South Australia leads the way with RE. But where are they going?

FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE. Wind in WA surges to 30MW! From 6MW at  breakfast time.

Lets hear it for brown coal! The “ageing” brown coal stations ran at 100% capacity through the night, eased off to 95% during the day and went down to 87% in the mid afternoon as gas ramped up rapidly to replace the fading sunlight. And the plan is to take out a big chunk of that power ahead of schedule.

Have a look at the live display and uncheck the Black Coal box to get a clear view of the performance of brown coal.

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE. At breakfast time SA is importing power and gas is providing 92% of local generation with the windmills turning at 4% of capacity.  

The widget liveApproaching 10am the wind power across the SE is down to 7% of capacity and on the way down from 11% at 8. Bown coal in Victoria is delivering at 96% of capacity  and sending power to SA and NSW. SA is showing us the road to ruin and blackouts.

The South Australians and other promoters of  wind and solar power are exhilarated by the amount of RE they generate on good days, even more than 100% of demand for some short periods. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis recently released A Grid Dominated  by Wind and Solar is Possible.

South Australia (SA) is a window into the future of an electricity grid dominated by wind and solar, and backed up by storage.

Lessons from South Australia can help inform other jurisdictions on how to integrate large amounts of variable renewable energy (VRE) generation and distributed energy resources (DER) into the electricity system.

The problem that they can’t or won’t acknowledge is the need to provide for bad days and especially windless nights.  Think of this as the levee wall problem.

The levee wall problem

Victorians who are experiencing flash floods at present will be aware of the way that flood waters advance on low ground. Protective levee walls can be build around flood-prone areas, subject to cost-benefit analysis  and the effectiveness of the wall depends on the lowest point, not the highest point or the average height.

That simple fact should not require any emphasis but it has yet to be taken into account in planning the implementation of ambitious RE targets. Due to the need to supply 100% of demand all the time, the grid has to be able to deliver 100% of demand under the worst case scenario for wind and solar input – that is a windless night. More installed capacity (higher levees) does not help if there are gaps in the wall (no input of wind and solar).

Wind droughts

Due to the well-documented prevalence of prolonged “wind droughts”, increasing the amount of installed capacity of wind and solar increases the average level of supply but does not fill in the gaps. Paul Miskelly pointed out this in 2012, based on the AEMO data available at the time, and he explained that this is caused by high pressure systems that can linger over the whole of SE Australia on occasion for days on end. He also pointed out that because the “low to no” wind situation can occur over the sub-continent, just building more turbines will not help.

The wind power supply numbers, practically hour by hour,  are publicly available at the AEMO site and also Aneroid Energy. Tony from Oz has been monitoring the situation for years and Mike O’Ceirin has produced tables to show all the wind droughts since 2011. This is periods when the windmills are producing less than 10% of their maximum (installed or plated capacity).

SE Aust Wind Droughts 2011 to 2020

The worst case in the last 18 months is a period of 33 hours on the 5th-6th of June 2020.  Almost every month there are one or more, and often numerous wind droughts of shorter duration. The table shows 18 periods in 2020 when the duration of the drought was 10 hours or more.

The point is that transmission lines that are supposed to carry spare wind power to places that are short will not help if there is no spare wind across the whole of  SE Australia (the National Energy Market).

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37 Responses to South Australia leads the way with RE. But where are they going?

  1. RobK says:

    Anytime there are wind droughts with intervals that don’t exceed demand, any storage cannot be recharged so the drought is cumulative. (Not unlike a rainfall storage drought). The 10% figure is a start but the dynamics of a real system is complex. A wind turbine generator cannot predict its performance over any particular time scale with any degree of accuracy and the floating charge point of any storage is compromise between yield and stability. Randomness is difficult to tame.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    The interconnector from Victoria is currently going nearly flat out transferring brown coal electricity to South Australia.

    Meanwhile Qld and NSW are sitting on $13,500.72 and $13,194.06 per MWh respectively, so if you are running your 2 kW aircon to keep warm you are burning through a pack of fags per hour in electricity.

    NEM summary tiles

    It’s crazy.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Annndd, back to $100/MWh in NSW and Qld. That’s crazy too. How could any market guru handle prices that jump or fall by a factor of 130 every five minutes?

  4. RobK says:

    From the link above:

    2. Government Policy and Market Features Can Drive High Adoption of Renewables
    Supportive government policy and particular features of the regional market helped drive South Australia’s quick transition from a fossil fuel-based grid to one dominated by renewables.
    Historically, South Australia has not been heavily reliant on fossil fuel exports. This fact, as well as the long incumbency of South Australia’s Labor government, (2002- 20185) helped the state government gain traction with pursuing renewable energy and decarbonisation policies. State government policies implemented included government renewable energy supply contracts and solar feed-in tariffs. The state government’s efforts were assisted by the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) introduced in 2001 which incentivized renewable energy installations through a Renewable Energy Certification scheme. Furthermore, the state government allowed the closure of the last coal generator in the state, Northern Power Station, to proceed as dictated by market conditions, rather than subsidising the plant to stay online. Coal generation was phased out by the end of 2016. This meant renewables penetration continued to grow to fill the energy supply gap left by exiting coal plants.

    Coal power generation in other States is subsidising SAs folly.

  5. RobK says:

    How could any market guru handle prices that jump or fall by a factor of 130 every five minutes?
    The spot price only represents a usually small portion of the total market. That said, yes, the volatility is insane and characterises a mismatch between infrastructure and pricing. This is exacerbated by subsidies backing experimental methods.

  6. RobK says:

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/snowy-sees-room-for-five-more-gas-plants-says-100-pct-renewables-inconceivable/

    The government-owned energy utility Snowy Hydro, stung by the widespread criticism of the taxpayer-funded Kurri Kurri gas generator, says there is room for another five gas generators in Australia’s main grid, and suggests that it will be impossible to achieve 100 per cent renewables in Australia.

    Snowy chief financial officer Gordon Wymer also rejected suggestions that the $600 million in government funds for Kurri Kurri amounts to a subsidy, noting that it was an “equity investment” from the government, which will get a “very good” return. “We haven’t lost a dollar on any investment we have made,” he said.

    In a spirited and wide-ranging discussion with Alinta CEO Jeff Dimery at a CS First Boston energy conference, Wymer said the company “bristled” at suggestions the Kurri Kurri gas generator was being built under instructions from the Morrison government,.

    “We build these thing because of the demand in our portfolio, not because the government told us to. The energy minister and the finance minister are fans of the project because they have seen the detailed business case, which is extremely extensive.”

    In contrast to the hype.

  7. FlyingPigs says:

    like Tasmania, they are still a mendicant State.

    In a proper Australian Constitution they would have nothing but ashes from the fires they lit to keep themselves warm.

  8. FlyingPigs says:

    the only saving grace for South Australia is to be the site of 7 huge massive nuclear power plants sited on useless Lake Alexandria.

  9. FlyingPigs says:

    fucking South Australians are weird enough now so what will a few fucking neutrons escaping from 7 huge nuclear power plants do to them…???

  10. FlyingPigs says:

    the whole of South Australia is radio-active so much so that folk just love their wine and keep buying the radioactive crap all the while telling us how bad uranium is… fer farks sake

  11. FlyingPigs says:

    wear your fucking mask forever and get your fucking jab every fucking year…

  12. FlyingPigs says:

    fer fuck sake

  13. FlyingPigs says:

    this is the pathetic pussy fuckwit oh shit cringing South Australians

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGCdLKXNF3w&list=RDCLAK5uy_mfut9V_o1n9nVG_m5yZ3ztCif29AHUffI&index=8

  14. FlyingPigs says:

    South Australia is a pathetic representation of humanity.

    The only fucking redeeming quality is grog…

  15. DaveR says:

    Without its interconnects with Victoria and to NSW-Qld, SA would not be able to keep the lights on. And just think that the next premier of Victoria, in order to act in the interests of the state (a novel concept!) would regulate to shut down the interconnects to supply Vic industry, and lower Vic power prices. And the SA future is bright?

  16. Mark M says:

    … and still the climate changes …

    Strong winds, heavy rain and dust sweep across SA trigger Code Blue for rough sleepers
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-07/sa-wild-weather-forecast-for-sa/100195086

    Factcheck: No amount of solar panels or windmills can, have, or will change weather/climate. Anywhere. Ever.

  17. mundi says:

    It’s simple: They don’t expect the entire grid to be 100% green. They will just accept the need for gas generators to provide intermittent power – so we will have 200% capacity – 100 from gas and 100 from green.

    Likewise, they are against fossil fuels for electricity and transport, but will accept fossil fuels for plastic, clothing anything else they consume etc etc.

    This has only ever been about money and rent seeking. The number of people making money off the climate change racket is staggering. It’s all through media, government and even most private institutions.

  18. Tom says:

    Factcheck: No amount of solar panels or windmills can, have, or will change weather/climate. Anywhere. Ever.

    Correct.

    Catastrophic Anthropomorphic Climate Change (CAGW) is a political doctrine. It has nothing to do with science, although it has been used in the past 20 years by political activists calling themselves “researchers” as a cudgel in Marxism’s war on the capitalist free market.

  19. FlyingPigs says:

    proof positive that South Australians are bombarded with the uranium under their feet.

  20. yarpos says:

    Billions will be spent and they will express surprise as consumer costs rise and availability and reliability suffer. Then like Weatherdill they will get caught like deer in the headlights, panic, and throw even more band aid taxpayer dollars at it.

  21. FlyingPigs says:

    and they are mad as if they do not build 7 huge nuclear power stations on useless Lake Alaxendria.

    If they don’t I figure to burn down Adelaide city.

  22. FlyingPigs says:

    Leigh, you gorgeous legover thing…

    do you think DanXiMan is dead???

  23. FlyingPigs says:

    Dan is dead…

  24. FlyingPigs says:

    there is no doubt, and despite all rumours, the bloke is dead.

    prove me wrong.

  25. RacerX says:

    South Australia (SA) is a window into the future of an electricity grid dominated by wind and solar, and backed up by storage.”

    Time to disconnect the extension cord and gie them some reality.

  26. Roger says:

    We live in the stupidest of times.

  27. Mark M says:

    A humorous detour …

    To fight [global warming], swampy Joe to send in American troops to eliminate flatulent cows

    … “the cows are more deadly than a middle eastern terrorist”, said swampy Joe.

    https://babylonbee.com/news/biden-deploys-us-military-to-texas-to-eliminate-the-flatulent-bovine-threat

    SA farmers, you have been warned.
    Stabilise the climate, or the cow gets it.

  28. Fair Shake says:

    Y says:
    June 11, 2021 at 6:30 am
    Billions will be spent and they will express surprise as consumer costs rise and availability and reliability suffer. Then like Weatherdill they will get caught like deer in the headlights, panic, and throw even more band aid taxpayer dollars at it.

    Ain’t gonna happen. These State premiers have learnt to shift the blame to the Feds. They are not responsible for any of their decisions and unaccountable.

    Plus they never let the facts get in the way of their political doctrine.

  29. FlyingPigs says:

    What is the Actual point of propping up Adelaide????

  30. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    Get the politicians the hell out of the energy industry ,what would a bunch of two bob suburban coeencing lawyers and corrupt union grifters know about the power industry ?
    Question ? When we become achinese colony will coal fired power be allowed ?
    After all the chinese living here will need electricity power for their apartments and gas for their woks

  31. Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    Mr. Champion, you are wasting your time mate, so too all of us who use logic, common sense, and science to point out the error of their ways for their ears and eyes and brains, if they ever had any, are closed. They haven’t listened so far and they never will. When the whole nine yards of it all collapses they will blame the failure on someone else for they always do.

  32. Iain Russell says:

    Full marks to Professor Fred! Gongxi, gongxi!

  33. RobertS says:

    The King Island renewable energy system was using diesel generators to supply 95% of power needs a few moments ago. Wave Swell’s wave power generator was supposed to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2021 but it’s all quiet on that front at present.

  34. Bruce O’Newk:

    Meanwhile Qld and NSW are sitting on $13,500.72 and $13,194.06 per MWh respectively, so if you are running your 2 kW aircon to keep warm you are burning through a pack of fags per hour in electricity.

    So how many gays in a pack of fags?
    Curious minds etc…

  35. chrism says:

    If I understand what’s going on, it is that when SA needs power – and Vic brown coal is turned up, the Vics are restricted as to how much they can charge by AEMO? ‘no predatory pricing’ (no signal that your system is broke)

    Are there any equivalent cogent examples from economics 101, (for us that learned our economics when observing Swanny create surplus after surplus…), that Kates or Doomlord can point to where there’s an ‘aha’ moment & the curtain drops & the people in the cheap seats can see the tomfoolery for what it is?

    Lysenkoism? Gold standard?

    are we trapped as the Gretas slowly shut down all cheap generation and we devolve to a Planet of the very cold Apes situation/ Animal Farm where only politburo comrades are warm??

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