Windwatch for the week 26 June to July 2

To reduce the load on the server Windwatch will not be posted daily. It will be updated regularly with a comment in the open thread to signal when it is done.

UPDATE SATURDAY 27. Wind running at 54% producing 3.6GW that represents 13% of demand.

UPDATE FRIDAY 28. At the peak wind was running at 45% producing 3GW that was 11% of demand.

UPDATE THURSDAY 27 At the evening peak Wind was running at 50% with 3.5GW to provide 12% of the load. At 9 it is up to 60% and delivering 4GW.

At dinnertime this Wednesday evening Wind recovered from 13% of its capacity in the late afternoon to approach 20% and deliver 1.3 of the 30 GW required to keep you warm and snug after work and cook your dinner. That is 4% of the total, twice the amount provided in the early evening on most days for the last week.

Around the states. What is happening in Tasmania?

Where is all this going? Does it mean that we are just one coal-fired power station away from blackouts across parts of SE Australia, starting with South Australia and Victoria? Not that SA matters, who noticed when it went black for three days in 2016? But Victoria?

Liddell is supposed to close in 2022 and that takes out about 2GW. By that time there might be another 15GW of plated capacity in the wind system for a total of (say) 22 compared with about 7.5 at present (it changes almost monthly).

22GW running at 3% of capacity (like some of the time last week) is less than 1GW, that is about half of Liddell!

Worse than that, as the wind and solar capacity builds, quite likely some other plant in addition to Liddell will close because it will be losing too much money to keep running. Take out another GW or two of reliable baseload out of the system and see what happens when the wind dies in the evening.

This is back of the envelop stuff, what are the more precise figures that people in AEMO should be reporting?

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16 Responses to Windwatch for the week 26 June to July 2

  1. Rafe Champion

    I think the game is being changed by the erosion of the economics of coal. Madness when you see what it means at dinnertime. Maybe hot dinners will be prohibited.

  2. Rob

    Until we have moved beyond an army of truly ignorant journalists endlessly and idiotically pontificating on grid distributed electricity, the “renewables” madness will continue apace.
    When the grid finally collapses, as it surely seems destined to do, it’s going to be a long haul back to something even vaguely like the electricity nirvana we enjoyed pre-privatisation.

  3. RobK

    It’s not just the longer term variable nature of windpower that makes it problematic. It’s the rate of change of energy injection and withdrawal; the large MW per minute changes of a distributed generator network is chaotic. The example of the SA blackout from a storm- it occurred when a severe front hit along the coast. The front hit all the distributed wind farms around the same time. Windpower is a cubed function of wind speed. Suddenly many feeders are fully loaded, baseload tries to back-off as frequency starts to runaway. Then wind farms trip out due to over-frequency. This causes lack of supply and under-frequency causing major headaches all-round. Batteries can help this situation at a high cost. Many other tweaks can help, again at high cost. The exact nature of the next chaotic excursion is not known. Systems can be modelled but the practical trials are the proof of the pudding. SA changed the set points of the wind farms to increase the “ride-through “of the wind power sources. This will help that particular instance….probably, but it puts extra stress on the rest of the supporting grid. RE is severe on control gear. A lot of high capacity buffering is required to tame it. That is aside from longer term storage or backup. These issues become more acute with increased penetration of RE. The costs will increase and reliability will decrease. Taming the combination of sun and wind input in increasingly bigger amounts is not something to build a nation on.

  4. Jock

    Report today that Yallourn may close in 6 years. Wont that be fun.

  5. egg_

    I think the game is being changed by the erosion of the economics of coal. Madness when you see what it means at dinnertime. Maybe hot dinners will be prohibited.

    Cold baked beans in the dark in their workers paradise?

  6. teamv

    Some interesting long periods of low wind output so far this month.
    All visuals captured from http://www.anero.id

    14-16 June 2019: https://i.imgur.com/xKigqiN.jpg

    19-23 June 2019: https://i.imgur.com/KBkLlpK.jpg

  7. Herodotus

    Media still harp on about da emissions every day.

  8. RobK

    Looks like the super funds are beginning to see the light”
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-26/industry-super-funds-consider-the-nuclear-option/11248202?section=business

    The study also raised concerns about battery schemes, finding that using Tesla batteries to achieve 1.5 days power backup would cost $6.5 trillion, or the cost of building around 1,000 nuclear reactors.

  9. Rafe

    Where can we find the report?
    They still want to eliminate emissions.

  10. John Bayley

    …it’s going to be a long haul back to something even vaguely like the electricity nirvana we enjoyed pre-privatisation.

    Please stop with that nonsense.
    Privatisation has had nothing to do with the current fiasco; it is entirely due to the politicians’ meddling.
    There have been contributions on this blog in the past from people who work in the power industry and actually experienced the effects of privatisation in Victoria – the massive improvements in productivity in what had been almost an alternative to Centrelink.
    Please google those – you may learn something.

  11. Rafe Champion

    +1 The price rises followed the REI and the NEM that were a kind of national socialism by centralization and regulation rather than state ownership.

    The socialists have discovered that you can wreck capitalism by regulating it, then capitalism gets the blame for the problems and you can offer socialism as a better option.

  12. a happy little debunker

    What is happening in Tasmania?

    Clear skys and the worst frosts in a decade.

    My house managed to maintain a top internal temp of 12 degrees (over the last 3 days), outside – the 1/2 foot of water that accumulated in a backyard wheelbarrow remained a whole frozen block of ice & I live just 50 yards from the open ocean on Tassie’s fabulously warm east coast.

  13. This is about destroying the power distribution system so the Trade Union party can step in after a wet lettuce leaf Labor-Lite Govt to contract the CFMMEU to rebuild, from scratch, the most expensive platinum plated baseload power system in global recorded history, built from funds confiscated from workers superannuation.

    It will be Rudd-Gillard-Rudd II / Conroy NBN on steroids.

  14. Rafe:

    Where is all this going? Does it mean that we are just one coal-fired power station away from blackouts across parts of SE Australia, starting with South Australia and Victoria? Not that SA matters, who noticed when it went black for three days in 2016? But Victoria?

    The big issue here is not a coal fired plant closing down in a few years – this can be planned for to a certain extent – it is the question of a maintenance failure cascade.
    Take one or two generators down for maintenance and then have another fail. The cascade effect of the now quite unstable system means that the whole network will fail.
    Renewables bring instability. An unstable system is hostage to a $100 part failing.
    (I’ve forgotten the big US blackout that nearly took down the entire national grid. Does anyone remember it?)

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