Scorching electricity price spikes in NSW and Queensland

Brisbane on May 3rd was a glorious 15 to 25C (or 60F – 77F) and yet the price of electricity was shocking.

The scale of the graph is so distorted that all the normal price gyrations fall to nothing, and there is only the spike — a full hour of $14,000 burning for every megawatt, and the state needing 7,000 megawatts. The demand level, or load is not unusual, but it’s about $100 million in electricity.

And this is the nice time of year for electricity managers, or it used to be. With weather that’s ideal for human habitation most air-conditioners and heaters are off. But the sun is setting earlier, and solar power is shrinking just as everyone gets home from work to turn on the oven.

AEMO

Some may blame the “lack of coal power”, but notice what’s happening to wind and solar power at critical time from 5:20pm to about 6:30pm.

All the wind and solar power in Queensland on May 3, 2022 |

Though there are other factors at work too and some are a bit mysterious according to Paul McArdle. Queensland at one point had only a 7% instantaneous reserve plant […]

Presentations from Ian Plimer and Jo Nova — “Net Zero and the The Great Regret”

I’m delighted to announce that Friends of Science in Calgary Canada have organized speeches and online panel sessions from Ian Plimer tomorrow today Monday evening in Canada/USA and Tuesday 3rd morning in Australia, and myself the following week Monday May 9th in Canada, and Tuesday May 10th in Australia. Click here for more information 9.8 out of 10 based on 45 ratings

Would you let your children catch this bus?

An electric bus in Paris self immolated last Friday.

There were no injuries, apart from the bus itself, presumably because there were no passengers.

Note how little time all the passengers on a packed bus would have had to get out.

Just four weeks ago another Bolloré brand electric bus caught fire in Paris. A passer-by saw smoke and told the driver, and everyone on board got safely off before the situation got out of control. In response to this second explosion all 149 similar Bolloré brand Bluebuses have been withdrawn from circulation. The RAPT points out that “it has been operating electric buses since 2016 without any major incident”. But I think everyone can see what might have happened.

Buses are killing other busses though:

In late September 2021 a large fire event in Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen (SBB)’s depot, in Gaisberg, destroyed 25 buses. A first assessment by the police, reported on many German media, said that the fire could have been caused by an electric bus during charging procedure.

From Notalotofpeopleknowthat

h/t b.nice

10 out of 10 based on 55 ratings

Australian wholesale electricity prices have doubled in the last year (and it’s because we don’t have enough coal power)

Luckily for Energy Oligarchs, Australian electricity prices have bounced right back to pre-pandemic insanity. Wholesale rates are romping around $170 dollars a megawatt hour in April across the whole national grid…

The media mouthpieces are blaming it on outages of coal turbines — even though wind power fails every week, and solar fails every day. If unreliable generators cause high prices, then Wind is King Fickle. They’re also blaming high coal prices, but coal itself, is a small part of the cost of a two billion dollar plant. Naturally, neither political team has a clue how to fix this. But it’s all so banal — the prices are set at auction, and some fuels are cheap. Add more of the cheap type, and we’d get cheaper electricity.

Right now, if there were more black coal plants setting the price more of the time, electricity would be half the cost. If enough brown coal plants like Hazelwood were still running, the prices would be a fifth. It’s all there in the data that ABC journalists never find. Consider the winning bids by fuel type in Australia for the last quarter of 2021. For Brown Coal, the average winning bid was $11 […]

Energy Crisis in the UK: 40% face fuel poverty by winter and Govt may finally stop “Green Levies” (too late)

Wow. What does it take to get a democratic government to stop picking winners in socialist electrical generation? It takes a war, a 50% price rise, and the possibility that 4 in 10 households might be reduced to third world conditions within months.

Share the word — no country on Earth has lots of intermittent renewables AND cheap electricity.

…Bosses warn 40% of households face fuel poverty after October’s price cap hike…

Daily Mail

Energy bosses have called for more Government support for households facing a ‘truly horrific’ winter, with as many as four in 10 people potentially falling into fuel poverty before the end of the year.

Energy bills for the 22 million British households not on fixed-term deals rose 54 per cent to just under £2,000 a year on average in April, the last time the Ofgem price cap was reviewed.

The clean Green transition was supposed to reduce costs, create jobs, and set people free, instead the experiment failed everywhere it was done. “Free” energy turned out to be a high maintenance, unenvironmental expensive fantasy loaded with hidden costs:

Analysts have warned of a further jump […]

Deaths from 1 degree of warming nothing compared to an Electricity Grid collapse for a year

Even the worst imaginary scenarios for global warming are nothing compared to a year without electricity. Bunky Mortimer III thinks US priorities are screwed.

Get one at Indiamart perhaps?

The US will spend some $555b to prevent a theoretical warming of a degree or two. A warming which may not occur for a century, if at all, and about which the largest competitors to the USA are doing nothing.

In contrast, a solar Carrington event, one nuclear blast, or a cyber attack taking out just nine interconnector sites could collapse the entire US grid for 18 months.

Which environmental threat matters? The West is in apoplexy over the environmental degradation affecting polar bears, but the environment we need the most right now is the one with fresh water, edible food and a room temperature above freezing.

Securing the grid should be this country’s highest environmental priority

Taki’s Magazine

A prolonged collapse of this nation’s electrical grid—through starvation, disease, and societal collapse—could result in the death of up to 90% of the U.S. population. This figure has not been disputed, yet this prospect has received virtually no attention from policy makers or the media. The […]

Glasgow: electricity bills will go up £500,000 extra to pay COP26’s official windfarm to turn off

Some poor sods will be paying extra to help Griffith Wind Farms cover the cost of shutting down for part of the COP26 Superhero Costume Party. If only that secret charge was listed on their electricity bill. Where is the transparency?

Twitter

Big Lie Number 1: that the Glasgow COP26 event is powered by 100% renewables.

It’s hard to believe, but some people think the wind powered electrons can be tracked and relied upon.

Sustainability Mag

There will be some accounting shell game where “100% of the annual supply” means they supply the whole years electricity in lumpy packets at times that no conference centre could run on. We know it’s wrong because lies don’t scale up. If the whole nation can’t be 100% renewable at the same time and in the same way, then the Conference centre isn’t 100% renewable either. It’s relying on coal and gas just like everyone else is.

The 100% renewable fakers are show-pony parasites on the system. They need the transmission lines, the back up, the inertia and the stable frequency but they Lord their 100% Renewable Badge knowing full well, that if everyone was “100% renewable” the system would […]

The Green Agenda meets The Energy Crisis (just in time for COP 26)

Some great Green plans are starting to come undone and it’s not even winter yet

But it is just in time for a reality check on COP26.

Europe’s energy crunch is continuing, as gas storage volumes have shrunk to 10-year lows. In the UK 12 energy companies have collapsed this year leaving 2.2 million customers stranded without an electricity provider. Things are so bad the Dutch government is thinking of reopening the Groningen gas field, Europe’s largest onshore gas field. This is a big backward step for the transition to magical energy. “Until recently, the plan was that Groningen would be closed completely by 2023, ending the large-scale gas production and export by the Netherlands with a bang.”

There are even thoughts of switching back to coal. Drax is suddenly talking about keeping some coal plants running a bit longer, something that would have been blasphemy a few months ago.

Across Europe and Asia — the energy crisis runs amok

No one can blame Brexit for food shortages in Brussels:

https://twitter.com/hermannkelly/status/1442901773958582274

But people can blame Green policies for energy pain

Kate Andrews: Britain’s weak energy security puts net zero in doubt The Daily Telegraph, 29 […]

Guest post by Rafe Champion. Will it work to press on with more wind and solar power with existing storage technology?

PS: From Jo. Rafe Champion has been posting at the lost Catallaxy site for years so I offered him a home to try to fill the vacuum on Australian blogs for discussion on energy issues.

The dilemma Australia faces is that if we keep stuffing subsidized unreliable energy into the system we will force stable fuels out, and be carbon free, but we will also be free of 50Hz cycles, 24 hour power, aluminium plants, and manufacturing jobs. Policy-dreamers are using magical words like “battery” and “pumped hydro” as if Australia is a scaled up Mechano Truck run on Monopoly-money and we can expect reliable rain for the first time in 2 billion years.

by Steve Hunter

The Energy Security Board, chaired by Kerry Schott, has at last delivered a report to the Federal Government with proposals for market reforms to resolve a looming crisis in the national power supply or at least the NEM, the National Energy Market that covers the south-eastern states, excluding WA. The crisis is twofold – increasing grid instability and the threat of supply if coal plants are forced out of business prematurely. Both of those issues arise from […]

Approaching a tipping point in the power supply

Guest post by Rafe Champion

We are installing wind and solar power at a great rate and the expectation is that this will go on and RE will increasingly penetrate the system as coal power fades away. In the SE we still have just enough conventional power to get by almost all the time but the tipping point will come when we lose another couple of coal stations and we will need to have a continuous supply of RE. There will not be enough conventional power to keep the lights on through windless nights. The point is that RE can DISPLACE coal power but not REPLACE it.

Note from Jo: With the sad demise of Catallaxy, I invited Rafe to continue here blogging about energy and electricity in Australia. So the format of the blog will flex somewhat to try to fill some of that void.

9.6 out of 10 based on 92 ratings

Did a short sharp Geomagnetic storm contribute to the Callide Coal plant explosion?

Ben Davidson speaks from Spaceweathernews.com and claims that there was a short sharp geomagnetic storm over the East Coast of Australia around the time the Queensland Callide Power plant exploded.

The CME that flew past Earth didn’t do much around the world, causing a small 1% deviation in magnetometers. But there was a burst of activity in the Southern Hemisphere that appears to have hit the east coast of Australia. Magnetometers there saw a 300 – 500% change* between noon and 3pm on the same day as the Callide Coal Power Plant blew up. The explosion happened at 1.44pm and the 275 kV transmission lines tripped at 2:06pm.

*(UPDATE: There is some contention in comments about the Australian DST figures — we’re they really that high or unusual? I’ll update the post when I can confirm it either way).

We don’t know if this tipped something over the edge at Callide, but the timing is highly coincidental. If Earth’s magnetic field is weakening it would seem urgent, to say the least, to understand the risks these spaceweather events pose to our critical infrastructure.

Perhaps an engineer who knows the design of (hydrogen cooled) supercritical coal reactors might be able […]

Queensland’s Near Miss: hydrogen may have exploded at a coal plant (and renewables don’t save the day)

Tuesday was a wild day for Queensland Electricity. An explosion struck the Callide C Power Plant triggering a cascade of other plants to switch off within seconds. The massive 2.5GW fall in supply took the grid frequency in Brisbane to a hair raising 49.55Hz. How close did it come to falling over? Half a million people lost power for a couple of hours but a Statewide blackout was averted. Luckily no one was hurt.

Meanwhile the people in power were not saying “Hydrogen”, or “explosion” but the Supercritical Units at Callide are cooled with hydrogen, and there was an explosion. The owner CS Energy called it just “a fire”. But in other news reports people in the nearest town said it was “the loudest explosion they have ever heard”.

Hydrogen, it seems, is used in some coal plants as a coolant, but Holy Hindenberg, it is known to explode. (See Ohio in 2007, Pittsburg in 2017 and India, 2019) . A Union official said it appeared the hydrogen filled generator of the main turbine had suffered a catastrophic failure. And it’s all exquisitely awkward, as David Archibald points out, happening while a two day Hydrogen Conference is on — as […]

NSW power so erratically expensive an aluminium smelter powered down three times in a week

The Tomago smelter uses more than 10% of the entire New South Wales electricity grid supply. But the price spikes in electricity are so crippling the industrial giant could not afford to keep running on three occasions in the last week. Welcome to Venezaustralia.

Tomago

And it’s not even winter yet:

Prices were spiking in four states on May 17th.. Thanks to WattClarity.

Tomago aluminium smelter powers down three times in a week due to electricity shortages

A massive 35,000 per cent spike in wholesale power prices due to supply shortages has forced a NSW aluminium smelter to shut down three times in the past week to keep the lights on in Sydney.

The Tomago smelter, which supports more than 1800 local jobs, has had to power down multiple times since May 12 to ensure households across the state have enough power for heating as winter sets in.

Tomago chief executive Matt Howell said the sudden power price hike to $14,500 a megawatt hour was the equivalent of ­petrol prices going up to $400 a litre.

This time it was mega-price-spikes but other days Tomago plays Electricity-Saint for […]

France threatens UK electricity supply again, Navies called in

The island of Jersey gets 95% of its electricity via cables from France. The latest post-Brexit fishing dispute got so hot so fast, that a French minister even suggested cutting off the electricity if they didn’t get their way. 60 French fishing vessels were protesting at slow licensing. But naval ships from both sides were even called in to patrol the area, the situation has been defused.

Surely the UK government must be working out that electricity supply is a major tool for foreign disputes. Currently about 10% of the UK electricity comes in via undersea cables*, but that is set to rise to 25%, according to the Daily Mail. Surely alarms are ringing? This is not even the first time this outrageous threat was made. Macron himself threatened it last October too. See “Hands Up! Your money or your Fish!“

There is a very uneasy power balance here: The right to fish in British waters is worth about 650 million euros to EU fishermen, but European energy markets were worth up to £2.3 billion for the UK.

Not only does it leave the UK in a weaker negotiation position, but a selfish foreign player could also ambiguously twist […]

Germany shuts too much coal, lasted 8 days without them, now admits they can’t close them

Emden, Germany by Gritte

On January 1st, Germany shut 11 coal fired plants with about 4.7GW of generating power — supposedly as a part of the Big Phaseout. But eight days later the wind wasn’t blowing and according to Pierre Goslin the system got so unstable that the managers had to turn back on some of the coal power.This on-off-cycle repeated so many times that one large plant — Heyden –was restarted six times in the next eight weeks.

The Federal Network Agency have reclassified the four of the big plants as “system relevant” which means they have to hang around on standby ready to rescue the grid at any time. So the largest efficient and cheap generators on the grid will be paid to sit around waiting for the unreliable expensive energy to fail.

2021 German Coal Plant “Phaseout” Lasted Only 8 Days…Put Back Online To Stabilize Shaky Grid

The Federal Network Agency has now confirmed that it has reclassified the Heyden, Datteln, Walsum 9 and Westfalen power plants, which had already been shut down, as system-relevant and that they now must remain […]

Green energy “an existential threat to German economy” declares Supreme Auditors

Emden, Germany by Gritte

The supreme auditors of Germany warned about the costs of Green energy a few years ago, but now they are paying attention to energy security too, and with sudden alarm they’ve announced that Green energy poses “an existential threat” to Germany.

It’s something dumb bloggers have been saying for years. But this is good news that German bureaucratic numerical masters are on to it.

Pierre Gosselin of NoTricksZone, calls it “explosive”:

So explosive is the German Government Audit report that Die Welt and the government auditors see the Energiewende as a “danger for all of Germany”.

Daniel Wetzel at German national daily Die Welt reports on the latest German Federal Court of Auditors’ warning: “If things continue like this, Germany as a business location is in danger. The costs are out of control – and there is a growing threat of an electricity shortfall.”

The Bundesrechnungshof in Germany or Federal Audit Office sounds rather awesome — legislators can’t tell it what to do, and its exact position in the layers of power is disputed, which only makes it sound more significant.*

The Federal Audit Office sees the […]

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

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: Electricity has become a jigsaw. Coal is unable to provide the missing pieces

March 16, 2021 1.46pm AEDT

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:

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 […]

Political obliteration: The Right sold out their base on sovereign borders and climate change

There are lessons for conservatives from this eclectic election in the most isolated state on Earth. It was historic, epic, and “A complete and utter landslide“. And the message is “borders”. Remember “Build the Wall?” Conservatives all around the world seem to have forgotten the power and appeal of being able to control who and which viridae, come across the border. If the Democrats in the US fortified the wall, they might not have to fortify election results.

It’s a complete blitz. | The West Australian

The election Saturday was a wipeout of legendary proportions among democracies anywhere. Only four years ago, the Liberals (conservatives, theoretically) were the ruling party in Western Australia. Today they hold but two, as in one plus one, seats in the lower house of the WA Parliament, out of 59. They may win 3. The Labor Party took 58% of the first preference votes (that’s almost unheard of). Labor will take the Upper House too. See: WA Election Results. Things are so extreme, the talk now is how the Parliament is not big enough to hold the Labor M.P.’s. The rooms are just not designed for one party having almost […]

German experiment to make wind powered Silicon Chips fails

Surprising no one: lumpy expensive electricity does not make for a High Tech Paradise

It’s another example of how more green jobs means less real ones. A German High Tech Chip maker driven to Singapore by renewable energy prices

Emden, Germany by Gritte

To understand the scale of just how green Germany is, ponder that it has the third largest wind power fleet in the world, with around 30,000 turbines. In 2020, wind power generated more than a quarter of German electricity and solar power another 10%. Despite all that *free* energy Germans pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world at 38c/KWh. Whereas Singaporeans use natural gas and pay 18c/KWh. Germans are famous for their high tech engineering, but now they can’t afford to manufacture it at home. Siltronic is moving, and along with that presumably goes some of the intellectual property, brains, and security that comes with having that production locally.

h/t GWPF Chipmakers lament high taxes and levies on electricity in Germany 9.5 out of 10 based on 62 ratings […]

Texas dodged a bullet: Would you like explosions with your blackouts?

Houston Texas, Feb 2021. Image by Fish & Trips

Texas toyed with cascading crises

The Green Experiment could have gone so much worse. Here’s a man who was a gas industry executive involved in a near miss in New England in 1989. The four day blackout sounds bad, but it was a lottery win compared to the worst case scenarios. Not only was a full state-wide blackout possible, which may take months to correct, but the gas system is a bomb waiting to go off too.

ERCOT officials admit they only just averted a blackstart:

Texas was “seconds and minutes” away Texas’ power grid was “seconds and minutes” away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, officials with the entity that operates the grid said Thursday.

— by Erin Douglas, Texas Tribune

The Blackstart in Venezuela took weeks to restart — rebooting an induction motor takes six times the normal current. Energizing a substation can cause explosions. It’s much easier to add load to an operating grid than to rebuild one from scratch. Surges on start up can break things, that fail. It can take rolling rounds […]