David Bidstrup: A year has passed and nothing has changed, in fact it is worse.

January 24 2019 saw Adelaide’s 80 year old maximum temperature record fall. It also provided another example of the frailty of the electricity system with wind power collapsing and mad animal panic ensuing while 25,000 properties lost power. It also showed the idiocy of the electricity “market”.

In January 2018 we had 2 consecutive days above 40 degrees, (January 18 and 19), and on those days wholesale power prices in SA soared by a factor of 20 compared to the monthly average. The combined cost for the 2 days was $128 million. On January 24 2019 the cost for one day was $234 million.

The table below shows a portion of the day for each of the 5 states that are supposed to be in the “market”. The AEMO data used to tabulate these costs is divided into 48 half hour periods each day and gives a demand in MW and a “Regional reference price” for the corresponding period. I have abridged the table to show just the 6 hour period when prices went through the roof in SA and Victoria, but did not move in the other 3 states and actually went negative a few time in Tasmania.

The full day for Victoria and SA can be seen in the chart below the table. I have not included the other states as their costs do not show on the chart due to the huge difference between them and SA and Victoria.

The table shows the 6 hour period shaded in yellow. In both states this period accounted for 97% of the daily cost and the average cost per MWh was $13,008 in Victoria and $14,059 in SA. Averaged over the whole day Queensland, NSW and Tasmania cost around $105 /MWh but Victoria’s daily average was $4,529.00 and SA’s $4,161.00.

It seems the message falls on deaf ears. Those who have defined themselves by “climate change” do not want to hear that they have failed completely and left a mess behind. The loss of the Port Augusta power station and the closure of Hazelwood were acts of economic vandalism that put the electricity system on the road to failure. The fact that new solar and wind installations are being approved and built shows the depth of ignorance in those who run the place.

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41 Responses to David Bidstrup: A year has passed and nothing has changed, in fact it is worse.

  1. Delta

    The fact that new solar and wind installations are being approved and built shows the depth of ignorance in those who run the place.

    It sure does!

  2. John Constantine

    If we charge the metal smelters and the multinationals and the greedy corporates what ruinable electricity really costs, it will be fairer and equal and cheaper for the non-racists that care about the enviroment, fight the revolution against the normative patriarchy and hate all the tory churchillian Nazi bigglesworths.

    Comrades.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    Three days and you could buy a HELE plant with the money wasted.

    As to the 80 yr record, it’s surprising it lasted that long. The build up of UHIE over that time would be worth about 5 degrees on a hot day. All that asphalt and concrete and glazing which wasn’t there 80 years ago.

    I happened to look at Adelaide West Terrace (the official Adelaide thermometer) vs Adelaide airport yesterday. Despite all the asphalt and jet exhausts the airport was about a degree cooler than the city, all day. Shows you how ferocious the heat island effect is.

  4. teddy bear

    Not ignorance, Corruption.

  5. DaveR

    The are a lot of unpleasant realities around these figures –

    one is that the Portland aluminium smelter – which consumes an average of 10% of Victoria’s electricity output, will likely have to be forcibly turned off on days like Thursday and Friday. Built in different times under a different economic rationale, it means the aluminium industry probably has to leave the state – and probably Australia.

    the second reality is that Morrison and Frydenberg – still running with the hopeless Turnbull energy policies – really have no idea (or will) to get power prices back down to levels needed by industry and the population.

    The interesting thing for the expected incoming Shorten socialists will be how they manage their Green policies with increasing union job losses. It will be interesting to watch.

  6. stackja

    Voters happy with the mess? Happier with a bigger mess?

  7. stackja

    Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio asks Victorians to ‘do our bit’ to keep the lights on amid heatwave
    Matt Johnston, Monique Hore and Tamsin Rose, Herald Sun
    January 25, 2019 2:37pm

    Up to 60,000 Victorian houses and businesses will lose power for short periods as “rotating brownouts” are ordered across the state during this afternoon’s heatwave.

    The Australian Energy Market Operator has revealed energy shortages over the next two hours have forced them to ask companies to start “load shedding” — a term to describe turning off the power in some suburbs to ease demand on the overall grid.

  8. Biota

    Green DiNatale was quoted today as saying about the loss of power by 200k homes- just think of the sacrifice people accepted in blackouts during WW2. What a dckhd.

  9. stackja

    The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio
    Electorate
    Mill Park
    Positions
    Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
    Minister for Solar Homes

    Occupation/Interests
    Electorate Officer
    Organiser, Australian Services Union 1986-1994. ALP State Organiser 1994-1999. Electorate Officer, Alexander Andrianopoulos, Member for Mill Park 1999-2002. Memberships: Australian Services Union; Emily’s List; Union of Australian Women; 3ZZZ. Interests: Gardening, cooking, family, odd jobs around the house, reading crime fiction.
    Party Positions
    ALP member since 1983. State Organiser 1994-99.

  10. Dr Fred Lenin

    The willfull refusal to change the current wastefull ruinables subsidy caper reeks of corruption and to say coal is unreliable when our society was built on coal fired power is tantamount to criminal . The words High Treason dont sound out if place in relation to these polliemaggots .

  11. Roger Bidstrup

    The data in this commentary is simply an outcome. If you wish to discuss power pricing you need to look at the system available and the demand profile. Any system will fail to meet load when peak demand goes well above typical demand.
    The core issue is Australia is that base demand is falling and has been for some time.

  12. Turtle

    Richard Di Natalie suffers from cranial anal compression. Hence the turnip shaped head.

    During the blitz Londoner’s went without power because of an evil fascist external threat. This threat is internal, Dick, and it’s you.

  13. High Treason.

    I agree pardner, fetch the rope and a judge, it’s time justice was served.

  14. Turtle

    Sorry about the redundant apostrophe

  15. Mater

    Up to 60,000 Victorian houses and businesses will lose power for short periods as “rotating brownouts” are ordered across the state during this afternoon’s heatwave.

    No, they are ‘rotating blackouts’
    Brownouts result from the lowering of voltage (resulting in dimmed or flickering lights). When you cut off supply, it is a blackout.
    Today we had blackouts!

  16. NB

    Voters demand more closures of power stations in order to lower electricity bills.

  17. Pete of Perth

    For every black out caused by government meddling, the plug should be pulled on Canberra.

  18. One ScoMo doesn’t make a Spring

    The DisHonest Lily D’Ambrosio claimed coal and gas failed Victorians today and renewables saved us!
    FMD
    $70 billion dollars providing five fifths of SFA. All supported by media outlets happy to peddle this shyte. What a delinquent bunch of Thieves.

  19. John Constantine

    Accept rationing because of wartime.

    But the capitulation conventions have been signed and we are unwavering in our craven submission to our new overlords.

    So why call it war when we are forbidden to fight back?.

    Comrades?.

  20. RobK

    Mater,
    No, they are ‘rotating blackouts’

    That’s how I see it too.

  21. Wil

    Brownouts are usually caused by a faulty earth return in SWER lines.
    The present people running our power supply or the so called media wouldn’t know the difference. They just show their ignorance of how it works. Does the cost of generating power increase to astronomical prices because there is not enough to go around? No. The cost is not one cent more than any other time. This unsustainable situation is only because we have sold our prime state assets to money grabbing mongrels who do not care how much they ruin this once great country. It can only get worse.

  22. Rafe Champion

    As the level of demand and supply approached 36GW in the middle of the day, Rooftop PV appeared on the chart for the first time, contributing 4GW at midday and tapering off after 4 presumably due to north facing panels getting less of the western sun.

  23. W Hogg

    January 24 2019 saw Adelaide’s 80 year old maximum temperature record fall.

    Bullshit. Adelaide had a higher temp on 11/1/1939 – and then set a new record the next day which still stands. Any claims to the contrary are fraud.

  24. struth

    The fact that new solar and wind installations are being approved and built shows the depth of ignorance in those who run the place.

    The fact that you think they are ignorant shows your ignorance.
    Corruption is not ignorance.

    And get your facts right.
    1939 was hotter.

    Our problem is those , like you, on our side of the argument, are often too naïve to accurately contemplate the reality of the situation.

  25. Nighthawk the Elder

    What is with this obsession over the ownership of power assets? The usual trolls are over in the comments section of the major daily’s blaming Kennett for the blackouts. And then I see Wil above as well. Is there this magical belief that somehow government ownership provides a more effective operation of the asset and would have prevented the rolling blackouts? There is almost an analogy to Orwell’s “four legs good, two legs bad”.

    I’ve spent almost 35 years in the power industry, both during the SECV days and after privatisation. To say the way we operated were chalk and cheese would be an understatement. The productivity of the SECV was absolutely piss poor. You did battle with a bureaucratic bloody mind set if you tried to get anything done. Not that anyone had any idea what the real costs of any jobs were.

    Rorting was rife. Staff didn’t come to work, they attended their place of employment for the purposes of being paid, just so they could then piss off to the pub or spend the afternoon playing golf. The main stores were like a personnel Bunnings, only no check outs to worry about.

    Contrary to the the bullshit from leftists, the private owners pumped a lot of money into the power assets. The key difference was they expected the money to be spend prudently and not pissed up against the wall. They expected a return on investment.

    The government owned SECV was a fucking joke! Monash would have been spinning in his grave (and if we wrapped him in copper wire we could have used the generated power). If the SECV were still around, we would have been having this conversation about power shortages about 15 years ago. And we would still be waiting for a new power station all these years later.

    One more argument that does not fly either is that governments would have planned for replacement power stations prior to closing an old one. Private companies also plan for replacement of their assets. (I know, it was some of the work I did). Government’s role is to create the environment to allow the private owners to undertake these replacements and then to get out of the way. Instead we have governments that actively place regulatory and bureaucratic road blocks to stifle investment. The private companies may still replace their assets, just in a more business friendly jurisdiction, such as overseas if they are a multi national.

  26. DaveR

    What Victoria had on Friday was load shedding – the deliberate shutting down of sections of the grid to keep the rest of the grid up. Its done by the grid controller for just long enough supposedly not to cause freezers to thaw, and hence trigger compensation claims.

    Remember also that a main reason for the compulsory installation of “smart” meters was so that power providers could shut a house supply off remotely when needed. One of those time was on Friday when there was not enough supply to meet demand. This brilliant idea came from the UK, where Greens were thinking of rationing power to individual households per week.

    But instead of individual house load shedding, it seems the operator shut off a number of whole suburbs on Friday.

  27. egg_

    The DisHonest Lily D’Ambrosio claimed coal and gas failed Victorians today and renewables saved us!

    How much longer til the Mussolini treatment?
    /NADT

  28. egg_

    Accept rationing because of wartime.

    I told Sinc it was the War on Terror Weather.

  29. Chris Morris

    Wil
    No You are wrong. Brownouts are when the load on a line or transformer is so high, that there is a significant voltage drop across it. All goes back to Ohm’s Law. The tap changers, if fitted, that vary the ratio in transformers have run out of operating range. The high losses in the distribution system mean the voltage measured at the household/ industry is a lot lower than normal. This means that things like incandescent lightbulbs aren’t as bright (hence the name) and a lot of other appliances just stop working.

  30. Rafe Champion

    No egg, its the War on CO2, aka plantfood!

  31. mem

    The renewable energy revolution is too expensive and will not work. That’s the verdict from Derek Birkett, former Grid Control Engineer at Hydro Electric, which exercised grid control over large parts of Scotland. He argues that global climate concerns have been largely overstated, that clean energy’s intermittency is a fatal flaw and that large-scale battery storage is not an achievable goal. Reported in Energy Live News on 25 Jan 2019. https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/01/25/renewable-revolution-is-too-expensive-and-will-not-work/

  32. Garry

    Home air-conditioners, in their millions, are causing much of the inability of the grid to cope. Yesterday the normal load (Victoria) of 4 to 5 Gw rose to over 9 Gw, principally as millions of air-conditioners were switched on.
    How is the grid to cope?
    A. Build lots more power stations, to be in stand-by, plus perhaps solar panel farms, since very hot days are often sunny. Have a generating capacity of 10 Gw.

    B. Put Air-conditioners on separate circuits that the smart meters can disconnect, should load shedding be required.

    C. Do nothing, food goes off in fridge, industries are wrecked, etc.

    We survived without air-conditioners in the past, and sometimes the Australian weather is uncomfortable. The electricity markets have been gamed by rentseekers, politicians, and other spivs, but our current generating capacity can never work when all the air-conditioners are likely to be turned on. What consumers seek is for huge over-capacity to be installed, so that several days a year it is available-but, are they willing to pay for it? Choices to be made-live with it.

  33. gowest

    Can anyone tell me why we are having to supply so much of our GST to Tasmania when their power is so cheap?

  34. mem

    Reply to Garry

    Home air-conditioners, in their millions, are causing much of the inability of the grid to cope.

    No it is the fact that Victoria now produces less reliable base load power than it did previously. It is the fault of government for using the population as guinea for its ” energy revolution” which was always going to be a failure as the Green Technology is not fit for purpose. No amount of wishing will make it viable as it relies on unpredictable energy sources, wind and sun, and there is no efficient way of storing the energy for later use.

  35. Tel

    Garry #2917902,
    Population in the major East coast centers Sydney and Melbourne is growing at approx 3% P/A so supply of electricity needs to grow at about the same rate. Air conditioners are hardly a new thing and modern A/C is more efficient, especially split systems … (provided you don’t worry about the occasional leak of lighter fluid causing a fire since they banned quality refrigerant).

    Remember those horrible boxy window A/C units that sound like Nordic industrial music? Those are gone now.

  36. Pingback: Jo Nova- The Price of Renewable Energy in Australia | New Life Narrabri

  37. Garry

    Sorry Mem, and Tel if I offended you. In 2012 the ABS estimated that there were some 1.4 million + A/C units in Victoria. Given growth that may well be close to 2 million now. Choice magazine suggests normal size of 2 to 2.5 Kw for home A/C units, much larger for commercial units in shopping centers, offices, hotels, etc. Arithmetic: If they were all turned on is 2Kw x 1.8 million households=3.6Gw, plus or minus depending on how many turned on and number of commercial plants at much greater wattage, etc. Normal Victorian usage is about 4 Gw, plus an extra 3.6Gw during heatwave and the grid is physically unable to cope. Sure the political leadership are feckless, inept, incompetent, and lost in their AGW fantasies. Content to see $700 million in super profits going to rentseekers for Thursday’s fiasco, and perhaps Friday too.

    What can the pollies do, since the grid was probably running at max this last week? I feel that the grid must have demand scaled back during heatwaves, and the cuts would least unfairly fall on those with A/C units. Superprofit rorts-change the pricing scheme, and introduce a 100% superprofit for this industry only-it is rotten to the core. If the $700 mill Mr Bidstrup speaks of is true, what will the next power bills look like?

  38. robertok06

    Hi there!
    Here were I am, near Geneva, winter in full blast, snow on the mountains… fresh air… I know, I’m a bit asshole now… seriously, all my support to you guys who must take this “green” crap head on, and suffer from it.
    I am a physicist and I like numbers, so… does anybody here has a link to the state’s (whatever state in Australia) electricity production data, possibly real time or almost?

    Thanks a lot in advance.

    Roberto

  39. Ben

    @ robertok06

    #2919453, posted on January 28, 2019 at 3:21 am
    … does anybody here has a link to the state’s (whatever state in Australia) electricity production data, possibly real time or almost?

    https://opennem.org.au/#/all-regions

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