JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Optimistic? SA Energy Minister says helpfully “The grid blowing up is not the right term”

South Australia has built unreliable generators on one third of all homes in the state. They are expensive, encased in glass, and all fail at the same time, usually for breakfast, and definitely for dinner. They randomly fail when clouds roll in, but consistently fail all night long. When they do work, they all work together, producing an excess of energy when no one need an excess. In order to pretend that this surge is useful, a billion dollars of working infrastructure has to switch off, scale down, spin its wheels, and toss money out the window.

A few weeks ago, the State Energy Minister of SA, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, warned that the state is only a few years away from reaching “net negative demand” which is a fancy-pants way of describing the moment that solar power makes more energy than the whole state can use. His reassuring comment was “The grid blowing up is not the right term, but it simply will not work.”

With 250,000 unreliable generators in the state the midday excess is now so large it threatens to break things, drive up voltages, drive out reliable generators and generally muck up what was a finely [...]

Megatons of Solar Panel trash coming to a dump near you soon…

Solar Power, not-so-sustainable?

Solar panels need a special kind of recycling that costs 4 to 8 times as much as the recycled bits and bobs are worth. And the first major generation of solar panels will hit their use-by date soon.

Solar Panels Are Starting to Die, Leaving Behind Toxic Trash

Maddie Stone, Wired

By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually. While the latter number is a small fraction of the total e-waste humanity produces each year, standard electronics recycling methods don’t cut it for solar panels. Recovering the most valuable materials from one, including silver and silicon, requires bespoke recycling solutions.

The solar sleeper awakes:

Most solar manufacturers claim their panels will last for about 25 years, and the world didn’t start deploying solar widely until the early 2000s. As a result, a fairly small number of panels are being decommissioned today. PV Cycle, a nonprofit dedicated to solar panel take-back and recycling, collects [...]

SA: Still at risk of blackout, one third of solar PV “switching off” to save state, needs $1.5b interconnector bandaid to NSW

A $1,500 million dollar emergency line is needed to rescue South Australia from renewable blackouts. Image: Marcus Wong Wongm

 

Why do so few see the enormous subsidy cost of keeping the South Australian electricity experiment alive?

Having got too much intermittent, unreliable electricity, the state is still in danger of another statewide blackout. One third of the solar panels on homes are being switched off automatically because the electricity they provide is not just useless, but dangerous. What the state needs is baseload power, but the solution we’re told is to spend another incredible $1.5billion dollars on an interconnector with NSW, presumably so SA gets a lifeline to the reliable coal power in Queensland.

That’s a $1,500,000,000 repair bill for an unreliable system that cost a fortune to build, but is unsustainable without a giant bandaid.

Price rises coming in NSW and QLD:

As more unreliable generation and random green electrons infect the NSW and Qld grids, their cheap baseload providers will also find it harder to compete. The increased downtime will chew out some of their profit margins, but their costs will be almost the same. So, as sure as the sun rises, they will have to [...]

A cold snap in Queensland cut the state’s solar power to just 5% of its average daily output

As Paul McArdle of WattClarity says: “the NEM* is becoming increasingly dependent on the weather“

Saturday week ago in Queensland was cold enough to break records. Brisbane “only” made it up to 17.9C (64F). It hasn’t been that cold there in May for 40 years. At the same time a band of cloud covered the populated slice of the state.

The cloud cover meant all the large solar “farms” in Queensland — with a total rated capacity of 1.7GW — produced only 79MW as an aggregate average daily output.

Sunshine State forgets its own branding on Saturday 23rd May 2020

Averaged across the 24 hours in the day yesterday, average aggregate output across all of the Large Solar plant in QLD was a very meagre 79MW only:

1a) Dividing this by an aggregate 1,664MW installed capacity* across the Large Solar plant in QLD this represents a capacity factor the day of just 4.7%

Not surprisingly the same clouds that ruined the large solar farms also wrecked the rooftop solar.

One in three homes in Queensland have solar panels. With 1.8GW of theoretical capacity, rooftop solar is Queenslands largest generator (except it hardly ever [...]

Solar Owners worried Big Brother AEMO wants to turn off their panels at noon in emergencies

Last November at lunchtime 64% of the entire generation of South Australia was coming from across thousands of small generators that the Grid Managers had no control of, and that clouds could wipe out. This is the junk conglomerate infrastructure that billions of dollars in forced subsidies have created.

The AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) has no control over the vagaries of two-thirds of the electricity generation. Audrey Zibelmen has described it as “”It’s almost like driving without your headlights.” She wants new panels to get “smart inverters” which means they can be dumb servants — controlled by the AEMO, just in case there is an emergency — lest the state suffer another System Black. They also want old panels to get the new style inverters when the next replacement is due.

Who could have seen that coming (only anyone with an engineering degree).

Poor solar home owners are feeling pretty miffed. They didn’t realize their panels were never economic, a burden on the grid, and they’ve been riding on the backs of fellow Australians for years. And after reading this ABC story (below), they still won’t know. So it’s a complete surprise to them that the green electrons they [...]

Three days of clouds and solar and battery fails leaving remote community cut off without phones

If solar power and batteries were a winner anywhere, we’d hope it would be in remote Australian communities. But a cyclone clouded over Central-Australia for a few days and the batteries ran out. People had no money, no phone and no landline either. To boot, the rain flooded the roads, so people were cut off in every sense.

Welcome to Renewable World:

Telstra says the stations that provide landline and mobile phone coverage to some remote communities in Central Australia are not robust enough to withstand several days of cloud cover.

The communities of Santa Teresa and Titjikala, south-east of Alice Springs, were without mobile and landline coverage for over thirty hours in a recent outage.

In the most recent outage, Santa Teresa was also cut off by road because of flooding.

Santa Teresa parish assistant Sister Liz Wiemers said being that isolated was alarming.

“We couldn’t use ATMs, couldn’t buy fuel, community members couldn’t buy power cards,” Sister Wiemers said, referring to the pre-paid electricity system used in remote communities.

Obviously they need diesel-gens as a back up. But because the roads were blocked Telstra couldn’t send any technicians [...]