid, available at a moments notice. Who pays for that excess very low utilisation equipment? Yes, the customer , with eye watering power prices….but the activists will not say this and keep on saying, without any basis, that “renewables are the cheapest generation”. This is an utter lie.

      140

      • #
        Robber

        Summer solar about 3,000 GWh/month. May 1,570 GWh.

        40

        • #
          Graeme#4

          I’ve had falls recently where the daily output has been only 13% of the normal summer output.

          00

      • #
        Pete of Charnlop

        The 8 panels the previous owner installed on my house in 2012 (1.5KW system) typically makes 50% – or less – in June than what it does during Oct to Feb. I have this stuff all graphed out you see. Interesting to note, too, that the capacity factor has fallen steadily in the last 10 years of its life, from 18.2% down to 15.6% The panels are wearing out and I’d imagine their output will be pitiful by 2032.

        I used to feel guilty about having panels on my house, but then realised that the pinko’s in the ACT all love this stuff. So, meh!

        40

  • #
    The Quiet Farmer

    Warmer night in QLD tonight. Might get through another night??

    50

  • #
    Graeme#4

    And now WA plans to join the mad hatters tea party by closing all its coal power stations, which supply on average 40% of the SWIS grid power. Strangely though, the most modern Bluewaters, commissioned in 2009, wasn’t mentioned.

    270

    • #
      b.nice

      LOL, They must be going to change it all to GAS

      Currently — Coal:1044MW, GAS:1766MW, Wind:22MW… LOL !

      120

    • #
      Deano

      Yes, while the eastern states are biting their fingernails away, Western Australian Premier McGowan couldn’t have picked a better day to announce to the good folk of Collie (coal mining town here in WA) that their coal fired power stations will all be shutting down by 2029. He committed to NOT building anymore gas power stations either! Ironically it has been an overcast day with almost no wind today.
      Theory over reality again.

      310

      • #
        Bruce

        There goes their Alumina plant.

        Aluminium: “frozen electricity”.

        Before electrical smelting was devised, Aluminium was up there with platinum in value / scarcity, despite Aluminium Oxide being spectacularly abundant on the surface of the planet.

        You can literally scrape up vast hauls of Bauxite, but, without electric smelting, it is just a really good abrasive.

        Not as abrasive as the LSM’s favourite swivel-eyed loon, Oddson-Wrong.

        40

        • #
          Dennis

          Large industrial companies have been closing down following State Government orders for several years when electricity supply is in a crisis, and we the taxpayers fund compensation for the shareholders of those businesses for loss of income.

          How long will they remain here?

          If I was a CEO of one of them I would have an exit strategy in place and by now probably a closure date.

          10

        • #
          Graeme#4

          When researching WA energy recently, I noticed that the Alcoa plant appeared to have its own grid-connected generator, which doesn’t appear to be running. Presumably this is a quick-start gas unit.

          20

        • #
          Deano

          Aluminium: “frozen electricity”.

          I read somewhere about a late 19th century engineering exhibition in France where a whopping 1 kilo ingot of aluminium was on display. It was considered quite amazing at the time because the electric method of producing it had not been developed properly (or at all?) by that stage and aluminium was still a rare experience. People picked it up and marveled at how light it was. Our grandchildren might do the same!

          00

    • #
      another ian

      Bumped from last open

      “Chad
      June 14, 2022 at 8:57 pm · Reply
      Since when will 800MW , ($1.0 bn), of wind turbines, replace 1200 MW of coal generation ?
      No amount of batteries will help that shortfall .”

      Obviously McGowan has broken the energy barrier!

      80

  • #
  • #
    Vicki

    What annoys me is that we have a 10kw solar system which supplies excess power back to the grid. But when there is a blackout we are disconnected like everyone else from power. We do have a petrol generator, & we could also purchase a battery for these occasions. The former relies on supplies of petrol, & the latter is very very expensive. Very frustrating.

    140

    • #
      4Million%RenewablesNow!

      10 kW system? How big is your house?

      10

      • #
        yarpos

        Sized for FIT most likely. A big lunchtime exporter. But that is only nameplate so effectively what ? 3.5kW?

        20

    • #
      ozfred

      A new inverter with battery should automatically disconnect you from the grid when the grid “goes walkabout”. As well it will allow the solar panels to recharge your battery and/or use that power in your house (now off grid).
      Expensive? Generic batteries are just starting to become available. Will the installers / regulations let you chose one?
      Time will tell.

      20

    • #
      Hanrahan

      That’s the way it must be Vicki. During a blackout there is no way to disconnect your house from the street, so if your inverter continues to feed your house wiring it would be also be trying to power the street.

      I’m sure you see the drawbacks there.

      Should you install a battery you need an electrical upgrade which does this, the same if you have a wired in genny.

      00

  • #
    b.nice

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPWRS4TKn10

    Stock market, boats, electricity.. poor Albo ! 😉

    Poor Australia under Albo.

    181

    • #
      Deano

      It’s early days yet but, Albanese looks like he’s desperate to get everyone to love him given the decisions his government has made so far. And I can’t be the only person suspicious of the sudden Chinese change of attitude towards us. It reminds me of a gangster movie where the ‘boss’ pretends to be happy and joking just before suddenly shooting dead the new guy in competition to him. The CCP are playing Albanese like an old guitar and he thinks it’s because he’s lovable!

      181

  • #
    Paul Miskelly

    Hi Jo,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Your coverage is brilliant.
    It reminds me of Herbert Morrison’s coverage of the Hindenberg disaster, and this is, if anything, an even more important event to cover.
    There is a difference, as well you know: we have been saying for years that this disaster is waiting to happen, and now, it seems imminent.
    And for all of us who have been trying for years to wake government policymakers up, I am sure that it gives absolutely no joy whatsoever to any of us to be proven correct.
    As David Maddison has been putting into words for days now what many of us have been thinking: there is a very high chance that innocent people may lose their lives should the grid “go black” on any of this present spell of very cold nights in Eastern Australia.
    We are all of us only too well aware that unlike the foretaste event in SA back in 2016, should the entire Eastern States “go black”, there is no interconnector to the Big Powerstation across the Border to come to the rescue for this one. Should it take operators several days to restore power, what dreadful outcomes might occur in the interim?
    At 9:50 pm tonight here in Moss Vale, the outside temp. is 1.6 deg C and falling rapidly. I expect the temperature will go below last night’s minimum here of -4 deg C. We can expect much lower temperatures in other parts of the Eastern States overnight. As we all know, many parts of the east are in for a pattern of still, calm, very cold nights. If the grid fails during the evening peak on any one of these evenings, I shudder to think at the possible outcome.
    Very well done,
    Paul Miskelly

    370

    • #
      Ted1

      Paul, I insert here, not exactly OT.

      A year or two back we had a big windstorm which caused an all of area blackout.

      We had a generator but no fuel. None of the servos had electricity backup, we couldn’t get fuel.

      30

      • #
        yarpos

        We use the cars as “tankers” and have small 12v fuel pump to extract fuel to containers. At any point in time we have about 150 litres available. More if i think trouble is brewing and keep them topped up.

        40

        • #
          Bruce

          A couple of points: Unleaded fuel has a MUCH shorter storage time than the hated “Super”; twelve months in a “warm” shed and it will be showing signs of deterioration, basically to odd-smelling Kerosene.

          Number your fuel “backup” containers and write the purchase date and fuel type on them; use in sequence. Contaminating the fuel handling system on the Veyron (or the Corolla) can be an expensive mistake.

          Avoid that horrible “ethanol-enhanced” rubbish like monkeypox; ethanol attract water, which in turn does nasty thugs to the fuel handling system, from the fuel tank to the injectors / carby etc. The OH group on the ethanol has a deleterious effect on a lot of the “flexible” components of the fuel system, as well.

          110

  • #
    PeterPetrum

    Just returned to the Blue Mountains after 10 days in FNQ. Got home at 8pm to a house that was at 8degC. Very glad the power was still on and we could get the house warmed up before we go to bed. Makes you really sorry for those poor pensioners in the UK that have to go to bed with three jumpers on.

    210

  • #
    Hanrahan

    For a couple of hours from around 6 – 8am this morning Queensland was importing more energy from NSW than was considered safe:

    I’m speculating here but one limiting factor [I assume the over-riding factor] is line resistance where basic Ohm’s applies: E=IR. In this case E is power loss as heat.

    A transmission cable is not solid copper but usually three braids of aluminium wound around a steel core. Aluminium is a compromise between weight, cost and conductivity. The core of a cable doesn’t carry the current so steel’s relatively poor conductivity doesn’t matter.

    If overheated the cable doesn’t melt like a fuse but the “lubricating” film over the formed conductors burns and the cable is RUINED.

    I never worked on the project but I heard of a vibration sensor to fit on the cable to measure the vibration which is caused by wind. The operators must have assumed that in a cold frosty morning they could push the envelope.

    I guess that’s why we pay professionals. The operators I worked with were dedicated.

    100

    • #
      Ted1

      I think the conductors in the 500 kv line from Mt Piper to Bayswater have no steel, just aluminium. A bit over an inch thick, in bundles of four, spaced at about shin length for the blokes who went out along them to fix the spacers. From memory there must have been about 2 km of conductor on a roll.

      First they built the towers, then hung pulleys on them, then a helicopter ran a line which was use to draw another line and so on till they had a line strong enough to draw the actual power lines over the pulleys without letting them touch the ground, because any scratches on the line itself would cause power loss.

      About 12 or 15 years ago on a muggy day the kids told me that the power line was crackling. I was too deaf to hear it, but a few days later I read that they had recently bumped the line voltage up from 330 kv to 500 kv. So, for the first 25 years it had operated at 330 kv.

      That line to avoid going through the Wollemi National Park was built 55 km longer than the direct route. I wonder how much power that wastes as it crackles?

      70

      • #
        Ted1

        And, yes, that line does sing in the wind, though not as noticeably as the old telephone lines did. Further away maybe. Certainly heavier wire.

        10

    • #
      yarpos

      E is just voltage H, but yes basic loss via resistance in DC terms. Things get a little more complex in AC ccts and again in high voltage transmission lines.

      00

  • #
    Honk R Smith

    How dare you …
    be concerned about freezing to death.

    101

  • #
    beowulf

    From WattClarity, a summary of those coal units that MIGHT be back online soon but not soon enough:

    • Bayswater #2 (660MW) — by Sunday 19th June
    • Bayswater #4 (660MW) — plant failure — hopefully by Thurs 16th June
    • Callide #3 (466MW) — tripped — by Sunday 19th June
    • Gladstone #4 (280MW) — tripped — imminent re-start, fingers crossed
    • Milmerran #1 (426MW) — back sometime on or before Sunday 19th June
    • Yallourn #1 (360MW) — economiser tube leak — possibly by Sunday 19th June
    • Yallourn #4 (380MW) — tripped restarted tripped — by Sunday 19th June

    https://wattclarity.com.au/articles/2022/06/14june-rts-expectations-coal-units/

    80

  • #
    Mtngoat

    I have friends who claim this is all normsl And we just didn’t know about it before. I assert this is BS and that the wind turbines and renewables are clearly destabilizing the grid, They of course blame coal and gas for gouging. I point out gouging isn’t possible if the system is stable.

    Is there a historical resource for grid stability for Australia? Where can I look up the number of blackouts per year for decades or something along these lines?

    90

    • #
      yarpos

      In some areas the are probably half right. Remember that we used to have spare units which meant maintenance and the occasional failure could be dealt with without it being visible to customers. They have steadily removed this spare capacity and now everything is needed. To your point they have replaced this capacity with intermittents making us ever more dependent on that which is being removed.

      They have to point the finger at coal and gas. If they don’t their whole belief system falls apart. The will delay that as long as possible but the awakening/disappointment is inevitable. I wonder if it will cross their minds to think what else have I been lied to about?

      60

      • #
        Lawrie

        Speaking of the spare units and how we have limited fat these days there are those who want to bring in another 200000 people every year as migrants all of whom require housing with electrics and perhaps gas. Remembering how Phillip Lowe, head of the RBA, told everyone that there would be no interest rate rises before 2024 and that inflation would be constrained and him on over half a million per year and numerous staff on in excess of a quarter million and they get it monumentally wrong but keep their jobs well the clowns rumnning the AEMO and the grid are just as incompetent. Appointments are made on the basis of belief in the climate catastrophe rather than ability to effectively run a power system so decision making is doomed from the outset.

        60

  • #
    Alice+Thermopolis

    HELP IS ON THE WAY…..

    “If we’re going to be honest about this, it looks like these higher prices are going to persist for the next two years, if you look at what’s happening elsewhere in the world,” he said.

    Andrew Stock from the Climate Council said Victoria and SA were better placed to weather any power shortfall because of the state’s push towards renewable energy sources.

    “Fortunately, some of the states like Victoria and South Australia have been getting on with it anyway and they are reaping some of the benefits, and now Queensland and New South Wales are playing catch-up as fast as they can,” Mr Stock said.

    Question: At what point, one wonders, could there be forced “nationalisation” of the ES energy grid, as the financial exposure of commercial operators drives them to the wall?

    Answer: Before RE is “82% of energy generation by 2030”, as promised by the current government

    80

    • #
      Ted1

      Long before!

      20

      • #
        Alice+Thermopolis

        Ted1

        Correct: today in fact. Wow.

        ES energy market effectively “nationalised” by AEMO suspending spot prices due to “catastrophic market failure”.

        That’s jargon for creating conditions in which failure was inevitable.:

        https://aemo.com.au/newsroom/media-release/aemo-suspends-nem-wholesale-market

        “The current energy challenge in eastern Australia is the result of several factors – across the interconnected gas and electricity markets. In recent weeks in the electricity market, we have seen:
        • A large number of generation units out of action for planned maintenance – a typical situation in the shoulder seasons.
        • Planned transmission outages.
        • Periods of low wind and solar output.
        • Around 3000 MW of coal fired generation out of action through unplanned events.
        • An early onset of winter – increasing demand for both electricity and gas.
        “We are confident today’s actions will deliver the best outcomes for Australian consumers, and as we return to normal conditions, the market based system will once again deliver value to homes and businesses,” he said.”

        30

  • #
    Andrew McRae

    A short history lesson.

    The highest law of the land in Australia is the constitution and the process for altering it requires a national vote called a referendum. In 1973 a referendum was held to decide if the federal government could be permitted to place controls on prices. That’s because the specific powers granted to Federal parliament did not include market pricing. Back then, although voter support was almost 50% in some States, the referendum did not pass in any State and did not pass nationally. So on the only occasion that Australians have ever been systematically consulted on this issue, they chose to prevent the federal government from gaining controls over prices of commodities.

    Now back to the present. Jo’s words, my emph:

    for the first time the AEMO imposed somewhat anachronistic price setting clauses it had never used. By fixing the wholesale price in Queensland, market bidding suddenly phase-changed into a twilight world where prices were set too low (at an obscenely high $300/MWh, but not high enough now), and generators didn’t want to bid. So offers to supply “Yo-Yo’d” and the AEMO had to run emergency orders of a different kind to force generators to run. … The Administered Pricing in Queensland quickly spread to NSW and Victoria and South Australia.

    The constitution today still does not include pricing as a power of Parliament.
    Between then and now how did we get government control over a major commodity price?

    170

    • #
      yarpos

      The Constitution says lots of things that were routinely trampled on during Covid. I dont think it is a widely respected document, and from an basic educational viewpoint a little known document.

      120

      • #
        ozfred

        I recall that the USA government could not mandate a national speed limit (55 mph) to be enforced by the states.
        But they could say your get no federal highway grants if the limit is higher than 55…..

        20

      • #
        Andrew McRae

        Have to agree it is a little-known document, as I had not joined the dots on one of the clauses in s51 until now.
        Possibly I have answered my own question.
        Clause 37 is the “referred powers” clause and it may explain how all of this electricity pricing was legal without a referendum, though I have not checked the State constitutions to see if this is the answer.

        matters referred to the Parliament of the Commonwealth by the Parliament or Parliaments of any State or States

        This means any legal power a State had before federation can be passed on to/granted to (referred to) the Federation.
        As the States had sovereign powers of their own, quite possibly they implicitly had the right to set the price of electricity, so they could refer that to the Commonwealth.

        That arrangement must have taken some time to get started though. The Wikipedia page on this topic for Qld says a private company in Brisbane was the first electricity supplier in Australia. The history for the next 40 years seems to have been private suppliers building out the network and providing power, with the city council and later State government slowly advancing outwards and taking over the system. Ultimately people without electricity simply wanted it. I can’t imagine anyone complaining about whether it was private or public sector.

        This still glosses over the issue of how one of the most important commodity prices could be fixed by the federal government even after a referendum had rejected such a change for other commodities. It’s the vibe of the thing. 😉

        10

  • #
    RicDre

    Sydney Grid Fail: Australia’s Greenest Voters Plunged into Darkness

    Essay by Eric Worrall

    h/t Phil Salmon; Will nobody turn up the solar panels?

    Entire Sydney suburbs plunged into darkness as more power outages loom

    Suburbs around Sydney suffered power outages on Monday night, as officials warn more blackouts could be on their way.

    Homes in Beacon Hill, Frenchs Forest, Narraweena, Cromer and Dee Why were all temporarily without power, Ausgrid said.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/06/14/sydney-grid-fail-deep-green-voters-plunged-into-darkness/

    70

  • #
    CHRIS

    We sow what we reap. Inaction by green slime supporters (ie: Liberal AND labor state governments) have caused this problem. However, one swallow does not make a summer (ie: one cold snap does not make a winter). Perspective, people!!!

    60

    • #
      yarpos

      only if you sow your own seed I guess

      not sure what perspective you are on about

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    • #
      Chad

      #
      CHRIS
      June 15, 2022 at 1:10 am · Reply
      We sow what we reap. Inaction by green slime supporters (ie: Liberal AND labor state governments) have caused this problem.

      Err ?.. shouldnt that be. “We reap what we sow “. ?

      10

  • #
    Mikky

    One uncertainty is how much of the unconstrained cost of generating electricity is due to fuel prices, and how much is due to ever lower demand on the fossil fuel plants. If a plant only gets to produce half its previous amount of energy then it must charge more for it.

    This question is naturally buried by the transition zealots, who deflect blame elsewhere.

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  • #

    In parallel I am blowing the whistle on our grid reliability regulator:
    https://www.cfact.org/2022/06/14/news-of-nerc-is-not-good-for-reliability/

    Breaking the story on NERC and FERC’s deliberate negligence, ignoring the rapidly declining reliability of the American electric power system due to the reckless replacing of reliable coal fired power plants with unreliable renewables. Given the coming election the timing is excellent. We must restore reliability!

    Who is legally responsible for reliability in Oz?

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    • #
      Ted1

      It makes no difference who is responsible. Not much, anyway. When the lights go out the privateers go broke, and the government picks up the pieces.

      Who gets to feed off the carrion is anybody’s guess. The Marxists think they will, but it is more likely that nobody will.

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      • #

        Blackout damages are huge and the responsible agency(s) might be liable for negligence. Also political action is quite possible if it gets bad enough.

        61

  • #
    Neville

    Francis Menton has another look at Twiggy Forrest’s Green hydrogen lunacy and boy it’s SUPER expensive and almost impossible to store or pipe to another location.
    Probable cost is 5 to 10 times more than normal fossil fuel gas and much more of the TOXIC S & W idiocy required to create this new delusional industry.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/06/14/hydrogen-is-unlikely-ever-to-be-a-viable-solution-to-the-energy-storage-conundrum/

    100

    • #
      ozfred

      The “success” of that particular green hydrogen may rest on whether or not a direct hydrogen reduction of iron ore is feasible and economic. And whether the reduced cost of transportation will offset the cost of the process.

      00

  • #
    OldOzzie

    Further Liberal Party/Australian Government Stupidity

    NSW government knocked back Origin offer to sell Eraring power plant

    The NSW government considered a pitch to buy the loss-making Eraring Power Station in secret talks with Origin Energy last year. But the deal fell apart amid government concerns that underwriting a plan to keep the coal-fired power station open longer could “crowd out” other investments in energy.

    After negotiations failed Origin announced the closure of Eraring in 2025.

    Origin first approached the NSW government in mid-2021 with a pitch to hand over control of the NSW Central Coast power station under a deal that would transfer ownership to the government in 2023 financial responsibility from 2025 onwards.

    A presentation to government in July 2021 opening talks on a deal was blunt about the challenges Origin faced at the ageing power plant, which the company expects could cost $10 million a month to operate from mid-2025.

    “The market shift to renewable energy coupled with commitments to build more dispatchable capacity means Eraring is already loss making and this position will deteriorate over the decade,” an Origin briefing pack to the government stated.

    “We recognise the implications of the Eraring closure and we have developed a proposal to support the state in minimising disruption and mitigating the impacts on security and pricing.”

    A timeline drafted by the government’s investment banking adviser ICA Partners revealed negotiations opened on November 1, with several options canvassed for Origin to hand over control of the plant from 2025.

    Part of the deal included Origin committing to a building an 800MW, two-hour battery next to the plant and potentially expanding a Shoalhaven pumped hydro facility.

    By November, the government said it could decide ahead of Origin’s half-year results in February. But by December the deal had fallen over, and Origin walked away citing uncertainty about the retirement date and other issues.

    “Origin wants the state to operate the plant post-2025 and sell back to Origin a block of power. State wants an insurance model that allows the plan to operate post-2025 only as required for reliability purposes,” ICA Partners investment banking adviser Michael Siede is recorded to have said in a final briefing note. The government did not want to be seen to be influencing market outcomes, he added.

    The documents reveal government fears over taking on risks it could not control and that committing the power station to operate for longer could discourage or “crowd out” investment in other energy sources. The notes also reveal a government preference to keep the plant open using extensions to address shortfalls in supply rather than committing to a specified time frame.

    A note prepared by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment on December 8 reasoned that the power station was “not expected to be needed for price or reliability beyond June 2025” and that extending its operation beyond 2025 could expose consumers to unnecessary costs while “outcrowding” other investments.

    Government advisers also reasoned that Origin was a “socially responsible” organisation and would not shut the plant down in 2025 if the market needed the supply. Two months after the talks failed, Origin announced it would close Eraring in August 2025.

    The NSW government attempted to keep the sensitive documents under wraps using a claim for privilege which was ultimately dismissed in late May.

    The dossier lays bare six months of high-stakes negotiations with the energy giant who spruiked the deal as a solution to lock in certainty over the state’s energy supply as broader questions were surfacing over when Snowy 2.0 would come online.

    As revealed by The Australian Financial Review, Snowy 2.0 will not begin dispatching power until late this decade after unexpected project blowouts, potentially prompting a shortfall and forcing states to reconsider their opposition to using coal and gas in a planned capacity market mechanism.

    An Origin spokesperson confirmed the discussions.

    “Origin undertook extensive discussions with the NSW government to identify what options might exist for the future of the plant. However, these concluded when no agreement could be reached.”

    A spokesperson for Energy Minister Matt Kean declined to comment on the talks but said the current situation in the energy market was being driven by external factors, not future closure dates.

    “Eraring will not close until 2025 at the earliest, as announced to the ASX by Origin Energy,” he said.

    Under one plan pitched by Origin, the government would assume control of the power station from 2023 and would start covering costs from 2025 onwards until its final closure date.

    After the transfer in 2023, Origin would keep two units open for two years and operate the plant on the state’s behalf while the state paid all costs for the plant to an agreed budget plus coal costs, with a defined volume and price off-take agreement in place.

    The state said it wanted to explore the possibility of keeping four units in operation and whether there could be a mothballing option for some months to reduce emissions.

    The state offered concessions to Origin including an upfront fee and a commitment to provide two years’ notice of retirement. The government also committed to selling Origin the required minimum output at discounted prices while handing the energy company the option to generate more than the minimum amount.

    A schedule of expected costs prepared by Origin on one iteration of the plan showed it would cost the government just under $250 million from 2022 until 2027.

    This included an annual management fee to Origin of $10 million, while the state would also cover operational and capital costs, and would pick up the cost of coal from 2025 onwards.

    By that time, the government would use revenues from the plant’s output – estimated to be about $240 million a year – to offset costs, for a total cost of $71 million in fiscal 2026 and $56 million in 2027.

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    • #
      yarpos

      “A spokesperson for Energy Minister Matt Kean………….

      “Eraring will not close until 2025 at the earliest, as announced to the ASX by Origin Energy,” he said.”

      So 2025 is just 2 and a half years away and he isnt concerned. The confidence of a true believer just before they smack into a wall.

      130

      • #
        b.nice

        So, if something goes wrong with something.. why would they spend the money to fix it.

        Particularly with finance being withheld due to the anti-CO2 agenda

        60

        • #
          yarpos

          The absence of a plan is not a plan, this seems too important for “she’ll be right” we are green!

          30

    • #
      Dennis

      Matt Green is a Liberal In Name Only centre left, arguably further left than that.

      20

  • #
    OldOzzie

    “Once Is Happenstance. Twice Is Coincidence. Three Times Is Enemy Action” – Ian Fleming
    Quote

    Tweet
    Pelham
    @Resist_05
    · 19 Apr

    Bill Gates is the largest investor in vaccines and there’s a pandemic..

    Bill Gates is the largest owner of land in America and there’s a food crisis..

    Bill Gates is the largest investor in renewables and there’s a oil shortage..

    80

  • #
    Neville

    Meanwhile more delusional nonsense from the UN Sec General, but I’m sure the Albo and Greens loonies will be pleased.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/06/14/un-new-funding-for-fossil-fuel-exploration-and-production-infrastructure-is-delusional/

    10

  • #
    • #
      RicDre

      An interesting quote from your link:

      They will also promote more demand for electricity for electric cars, many seeking overnight charging (despite having zero solar power and intermittent wind power at night). So we will need giant fire-prone batteries to recharge small fire-prone batteries.

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  • #
    OldOzzie

    Australian Governments Stupidity noted Overseas

    1000s Of Sydney Homes Plunged Into Darkness As Aussie ‘Price Cap’ Policy Sparks Energy Shortage

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/1000s-sydney-homes-plunged-darkness-aussie-price-cap-policy-sparks-energy-shortage

    20

  • #
    crakar24

    so its time now for the obvious question….how will the NEM survive when NSW cuts over 4GW in coal generation by 2025?

    50

  • #
    crakar24

    O/T but just announced the important elite in GOV. just got a pay rise FFS

    50

  • #
    OldOzzie

    Customers to pick up tab for generator compensation

    Households and businesses will be hit with higher power bills to help compensate energy regulators paying millions of dollars to generators who are forced to boost supply in the market to help avoid potential blackouts in Queensland and NSW.

    With cumulative price thresholds reached on the east coast, the Australian Energy Market Operator has intervened to direct some generators to put more supply into the market at loss-making prices.

    If a generator is tapped by AEMO to increase their output, they are automatically compensated through a complex formula under the National Electricity Rules.

    Given the energy shortfalls in key east coast energy markets, especially Queensland and NSW, the generators will eventually be paid millions of dollars in compensation by AEMO which will then get passed onto consumers in the form of higher power prices via their retailers.

    “Ultimately, customers will pay for it in the end,” said the Grattan Institute’s energy program director Tony Wood.

    According to the National Electricity Rules, generators who are directed to meet a potential shortfall in a region, are paid a 90th percentile of the average spot price over the past 12 months and that is paid automatically within 20 days. AEMO will recover those costs from retailers through their participant fees.

    Conversely, if a generator is operating at a loss under the $300 a megawatt hour price cap imposed by the Cumulative Price Threshold, it is also eligible to apply for compensation through the Australian Energy Market Commission (AMEC).

    The AMEC, which sets the market rules, said the cumulative price cap was supposed to be a “risk mitigation measure” for consumers to stop the very high prices flowing through the market.

    Market data showed generators withdrew capacity from the NEM after $300/MWh prices were imposed in both Queensland and then subsequently in NSW because it would be more worth their while to be directed by AEMO to generate.

    Industry sources said while generators can be compensated for lost costs under the compensation scheme in the Cumulative Price Threshold regulations, it was more profitable for them to instead be compensated by AEMO under a direction to generate.

    This forced Australian Energy Regulator chairwoman Clare Savage on Tuesday to write to energy generators to remind them of their obligations, saying some generators were withdrawing available capacity to get a better compensation deal.

    “The AER expects market participants to undertake their operations so as to ensure they are not causing or significantly contributing to the circumstances causing a direction to be issued,” she said.

    “The AER will continue to closely monitor and review rebids to withdraw capacity from the market.”

    But Josh Stabler, managing director of energy adviser Energy Edge, said there was no clarity on the exact rules that would apply for compensation at this stage.

    He said a representative from the AEMC speaking on a briefing call on the situation on Monday indicated that different rules might be used to resolve the current situation.

    “The costs associated with the compensation will be passed through to customers, not AEMO,” he said.

    “Theoretically, this should be lower than a higher price for the entire market rather than just high prices for the high-cost generators. But it is likely to get very messy.”

    Mr Stabler said that now the Cumulative Price Threshold had been exceeded and the market is capped in the four mainland states, it was more likely that the cap would be extended past the end of the week.

    “Generators are being dispatched at market outcomes below their fuel cost, so they are incentivised to extract their capacity, or bid unavailable, to avoid being dispatched,” he said.

    “This results in higher shadow prices which is included in the calculation of the CPT, and therefore, extending its duration.”

    Dylan McConnell, research fellow at the Climate & Energy College at the University of Melbourne, said that in both Queensland and NSW, market data showed several plants that had been forecast to be available to produce power were withdrawn from the market once the $300/MWh limit was set. That included about 2 gigawatts of capacity withdrawn in Queensland on Sunday evening.

    “It definitely seems like some generators are gaming the compensation regime,” Dr McConnell said.

    “The unintentional consequence is the various forecasts of load-shedding and lack of reserves across the system.”

    30

  • #
    b.nice

    Wow, these people are sick in the head !

    https://notrickszone.com/2022/06/14/germanys-fridays-for-future-spokesperson-were-planning-how-to-blow-up-african-oil-pipeline/

    They should be arrested for planning international terrorist acts, thrown in jail for a long time.

    If they attempt this, they will likely be shơt anyway.

    50

  • #
    mundi

    Even the cheapest 3kw ulp91 generator can achieve 1.5Kwhour per litre.

    Even at fuel prices of $2.20/L that is $1.10/Kwhour, or $1100/Mwhour – which may end up cheaper than grid power will be once more coal generators drop out in the next 9 months.

    70

  • #
    OldOzzie

    Boambee John says:
    June 15, 2022 at 10:56 am

    Can someone put together a list of the organisations and regulations governing the electricity system (it is clearly a lie to call it a “market”) in Australia.

    In one post above, we had the Australian Energy Regulator, the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Australian Energy Market Commission, the National Electricity Rules, the Cumulative Price Threshold, and the Australian Energy Operator.

    There also is the LRET. What else is there?

    30

  • #
    Robber

    Yes, blame it all on coal and gas generators. Ignore the fact that Labor and Teals and Greens all want fossil fuels eliminated. In this climate, why would coal and gas generators spend money on long term reliability maintenance? Yet last night in Qld, solar zero, wind 0.6%, hydro 4.3%, coal 69.3%, gas 22.4%, distillate 3.3%. And in NSW, solar zero, wind 3.1%, hydro 21.4%, coal 60.1%, gas 15.3%.

    50

  • #
    OldOzzie

    SIX MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH “GREEN” TRANSITION

    German economist Hans Werner Sinn identifies six major problems with Europe’s fanciful plan to transition to wind and solar energy:

    Problem no. 1: The Paris Accord is non-binding

    Problem No. 2: EU targets are “utopian”

    Problem No. 3: Volatile energy supply

    Problem No. 4: Innovation through government decreed central planning?

    Problem No. 5: E-cars are not clean

    Problem No. 6: Europe going without fossil fuels will have zero global impact

    41

  • #
    Liberator

    The greens response and answer to all of this, install thousands more wind turbines, thousands more solar panels and huge batteries, while continuing to shut down coal and gas fired power generation. Wonder how well that’s going to work. With actual capacity at 30% of name plate then we’re going to need at least three times more renewables compared to what we have now. Then When the wind stops blowing and the sun has set, even with 3 times more it still wont be enough.

    50

    • #
      b.nice

      Then When the wind stops blowing and the sun has set, even with 100 times more, it still wont be enough.

      100

    • #
      Dennis

      Well, you do know that even when the wind is not blowing in your area it will be blowing somewhere else, so electricity is available.

      I read that on a blog so it must be true.

      /sarc.

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  • #
    Keith Kennelly

    You ain’t seen nothing yet.

    As an experienced solo ocean mariner, the weather has an extreme importance in my survival.

    I watch and study all aspects of the weather. Over the last 4 years I have watched the seasons arrive later. I believe it is caused by the movement of the earths magnetic poles.

    Therefore the current cold is technically occurring in the last month of Autumn. Yep July to September is the Southern Hemisphere’s new Winter.

    This winter is going to be colder than any previous winter ell of us have ever experienced.

    I’m sailing to Cooktown Far North Qld.

    Your blackouts will worsen during this winter.

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  • #
  • #
    Keith Kennelly

    It is a mistake to say our governments are socialist.

    The federal government behaviour in dominating and dictating to private enterprise energy companies is not acting as socialist government. Socialist governments take over and eliminate private enterprise.

    The Australian Government is allowing Private Companies to operate but is dictating their operation and pricing.

    In the past that was the behaviour of the Fascists in Nazi Germany, Italy and Spain during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

    Our Australian Federal Government is acting like a Fascist regime.

    It should bed noted all Socialist regimes eventually morph into Fascist regimes. History tells us that.

    30

  • #
    OldOzzie

    Top Ender says:
    June 15, 2022 at 1:08 pm
    Spectator UK writer says:

    FLAT WHITE

    The Dark Ages for Australian energy

    Alexandra Marshall

    When the sun finally sets on the West, the English-speaking peoples will find out that they are as fragile and expendable as the starving third-world children used by aid organisation to pick pockets.

    Modernity is held together by cheap energy, not the rainbow-padding nonsense of progressive politics that does little but catch fire on the frayed wires of civilisation, much like Rudd’s notorious pink batts.

    Yesterday, millions of Australian homes on the east coast were told to switch off non-essential appliances after blackouts began and extended short-falls loomed. Energy suppliers cautioned the affluent Teal-heartland of Sydney’s Northern Beaches that they were at risk of losing power as temperatures plunged. Suggestions such as ‘consider how many rooms need to be heated’ were made, presumably targeted to the mansion-dwelling community who voted to put ‘Climate Change’ above energy security.

    Green-tinged Queensland suffered a similar problem, with the situation so concerning that the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) put in place a $300-per-megawatt-hour price cap.

    As a result, everyone is turning to gas suppliers in a panic, demanding that gas companies ‘find gas’ and offer it at ‘low prices’ – or else? This would be after the government went out of its way to deny the gas industry in favour of their preferred ‘renewables’ mates. The gas industry is unsurprisingly reluctant to help out, considering they require $500-per-megawatt-hour to profit.

    As a side note, the climatecouncil.org.au insists, ‘Output of oil and gas in developed nations needs to be cut by 74 per cent by 2030, with a complete phase-out by 2034.’ That is going to be tricky with renewables leaning on gas to cover the giant voids in output. Basically, if you’re still breathing, somewhat warm, and well-fed – you’re probably a burden to the climate goal.

    Back in the real world, if governments and energy suppliers are begging people to turn off their toasters, it’s a good thing the Australian population ignored Labor’s demands to switch to electric vehicles or we’d be waking up to streets littered with expensive, useless cars.

    The price cap has created its own problem, with the Australian Energy Regulator issuing a letter to power generators instructing them to ‘bid capacity into the market’ regardless of the cap as blackouts threaten across the country. The existence of price caps causes energy providers to withhold supply to protect revenue – which is why socialist-style intervention on market prices rarely works. The government gives ‘stuff away for free’ but businesses can’t do that or there will be nothing for tomorrow.

    According to an article in The Australian, AER chair Clare Savage had this to say:

    A Great Read given Useless Australian Governments and Public Servants today

    Summed up with

    Covid was not an emergency. Sustained blackouts and a ruined power grid is an emergency.

    Any government that chooses to play politics with energy is reckless to the point of criminal. Finally (and just for fun) what happens if Australia finally gets its 100 per cent magnificent wind and solar grid backed up by battery power during the night when there’s no wind?

    Uh, blackouts…

    40

    • #
      Daffy

      Based on US figures, factored down for population, Australia could need in the order of 55,000 GWHrs of battery capacity to deal with the non-performance of the cottage power system w/o hydrocarbons. I’ve left out hydro because I’m talking whole nation. Cost? In the trillions of dollars ($2.4e13 roughly)? Until this problem is solved, the cottage system is OK for an ABC-TV ‘reality’ entertainment, but not for the real world.

      40

      • #
        Graeme#4

        Roger Andrews quoted 10TWh in his very detailed discussion. A commentator in The Australian said 2TWh to backup for 72 hours. The Manhattan Contrarian advised that you need to backup for 30 days. Another U.S. calculation said the backup should be for one week for a household system. Need to checkup on what the Alberta calculations were.

        00

  • #
    Daffy

    Oh the hilarity of it. The generators can’t ‘do harm’ to, what? The grid, the market, the poor, the rich? But the regulators can do as much harm as they like by not requiring all generators (incl. the unreliable milch cows of the ultra rich) to provide continuous steady current to the grid. If they want to dabble with cottage power systems, find, but the grid has got to get the megawatts the generator signs up for…continuously.

    30

  • #
    kentlfc

    The saving grace for Qld will be that some of the sugar mills that just started crushing, have massive generators that when asked (and they get paid well), put power into the system in times of need.

    10

    • #

      The word ‘massive’ might be a bit of a stretch.

      Here’s the link to that list of plants where Bagasse, cane waste Biomass is burned on site to provide power for the mill whilst crushing is under way, and when the cane trash runs out, the power goes off, and all of them are pretty much tiddlers really. Any power over and above what the mill consumes is exported to the grid. Even so, Queensland consumed 63TWH of power last year, 2021, and of that, Biomass (and here that means Bagasse) only delivered 0.3% of all that power, virtually nothing really.

      I had a tour through the Bundaberg factory where they make the Rum. That Rum aspect was the reason for the visit by four of the five of us during that visit. I actually was hanging out to see the on site relatively tiny power plant, and when I did, I don’t know why I wanted to see it. I have visited Tumut Three Hydro, and that plant was just so clean to see, and I have seen many power plant images, and all of them are again, just kept so immaculately clean. On the other hand this Bagasse plant at the Bundaberg Mill was far and away the single filthiest work place I have ever visited, not just as a power plant, but as a work place. The fact that the plant actually ran as a Unit to generate electricity was a wonder to me. I couldn’t wait to get out of there, but the tour guide was proud that they generated their own power, and I was the first he could remember to ask to see the power plant. I just nodded my head, trying not to breathe too much, as it just stunk to high heaven as well. The smoke pouring out of the chimney was black and putrid, and on this still day was hanging low, and it was sticky in there as well, as was the smoke itslef, but hey, because it’s Biomass, those emissions do not count, and they are as much in percentage terms as for a coal fired Unit.

      I was in Woolies in Rockhampton, and while walking down one of the aisles, I saw a fellow in a high-vis uniform with the Stanwell Power Plant logo on it, and as it was immaculately clean and pressed, I understood him to be someone in Admin, and when I asked, that proved to be the case, and he was surprised I noticed, as he mentioned that no one looks at the logos these days. I mentioned my background in the electrical trade etc, and I asked what the chances were of getting a tour through the plant. He told me that they do not do any public tours at all, and even the chance of a personally invited private tour as a single person was out of the question as well.

      Tony.

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      • #
        Hanrahan

        Tony, you saw the boiler room at its best. In the old days, before the NQEA designed rotary bagasse bins were installed they had a “loft”. I never saw one but I assume it was like the coal tender of a steam train. Sparks from the boiler regularly set the bagasse in the loft on fire.

        But Qld has been generating up to 28 MW from biomass, if this has not been from the mills where has it come from? Maybe they have been burning stored bagasse on the pad to benefit from the high prices. They do need to run the train before the harvest begins.

        Here’s a nasty thought: Maybe the mills are burning some bunker oil with the bagasse.

        Image 6 on this page: https://dgfry.com.au/sugar-mill-machinery/

        20

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Hanrahan:
          Dredging up my memory from 50 years ago, they start up on oil as the plant has to operate before they get any bagasse. And back then, some of the mills generated electricity for surrounding houses (and a few clubhouses) all year round.

          00

          • #
            Hanrahan

            The startup on oil was curtailed during the ’70’s oil crisis.

            Before then bagasse was a problem, not a solution. The cane, at the time, was BIG with stalks as thick as a cutter’s wrist and much taller than the Italians who did the cutting. Problem was it was low sugar content [CCS]. Obviously there was a LOT of waste and only so much you could burn in inefficient boilers. As a result they buried excess. I’ve heard stories of slow combustion underground. May just be stories.

            I interacted with the industry at the time and I do recall an engineer saying that the generating authority offered little per kW/h. There was no incentive to upgrade boilers.

            In the late ’50’s the sugar cane boffins came up with varieties with greatly improved CCS and much lighter stalks – a win/win. Q47 was the breakthrough in Bundaberg as I recall.

            The reduced bagasse and improved FIT from the generators prompted them to upgrade their boilers.

            00

  • #

    Wait till someone tries to tell the public that it takes (around) five to seven years from thought bubble to actual power delivery from a power plant, any power plant.

    Tony.

    20

    • #
      el+gordo

      Kurri Kurri gas plant will cost about $600 million and it was given the green light by the Morrison government, but before the election Albo said they will only go ahead if its run on green hydrogen.

      I forecast it will be operational in two years and not run on green hydrogen.

      30

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Open cycle plant. Quicker & cheaper to build than other choices.
        They cannot use hydrogen as the flame temperature would wreck the turbine blades – well known and even Twiggy’s Pt. Kembla unit was going to use only 5% hydrogen.

        10

  • #
    Dennis

    I am hoping that one of Australia’s investigative journalists is researching the transition to renewable energy in Australia and how and why the transition has reached this crisis point.

    Today the Labor Government is blaming the previous Federal Government but makes no mention of electricity supply being a State responsibility, it was State public assets privatised or otherwise re-arranged and only the States can approve development applications for wind and solar installations, power stations and even dams for water storage or pumped hydro water supply, etc. Only States can approve of mining ventures and gas extraction onshore. It’s the State Govermmehts that have locked away enormous gas fields like Gippsland Basin Victoria (larger than Bass Strait when discovered in the 1960s), under Coober Pedy SA not too far from the Moomba Gasfields. And the enormous shale oil deposits in NSW and QLD, the largest in Australia but locked away. States approve coal mines, uranium mines and others.

    The transition began when Federal Labor introduced the Renewable Energy Target around 2010 with several billion dollars a year in direct subsidies for profit for wind and solar installations, much earlier there was a 2 per cent RET following the signing of the Kyoto Agreement in 1997 that was a “trial basis”.

    Consider the deliberate handicapping of coal fired power stations making them less efficient as generators of electricity, and withdrawal of banker financial support because it is now a worldwide banking climate hoax based decision. Insurers wont cover coal mines and coal fired power stations and other related businesses, an industry wide campaign here in Australia is underway and sought Morrison Government backing, not financial.

    The imbalance is highlighted by “developing nations” building many coal fired power stations and others to secure baseload electricity to support their growing economies.

    While here in Australia our State and Federal governments are pushing unreliable energy and penalising coal and gas fuels, and even uranium.

    Why?

    Isn’t it time to present Australians with a comprehensive report on the history leading to this predictable crisis?

    50

    • #
      el+gordo

      Peter Dutton should set things straight, with the help of Sky News.

      31

    • #

      Dennis mentions this:

      Today the Labor Government is blaming the previous Federal Government but makes no mention of electricity supply being a State responsibility…..

      Anyone can see the obvious point scoring factor in all this.

      Now, imagine that you are the owner of, umm, let’s say ….. Bayswater power plant.

      You know full well how long it takes to build a new power station, seven years. You also know that your other asset, The Liddell power plant, not one mile from the Bayswater plant is getting long in the tooth, and will need a replacement.

      Keeping all this in mind you then commission a replacement power plant on the same site, you know right at the site of the coal mine, which (say, how lucky was that) came with the two power plants. You do ALL the work, and the end result is a fait accompli no less, all finished. Just sign off and build the thing. A brand spanking new UltraSupercritical four Unit plant of 2000MW PLUS. (and that could have been upgraded to around 3200MW with 800MW generators)

      All ready to go.

      Umm, could you wait a minute. There’s this CO2 emissions thing that everyone’s talking about now, and this might not be the time for anything like that.

      Macquarie Generation, the proposer of this Upgrade waited, and waited and waited for the approval to turn the first sod. It didn’t come, so, umm, they sold it all, and now AGL own it.

      Now, this is just one thing that happened.

      Imagine if you will you are anyone wanting to construct a new huge coal fired power plant like this, at any time in the last twelve years or so. You would be mercilessly croosifyed. (Yeah I wrote that purposely) in the media, by all forms of politics, by focus groups, everyone.

      So, here, it’s not inaction by the previous government at all. There was ZERO environment for anything like this at all. All that could be done was to keep the plants already in place working for as long as they could possibly do that, keeping in mind that there’s always someone else to blame, and now it’s too late. Seven years to build anything at all like a new power plant….. of any type.

      Tony.

      PostScript – Oh, that Bayswater Upgrade, well that’s no thought bubble made up wish on my part, as here’s the link to that hundreds of pages of the Proposal. There was also a similar one for the Mount Piper plant as well, also now dumped. Both originally approved in 2009, the year after I started all this. I saw these two Plans, I thought to myself, They better start these thing PDQ, or they won’t get off the ground, and they didn’t.

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    el+gordo

    Also, wind power has been up.

    ‘Interestingly, while the past fortnight’s windy weather caused uncomfortable levels of wind chill, it also boosted wind power production. During the fortnight ending on June 12, wind produced around 17 to 18 percent of the NEM’s total energy demand. These were also the highest and third highest weekly values in the past 12 months, with wind power typically contributing around 9 to 13 percent of overall weekly energy generation.’ (Weatherzone)

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      John Barrett

      Wind & Solar, 6% & 30%, resp,in WA right now. Last night, wind was a little less than 2%.
      Once they close the coal plants it will be mostly gas.
      Cheers.

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    Hannibal

    The entire East coast market has just been suspended by AEMO

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      Hanrahan

      What does that mean? [genuine Q]

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      • #
        Dennis

        Replying to
        @AEMO_Energy
        Absolutely extraordinary. Energy ministers Taylor and Frydenberg really did leave Australia standing in the middle of the road, blindfolded.
        3:03 PM · Jun 15, 2022·Twitter for iPhone

        Electricity supply is a State Government responsibility.

        Only State Governments have the powers to approve development applications and processing for new power stations, wind and solar installations, battery storage, dams, hydro power stations, and just about everything else you can think of including new mines and gas fields.

        And the transition to renewable energy was based on Federal Labor 2010-2011 RET plus subsidies incentives, they also added a carbon tax and a renewable energy surcharge tax both 10 per cent on our electricity bills, 10 per cent GST on top.

        Followed by SA, NSW, QLD and VIC Labor State Governments pushing the RET.

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        • #
          Dennis

          Premier Kristina Keneally (Labor) of NSW was leading the State Government when privatisation of State assets, power stations and transmission lines, commenced. The government she led handed the established sale process to the Barry O’Farrell (Coalition) State Government.

          The estimated value of those public assets was $12-15 billion range. The sales realised $6 billion. After the hidden off budget debts were settled, meaning borrowing by the government owned private companies that owned the assets on behalf of the government and the people of NSW, all that was left was $800 million.

          In other words, or so it appears, getting rid of those assets was more important than maximising the sales prices.

          So think about why, I believe the reason was urgency based on meeting UN climate change emissions reduction objectives and transition to so called renewables.

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    Hannibal

    AEMO unable to operate the market within the bounds of the Market Rules..

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    • #
      GERARD BASTEN

      It is far from generators ripping anyone off.

      The simple fact is that they will supply anyone that has a CFD with them, no matter what happens. The real issue becomes one of what is their uncontacted capacity worth? They have to recover their uncontracted capacity costs during periods of high demand, which a quite limited. If suppliers would recognize that and contract for more than their actual demand based on probabilities ( or, for example reserve capacity needed by the system), prices would be more stable. It is really quite simple.

      The problem is therefore caused by retailers under-contracting. Remember that they can contract at short notice, including up to dispatch time. The prices may be higher than normal, but far from VOLL (Value of Lost Load) levels.

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        Hanrahan

        To me a CFD is a Contract For Difference, a highly speculative “investment”. What does it mean to you?

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        • #
          GERARD BASTEN

          It means that you do not understand CFD’s.

          They are a means of evening out highly variable prices. They are not a investment.

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    Hannibal

    Prices calculated under suspension rules to compensate generators. Calculated averages of prices for the last 4 weeks, ie extremely high.

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      Dennis

      No business could operate profitably longer term like that, government suspension of operation regulation.

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      GERARD BASTEN

      The prices you see quoted are only the average wholesale price. Under the CFD contracts, actual prices paid, the strike prices, are likely to be much lower.

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    Zane

    Plenty of wind in Victoria today!

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    Philip

    Its 6pm and I am putting on my air con on heat cycle thanks. Fingers crossed. The hot water just come on as well as it does everyday at late afternoon.

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    LG

    Where’s the best place to buy cheap candles these days?

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    Dennis

    “The federal energy minister, Chris Bowen, has previously warned power generators that anyone using the current crisis to engage in market manipulation will face action from regulators wielding the “full force of their powers”.

    Bowen has previously blamed the former coalition governments from Tony Abbott to Scott Morrison for a “decade of denial and delay” and almost two dozen energy policies that they failed to implement. In the absence of a national scheme, the states have increasingly pursued their own policies, particularly to encourage the uptake of renewable energy to cut carbon emissions but also to replace ageing coal plants that were mostly nearing the end of their designed operational lives.”

    1. The RET and subsidies were introduced by Federal Labor 2010-2011, plus carbon tax plus renewable energy surcharge.
    2. The Abbott Government tried to abolish RET unsuccessfully but did manage to lower the target slightly and abolish the two taxes.
    3. State governments have primary responsibility for electricity supply.
    4. State governments privatised State power stations and transmission lines and pushed the Federal Labor RET.
    5. Federal Government has no power over State governments in the areas of responsibility the Constitution gives to them.

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    yarpos

    While looking at the Basslink site to see why it has been running at zero of late, I noticed that Basslink is in receivership and administrators have been appointed. I expect they are different issues , I was just surprised I totally missed this development.

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      Serp

      Yes, I too looked up Basslink today with the same outcome (hadn’t realized that they’d been in receivership &c).

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      Hanrahan

      I’ve noticed the zero transmission rates lately.

      But the first duty of receivers to to “save” the company. Surely to do that it must do what trade it can without adding to debt. How much does it cost to close some circuit breakers?

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    rowjay

    About 8 months ago, I thought about getting a plug-in hybrid to replace the ageing pug diesel (400,000 km on the clock), which still averaged 900 km on a 60 litre fill. At todays fuel price (say $2.20/litre), that equates to about $0.15/km.

    The plug-in had a 12.5 kWh battery and in real world driving, would get you about 40 km before the engine kicked in. So that is about 4 km/kWh. Here in 100% renew land, my power cost is $0.28/kWh so in electric-only mode equates to $0.07/km, about half the stink-pug per km cost and a compelling comparison. Then I discovered that in order to accommodate the batteries, the plug-in HAD NO SPARE TYRE, nothing but a can of goo and a phone number to call.

    End of comparison, except that if the power price doubles it would be on par cost/km wise with my new drive which does have a full-sized spare and gets me the 700 km round trip to the mouth of the Snowy River and home on one tank. Its also not hard to notice the NSW/Vic border location (apart from the signs) because it is marked by a pot-hole on the Vic side.

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    crakar24

    CH9 news just stated Radelaide will most likely begin load shedding at 2130 ACST

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      Hanrahan

      That’s odd. There is a steady 7-10m/s wind out of the south. If they can’t meet supply with that and their gas they should run up the white flag and join the real world.

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    Zane

    Eastern Australia plus SA needs to move from an Energy-Only electricity market (EOM) to a capacity energy market, as exists in WA, the UK, many US states, and most of Europe.

    That should solve supply issues. Or we need to start manufacturing briquettes again.

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    Another Delcon

    I stumbled across a VERY interesting pdf the other day that contains some rather interesting information that ” the powers that be ” would rather we didn’t see .
    Luckily I saved the pdf to file as , surprise , surprise , the link suddenly now requires a password !!
    This was written in 1996 .
    Here is the link but it is of no use now :

    https://ewh.ieee.org/r10/nsw/subpages/history/electricity_in_australia.pdf

    THIS is the information I have been looking for !

    Here is a sample copied from the PDF :

    Page 11 of 20
    “ELECTRICITY PRICES
    Broadly speaking, the history of electricity prices in Australia has been one of progressive reduction in real terms as
    indicated in the graph , Fig. 4. Real prices rose briefly in the early ‘eighties during a period of exceptionally high
    interest rates and massive capital expansion, but other than in that period, prices have tended downward in real terms.”

    The graph shows prices starting at 19 cents / KWh in 1955 and decreasing to about 8 cents in 1998 . I can remember it being 6 point something at one stage so I guess it continued to drop for a couple of years after the end of the graph .

    Below that is a bar chart comparing 18 countries with their prices converted to US currency for the year 1995 . Australia was the fourth lowest at about 6 US cents .

    Sweden , New Zealand and Canada were the cheapest .

    After these 2 graphs :

    “Despite the favourable comparative position disclosed by these statistics, there emerged in the early ‘nineties a political consensus on the need for “reform” of the industry ”

    And :

    “RESTRUCTURING OF THE INDUSTRY
    At the urging of the Federal Government, Australian governments of all political persuasions have adopted a National Competition Policy as being in their view, necessary to ensure Australia’s competitiveness in international trade. The
    first steps towards the development of this policy were taken in relation to the electricity supply industry in 1993, before the formal adoption of a Competition Policy by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 1995.
    The policy adopted by COAG in relation to electricity supply was that sustainable reductions in price would best be achieved by creating a competitive market model for the industry in place of state-owned utilities with natural monopolies. It was decided that the vertically integrated industry in each state should be disaggregated, that the transmission function be vested in multiple network corporations – with a national body, NEMMCO, responsible for market operation and security, that a competitive market be established between generators – including interstate competition, that generators should be broken into smaller units to heighten competition and to prevent abuse of market power by a large trader, that a retail function be created independent of the distribution function, that retailers should be free to enter into hedge agreements with generators, but obliged to make all purchases from the pool, that consumers should progressively have access to the retailer of their choice and that new generators be given right of access to the transmission network. ”

    This is the spot where I would have placed a copy of the graphs …but I can’t !

    Industrial average prices for 1995, compared with other OECD countries are shown in Fig 6.

    “Despite the favourable comparative position disclosed by these statistics, there emerged in the early ‘nineties a political consensus on the need for “reform” of the industry .”

    I guess their ” reforms ” didn’t have the effect they claimed they would !
    But I wonder …….. What was their actual intended outcome ?
    Here is another link of interest ( this one works ) :
    https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/confs/1995/pierce-price-rose.html

    Jo , if you happen to read this and would like a copy of the pdf , let me know how to send it as I think you may find it interesting !

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    Philip

    Are they asking people not to charge their electric cars tonight ?

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    Philip

    Thursdsay and Friday should be interesting as a big high pressure sits over aus, should be little wind for SA.

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    […] Evidently, it’s harder to get people to voluntarily give up their electricity even when there are payments on offer.Jo Nova Blog […]

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