Unreliable energy set to melt the rural grid in Victoria

Exciting times down south, wind and solar equivalent of two coal-fired power stations coming on line by 2025 and the grid won’t be able to cope. OK gold plate the grid.

And how of two coal-fired power stations will wind and solar deliver when the wind is low and the sun is off duty? Exciting times indeed!

Authorities say two coal-fired power stations’ worth of renewable energy won’t be able to reach the grid without major upgrades to networks in Victoria’s west.

Up to five gigawatts of new wind and solar energy will be generated in Victoria’s west by 2025
An expert says almost none of that power will reach the grid through the rural transmission lines in place, which are like a “one-lane bush track”.

Developers are lining up to build wind and solar projects in towns to the west and north of Ballarat, in what is being hailed as another gold rush.

“We’ve got $3 billion worth of projects currently underway,” said Stuart Benjamin, the chairman of a Victorian Government-commissioned taskforce that is overseeing the boom in the Grampians.

“And if some of the limitations that we’re seeing in terms of infrastructure are addressed, we could possibly double or even triple that number.”

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49 Responses to Unreliable energy set to melt the rural grid in Victoria

  1. classical_hero

    With that sort of money you could build reliable energy and it will be cheaper.

  2. Chris M

    The obligation is on the generator to deliver their product to the market, and only get paid for what they sell.

  3. iamok

    The Grampians being one of the most beautiful and almost untouched places around. Is about to be screwed like all Victoriastans

  4. NB

    Look who gets our dollars. Follow the money for the answer to who most loves solar and wind (part-time) generators.

  5. John Constantine

    Climbing in parts of the Grampians is set to be banned by the State, so officials can display solidarity with Ayers Rock.

    Comrades.

  6. John Constantine

    One bankrupt western vicco shire is covering all bases.

    Subsidised windmill Rort, charges up subsidised lithium battery Rort, to power a subsidised refugee dispersal area vegetable growing greenhouse Rort.

    Big Australia has made us so rich we can dynamite our power stations, borrow loan sharks finance to buy chicom peoples liberation army slave labour windmills to enable us to mass import revolutionary military age freedom fighters from the world’s poorest tyrannies to send them bush to grow ruinables diversity vegetables.

    No wonder vikpol is arming paramilitary Death squads with assault rifles, when this tower of crap slumps into ruin our elites will need protection as they flee to their foreign paymasters.

    Comrades.

  7. Ivan Denisovich

    Developers are lining up to build wind and solar projects in towns to the west and north of Ballarat, in what is being hailed as another gold rush.

    “We’ve got $3 billion worth of projects currently underway,” said Stuart Benjamin, the chairman of a Victorian Government-commissioned taskforce that is overseeing the boom in the Grampians.

    “And if some of the limitations that we’re seeing in terms of infrastructure are addressed, we could possibly double or even triple that number.

    Apparently the Adani mine must be stopped to save the black throated finch but killing threatened birds (27 species, according to this):

    https://www.swifft.net.au/cb_pages/threatened_fauna_ballarat_city.php

    on an industrial scale around Ballarat is not an issue.

  8. Leo G

    And if some of the limitations that we’re seeing in terms of infrastructure are addressed, we could possibly double or even triple that number.”

    Addressing those infrastructure limitations is a euphemism for building rural transmission lines to carry the transient peak maximum outputs of connected windfarms, but which are grossly underutilised compared with baseload generator connectors.

  9. RobK

    Ive quoted this before. The system costs for a renewables grid is an order of magnitude dearer than a baseload nuclear grid. A coal baseload is cheaper still. VRE=Variable Renewable Energy.

    The Costs of Decarbonisation: System Costs with High Shares of Nuclear and Renewables

    © OECD 2019 NEA No. 7335 NUCLEAR ENERGY AGENCY ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT
    This decarbonisation will require a radical restructuring of the electric power sectors of each OECD countries and a truly massive deployment of low-carbon technologies, in particular nuclear energy and renewable energies such as wind and solar PV. Other generation options, including hydropower, are limited in a window of only 25-35 years, which is short given the intrinsic inertia of electricity systems, where power plants and transmission infrastructure frequently have lifetimes of 60 years and more. Renewable energies have enjoyed in recent years both popular and political support. While average costs per MWh of wind and solar PV are still somewhat higher than those of nuclear energy, the cost gap at the level of plant-level generation costs (as calculated with the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) methodology as set out in the 2015 OECD study on the Projected Costs of Generating Electricity) no longer seems insurmountable. However, as spe-lled out in the first OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) study on system costs, Nuclear Energy and Renewables: System Costs in Decarbonising Electricity Systems (2012), VRE technologies such as wind and solar PV cause a number of additional costs to the system, which are referred to as system costs. The most important categories of the system costs of VREs are increased outlays for distribution and transmission due to their small unit size and distance from load centres, balancing costs to prepare for unpredictable changes in wind speed and solar radiation and, perhaps, most importantly, the costs for organising reliable supplies through the residual system during the hours when wind and sun are not fully available or not available at all. Variability also induces significant changes in the composition of the remainder of dispatchable technologies that ensure round-the-clock security of supply in the power system. When deploying VREs, one observes, in particular, a shift from technologies with high fixed cost, such as nuclear power to more flexible technologies with low fixed cost such as gas-fired power generation. While the latter will be able to better absorb the loss of operating hours due to VRE infeed, the overall costs of the residual system will increase, an effect known as “profile costs”. In addition, deploying VREs does not automatically translate into carbon emission reductions. For instance, when nuclear power is substituted by a mix of VREs and gas-fired generation that produces electricity when VREs are not available, overall carbon emissions will increase. All technologies have system costs. Nuclear, for instance, requires particularly strong network connections and access to reliable cooling sources. However, these costs turn out to be an order of magnitude lower than those imposed by the variability of renewable energies. The key advantage of nuclear power in the economic competition with wind and solar PV is the fact that nuclear power plants are dispatchable, i.e. they can produce large amounts of carbon free baseload power in a reliable and predictable fashion.

    We reject coal, nukes, hydro and gas (exploration in parts). Lets run with the lowest grade energy we can find. Hampster wheels all round. The prices aren’t comming down anytime soon. Quite the opposite.

  10. Capacity factor in Victoria at present is 7.7% or 122 MW. Tis a joke.

  11. MPH

    What kind of regime means it is economic to commence construction on a facility with no available means of delivering it’s product to market? The mind boggles…

  12. struth

    A gold rush caused by spending taxpayer money is No gold rush at all, and to produce bugger all power and not one bit of reliable power, is a crime.

    This gold rush in one area is at the cost of causing poverty elsewhere in the country.

  13. RobK

    That pretty much sums it up struth.

  14. Old Irrelevant me

    3Billion Dollars of sporadic power, So many toys and nowhere to send them to market. Still not mention of Steam nor the generation there of. Making 24/7 power still not on the horizon. Isn’t it fun to watch how they spend the peoples money.
    Also Isn’t it clever to get the ABC to run a full scale advert for you. Look at me Look at me I have all this power just waiting for you to come get some.
    What MPH said, same for Struth. Fools Gold on display.

  15. RobK

    You can see why Finkel and the AEMO say demand management will be an integral part of the scheme; prices will go sufficiently high to drive demand away. Along with any unwarranted expectations.

  16. Apparently the Adani mine must be stopped to save the black throated finch but killing threatened birds (27 species, according to this):

    When it comes to ruinable energy, conservation doesn’t matter, it only matters if it involves coal or gas.

    Ruinable energy kills millions of birds and mammals (bats), including endangered species, worldwide every year and this is OK. If some sort of sea based ruinable energy (that didn’t fall apart) was installed and it killed whales, that too would be considered OK.

  17. Rafe Champion

    How hard would it be to find an endangered species in W Victoria and stop the process for a few years?

  18. How hard would it be to find an endangered species in W Victoria and stop the process for a few years?

    It wouldn’t be difficult at all, but those who would do so were any other commercial endeavour proposed are ardent supporters of ruinable energy and thus will never oppose such things. The hypocrisy of the Left has no bounds.

  19. Mark M

    Get Julia back on the job. That’ll save the planet …

    2.28: “We’ve invested record amounts in solar and renewable technologies.
    Now I want to build the transmission lines that will bring that clean, green energy into the national electricity grid.”

  20. Aussieute

    May be the spruker has a conflict of interest in these projects being shoved down the Victorian’s throats?

  21. RobK

    Mark,
    Im glad i didn’t see that before bedtime.

  22. DaveR

    The cost of upgrading the grid transmission network to allow connection to new wind and solar generators is the sleeper. Domestic supply (network) charges have already gone up from under 20c per day in 2010 to over $1.10 per day, a 5 fold increase. These heavy network charges for what was a perfectly functioning grid are not for maintenance or replacement, but for grid expansion to connect up new renewables sites. This massive extra charge must be classified as part of renewable project costs, and must be paid for by the renwable project developer.

  23. Rob

    Electric cars are coming – how will we power them?
    Victoria is running out of gas – how will we cook our food?
    The last big reservoir to supply Melbourne was completed in 1983. It was designed to “drought proof” the city for 25 years.
    Where is the growing population to get its water?
    If industry keeps closing down, who will employ us?
    Oh yes, and if the temperature is really shooting up, how will our ACs be powered and who could afford to use them?
    And on top of these horrors, Labor wants to tax us to oblivion.
    Fools paradise?

  24. min

    How can Oz have a national energy policy when the States can do what they like?
    I have now come to the conclusion that communicating with average voter is useless with verbal methods . Suggest parties send out comic books or tv ads in cartoons . KISS of course.

  25. Boambee John

    Strangely, transmission lines are only visually damaging to the ‘vi’onment when they carry non-ruinable power. There was a big protest from the usual suspects up this way when a new transmission line was proposed. It was eventually cancelled.

    Affected areas likely to receive ruinable transmission lines might like to ask the Knitting Nannas to intervene. If nothing else, the excuses offered for them not intervening should be amusing.

  26. John Bayley

    @ John Constantine:
    Your contributions have that rare quality that while they are often quite funny, they invariably make me rather sad.
    Comrade maaates.
    Pity my poor country, indeed.

  27. RobK

    Electric car and desal plants will increase load on the grid. Power is required to purify water and also to lift millions of tonnes of water from the sea to elevated storage sites. Dams of old did that thanks to renewable rainfall. We dont build dams now. No cheap water. Cant win a trick.

  28. John Bayley

    Where is the growing population to get its water?

    Never fear, they will fire up the desalination plants we have been forced to pay for even while they’ve not been producing any water.
    Unless the rats have gnawed through the cabling again, that is.
    In which case, ‘demand management’ can always be extended to water delivery.
    Maybe the government can import another ‘expert’ from the USA to oversee it all.

  29. iamok

    Rafe we all know what the endangered species is. Us.

  30. Eyrie

    “Maybe the government can import another ‘expert’ from the USA to oversee it all.”
    I’m sure we can find home grown Australian “experts” to fuck it up. Malcolm Turnbull springs to mind.

  31. Dr Fred Lenin

    The answer to all this political crap is to put EVERY sitting member last on the ballot paper ,a salutary lesson to the dickheads ,then next election do the same ,eliniminating anyone who has ever been elected previously . This would destroy career politics the defeated can go back to suburban conveyancing and union shit strirring . Further steps would be a cap on politiccal donations to $10 per year per person or group,and intriducing yearly contracts for all public employees ,including judiiciary ,and performance based salaries with self funded super an d OAP on retirement if qualified .
    Might not be a cure but wouldnt it piss the elitist yobs off?

  32. rickw

    The amount of white elephant infrastructure being built in Australia is frightening. A very hard correction looms in the future. Politicians playing Engineer is a recipe for disaster.

  33. egg_

    The amount of white elephant infrastructure being built in Australia is frightening. A very hard correction looms in the future. Politicians playing Engineer is a recipe for disaster.

    It’s as though SHY were running the country – it can only end in tears.

  34. John A

    From the li nked article:

    As it stands, the rural transmission lines will be simply unable to transmit the five gigawatts without significant upgrades.

    O RLY?

    Then what is it doing now, when 11Gw is being transmitted?

    Why do I get the creepy feeling (again) that my wallet is about to be raided by politicians?

  35. Fat Tony

    Where is the growing population to get its water?

    By drinking recycled sewage water – it’s been the plan since before Toowoomba rejected it on a 62%-38% vote.

    There are billions to be made by force-feeding the population this crap. And had Toowoomba fallen, you would probably all be drinking it by now.

  36. mem

    What kind of regime means it is economic to commence construction on a facility with no available means of delivering it’s product to market? The mind boggles…

    I seem to recall that Pol Pot built dams on the top of hills so that the water would flow down. Problem is the Dams didn’t fill because they were on top of the hills. Engineers by this stage had been carted off to the killing fields as their advice was not seen as helpful. I fear the same attitude exists in Victoriastan.

  37. MPH:

    What kind of regime means it is economic to commence construction on a facility with no available means of delivering it’s product to market? The mind boggles…

    This is about locking future governments into funding useless costs.
    Just like the desalination plants.
    Just like the submarine project.
    Just like pulling all the copper wire out for the NBN.
    Just like the NDIS.

    Now, it looks logical, doesn’t it?
    Especially when you realise it’s all about wasting money and bankrupting the Australian economy.
    Under the Stalinesque regime they want to bring in, they would be at the head of the line to have the label “Wrecker” nailed to their pointy little heads and shot.

  38. Rohan

    John A
    #2937127, posted on February 18, 2019 at 11:33 AM
    Then what is it doing now, when 11Gw is being transmitted?

    Those small capacity transmission lines and planned wind farms are in the west of the state where the demand from electricity including the feed into SA are relatively low. The transmission lines that supply around 10-11GW are between Morwell/Traralgon and Melbourne, where the majority of demand is. And since the closure of Hazzlewood, has a lot of spare capacity.

    Therein lies the crux of the issue. These projects including the offshore windfarm in south east Gippsland are about to get literally stranded. No one is putting up their hand to build the transmission infrastructure. The numbers don’t add up.

  39. Rafe Champion

    Rohan there was a piece on line recently about the stranded renewable assets that are being build, mostly in Victoria but presumably everywhere else that the crash program is happening, I thought i put it up somewhere on the Cat, maybe in the open thread but I can’t find it.

  40. Empire 5:5

    The cost of upgrading the grid transmission network to allow connection to new wind and solar generators is the sleeper. Domestic supply (network) charges have already gone up from under 20c per day in 2010 to over $1.10 per day, a 5 fold increase. These heavy network charges for what was a perfectly functioning grid are not for maintenance or replacement, but for grid expansion to connect up new renewables sites. This massive extra charge must be classified as part of renewable project costs, and must be paid for by the renwable project developer.

    I don’t understand why the distribution issue isn’t hammered harder. The house troll was spewing its intermittent energy crap yesterday. The parrots focus purely on the method of generation and are never held to account for the impossibility of delivering the electrons to market, with current technology.

    Distribution of the future?
    http://vizivtechnologies.com/technology/

  41. Rafe

    The ABC claim that RE is cheaper must be true because someone on The Conversation fact checked it. (Sarc)

  42. Perth Trader

    From the ‘Spectator’ in 2017…..A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs about 250 tonnes, including the tower, nacelle, rotor and blades. Globally, it takes about half a tonne of coal to make a tonne of steel. Add another 25 tonnes of coal for making the cement and you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year (or a smaller number of bigger ones), just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.

  43. duncanm

    Rafe
    #2937297, posted on February 18, 2019 at 2:41 pm
    The ABC claim that RE is cheaper must be true because someone on The Conversation fact checked it. (Sarc)

    I presume they get their figures from the 2017 CSIRO report … then cherry pick to the extreme.

    As the executive summary from that report states.. you cannot directly compare generation costs without considering distribution impacts and costs..

    These two flaws mean that LCOE comparisons within (i.e. between technologies) and across alternative LCOE projection studies can be meaningless.

    so they come up with another figure, the “extended LCOE”.

    and.. oops, also from the executive summary:

    this extended LCOE .. indicates that the LCOE of renewables begins to approach that of CCS and nuclear power

    Now — coal power has already been knobbled in these comparisons, by assuming it needs expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS). You won’t find it in that CSIRO report, but CCS adds about $30/MWh.

    The ABC charts from my link above are straight out lies. They assume CCS, and they assume a 50% capacity factor, when coal runs more like 80%

    So the numbers for coal drop from something like US$102.5/MWh to $34/MWh, which is as cheap as anything renewable cost the ABC factcheck can invent. The cheapest, wind, runs at $30.4/MWh with 30% CF.

    Then, have a look at page 21 of that CSIRO report. The cost of renewables climbs quite dramatically as they take more of the total share of generation. Doubling the cost of generation moving from 30% to 90% of share. Suddenly, renewables at $120/MWh don’t look so flash.

    As the CSIRO says: (ignoring the cheaper non-CCS HELE, of course)

    .. once the cost of supporting technologies is included in high renewable share electricity system (>80%), the LCOE becomes similar to that of nuclear and CCS technologies. However, the cost disadvantage for CCS and nuclear in the short term remains. That is, the first gigawatt of capacity for those technologies will result in electricity generation costs of more than $120/MWh (cough.. more like $90/MWh). However, the first gigawatt of variable renewable generation, in states where the share is below 40%, results in around half that cost as it can rely on existing flexible generation capacity.

  44. RobK

    I find it strange(not really) that the Nuclear Energy Agency and the OECD report in Jan 2019 that RE is still dearer than nukes, but the ABC in 2017 reckons it isnt. From memory Finkel side-stepped the issue saying it was politically unacceptable and therefore not considered.
    With RE the grid becomes much more complex to control. It is in efficient.

  45. Destroyer D69

    More “Lithium Lunacy”
    News
    « Back
    New Solar Farm Development Application Shines A light on Jobs

    A DEVELOPMENT application to construct a large solar power plant at Harlin in the Somerset region, has today been given the green light by Council.

    Somerset Regional Council conditionally approved the 1500 megawatt farm to be constructed over two stages on a 2,055 hectare site east of Harlin on the D’Aguilar Highway.

    The facility is proposed to be staffed seven days per week with up to 60 permanent staff. During construction, this solar farm has the potential to create up to 200 jobs.

    Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the solar farm, once completed, would be Australia’s largest.

    “This was a complex development application put together by Ethos Urban planning consultants, who have been involved in other large infrastructure projects throughout Australia, on behalf of Sunshine Energy Australia Pty Ltd,” Cr Lehmann said.

    “This application has been referred to various government departments and agencies for their input and Council approved the development in line with our planning scheme which allows for such developments in rural areas.”

    Cr Lehmann said Council had taken into account concerns raised by submitters during the public consultation phase and had addressed these concerns, where possible, by implementing conditions on the development application to offset these.

    “For example, where residents were concerned about the solar farm being seen from the D’Aguilar Highway, we’ve requested that trees be planted along the fenceline,” he said.

    “We’ve also increased offsets and stipulated that solar panels cannot be installed within 100 metres of a neighbouring property.

    “We have also requested that a year after construction and operation that developers review the impact of glare and if there is an impact on neighbouring properties that additional trees be planted or the tinting of windows is to occur.

    “Further, Council has conditioned the development application so that no solar panels can be installed in the flood plain.

    “These are just some of the conditions we’ve placed on the developers to ensure we’re addressing the concerns of residents, where possible.”

    Cr Lehmann said it was important for residents to remember that these types of proposals provide an opportunity to capitalise on an emerging market for renewable energy sources.

    It is anticipated that construction of the solar farm will start mid-2019, will take up to three years to complete and be completed over two stages.

  46. Destroyer D69

    Addendum

    battery will be four times bigger than South Australia’s

    Mining

    November 20, 2018 | Angela East

    The world’s largest lithium-ion battery is being built in Queensland at the site of what will also be the world’s largest single site solar farm, according to one industry player.

    Sunshine Energy Australia has been granted development approval by Somerset Council in Queensland to build a 1500MW solar farm, which will span 2500ha, and a 500MW lithium-ion battery storage facility.

    The new battery would well and truly trump Tesla’s 129MW lithium-ion battery storage facility at the Hornsdale power station in South Australia.
    .

    Meanwhile, Sunshine Energy’s $2 billion renewable energy project, once fully operational will produce enough green energy to power around 300,000 homes, slashing 2.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the process.

    The project will comprise 247,000 subarrays of 21 solar modules, with roughly 5.2 million solar panels on the site.

    “The 500MW battery storage onsite will provide additional energy distribution options, providing a more consistent energy supply that will reduce price volatility during peak periods,” Sunshine Energy director Anthony Youssef said.

    “We are using our high-performance lithium battery system, patented in Australia, for the facility.”

    Two substations built by Powerlink will distribute solar generated energy back to the commercial electricity network.

    It will connect to the 275kV national distribution network in Queensland. The first 250MW is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019.

    Australia’s investment in energy storage drives battery metal demand

    Australia is continuing the push to help secure its energy future by upping its investment in the battery storage market, which has seen demand for commodities like lithium and vanadium climb.

    The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) last week announced that the second of two grid-scale batteries had been completed at the Gannawarra solar farm near Kerang in North Western Victoria.

    The 25MW/50MWh Gannawarra energy storage system began exporting electricity to the grid in October and will be fully commissioned in time for summer.

    The system uses Telsa’s lithium-ion battery technology.

    ARENA said the Gannawarra energy storage system is Australia’s largest battery to be integrated with a solar farm and will be among the largest solar and battery facilities in the world. It will have the ability to provide solar energy at night to the grid.

    EnergyAustralia is the operator of both the Gannawarra and Ballarat batteries in Victoria.

    “The ability to store and quickly release energy will help integrate renewables in the system as coal-fired plants progressively retire,” EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna said.

    “These are the new technologies and approaches that will come to underpin our energy system, keeping customers’ lights on and their costs down.”

    Battery storage in individual homes is also witnessing a rapid escalation.

    The number of household solar batteries installed in Australia this year is expected to jump 57 per cent to 33,000 compared to 2017, according to industry consultant SunWiz.

    The 2017 figure of 21,000 was already three times higher than the year before.

    The Northern Territory recently installed an $8.3m 5MW battery system in Alice Springs to support greater supply of solar power to homes.

    The initiative was part of the government’s push to have half its power coming from renewable sources by 2030.

    That followed the installation of a trial 105kWh Tesla battery in a Mandurah suburb, south of Perth in Western Australia, designed to allow households with solar panels to maximise their existing grid connection.

    Other government initiatives are expected to drive the installation of batteries in South Australia alone to between 40,000 and 100,000 over the next four years.
    Most Popular

    1

  47. Rafe Champion

    4 times SA, that would power the SA grid for about ten minutes. QLD uses about five times as much power as SA….An expensive ornament indeed!

  48. SpeedofLife

    “Developers are lining up to build wind and solar projects in towns to the west and north of Ballarat, in what is being hailed as another gold rush.“

    Well n9 wonder. Wh9 wouldn’t love their own subsidy farm?

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