Entire state of South Australia has power black out because of flawed climate change energy policy

Governor Brown has California on same “dark ages” renewable energy path as South Australia

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

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The entire state of South Australia suffered a complete power black out on Wednesday September 28  plugging it’s nearly 1.7 million residents, communities and businesses into darkness.

Loss of available power from transmissions lines feeding the region from other states coupled with South Australia’s ill-considered climate change energy policy of forced shutdown of the states operating coal plants to promote heavy use of renewable energy created this latest power debacle.

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Last July the state barely averted energy black outs when reduced outside electrical energy supplies forced huge and costly purchases of needed power to restore electrical system reliability.(http://theconversation.com/south-australias-electricity-price-woes-are-more-due-to-gas-than-wind-62824)

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The forced shutdown of operating coal plants and mandated increased use of renewables had significantly increased energy costs to consumers by eliminating production from low cost power plants while increasing use of more costly renewable energy which also requires the operation of higher cost natural gas power plants for reliability backup with these backup costs hidden from consumers. (http://www.smh.com.au/business/renewables-shift-brings-threat-to-power-supply-20160921-grl0bs.html)

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The September 28 state wide black out is clearly creating challenges to the governments climate change policy initiative which is responsible for these power availability and high energy price debacles and which has jeopardized the power supply of the entire region. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-25/sa’s-power-price-spike-sounds-national-electricity-alarm/7875970)

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Unfortunately Governor Brown has California on the same path as the state of South Australia where the present and future reliability of the states power supply is dependent on huge imports of power from adjacent states which provide 1/3 of California’s electrical energy.

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Unlike a decade ago where use of this imported power was driven by considerations of lowering energy costs today this imported energy is absolutely essential for sustaining the states electrical system reliability.

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Peter Morris

Apostrophes, please. This article is darn near unreadable in its current state.
[?? The only unmatched apostrophes used begin the selected quoted paragraphs, and those paragraphs are no longer “editable text” but blocks (like a graph or an image). .mod]

what are you talking about? Where are these supposed lack of apostrophes that are hindering your reading?

NeedleFactory

Perhaps Morris refers to the missing apostrophes in:
(a) the state’s operating
(b) the government’s climate change policy
(c) the state’s power supply
(d) sustaining the state’s electrical system
None too important in my opinion.

Perhaps another English or Journalism major? Perhaps, missing the science caused by a shortage of apostrophes and quotation marks.
A punctual problem with missing punctuations responding with self imposed civil authority for identifying and pursuing punctuation misuse.
One would think that after reading Lewserandumbsky’s and Crooks latest paper the other day, language disciplinarians would be inured or numb.

Jack

Wind powered apostrophes

Jeff Alberts

Perhaps not important. To me it’s a matter of professionalism and attention to detail.

Jon

Don’t u mean “it’s” ?
HAHAHA

rd50

+’s for your finding

joelobryan

His use of “its” (sans apostrophe) is grammatically correct.

It’s or its?
from English Grammar Today
It’s is the contracted form of it is or it has:
Can you hear that noise? Where do you think it’s (it is) coming from?
It’s (it is) nearly the end of the month. It’s (it has) gone really quickly.
Its is a possessive determiner (like my, your, his) which we use when referring to things or animals:
Every house in the street has got its own garage.
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/it-s-or-its

RCase

Hopefully, you’re not laughing because you think you’re correct. I’m often surprised that the spelling and grammar in the comments of this site seems not to be commensurate with what I suspect to be the educational level and academic backgrounds of those who comment here.

Bryan A

More often than not, gramatical errors stem from habitual dependance on Spell Checking programs and zero attempts at proof reading. People are so accustomed to Spell Checking automatically correcting their errors that they never realize the errors anymore. And there is also the missused word that is still spelled correctly like THAN rather than THEN

Jon

Joelobryan the HAHAHA means the comment was s joke.

Jon

Or, rather “a” joke!

mike

@ Peter Morris
So the above post reports a dire, electrical “black-out” situation in the state of South Australia, caused (if the post correctly reports the matter, of course) by lunatic “green” energy policies. And, you, Peter, after reading that post, and gaining the “pole position” (the very first comment) advantage, with regards to all the other comments that follow, then choose to lead off the discussion with…with…well…with an attention-seeking, preening, booger-flick complaint about some missing apostrophes, accompanied by the assurance that, for exquisitely-sensitive, grammar-geek fuss-pot, you, Pete, ol’ sport, those truant apostrophes make the post “durn near unreadable”. And that’s it! That’s all you apparently gotta say, guy.
Hmmm…you know, Pete, ol’ buddy, you’ve really gotten moi scratching moi’s head. I mean, like, I keep askin’ myself just what sort of a “Peter Morris” would pull such an improbable, school-marm scold stunt?

Leo Smith

I liked ‘plugging into darkness’ as well. Is this a new form of renewable energy?

bud

Dark energy of course.

Barbara

The Climate Group States & Regions
Government partnerships:
Includes The State Of South Australia, p.2.
Also has Canadian and U.S. members including California.
http://www.theclimategroup.org/partnerships/government

Barbara

“Canadian-U.S. Environmental Cooperation: Climate Change Networks and Regional Action”, H.Selin, c. Aug 2005
Download at:
http://www.worldpapercat.com/1124/Article164883.htm
Follow the links to download the article.
Journal, American Review of Canadian Studies original source?

ddpalmer

Leaving out apostrophes decreases the number of pixels required, thus saving electricity and reducing CO2 release.

Frederik Michiels

definitely true: its require less space and fills the 4th space taken only by the ‘ which are a few black pixels on a white background. Thus its blackens more the screen then it’s which give me a microwatt of power saving.
okay can i now have my grant for a green power saving grammar and spelling reform? LOL

DD More

Wonder how much food is going to waste from non-operable coolers. Just add that to the bill.

Catcracking

I assume “plugging” is plunging?

Felflames

I thought the same thing.
Then i read it again , and “plugging into darkness” seems to often be the result of relying on renewables for critical infrastructure.
[But one gets as much energy “plugging into darkness” as you do plugging into a energy grid that relies on too many expensive renewables. .mod]

emsnews

They plugged into the Outerdarkness energy feed.

Damned if you, damned if you don’t:
As loads in supplying regions grow, power costs to CA go up (or are curtailed).
Increased imports to CA overload existing intertie capacity, resulting in blackouts.
We told the State that same thing in 1979. Guess what happened in 2000 and subsequent years?
Here we go again.

Once an outside back-up source becomes the only option, the price jumps through the roof. Shades of Enron following “de-regulation”.

emsnews

I was in NYC living next to a slum when we had a two day power failure in 1977. My wonderful neighbors fixed this by lighting up the night via burning the entire neighborhood to the ground, totally destroying it. But I did have plenty of light! The noise, though, was like a million demons screaming.

I was in California during the blackouts, and the state apparently did not learn how fragile an electrical grid is. Blaming the malign influence of Enron was sufficient.
I am just suprised that the grids in South Australia and Germany have not crashed earlier.

auto

And – this winter, perhaps – the UK.
Yeah – I know – we have deals with small scale diesel generators . . . .
Auto – with gas heating in one room!

Far more likely in Scotland, than the ‘UK‘, because they have way more intermittent renewables, and few dispatchable sources left:
* One Step Closer to Blackouts
* Beginners Guide to Blackouts

yarpos

The Germans have the luxury of playing renewable games and then leaning on the French nuclear power industry when in need. They also retained coal plants. I doubt the Germans are quite as stupid as the Aussies. South Australia had a trial run two months ago when the excess of wind turbine sources acted as designed on a no wind day and they had the inter connector to the neighbouring coal fired powered State down. They then had to go cap in hand to gas generators they had previously thought they didnt need. They got ad hoc pricing and then complained about it. They are a special lot.

Griff

That’s not the case – Germany frequently exports power to France. I believe in fact more power than it imports… It has stopped building coal power plants and is about to start switching off a small number (it is trade union power which prevents shut down, not power supply concerns!)

[Un]Scientific American and “cleanenergywire” – kinda like quoting wikipedia, isn’t it?

commieBob

The trick is to make the correct politicians bear the blame. I suspect that people will become a lot more skeptical about CAGW when the consequences (blackouts and expensive electricity) begin to bite.

techgm

Then they can wait a decade for the missing/lost/mothballed capacity to be restored or built new.

bit chilly

yep. it won’t be my fence or shed or roof trusses that will be going in my wood burner 😉

Alan Robertson

The entire NE USA has come perilously close to the conditions which trigger full Winter blackout on several occasions in recent past. With most modern homes dependent upon electricity to operate heating systems, the result of such a Winter blackout could prove fatal for many people. Lets hope that those responsible for grid operations are staying a step ahead of the political forces which endanger grid reliability.

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
“The September 28 state wide black out is clearly creating challenges to the governments climate change policy initiative which is responsible for these power availability and high energy price debacles and which has jeopardized the power supply of the entire region.” – who would have thunk?!
Sceptics have been rightly warning of the disastrous consequences of the ideological scramble toward renewable (unreliable) energy under green central planning for many years. And on September 28, the chickens certainly came home to roost with South Australia’s *complete* and total state wide power blackout.
I will be posting more on this on ‘Climatism’ later, including information from a scathing report on the dangerous shift to renewable energy, put out by the Grattan Institute – “Keeping the lights on: lessons from South Australia’s power shock.”
Thoughts go out to those affected by the SA blackout. Hoping services return to normal soon.

An entire state?? I could see a large city perhaps but an entire state is without power? Sounds like a problem

The US has had a couple power outages that covered several more populous states. The best known is the great northeast blackout of 1965 Nov 9.
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-great-northeast-blackout

A report on what happened during the 2003 version of a northeast blackout: http://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/reliability/blackout/09-12-03-blackout-sum.pdf

J

Just like Puerto Rico recently.
Crippled the grid to the point of no redundancy, one problem, and people are in the dark.

Ozwitch

Yes, it was. There was not enough baseload i.e. fossil fuel power to keep the grid stabilised. SA gets its backup power from Victoria via an interconnect. This crashed last night. It recently shut down 2 coal stations which could have provided sufficient backup power. Renewables were unable to provide sufficient supply to meet demand (it was night, and it was windy, hence no wind power and no solar.)
SA is a state of 1.6 million people, so it is small in population, but big in delusions of a green utopia run by people with lots of Gaia love but no brains.

Philip Schaeffer

Texas? Do people realize that South Australia only has a population of 1.6 million, and that most of them live in one small corner of the state?

lewispbuckingham

This will focus the minds of three year term politicians of the societal need to give stable base load power to the population.
All airconditioning and ventilation systems would have shut down.
The hospital system would have to rely on backups.
Traffic control would be impossible. It would be interesting to know how the mobile phone network fared.
Hopefully the report into nuclear energy will be revisited
http://yoursay.sa.gov.au/system/NFCRC_Final_Report_Web.pdf
Especially pg 52 about costs and reliability of power supply.
If SA wants to attract high tech business it needs reliable power.
To build our strategic subs the Commonwealth, with constitutional defense power, must mandate base load power,preferably nuclear, to have the subs built.

Hivemind

You forgot refrigeration systems. Think of all the food that would have spoiled in a 6 hour blackout.

Barbara Skolaut

“Think of all the food that would have spoiled in a 6 hour blackout.”
Only 6 hours? None, if they had the sense to keep the refrigerator/freezer doors shut. Almost none, if they didn’t.

Read the local news sites. Much longer than six hours and numerous reports of retailers throwing out spoilage.

“policy of forced shutdown of the states operating coal plants”
There was no forced shutdown. SA has few coal resources, and has relied on low-grade coal in a remote location. The private firm responsible (Alinta) couldn’t operate it profitably any more.

Felflames

The government changing legislation to make the business less profitable didn’t help either,

Flyoverbob

Is it more accurate that the government made the business non-profitable.

There is now a national grid and energy market. Leigh Creek could not compete with power from the East, even if that comes with some risk of storm outages. That is a reality independent of efforts to also make use of solar/wind.

gnomish

come on – they can ship it to china but they can’t get it around the coast? get a clue.

“they can’t get it around the coast”
They could, but it costs. A firm that did that could not compete with energy generated on site in NSW, and transmitted by wire. Just business economics, not government meddling.

Analitik

Utter bull$hit by Nick Stokes. The Northern and Playford stations were made uneconomic by a huge increase in the frequency of the negative pricing events caused the large deployment of wind.
The Heywood interconnector has been in existence since the last century/millenium. MurrayLink was commissioned (came online) in 2002 – they didn’t sudden get constructed in the last 5 years and lower the market pricing in South Australia.

“they didn’t sudden get constructed in the last 5 years”
Well, Alinta say they have lost $100M over the last four years running Leigh Creek/Flinders. Competition from wind is also a factor (it does work). But bottom line is that Alinta closed coal because they couldn’t make money against competitive sources.

AndyG55

“But bottom line is that Alinta closed coal because they couldn’t make money against HEAVILY SUBSIDISED sources with idiotic feed-in mandates.
There, Fixed it for you.

Brian

From what I understand, coal needs to keep running all the time to supply baseload, but the market is setup to pay any wind generation first. So coal is being consumed with no return on the expense. End result is that coal fired stations lose money, not because they are uncompetitive, but because the fragile renewables get first dibs at the cash. But they are necessary to supply the major effort in an essential service like power.
The biggest issue is that no new generation and highly efficient coal power stations are being built. Now I wonder why that is…?

gnomish

and yet they are the world’s largest coal exporter… fourth largest natural gas exporter…
splain that?
http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=4050

Australia has ample good quality coal, in NSW and Qld. None in SA. So it makes sense to generate energy in those states (plus hydro and a rather unique brown coal situation in Victoria), and supply to SA. Better to send by wire, even with storm risk, than ship the coal.

gnomish

better to send by wire? oh- so that’s why there’s no blackout! now i know.

gnomish

and now i also know why china finds it uneconomical to import australian coal, too.
yazza.

gnomish

i guess that’s why all the power in the midwest usa used to be generated in wyoming, too- cuz those 2 mile long coal trains couldn’t get it to the to illinois cheap enuff.

“that’s why there’s no blackout! now i know”
There is no state blackout now. There was for a while last night. They could set up a system with more security but greater ongoing cost. People seem to prefer the risk.
Not all US states are self-sufficient in electricity. They make similar trade-offs. It’s the point of having a national grid.

tony mcleod

“please splain”. Mmm, where have I heard that before.

janama

Nick Stokes – I’m sorry but SA has vast amounts of coal – over 10 billion tons of the same quality coal you find in the Galilee Basin and in the Hunter. It’s in the Arckaringa Basin.

Flyoverbob

The government may not have ordered the company to shut down. However, with policies that made the company NOT profitable the government most certainly did force the company to shut down.

The relevant policy was setting up a national grid and energy market. Eastern sources can supply power cheaper. Do you think that should be prevented?

Wally

It’s curious how when we had local generation burning Leigh Creek dirt (which was put in by a politician who was tired of having coal supplies chopped off by the eastern states), we had far far cheaper power than now.
Since the national grid and “cheap power down the wire from the eastern states” our power prices have more than doubled, and we have the most expensive electricity in the world.
At the same time Aust is exporting vast amounts of natural gas (which uses 1/3 of the gas taken in compression to liquify the remainder). This has caused gas shortages, and a rise in gas prices. The price is gas is now so high that the gas fired power stations find it difficult to run and make a quid. The old Torrens Island power station that was original built to use fuel oil. It was converted to use natural gas about 30 years ago, and the fuel oil was “never to be used again”. Guess what they burn most of the time now? Yep, fuel oil, cos its cheaper to IMPORT fuel oil than to use our own natural gas! [This from an inside source who works there.]
Worlds gone mad, and we’ve been fed a pack of lies for a very long time.

lewispbuckingham

Point taken Wally.
We manage to export LNG to SEA and Japan at bedrock prices while having resale price maintenance for our own domestic supply.
Even the USA now has cheap domestic gas.
As Nick says ‘people seem to prefer the risk’.
But which people?
The ruling class or those who suffer the outages and ongoing price hikes?

Lenny

Nick,
The reason the coal power went out of business was the government mandating that renewables come first on the grid. This is government meddling in the grid. This is the major reason why it was no longer financially viable, to operate / maintain / re-invest in the coal plants. Also the local state government has stated very clearly that it want to go to 100% renewable, killing off the inventor confidence in coal backed power.
There was a major issue earlier in the year, but they demolished the last coal plant three weeks ago.
Last night they lost an entire state, from the latest local report I hear, due to a frequency response that was a result of the wind power dropping, too much wind, and a storm took out a tower that impacted the frequency on the inter-connector. It went outside of tolerance, it drops the state – by design.
Whilst this storm was a bit usual, large storms, thunder storms are not usual in that part of the world.
This is a direct consequence of local government policy.

“The reason the coal power went out of business was the government mandating that renewables come first on the grid.”
The government doesn’t mandate that. It’s just the way the market system works. Suppliers bid to supply at a certain price. If the wind turbine is spinning, the supplier needs to sell, and with no fuel cost can underbid any gas/coal generator. Basically all wind product will be sold, at any price.

nc

Nick you should read up on synchronization inertia. Wind and solar do not supply the inertia. With no heavy rotating inertia and base generation, voila outage. It is my understanding if the coal plants where still operating there may not even have been an outage.
I am a retired grid operator and just shake my head how the green folly is reducing grid stability all over the world. Oh I have back up generation, fuel for two weeks and a month of food.

“Nick you should read up on synchronization inertia.”
Maintaining an old system which required mining in remote area and transporting low grade coal 230 km is a very expensive way of achieving synchronization inertia.

yarpos

and what is your option Nick ? it has actually worked well for us for many decades and we stupidly turn our backs on nuclear. So what do you recommend? right now I mean, not something thats coming, will be developed or is powered by rainbows and unicorns.

angech

Double the price Nick, it would still be cheaper than subsidized intermittent renewables. It would have been profitable at a higher price, just the interstate coal electricity was “”cheaper”
Come on, Aussie, you know that is true.

Peter

Alinta can run coal power stations in inter- state but not South Australia. Legislation forced an increase in costs. Leigh Creek and Port Augusta were shut down, as was intended when the regulations went into effect. The current South Australian Government is very proud of the current fiasco, it’s all part of a grand plan to attract new industry. The South Australian Government boasts about how it got rid of Leigh Creek. The Government gets very very angry when the facts contradict the policy, such as businesses closing and leaving. The Government is very very angry at what happened last night, and it’s everyone else’s fault.

“Alinta can run coal power stations in inter- state”
Not true. The list of Alinta stations is here. The SA ones now closed were the only coal stations.

Hugs

SMH: “But Wednesday’s event will trigger renewed debate over the state’s heavy reliance on renewable energy which has forced the closure of uncompetitive power stations, putting the electricity network in South Australia under stress.”
There is only one error, the word uncompetitive. The competitive but now non-profitable coal has been forced out.

Marcus

….Ummm, South Australia doesn’t have coal …..Ummm, are you saying North Australia can ship coal to China, but not to south Austrailia ? Talk about digging holes !

Felflames

Just to add a comparison for those not aware of how large this blackout is,South Australia covers an area of 983,480 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it’s the fourth-largest of Australia’s states and territories and has a population of 1.7 million people.

yarpos

Yes some key transmission line got blown over, historically some of the older SA ones look like tin foil. However in the lead up to the event wind turbines were shut down due to excessive wind, and for many hours into the event once transmission was sorted out there was still no wind turbine power with gas and diesel supplying what was available . Right now 8AM the day after, the State is running on 90% gas , although that may be business as usual if the wind has died away.
Of course the its nothing to do with renewables. The fact that the State has had multiple outages in a year since going 40% plus renewables is because Unicorns.

yarpos

To be fair most people are clustered in a 100km radius around Adelaide, the rest is pretty much desert.

gnome

You forgot to add that it has the country’s most expensive electricity, the most renewable electricity (except for Tasmania which has good hydro-electric conditions) and the most unreliable electricity.

Bruce Cobb

Have you thanked a Warmist yet today for all they do?

Chris Hanley

It’s a crying shame, at the same time very funny.
South Australians are sitting on the “the largest known single deposit of uranium in the world” (Wiki: Olympic Dam mine) but the government intends to pursue the crazy ‘renewables’ policy.
Will Steffen from the Climate Council: ”… these conditions, driven by climate change, are likely increasing the intensity of storms like the one in South Australia …”, it follows that if S A were 100% wind and solar storms like the one that blacked-out the state wouldn’t happen.

Steven F

No amount of coal or uranium will prevent a bllack out when a storm takes out the grid. which is what happened.

Except that the storm did not take out the grid. It took out a few transmission towers on a single line in the north of the state.
SA operates a similar N-1 Electricity security requirement to what we have in New Zealand. That means that the system can withstand the largest contingent event being the loss of a single generator, or Transmission circuit without any noticeable effect. There should always be sufficient reserve generation connected to the system to allow for this, and still have sufficient standby reserve (not necessarily connected, but available) to cope with an extended contingent event, being the loss of a second generator, or transmission circuit. In the is case that was not sufficient as the wind generation ramped down, and individual wind turbines are not large enough to be included as contingent plant. But when 40% of the State’s energy is coming from that source, and they all ramp down then there are problems.
From a report on http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/84813559/parts-of-south-australia-may-face-prolonged-power-outage
“Lightning strikes knocked out transmission towers in the north of the state. That shouldn’t have taken out the rest of the state,” the industry figure said.
“Clearly something’s broken; there should have been some protection.”
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A limited population base and the closure of large cheap power stations as its reliance on renewable energy sources such as wind has risen has raised a series of technical issues which the electricity transmission companies in South Australia are now grappling with.
“The generation profile in South Australia doesn’t help,” another industry source said, referring to the loss of some so-called ‘baseload power capacity which operates 24 hours a day as the use of renewables has risen.
“But AEMO ‘going black’ by shutting down the industry due to a weather event is highly unusual.”
It is believed AEMO sought to shut down parts of the system which “triggered a full shutdown of the system to protect itself”, was the way one industry figure put it.

Bulldust

Never mind there was a worse storm 50 years ago… Steffen has absolutely no shame. I am hoping we can export him like Lew and Cook soon.

“….these conditions, driven by climate change, are likely increasing the intensity of storms like the one in South Australia …”, it follows that if S A were 100% wind and solar storms like the one that blacked-out the state wouldn’t happen.”
Seriously?? They actually are doubling down on stupid.

Ben of Houston

While reliance on imports does increase vulnerability to storms, I have to agree that it’s a rather severe omission.

DCA

One has to wonder how vulnerable windmills and solar panels are to the storms as well.

JohnB

Not really Ben. South Australia is about 1.5 times the size of Texas. No “storm” is going to take out that area. Similarly there are no trees near the major transmission lines for two reasons; a: The towers are taller than the trees and b: they get trimmed regularly.

“South Australia is about 1.5 times the size of Texas.”
I’m sure the area supplied by mains power is a lot less. But the fact is that it was storm damage that brought down the system. Here is a map of the affected area:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-28/sa-power-networks-outage-map/7886534
Most of the population, but only a fraction of the state’s area.

comment image

Wally

SA resident here. Nick Stokes the entire state has insufficient capacity to support its own demand, it relies on 2 x interconnectors from other states – one of which is down for maintenance. A severe storm took out a 275kV line to an area that USED to have a coal fired power station. That being taken out caused a cascade, where the interconnector dropped off. Then local generation was insufficient so it all isolated as well, leaving the entire state with no power.
Thats the entire 1.67 million residents. AND YES the ENTIRE STATE does have mains power from the grid, there has been a grid build program over about 50 years to do that. There are 2 or 3 very small isolated local generation pockets but these amount to around 50k residents or thereabouts.

Steven F

One big part of the problem in Australia is that high winds (up to 140kph according to the news) and a possible tornado toppled a major transmission line. The line was not damaged by falling trees, the wind folded the towers in half. Rainfall of about 100mm in one day also caused flooding doing even more damage to the grid.
While the article is quick to point the finger at renewables. The news reports indicate it is nothing more than major grid damage due to high winds, flooding and downed trees. Grids entirely powered by fossil fuels will and have failed due too conditions like this.

Peter

The rest of Australia frequently gets storms with 140 km/hr winds. That the transmission towers could not stand up to this wind is appalling.
The towers may have failed, but up until recently shutting down coal, the state wide black out would not have occurred. The fact remains, under current policy, the infrastructure is inadequate to cope.

Hivemind

“While the article is quick to point the finger at renewables.”
It was the irrational belief that renewables would cover it, that left South Australia without spare capacity. Note the graph that showed they had been completely taken out of the supply mix.
The power lines that failed went to Port Augusta, where the coal power stations used to be. Windmills have to be feathered for their own protection and solar is blocked by storm clouds. The immediate trigger for the blackout may have been because of storm damage, but the fundamental cause was because there was no backup generation capacity.

Marcus

…Stupidest comment of the year goes to….. Nick Stokes…”Most of the population, but only a fraction of the state’s area.”….The only “AREA” that matters is WHERE THERE ARE PEOPLE ! I really don’t think the Scorpions in the desert are too worried about electrical power for their families needs…

“Here is a map of the affected area:”
How nice of the storm to stay on one side of the state border.

a happy little debunker

That SA’s infrastructure is so vulnerable to a single storm (not even a state-wide storm) after 20 years of ‘gold plating’ the poles and wires – should give all Australia cause for concern. This is a massive failure in energy policy.
In the meantime Business rightly expects Tasmania’s state owned hydro supply should hold significant reserves (up to a year) to avert any future crisis caused by extended drought & basslink failure. The Hydro boffins are publicly reluctantly citing opportunity cost – the opportunity cost of filling the dams.

tony mcleod

What a crock! No mention of it being the worst spring storm in 50 years, winds clocked at 120km, but no, it’s all caused by a rampant ideology.
Straight from the busy, WUWT, ridiculously long bow department. SMFH.

a happy little debunker

Sure, SA had wind gusts of up to 120 k’s – but this happens regularly and at a higher wind speed in other parts of the country – without all consuming power blackouts.
It has happened 3 times this year alone in Tassie – along with floods, drought and snow!
But, I suppose those spring storms are so much worse than Summer, Autumn and Winter Storms.

And the Australian state of Tasmania had to import 150 diesel generators when a low-rainfall period reduced hydro power output while, at the same time, the coal-power umbilical from another state, Victoria, went down.
We have three jurisdictions in Australia that are acting out the pretence of moving towards fully ‘renewable’ energy and each one of them quietly maintains a backup umbilical to coal-fired power plants in other locations, in much the same way that Germany claims to have abandoned nuclear generated power yet imports it from across the border. This is all so that they can act out their fantasy of living in a pretty little world where everything is powered by the sun, with everyone travelling around in magic cars and planes that somehow propel themselves, working in magic jobs that come from ‘somewhere’, being paid with magic money that comes from ‘somewhere’ and using that magic money to buy magic consumer goods that somehow just appear from ‘somewhere’. To fully understand the mentality at work here, picture all of this and then imagine its advocates skipping through the forest to the sounds of the children’s song The Teddy Bears’ Picnic. These are adults, but they have the naivety of children. They think that for something to be true they only have to wish it were true. Unbelievably, these are the people who now control public policy.

rw

This matches my impressions perfectly. Just add a complement of mile-thick ego-defences, and you begin to see the real nature of the problem.

gnomish

yeah!!!!

[Best to never cheer another person’s problems and discomfort. Even it is their country’s fault, their country’s leaders’ faults. .mod]

gnomish

i LOVE consequences because it’s what keeps people honest.
this is a GOOD thing. i won’t fake sympathy for stupid , no way , no how.
i like to see just desserts served in heaping helpings.
it is an act of moral embezzlement to deprive somebody of that.
i don’t have to; i don’t want to; i won’t. like it or lump it.

yarpos

There will be no consequences. Queue the “perfect storm” speeches and media releases saying it had nothing to do with renewables. Personally I think in this case renewables had a secondary role in slowing down response in that they were offline due to excessive wind and would be the last thing you want in any network trying to bootstrap itself back up into operation , even if avaialbale.

angech

Coal comes in lumps, too.
Quite right statements gnomish

Robert from oz

South Australia had zero green house gas emissions for a while there so it’s not all bad .

Gamecock

Zactly. All the commenters here act as if it is a bad thing. For all we know, families have gathered around a candle and patted themselves on the back for their helping reduce carbon (sic) emissions. They elected their leaders; surely they have embraced their rhetoric.

Lil Fella from OZ

Yep, and now no power due to renewable scramble. You still need base power.

yarpos

and if you say that you are a “baseloader” yet another little put down the renewables/alarmist camp use. They seem to think they have a new paradigm that exists beyond the laws of physics. Once they are allowed to do more than dabble around the edges, we find those laws still applly.

Jon

Why don’t they simply run a pipeline to the bottom of the ocean?
We’ve been assured there’s an over-abundance of excess heat there!

Jon

At the very least there’s potential for a big study requiring big grants. I wonder if the state could be run off the potential energy from that potential?

I see that California generates roughly 8% of its power from renewables, although they will, of course, misleadingly claim that “12% of our power generation is from renewables.” That’s “generation”, not consumption. South Carolina will shortly bring online two more nuclear reactors, giving them a total of
nine reactors.and a power generation system over 75% carbon free. Anybody want to estimate when
the California Fools will ever achieve this level and at what cost?

Tobyw

When California nukes??? When they get a smart conservative government like SC, that’s when! But I wonder how much the cost of the change to SC nukes has been, the cost of operation and electric bills. A RINO like Arnold married to a Kennedy queen will not do! They need to change the legislature too.

Lil Fella from OZ

They are blaming the STORM. I can imagine that is will be 1 in 100 year storm by the time all the excuses finish. Nowhere near as bad as they have stated. I live in this State. A coal fired power station was shut and then they used a connector to another coal fired power station in another State (Victoria). Wise move. Wind turbines is the way to go, so they have told us for years. That is as long as you don’t put them in my ‘backyard’! There is no real base load power supply. So what is inevitable happened and it is not the first time either. The last time was a cover up.
They have lost control of producing power. It is not really necessary for business!??? This State also has the highest unemployment of the nation. Needless to say I have independent solar panel with batteries as my back up.

Robert from oz

The “experts” have said the blackout in South Australia had nothing to do with the renewable energy mix they have .
It’s just been confirmed that the bird killing wind farms were not working at the time of the blackout because it was too windy .
If south oz still had only coal electricity generation would the blackout still have happened ??
This question needs to be asked .

yarpos

and would recovery have taken so long

and the windy millers pocketed constraint payments I guess when it’s too windy – just maybe?

Wally

Oh it was a storm all right, which led to a cascade failure that isolated the interconnectors, and local generation does not have the capacity to supply the whole state. So the local generators isolate to protect themselves and bingo, no power for you!
Of course the system is designed to protect itself, and a jolly good thing too. BUT… its the endless meddling by well meaning idiots which means that because we don’t have the capacity to be self sufficient we can’t run anything when we don’t have the interconnect teat there to feed us. Stupid design.

MarkG

“its the endless meddling by well meaning idiots”
What could possibly make you believe they’re ‘well meaning’?

Voltron

The ABC link that was mentioned in the article, while sounding like it was critical, actually encourages MORE renewables. Apparently the massive cost blowout was a failure by states and territories to have a distributed renewable system across the nation and an agreement to phase out coal. I didnt follow the logic until I realised there was no logic. Not surprising for an ABC article, disappointing, but not surprising.

Lil Fella from OZ

Not forgetting power prices are the highest in the nation.

And were long before any renewable policy.

Wally

Actually Nick thats not so. Perhaps you should live here before you post comments like that.

OK from IPA (Publisher of Climate Change the facts, advertised here), prices in about 2000:comment image

angech

Those 4 states are not the nation are they, Nick?
You seem to have left out WA NT Canberra and Tassie, Well OK to leave out Tasmania with it’s Hydro, but, Come on Aussie, get real.

WA/NT, for obvious reasons, are not yet on the national grid. Anyway, that’s how IPA saw it.

Electricity prices have risen across Australia, since the late nineties after the Federal Labor government encouraged State’s to privatise their utilities to become “more competitive” (that went well did’nt it?). The increases coincide with the privatisation of those utilities and renewables have just made the increases worse. comment image

“Federal Labor government”
A bizarre spin. Howard was elected in 1996. Privatisation was pushed through by State governments, usually Liberal, who wanted the cash. Generally Labor opposed. In my state, the Liberal Treasurer, Stockdale, was the enthusiast. In South Australia it was the Liberal Olsen who pushed through the privatisation of ETSA (electricity generation and distribution).

Patrick MJD

So blame Howard eh Nick? Pathetic!

Chris Hanley

As the ‘renewable’ policy proceeds, South Australia will become increasingly dependent on an “interconnector” with adjoining Victoria for base load (40%) coming mostly from brown coal (probably the largest deposit in the world —oh the ironing), however the left-green government wants to follow S A down the ‘renewable’ road to nowhere.
Anyone with half a brain can see where this is heading.
As a Victorian I can say this: that this situation has the potential to provide enormous entertainment in years to come; adding to the absurdity is the fact is that these idiots think they are leading the world to the bright sunny uplands of a fossil-fuel-free future.
http://orig02.deviantart.net/d01e/f/2016/010/9/2/the_teletubbies_windmill_by_mracrizzy-d9ng05y.png

yarpos

and of course Victoria is now seeing coal plants starting to shut down, happily emulating SA

emsnews

You left out the dead birds.

The governor of the California Gray Davis was dismissed in the year 2003 because of the blacks out.
His successor Anold Schwarzenegger didn’t do better anything of.
This is due to the ideological position of the population that living in an evolved state for the scientific search also wants to believe in the energy of the panels PV and of the windmills.

Gamecock

Hence Californians can soon enjoy the Sacrament of Blackouts.

Green Sand

Tis what happens when folks let those with a PPL degree determine the well being of their country.
Going to be a long difficult road back to reality.

Dub Dublin

Looks like another point of evidence that Eleanor Denny is right: Adding too many renewable energy sources leads to grid destabilization and a negative ROI. The cost of keeping CCGT plants idle but ready to provide instant power to offset the inability of renewables to provide base load is astronomical (and not counted in the cost of renewable energy!) Even so, nature has its way with you every so often (through weather or other forms of applied chaos theory), and grid crashes are the result. Renewable-caused grid crashes are only going to become more frequent with such misguided energy policy and deliberate attacks on cost effective base load generating capacity.

KevinK

Well… There is one nice thing about an electrical blackout, it is INCREDIBLY SUSTAINABLE, you can keep one going for years and years and years, it takes no effort, and costs\emits nothing…..
Maybe that was the plan ?
sarc off

emsnews

We Normans called ‘renewable energy’ back in the Middle Ages ‘peasants.’

High Treason

With all that rains that fell, contrary to the predictions of Tim Flannery, perhaps South Australia could invest in hydroelectricity for power generation. At least Adelaide’s dams will fill, as well as Canberra’s, Sydney’s , Hobart’s and Melbourne will get a nice dose from this system. I am waiting for the “climate change” social warriors to be out in force.
Meanwhile, I am watching the dam level updates and smirking about how utterly wrong the “science” based forecasts of dams running dry are. Obviously, the hypothesis that underpins all the predictions of damns running dry is flawed. Meanwhile, the taxpayers subsidise the Green madness in South Australia.

willnitschke

Sometimes politicians, and the public that supports them, have to learn the hard way.

NW sage

Sometimes?? Methinks ‘always’ is closer to reality. Politicians like to think they are Gods. Every once an a while reality brings them up short, VERY short.

High Treason

Yes, the Climate Council has just issued a statement claiming this is a portent of climate change….
Please bear in mind that the Climate Council and Climate Institute are PRIVATE groups. They have nothing to do with government. The opinions are their own (propaganda.)

JohnB

Just for scale, South Australia is 1.5 times the size of Texas.

tobyglyn

Nick Stokes
September 28, 2016 at 4:36 pm
“SA weather: No link between blackout and renewable energy, experts say”
There’s a nice laugh for my morning 🙂

tony mcleod

Hey, don’t, whatever you do, let the truth get in the way of your bias. I know, it hilarious that anyone might know more about this than you.

Robert from oz

Nick , if SA had no reliance whatsoever on power from other states , had all their coal power stations going how much of SA would have been blacked out ??

Chris Hanley

That’s right, in fact the storm would have been 40% worse without the 40% ‘renewables’ already operating in the state.

If you actually want to know what is happening with SA power, this report from the Grattan institute on recent volatility is a good place to start. They are not a bunch of greenies. And it is the author of that report who is quoted thus:
“But the report’s author, Tony Wood, said the blackout was as a result of a particularly violent storm and it was usual for a system to shut down to protect itself from further damage.
“My understanding, at least at the moment, is there’s no evidence to suggest these two issues are related,” Mr Wood said.”
“There’s no evidence to suggest this was caused by too much wind power, or the dependence on wind power, or anything else, or would’ve been any different if any of the power stations that had been shut down earlier this year had still been operating.
“If you’ve got a wind farm or a coal-fired power station at the end of a transmission line, and that system either is taken out by a storm or is forced to shut down to protect itself from a storm, it doesn’t matter what the energy source is.”
There are two interconnector power lines between South Australia and the eastern states, but Mr Wood said there was no indication having more links would have prevented the issue.”

My bold. It was a failure of transmission, not supply.

Chris Hanley

Tony Wood — would that be the Tony Wood who “… from 2009 to 2014 … was also Program Director of Clean Energy Projects at the Clinton Foundation, advising governments in the Asia-Pacific region on effective deployment of large-scale, low-emission energy technologies …”?
“There’s no evidence to suggest this was caused by too much wind power …” (Tony Wood).
Well he would say that wouldn’t he.

tobyglyn

Nick Stokes
September 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm
“If you actually want to know what is happening with SA power, this report from the Grattan institute on recent volatility is a good place to start. They are not a bunch of greenies.”
Not a bunch of greenies?
“Grattan staff are encouraged to
Take a proactive approach in protecting the environment, and sharing environmentally friendly ideas with others
Provide comments on Grattan’s Environmental Policy at any time
Participate in Melbourne University’s Sustainability Forum and Staff Environmental Advocates programs
Learn more about Melbourne University’s Sustainable Campus initiative ”
https://grattan.edu.au/about-us/environmental-policy/

Tony Wood. He was for a long time an executive at Origin Energy (one of our main gas and elec firms). He did also advise governments via the Clinton Foundation while working there and at Grattan.
But he actually knows about this stuff, and I can’t see comparable sources of knowledge here.

AndyG55

If SA still had reliable LOCAL electricity supplies, they would not need to rely on the interconnects.
Now, why has the LOCAL energy production been shut down, Nick ???

Analitik

The good old “appeal to authority” argument – sounds familiar
I had no idea you were an Aussie, Nick Stokes. Yet another to add to our roll of shame

“I had no idea you were an Aussie”
Even a Footscray supporter (who remembers 1954).

yarpos

Failure of transmission not supply, really? Why then a day later they are still not game to put wind powere back on the network? Gas and diesel running flat out.

Lenny

A single storm should not take out a state.
The wind was to windy so they turned off the wind turbines
The storm dropped part of the grid, this combined with the lack of location generation caused a significant change in frequency. Safety kicked in – dropped the interconnect.
This is designed to work this, every time there is a major storm, this is a significant risk.

Jack

The wind was about 40 knots according to BoM. That is less than a category 1 cyclone whuch might cause minor damage to a house. Yet here it has blown over towers. Says more about the towers and planning than about any alleged extreme weather event.

J. Exactly. And the political dunderheads do not comprehend how fast that can happen. Trip offs are timed to ~ zero voltage for very good physics reasons, which happens twice per AC cycle. So 1/2 of 1/50 second in Europe and Australia, 1/2 of 1/60 second in North America.

clipe
Robert from oz

+100000000000000000.97

angech

nick go the doggies best of luck also hope less rain your way and here near Mooroopna

Clipe, thanks, I am glad keyboards are cheap and I have a few spares for this kind of comment!

HAHAHA – Love it! Fortunately I had just finished my coffee. 🙂

K. Kilty

Certainly the human mind is capable of making excuses to shift blame ad nauseum. In fact, once they have run out of ways to shift blame, there is a hard core of believers who maintain, using the present example, South Australia’s grid is doing just fine, couldn’t be better. Now maybe this blackout would have occurred even with more dispatchable power in the mix, but Schumpeter made a point pertinent to this when he said “Socialists would be happiest eating bread baked by socialists, even were it riddle with mice.”

tony mcleod

It’s equally as flaccid as their overall energy policy.

Resourceguy

They just need to fly John Holdren down from the White House Science office to declare that climate change caused too much wind and the shutting of the wind turbines and the power power outage. Therefore it was indeed climate change that caused it. He will not be available for science references afterward. It should work in Australia anyway.

clipe
tobyglyn

Nothing to do with heavy reliance on renewable energy! 🙂
“At that time, the state government brought pressure to bear on a local power company for an idled power station to be restarted to avoid potential disruptions, following a lack of electricity generated from wind and solar sources at a time when it was unable to “import” sufficient supply from Victoria.
But Wednesday’s event will trigger renewed debate over the state’s heavy reliance on renewable energy which has forced the closure of uncompetitive power stations, putting the electricity network in South Australia under stress.”
http://www.smh.com.au/business/south-australia-pays-the-price-for-heavy-reliance-on-renewable-energy-20160928-grqq9k.html

Well, if you look at the top of that story, there is now a caveat:
“This analysis was written in the immediate aftermath of the blackout. For more recent updates, please click here “
And if you click, you find:
“The storm took down three transmission lines, nine towers and forced the electricity connection with Victoria to shut down. Lightning also struck a power station.
“This is a catastrophic natural event which has destroyed our infrastructure,” he said. “There is no infrastructure that can be developed that can protect you against catastrophic events that take out not one, not two, but three pieces of infrastructure.”
Political recriminations have begun with federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and other MPs questioning the state’s increasing reliance on renewable energy despite assurances that the switch to cleaner energy sources was not to blame.”

BruceC

Nick, why didn’t NSW and/or QLD have TOTAL state-wide blackouts during the huge east-coast low that went through 12-18 months ago? Many towers, poles and lines went down during that storm and yet there was only wide-spread ‘localised’ blackouts, some areas were not even affected, I for one was without power for 6 days (and roof mounted solar panels don’t work when the grid goes down)!
Wonder if those huge, fossil-fueled power stations we have here in the Hunter Valley had anything to do with it?

clipe

Strange how the usual Suspect$, defender$ of climate model$, are here defending renewable$.
Connect the dot$.

tony mcleod

Typical how the usual suspects and so called sceptics are here, in flagrant disregard of the evidence, blaming renewables.

clipe

OK, the evidence points to global cooling. Satisfied?

tobyglyn

Photos show power lines down but I am wondering how all those wind turbines are doing?

They tell us “decentralized” renewable energy is good. So why does South Australia need an interconnector to Victoria to keep its grid running? If “centralized” (AKA dispatchable), fossil and nuclear plant is now “bad”, how come it’s impossible to blackstart the broken grid without sources of large dispatchable power?
There’s so much garbage put about by renewables advocates. They can’t distinguish myths they echo to each other from what’s real or fantasy.

Analitik

Yep, somehow the renewables advocates can maintain a chinese wall between these 2 conflicting ideals. It’s even more disparate when they talk about domestic solar PV, batteries and microgrids and complain about “gold plated” grids yet they then demand more interconnectors to decouple wind farms across the nation.
True deniers, the lot of them

It was a meridional jet stream that transported this deep low pressure system from deep in the Southern Ocean. Parts of the jet stream were originating in Antarctica. Wild jet streams have been affecting the weather right across the Australian continent in the last year or so. Hopefully Australian governments will recognize that these are caused by long-term cyclical changes in the sun and scrap their renewable energy policies. If they don’t then our insurance bills will soon be rising as fast as our electricity bills.
It is a pity that most of today’s politicians don’t have any knowledge of history. If they did then they would recognize that the current weather patterns across the world have similarities to those that existed 200 and also 400 years ago. Even reading Charles Dickens the reader would get an appreciation of what the weather was like in the UK 400 years ago and see the similarities to what is occurring now.

+ many! I see the same patterns in historical Dutch weather reports. They include paintings from the Middle Ages. and those in the early 1800’s and none of the those were government “reports”. The same historical reports are in Sagas and other “tomes” from those eras. We really should pay way more attention to them.

rw

Interesting, although I don’t recall Charles Dickens writing about the 17th century. His work is usually fairly topical.

I quote:
“The September 28 state wide black out is clearly creating challenges to the governments climate change policy initiative which is responsible for these power availability and high energy price debacles and which has jeopardized the power supply of the entire region.”
Don’t count on them changing their climate change policy. True believers do not give up their religion – they try to justify it by deceiving the masses about the cause of the problem. The people who just passively accept it have been brainwashed by their incessant propaganda that they are trying to save the world from a coming Armageddon. Their propaganda is fueled by the billions they say are needed for climate research. They cheat it out of numerous states, localities, and even individuals, and use it instead to fuel a world-wide propaganda machine Their trump card is having brainwashed the ruling cliques of western society, including some billionaires with soft brains, who now augment their propaganda machine. With governments doing their bidding they are now well on the way to taking us back to the stone age. All for nothing because the greenhouse effect that is supposed to cause an Armageddon works only in a laboratory test tube and fails in the atmosphere. That is because carbon dioxide is not the main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere – water vapor is. It constitutes 95 percent of all the greenhouse gases in air. Water vapor and carbon dioxide make up a joint absorption window for infrared radiation in the atmosphere. If you now add more carbon dioxide to air, CO2 will start to absorb in the IR, just as we are told. But this will increase their joint absorption window. And just as soon as it happens, water vapor will begin to diminish, rain out, and the original absorption window is restored. But removal of water vapor has the effect of lowering total IR absorption. And as a result of this the greenhouse warming no longer works and Armageddon is cancelled. This has been known since 2007 when Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi introduced it but knowledge of it has been vigorously suppressed by the IPCC. It is time to speak up and tell everyone that the Armageddon is not coming. And those who gave them money, get your money back if you can.

Chris Hanley

Trivia: the City of Adelaide, capital and main of South Australia, was founded and laid out by a gentleman named Colonel Light:comment image

yarpos

Badda-boom-tish!!

xyzzy11

O/T but. a story just in. Wikileaks have released emails showing George Soros bribed Al Gore to exaggerate global warming.
http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/hacked-emails-expose-really-behind-al-gores-global-warming-campaign/
It’s sort of related (Julian is Australian)

rw

I don’t think Al Gore needed any “bribing”. But it is interesting to know just how many pies George has his fingers in.

The failure cascade is a direct function of the supply mix, according to this article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-29/rushing-to-renewables-risks-sector's-reputation:-uhlmann/7888290
The money shot:
“….a diabolically tricky engineering problem. For an electricity network to function, demand and supply have to be kept in the perfect harmony of 50 hertz every second of every day. If the frequency gets out of tune, the system identifies a fault that could destroy it and that trips the shutdown switch.
This electrical harmony is called synchronous supply, and thermal power is very good at delivering it to the grid.
Wind power is asynchronous — its frequency fluctuates with the breeze and it has to be stabilised by the give and take of other sources of demand and supply.
South Australia has a unique energy mix, with 40 per cent of its electricity generated by wind and a high uptake of rooftop solar panels. The reduction in demand, driven by rooftop cells and coupled with the low price that subsidised wind farms can bid into the electricity market, has shut down all the state’s coal-fired power plants. It now relies on three sources for power: wind, gas and coal-fired power imported from Victoria through two interconnectors that are its lifeline to the national electricity market.
The fragility of South Australia’s electricity supply with the rise of renewables is an open secret.
… The reason why a cascading failure of the remainder of the South Australia network occurred is still to be identified and is subject to further investigation.
And that is the crucial question.
What is not in doubt is the next problem, rebooting the system. And that cannot be done with asynchronous power. To get the system online again, the energy market operator ordered the gas-fired power generator at Pelican Point to fire up, and then set about restarting the system bit by bit.”

yarpos

good points, and note now more than a day after the incident the State is powered by gas and diesel. The last thing they want back online at the moment if fluctuating wind power.

Griff

Yes, but note that ‘black start’ can easily and quickly be provided by battery systems – the Germans already have one in operation…
http://www.younicos.com/europes-first-commercial-battery-will-provide-black-start-capability-2/
“First stationary battery storage system to restore grid after blackout”
and a battery system start up almost instantly – quicker than a gas plant…

Patrick MJD

I say BS on this!