Exciting times in South Australia. Eastern states cut off

As your correspondent reported last week, most of SE Australia was isolated from the SA power grid due to the loss of some transmission towers. Jo Nova updates the situation.

It would have been nerve-wracking in the control rooms. The Portland Aluminium Smelter in Victoria, which is the largest single user of electricity in Victoria, had a near death experience. Both pot lines shut down immediately. It appears emergency workers only managed to get 50% of the power back up 3 hours and ten minutes later.  The future of the plant hung in the balance — after a few hours without power pot lines can freeze permanently solid. It’s referred to as a “near fatal event”. If those 1,000°C pot lines cool to 700°C the molten aluminium sets solid and that’s the end of the plant.

The isolation of the eastern states is an echo of a possibly fictional headline in a London newspaper “Fog in channel continent isolated”.

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24 Responses to Exciting times in South Australia. Eastern states cut off

  1. John Stankevicius

    Pyromter – wtf email from chartered accountants yesterday re man made climate change. There is a draft accounting .standard. We are gone.

  2. Louis Hissink

    The irony is that, on one hand, Aluminium smelters, apart from aluminium being congealed electricity (H/T Trevor Sykes), need a massive base load facility to operate, and on the other hand, large coal fired power stations need steel and aluminium smelters to sustain a necessary base load 24/355 so fluctuating consumer demand above the base load is easily achieved.

    Renewables simply cannot supply this base load. and never will practically let alone economically.

    It ultimately means no iron blast furnaces and smelters for nickel, aluminium and copper.

  3. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    greens will be so happy if we send the rest of our industry to communists

  4. Leo G

    Curious how those continent-isolating ideological fogs mostly percolate in small cabinets.

  5. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    South Australia should be cut off from the national grid, completely and permanently.

    If they want 100% renewables, they can bloody well have them, good and hard.

  6. Mother Lode

    Culpability clearly belongs with pliant opportunistic governments that take the Greens (which are a purely political entity) more seriously than businesses and citizens (which actually provides the justification and the real money upon which governments so rely).

    The Greens are at fault too, but they would have nowhere near the clout they do if the mainstream parties didn’t court them with such covetous ardour). The MSM could bay at the moon about the Greens, but if they weren’t taken seriously by anyone else then they would move on and snuffle about the sewers looking for another raft of turds to make them feel special. Hose the pretension off the ABC and you would be left with old British dramas, a few kiddies shows, and some sober and plain news programs.

    But there is some complicity left over for the business community. Granted for them it is unpalatable – they risk their own wealth and welfare while politicians do not. Also power is not their raison d’etre. While they do have business organisations they have allowed them to be taken over by people who consider business properly to be an aid to government policies.

    But these disasters have been visibly coming for some time. They have cooperated, complied, and indulged again and again and again. They have allowed lies and myths about them and about what they do to be spread, such as their environmental rapacity and financial cupidity so they seem to have no moral authority at all. Bureaucrats are moving into their boardrooms to tell them how to run their businesses. Now they are choking.

    They have left it very late, but it really is up to them to fight back. State their case, call out those who lie about them, and sack every spotty twenty-something who thinks Twitter is the real world.

    No one else is going to fight for them.

  7. Howard Hill

    Damn I wish it would happen. There would be nothing better than to see these fuckwit premiers running around like the chooks they are with no heads looking for someone to blame because a billion dollar plant was just destroyed by their complete and utter fuckwittery!

  8. Tom

    Renewables simply cannot supply this base load. and never will practically let alone economically.

    And yet here we are, destroying our cheap power grid and sucking up to government subsidy miners who, I imagine, are stuffing Aldi bags full of cash into the pockets of our politicians.

    Australia is being systematically deindustrialised by spivs who might as well be working for the Chinese Communist Party.

  9. Entropy

    All that needs to happen is for just one state, Queensland, close the inter connectors and the whole stack will fall over. SA is on the end of the line, with Vic close behind.

  10. Roger

    All that needs to happen is for just one state, Queensland, close the inter connectors and the whole stack will fall over. SA is on the end of the line, with Vic close behind.

    Or a major disaster that knocks some strategic energy infrastructure out of action.

  11. Colonel Bunty Golightly

    Or one term of a greens/labor federal government to hurt the electorate financially. The only way to get the voters attention is to hurt them financially – then the penny will drop!

  12. Sadly I think something like this will happen before they wake up. The smelter being far away and far away out of the minds of the majority, and they have no concern about it. What they are concerned about, our city centric elite socialists running the show, is the filthy dinghy graffitied inner city laneways. These are the cultural heart of the city and tourist magnets, and therefore the linchpin of the city’s economy. Such is the state of Victoria now days.

  13. 8th Dan

    Wow. I can see it now … a remake of The China Syndrome.
    Starring Jo Nova as herself, Bill Thompson as her cameraman, and some old guy nervously watching his cup of coffee no longer shaking.
    Wonder if Jo can do Jane Fonda’s accent …

  14. The BigBlueCat

    I’m sure The Greens will be chortling over this … they see aluminium smelters as a blight on our energy profile. The reality is that with the closure of domestic aluminium smelting capacity (180,000 tonnes pa – Pt Henry was closed few years ago), China has taken up the lost capacity and has been madly building coal-fired power stations to supply the massive energy requirements of aluminium smelting.

    But hey, if it means Australia’s CO2 per person goes down, that’s all that matters, eh? We’re suckers if we let this happen only for China to add CO2 output without consequences. If CO2 is the climate change culprit (and I’m not convinced it is), then we’re only exporting our CO2 to China!

  15. Rafe Champion

    CO2 to China. Coal to Newcastle:)

  16. Scott Osmond

    They won’t be happy until all the industries are gone. Then they will ask why we don’t build anything anymore. What did Australia use before candles and campfires in the back yard? Electricity and gas.

  17. hzhousewife

    Even the energy pure NZ is planning the closure of Tiwai point in NZ – electricity too expensive.

  18. classical_hero

    Democracy, good and hard.

  19. Crazyoldranga

    What happened to all of that lovely wind turbine energy that Portland Aluminium uses? Surely that would have saved the day.

  20. Squirrel

    This sobering post is probably as good a place as any to offer what may well be a contrarian (in Cat-land) view of Alan Finkel’s address to the Canberra Press Club today –

    https://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/news-and-media/national-press-club-address-orderly-transition-electric-planet

    There’s lots of stuff in there which may cause head explosions of varying degrees to Cats, but the basic message was actually quite heartening – i.e. we should rely on science and technology (rather than taxes and targets) and have to be realistic about what can be achieved, particularly with nuclear having been ruled out in Australia for political reasons.

    Some of the comments made by Dr Finkel in response to questions were very encouraging, indeed – the best indication of which was probably the muted, politely dismayed vibe coming from the audience – many of whom were no doubt expecting to have all their prejudices and hobby horses confirmed.

    As much as anything, Finkel’s contribution made clear that while (yes, I know…) the science is in on climate change, it is certainly not in on solutions which would allow us to go charging off to wildly ambitious carbon reduction targets by 2030 – he spoke in terms of decades, particularly for air travel which is so beloved of the “do as I say, not as I do” virtue-signallers.

    It was good to see the “technology not taxes” theme then followed-up in the Reps Question Time today, and to discover that the amusingly named “Otis Group” within federal Labor are pushing back against the anti-coal fundamentalists in that party.

    Maybe a little light at the end of the tunnel (and not from the headlights on another convoy of northward-bound SUVs carrying well-heeled Green types).

  21. Professor Fred Lenin

    No one has answered my questions ,I have asked many times :
    Does SA still have a state government ? The msm never mention that .
    Does Victoria still have a liberal party ? The msm never mention that .

  22. Bruce in WA

    WA used to have a thriving aluminium smelting industry. Used to have …

  23. Nob

    Finkel’s contribution made clear that while (yes, I know…) the science is in on climate change, it is certainly not in on solutions which would allow us to go charging off to wildly ambitious carbon reduction targets by 2030

    This has always been the case.

    Who cares what anyone thinks about the climate?
    It will be what is gonna be.

  24. jupes

    As much as anything, Finkel’s contribution made clear that while (yes, I know…) the science is in on climate change,

    Wouldn’t it be good to have someone at the press club ask the stupid Fink Cardimona’s list of climate change questions.

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