Lets see if we can crash the grid with solar energy! And kill coal at the same time.

Yes we can, fancy that, what if we stopped to think about this and learned from overseas experience?

Homes across Perth and WA’s south face widespread blackouts within a few years according to a bombshell report that calls for urgent upgrades to the system to accommodate rocketing levels of renewable energy.

The Australian Energy Market Operator, which runs the south-west electricity market, said there was now so much solar power flooding into the grid at certain times the system risked becoming “inoperable”.

Just remember, wind won’t work until we have mass storage! And the German trifecta of failure.

And we can put the coal-fired power stations out of business at the same time!

The data show the extent to which Synergy’s business is being buffeted by surging levels of green power in the South West interconnected system, led by rooftop solar, of which about 1000MW has been installed.

It also coincided with a report from the Australian Energy Market Operator which said Synergy faced big increases in costs as its coal-plants were increasingly stopped and started to cope with the influx of renewable energy.

AEMO also noted that stopping and starting coal plants increased the risk of units tripping in the run-up to the evening peak when solar power tapered off, potentially leaving consumers vulnerable. With cheap renewable energy flooding the system at various times of the day, Muja and Collie are increasingly being pushed out of the market.

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23 Responses to Lets see if we can crash the grid with solar energy! And kill coal at the same time.

  1. Roger

    If you thought coal fired power is expensive (it isn’t), just wait until you’re largely reliant on “free” sun and rain and the platinum plating they require.

  2. Tim Neilson

    With cheap renewable energy flooding the system

    Anything can be “cheap” if someone else is paying for it.

  3. Peter Quinby

    We have been having problems with bore pump control units in some areas around Bridgetown where a lot of new builds have solar. Seems the voltage fluctuations cause the controls to believe there’s no water and turn off the pump.

  4. RobK

    The consolation for WA is blame cant be shifted to privatization. It must be clear to us sandgroppers that FiTs are insane. It must be clear that to sustain RE we’ve used, not only FiTs and RETs, but more funding is required for enabling infrastructure such as synchronous condensors, more conductors and enhanced instrumentation and control equipment.
    My only fear is that these extra costs will not be transparent…..other than either price rises or public debt increases. It’s been a very inequitable policy.

  5. mem

    It’s been a very inequitable policy.

    Inequitable? It’s insane! A government supports the introduction of a whole new energy system without even knowing it will work whilst throwing out the working system that is needed to back up the new system that in reality can’t provide sufficient ongoing reliable energy without the previous system still operating.

  6. BoyfromTottenham

    And don’t forget the big trick, the large scale renewable target (LRET) which is a 100% subsidy paid to all ‘renewables’ generators by retailers who then pass the cost on as a secret tax on us consumers. This cunning legislation does several things at once – it guarantees huge profits for renewables operators – they make more money out of Selling the free LRET certificates than they make from selling electricity; it lowers the wh9esale price of electricity and forces reliable base load (coal and gas) generators to reduce their output in favour of unreliables, which makes base load generation progressively less profitable; and it puts up the retail cost of electricity to domestic and small business consumers. And all these bad effects are hidden from the public because no politician ever explains how this iniquitous ‘non-tax, non-subsidy’ legislation works, why it is needed, or even if it in accordance with the taxing powers of the Australian Constitution. Before the federal election we have a small window of time to demand answers from our politicians. Do it now.

  7. BorisG

    The feed-in tariff in WA is so small, the state can ban feeding in of all rooftop solar and it will minimal impact on households (except psychological and symbolic) while saving the grid.

    The only benefit of having rooftop solar is saving large energy cost during the day (e.g. swimming pool pump) if any. Selling energy to the grid is just farce.

  8. RobK

    Boris,
    FiTs is WA are around 6-7c/kWh last i checked. This amount is around the wholesale price for dispatchable supply so i would argue they are over paying. I note that commercial PV in WA has no FiT, which is more realistic as they are encouraged to self consume. Historically, FiTs were as high as 45c, around 10 times the wholesale price. That’s just crazy.

  9. stackja

    ‘AGW’ fantasy, followed by renewable fantasy, followed by reality disruption.

  10. RobK

    The other problem with FiTs is that many are on a 10year contract. Its so easy to spend the tax payers money.

  11. Tel

    Historically, FiTs were as high as 45c, around 10 times the wholesale price. That’s just crazy.

    Bait-n-switch. Offer a really good deal to the first guy who comes along, then a kinda good deal to the second guy, then a so-so deal to the third guy … and so on until we get to the Real Deal which ain’t much good.

  12. BorisG

    RobK, FIT in WA is still a lot smaller than in other states. This tariff is already encouraging to self-consume (it may be similar to wholesale but certainly much smaller than retail).

  13. Terry

    “The Australian Energy Market Operator, which runs the south-west electricity market, said there was now so much solar power flooding into the grid at certain times the system risked becoming “inoperable”.”

    If only we had installed a quango full of very expensive and largely useless defacto bureaucrats to foresee such problems and enlighten us all with their expert solutions for such problems.

  14. Beachcomber

    BoyfromTottenham at 11:26 pm

    ……. or even if it (is) in accordance with the taxing powers of the Australian Constitution.

    How dare you, how very dare you suggest that the powers of the fascist left establishment should be limited by the Constitution; even as they ransack and destroy our energy system.

  15. Beachcomber

    RobK at 9:12 pm

    The consolation for WA is blame cant be shifted to privatization.

    The entire disaster, all of it, will be blamed on privatization and the evil of free enterprise. It already is. The disastrous effects of the ‘renewables’ are well hidden and excluded from public discussion.

  16. CameronH

    That should read”: With subsidised solar energy flooding the market at various times of the day…

  17. OldOzzie

    Were hypocrisy combustible we’d power the nation

    Adam Creighton

    If only hypocrisy could be harnessed to power our country, the ­energy wars would be over. The energy “trilemma” would be solved, hypocrisy being reliable (see social media any time), affordable (it’s free) and low emission (especially when expressed in writing). Next to sanctimony, it’s the great force of our age.

    We happily export uranium for others to generate emissions-free, reliable power, yet turn our noses up at using it ourselves. The clamour to stop new coal-fired power generation, even to tide us over until battery technology improves the reliability of renewables, smacks of hypocrisy.

    Coal and iron ore in particular finance our lifestyle, making affordable cars, televisions, foreign holidays — indeed all of the $35 billion worth of goods and services we import every month.

    The mere whiff of a Chinese ban on Australian coal imports dragged the dollar down 1 per cent last month. And China’s not even our biggest customer, buying about $11bn of $60bn in thermal and metallurgical coal last year.

    The push to derail the Adani Carmichael mine in Queensland, which would provide electricity for low-income Indians, is the pointy end of an even more extreme movement, exemplified by Labor’s Richard Marles, that wishes for a collapse of the coal market.

    Without coal exports (and iron ore, the second most valuable) our currency would collapse. Chinese, Japanese and Korean demand for our resources underpins demand for our currency, which our exporters, such as BHP, Rio Tinto, Yancoal and Glencore, need to pay their taxes, staff, local suppliers and shareholders.

    Without those taxes you could forget about the cuts planned for next week’s budget, which rest entirely on a revenue surge courtesy of the nation’s exporters.

    A world powered by renewable energy would be a scientific and ecological triumph, but also an economic disaster for Australia, which — absent some dramatic innovation — depends on fossil fuel exports to pay its way.

    If the world moves away from fossil fuels as planned by the 2015 Paris Agreement our currency, already among the weakest in the Western world, will fall another 6 per cent by 2030, according to economist Warwick McKibbin.

    “The implicit tax on Australia’s exports through the CO2 tax ­causes a substantial loss in the terms of trade in both the short and long run,” he writes in his latest Brookings paper, which points to a 2 per cent drop in wages, too.

    However sunny and windy parts of the nation may be, we can’t bottle and export it. Our expertise at royal commissions, government inquiries and making coffee — however advanced — is unlikely to come near the $100bn plus in fossil fuel exports last year.

    And we’re making life harder for ourselves in the meantime by forcing more renewable energy into our grid while letting reliable baseload power lapse, an approach described as “chaotic” in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s December health check of the market.

    It is hardly a free market in any meaningful sense, distorted as it is by state and federal regulations and interventions on top of the confusopoly of the big three retailers — AGL, Origin and Hong Kong-owned EnergyAustralia.

    Government renewable targets have “broken the link between the physical needs of a reliable power system and the economic incentives on market participants that keep wholesale energy costs as low as possible”, it says. Rent seekers are taking over the power grid.

    Renewables advocates argue wind and solar are cheaper than coal and gas. Yet retail prices have increased 56 per cent in real terms across a decade as the renewables’ share of energy supply has increased to about 16 per cent (55 per cent in South Australia). Correlation isn’t causation but at some point the dividend from this “cheap” power source should start showing up on our bills.

    Victoria’s Hazelwood coal- fired power station, which supplied about 5 per cent of the power for the national market, shut in early 2017, owing to a decision by a French company controlled by the French government.

    Wholesale electricity prices in Victoria have increased from less than $40 to $100 a megawatt hour since then, AEMO says. In January this year they reached $250 a megawatt hour. Prices have increased 100 per cent in NSW and 86 per cent in South Australia across the same period. (And would France allow an Australian firm dictate the country’s energy supply and prices?)

    Liddell power station in NSW, of similar size to Hazelwood, is set to close in 2022. Its owner, AGL, says prices won’t increase and reliability won’t be undermined. Suppliers have a vested interest in less power and higher prices.

    Even the authorities can’t be trusted. In early 2017, AEMO said Hazelwood’s closure “wouldn’t compromise the security of the Victoria” electricity market. Then in November it pointed to “heightened risk of supply disruptions for the coming summer … if no further steps were taken”.

    Steps taken entail Snowy 2.0, a fancy, expensive battery, able to provide power for about 140 hours. Far from solving the problem of a lack of reliable inexpensive power, this pet government project, an expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme, depends on high prices.

    Water is pumped up the hill when wholesale electricity prices are low and is released at the top when they are high. The higher the prices, the better for Snowy and its ultimate owner, the federal government. At about $6bn, including about $2bn to update the transmission network, it is three times the cost of a new low-emission coal-fired power station.

    Common sense is unlikely to prevail in power, as most voters don’t feel the pain. Electricity expenditure made up 2.17 per cent of household spending in 2017 — even after a decade of price increases. That’s less than takeaway food, 2.56 per cent, or restaurants. Households made up only a quarter of electricity sales by volume last year. Business, especially heavy industry, makes up the balance. Alas for them, they don’t vote.

  18. Rabid Koala

    I take it home of you have rooftop solar then?

  19. Mark M

    Here’s what Warren Buffett thinks about climate change – PUBLISHED MON, MAR 25 2019

    Buffett 2014: “I don’t think in making an investment decision on Berkshire Hathaway, or most companies — virtually all of the companies I can think of — that climate change should be a factor in the decision-making process.”

    Buffett 2016: Climate change “will not hurt our insurance business, and it’s immaterial compared to other things that could affect our insurance business”

    Warren Buffet 2019: “If you own a railroad carrying a lot of coal it will carry a lot of coal for a long period, a very long period”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/25/heres-what-warren-buffett-thinks-about-climate-change-and-investing.html

  20. Dr Fred Lenin

    Get the bloody political fools the hell out of the energy business ,what would a bunch of crooked suburban conveyancing lawyers and legal aid shitstirrers mixed with union “researchers” with tiny “degrees”from fifth rate “universities “know about anything but lining their own pockets .
    Abolish subsidies to unreliable expensive renewables and state imposts on coal ,re open Hazelwood ,retain Liddel and build new coal fired stations on coalfields in Qld,NSW and Vic ,a rebuild Port Augusta five times bigger . Then get our real scientists working on a nucleal plant on the uranium mine in SA .
    The Port Augusta one could be named “the weatherill/ wong state saving coal l fired power plant “.
    The nuclear one “the planet saving clean nuclear power station” .
    I am not familiar with the WA situation ,but it woukd be bad you have a leftoid government .

  21. Dr Fred Lenin

    Cant wait till the gangrene communists acheive 100 per cent renewable electricity ,it will be free wont it ? I mean si[un and wind dont cost anything do they . God kniws how great the peoples decromatic socialist republic of Australia will be with all that free electricity? They might change the name Australia to the original aboriginal name of the wonderfull republic the aboriginal people had before the wjite men genocided it , Plennyfreegrogia oerhaps .
    They will get the 100 per cent ,the career pollues need their preferences to keep their snouts in the trough

  22. mem

    #2971046, posted on March 26, 2019 at 4:47 pm
    Plennyfreegrogia oerhaps .
    With its own flag and piss off ceremonies for white folks with education leaving the country so they can watch telly at night and charge their phones.

  23. Ben

    If I was a smart investor I would install a large electrical load that could be turned on and off at will to ‘assist’ managing the grid and absorb all that extra electricity. I would expect to be paid to use the electricity because I would be providing a ‘grid management’ service. Of course the product I was producing would be a separate income stream. Printing money…

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