Wild Experiments? Alice Springs fossil fuel grid becomes too unstable with more than 13% solar power

By Jo Nova

Ponder how destructive solar power is: It only takes 13% solar to push a small grid to the edge

A little bit of solar power causes mayhem on a perfectly good grid.

NT Electricity Grid Map (Click to enlarge) Darwin is 1,300 km or 800 miles in a straight line from Alice Springs.

The Renewable Crash Test Dummy Country is aiming to be using 82% renewable electricity by 2030, but instead of making sure this works on a small scale at any one of our remote microgrid locations, where electricity is expensive to start with, we thought we’d do the experiment on the whole nation instead.

So it is “sobering” to see how this fails at Alice Springs. If there was a place on Earth that is well suited to wind and solar power, it surely is Alice Springs which is 1,200 kilometers from the Northern Territory’s main electricity grid. Surrounded by a million square kilometers of largely uninhabited arid land, if we can’t plaster enough solar panels and windmills here to support a town of 25,000 people with no heavy industry to speak of, where can we?

Yet the bare truth is that solar […]

Oopsie solar-battery fail? Cloud causes System Black event at Alice Springs affecting thousands

Welcome to the new complexified energy grid where a cloud can cause a system black event — knocking out power for as much as nine hours. This affected the hospital for 30 minutes and the prolonged problems caused many businesses and supermarkets to close. Alice Springs is an island microgrid servicing about 29,000 people in the centre of Australia. It was 38 degrees C yesterday when the power went out. Shame about those fridges and air conditioning units.

Alice Springs is a mini version of larger grids showing how fragile these new complicated systems of multiple generators based on weather events and batteries can be.

Looks modern, sometimes has electricity too. Alice Springs | Photo by Stefano, Wikimedia.

Yesterday: Thousands impacted by Alice Springs power blackout*

Steve Vivian, ABC News

Thousands of residents in Central Australia went without power yesterday afternoon, with some experiencing blackout conditions for up to nine hours.

Electricity was cut across the Alice Springs region around 2:30pm yesterday and was not restored in some areas until 10:47pm.

Today: Inquiry called, and explanations garbled — NT Chief Minister announces review

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner told ABC Darwin […]

ABC renewables fantasy island “farewells diesel” (except for 40% of its power)

Flinders Island is in the Bass Strait North of Tasmania.

If there is a heaven for renewables, this island should be it. But instead, even on Flinders Island, renewables aren’t cheaper than diesel generators. This is a dismal reality, yet the ABC promotes it as a fantasy poster-isle, interviewing only vested or “no idea” people, asking no critical questions, doing no counter research and telling us renewables will be “more reliable” and implying they are cheaper too. The ABC is a three-million-dollar-a-day advertising outlet for other government agencies. Instead of serving Australians it appears to be there to help shake down the taxpayer.

ABC renewables hype strikes again: Rhiannon Shine reports Flinders Island as a showcase of the brave new renewables world. Let’s translate that spin and see just how pathetic it is. If anywhere was going to be totally renewable, Flinders Island would be it — a first world island, tiny population, massive subsidies, no access to cheap coal or gas power, government support at every level and placed in a handy wind stream known as “the Roaring Forties”. Yeah! This is one of the last places in the first world (short of Antarctic stations) where renewables […]