South Australia’s wind energy crisis & state wide blackout were foreseeable – and foreseen

From the “it’s a 50 year storm I tell you” department, comes this interesting find by Larry Hamlin. While apologists rush to blame “climate change enhanced severe weather” for failure of the grid in South Australia, Hamlin finds that this problem with wind turbine farms maintaining frequency and causing a blackout was foreseen and published. If only some people had the sense to pay attention.

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin.

In a 2014 report issued by the Australian Energy Market Operator Ltd (which operates the national energy market) & Electranet (which operates the national electricity transmission grid) these agencies examined the credible events that could occur in South Australia (SA) with loss of electrical system control that could lead to a state wide black out.

The report noted (https://decarbonisesa.com/2016/07/15/the-unfolding-energy-crisis-in-south-australia-was-foreseeable-and-foreseen/) that the continuing and growing use of wind turbines (which do not have synchronous generators that stabilize the electric system) to meet SA electrical load combined with a loss of interconnection would result in:

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This finding clearly should have provided caution to SA government and political leaders that their head long rush to push ever greater use of wind energy in the state to reduce CO2 emissions (given that SA population is more than 20 times below that of California the CO2 emissions reduction here is absolutely trivial) was creating increased risks of electrical system price and supply upheavals.

Now that price upheavals and a state wide electrical black out have occurred SA government officials and politicians along with renewable energy media supporters are trying to conceal the clearly foreseeable and foreseen outcomes that flawed climate change energy policy have created.

These wind energy SA renewable energy use issues were also clearly identified in an article published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia where the significant electrical system reliability problems created by renewable wind energy in SA are addressed in detail.

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This study specifically addressed the black out concerns noted by the Australian Energy Market as follows:

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This analysis exposes the extraordinary energy market distortion that the politically mandated use of renewable energy has created.

Renewable energy cannot be reliably used without placing demands on electric system stability that can only be provided by dispatchable fossil power plants.

Yet renewable energy is given preference in use over fossil plants based on political policy mandates even though the costs associated with electric system stability must be provided by fossil plants which experience lower operating hours thus increasing fossil plant production costs.

Additionally these electric system stability costs climb as more and more renewables are placed in use. Renewables energy projects however are never held accountable for these increased electric system stability costs that occur and in fact these increased system costs are concealed from view by renewable energy advocates.

The extraordinary distortion of energy market prices created by the mandated use of renewables is further addressed in the Royal Society study as follows:

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With the huge worldwide attention now focused on the state wide black out event in SA perhaps the significant reliability impediments and huge energy market distortions that use of renewables has crated for integrated electric systems can be brought into the light and finally dealt with in the open instead of being hidden from view through the deception utilized by renewable energy advocates.

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203 thoughts on “South Australia’s wind energy crisis & state wide blackout were foreseeable – and foreseen

  1. First New Zealand. Then Australia. The UK is next. Unfortunately it’s what it will take to bring people to their senses. You can only make up so many excuses for ruining reliable power generation and distribution before the people realize the truth.

    • I agree with Walter, California is next. If they shut down Diablo Canyon California will be in a world of hurt. I live about 20 miles from it and the locals are up in arms about the planned shutdown. It’s not only going to destabilize the statewide grid, it’s going to put a lot of people out of work. A truly dumb idea brought to use by Nancy, Barbara and Governor Moonbeam. How the most technically literate state in the US could commit energy suicide like this completely amazes me.

      • California is dicey, but probably not next. Wind penetration is under 10%, and California is part of the west coast grid including large synchronous generating assets like Four Corners coal and Columbia river hydro. The grid overall has sufficient grid inertia at present. UK is probably next. See comment below.

      • PGE has been planning the shutdown of the plant every since it was first built and started back in the 70’s. I believe its original lifespan was estimated to be 30-35 years. I grew there. I watched them build it. The money required to refit and re-do would be astronomical for them, hence they have no incentive to attempt it. I am thinking that Boxer et al had little to do with the planned shut down. If you want to talk about why no additional plants have been built then perhaps you can lay the blame on them and others who ran scared with Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

      • Thanks for clarifying Gregory, I lived in Taft when it was built and only recently moved back to the area.

        It is very old tech and needs to be replaced. In my mind there isn’t a great deal of difference between the PUC and PG&E. It wouldt surprose me at all to discover PG&E wanted to decommission the plant, in fact, it makes sense.

    • In NZ, or at least under the city council of Christchurch where I live, open fires places are banned. This is ironical if our power grid fails and all other ways of heating and cooking become inoperable.
      Our power grid has a habit of switching off during stormy weather anyway. Considereing the lack of redundancy in the system,(shown by past outages), any further deterioration because of renewables sounds disastrous to me :(

      Roger
      http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

      • The ban on open fires is an air quality issue. Christchurch has inversion layers in winter that trap smoke close to the ground. You can still have a fire as long as you use an efficient woodburner and good quality wood to minimise the amount of smoke. That is not an unreasonable requirement. Unfortunately many older homes only have open fireplaces; although since the earthquake knocked down a lot of brick chimneys, probably not so many as there used to be.

      • There is no such thing as good quality wood for burning. The only limit is to not burn treated wood. It just has to be dry and “seasoned”. Also, you have to operate your burner pretty much full on to reduce the soot emissions. My 28kw log burner I had in Featherston (Wairarapa, north of Wellington) had to be burning at maximum to minimize particulate emissions. Even so, on a still night (Not often in that region) the night air turned in to a “Pea souper”.

      • Bartleby: I think the news media should take a lot of the blame.

        For example, a few days ago I had a Californian tell me that Polar Bears are going extinct through starvation due to lack of sea ice. Not what I read.

        Too many people are really clueless and never fact check what the media says.

        One big problem for Polar Bears is habituation to human contact especially by the biologists who drug and handle them along with all the Tundra Buggy tourists.

        Susan Crockford yesterday:

        https://polarbearscience.com/2016/10/02/polar-bear-onshore-in-tuktoyaktuk-got-so-close-to-kids-they-heard-it-breathing/

        Too many bears???

      • Wayne: Before I left Washington to live in California, before I left California to live in England, before I left England to live in Wyoming, I lived in California.

        Which is the long way around to mentioning I once had Grizz (brown bears) eating out of my trash can. I understand your comment; when Grizz run short on seals they’ll eat people. No problemo.

      • @ Phillip Bratby , “The UK is still on it’s mad course to be next” And the UK is going to make South Australia”s mishap look like a children’s summer party, we aren’t talking about less than 2 million people in SA, ( as bad as that is of course) we are talking about ten’s of millions in large population centers and over a prolonged period of time in winter. It is truly frightening vision.

      • AEP is off with the fairies with his renewables dream. He has had some of his other witterings shredded on Notalotofpeople…..

    • Germany has the world’s most stable grid and one of the highest levels of renewable electricity.

      Renewables do not destabilise grids.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-10-30/german-grid-seen-stable-even-with-renewables-only-supply

      The UK grid is not in danger – here the head of electricity systems operations at the (UK) National Grid confirms it:

      “I don’t see an upper limit to how much wind we can accommodate [on the grid]”,

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/20/strictly-come-dancing-bbc-national-grid

      • Griff

        Germany’s s grid is stabilised by importing electricity from nuclear power plants in France. The over-supply or power, when it occurs, from renewables is dumped well below cost onto the EU grid. It is that dumping which is the root of the false claim that ‘renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuel energy’. The Czech Republic is bringing a case of dumping to the WTO because it is driving their coal fired plants out of business, just as happened in S Aus: public subsidy used to drive viable industry into bankruptcy. Welcome to the ‘renewable energy economy’ where there are new kinds of ‘inversions’.

    • Yep. Then they want to spend billions on a maglev train from Sacramento to LA. Where do they expect the power for it to come from? Unicorn pharts?

      I just moved to CA from Wyoming because I got to old to ranch the western slope of the Rockies. I’m really afraid I made a mistake. Why is it that both coasts of the US are occupied by people with the IQ of a carrot? What causes that?

      • Hey now let’s nor go insulting the intelligence of carrots. Carrots are very intelligent I tell you /sarc

      • Hi, Bartleby,

        (We “talked” a little about the foolish planned closure of the nuclear plant near you a few months ago)

        Re: Why so MANY educated-but-impaired-logical-thinking people end up on both coasts is something I, too, have wondered about (I’m from the “greater” Seattle area — lots of engineering/tech companies with excellent thinkers and their children, there). Why? I think it may be just as simple as:

        1. most of our major ports are on the sea, thus, that’s where many large cities are; and

        2. large cities, with all of their regulations, both foster and attract “liberal”/mushy thinkers — as one said to me when I declared, “I like liberty!” (v. a v. smoking in private businesses — and I am not a smoker), “And I like rules!” That is, they like control. (see, e.g., Bob Tisdale’s e book, The Illusion of Control for the application to AGW conjecture of that strong need of theirs).

        Thus, the coasts are infested with the dry rot of poor logical thinking ability and neurotic people Hell bent on being in CONTROL (or having humans, not necessarily personally, just somebody, H1t1er, socialists such as Hillary, anybody!….) of EVERYTHING. Some don’t even want to drive their own car (they LIKE the idea of software doing it)! And, of course, they don’t want others controlling their cars, either.

        Lots of great, clear-thinking, people are there (on both coasts), too, though (they are just more quiet).

        I hope to never live more than 30 minutes from the salt water, myself… don’t know why. Just do.

        Welcome to the West Coast! :) One more vote for truth has arrived — yay!

        Janice

      • I dunno, Janice. I work in the tech sector, and I think the rot is pervasive. Those who want the narrative to be true do not go out of their way to investigate the facts, whether they are capable or not. They’d rather just go with the flow, as the flow is moving in their preferred direction.

      • Bartleby’s mention of the maglev got me thinking (I know… that can be dangerous). What happens to a maglev when the grid goes down? I could see where, without some rather complex backup systems, a 200 MPH train could suddenly drop down on the track/support beams. Might get rather sparkly, not to mention bouncy and noisy.

      • Why is it that both coasts of the US are occupied by people with the IQ of a carrot? What causes that?

        That is where the large cities are. People who live all their life in the city do not know or understand how the real world works because they are insulated from that. They talk about organic farming but do not understand how hard farming really is because they have never touched dirt, much less a tiller, a hoe, a spade, or any other farming equipment. They do have free time, unlike the farmer, and so they sit around discussing how their ideas are so wonderful. But, of course, they fail to realize there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. (For example, this is the type of same idiotic thinking that gave us Windows 8, followed by the even worse Windows 10.) These people have no experience in the real world and so they think what looks good on paper will always translate to real world success.

        The problem is, thanks to all the hard work by our elders, more people can live in cities than ever before. That means there are more of the inexperienced, unwise people than the ones who actually have to deal with the real world. Because of someone else’s hard work, they can sit around and opine about a better way.
        They vote for people who share their mind and can easily swamp out the people who actually keep the lights on at Starbucks and keep their water clean and keep food in the grocery store.

        If suddenly we didn’t have electricity or gasoline/diesel, billions will die of starvation because they would too soft to grow their own food. Heck, I have a small garden and would hate to till it without my gas powered tiller. I have done it with a shovel, a hoe, and a rake before but I don’t want to. These unwise, insulated city dwellers do not appreciate what it takes to keep 8 billion people alive.

      • Gigantic population centres of ultra-privileged Eloi living in a cosseted world where they can virtue signal to their heart’s content and ignore the Morlocks who make their ultra-privileged world even possible is what causes that.

        What’s to be done about that I couldn’t really say.

      • Well supposedly some of our best and brightest and most successful are talking the colonization of Mars, taking industry into outerspace, and fearing an earth where robots become self-aware and take-over like in” the Terminator.”

      • cephus0 October 2, 2016 at 1:53 pm

        “Gigantic population centres of ultra-privileged Eloi living in a cosseted world where they can virtue signal to their heart’s content and ignore the Morlocks who make their ultra-privileged world even possible is what causes that.”

        Pass the salt please.

        michael

      • Why dumber than a carrot? The reason is lefty (designed in EU and UN) [de]education curricula for brainwashing and dumbing down kids over several decades to vote marxbrothers in. So-called Millennials that they crow about are the most corrupted of the population. Their designer brains have surpassed the expectations of their masters. The UN is urging a new international “literacy” development program that uses global warming and the like as subject matter to kill two birds, so to speak. It’s getting to be a form of heresy to think about anything that has already been thought for them.

        Media, elites from both parties, universities, lefty “think” tanks and foundations, political status quo, international elites, etc. are all terrified of Trump. The debates are two against one with moderators and reporters unable to hide their severe biases, piling on. The president, vice president, and the entire Democrat senate and congress, governors, establishment Republicans are all stumping for Hillary. They fear a massive dismantling, under a Trump presidency, of the elite edifice that has been crafted with international guidance (that serves only the elite) that includes the education system. That is the main reason they find him unfit to govern.

        The big story they are all missing is Trump, on his own, against a sea of opposition and Soviet quality propaganda skills of the left and clearly without having the honed skills of silver-tongued pols and the soothing blanket of political correctness, is still holding his own against the opposition. Why is that? Its because real America has had enough. Trump was right that African Americans have nothing to lose by voting for him because no one else is going invest in the things that will help them (economy, revitalization of inner cities, etc) – the left just uses their votes. Educated African Americans are against Trump because they have succeeded in joining the elites (sort of) and don’t want to have to re-adjust to a real world.

        I hope every dissatisfied American gets out to vote for Trump before a 50 yr lefty SCOTUS is put in place – something that will put an end to the idea of America. Heck, I’m not even an American.

      • Janice, Alex, Grey Mouser, Bart and Joe –

        I really appreciate all your views, opinions and support, I wish I had the bandwidth to address every point. The answer that reached out and bt me on the but as “That’s where the large cities are” and it’s true.

        Before we had trains, planes and automobiles we had boats and that’s pretty much how our infrastructure evolved. People are at the coasts because that’s where the money is. England made a profession of it; small country, mostly coastline. If they had more harbors they’d have ruled the world. (joke).

        Clearly, socialists took over the education system in the US beginning in the 60’s, which explains why out children are so disconnected from reality and also why they’re so poorly educated. I was raised on farm, my mother and father were, my grandfather was a farmer and so was I. I understand. The odd thing is back in the 40’s and 50’s, my grandfather, who taught me all I know about the subject, was a rabid (my mother’s words) Democrat. I’m pretty sure he’d be appalled at what’s happened.

        The majority live in cities and don’t have any idea. I’ve moved to a small town in my old age because I can’t work the ranch anymore but it scares me there’s nobody to take my place. My ranch was sold for “ranchettes” back in 2006, people from the ‘burbs who thought it would be cool to live in the country. God knows what will happen to the Millennials. Personally? I intend to be dead. Not my problem anymore.

      • Frank Lloyd Wright once observed that the U.S. is tipped slightly to the southwest so that everything loose rolls to California.

      • To quote Smashmouth, their brains get smart, but their heads get dumb.

        Such people are actually very capable of logical thought. Few play the spot-the-fallacy game better than the urban leftie. But here’s the trouble: a person’s thinking can be logical and irrational at the same time.

        It’s a common trap to equate logic with reason. Logic has no substance in of itself; it’s only a method, an algorithm. It’s only as good as the premises you plug into it. It’s just as susceptible to GIGO as a computer model. (What are computers but mechanized method?) You can end up with conclusions that are “crazy rational” (h/t to whoever on WUWT first coined the term), where the logic was ironclad, but the premises were loony.

        Our premises come from our worldviews, our observations, our life experiences, our metaphysical beliefs (or lack thereof). They can’t come from abstract methodology, as much as the urban left likes to pretend otherwise. Overabstraction is the tragic flaw in these otherwise intelligent, talented people.

      • alexwade, above (October 2, 2016 at 1:26 pm ) said:

        …People who live all their life in the city do not know or understand how the real world works because they are insulated from that. They talk about organic farming but do not understand how hard farming really is because they have never touched dirt, much less a tiller, a hoe, a spade, or any other farming equipment. They do have free time, unlike the farmer, and so they sit around discussing how their ideas are so wonderful. But, of course, they fail to realize there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. (For example, this is the type of same idiotic thinking that gave us Windows 8, followed by the even worse Windows 10.) These people have no experience in the real world and so they think what looks good on paper will always translate to real world success.

        Alex, You not only define a major problem with ‘city folk’, you also defined academia.

        Yeas ago, while ramping up a rather large development project, I came up with the definition of what I consider valid development experience (what you refer to above as wisdom):

        Experience = Years in Support / Years in Development

        In other words, if you have never had to apply your thoughts and ideas to the real world and seen them through to fruition, you really don’t know what your are talking about. But, with field experience you can learn a great deal from others’ mistakes.

  2. It seems all of the short cycle renewable energy sources (solar, wind, tide) depend on electrical storage technology that isn’t practical yet, but advocates gloss over it. My guess is they aren’t engineers. Public utilities need to be reliable and predictable, schemes based on “then a miracle occurs” just don’t work.

    People are being robbed by a small group who just aren’t qualified to design utility grade power systems and they should be held accountable for the losses. I don’t see why I should pay for their mistakes, especially when I’m fully aware of them in advance.

    • I don’t see why decades long “Drought climate” episodes such as California currently has would be any more likely than a similar “wind climate” episode that could have similar results for wind energy reliance.

      G

      • George, CA isn’t in a drought; this is normal. The problem again is people built lots of houses an didn’t build the water infrastructure to support them. California’s water situation hasn’t changed. The so called “drought” of 1976 was worse than what’s going on now, but there are about 10 times more people using water in CA than their were in 1976.

        The CA State government has been in the pocket of Real Estate developers since Juniperro Serra laid claim to the place. California has a chronic planning problem.

      • Bartleby notes that California’s population has increased by a factor of ten since 1976. He also notes that California hasn’t built the water infrastructure to support this population growth. More specifically, California last built surface water storage (aka dams) in the mid 1970’s. He could also have mentioned the amount of water that flowed to support what used to be a bait fish that became an “endangered” specie. If I correctly understand the convoluted accounting of where the water goes, the water dedicated to the delta smelt is not included in the calculations thus flows unmentioned out to sea.

    • Most people avoided the hard science courses throughout their years in school. They live in a world awash in easy-to-use technology and believe anything is possible — physics, chemistry and engineering be damned. Too many of them are also convinced, partly because liberals tell them this every day, that corporations are full of greedy, bad people. Therefore, the only reason we have poverty and an industrial base that depends upon dirty fossil and dangerous nuclear energy is because the evil corporations (ex: Exxon & General Motors) make certain new inventions never see the light of day. You know, like perpetual motion machines, super-duper solar panels, wireless power transmission, 100 mpg carburetors, etc., etc.

      As for why the coasts are largely inhabited by liberal, scientifically illiterate, super environmentalists, maybe it’s as simple as the bank robber’s reason for robbing banks — that’s where the money is. And people do like water.

      Bias warning: I’m an old, retired engineer who spent 33 years in the power generation business, 30 of those years in and around nuclear power plants. Also a CAGW skeptic and conservative, so what do I know.

      • More than just a lack of education in hard sciences is at work. I’m not sure what (drugs, alcohol, no exposure to critical thinking, logic, and problem solving??).

        I met a solar enthusiast who was convinced one day he could power his entire home with just a small solar cell. I suggested he look at the problem from the top down – how much solar energy fell in a square meter at high noon at his latitude – just to start. I pointed out that if one could capture 100% of the sun’s power, to power Singapore you would need a solar farm with a footprint three times the size of the city. His reply was, “but they’re improving solar cells everyday.”

        Don’t even try to explain that if everyone used windpower, you necessarily change the climate (that wind energy would otherwise drive weather systems, affect evaporation rates, affect transpiration rates, and I suspect many other things). Eyes just glaze over.

        Too many science-illiterate people are convinced that technology can do anything, even create energy when needed. All I can say is, I’m glad I don’t have children. The future looks very dark (sans electricity).

      • As Bob Tisdale says, the illusion of control.

        One small solar panel running a home is exactly what the solar industry wants to be rattling around the empty space between the scientifically illiterate ears of the paying public.

        Another meme is that the whole economy can be run on windmills without a synchronous baseload generating station on line.

        S Aus is now the laughing stock of the engineering community, brought low by an onrushing gale of stupid.

      • I visited Seattle a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Beautiful city but the greenie influence seemed to be everywhere. I saw the most upsetting example at the Seattle Aquarium in the Pacific coral reef display. An “educational” sign described how global warming and the increase in CO2 has caused oceans to acidify resulting in coral bleaching and ultimately the death of reefs. The solution it stated is to stop using fossil fuels and use non-carbon producing renewable energy sources like solar and wind. It saddened me to think of how many children (as well as adults) visit these kind of venues and are exposed to lies like this. The exhibit is clearly a tool of indoctrination not education.

      • I retired (early) a few months ago from a major engineering college in the US. I could no longer tolerate the increasing green agenda and resultant indoctrination of students with lies and misinformation. Even if students take hard core science courses (which they do at this university) the courses are biased toward a CAGW philosophy even in geology classes where professors should know better. Thankfully there were students who were free thinkers and not duped by this agenda (particularly true if they ventured into any of my classes). Many more students were successfully indoctrinated probably because of the political and religious-like nature of the CAGW and environmental movements.

    • bartleby, I read your last few comments re farming ( and the utopian outlook of city dwellers and education , I totally agree., you just put it better than I ever could.

  3. ..I have no pity for anyone that voted these imbeciles into office.. Elections have consequences…

    • Even in the Aussie tropics solar doesn’t work. I tried running a electric cat fence from solar, because it was inconvenient to hook up mains power. Despite 300% overcapacity some days the solar didn’t work because of mild to heavy cloud cover.

  4. Given that this injury (power outage consequential damages) was reasonably foreseeable,
    those responsible are liable in civil tort law negligence for breaching their duty of care to their customers.

    Further, given the certainty of the known risk, they are open to a charge of recklessness, where the exact injury is not intended, but where there is intentional (versus merely negligent failure to act as a “reasonably prudent power supplier”) causation of a non-specified-but-grave injury that is almost certain to happen.

    No wonder they are trying to make everyone think it was an “act of God” (a common law excusing condition) or someone else’s fault (human SUV drivers, no doubt, heh).

    • Thanks for that Janice, I’d like to use the inspiration in a letter to the CA Public Utilities Commission in protest of it’s plan to shut down operational nuclear power plants and replace them with “renewables” over the next few years.

      • You’re welcome, Bartleby. I would recommend doing some legal research into the duty of California power companies to provide reliable power to their customers.

        The following is NOT about California law, it is about Washington State law, but, might give you an idea of the search terms to use to find CA law on this topic.

        e. Duty to Continue Once Begin Electric Service (Public Power Co.’s)

        ***

        2) Adequate Service

        “Every gas company, electric company and water company shall furnish and supply such service, … as shall be safe, adequate and efficient, and in all respects just and reasonable.” RCW 80.28.010(2). {emphasis mine}

        3) Washington Case Law – 2 Examples

        (1) Power Co. Liable for Negligence Even When Event Beyond Its Control (Storm)
        [National Union Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Puget Sound Power & Light]
        – Summary
        “… Puget Power’s unexplained failure to utilize apparently available back up generators to supply Boeing with electric service during the windstorm-related service interruption [] raises a genuine issue of material fact for trial regarding Puget Power’s alleged negligence. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for trial on the factual issue of whether Puget Power negligently failed to utilize back up generators to supply Boeing with electric service while the windstorm damage to regular sources of power was being repaired, resulting in damage to Boeing. Puget Power entered into a contract [Note: Privity of Contract is a potential issue (just FYI, I’ll not discuss it in this memorandum] with Boeing to provide power… .” National Union Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Puget Sound Power & Light, 94 Wn.App 163, 167, 972 P.2d 481 (Wash.App. Div. 1 1999). {emphasis mine}

        – Statutory Duty to Provide Electric Service – WUTC (Wash. Utilities and Transportation Commission) Legislative Policy

        Electric companies must “furnish and supply such service, instrumentalities and facilities as shall be safe, adequate and efficient, and in all respects just and reasonable.” Id. at 173 (quoting RCW 80.28.010(2)). Electric companies must “construct and maintain such facilities in connection with the manufacture and distribution of its product as will be efficient and safe to its employees and the public.” Id. at 173 (quoting RCW 80.28.010(8)). Per RCW 80.01.040, the Legislature established the WUTC to regulate electric companies in the public interest. Id. at 173-74 {emphasis mine}. The WUTC has stated its mission as ‘ensuring that safe and reliable service is provided to consumers at reasonable rates.’ Clerk’s Papers at 48.” Id. at 174.

        “[T]he WUTC is authorized to enact necessary rules and regulations. Tanner Elec. Co-op. v. Puget Sound Power & Light Co., 128 Wash.2d 656, 666, 911 P.2d 1301 (1996) (quoting
        RCW 80.01.040(4)). [T]he WUTC requires electric companies to provide adequate service and minimize service interruptions:

        Maintenance–each utility shall maintain its plant and system in such condition as will enable it to furnish adequate service.

        Interruptions of service–each utility shall endeavor to avoid interruptions of service, and, when such interruptions occur, to reestablish service with a minimum of delay.

        WAC 480-100-076 {italics and emphasis mine}. If an electric utility violates state law or a WUTC regulation, [it is] liable “to the persons or corporations affected thereby for all loss, damage or injury caused thereby or resulting therefrom[.] RCW 80.04.440.” National Union v. Puget Sound at 174.

        “… it seems highly unlikely that the WUTC, when it approved this particular tariff [regulation], intended to absolve Puget Power from liability for its own [negligence]… .” Id. at 174.

        Given Puget Power’s statutory duty to provide “adequate and efficient” electric service, RCW 80.28.010, and its regulatory duty to “to avoid interruptions of service, and, when such interruptions occur, to reestablish service with a minimum of delay,” WAC 480-100-076, Puget Power can clearly be held liable for its negligence. Id. {emphasis mine} Puget Sound customers thus have a right to recover damages under RCW 80.04.440. See, e.g., Olson v. Pacific Northwest Bell Tel. Co., 65 Or.App. 422, 671 P.2d 1185-86 (1983) (negligence, gross negligence, and a breach of contract claims were actionable under statute similar to RCW 80.04.440 for breach of statutory duty to provide adequate telephone service). Id. 174-75. [Note: telephone service is LESS crucial than electric, so a court would be even more likely to hold liable one whose negligence interrupts electric power.]

        (2) City Liable for Negligent Interruption of Power In Spite of Contrary City
        Ordinance

        [Employco Personnel Services, Inc. v. City of Seattle]

        – Summary

        “… summary judgment [affirmed] in favor of several Seattle businesses in a class action brought in the King County Superior Court by those businesses for damages arising from a power outage which they contend was proximately caused by the negligence of the City… .” Employco Personnel Services, Inc. v. City of Seattle, 117 Wn.2d 606, 608, 817 P.2d 1373 (1991).

        Facts
        “… an underground fire damaged or destroyed several major electrical feeder cables.”
        City of Seattle owns and operates power company Seattle City Light [hydropower].

        City ordinance said: “’[t]he [City Light] Department shall not be liable for any loss, injury, or damage resulting from the interruption, restoration, or reduction of electric service from any cause …. ‘” Id. at 610.

        Full Text of city ordinance:
        The Department shall not be liable for any loss, injury, or damage resulting from the interruption, restoration, or reduction of electric service from any cause, including but not limited to failure of generation and distribution systems, inadequacy of energy supply, implementation of emergency plans, or temporary disconnections for repairs and maintenance or failure to pay for service rendered. During an emergency declared by appropriate civil authority, the Department may curtail electric service.”
        Seattle Municipal Code 21.49.110(S).

        Question Presented

        “[W]hether the Seattle electric rate ordinance, SMC 21.49.110(S), confers upon the City immunity from liability for negligence; and, if so, whether the ordinance is invalid because it contravenes public policy or state statutes.” Employco at 612.

        Sovereign Immunity

        Sovereign immunity was abolished in this state in 1963 when the Legislature declared that ” ‘[t]he State of Washington, whether acting in its governmental or proprietary capacity, shall be liable for damages arising out of its tortious conduct to the same extent as if it were a private person or corporation.’ ” Kelso v. Tacoma, 63 Wash.2d 913, 918, 390 P.2d 2 (1964); Laws of 1963, ch. 159,

        § 2. Contributory negligence [assigning a percentage of liability based on degree of causation of the injury] applies. A city’s negligence need not be the sole cause of an injury, but if its negligence concurs with that of another to produce a wrong, both of the tortfeasors may be held liable. Employco at 616.

        Recklessness or Intentional Bad Acts

        “… the City admitted that the ordinance could not be read as absolving it from liability for acts of gross negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct.” Employco at 616-17.

        Holding

        Affirmed Summary Judgment of Trial Court: Neither the above-cited ordinances, contractual provisions, nor sovereign immunity protect the City from liability.

        END II. B. 2. d. DUTY OF CARE TO PROVIDE ELECTRICITY

  5. This is the result of listening to academics instead of the people running the power grid. We now have academics telling weather station operators that their records are bad, Washington DC telling locals that they don’t know how to do anything. When will people wake up? Our democracy has worked for over 200 years and now in this information age fear mongering is ruining everything. The most valuable lesson I ever learned is if you are going to represent a local constituency. . . .represent them and don’t think you know what is best for them.

  6. At least solar is somewhat predictable. Wind intermittency isn’t. And wind provides essentially zero grid inertia. The SA blackout cascade was never a question of if, only when. Guaranteed by insuffient spinning reserve and so a lack of grid inertia.
    The UK will likely experience the same this winter. With all the old coal closures, there is essentially zero spinning reserve margin, so essentially no grid inertia margin. Paying them to be on start standby for capacity in a windless event does not provide grid inertia. Demand reduction and lots of small diesel standby generators in off mode providing 5% capacity margin (too low by half for a reliable grid) does nothing to provide grid inertia. The slightest fault can induce a rapid cascade total UK grid blackout under these foolhardy conditions. No different than SA.
    In the August 2003 US Canada blackout, a single generator in Cleveland tripped off about 1230 because of mechanical issues. This was at peak demand on a hot summer day with little spare capacity in the grid system. That slightly overloaded a regional transmission line, which heated, sagged, and finally shorted out and tripped off about 1330. This overload was not detected because of a software bug. The grid operators struggled for nearly 3.5 hours to contain the blackout to Ohio, slowly failing as more regional transmission lines overloaded and tripped of. The main cascade took place between about 1605 and 1611, just five minutes. When it stopped, over 500 generating units at over 260 power stations had tripped off, and everything from Cleveland to Pittsburg to New York to Boston to Toronto was dark. People died. Took 4 days to black restart the Northeast grid.
    That happens this winter in the UK, many people will die. And it is a high probability. And that would be the straw that finally broke the greens back.

    • Thanks Ristcan, that may be what it will take.

      Trying to get a warmist to see sense, you’d have more change deprogramming a scientologist.

      When Gordon Brown’s govt. started building two new, clean, modern, 800 MW supercritical coal-fired power units, the eco-loons went ape and finally succeeded is shutting down the project.

      A group of protesters, who were charges with criminal damage for painting “GORD…” on a chimcey, were found not guilty by a sympathetic judge on the grounds, not that they had a scientific case, but religiously held beliefs.

      In Britain CAGW-ism is now an officially, legally recognised religion.

      Luckily, one of Theresa May’s first acts as PM was to abolish “climate change” as being a ministerial portfolio. No more “minister for climate change”.

      • Eric, true. I was thinking about all the solar in SoCal and the Mohave desert. There are long streches with no clouds whatsoever. The weather systems than move in in the winter can be forecast days in advance. And the evening morning demand loads are reasonably knowable, so appropriate backup can always be designed. Same would not be true in Queensland. And same woild not be true for wind.

      • Solar is very predictable. Sunrise and sunset times are very precise. Weather forecasting is pretty accurate to three days in the future.

      • South Australia has large tracts of dry desert – you don’t have to go far inland before you reach places where it hardly ever rains. But solar is so expensive and unreliable, even the deep greens in SA didn’t go for it in a big way – they embraced wind power instead, in the hope it would deliver what they wanted. Even a slight haze in the air is enough to knock a significant fraction of solar power generation capacity.

      • “Even a slight haze in the air is enough to knock a significant fraction of solar power generation capacity.”….that depends…….PV is affected much more than thermal systems are. But PV does generate ***some*** power even with full clouds. There are instances where bright white fluffy clouds actuall will ENHANCE the output of a PV system, provided they don’t block the direct sunshine hitting the panels

      • “…South Australia has large tracts of dry desert – you don’t have to go far inland before you reach places where it hardly ever rains…”
        True, but dry weather and clouds are not mutually exclusive and when it does become inclement the rain and eight octres cloud cover have a habit of hanging around for days or weeks.
        Even if South Australia’s deserts did have perpetually cloud free skies, there are the dust storms to consider and indeed, even the ordinary, every day dust will rapidly leave a layer on a Solar PV cell or mirror sufficient to inhibit their ability to trickle charge the grid.
        And then there’s the transmission losses.
        …Or transmission towers that would probably also be jerry-built affairs that tip over when the breeze kicks up a bit.

        “…Weather forecasting is pretty accurate to three days in the future….”
        Codswallop. It’s an educated guess one day into the future and leans ever further toward the guess side for each extra day you imagine you can forecast beyond that. This was the ‘health warning’ given by my lecturer of ‘The Weather Forecast’. And his ‘day job’ was weather forecasting for the BoM (in the days before they chose climastrology over meterology).

      • If you are referring to the Ivanpah facility, this has also been shown to perform at a far lower standard than was originally touted. Without 8 hours of Fossil (Gas gen) backup, the system would cease functioning for more than 12 hours per day as the molten salt would cool to much

      • Rubbish. I know dozens of people who live off the grid with solar and batteries and swear by it – plenty of them in rainy areas.

      • Single service solar with battery backups does function acceptably for many “off the grid” applications. Off The Grid being a key factor. Solar and wind, due to their inherent unpredictable fluctuations, wreak havoc in “On The Grid” Systems when functioning as part of the Grid Capacity

      • “tony mcleod October 2, 2016 at 6:05 pm
        Rubbish. I know dozens of people who live off the grid with solar and batteries and swear by it – plenty of them in rainy areas.”

        Perhaps.

        There is a wood working show on television here in the States, called “The Woodwright”.
        The host, ‘Roy Underhill’, features all people powered tools with occasional forays into non-electric power tools; e.g. water powered mill with a stream providing serious power for large saws and planers.

        Frequently the host uses foot powered equipment, e.g. drills, lathe, mortise, to demonstrate how men worked wood commercially long before the electrical grid came into being.
        If you watch carefully, you will notice that the host, Roy, often uses poplar or other soft even grained woods in lieu of the wood normally used for a project; e.g. sugar maple, oak, beech. The reason being that the harder more fibrous woods require significant effort.

        One can live off the grid, but one must also make a number of choices regarding tools, appliances, septic systems, lighting, heating/cooling, etc. Running serious tools off batteries and solar is pretty much ruled out.
        Except, that many off the grid folks, keep generators handy to run equipment with serious electricity demand.

        Until shortly after WWII, much of rural America was ‘off the grid’. A significant portion of those folks dreamed of the day when wires ran to their house too. Quite a few older rural and suburban houses proudly ran their electrical wiring where it was most visible, so everyone could see that the household was connected.

        Living off the grid nowadays, is rarely done for ecological reasons. Instead, living off the grid is more likely because people don’t want all of those ‘on the grid’ bills, demands and obligations.
        e.g. I bought a house in a rural area because I wanted to raise my children where going barefoot didn’t mean glass shards in their feet.
        Quite a few ‘off the grid’ folks, nowadays, don’t want their children face down in a cell phone all day. They also want their children to thoroughly appreciate any ‘connected’ time they get.

        Where this ends up, is that people choose different reasons for going off the grid and for staying unconnected to the grid.
        Only a few of these folks go off the grid to ‘save the world’ from fossil fuels.

        I putter around in quite a few areas. One of those areas is lapidary, though I enjoy searching and digging, (rock hounding) for the rocks even more.
        Rockhounding in various wilderness locales allows one to meet quite a few rascals who live as off the grid as they can; often in places like Montana, Idaho, Minnesota and Alaska.
        Living off the grid in these locales is far more common than in states like Pennsylvania or New York. Yet, these states where people are often off the grid require serious efforts to stay alive, especially during periods of extreme weather.

        One of the rocks I love to polish are precious opal. Reading about Australia’s Coober Pedy is also a delight, as that to me is an ideal place to go off grid; so long as one has access to food and water.

        For those who are unaware, many locals living in Coober Pedy have moved underground into old opal diggings; underground where the temperature and humidity is quite moderate. The people in Coober Pedy move underground to escape the sun and heat.
        Then again, there are some amazing places in Canada where the people have virtually moved underground. Yes, their homes are normal suburban or urban homes, but all shopping can be conducted underground. Office towers above ground all connect into this amazing underground of shops, services and entertainment.

        After visiting one of these underground centers in Canada, I wondered why the ‘Mall of America’ in Minneapolis wasn’t built underground. I know why ‘King of Prussia’ shopping mall in Pennsylvania wasn’t built underground. KofP is built on flood plain very prone to sinkholes.
        There are pictures of a KofP sinkhole swallowing a pickup truck and a fire engine. That particular sinkhole happened behind a store where I worked. An amazing sight and quite unnerving; seeing as part of the macadam that departed downward was where we unloaded a truck a couple of hours earlier.
        Many cubic yards of dirt, refuse, sand and concrete over the next couple of days, then a new layer of asphalt and we were back in business; though a lot of truck drivers wanted their trucks unloaded immediately so they could get out of there.

        Since visiting Canada, I’ve occasionally wondered how underground malls deal with massive sinkholes; and I hope I never find out. I do know that power blackouts are rightly feared, so most malls, both above and below ground, maintain backup generators.

        An underground facility/home protected from the vagaries of weather has always appealed to me. There are places in the Appalachian mountains where I’ve envisioned an underground home with both Eastern and Western entrances for both morning and evening sun. It’s a shame that adding new rooms in the Appalachians will not bring out any precious opals.

        I’d prefer a solid connection to the electric grid, though, no matter where I live. That’s a necessity to me, for running my well, bandsaw, tablesaw, sander, drill press and planer; plus I have designs on a metal lathe and overhead mill. I probably should install three phase power for the last two.

        Just saying.

    • Yesterday I made this comment about the problems in Australia:
      “usurbrain October 1, 2016 at 5:21 pm
      This will all be part of the New Normal. Forget about those days when you had power 24/7/365 with an occasional flickering of the lights and a rare outage of a minute to an hour. ”

      Several of the replies suggested personnel backup generators. Just how does that help CO2 reduction, whether NG, gas or diesel?

      Already when there is an outage caused by a storm I can distinguish at least three different generators starting up in a matter of minutes and kicking in around my neighborhood. A $500 one will save your perishables, keep your Internet cable modem/TV STB, Router working and lights on. Even enough for the furnace, if gas powered, as it needs power to start (no pilot light any more) and fan. [Hint – If you have NG HW then fill up your bathtub(s) with hot water heated by that NG HW heater. This will keep the house from freezing. Did it a few years ago when we were without power in the middle of winter for over a week. Sorry, but if you have one of those HI eff, tankless, on-demand gas HW heaters, you are SOL, as they too need electricity to work.]

      The Envirowhackos have not thought the implementation of “Unreliables” through at all. That, are they are well aware of these problems and are not telling you of the many problems.

      • The obvious green solution to the “pollution” problem created by small fossil-fueled generators is to ban their use. It’s only a matter of time.

      • A great addition to using a generator is to add on a “heatalator” device to pull warm water off of the exhaust muffler. Then with a decent size storage tank of several hundred gallons or more and a small pump, one can have a nice heat reservoir for inside the house. The “heatalator”, copper tubing wrapped around the exhaust muffler and surrounded by a large coffee can with the tubing tapped into the water pump and flexible tubing to the wetsuit, was used by recreational gold dredgers so that a warm flow of water could be piped into your wetsuit. It was first developed up in Alaska, where water temps can be very cold. Some divers learned the hard way that it was wise to have a small hot water tank in the setup so that one did not run the danger of scalding hot water entering, if the feed line to the wetsuit ever kinked for a long enough time. Most divers generally ran the tubing down around their groin for comfort.

      • Lagos, Nigeria is a prime example of what people will do when there is no reliable grid supply.

      • @usurbrain, I am one that has a gas back-up gen, as you pointed out we have “survived” a number of disruptions ( that seems to be new word) even one as long as the 7 day one, as you described, we just cut back to bare minimum ( things like a sweater and winter boots), and got through just fine ( even helped out the neighbors by heating a few meals) it is a matter of being prepared rather than trying to contact ( impossible most of the time) the “authorities” to come and “fix” things.

    • Rud

      I love on the south west coast of the UK as you know. We have a solar farm only five miles or so from us so I am absolutely confident that when we need the power most, around 11pm on a cold wintry night , the solar energy will be Available in abundance.

      All joking aside, we have only some 1850 hours of sun per year. Sun is at a premium outside of the summer months and light levels fall dramatically from the end of September. The wind farm association has admitted that Britain isn’t windy enough to have a viable wind industry so closing our coal fired stations before nuclear stations are built whilst relying on solar and wind seems irresponsible and foolish.

      Tonyb

      • Tony,
        Down there you would be far better off by investing in the geo-thermal for your hot water and the house heating, available 24/7, constant & 100% predictable.
        Is anyone working on it?

      • Vuk

        Our house does not lend itself to geo thermal.

        As an island with nowhere further than seventy miles from the sea more people should be working on tidal/wave energy. Trouble is all the subsidies for renewables have been snaffled by big wind and big solar

        Tonyb

      • Tony, Planning Engineer and I did a post on solar at CE last year. PV makes no sense in either the UK or Germany. Not enough insolation. Btw, southwest coastnof England/Wales is lovely. When I lived in Munich, we would go there for long weekends when not going to Italy or the Alps.

      • Vukcevic,

        The Australian power company ‘origin’ has decided to deinvest in geothermal, a money loser it turned out to be.

        It’s extrodinary that as an investor, this company is making unwise strategic decisions regarding alternative energy and despite another loss making financial year, it continues to ramp up bullshift to the shareholders that it’s the way of the future. Got news for the Origin board, when you make a decision to not pay dividends, that’s the sign for investors like me to look elsewhere for returns. Bye Bye Origin!

      • Caig +100 it’s the only way to get these lunatic organizations to “get the message”, divest.

      • climate reason, any place can convert to Geothermal at a certain depth the soil becomes a constant temp, pipes circulation fluids through that depth and a heat exchanger, as far as I know, should work. It is not a cheap setup to install but it works. Of course you do need a constant source of electrical to keep going but hey what are windmills for?

      • “asybot October 2, 2016 at 9:30 pm
        climate reason, any place can convert to Geothermal at a certain depth the soil becomes a constant temp, pipes circulation fluids through that depth and a heat exchanger, as far as I know, should work. It is not a cheap setup to install but it works. Of course you do need a constant source of electrical to keep going but hey what are windmills for?

        Not for commercial geothermal purposes. Without substantial near surface magmatic heat, commercial geothermal electrical generating facilities are unable to consistently produce quality even frequency electricity.

        Twice, when my electric furnace died of old age, I insisted on companies providing geothermal installation cost estimations.
        The first time, back in the mid 1990s, their ‘rough’ estimate was $18,000; plus no guarantee that it would work sufficiently. I installed a $3,000 new electric A/C system.
        The second time, just a few years ago, their ‘rough estimate’ was at $22,000 when we decided to install a new $5,500 A/C system.

        The companies involved had installed geothermal assistance systems for office buildings, but no one locally had installed a home based one. The office building installations used large ponds/lakes for the alleged geothermal exchanges, not the drilled deep geothermal ones.
        Searching further, apparently homeowners, very wealthy, had installed geothermal systems in rich suburban subdivisions outside of Washington DC. Price is no object types do not make for the best examples.

        I did ‘rockhound’ some areas in Utah within sight of a large geothermal generating facility. Tapped into heat from a magma chamber, they always had a plume of excess steam venting.
        Large areas of our Western states could install similar geothermal facilities. Ivanpah could likely be replaced by a smaller far more efficient geothermal facility. The same goes for those condor/eagle chopping wind farms in California.
        There are something like 700 volcanic vents in California with potential for being tapped for geothermal. Oregon and Washington have similar wealth of geothermal locations. Montana, Wyoming and Idaho could all tap into the Yellowstone heat source.
        Nevada has a surprising amount of hot springs indicating subsurface heat sources available to be tapped.

        With such a plentiful source of quality heat for steam generation, one does wonder why wind and solar are considered useful for anything greater than individual households. Eco lunatics indeed; such an abundance of ecological foolishness can only be deserved in California.

    • What ristvan means to say is that he can not predict the wind.

      He should go back and review the report on the 2003 blackout. His facts are wrong. There were numerous root causes. Since I lived the PJM RTO the cascading blackout stopped at the boundary and did not affect us.

      Mandatory rules for the PJM were adopted by FERC after congress passes new
      laws. I wrote the technical guild line for new reactors for my company.

      It is complicated and it takes to find the root cause of such events. Root blame that supports an agenda takes not time at all.

      Furthermore, prediction for future events might wait until the first one actually occurs. Wind in the US will not cause grid failure in the US. I would like to think that grid operators in other places are just as competent as ours.

    • Ristvan:

      And that is why I have a 12 kW propane powered generator next to my house. In fact, with the low present cost of propane, increasing electricity prices and rural heating allowances for propane, it is actually close to economic to generate my own electricity. It won’t last, but interesting.

  7. Thank you for putting the apologists in perspective. A typo in the last sentence (bold), should be ‘created’?
    ” energy market distortions that use of renewables has crated for integrated electric systems”

  8. Seems to me that people, in positions of power and influence and who should know better have rigged the energy market to favour wind power, claiming it to be “reliable and sustainable”..
    Surely this is a case of fraud and should be investigated by the Police?

  9. Is it not bizarre?

    I’m not big into politics, but a modern electricity grid is, in many ways, an excellent metaphor for that thing which the left calls “society”. Yet the recent ‘green innovations’ have only served to destabilise the grid. Those with sufficient wealth will not be afflicted by grid collapses.

  10. UK is likely next. Essentially zero spinning reserve margin, so no spare grid inertia. Paying shut coal and CCGT to be on restart standby if the wind dies and capacity is needed does not provide rapidly available spinning reserve inertia. Nor does demand curtailment. Not does standby diesel generation. This confuses supply capacity with near instantaneous grid inertia for frequency stability.
    In the famous August 2003 NE North America grid blackout, a single generator in Cleveland tripped off about 1230 because of mechanical issues. Unfortunate timing, because peak load on a hot summer day with little capacity margin. This caused a regional transmission line into Cleveland to slightly overload, heat, sag, and trip off about 1330 when it contacted untrimmed trees. The overload was not detected because of a software bug. The Grid operators struggled for about 2.5 hours to contain the problem to Ohio, slowly failing. The main cascade started about 1605 and ended just 5 minutes later. Over 500 generating units at over 260 generating stations tripped off. Everwhere from Cleveland to Pittsburgh to New York to Boston to Toronto dark. People died. Took 4 days to black restart.
    UK this winter is in a similary risked situation, with high probability of an SA like event. In winter, many people will die. Perhaps that will finally bring green politicians to their senses.

      • Scope and scale. There are 6 Mitsubishi synchronous condensers supporting Tokyo. Each is about 20 meters tall, about 30 meters in diameter, and weighs several hundred tons. Reactive power SC’s for industry are off the shelf (for example offsetting induction motor reactive current in a factory). Grid scale is custom built. And the UK grid is much bigger than Tokyo. In effect the synchronous condenser inertial capacity that would need to be installed is equal to everything that has been closed. Longannet and all the others. Not going to happen in next 2-3 years.
        There is a business converting old steam generators into SC’s. Done some in the US. GE does it. But then the unit can no longer be on mothballed standby to supply generating capacity.

      • Janus100 commented: “…System inertia can be upgraded in a very short time….”

        But at a cost for installation and generation efficiency. Another “we didn’t think of that” moment by the green machine. What amazes me is the environmentalists routinely demonize technology unless it gets them out of a self made jam. Then it’s OK and cost is no object.

      • Paying shut coal and CCGT to be on restart standby if the wind dies and capacity is needed does not provide rapidly available spinning reserve inertia. Nor does demand curtailment. Not does standby diesel generation. This confuses supply capacity with near instantaneous grid inertia for frequency stability.

        How accurate is that claim? It does take time to start up this kind of back-up generation but wind does not switch off in 10 minutes with large installations in different geographical locations.

        If we can take the SA as a guide it seem to ramp up and down in a roughly 3 to 4 day cycle. The extreme drop off in Germany still took about 24h to drop by 50%. So “if the wind dies” scenario could be covered.

        That does not cover weather knocking out major interconnections almost instantly.

      • Greg, you are correct. But in the standby ‘off’ mode, they provide no spare inertia. And it is inertia which maintains instantaneous grid frequency. Frequency sag is what causes rapid cascade blackout. This can be seen in the patterns of the previous post. And SA was warned about lack of state grid inertia. SA did not lack capacity. But the gas turbines were off because of all the wind. When some wind (about 25%) went offline because of high wind speeds, the off line gas units could not cold start fast enough, causing the interconnectors to trip off to protect the Victoria coal generators. That forced everything left in SA to trip off, including the remaining wind and the online gas turbines. You can see it in the total wind chart in the previous post. The whole process probably took under 30 seconds.

      • ristvan
        October 2, 2016 at 12:10 pm

        This can be seen in the patterns of the previous post. And SA was warned about lack of state grid inertia. SA did not lack capacity. But the gas turbines were off because of all the wind. When some wind (about 25%) went offline because of high wind speeds, the off line gas units could not cold start fast enough, causing the interconnectors to trip off to protect the Victoria coal generators. ”
        —————-
        ristvan, I do agree with what you say, it seems very reasonable, but you see there is another point of view bothering me personally with what happened in this case of SA black out.
        It is the weighting of how likely or how unlikely was the possibility of the interconnectors to trip off under the circumstances….
        Very unlikely if the interconnection was offering a base load to the SA grid and very likely if it was offering a stand -by back up support in the case of need.
        And there is a significant difference between this two scenarios.

        In the case of a base load offering, the SA grid is playing the “slave” in the relation with the other side of the “interconnection”, where any problem with the “slave” may actually result at some point in the total switch off of the “slave”, but very unlikely resulting in the switch off of the “master”, still possible though.

        In the case of stand-by back up offering, the SA grid is playing the “master” in the relation with the other side of the interconnection, where any significant problems with the “master” may actually at some point cause a switch off of the “slave”, no matter how powerful or “dutiful” the “slave” could be.
        The “slave” is synchronized to the “master”……
        A high power volatility in the “master” grid (the SA grid) would have caused it, the switch off of the interconnection and therefor leading to the total switch off of the SA grid..

        Why that is important?
        Why is it actually considered that the other side of the interconnection was offering a base load when most probably was offering only a stand-by back-up to the SA grid?

        The only explanation for that, as far as I can tell is the temptation to prove that unreliable sources like wind farms could actually make it and be considered as reliable enough by proving that these sources can actually save the day or the night, during even harsh condition, like during a storm,,,,,,, against any odds realistically though.

        So from this point of view, it seems that there was a premeditated scheming engaged as a means to prove that all criticism against the wind farms and especially the heavy criticism against the SA and its governor’s clean energy policies was wrong and silly.

        And the scheming seems to being very well thought and simple, increase the power supply and the energy input to the AS grid to amounts higher then the power demand and at the mean time have an active interconnection to the other side , a side that will behave as a “slave” in absorbing any possible volatility and fluctuation in the AS “master” grid and offering an increase in the stability of the SA grid during the storm.

        The problem is that there has being an over looking and ignoring of one important part in whole this premeditated schemed relation.
        The shear length of the interconnection.
        That shear length of the interconnection means that any volatility in the SA grid will be amplified and will be projected as more volatile in the other side of the interconnection, meaning that the other side will most likely switch off at some point, especially if being in a “slave” status.

        I am not sure how much sense this does make to others, but there is a way to prove whether this was a likely probable scenario of what happened, or it being just my imagination or a complete
        misunderstanding of this situation by me.

        If the data and the evidence points clearly that there was more power supply and energy input in the SA grid than the consumer demand, prior and before the problems started, therefor showing also that there would have being a considerable energy flowing from SA through the interconnection to the other side prior and before the problems started, then it will be very difficult to consider that the other side was providing a base load and playing the role of the “master” in the relation to the SA grid.

        In that case the question will be: why was this allowed to be that way?
        Why such a gambling was taken and “paid” for?

        ristvan please do not jump the gun in this one, I am very aware of the high possibility of me being very wrong in this one, only voicing out a simple concern of mine, from my point of view.
        Your explanation is much neat and clean than what I say and contemplate in this comment, I must say :).

        cheers

      • Whitten, I think you are right. The interconnectors were supplying less than half, so SA was master. SA was warned this would not work. I think the reason may be simpler than you posit. Greens want max wind and min thermal. So only the minimum delivered from interconnectors to ‘evil’ coal plants elsewhere. That is also why most SA gas generation was not on line even as spinning reserve. Foolish in foresight, not just hindsight, especiallynknowing a storm was coming with wind speeds thatnwould for sure shutnsome wind some of the time. Whether the politicians wanted to prove SA had the right policies, dunno. But clear nobody in charge understands how a grid works. Not at the detailed EE level, just at the common sense level requiring maybe an hour of Google education to produce informed policy.

      • There was no scheming – just distorted market pricing making wind generation the most “economically effective”.

        Basically, when it’s windy, the wind farms dump power on to the grid, depressing the prices which fall below most of thermal generators’ the bid rates. It then becomes uneconomic for those generators with higher price bids to stay online. The effects of the power purchase agreements and renewable energy certificates is behind this whole mess.

      • Plus it makes the power from the interconnector less preferable too for the same reason – subsidised wind operations.

      • Analitik
        October 2, 2016 at 10:00 pm
        “There was no scheming – just distorted market pricing making wind generation the most “economically effective””
        ———-
        Hello Analitik.

        I love to and , and still trying to look from your angle of approach in this one.

        Burt you see, there is a big problem for me to accept that as probable.
        Any way I turn it, the fingerprints and hall marks in all this , to me, do not constitute or stand as a confirmation or explanation of a case where a random idiocratic, or random idiocracy driven by market pricing or a temporary greed can explain properly the condition of this happening.

        All that could have being wrong went wrong, with no exception, as far as I can see and tell, from my point.
        Very unlikely for it to have being an outcome of random, either where that random could have being silly or idiotic and simply driven by greed.

        From my point of view this was not random by any margin, which makes me think and consider it as a very well staged and schemed lunacy.
        .
        .Sorry, very hard at the moment to change my mind about it.
        The way the interconnection was played and considered, and the actual behavior of it during all that mess makes it hard for me to look at this whole mess in the light and that kind way that you do.

        Again all that could have gone wrong possibly, did go wrong, no randomness there, as far as I can tell,,,,,, and the Grid in question is not a linear chaotic system………

        cheers

      • whiten, I’ve written a detail outline of why the pricing alone set up the conditions for the blackout but it seems to have been moderated (I’ve tried posting it twice). If it does appear, it will be at the end of the thread with your post quoted for context

        Sorry

    • “UK is likely next.”
      Some of the UK big users (steel and car manufacturers and possibly others) could be soon cutting down on the current levels of production (due to something called brexit) and easing load on the grid.

      • “due to something called brexit”. Steel manufacturing in Britain is gone. Nothing there to be cut back. Aluminium smelting it into negociating redundancy of its last workers. Nothing there to be cut back.

        None of that is due “Brexit”.

      • Nearly as much BS in Brexit scare stories as in Global Warming. No economic crisis, third world war or plague of frogs so far. Lots of interest from the whole of the rest of the world, mostly with growing economies unlike EU.

      • Nigel
        Australia, Canada and Singapore are minnows, let’s pray for the Trump’s election success, hopefully he would short-circuit US-UK trade negotiations with a quick deal.
        In case of Trexit, don’t fancy B. Johnson’s chances with H.C. considering what he said.

      • Steel making in the UK has been in decline for decades, since the 70’s actually. The final nail in the coffin was in about 2012-14-ish where most steel making in the UK was exported to TATA, in India. Who was on the chair at TERI, funded by TATA? Why none other than the naughty novelist Pachouri.

      • Some of the UK big users (steel and car manufacturers and possibly others) could be soon cutting down on the current levels of production (due to something called brexit) and easing load on the grid.
        ___________________________

        Probably not true. Due to the recent fall in the pound, export manufacturing is now more profitable than it was, and manufacturing levels are increasing. And due to impending frack-gas availability, energy prices may slide further (continuing the oil price slide). Again this will increase manufacturing output.

        R

      • vukcevic
        China and India on that list too I think and USA after they finally loose patience with EU (maybe already have done). London or New York only serious options for financial centres and Chinese and Indian bond markets. Even EU knows that New York is less benefit to them than London.

    • With a view to this I’ve moved onto a boat with a full 500 liter diesel tank, 70 hp diesel engine with twin 240 and 50 amp alternators feeding a 12 V, 740 amp hour battery bank and running a hot water and central heating calorifier. Combi gas boiler and oven/hob running off four x 18 kg lpg cylinders. Solid fuel stove with back boiler and a year’s supply of wood and coal. Four x 250 Watt solar panels on the roof just in case the sun does shine. Considering a wind turbine also for good measure but not sure now as they seem quite unreliable.

      • You’re all set for a trip round the Arctic next season although maybe a bit underpowered and low on diesel storage.

    • That would surely be the first major power outage in the U.K. during the combi-boiler era.
      So even the heating systems for most homes would be off-line.
      Let’s hope that snowfalls are now just a thing of the past…

  11. South Australia is a good example of the technological incompetence of many green proposals. I used incompetence rather than ignorace as ignorance is readily curable.

    • Tom, i agree. We are all ignorant, it’s the incompetence that is intolerable. At least to me, incompetence is not admitting your own ignorance.

  12. It’s pretty pathetic when greenies have to resort to silly lies about the characteristics of wind. I suppose they will next be claiming that tornadoes, typhoons and hurricanes never existed before man-made global warming.

  13. Back in the good old days when power systems operations was not contaminated by politics, the rule in Ontario was that the grid had to be able to sustain the loss of the largest online generation unit without system jeopardy. This was always a 900Mw unit at Darlington nuclear. Operating reserve and automatic generation control (AGC) was always available to manage this potential loss. Operating reserve was made up of three categories: spinning reserve (offline and synchronized), 10 minute reserve (fast start generation and/or spinning but unsynchronized) and 30 minute reserve (other generation capable of starting and synchronizing within 30 minutes). To my knowledge this is still the case. However, any notion that unreliable generation sources can contribute to operating reserve is, I believe, universally held to be utter rubbish by power systems operators. Politicians and the ideologically impaired in Ontario refuse to acknowledge this reality as they have continued their ‘green rush’.
    Luckily for us, the pandering to a deluge of subsidy miners and rent seekers has resulted in retail electricity users being overcharged $37 billion above average retail rates between 2008 and 2014 – so says the province’s auditor. Yes – that’s $37 Billion; the opportunity cost is mind boggling. This in turn has led to a significant bi-election loss for the government which has resulted, as of last week, in termination of all planned future renewables contracts. Hopefully, in 2018, this government that has been completely co-opted by radical green ideology, will be kicked to the curb and we will have a chance to repair the damage that these luddites have done to the grid over the last ten years. If that doesn’t happen, we need to corner the candle market, if we can afford it.

      • The by-election was held in the Toronto riding of Scarborough. The ruling Liberal government in Ontario had held the riding since 1998. Not anymore, as Scarborough will now have a Conservative MPP representing them in the Ontario legislator.
        Although most of the media tried to convince their viewers/readers that the government’s school sex education program was an issue, the only real issue was the skyrocketing electricity rates. According to two successive Auditor Generals the almost doubling of electricity rates over the last ten years was mostly (~60%) due to the Liberal government’s green energy (wind, solar and bio-mass) fixation.
        Whether this election loss prompted the government to NOT sign a contract for an additional 1,000 MW capacity of wind generated electricity is not known. Ontario currently has 3,923 MW of wind Capacity (up 419 MW since February) or 10.9% of total Capacity (36,050 MW). The average Output percentage of wind (February to October, 2016) is 23% of Capacity.

  14. I don’t know how much, if any, energy sensitive manufacturing is taking place in South Australia but if I were a manager or board member you can bet I’d sure be looking into moving the company. The availability of reliable and inexpensive power is a prim requirement for some industries.

    Along that line, I haven’t seen any recent updates, but before the current US administration started screwing with both our power and energy there was talk among several EU industries of moving their manufacturing to the US in order to take advantage of our inexpensive (by their standards) energy and what use to be reliable power in most areas of the country.

    • Joe, a major petrochemical complex is being build by Shell near Pittsburgh to use fracked natural gas. And Ineos just delivered its first shipload of liquified ethane to Grangemouth. Rather than close it, they built 8 LNG tankers to supply it from the US in a ‘virtual pipeline’ because of Sturgeon’s fracking moratorium.

    • Holden (General Motors) made cars in SA. Holden stated after the 2010 federal election when someone said “There will be no carbon tax in the Govn’t I lead” introduced a “proice ohn cahbon”. Holden stated it will end car production in 2016, energy costs being cited as one of the reasons.

  15. The financial losses in S A have been enormous, also the likely loss of future investment in the state.
    I am looking forward to getting some of the ‘renewable’ pushers in the witness box.
    Down here ’it was nothing to do with renewables’ has joined ‘it was nothing to do with religion’ as a leftist mantra.

  16. While I think that the South Australia blackout was most likely caused by an uncritical reliance on “renewables”, there were famous blackouts even before renewables. Let’s see how many blackouts SA has in 2016, 2017, and 2018, before passing a final judgement.

    • Curious George commented: “….While I think that the South Australia blackout was most likely caused by an uncritical reliance on “renewables”, there were famous blackouts even before renewables. Let’s see how many blackouts SA has in 2016, 2017, and 2018, before passing a final judgement….”

      100% of energy blackouts are caused by man’s lack of attention to detail. When you don’t understand the details and pass yourself off as an expert you are dangerous. When you alter the details to fit your criteria you’re an accomplice in crime. When you claim to know all the details you’re a fool. The devil is in the details.

      • Mark, you said: “100% of energy blackouts are caused by man’s lack of attention to detail.” Many years ago, while living and working north of Houston, TX (i.e., near Humble), we could experience 2 or 3 power outages a day ‘season’. The ‘season’ being when we experienced several thunderstorms each day. Practically each one that passed within a few miles of us caused the power to at least blink off, then back on when the circuit breakers automatically reset. Of course the main-frame computers and all of the terminals dropped and took several minutes to come back on-line. Even running the generators in hot standby didn’t prevent it. It just ensured that if/when circuit breaker reset didn’t bring the power back we were not down for more than a few minutes. I don’t think I would call lightning taking out a transformer or a driver taking out a power pole “man’s lack of attention to detail.”

      • Joe Crawford commented: “…I don’t think I would call lightning taking out a transformer or a driver taking out a power pole “man’s lack of attention to detail.”….”

        It is if they don’t plan for it. Backups, redundancy, and rerouting should be part of the plan.

  17. @Janus100 October 2, 2016 at 10:39 am said: “System inertia can be upgraded in a very short time.”

    No it can not. The Synchronous converters, or electric motors as they would normally called, add the ability to correct poor power factors, and supply a second or two of current during severe short circuit conditions. They add nothing to overall grid stability when your prime movers are wind.

    When wind reduces, your power output falls rapidly and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

    Synchronous motors are still used in industry to give a constant fix to poor power factor, you can change the name but the technology does not change.

    As words from your link show, they ‘produce’ nothing….. Without active power delivery (or consumption) the machines can act like a capacitor or like a reactor, depending on the excitation field current

  18. Given a choice of unassailable facts or political dogma and fantasy, the Greens and Climate Alarmists will cling tenaciously to dogma and fantasy in the face of certain catastrophe. Dogma and fantasy will have to be prised from their dead cold hands.

  19. Excuse me, have I missed something whilst following the Ryder Cup? My impression from the previous thread on this outage was that 22 pylons physically fell over and this caused the outage. IS that correct, or was it the intermittent feeds from wind power wot dunnit?

    Confused of UK,
    Rich.

    • Pylons reportedly fell causing a localised blackout. The whole grid became unstable as it was dominated by windmills all spinning at different speeds and turning off as the wind exceeded their rating. The grid couldn’t be stablised and to protect Victoria the interconnect was turned off. The local grid collapsed across the entire state. In fact if they didn’t have Pelican Point standing by they might still not have power.

      At this point, SA had no proper 50Hz power to synchronise to. It couldn’t be restarted.

    • Hi Rich. With all the various interference being run by politicians and renewable energy acolytes, I understand your confusion. Hopefully an independent report on the event will provide an accurate analysis. In the meantime, my (very lay) understanding is that transmission towers (obviously designed by the same little piggy who built his house of straw) being knocked over by <150kph winds triggered a cascading shutdown of the entire South Australia state electricity grid. However, the shutdown seems to have been accentuated by: (i) major supply from wind farms turning off as wind speeds exceeded tolerable limits (after operating full tilt); and, (ii) the tripping of interconnectors supplying coal fired power from the adjacent state of Victoria.

      Quite a few commentators are suggesting that if SA had its own significant synchronous supply (from coal/gas/nuclear/hydro) then the state grid would have been much more stable and the areas with failed transmission lines could have been isolated thereby protecting the rest of the system.

      This event will be closely watched and the involvement of significant engineering expertise in the reviews will hopefully make it very difficult for religious fanatics to greenwash and shift the blame onto CO2 (a particularly novel approach given how it seems that greater CO2 production may indeed have prevented things proceeding as they did!).

  20. Ignoring Neptune Island, which certainly didn’t bring down the grid, the storm never exceeded a Cat 1, 115km/h on BoM records. SA had a 167km/h wind in 1979.

    Was there higher very localised windspeeds at tornado touchdown points? Perhaps. But there is no factual basis for considering this a 50-year event. Anyone repeating that lie hasn’t been fact checking.

  21. In case people are scratching their heads as to why plain and unambiguous warnings can be ignored, and South Australian governments can continue to march on in their faith-based energy direction – and keep getting re-elected – well the reason is simple.

    While it occasionally happens that governments (Federal and State) across Australia do get elected with a minority of the popular vote, the usual outcome is that the party or coalition of parties receiving a majority of the popular vote get elected to government. With one exception – namely the State of South Australia, which has a great record of very often electing one particular party into Government with a minority of the popular vote, as happened yet again at the last election.

    As a result, such governments are largely unaccountable for their decisions and can ignore the warnings that they wish to ignore with a significant amount of impunity.
    Regards.

  22. How the government reacts to this depends on circumstances. The result of the blockout of 2003 are interesting.

    In the United States, the Bush administration had emphasized the need for changes to the U.S. national energy policy, critical infrastructure protection, and homeland security. During the blackout, most systems that would detect unauthorized border crossings, port landings, or detect unauthorized access to many vulnerable sites failed. There was considerable fear that future blackouts would be exploited for terrorism. In addition, the failure highlighted the ease with which the power grid could be taken down. link

    Whatever scares Australian politicians the most … that’s what you invoke to justify the money necessary to fix the grid.

  23. Nonsense. Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has sniffed around the windmills and says that Snowball was there, sabotaging the scientifically proven superiority of Animal Farm.

  24. It’s richly ironic that the SA push to renewables has, to practical effect, tampered with a large and surprisingly delicate electrical ecosystem, by removing stabilising elements (online synchronous generation) and colonising it with vast numbers of individual and intermittent species which are essentially alien to the original network design.

    It had always been my understanding that, faced with any large, complex, interconnected ecosystem, the Greenish response was to invoke the Precautionary Principle and stop the proposal in its tracks by whatever means necessary.

    It seems that the Movement has violated one of its own founding principles.

    I’m Shocked, just Shocked….

  25. Looking at the press coverage from Australia makes we wonder if the public will ever understand the factors contributing to this blackout, Certainly you can say the loss of transmission towers “caused” the blackout in terms of the event sequence. But you should expect storms to take out towers and a robust system (with good synchronous resources) will survive such scenarios better than one with a high penetration of wind. It will likely never be the intermittent by themselves that blackout a grid. The Problem is they don’t help with the normal blips and challenges every grid is exposed to.

    The most troubling statement I saw was that the wind helped the situation and had they had more wind it would have been better. Think about that one. I don’t think this is unique to the press down under. Similar statements accompanied the ERCOT winter outages here a couple years back.

    • “It will likely never be the intermittent by themselves that blackout a grid. The Problem is they don’t help with the normal blips and challenges every grid is exposed to.”
      That sounds like a good summary, and rather different from what is being claimed in these threads. It’s consistent with what AEMO said. Wind needs more effort in management, which may cost a bit. But there is the large gain on fuel costs to offset this.

      • ind needs more effort in management, which may cost a bit. But there is the large gain on fuel costs to offset this.

        Of course, that’s why Big Wind doesn’t need subsidies or mandated feed in standards to survive and doesn’t necessarily cause the cost of electricity to skyrocket. Snort.

      • “doesn’t necessarily cause the cost of electricity to skyrocket”
        It doesn’t. In Australia the support for renewables comes through a Renewable Energy Target, with the Abbott government’s description of how it works here. Here is their table of costs. 4.4% for SA isn’t skyrocketing.

        That is the only thing that could be described as a “mandated feed”.

      • “Chris Hanley October 2, 2016 at 8:30 pm”

        2010, is when the “proice ohn cahbon” was introduced by someone who said she would not do that. It’s funny around about 2010 is when energy prices “necessarily skyrocketed”.

      • “2010, is when the “proice ohn cahbon””
        No, the carbon tax became effective on 1 July 2012. Doesn’t seem to be a huge rise following that.

        Here is a detailed AEMC report on electricity pricing components. It gives a breakdown of factors for recent and near future years. Here is their table for SA:

        Environmental part is small and diminishing.

      • “Nick Stokes October 2, 2016 at 9:37 pm”

        The policy of the price on carbon was introduced in 2010, after the federal election won by Gillard with support from Brown (Greens) with implementation, as you say, July 1st 2012. But the graph shows significant increases from 2010, when the policy was introduced/announced by the Greens and denied by Gillard (Lie). Trying to hide behind smoke and mirrors again Nick. Your posts over the last few days in support of failed energy policies of the South Australian govn’t just underlines your biased opinion.

      • C’mon Nick, get serious.

        Your first table shows only 4.4% being due to renewables, but also shows SA being the highest cost jurisdiction in Australia by quite a chunk. If the price was low, like it is in ACT, it would be 6.7%. So you’re attempting to show it is “only” 4.4% while glossing over that they have the highest rates in Australia which makes it look smaller. You follow that with another chart that purports to show no trend by starting in 2014/2015 and extending out into the future. First of all, that’s a cherry pick rivaling Michael Mann, and perhaps worse because it purports to use future estimates as data.

        Oh, yeah… you believe in models.

        You know, I once had a lot of respect for you Nick.

      • “Environmental part is small and diminishing …”.
        ==================================
        Wind also involves additional network costs all-up adding ~40% to the wholesale price of electricity.
        Whether a “carbon reduction” policy could be regarded as an ‘environmental policy’ depends on where one stands.
        It certainly will not make any difference to the environment overall, except deprive the biosphere of a little additional CO2, but of course the greenies would regard it as helping to save the world.

      • “while glossing over that they have the highest rates in Australia which makes it look smaller”
        That was discussed here. SA rates have always been high, because they don’t have resources like hydro or good easily accessed coal. Wind hasn’t changed that. Coal from Leigh Creek was a very expensive way of generating.

        “You follow that with another chart that purports to show no trend”
        I didn’t include it to show trend. I was showing the breakdown by components, and in particular the small component due to environmental.

      • “But the graph shows significant increases from 2010, when the policy was introduced/announced by the Greens and denied by Gillard (Lie).”
        Yes. But it doesn’t become a cost factor until it is implemented. The rise from 2010 to 2012 was not caused by the carbon tax, which didn’t even pass parliament till end 2011.

  26. “Here’s one from 5 years ago in Texas, USA”
    That, like this, is rank speculation, based on there being a power shortfall in a state with wind power, and nothing more. And of course, the real facts showed otherwise.

    • That’s really interesting Nick. You post a chart showing no trends in rates that somehow uses data from the future, and then chastise someone else for rank speculation.

      You can’t suck and blow.

    • So what is the backup power when the wind turbans don’t work? Solar panels? I don’t think so.
      Probably coal power, natural gas power. nuclear power, hydro power, or diesel-power.

    • “You post a chart showing no trends in rates”
      I made no claims about trends in rates. I posted to show the cost components.

      The Texas post was rank speculation. Texas had a power shortfall, Texas has some wind energy, so, said poster, the shortfall was caused by wind. No basis for that, and in fact it wasn’t true.

    • Nick Stokes October 3, 2016 at 12:48 am
      “You post a chart showing no trends in rates”
      I made no claims about trends in rates.

      Fair enough. You didn’t intend to call out the rates, only the mix of components. It is still a massive cherry pick in that it doesn’t allow historical comparison and it also includes years that do not exist, they are in the future and hence modeled.

      If you trust these you may. But every jurisdiction that I am familiar with has seen a massive increase in electricity prices due to wind being implemented at scale. How Australia manages to escape the economics that haunt the rest of the world is a but of a mystery. Well, you present figures from a politically motivated body on a politically charged issue…. I can’t do an audit obviously, but someone ought to. Physics and economics don’t magically change their rules once they cross into the land down under. But accounting is a practice proven malleable all over the world.

      • “Well, you present figures from a politically motivated body”
        The AEMC is the rule-making body for the Energy Market here. It operates alongside the AEMO, which is the authority being cited in the head post. They have the facts, and no obvious political motivation, being set up by COAG, which is a council of Fed and all State govs.

  27. Why are so many governments willing to dive headfirst into a lake of renewables without first testing to see how shallow the lake is? They must be overflowing with excess funds to want to break what isn’t broken.

  28. Some interesting comments, thanks to all.

    As a UK resident I have been aware of the risky strategy adopted by successive governments here who are in general united in their affection for saving the world. British citizens in general have shown little interest in seeing its electrical generating capacity pared below what is sensible so it will serve them right if the lights go out and stay out for some time. Of course I too will have to endure this outcome, cannot say I am happy with it but alas only such outcomes are capable of waking people up from their obsessions with the Kardashian’s (not sure about the spelling) and Coronation Street.

    It is depressing to see this happening!

  29. It was the wind that did it!

    If you look at wiki, first entry for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wind_farms_in_South_Australia

    and look at the first entry: Canunda Wind Farm : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canunda_Wind_Farm,

    and its say: “The wind farm is made up of 23 Vestas 2.0 MW wind turbines”.

    Looking at http://nozebra.ipapercms.dk/Vestas/Communication/Productbrochure/2MWbrochure/2MWProductBrochure/

    the data for these machines, depending on which of the 4 types have been installed in each tower,

    the generator works between 4m/s and 25m/s. Below 4 it generates no electricity, above 25 it generates no electricity.

    The killer figure is the “cut in” value: 23m/s.

    It does not need much to imagine a gusty storm with wind speeds going through 23m/s to 25m/s frequently and rapidly. Its what happens in storms.

    To put it into perspective:

    23 m/s = 44.7 knots = 82.8 km/h

    25 m/s = 48.6 knots = 90 km/h

    A storm gust passing through a wind farm will trip *ALL* of the units, again and again, but of course if the grid goes down once, then you require a staged recovery, it is no longer one unit tripping off and on.

    If the above behaviour was a design aim, then great, your system works as intended. If your design aim was to give you a reliable continuous supply of electricity, then it is madness.

  30. “A storm gust passing through a wind farm will trip *ALL* of the units, again and again, “
    Probably not – gusts are fairly local, and 82.8 km/h is getting up to the max attained at any time. And there are 16 farms on that list, at widely dispersed locations..

  31. The SA power outage would have happened with any form of generation… renewables are not a factor in the failure:

    “23 towers in five locations, affecting three major power lines, were lying on the ground, ripped out by the storm.

    As Simon Emms from Electranet made clear on Thursday, when you take more than 700MW of generation out of the system in a matter of seconds, no grid that he knew of could have kept going”

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/uhlmanns-bizarre-prediction-of-national-blackout-if-we-pursue-wind-and-solar-39364

    • RenewEconomy – yeah, a site where we can expect dispassionate, objective commentary about energy.

      Pull the other one, Griff.

      • I put it in because it directly quoted a spokesman for the network which went out.

        Is he not telling the truth?

      • “directly quoted a spokesman for the network”

        What!? Griffypoo believes an actual industry expert?

        Which spokesman? Perhaps he meant the author, Giles Parkinson?

        “Giles Parkinson is a journalist of 30 years experience, a the former editor of Climate Spectator.”

        Nah, he’s another parasite feeding at the climate funding trough. Keep the money flowing double down reporting. There is very little he can’t bafflegab into appearing to support eco-lunacy.

        Nah, more likely Griffpoo meant Simon Emms; but only after Griffpoo completely misinterprets Mr. Emms.

        “Simon Emms from Electranet made clear on Thursday, when you take more than 700MW of generation out of the system in a matter of seconds”

        Mr. Emms is correct in that an electrical grid will likely cascade into failure when 700MW jumps up and down then punts out.
        Griffpoo, is insinuating that Mr. Emms is verifying or validating the use of wind power; a complete and wilful misinterpretation on Griffpoo’s part.
        Natural Gas, Coal, Nuclear power generating facilities rarely suffer such failures. Decades of power generation have proven how smoothly these facilities operate providing steady quality power.

        “23 towers in five locations, affecting three major power lines, were lying on the ground, ripped out by the storm.”

        Griffpoo claims that any kind of generating facility/electrical grid would suffer the same fate.
        23 wind towers went down in normal thunderstorm winds. Some transmission wires likely went out because debris fell across the lines or were struck by lightning. Unless, hit by a tornado, I doubt any transmission towers were even damaged.

        23 wind towers crashed in ordinary winds; and Griffpoo is celebrating their success. Quoting articles from some journalist that does not mind making stories up out of whole cloth.

        “In Germany, the battery storage developer Younicos suggests it could replace all the coal generators by providing the same services they do. Battery storage is now being used commonly in north America to provide those services.”

        Really!? Replace generating facilities providing hundreds of MWs to GWs?
        No, There are not any battery facilities in North America replacing coal generating facilities!
        Not forgetting how stupid the premise is:
        • Generate electricity,
        • transmit the electricity,
        • transform the electrical power from DC to AC,
        • trickle charge batteries,
        • draw current from the batteries in a manner to provide a steady even current draw,
        • transform the electricity from DC to AC,
        • supply the grid. Oh, yeah, realll smart…

        Yup, Griffpoo loves to prefer lies, fabrications and fairytales.
        With such an awful educational foundation and background, it must take quite a daily salary for Griffpoo to keep trolling here and embarrassing himself repeatedly. Incredibly embarrassing.

        If anybody goes live off grid, it sure would be nice if they took Griffypoo. Nothing too difficult or electronic for Griffpoo. Keep him pulling the plow, cleaning the chicken house, spreading the liquid fertilizer…

      • Atheok

        I’m saying a spokesman for the power company gave the exact and only reason for the outage.

        There was no wind component in this failure.

        you cannot break a power distribution system at 23 points over 3 separate lines without those breaks and only those breaks taking it down, no matter what the power source.

  32. “With the huge worldwide attention now focused on the state wide black out event in SA”

    The majority of us in the UK could be forgiven for not knowing anything about this debacle. I don’t remember seeing it mentioned in the papers, or on TV…

    • That’s because only climate skeptic sites are alleging renewables are involved.

      (and sites reporting local politicians)

      for most of the world this was a storm caused power outage – which is what the facts show.

      • “That’s because only climate skeptic sites are alleging renewables are involved”

        Really? If you had bothered to read all of the blog linked at the start of this post, (and the comments as I did) you might have spotted this:

        “Suggestions that the renewable sector is now merely a “scapegoat” for our problems are absurd, stemming from an ideology of nil criticism for some technologies”

        “As you can see both we and the sources we cite were paying attention to problems in the pipeline. These problems were foreseeable and foreseen.

        Maybe we just needed more pain to make us pay attention”

        Well they’ve just had their “Pain” – let’s hope (for all our sakes) that they start paying more attention…

  33. South Australia is so screwed up these days, we cannot even say “Would the last one to leave, please turn out the lights,” as there are no lights, due to the green energy fiasco.

    We often used to joke about that during the times after the State Bank disaster, costing the state billions of dollars!

  34. Griff, is it normal for a large state to be completely blacked out by a storm?

    Could you not imagine, that if you had say 20 large generator facilities, that delivered a controlled amount of power might, just might, be a lot more reliable than 10 large generators and 200 very small ones, where the small ones were totally dependent upon wind speed for their electrical output.

    Either too little or too much wind speed and you loose 40% of your states capacity.

    Not even a little sneaking suspicion that uncontrolled – wind dependent – generators may not be as reliable as conventional generators?

    How about a ‘maybe’?

    • Yes, it is, when you have your network hit in 23 places over 3 power lines!!!

      Even with 20 generator plants.

      Most of them would be cut off from the grid – which would have tripped anyway due to sudden power loss.

      What might have kept some power on was part renewable microgrids, able to run locally in isolation. Research New York’s response to Sandy.

      what might have restarted this even quicker – and this is the first known state wide restart in Australia and considering the scale was as quick as could be- would be grid storage, which is already in place in Germany for ‘black start’.

  35. whiten wrote

    Hello Analitik.

    I love to and , and still trying to look from your angle of approach in this one.

    Burt you see, there is a big problem for me to accept that as probable.
    Any way I turn it, the fingerprints and hall marks in all this , to me, do not constitute or stand as a confirmation or explanation of a case where a random idiocratic, or random idiocracy driven by market pricing or a temporary greed can explain properly the condition of this happening.

    All that could have being wrong went wrong, with no exception, as far as I can see and tell, from my point.
    Very unlikely for it to have being an outcome of random, either where that random could have being silly or idiotic and simply driven by greed.

    From my point of view this was not random by any margin, which makes me think and consider it as a very well staged and schemed lunacy.
    .
    .Sorry, very hard at the moment to change my mind about it.
    The way the interconnection was played and considered, and the actual behavior of it during all that mess makes it hard for me to look at this whole mess in the light and that kind way that you do.

    Again all that could have gone wrong possibly, did go wrong, no randomness there, as far as I can tell,,,,,, and the Grid in question is not a linear chaotic system………

    cheers

    The NEM works by a “day ahead” bidding process where generators nominate the amount of electrical power they can deliver at a price point (long with ramp rates for control requirements). Prior to renewbles, this meant that as demand increased, they price of electricity would go up and the generators would switch on as required. Thermodynamic principles and fuel costs lead to the most efficient and hence cheapest generators being slower to vary their output (termed ramping). Fast ramping generators, like big diesels and open cycle gas turbines (stationary jet engines) are much less efficient so they cost more to run.

    This meant the cheapest generators would be on continually (baseload) with higher priced but more flexible generators coming online, ramping up and down and then switching off as demand varied during each day from the baseload requirement. Of course, slow ramping of baseload generators allows for the seasonal variations in the baseload power requirement.

    It’s more complex due to the multiplicity of generators, reserve capacities, ancillary services etc but that is the essence of the market mechanism and how generators make money while the delivering power.

    Now the renewable generators have been allowed to bypass this pricing mechanism – they can sell power into the market anytime they are producing. What’s more, they either have guaranteed pricing for their power, no matter what the current market rate is (via power purchase agreements) or else the power they generate is afforded a large premium via the renewable energy certificates which the utilities are required to purchase from them to fulfil the green regulatory requirements. This means it make sense for the renewable generators to generate power whenever they can as they have a guaranteed market with high profitability.

    Domestic PV is also unregulated – they generate power when the sun shines and either flow excess in to the grid or reduce demand, totally beyond the control of the grid operators

    You can then see the final result – when the wind blows (and sun shines) there is lots of electricity being generated by renewables so the demand for traditionally produced electricity falls, dropping the market price. This makes it uneconomic for most traditional generators to run since the price will fall under their bid price.

    Last week, the wind was blowing hard with the stormy weather so there was a lot of wind generated power being produced, depressing the market price. The big gas generators were largely forced offline due to the low pricing leading to a grid with poor stability – only Torrens B and a few small OCGTs were online. From there, events like falling pylons and lightning strikes would cause large changes in the grid frequency which would cause the Heywood interconnector to disconnect for self protection, islanding the South Australian grid. Any other “weather induced” event (or even the consequences of the first one) would then trip the traditional generators, leading to the blackout. If there were more baseload generators online (Torrens A and Pelican Point), then the statewide blackout would not have occurred.

    Again, no scheming was required on the day – the schemes to blame are set in the large renewable energy targets and the market access given to the renewables as incentives. Distortions due to poor legislation was the cause.

    This is why ElectraNet and the AEMO are able to truthfully state that the renewables were not the cause of the blackout – they weren’t in a direct sense, through a semantic loophole.

  36. The Federal Minister tilts at the windmills and naturally it’s all about climate change from the true believers-
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-03/sa-government-energy-policy-exacerbated-blackout-greg-hunt-says/7897298
    When you believe in 100% renewables by whenever we can manage it and at any cost, naturally no further correspondence will be entered into, but there’s nothing like a complete blackout at the beginning of the peak hour home time to concentrate lots of minds on real physics rather than emotional wishful thinking.

    The paradox for these Greens is while they’ve been big fans of lots of micro renewable power generators everywhere, they’re all scrambling now for more interconnection to no prizes for guessing. They need to look up the meaning of ‘fallacy of composition’, even if they have a cargo cult fixation on technological innovation taking care of all that pesky science of electricity generation and distribution. Perhaps some more computer modelling might help chaps?

  37. It’s not Treasurer Tom’s problem because they were all licensed-

    ‘The Minister’s letter proposed a series of changes to the national electricity market rules, “to manage security challenges that may emerge as Australia’s electricity supply transitions to a carbon constrained future”.
    Mr Koutsantonis told ABC local radio it is up to the AEMC to make sure the energy market runs properly.
    “If someone attempts to plug in a new form of generation, and the market operator and AEMC feel that this form of generation is unsuitable, you won’t be licensed,” he said.
    “Every single windfarm has been licensed.
    “What we’re saying in this letter is that, as we integrate new technology into the grid, we need to manage it.”‘

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-04/sa-energy-minister-unapologetic-over-power-security/7900748

    It’s moments like this many of us are reluctant to admit we’re from South Australia and wish to most humbly apologise to the memory of Edward Gibbon Wakefield and Colonel Light’s vision :(

  38. Why don’t they say “another” form of generation instead of “new” form of generation? What’s “new” about windmills?

    • “As of 1 December 2016, an energy system of the future will be developed in Northern Germany as part of the large-scale project NEW 4.0. From 2035, around 4.5 million residents in the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein will be provided with power by renewable energy sources alone. Applying Industry 4.0 systems, the project will demonstrate how imbalances in production and consumption can be offset based on renewable energies. ”

      That explains all the black screens then. We South Australians were clearly stuck on version NEW 1.0.1 and didn’t realize there were a number of major software updates we missed.

  39. “so 23 separate fail points would seem to me to be even more likely to take a grid out?”

    err no, that was 23 transmission towers on one transmission line and the metro area was back anywhere from 3 hours to before dawn, as was most of the State while remote Coffin Bay on Eyre Peninsular took longest at 3 days and there was no way those downed transmission towers were replaced in that time. Clearly there was transmission replication but the finger is being pointed at cascading State blackout.

    • The AEMO report Section 3.2 details the tower outages as follows:
      Davenport – Mt Lock & Davenport -Belalie: 5 (double circuit) towers
      Davenport – Brinkworth – Templers West: 14 towers N of Brinkworth and 2 towers S of Brinkworth
      Port Lincoln – Yadnarie: 1 tower (Lower Eyre Penisula supply).
      ie 22 towers on 3 transmission lines through the Mid North.

      The report estimates the earth faults on the double circuit line were about 42-43 km from Davenport, which is between Wilmington and Melrose. This is close to the location where the bent single Brinkworth line towers were reported and photographed.

  40. ‘Asked if South Australians might question that choice given the events of last week, Mr Weatherill declared: “We’ll have to wait and see.”
    AEMO says it directed the owner of SA’s transmission network, Electranet, to “progressively energise” the main Victorian interconnector by starting the Torrens Island Power Station.
    This provided a “basis to allow customer supply to be restored”, says its report.
    AMEO says it will now investigate each component of the electricity system and provide a further update on October 19.’
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/multiple-faults-led-to-huge-south-australian-blackout-preliminary-report/news-story/f9d66b196d1756a4ed1af8a899a387df

    So to reboot the system guess what was needed and the penny is dropping all over talkback radio at present and the punters aint happy at being conned with unreliables.

    • The AEMO report reads:
      “At 17:23, AEMO directed the SA transmission network owner ElectraNet to progressively energise the
      main Victorian interconnector through to Adelaide to start Torrens Island Power Station and provide a
      basis to allow customer supply to be restored.”
      Thus the interconnector was used to start Torrens Island PS and not the other way round,

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