Beware of propaganda organs extolling new electricity power

While the ACCC’s Rod Sims may have had a Damascene conversion when he noted that he would like to get the price of electricity down half a dozen years after the reason for the price surge became obvious (hint look at the forced growth of subsidised renewables).  What he will do about it, short of reinforcing the cries on this blog to abandon regulation, is anybody’s guess. (Post script, the Australian Energy Regulator which is housed within the ACCC, having been in November 2016 asked to report on price rises in the wake of the Hazelwood closure, reported today that   …….   the price rises were caused by the reduced competition following the Hazelwood closure!)

One direction where the regulators need not look for advice is the well resourced agitprop on-line daily, Reneweconomy. The publication never skips a beat in telling us how cheap batteries, wind and solar are (it seems to have a down on that other magic pudding, Snowy2, probably because they have not come to the fund-fest).

In a recent analysis it got pulled up by the more cerebral publication Watt Clarity

Using their conventional hype Reneweconomy produced this chart which purported to show how, with the trip failure of one of those geriatric, satanic coal plants, the state-of-the-art batteries the Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) had filled the gap and saved the nation by immediately swinging on line as portrayed in the chart below.

Impressive!  And the propaganda sheet rubbed it in saying, ““by the time that the contracted Gladstone coal unit had gotten out of bed and put its socks on so it can inject more into the grid – it is paid to respond in six seconds – the fall in frequency had already been arrested and was being reversed”.

However it turns out that Reneweconomy, in its zeal to promote new power sources,  shifted the goalposts so that the battery output was exaggerated over one hundred fold.  The correct measure is as follows with the battery contribution comprising the almost invisible yellow at the bottom of the following chart.

A mixture of mainly fossil fuel stations expanded output and filled the gap within one minute.

Morals of the story: (i)batteries may have a role but they are dear; (ii) always seek verification of assertions made by propagandists!

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Beware of propaganda organs extolling new electricity power

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Given public education seems mainly to be about aboriginal culture, QWERTY people and socialism these days I suspect very few high school graduates can read a graph.

    Al Gore was excellent at the same trick – remember how he reversed the CO2 paleograph to make it look like CO2 rises led temperature rises.

  2. Singleton Engineer

    RenewEconomy deserves all that it gets in return for its one-eyed views. Owner, Giles Parkinson, never fails to disappoint since his departure from Climate Spectator 5 or so years back.

    Readers with an interest in this subject will find the Wattclarity article informative and not excessively technical.

    On a related issue, Tesla’s record of poor management, missed predictions and failure to return a profit, even after 14 years, has resulted in reassessment this week to junk bond status by Moody’s. That has brought very substantial writedown of the company’s shares and tightening of its access to credit. At this rate, they can be expected to run out of cash within months.

    The RenewEconomy crowd will soon need a new messiah to replace Saint Elon Musk, whose primary talent seems to be a knack of extracting billion-dollar handouts from US governments, federal and state, plus gullible investors. The man has destroyed more OPM (Other People’s Money) than anybody else since Enron.

  3. manalive

    In following this issue for the past fifteen years or so I have found that anything and everything put out by the CC™- renewable industrial complex is an exaggeration, a half-truth or straight-out lie.

  4. dopey

    What’s this got to do with cricket?

  5. Roger.

    ……. the price rises were caused by the reduced competition following the Hazelwood closure!

    Reduced supply = increased prices.

    Well…I’ll be…who would have thought it?

    We are governed by idiots.

  6. Roger.

    To paraphrase Donald Horne:

    Australia is a lucky country run by second rate people who are often taken by surprise by events.

    Our “luck” in the form of cheap power has run out, the tap turned off by politicians beholden to the UN.

  7. H B Bear

    If you are relying on the beigest of beige cardigan wearers Rod Sims to get electricity prices down I’d start working on a Plan B straight away.

  8. Dr Fred Lenin

    The perpetrators of the climate scam should be taken to a place of lawful excecution ,and ther on appointed days, Hanged by the neck untill they are dead ,and may the Lord be merciless upon their souls .
    The new revised death sentence ,hanging is good , looks very judicial ,has an element of suspense (in more ways than one) and hanged people cannot be recividists .

  9. manalive

    The nasty little trick of course in the top graph is whereas the left-side axis is in 100MW increments and the right-side axis is in 1MW increments.
    If one wants to find the unvarnished truth about RE claims it is virtually impossible to find it using search engines like google, you have to know where to look.

  10. egg_

    If one wants to find the unvarnished truth about RE claims it is virtually impossible to find it using search engines like google, you have to know where to look.

    Ditto anything outside of the MSM narrative.

  11. W Hogg

    All the scammers were promoting that. When Loy Yang A turned off (I think hit by lightning), Gladstone had 6sef to respond. It responded in 4s. The WBB in 0.2s. So DPRSA was spared 3.8s of 49Hz power. $100m of your money well spent.

    Meanwhile, can people please spell his name correctly? It’s Enron Musk.

  12. Rafe

    Never mind what I do for a living.

    Just get my name right!

    E Musk

  13. gbees

    Darn that right hand axis! A whole 9MW at peak. (Av. 4MW)

  14. Beachcomber

    The first graph and associated text shows that they are shameless liars. But the lying trick is quite easy to see. They also think we are very, very stupid.

  15. H B Bear

    This looks like one for the electrical engineers. Clearly the batteries can’t provide the volume of electricity a coal plant can but what about stabilizing the frequency of the grid? There is no comparison between a response time in seconds versus minutes from the point of view of the grid.

    Not really comparing apples with apples but I suspect that was always the intention.

  16. Craig Mc

    The small matter of 185,000 homes being disconnected didn’t seem to factor into anyone’s calculations about our miraculous new generation being able to meet demand.

    It’s pretty easy for generation to meet demand if you forcibly reduce the demand to the generation.

  17. Craig Mc

    H B Bear: You’re on the right track. Batteries are bad at storing energy (but getting better), but they’re excellent for delivering power – quickly which is good for frequency stabilisation.

    Crap like Reneweconomy reads like something straight out of Musk’s stealth marketing department, which alone would be better resourced (using other peoples’ money) than entire engineering companies here.

  18. Tel

    … it is paid to respond in six seconds …

    Is that really true? Because there’s no way a big coal fired power station can ramp up in six seconds.

    I could believe that it responds to some fine adjustments within six seconds, but not a major change of load.

    I get it that the battery is fast, and of course it would be, but based on that graph it only ran for 5 minutes, so it’s good enough to just help stop the gap a bit and stabilize the frequency (and that’s still helpful).

  19. egg_

    I get it that the battery is fast, and of course it would be, but based on that graph it only ran for 5 minutes, so it’s good enough to just help stop the gap a bit and stabilize the frequency (and that’s still helpful).

    It would be interesting if the WBB’s Gensets – of greater capacity than the WBB – were running in sync in offline, and quickly switched to line.

  20. H B Bear

    Tel – my understanding is that generators are required to (and get paid for) providing spinning reserve which I understand to be almost instantaneously available standby power to deal with fluctuation in demand. I am not an engineer but we did some consulting work a while ago with a big integrated power provider and I would say I know enough to be dangerous (probably to myself).

    Again perhaps someone who does actually know what they are talking about can help.

  21. H B Bear

    The consulting work was outside the NEM so most of that is just a black box to me.

  22. manalive

    @ Tel,

    Is that really true? Because there’s no way a big coal fired power station can ramp up in six seconds …

    The linked article at WattClarity above clarifies:
    “… the responses from the SA battery and also from Gladstone in Queensland … were only a small part of the overall story, nor was either the first to respond to the event. In fact most of the response came from old-fashioned coal-fired stations …”.

  23. RobK

    There’s more to this than meets the eye. The short response of 6secs is well met by the battery but the response in the first few hundred milliseconds is not so good because the sampling of the frequency can’t distinguish immediately if it is a noise or an excursion comming up. The battery ‘s controller’s length of sampling is an issue. Spinning reserve doesn’t have this problem due to its inhertia but it’s throttle response has a lag as said. There was a deliberation about this by NEM on the net which i read some months ago. Ill try to find it.
    The battery’s performance to date is of some use reducing a little it of current surge…..the elephant and the ant come to mind.

  24. egg_

    Presumably, the HPR’s weird load profile is due to the windfarm.

  25. RobK

    From the above pdf: (RoCoF=Rate of Change of Frequency)
    While simulated inertia may be achievable in power systems with low RoCoF, at higher RoCoF it will become increasingly challenging to create an appropriate transient response from these devices. RoCoF in South Australia can exceed 4 Hz/s 43. In these circumstances, it is expected to be extremely challenging for an inverter-connected device to remain synchronised, and hence able to provide an appropriate simulated inertia response. Even moderate RoCoF events of 1-2 Hz/s that may arise in South Australia are considered extreme in large power systems by international standards. The application of simulated inertia devices in low inertia girds will also be limited by the nature of their technology. These devices are “grid following”, meaning that they rely upon a frequency signal created by “grid forming” units, such as synchronous units. This makes simulated inertia devices likely to only operate effectively in higher inertia systems, and unable to fully replace synchronous inertia. A certain minimum level of synchronous inertia will need to be online to keep RoCoF within the range in which simulated inertia can respond effectively, with only a limited quantity of synchronous inertia able to be displaced.

  26. egg_

    In these circumstances, it is expected to be extremely challenging for an inverter-connected device to remain synchronised,

    I suspect that the WBB is a con in that windfarms are usually ‘islands’ not on the grid – hence, the HPR’s odd load profile above, and the fact that the Gensets have greater capacity than the “UPS” battery shows little faith in the battery.

  27. JohnA

    H B Bear #2673392, posted on March 29, 2018, at 2:36 pm

    If you are relying on the beigest of beige cardigan wearers Rod Sims to get electricity prices down I’d start working on a Plan B straight away.

    Whatever the plan is, it should begin with some close equivalent to the H2G2 proposition “these are a bunch of mindless jerks, who were first against the wall, come the revolution” (NADT – maybe the academic equivalent of a career-ending exposure to public ridicule).

  28. JohnA

    H B Bear #2673504, posted on March 29, 2018, at 4:46 pm

    This looks like one for the electrical engineers. Clearly, the batteries can’t provide the volume of electricity a coal plant can but what about stabilizing the frequency of the grid? There is no comparison between a response time in seconds versus minutes from the point of view of the grid.

    So the expensive version of a Line-interactive UPS, just like what we use with our computers at home?

  29. egg_

    So the expensive version of a Line-interactive UPS, just like what we use with our computers at home?

    Presumably, there’s no information in the public sphere, but I suspect that if the windfarm is in Island operation with the UPS, the Gensets are there to “pump up”/backup the batteries and the batteries serve as a load for the diesel Gensets to prevent bore glazing (otherwise, there would have to be a massive ‘dummy load’ whilst offline).

  30. RobK

    So the expensive version of a Line-interactive UPS, just like what we use with our computers at home?

    There are various arrangements for UPSs but in general the inverter can carry the full load and a good amount of short term overload. If you installed the full load capacity (or even a reasonable %) youd be close. There are still problems then controlling the Power Factor (reactive power) which is exacerbated from the wildly transmission surges due to distributed intermittent supply. (This is because varying legnths of transmission line have diffent induction and capacitance values. This leads to poor transmission and generation efficiency ). Spinning reserves automatically do a lot to reprocess drifting P.F.due to transmission and heavy loads.

  31. RobK

    Technically there are work arounds. Its the cost that is the problem…..big costs.

  32. egg_

    From the Watt Clarity link above:

    [Finally a note on chronology – it’s curious that system frequency appears to start falling well before the major changes in generation, by about 12-20 seconds*, and then to stabilise before the bulk of the generation response arrives. Whilst the data used in these charts is all timestamped according to AEMO’s public files, I strongly suspect there are some measurement lags or timing offsets present in this raw operational data, and it’s likely that in real time the inflection points in frequency and generation levels respectively line up much more closely than shown above.]

    *Smells to high Heaven.

  33. H B Bear

    Getting well beyond my pay grade now. In layman’s terms it sounds like Mainland Tasmania’s electrical grid is full of “dirty low quality power”. My understanding is that this is why very large industrial baseload users are attractive to generators and network operators as they provide large, stable loads that provide additional benefits beyond simply the energy they consume.

  34. RobK

    Excuse my typos please. Noisey surrounds. Sorry.

  35. egg_

    it sounds like Mainland Tasmania’s electrical grid is full of “dirty low quality power”.

    Even if Tesla goes under, I doubt that the WBB Gensets are there merely for decoration, more the other way around.

Comments are closed.