The hard part of getting to net zero. Demonstrated by South Australia

UPDATE AT 10.30PM   In the late afternoon the windmills in SA were pumping at 40% of plated/installed capacity and power was flowing to Victoria. Since dinnertime a wind drought has struck and the wind capacity is down to 3.3%, that is 90MW (7% of the demand.)

The inbound flow is 450MW (a third of the demand), gas is providing a flow of 850MW and the battery 10MW.

ON THE UPSIDE

Against the odds, South Australia is a renewable energy powerhouse. How did they do it?

Celebrating the achievement of the wind leading state that showed the way to the future when they blew up their coal power stations.

The state Liberal government has now firmly embraced the renewables transition, setting a target for 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

By 2050, the government says, renewables could generate 500% of the state’s energy needs, with the surplus exported nationally and internationally.

ON THE DOWNSIDE 

The South Australians have doubled or tripled the price of power and brought the grid to the verge of collapse. That is the easy part of the transition, the hard part will be to keep the lights on when the NEM loses any more coal power capacity, starting with Liddell in 2023.

In SA there is 2.1GW of installed capacity which is comparable with the demand that ranges from about 900MW to 2,500MW although the average at 29%  of capacity falls well short of demand and frequent wind droughts reduce the wind power supply to near zero.

THE CRITICAL ISSUE is the supply of wind power at breakfast and dinnertime that are high points of demand coinciding with little or no solar power. The sun works office hours like most other people.  SA may be a net exporter of power but they cannot claim to be independent of coal power as long as they need to import regularly, or indeed if they ever have to import.

Over the last three months SA has been importing at  breakfast and dinnertime almost every day. Every day they use local gas.  You can see the exchanges between the states at the NemWatch widget.  In each state the upper bar shows the sources of of generation,  colour coded, and the lower bar indicates the demand. Run the cursor along the bar to get the precise figure for each source. See how much the green has to expand at dinnertime to achieve any reduction in coal power,

The lesson from the South Australian experience is clear. Wind power is not working to provide energy independence.

Victoria will be in the same situation without Yallourn.

UPDATE: A reminder about the champions of energy realism.

ANOTHER INFORMATIVE STORY BY PERRY WILLIAMS

‘Ugly duckling’_ AGL’s Loy Yan A coal plant could be sold off_ Macquarie

FLOWS BETWEEN STATES IN EUROPE

Of course, the European power market is a complex one, with France both importing and exporting. France, for instance, both exports power to and imports from Germany, in order to balance fluctuations in wind and solar power there. Italy imports about a tenth of its electricity from France, to function alongside its predominantly gas grid. Switzerland also relies somewhat on French power.

Spain also imports from and exports to France to balance its renewable output.

BEWARE OF COMPULSORY ELECTRIFICATION – A US STUDY

Regressive Nature Of ‘Electrify Everything’ Effort

On Wednesday, a short item in the Federal Register underscored the regressive nature of the “electrify everything” effort that is being promoted by some of America’s highest-profile environmental groups, climate change activists, politicians, and academics. It forecasts the “representative average unit costs of five residential energy sources for the year 2021.”

It also projects that one million Btu in the form of natural gas will cost about $11, propane will cost about $19, No. 2 heating oil will cost $20, and kerosene will cost $23. Thus, electricity will cost nearly four times as much as natural gas and twice as much as propane, a fuel that is commonly used by rural Americans in their homes, and on their farms and ranches.

Warning, Bezos at work. 

In Massachusetts, about a dozen towns have partnered with the Rocky Mountain Institute, which recently got a $10 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund, to advocate for the right to ban the use of natural gas in homes and commercial buildings. 

Banning natural gas forces consumers to use more-expensive electricity to heat their homes, cook their food, and heat the water needed to wash their clothes and dishes. Proponents of the electrify everything push, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, which got $100 million from the Bezos Earth Fund, prefer to call their efforts “beneficial electrification.” The more accurate term is “forced electrification” because it will increase the energy burden on low- and middle-income consumers.

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46 Responses to The hard part of getting to net zero. Demonstrated by South Australia

  1. duncanm says:

    NSW is well on its way, too.

    I sent a note to NSW energy minister some time back – containing an article from a German greenie who summarised the impacts of Energiewende. It was a 3 page presentation, would have taken 5min to digest.

    3 months later, I just received his reply. Boilerplate guff about “decisive emissions reductions that grow our economy”, and rooftop solar generating jobs.

    Facepalm.

  2. duncanm says:

    oh – HT to whomever here (I think) originally pointed to the presso I sent to Kean, probably Kates. It was Fritz Vahrenholt from the GWPF.

  3. Mak Siccar says:

    Why oh why are the pollies rushing us towards obvious destruction? Can’t they ignore the rent seekers and use their brains for once?

  4. miltonf says:

    Time to get rid of fArts ‘degrees’ and go back to one law scool in each state.

  5. Arky says:

    Fucking sabotage.

  6. Gbees says:

    If SA wants to be 100% renewable it needs to disconnect it’s coal fired power and gas backup now! It’s all a con.

  7. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    Re build the coal fired station three times bigger ,,name it “the weatherill memorial coalfired real power station ” then surplus power can be sold to the Peoples Decromatic Republic of Boolamudakoolakaka ( formerly Victoria”
    They like the simple indigenius naes there , in vented by blond blue eyed indigenes .

  8. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    I remember we used to build homes proudly branded “all electric ” the late Victorian State Electricity Comission used to proudly fix a medallion on the house ,proudly announcing it was all electric ,the medallion was free and the power reliable and cheap . Still we must have ” progress ” even if it proves to be regressive .
    Get the bloody pollieclowns out of the energy business ,the market will sort its self out without the interference of know nothing smart ass career polliewankers .

  9. Chris M says:

    By say 2040 most of these windmills and solar panels will need to be replaced.

    Clearly, just as there is with thermal generators, there is plan for that to happen?

  10. Daily llama says:

    Who cares? It’s only South Australia. In the US it’d be called ‘the flyover state’

  11. Rob says:

    The cyclical cost of replacing wind turbines and solar panels every 20 years will be horrific. Not for China however, it’s the “developing” country that will rule the world.
    Such is the current domineering left-wing mindset that all we can do is wait for the approaching armageddon.
    Common sense has been replaced by lunacy

  12. Pyrmonter says:

    Once more unto the breach …

    1 – Interstate freedom of trade and commerce in goods and services is constitutionally entrenched. That includes electricity. The repeated invocation of ‘imports = bad’ or ‘imports = dependency’ denies the very basic point – one that every competent Econ 1 student understands – that trade is mutually advantageous (Arky, please forebear to run out your Listian nonsense, we’ve done that once already this week)

    2 – SA happens to be a good place for renewables. They’re mandated in the national grid by the LRET. The LRET is abominable policy: it is almost the most indirect possible way of pretending to limit CO2 output.

    That St Tony of Warringah kept it, while expending vast political capital to abolish the ‘Carbon Tax’ was one of the first indicators of how disastrous a leadership his would be: the first sign (of many, since) that the coalition post Howard (in reality, post Aston by-election) had been taken over by the marketers and salesmen, who had replaced any considered thinkers. It works insofar as it keeps Labor out (for now), but it has repeatedly delivered bad policy: the ratchetting up of government intervention, taxes and regulation.

  13. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Net zero brain cells is in reach!
    Sooner than expected from the look of how politics has been going lately.
    The best thing about SA is we can easily turn off the interconnectors.

  14. mem says:

    In the past 48 hours (at 9 am EST) only 3% solar and 12 % wind supplied out of 100%. Black coal and brown coal provided over 65% with the rest hydro gas and sundries. It wouldn’t have mattered how many windmills and panels were installed they just don’t produce when there is no wind and no sun which has pretty well been the case for the past week. Those that are making money out of the products or ripping off the tax payers via subsidies or consumers via increased prices will keep promoting this pipe dream until the system grinds to a halt.

  15. miltonf says:

    Who cares? It’s only South Australia. In the US it’d be called ‘the flyover state’

    You are a cretin.

  16. Roger says:

    Interstate freedom of trade and commerce in goods and services is constitutionally entrenched. That includes electricity.

    True, but that assumes there will be excess supply that can be dispatched from state to state via the interconnectors.

    With QLD planning to begin closing coal fired power plants ahead of schedule in order to reach their stated 50% RE by 2030 policy, that assumpotion is about as reliable as the eastern grid will be before too long.

  17. Adelagado says:

    Against the odds, South Australia is a renewable energy powerhouse. How did they do it?

    Step 1. Piss off any business that actually uses significant amounts of power. (Hence S.A. has gone from being a ‘manufacturing powerhouse’ to being a state where, unless you are a public servant, you are going backwards.)

  18. Fat Tony says:

    Arky says:
    March 25, 2021 at 8:48 am
    Fucking sabotage.

    The CCP owns governments/politicians all round the world.
    I’m pretty sure the Australian govs/pollies have been included in the CCP largesse.

    Who benefits from the destruction of Aust (USA & other Western nations)?
    The CCP.

    Arky is correct.

  19. Roger says:

    Hence S.A. has gone from being a ‘manufacturing powerhouse’ to being a state where, unless you are a public servant, you are going backwards.

    …or heading interstate.

    No. 2 son’s vape supplier was based in Adelaide until the state government made his business unviable and he moved to Melbourne.

  20. Mark M says:

    And … when will the renewables prevent any unprecedented global warming?

    22 March, 2021: Severe weather warning as flooding closes roads across outback South Australia

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-22/warning-as-heavy-rain-hits-outback-sa/100020866

    At UN Environment, we believe that sustainable energy presents an opportunity to transform lives and economies while safeguarding the planet.

    https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/energy/why-does-energy-matter

  21. John A says:

    Gbees says: March 25, 2021, at 9:01 am

    If SA wants to be 100% renewable it needs to disconnect it’s coal-fired power and gas backup now! It’s all a con.

    Has anyone suggested to the government there that they could conduct a small-scale experiment for Earth Hour, AND signal their wonderful virtue at the same time, by switching off those interconnectors – just like the adverts say?

  22. Pyrmonter says:

    S.A. has gone from being a ‘manufacturing powerhouse’ to being a state where, unless you are a public servant, you are going backwards

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    While I can’t imagine expensive energy helps, the ‘decline’ of SA’s manufacturing long pre-dates it; and most derives from its having never been viable without artificial barriers to trade in the first place. SA pioneered what became known as the ‘Deakinite settlement’ under Kingston, a decade before federation, and produced a series of integrated perpetual juveniles, forever holding out begging bowls for further government support and intervention.

  23. BrettW says:

    Can somebody explain how SA is going to export their power internationally?

    Only yesterday I saw mention of Besos’s 400 million pound mega boat. Ok for him to impose higher electricity prices on others.

  24. Fat Tony says:

    Pyrmonter says:
    March 25, 2021 at 11:39 am
    S.A. has gone from being a ‘manufacturing powerhouse’ to being a state where, unless you are a public servant, you are going backwards
    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    So, the above statement is incorrect??

  25. Fat Tony:

    The CCP owns governments/politicians all round the world.
    I’m pretty sure the Australian govs/pollies have been included in the CCP largesse.

    Didn’t there used to be a law demanding people account for ‘inexplicable wealth’?
    Perhaps it needs to come back.

  26. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV) says:

    The lesson from the South Australian experience is clear. Wind power is not working to provide energy independence.

    The aim seems to be to replicate a marxist utopia ie mad max, next we need to salt the earth to ensure nothing grows so the old women can bitch

  27. hzhousewife says:

    FranKelly on RN talked to a nexpert this morning – this is what I recall. We have 20% take-up of rooftop solar, aiming for 50%. The idea is being entertained that solar panel owners will be charged a surcharge to feed back into the grid, which is not set up for two way electricity flow. This will share the costs of better grid to everyone. Sometimes people will be charged a fee to send electricity to the grid when it doesn’t need it ! People will be encouraged to store their excess energy ie a battery. Listener then emailed in that he had priced a battery at $13000 – out of his price range. Not one mention of replacing aged solar panels in due course and getting rid of them. Interesting. I told the recent sales doorknocker that OH & S means I could not have panels on this house roof on a sloping block – cost too much to have a tradie clean and maintain for 20 years, then dismantle it all. He looked shocked and told me his panels were self-cleaning. I still shook my head and closed the door.

  28. Adelagado says:

    Pyrmonter says:
    March 25, 2021 at 11:39 am

    S.A. has gone from being a ‘manufacturing powerhouse’ to being a state where, unless you are a public servant, you are going backwards

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    I didn’t say that power prices drove manufacturing away. I said it was a necessary first step (before crazy power schemes can be implemented). The list of big manufacturing names that have left our state is shocking. Mitsubishi, GMH, Clipsal, Kelvinator, Sabco, Coke, SA Brewing,.. it goes on and on and on. Theres no way we could have charged into renewable madness if these businesses were still around.

  29. Fat Tony says:

    Winston Smith says:
    March 25, 2021 at 11:54 am
    Fat Tony:
    The CCP owns governments/politicians all round the world.
    I’m pretty sure the Australian govs/pollies have been included in the CCP largesse.
    Didn’t there used to be a law demanding people account for ‘inexplicable wealth’?
    Perhaps it needs to come back.

    Hi Winston – those laws only apply to the little people – doing a bit of tax avoidance or running a small drug operation.

    Have any major players ever been called to account anywhere in the world?

  30. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV) says:

    Can somebody explain how SA is going to export their power internationally?

    carrier pigeon

  31. Motelier says:

    The next 10 years are going to provide plenty of entertainment for those that are prepared to sit back and watch the early adopters complain about not enough government subsidies to provide base load power

    1 Australia has about 18 million registered vehicles. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/industry/tourism-and-transport/motor-vehicle-census-australia/latest-release

    2. New vehicle sales in 2020 are just over the 900,000 sales level. https://www.caradvice.com.au/913476/vfacts-2020-new-car-sales-recovered-in-december-amid-lowest-year-since-2003/

    3. As electric vehicle sales increase so to will the load on the electrical distribution system around the nation. (Just a guess).

    Would a charge average of 10 kw per day per vehicle be too high or too low?

    If Cantberra mandates electric vehicle only sales, then at current sales rates, 10 gigawatts of new electricity supply will need to be added to the national grid every year.

    Seeing as how South Australia seems to be the early adopter, perhaps we should sit back, grab a quality drink and watch.

    As Toyota have said, the world is not ready for electric vehicles. https://www.torquenews.com/1/now-toyota-has-no-choice-follow-tesla

  32. Pyrmonter says:

    @ Adelagado

    The list of big manufacturing names that have left our state is shocking. Mitsubishi, GMH, Clipsal, Kelvinator, Sabco, Coke, SA Brewing

    Part of the tragedy of SA politics is the cargo cult around name businesses: successive Premiers stretching back to at least David Tonkin (in my memory) have sought to identify prosperity with the success of particular enterprises, usually ‘attracted’ to the state by bounties, concessions, subsidised plant and the like; and it has a history going back, at least, to the Butler government that preceded Playford’s. All but the last two of those names existed only because of tariff or other protection; protection that drew resources out of sectors at which SA had been reasonably good (wine, spirits, food processing etc). With the withdrawal of the artificial props, the businesses withdrew: and consumers around the country were allowed to prosper. Of the latter two, it seems scale was an issue. I was surprised to hear the brewery was going, but will anyone really miss its product? If anything has driven that decision other than the inefficiency of its operation, I suspect the opportunity cost of the near city site, with a high value when redeveloped for residential use is it; that, and the costs of finding and developing an alternative brewery site in a place where industrial land is curiously expensive.

  33. Motelier says:

    In news just to hand, suppliers of roof top solar to be charged for excess they supply to the grid.

    FFS

  34. Pedro the Loafer says:

    In 2017 I sold 17 diesel generators of various capacities to private buyers in SA.

    These were all ex WA mine site equipment that was lying idle or had been declared obsolete. I scoured the countryside looking for more gensets to snap up, without success.

    I had firm orders for at least another twenty, and could have sold the lot within a week.

    Blowing up the Port Augusta coal fired power station was masterstroke by the SA .gov. My bank manager was eternally grateful.

  35. Spurgeon Monkfish III says:

    South Australia is a ruinable energy outhouse. How did they do it?

    To find out, watch the documentary “Idiocracy”.

  36. Kneel says:

    “If Cantberra mandates electric vehicle only sales…”

    … many, many people (myself included) will not be buying a new car again.

    Plenty of life left in the old clunker yet – she’s only done 280k km, probably still got the hone marks in the bore (not joking, BTW – those Gen III Chevy V8’s are pretty solid), no rattles other than the drivers window glass at one specific opening, that’s it. Everything bar the aircon works fine (it needs gas). Paint’s a little rough, but that colour (dark blue metallic) always has the paint “falling off it”, so I’m not worried – if it looks like crap, who’s gonna try and steal it?

  37. Adelagado says:

    Pyrmonter says:
    March 25, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    @ Adelagado

    The list of big manufacturing names that have left our state is shocking. Mitsubishi, GMH, Clipsal, Kelvinator, Sabco, Coke, SA Brewing

    All but the last two of those names existed only because of tariff or other protection.

    All Australian states had businesses protected by Tariffs and other assorted assistance. The reason SA lost its manufacturing base (more so than other states) is because few of the owners of those businesses actually lived here and hence had no personal loyalty to the place. And the ones that did live here slowly migrated to the fancier lifestyle of Sydney or the Gold Coast. (Or their sons did). So when cost cutting decisions were made it was always the ‘distant operations’ such as in SA that got the chop.

    I believe SA’s greatest mistake was not paying attention to what the highflyers were looking for in a ‘lifestyle’. (We don’t even allow residential building on our hills face overlooking Adelaide, thanks to Don Dunstan). The big spenders really had no room to ‘expand into’ so ultimately they just left, and their businesses followed.

  38. Dr Faustus says:

    Can somebody explain how SA is going to export their power internationally?

    No. But Premier Marshall has a cunning plan:

    Feasibility study on export of SA green hydrogen to Rotterdam

    With said hydrogen to be produced by electrolysis using surplus rooftop PV, that would otherwise be curtailed, or charged for:

    In news just to hand, suppliers of roof top solar to be charged for excess they supply to the grid.

    The Circle of JerksLife.

  39. Roger says:

    In news just to hand, suppliers of roof top solar to be charged for excess they supply to the grid.

    Seems the highly renumerated desk bound “experts” at AEMO have finally figured out there’s a cost to be met in integrating all that solar generated energy into a grid that was not designed to cater for it.

    If only they’d consulted with the electrical engineers who actually built and maintained the grid in the fist instance they would have known this years ago.

  40. Dr Faustus says:

    If only they’d consulted with the electrical engineers who actually built and maintained the grid in the fist instance they would have known this years ago.

    AEMO’s predecessor, NEMMCO, was told all about this, chapter and verse, before the very first rooftop solar PV was ever connected to the power distribution system.

    Goldfish organization.

  41. Roger says:

    AEMO’s predecessor, NEMMCO, was told all about this, chapter and verse, before the very first rooftop solar PV was ever connected to the power distribution system.

    I can’t say I’m surprised.

    And they were likely all promoted and/or retired on handsome payouts.

  42. Pyrmonter says:

    @ Adelagado

    Perry Engineering (the Laidlaws); Simpsons (the Simpson family); Holden (Holden, Dame Nancy Buttfield’s father).

    Local management was sometimes an advantage to survival – it helped with some of the wine companies – but was also often not terribly good: the number of locally owned businesses that failed (for example, the first Australian bank to actually fail and the only listed one to require a bail-out since after WW2 – the original Bank of Adelaide) has been a significant cause of the loss of local businesses.

    SA has had a state-oriented approach to ‘development’ since the 30s, pretty much regardless of which party was in power; that, and the opposition to change has been the real problem. It has engendered a ‘development cargo cult’ in which governments promote ideas like Monarto, the MFP, Dean Brown’s hound-outs to dubious cable television channels, Olsen’s supposed collateral benefits from the UnitedWater contract etc – as if government should and could control development. It’s been a bi-partisan mess; one in which energy policy, while often not helpful, hasn’t played the biggest role.

  43. johanna says:

    Of course they knew the consequences of putting large amounts of intermittent energy into the grid. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the ruinables scam and zero knowledge of the technical aspects of electricity grids (e.g. me) knew this more than a decade ago when it started being discussed on climate blogs. So, certainly the so-called ‘experts’ knew it perfectly well right from the start.

    But their political masters didn’t (and don’t) want to know, so they just kept kicking the can down the road. This involved mostly lying by omission (keeping quiet) but quite often also telling blatant porkies. It was that or lose your job.

    Now they are starting to run for cover as science and in particular, physics, are immune to politics. If they keep doing what they’re doing, the grid will fail, big time.

    No prizes for guessing who the politicians will blame.

    Hint – it won’t be themselves.

  44. Frank Brus says:

    Mak Siccar says:
    March 25, 2021 at 8:39 am
    Why oh why are the pollies rushing us towards obvious destruction? Can’t they ignore the rent seekers and use their brains for once?

    THEY ARE THE RENT SEEKERS

  45. Nighthawk the Elder says:

    From the ABC link Motelier posted at 12:44 pm

    In a submission to the AEMC during consultation, community group Solar Citizens said introducing a fee was not justified.

    “It is inequitable to charge solar owners when generators in the transmission network are not charged for accessing the network,” the submission said.

    Generators have paid all sorts of charges to access the network from Day 1 of the electricity market. Whether it’s generating licences, grid connection fees, transmission charges, wearing the cost of transmission losses, costs for meeting generating efficiency standards as well as costs for maintaining compliance to ever more complex market rules. It doesn’t matter what the different costs are called, they have never had it for free.

    The fools claiming generators are not charged to access the network are living in a fantasy world. They are the ones who have had a free ride for many years because governments wanted to encourage uptake of rooftop solar. Generators have been pushing AEMO for years for a level playing field with respect to the market. This is only a token gesture at best.

  46. Leo G says:

    Since dinnertime a wind drought has struck and the wind capacity is down to 3.3%, that is 90MW (7% of the demand.)

    South Australia then became a renewable energy power out house.

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