Power monitor plus reminder of SA 2016

Update. Don’t miss Old Ozzie channelling Judith in the comments.

Three views of the supply and demand situation. The AEMO Dashboard, Current Energy Production and Renew Economy.

Current Energy Production conveys the sense of the unreliables floating like froth and bubble on the sea of coal and hydro.

The Manhattan Contrarian on the epic SA power failure that is likely to be repeated soon in more important parts of SE Australia than the deindustrialised sleepy hollow of the South.

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Power monitor plus reminder of SA 2016

  1. OldOzzie

    MIT Technology Review

    Wide-scale US wind power could cause significant warming

    A Harvard study raises questions about just how much wind should be part of a climate solution.

  2. John Constantine

    We know what is coming, and it goes past having candles in a drawer time.

    The days of ‘blackout preppers’ being mocked even on the Cat are over.

    Week long blackouts are still only for those out in the ‘outback’ over an hours drive from the big city.

    [ yarragrad minister filthlilly was on their abc last year, revealing she had been shown a document wargaming how when times got tough, cutting electricity off to Victoria on the wrong side of the Ballarat/Bendigo line could keep the interconnectors running. Tory electorates cut off first, marginal last.]

    Gas fired barbecues for food and boiling water for a cuppa, sleepingbag onesies, a rainwater tank, a camping solar panel good enough to trickle charge your mobile phone and kindle reader and a sack of dried beans.

    Big Australia has made us so wealthy we can all afford to have a sack of dry beans set aside for our blackouts.

    Comrades.

  3. Snoopy

    What’s the significance of a red interconnector on the AEMO Dashboard?

  4. OldOzzie

    No end in sight to electricity consumers paying for poor policy – Judith Sloan

    We were staying in a Queensland country town a few weeks ago. I got talking to the owner of the local bakery. He was looking at his latest ­financial statement that the ­accountant had sent through. And there it was in black and white. His annual power bill last financial year was $114,000. It had been a tad over $30,000 two years before.

    He employs 30 people, some on a part-time basis. Business seemed to be brisk but it’s hard to put up the price of pies and buns too much without demand dropping.

    It’s easy to concentrate on the impact of rising electricity prices on households. And let’s be clear on that score. In real terms, the ­average retail price of electricity over the 10 years ending in 2017-18 rose by 51 per cent and the average retail bill rose by 35 per cent (people have used less electricity, in part because of the higher prices).

    But for many small and med­ium-sized businesses, the increase in their electricity bills has been higher again. Many are exposed to the full variations in wholesale ­prices, which have risen from less than $40 a megawatt hour to more than $100/MWh before settling around the $70 to $80/MWh mark. This threatens the viability of a number of businesses.

    It’s hardly surprising the federal government has decided to focus on getting electricity bills down. Let’s be clear about reduced emissions and the commitment the government has made to the Paris climate agreement — the target in respect of electricity will be met by the early 2020s. Every participant in the industry ­acknowledges this.

    It’s one of the reasons why the emissions reduction target that was part and parcel of the now ­defunct national energy guarantee was superfluous. Note also there was considerable manipulation going on of the precise details of this target to suit the activist ambitions of those promoting the NEG. The only part of the NEG now worth saving relates to the ­reliability obligation, which is ­likely to become binding much sooner than generally expected.

    For those who complain about a decade of energy policy paralysis, the truth is there has been a constant and active government policy position over that time. Renewable energy sources have been massively promoted, favoured and subsidised.

    The renewable energy target, which remains in force until 2030, has spun off subsidies to renewable energy generators to the tune of about $80/MWh (the value has been higher in the past) through large-scale generation certificates. The value of these LGCs is expected to drop but not for several years.

    In addition, there have been the interventions of reverse auctions run by state governments and the ACT that provide guaranteed cash flow for renewable energy projects. There are also the rules in the National Energy Market that give preferential dispatch to renewable energy generators. And there are the mountains of subsidies available through bodies such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

    Estimates put the value of the subsidies paid to the renewable ­energy sector at between $2 billion and $3bn a year, paid by consumers and taxpayers. That’s not policy paralysis; that’s policy promotion of a particular sector. If we ignore the decimation of the business models of dispatchable power generators and the much higher electricity prices we have had to pay, arguably the policy has worked. It is estimated that $2bn was invested last year in renewable energy generation — a record amount. And this year the boom has been even bigger.

    The Clean Energy Regulator has released information that 34 renewable energy power stations with a combined capacity of 667MW were accredited last month, which was the largest single month of solar and wind ­capacity since April 2001. Nearly 2800MW has been accredited so far this year, compared with the previous annual record set last year of 1088MW.

    The CER also notes about 1600MW of rooftop solar will be installed this year — the six panels every minute scenario mentioned by Audrey Zibelman of the Australian Energy Market Operator — which is up 44 per cent on last year. There are now more than three million small-scale installations. Note there are also about 40,000 commercial solar systems.

    Now, if renewable energy could provide reliable electricity at ­affordable prices, these trends would be great. But even on the most optimistic estimates of the boosters of renewable energy, wind can produce at most 50 per cent of the time and solar at 30 per cent. This produces a very large shortfall that has to be covered by firming capacity. Batteries and pumped hydro don’t come close to filling the gap and are unlikely to do so for many years.

    And here’s another thing that needs to be considered when ­observing the boom in renewable energy investment: 10 coal-fired power stations with a total ­capacity of more than 5000MW have left the grid since 2012. None of these stations has been replaced.

    What is beginning to emerge is a crisis affecting the grid that makes up the National Electricity Market, which covers South Australia, Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT. This is being recognised by AEMO, which worries about the reliability of the grid in general and the possible shortfall of power in South Australia and Victoria at certain times during the coming summer.

    The NEM electricity grid has always been long and skinny. It is now longer and skinnier, with far too much unreliable renewable energy and far too little firming ­capacity. This is the principal reason why federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is so focused on getting more firming capacity into the system to back up the runaway ­investment in renewable energy.

    It is also why he has decided to take a resolute line with the large “gentailers” — think AGL, Origin and Energy Australia — whose ­behaviour has contributed to the growing fragility of the system as well as to rising prices. The companies are quite capable of manipulating the market while promising to invest in firming ­capacity but never quite following through with their plans.

    Of course, in a normal competitive market government should always refrain from intervening to force down prices. But the electricity market is not a normal market. Apart from the fact electricity is an essential service, the high ­degree of market concentration almost certainly means prices are higher than they should be. The egregious behaviour of the retail divisions of the gentailers, by dudding loyal customers in particular, indicates they cannot be trusted. Just ignore their howls of complaints about the downsides of regulation. By setting a reference price for standing offers, this will force down prices more generally, and the companies know it.

    By bringing more dispatchable power into the system as quickly as possible — another focus of Taylor — wholesale prices will hopefully fall, bringing further price relief for customers. The truth is the gentailers have been feasting on high wholesale prices. Surely no one will complain if the government offers the same cost of capital to new dispatchable power plants that is available to ­intermittent ­renewable energy plants?

    With all this new renewable ­energy coming into the market, there is a real question mark over the commercial viability of some of the projects. When the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, wholesale prices can be driven to low levels. Clearly, the backers of these projects are basically betting on the election of a Labor government to impose a higher emissions reduction target and a reinstituted RET. In this scenario, we would expect electricity prices to resume their upward trajectory.

    The NEM is in disarray, but let’s not kid ourselves that this is because of policy paralysis. This is because of incredibly poor policy where the consequences in terms of price and reliability were completely foreseeable. The challenge for the federal government is how to pull us back from this abyss.

  5. Bushkid

    Just now, at 0745 EST, Queensland is the only state actually generating more than it uses. Everywhere else there’s a deficit, yet there appear to be interconnectors heading all over the shop apparently feeding elektrickery to everyone else. Crazy!

    How about we get back to each state being responsible for its own power generation, and forget all this fancy footwork and long extension cords.

  6. Percy Popinjay

    His annual power bill last financial year was $114,000. It had been a tad over $30,000 two years before.

    But yeah, she’ll be right, comrade.

  7. Myrddin Seren

    This is because of incredibly poor policy where the consequences in terms of price and reliability were completely foreseeable.

    I am not optimistic that the same people who have walked us to the edge of the precipice are going to be able to walk us back.

  8. RobK

    Snoopy,
    What’s the significance of a red interconnector on the AEMO Dashboard?

    If you scroll down to the notices, generally there’s some issue listed explaining whats going on.

  9. His annual power bill last financial year was $114,000. It had been a tad over $30,000 two years before.

    Baker’s bills may be our only hope.

    Think what a Shortening government will do when the price of a hot meat pie is $100.

  10. RobK

    His annual power bill last financial year was $114,000. It had been a tad over $30,000 two years before.
    The irony is that the cost and unreliability of RE is likely to drive these types of businesses to alternatives which weren’t viable previously due to cost but which will be detrimental to the folly of co2 abatement. Im thinking gas, diesel gensets etc….more costs.

  11. Big_Nambas

    The worst paid federal polly is paid $200,000.00 plus expenses, do you really think they have any connection to how the rest of us live? Do you think they struggle to pay their electricity bill?
    The real question is do you think they give a fuck?

  12. wal1957

    As per usual the Getup crowd at RenewEconomy are delusional.
    They seem as though their dream is just around the corner, just keep adding more unreliables.
    These are the idiots who vote Green.
    Sad, desperate times for my country.

  13. Entropy

    Bushkid
    #2850140, posted on October 27, 2018 at 8:48 am
    Just now, at 0745 EST, Queensland is the only state actually generating more than it uses. Everywhere else there’s a deficit, yet there appear to be interconnectors heading all over the shop apparently feeding elektrickery to everyone else. Crazy!

    The quickest way to significantly reduce power prices in Queensland would be to leave the NEM. The problem is though, the the government gets massive revenue from both interstate electricity sales, and higher prices from Queensland consumers paying the national price.
    So, an interesting dilemma. Would the massive boost to GSP from business activity that would result from a much lower electricity price (which would be extremely reliable compared to southern state suppliers who without Qld power would instantly become very unreliable) outweigh the government’s loss of revenue and hence large deficit?

  14. H B Bear

    The NEM has one maybe two years before the excess coal generation from the Pony Club is absorbed by their own growth. Most days Queensland is sending 1,000MW south continuously to prop the rest of the NEM up. Pony Girl has no interest in the market, looking at the state owned generators shows they are making off like bandits and paying tens of millions back to the government in dividends. As soon as that is absorbed the game is up and the lights go out.

  15. Entropy

    By then, of course, the feds and our southern brethren will demand Qld sends CSG south from little red hen Qld to ‘firm’ their joke energy supplies.

  16. However you look at it, the NEM restricts free trade between the states.

  17. Mark M

    Angus Taylor MP via twitter:

    “We’re going to see a 250 per cent increase in wind and solar in the national electricity market in the next three years; an investment of $15bn in renewables. We will reach our 2030 commitments in a canter.”

    https://twitter.com/SkyNewsAust/status/1055667582034833408

    Egad.

  18. min

    I live in an independent retirement apartment ,one of 84, we also have extensive public areas and our annual energy bill ,according to company who won tender to install solar panels , is $960,000 pa . Savings will be $124,000. There seems to be too many noughts on those numbers however we would have huge heating and cooling costs ,
    Even with solar ,we will still be reliant on grid for night time and dull days. Backup batteries ,we were told, are not good enough yet. I, as do 30 others already have solar panels but my energy prices are still going up . We fed excess into public areas not nto grid.
    Transmission lines appear to cause problems also in managing renewables in the grid . They caused huge problems in Japan recently when the baseload power could not be lowered any further causing too many mgws surging and massive blackouts. And you think pink bats causing fires was bad you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  19. Myrddin Seren

    Big Nambas:

    The real question is do you think they give a fuck?

    Angus Taylor MP:

    “We’re going to see a 250 per cent increase in wind and solar in the national electricity market in the next three years; an investment of $15bn in renewables. We will reach our 2030 commitments in a canter.”

    Nope – not a flying f**k.

    In fact, this situation is so bad one can only assume that the Protected Classes are not even making their contempt and loathing for the Deplorables obscure. They are high-fiving each other about wrecking the country.

  20. Mark M

    Here is another view of an earlier quote …

    Coalition votes down COAG push to keep climate on energy policy agenda

    “We are going to see a 250 per cent increase in wind and solar in the National Electricity Market in the next three years …. That is $15 billion in new renewables, wind and solar, and the result that is that we will see sharp reductions in emissions.

    “That is why we will meet … the Paris climate targets … in a canter.”

    It should be noted, what that actually means is that the electricity sector will meet its share, but not the whole economy. Official data shows economy-wide emissions heading in the opposite direction.

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/coalition-votes-down-coag-push-to-keep-climate-on-energy-policy-agenda-16324/

  21. Percy Popinjay

    Angus Taylor MP:

    “We’re going to see a 250 per cent increase in wind and solar in the national electricity market in the next three years; an investment of $15bn in renewables. We will reach our 2030 commitments in a canter.”

    This must be the “profoundly significant and earth shattering announcement on saving the electrickery grid” that Craig Kelly and Jim Molan were referring to last week when speaking at the Wentworth Gliberal forum.

    Disgusting, dissembling frauds. Electoral oblivion rightfully awaits.

    As soon as that is absorbed the game is up, the lights go out, the guillotines are meticulously assembled and the tumbrils start a rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ …

    In a just world, Bear – which nowadays is a mythical bizarre parallel universe.

  22. John Constantine

    Demand destruction through having Australians lose the ability to smelt metal.

    Dynamite for the smelters means they can get away with the dynamite for the coal generators fashion.

    Then dynamite our dams.

    Big Australia means we are rich enough to dynamite our entire legacy of built infrastructure. As long as the Tyrant for life of all China keeps enabling the debt that underpins our phantasies.

    Comrade Maaaaates.

  23. Neil

    But Rod Sims say electricity prices have gone up because State govts wanted to gold plate the network. The lefties tell me so

  24. Cpt Seahawks

    We have a German family across the road (don’t mention the war) and they are full on climate virtue signallers. Eg sitting look out over the Indian Ocean, “wouldn’t it be nice to see vind turbines out there…..if you disagree you are Hollible! ”
    Anyway, they were in SA in their touring truck when the power went out. They couldn’t leave as no fuel pumping, food went rotten. Mayhem.
    So fn funny, I’m still getting mileage out of that.

  25. Rafe Champion

    But did they actually learn anything from the experience Captain?

  26. Myrddin Seren

    But did they ( Der Chermans ) actually learn anything from the experience Captain?

    Germans ( 1939 ): Hey, does anyone remember something from 1918 we could learn from ?

    Other Germans ( 1939 ): Mmmm – nein – I got nothing, nothing !

    Germans ( 1939 ): Mokay

    Track record on learning from painful experience – poor. see Merkel. A

  27. egg_

    Demand destruction through having Australians lose the ability to smelt metal.

    They’re already rationing their power use and Gupta bought Zenn Energy, likely for offsets – the next stage is (more) gas to pre-heat the Arc furnace(s).

  28. Entropy

    It will be cheaper for the few large scale manufacturers left to build their own power sources.

  29. RobK

    It will be cheaper for the few large scale manufacturers left to build their own power sources.
    That’s what happened at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Domestic electricity was the beneficiary. Then there were economies of scale. RE proponents sprook distributed supply, yet at the same time push for industrial scale RE plots. It’s a nonsense.

  30. Ubique

    Australians haven’t yet woken up to the new reality of a supply-driven electricity grid. They’re still stuck in the old outdated, white male paradigm of a demand-driven system, when power is there whenever you might want it.

    Under a supply driven system, power, or at least some power anyway, is available whenever it might be sunny and/or windy. For the benefit of the environment, sort of, you just need to wait for electricity to be available to vacuum the house, wash the clothes, cook the dinner, crank up the smelter at the steelworks or have the life support system running at the hospital.

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