This Monday evening at dinnertime the wind was providing 6% of the electricity required to keep the lights on in the eastern states and SA. With stoves and heaters in full flight the demand was 28.4GW, approaching the level on summer evenings when the drivers of demand are cooking and cooling.
The sun was off duty and the windmills were delivering 23% of installed capacity, a little under the average of 29%. They contributed 1.7GW that amounts to 6% of the demand. That is quite normal, in January the wind supply only reached double figures on seven days in the month at that time in the evening. At the average level of production (29%) the output is about 2GW for the current wind fleet and that would have been 7% this evening. Wonderful!
Black and brown coal provided 18GW (operating at about 85% of installed capacity), supported by various forms of gas that contributed 4.9GW. Score 22.9 for fossil fuels, that is 80% of the demand. Add almost 4GW from hydro and the score for conventional power is 94%.
Given that there is no measurable grid scale storage at present (the Musk batteries provide a few minutes of voltage regulation, not storage) no amount of solar panels that destabilize the grid in the day will be worth a cracker in the evening. That means it is all up to the wind. Even if the average of 29% was delivered constantly with no slack periods the prospect of increasing the supply from 6% to something approaching 100% is remote. Imagine the number of windmills and the transmission lines!
Given the frequent periods (choke points) when there is little or no wind the prospect of reliable supply from the wind even to the level of 6% on a 24/7 basis is not just remote, it is inconceivable.
And a bonus, a day in the life of a little Swedish girl in a world without petroleum products. Read it in your browser if necessary to get a translation.