Australian electrical system operator orders wind farms to cut back production in wake of blackout

Ten South Australian wind farms told to limit generation after statewide electricity blackout 


TEN South Australian wind farms have been ordered to limit generation in the wake of the disastrous statewide power blackout because the national electricity market operator has declared they have not performed properly.

The state’s biggest wind farm, at Snowtown, is among those which the Australian Energy Market Operator has targeted in its “management and analysis” of last Wednesday’s unprecedented power outage as it gradually restores the power network. The move will prompt further questions over whether renewable energy jeopardised electricity grid stability and triggered the cascading blackout, which started when fierce winds damaged 23 Mid North transmission towers and severed three high-voltage lines. –Paul Starick, The Advertiser, 4 October 2016

This comes on the heels of a damning report that says that the power instability of wind farms dropping out caused the grid to collapse. The report, by the AEMO, said:


The predicted weather front moved through SA on the afternoon of Wednesday 28 September 2016, including high winds, thunderstorms, lightning strikes, hail, and heavy rainfall.

The weather resulted in multiple transmission system faults. In the short time between 16:16 and 16:18, system faults included the loss of three major 275 kV transmission lines north of Adelaide. Generation initially rode through the faults, but at 16:18, following an extensive number of faults in a short period, 315 MW of wind generation disconnected (one group at 16:18:09, a second group at 16:18:15), also affecting the region north of Adelaide.

The uncontrolled reduction in generation resulted in increased flow on the main Victorian interconnector (Heywood) to make up the deficit. This resulted in the Heywood Interconnector overloading. To avoid damage to the interconnector, the automatic-protection mechanism activated, tripping the interconnector. In this event, this resulted in the remaining customer load and electricity generation in SA being lost (referred to as a Black System). This automatic-protection operated in less than half a second at 16:18. The event resulted in the SA regional electricity market being suspended.


For those having trouble reading ASHX files, a local copy f the report is here as a PDF file aemo-sa-preliminary-report-at-900am-3-october

Here is the notice (h/t to WUWT reader observa):

From the AEMO ‘Market Notices’ site-


05 Oct 2016 19:52

Heywood interconnector dynamic constraint


Heywood interconnector dynamic constraint

Under the market suspension in South Australia, AEMO will limit the flow from South Australia to Victoria to prevent the accumulation of negative residues, which cannot be accommodated under the suspension pricing regime.

The following constraint set has been invoked at 20:00 hrs to manage the above outcome.

Constraint set: I-SV_000_DYN which includes constraint equation: S_V_000_HY_DYN.

Spot prices and ancillary services prices in South Australia continue to be determined by the relevant market suspension pricing schedule developed and published in accordance with clause 3.24.5(l) of the NER.

The schedule is available on AEMO’s website at

and summarised for South Australia at

Manager NEM Real Time Operations’

136 thoughts on “Australian electrical system operator orders wind farms to cut back production in wake of blackout

    • See – told ya BEFORE – in 2005!
      This very serious problem has been known for a long time – since at least 2005 and probably for decades.
      There was a near-grid crash in Germany due to wind power on Christmas Eve, 2004, as cited in my post below from circa 2005.
      Naturally, our imbecilic politicians cannot grasp this simple concept: “The wind does not blow all the time.”
      Some of them believe that grid-scale storage is a current solution – it is not.
      Imagine if the grid actually crashed at Christmas in Germany, instead of a near-miss. It would have been a disaster, costing billions due to frozen pipes, etc., and much human suffering.
      Imagine if that happened in a colder country, like Canada, or the northern USA.
      Source: Wind Report 2005, by E.On Netz, then the largest wind power generator in the world.
      My post from circa 2005 follows:
      Here is a quotation from Wind Report 2005 by E.On Netz for the German wind power grid. As you can readily surmise, wind power is a huge problem for grid operators.
      Within just two days, the entire generating capacity of German wind power disappeared, necessitating the startup of the equivalent of TWELVE 500 megawatt coal-fired power plants.
      During the steepest drop on December 24, 2004, they lost the equivalent of one 500MW power plant every 30 minutes!
      The truth is that wind power requires 100% backup from conventional power sources, a duplication of resources that makes wind power entirely uneconomic.
      The feed-in capacity can change frequently within a few hours. This is shown in FIGURE 6, which reproduces the course of wind power feedin during the Christmas week from 20 to 26 December 2004.
      “Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only 10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired power station blocks. On Boxing Day, wind power feed-in in the E.ON grid fell to below 40MW.
      Handling such significant differences in feed-in levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.”

      • Allan, you said:”Naturally, our imbecilic politicians cannot grasp this simple concept: “The wind does not blow all the time.”” I seem to remember that there was a modeling study of the British Isles written up here and panned at the time that tried to claim that wind power would work so long as you had multiple farms in the right mix of locations and all tied together on a ‘smart grid’ (whatever that means). Sort of like the old sailors adage: “The wind is always blowing somewhere.” Anyway, politicians, and other assorted idiots don’t need but one pier reviewed and published study like that to fully justify their throwing lots of money at wind power. And, if wind power happens not to work as expected, the study gives them cover. After all, they were just following the ‘scientific consensus’.

      • Joe, perhaps “scientific peer-review consensus” is insufficient in these cases. Before money is thrown at a project, “engineering peer-review consensus” is required. Of course, that is politically difficult when the gov’t paid scientists say “Yes, we can!” and the contracting engineers say, “Only by prayer. Get ready to live in the dark.”

      • Stephan, I never liked the term “consensus”. It has no place in science and is often used as a crutch in Engineering. But, yes, when a problem has been proposed, an engineering study should be commissioned that details the impact, potential fixes, costs and foreseeable consequences. Man has a natural tendency to not think through problems, to visualize simple solutions, and to never expect unintended consequences. Dreamers, true believers and especially politicians suffer this in spades.

      • “Imagine if that happened in a colder country, like Canada, or the northern USA.”
        Two Canadian provinces are diving head first into wind power, including mine. And the new green prime minister is piling on the carbon taxes – He will almost certainly fund more wind power. This could get ugly.

      • Allan, you said:”Naturally, our imbecilic politicians cannot grasp this simple concept: “The wind does not blow all the time.”” I seem to remember that there was a modeling study of the British Isles written up here and panned at the time that tried to claim that wind power would work so long as you had multiple farms in the right mix of locations and all tied together on a ‘smart grid’ (whatever that means).

        The blocking highs of the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 established beyond any doubt that the assertion/assumption made is incorrect.
        During those winters (one was said to be a 1 in a 30 year event, which was then ironically immediately followed by a 1 in a 100 year event) showed that for the best part of a month not only was there no wind over the UK, nor was there any wind over our Northerly European neighbours. during those winters I monitored the output from wind and almost every day wind was producing less than 5% of its nameplate capacity, frequently just 1 to 3% of nameplate capacity. As we know in conditions such as that windfarms are often a net drain on the grid due to the need for heaters and keeping the rotors turning over so as to avoid flat spots on bearings.
        Without storage (which is presently not feasible) wind ought to be a none contender and has no role to play in an energy grid.

      • We just need a giant fan we can turn on when the wind dies down….I’m sure the engineers over at Rube Goldberg can design one…Josh might even be able to give them a sketch….

      • following the events of 12 years ago in Germany, EON, the grids and turbine manufacturers addressed the problem of voltage dip…
        Its now a requirement on those grids to protect against it: it is built into turbine designs.
        There might be a case to answer if SA had not built the available answer to this entirely avoidable problem into its wind farms…
        Description of problem and solution:
        “According to grid codes issued by utilities,
        tripping of wind turbines following grid faults is not
        allowed. Besides, to provide voltage support to the grid
        mandatory reactive current supply is necessary. To enable
        wind turbines ride-through low voltage periods special
        protection measures have to be implemented. In this paper
        the behavior of DFIG based wind turbines during grid
        faults is discussed and elucidated using simulation results. It
        is shown that with properly designed crowbar and DC-link
        chopper even zero voltage ride-through is possible.”

    • While a lot of fun, and correctly noting that the “green” movement have lessened the reliability of the SA system, some perspective:
      I can’t paste table or file, so this will be messy! Year, Region, Impact , Cause
      2003 Italy: 59 million people for 3-24 hours: Transmission system fault in Switzerland, propagating fault
      2003 New York Ontario, New York State, PJM area, Michigan, Ohio. 55 million people. 8-48 hours. Transmission system overloads, leading to propagating system instability
      2009 South Australia, entire State, 1.6 million people, 2-8 hours, Fire at One tree hill caused network outage, propagating network element trips.
      2011 Brazil, North eastern region, 40 million people for 2-4 hours, Transmission switching causes oscillation, cascading power station trips
      2011 Japan, Eastern electrical area, 9 million people, 6 hours to 3 days. Rotating outages for 7 days
      Earthquake and Tsunami damaged major power stations (loss of 17GW), leading to system failure.
      2011 South Western USA,Parts of California, Arizona and Colorado, 3 million people for 1 hour. Transmission switching error on stressed system, propagating system faults.
      2012 India, 30 July Northern Region (36GW) 620 million people for 1-14 hours, 31 July Northern, North Eastern and Eastern Region (48GW), 2-8 hours. Unscheduled inter-regional flows
      2016 South Australia, Entire State, 1.7 million people for 4-24 Hours. Extreme weather caused transmission tower failures leading to a propagating fault and power station shutdowns.
      CIGRE recently published a Technical Brochure on causes of blackouts – Note there is a charge for non-members.

      • I immediately assumed that the problem was the increased instability of the wind system. Oddly enough, some early (well, not so early, into the 1980s) local electricity grids planned as a way to reduce risks actually increased them by creating inter-dependencies that had been expected to stabilize.
        I don’t see how cutting back will especially help if the interconnecting buffers (surge suppression, synchronization, etc.) is off.

    • “… maybe a few less light islands in the Outback would have been better.”
      Extra lights for Bundanyabba.

    • Is that big bright light in SA the Coopers Brewery? Self sufficient and kept working apparently.

  1. What kind of idiots would set up a system like this….
    The kind of idiots that didn’t even know it would happen….if they knew it would happen, they would have known they would look like idiots

    • Latitude: These idiots (rich ones now) don’t care. They’re not in business to provide power and light, but to make a packet for themselves.

    • You have to realise that they simply blame it on something else like a power line that fell down or whatever and the media laps it up

    • Its a subsidy farm, any power output and subsequent consequences are neither her nor there, as long as the cash flows

  2. California and Oregon need to know about this.
    On the other hand, their minds are made up, and facts would just confuse them.

    • Today’s liberal democrat’s are beyond repair and redemption. They are firmly committed to an “ends justifies the means”, a relative moralism with a “we know better than you” governing approach that is approaching authorianism. Thus, facts and contrary evidence to Climate Change (and thus questioning their belief system) are irrelevant to Democrats since they bought into “the science is settled” lie.
      Liberals simply must be voted out of public office. They must be kicked into the trash bin of history along with where we thought communism was buried as a failed political system. To expect today’s Democrats to change their socialist ways is like asking the scorpion not to sting.
      But alas, for the US at least, $20 Trillion in debt suggests too much damage has been wrought.

      • Unfortunately, I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. For the unwashed masses it’s mostly a case of Noble Cause Corruption. But for the ruling elite, it’s more insidious; they really do believe that the ends justify the means,. And since the “ends” usually equate to their own socioeconomic elevation, ANY “means” are justified in their minds. This is how evil grows.

      • ‘$20 Trillion in debt suggests too much damage has been wrought.’
        Well, that, and they’ve infiltrated the entire public school system and so the last couple of decades of innocent children have now been indoctrinated, and so nothing is going to change, except for the worse.

      • 1) Base plate, not actual production
        2) All states are tied into their neighboring states, so the number for anyone state is meaningless.
        3) This has been explained to you before.

      • It has?
        Of course there are regional grids. But reliance of states within those grids on wind power makes them vulnerable. The leading wind power states of TX and CA have other sources of electricity, but in the latter case, many of those lie outside the state. Wind power has already caused interruptions in the PNW hydropower upon which CA relies seasonally.

      • Chimp, I think you and MarkW are actually in agreement — just a misunderstanding as to your point in posting that bar graph (i.e., a pro-BIG WIND person — NOT you, Chimp — might post that graph to (stupidly) try to prove that windpower is “doing a great job!”). If I understood Mark (and you) correctly, you BOTH agree that:
        1. a state’s % production of windpower does not = source of power actually used in the state;
        2. windpower makes a grid highly vulnerable to blackout.
        So! Hooray! Friends again. #(:))

      • Here’s a map of the three CONUS power grids:
        The wind-dependent Great Plains States can’t always rely upon power being available from the rest of the huge Eastern Grid if they needed it to make up for lost wind energy.
        The Western Grid is also vulnerable, but less so, thanks to PNW hydropower, which however can’t be used efficiently due to the wind farms in OR and WA.
        TX has far and away the most installed wind power of any state (about 2.5 times that of #2 CA), but also lots of fossil fuel plants, so is less at risk.

      • Nameplate capacity in TX is 17,713 MW. Wind power accounted for 9.98% of the electricity generated in Texas during 2015.
        As of December 31, 2015, CA had 6108 MW of wind-powered electricity generating capacity. So now I guess its capacity is closer to a third that of TX.

      • Buffett has a BIG share of AEP. AEP is a major utility in IOWA. Buffet love the massive writeoffs he get by investing in Wind. Note that the number is generation IN Iowa. not Power used in IA. contracts are established to spread that unreliable power around as much as possible. Just like that box of junk that only a few people bid on at an auction sells for a dollar or so. The reason that Wind power is considered so inexpensive is because of the fact that Utilities can establish a contract for this wind power to meet their RPS requirements for pennies per kw, due to the fact that there is so much of i there is little demand for it. But they still have to have it on the books.

    • California has a governor worried about cow fatrs an half of backward ass Oregon is homeless. Elect Hillary and enjoy that on a national scale.

  3. There are “known knowns” and so on. Seems, given a “known”, they didn’t have a plan.
    From the fact sheet of PSE’s Wild Horse Wind Farm (central WA USA):
    the turbines generate electricity at wind speeds as low as 9 mph, reach peak generation at 31 mph, and shut down at constant wind speeds of 56 mph

    • There’s only so much you can “plan” for.
      Beyond that, plans on paper are meaningless if you haven’t installed the equipment in the field to implement the plan.
      Equipment in the field, to handle all possible contingencies is very, very, expensive.

      • OR . . . generate to storage, and feed the grid from storage. Hence status always known. Interruptions dampened and fully expected.
        Problem is, the cost of battery systems, for example, would be huge, applied to an already hugely expensive generation system.
        Wind/solar can never be more than supplemental.

      • “Wind/solar can never be more than supplemental.” … or a stated earlier (e.g., windmills), applied to non time critical systems.

      • A “known” high wind storm approach should have them cutting off a turbine every few minutes in an orderly manner starting, perhaps, a day in advance. It should not prompt them to get the most out of everyone of them until the auto-cut-out happens and they all shut off within seconds of each other.

  4. Ha ha – the only response.
    With regard to the question posed above “what kind of idiots”? – well, the kind of idiots who think they did the right thing even if there was a state-wide blackout, with more to come, because they are saving the planet.

    • Sacrifices have to be made for the cause. Only the little people have no battery storage capacity funded by tax breaks.

  5. The great things about a blackout is that CO2 emissions will drop like a rock during this time. This will help them reach their emissions target right?
    We have to keep the eye on the ball folks, and CO2 emission is the ball! North Korea has this figured out already.

    • The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the only country fully compliant with the spirit of the Paris Accord!

      • Well, we live in a world where the Labour government of Britain, which attacked Thatcher for closing down the coal mines…took credit for closing down the coal mines.
        As well, the German government took credit for closing down things in the former East Germany to comply with Kyoto…which would have disappeared anyway.
        Its always “watch the pea” with such folks.

      • Living here in the soggy Adelaide hills I feel as if I am living on the Democratic Republic of South Australia where our Dear Leader, comrade Jay, knows about everything (& knows that it can’t have been his fault). There must be some nervous engineers who advised govt who now wish they had taken a stronger stand against popular unqualified green pressure, unless of course, the govt never got any engineering advice given the Dear Leader’s own infallible expertise.

    • 4 Eyes
      Have you caught up with your premier’s latest full title?
      “And now
      Whirling Dervish Windmill Weatherill in SA who whirling furiously on the media spot blames towers falling down for no power whereas the towers falling down were a secondary result from the advancing storm front as it swept across SA after his favorite grandiosely hyped “no carbon” equally fast whirling wind turbines cut themselves off to save themselves from destruction as the frontal system arrived, overloaded the Victorian links, blew the connectors out and cascaded the whole damn thing for a thousand kilometres north to SA’s most lucrative economic industries and shut them and most other SA industries down for who knows how long.
      But then what would Whirling Dervish Windmill Weatherill know about storm fronts and etc? He’s only a politician !
      No ratings allowed above as we would all vote for our own premiers as the winner of being the best political SNAFU artists of implacable policy FU’s emanating from an utterly mindless adherence to what is currently deemed political correct by the inner city elite.”
      From a comment by ROM at

    • Resourceguy
      “When you do see NK lit up, it will be from ballistic missile impacts!”
      Poor Fat Boy Kim.
      Auto – with no desire to see the immolation of millions of Koreans – but aware that that could be the result of, well, diplomacy and politics.

  6. Griff and Nick will continue to claim that there is no evidence that wind power had anything to do with this blackout.

  7. In a grid, you have uncontrollable demand on one side, which requires controllable supply on the other. Neither wind nor solar is controllable. The closest is solar in the desert, but that is only for a portion of the day, at best. Require renewable operators to build the storage facilities to make their power production capable of meeting any demand requirements. Unfortunately, wind may not blow for weeks and the shine not shine for an extended period, longer than the period that an affordable amount of storage can provide power. And even if it could , how is the storage to be restored while at the same time power is supplied by wind/solar after an extended outage of wind or sun? Renewavble operators would have to buy power to restore from fossil fuel plants, the ultimate irony. Such a requirement would kill renewables such as solar and wind, but not hydro or geothermal. If the renewables cannot match all of the other forms of power production , then the grid will be required to duplicate their capacity as backup, an extremely wasteful endeavor. And in this case, Im’ not certain backup capacity couldrespond fast enough – normally you need twice the capacity in the form of open loop gas turbine systems to react fast enough when the wind suddenly dies. Some wind systems are required to have enough storage to continue output when the
    wind dies – long enough to allow the grid operator to ramp up replacement capacity from the backup gas turbines generators. Of course, that does nothing to reduce the need for wasteful duplicative capacity.
    IN a word, wind and solar are not a good fit as a grid power producer, and making them fit requires more money than is practical. They work best on farms pumping water , etc, where an outage or slowdown is not a big problem. That was the main usefullness of windmills on farms of yesteryear. My uncle’s farm had a windmill to pump water for his animals.

    • Dear arthur4563,
      Your fine comment deserves to be widely read. I hope that you don’t mind that I am duplicating it in a more readable (to me, anyway, lol) form below. Yup. Nuthin’ much going on around here, today, heh. Hydropower is on, though — yay.
      Your friendly (if a bit impertinent) editor,
      Janice 🙂
      By arthur4563
      In a grid, you have uncontrollable demand on one side, which requires controllable supply on the other. Neither wind nor solar is controllable. The closest is solar in the desert, but that is only for a portion of the day, at best.
      Require renewable operators to build the storage facilities to make their power production capable of meeting any demand requirements.
      Unfortunately, wind may not blow for weeks and the sun not shine for an extended period, longer than the period that an affordable amount of storage can provide power. And even if it could, how is the storage to be restored while at the same time power is supplied by wind/solar after an extended outage of wind or sun?
      Renewable operators would have to buy power to restore from fossil fuel plants, the ultimate irony. Such a requirement would kill renewables such as solar and wind, but not hydro or geothermal. If the renewables cannot match all of the other forms of power production, then the grid will be required to duplicate their capacity as backup, an extremely wasteful endeavor.
      In this case, I’m not certain backup capacity could respond fast enough – normally, you need twice the capacity in the form of open loop gas turbine systems to react fast enough when the wind suddenly dies. Some wind systems are required to have enough storage to continue output when the wind dies – long enough to allow the grid operator to ramp up replacement capacity from the backup gas turbine generators. Of course, that does nothing to reduce the need for wasteful duplicative capacity.
      In a word, wind and solar are not a good fit as a grid power producer, and making them fit requires more money than is practical. They work best on farms pumping water, etc., where an outage or slowdown is not a big problem. That was the main usefulness of windmills on farms of yesteryear. My uncle’s farm had a windmill to pump water for his animals.
      Published on “WUWT,” October 5, 2016, 0920

    • Arthur4563, While e valid comment, like many others on this thread, it doesn’t address the issue.
      In South Australia, the high proportion of asynchronous plant (usually intermittent plant) has meant that the system lacks inertia, or the ability to withstand frequency shocks. This is the primary concern. While it is loosely related to the ability to respond to demand changes, inertia acts in a much faster, sub-second timeframe. It is a very fast frequency response service normally provided by rotating shaft machines.
      Coupled with the loss of nearby synchronous plant (Northern and Playford coal stations that have shut down due to wind farms and coal issues) and an outage of the Torrens Island Gas plant, this meant that the system was particularly vulnerable on this day.
      The market operator is tasked with procuring enough ancillary services to maintain frequency in the region but has warned previously that the lack of inertia means that this is impossible during extreme events.
      Therefore the loss of the first few towers, and the related oscillation in frequency is the primary cause, exacerbated by the low inertia.
      Generators are required to “ride through” moderate faults in the system, to avoid cascading faults in the NEM. When the wind farms shut down, it may be because they were unable to meet their ride through requirements or that the frequency, voltage or rate of change exceeded their design tolerances. This is being investigated and will be in the market operator report. This was the secondary cause of the blackout.
      In any case, requiring the power stations to operate in reduced output mode is a precaution, like a computer starting in “safe mode”, while the market operator works out what really happened in the 1-5 seconds of instability that caused the blackout.
      So …
      1. Having too much intermittent/asynchronous plant on the grid is a problem? Absolutely
      2. Intermittent plant requires a lot of back up? Yes to some extent but less than you might think
      3. The SA system needs to be modified to manage the amount of wind? Absolutely and there are
      working groups on it now. (The session on SA at the recent CIGRE sessions Large Disturbance
      workshop covers much of this ground).
      4. Wind farms caused the blackout? Not the primary cause but a key contributor. Letting the
      largest synchronous generator be off that day would be up there as well.

      • There is absolutely no reason to permit wind turbines to have asynchronous generators with no reactive power capability. It is simply asking for trouble. Politicians have given wind power companies permission to operate with sub-standard equipment in order to make more money. This worked as.long as there was just a few plants, but it is not practicable on a large scale.
        Wind farms caused the blackout?
        Yes indeed! It would not have happened if the wind power plants had not tripped prematurely. Read the report.

      • TTY, thanks for the response. To your points:
        – while there are synchronous wind generators (there is one in SA), they are rare – good point.
        – All wind farms in SA are required to have reactive capability and be at unity at the connection point.
        – the reactive capability is part of the generator technical standards regime in the market
        – All wind farms in SA are required to meet the highest level of technical standards as part of their licence. Politicians do not have the power to lower the requirements, the regulator set it to the highest level.
        – The technical requirements include ride-through of faults, which is the issue in the last two paragraphs of your comment.
        – of the wind farms in SA, only those closest to the original fault failed to ride through (about 1/3 of the farms).
        – It is unclear in the interim report whether the rate of change of frequency exceeded the technical requirements. High rates of frequency change causes all types of generators to trip.
        – Three things were required to black out SA:
        – A low inertia system (Wind farms & PV, Shut down of Northern & Playford PSs, Outage at Torrens Island PS and no use of existing Gas Turbines in Synchronous condenser mode to increase inertia ($$$))
        – Loss of transmission towers causing a rapid change in in frequency.
        – failure of elements to ride through the fault (wind farms, interconnector)
        While the initial report describes the outage – that is its role – it does not determine the fundamental issues that caused the blackout. Further studies will be required but it is already known that inertia will be a key part of the problem and the market operator has been working on that for over a year now.
        I presented a short paper to the CIGRE sessions in 2012 highlighting the issues of (at that time) the 8 wind farms in SA rapidly reducing their output from almost maximum to zero in around an hour. These wind farms were spread over 300miles and their output reduction was matched almost exactly by wind farms in Victoria, over 400 miles away. My point was that the diversity argument did not stack up in Australia and that wind farms were an issue even at that scale.
        Subsequent papers coming from a CIGRE panel that I chair have highlighted other issues and most recently the inertia issue.
        My opposition to accelerated development of wind farms has been known for a long time!

  8. I live in the Texas Panhandle, one of the windiest areas of the US. It is not unusual for wind speeds or wind direction to change abruptly with the passage of a weather front. We even have ‘downburst’ problems – storms that suddenly produce unpredictable straight-line winds of hurricane force, distinguishable from tornadoes by the linear damage pattern to permanent structures.
    This resource needs to be ‘ballasted’ if one expects to use it as a major source of power. A local or regional grid simply cannot accommodate sudden changes that amount to a significant percentage of the total power output.

  9. Notrickzone is leading with a story of Enviromrntalist’s abrupt about face in the wake of the wholesale destruction of landscapes for costly and ineffective wind farms.

  10. If the wind farm owners are told to limit their output, how much money will the SA Government be paying them not to make electricity?

    • You just spoilt my day. The govt won’t pay a cent – we silly South Australians will not be told about it and the Dear Leader will smear all the costs into our ever increasing power bills which we are now unquestionably conditioned to expect to rise by 20% every year. Utopia. I want more. Bring it on comrade Jay.

    • @Oldseadog, Probably the same amount even if they were running un-restricted. I am sure it is in some contract and by the Gods the land owner will point that out. It’s all about the money. Saving the planet or benefiting your fellow man and neighbor has nothing to do with it!

    • They are eligible for compensation under the market rules if they are responding to a direction and suffer a loss of income as a result. The amount of payment is limited by the rules and will be published.
      if it can be shown that they contributed to the problem, they will not be eligible for compensation but rather will be investigated and possibly fined. The investigation and any fine will also be published.
      If they are compensated, the cost is charged to all customers via market fees (not just SA customers and not the government) and if they are fined the money goes to the federal government.

  11. @Latitude
    What kind of idiots would set up a system like this….

    I can’t see how you can blame the politicians. They have to take technical advice from their own internal advisers. I assume that their advisers said it was safe to go ahead.
    The problem is the penetration of the civil service bureaucracy by green activists. They will have commissioned the reports which said that wind power was good, and suppressed any indication that it had any problems.

    • No, it’s the politicians in charge who decide which “internal advisors” to hire, or at least which ones to listen to at any particular time. President Obama is an ideal example. He only takes his advice from people telling him what he wants to hear. That also explains the comment he made along the lines of “I know more about policy than my policy people” (paraphrasing). What he “knows” is the answer he wants to hear, and eventually he found the people who would do just that.
      That’s why climate policy sometimes changes on a dime with a change in administration. And it could easily happen in the U.S. if Trump is elected. If it does, it will have nothing to do with “internal advisors,” but much to do with who he has already chosen to listen to until now. My point is that two different politicians can choose two diametrically opposed routes to govern. Elections matter.

    • Um, did not those politicians vote to make funds available to the universities, NGOs, and bureaucracies that they now “depend” upon. Do not those politicians have oversight responsibility for those agencies of government?
      It is politicians directing those “expert agencies” to produce expert opinion “for effect”, not the innocent pols being mislead…

    • Paul Matthews
      October 5, 2016 at 9:41 am
      Hmm, is there really any statement on the AEMO site to justify
      “Ten South Australian wind farms told to limit generation”?
      It seems too me that from the AEMO preliminary report one can conclude to a point, that the wind farms energy production is unstable also, making the wind farms not only incompatible in long term but also in short and very short term.
      Wind farms not good to support and assist a grid power up or it’s energizing..too unstable for that task…..
      Seems also wind farms not able enough as power sources for the grid as too unstable to keep up with grids operation during faults and problems and becoming more unreliable and risky than normal, during such conditions, due to their instability.
      Some problem that thermal generators do not have.
      So from this point, it will be too risky, under the circumstances, not to limit wind farms generation, limiting the dependency in such risky sources, as the “wound” is still sore..

    • Paul,
      The head post here is quoting the wrong AEMO notice, which no-one seems to have noticed. What the Advertiser was writing about was this one, which does refer to ten farms. But it doesn’t order them to cut production; it simply reclassifies what happened as a “credible event”, which means they have to take account of it in planning. It seems to me that is a formality; they in effect maintain a list of events that are known to be possible, and update when things happen.

    • … ,” sniffed Harry Flashman, standing beside the smoking remains of his exploded Ford Pinto, jerking his jutting jaw at the Honda and the Chevy in the shop to his right….. having their tires rotated…..

    • Sir Harry,
      Nothing is perfect. However thermal and nuclear power plants have a stabilizing influence on the grid, and are very reliable. This makes them MUCH more suitable for baseline electricity production than the intermittent, unreliable, unstable, nondispatchable alternatives.

  12. Why attack a power source for a fixable error in implementation? Demand the system designer fix the problem and possibly fine them.

  13. Too many recent headline have oversold their content. You’re driving away agnostic readers. Agnostic readers swing sentiment.

    • Your “agnostics” are apparently brainless. How could they read here about what’s happened, including the comments, and not understand the nature of the problem and the eventual outcome as advertised by Josh’s Cartoon. And this main post is about the 4th on this very same topic. Where were your “agnostics” before now?
      To boot, both semi-cartooned areas have the same cause, ignoble infantile dreams of a Totalitarian “Utopia”, where rationing is its tool of choice because of its ability to control people, totally.
      Your “agnostics” are apparently not smart enough to even be agnostics. And most likely what’s bothering you is the truth.

  14. As others above have mentioned their have been studies proving that wind can work. Problem is twofold. 1. The models simplify conditions and use averages (where have we heard that before). They make assumptions, probably based upon their knowledge, and then run these models. They “Tweak” to get a reasonable simulation of the grid they are simulating. But they leave out many of the various components that could cause the problem under various conditions. Justifying this by the fact that it all averages out. 2. They run a limited number of faults, usually worst case faults. Then assume that since it has no problem coping with worst case faults it works and all is good.
    Problem is the real world is not like that. A not well known fact of the Three Mile Island accident is that it was caused by a fault smaller, that is right smaller, than the smallest leak in the analyzed accidents. Problem is that this small leak was in exactly the right place to hid the effects of the leak from the operators and even disguise the symptoms of the leak making it appear there was no leak. Operators that thought there was a leak were convinced that that was not the case after verifying various measurements and plant actions. thus they moved on to other actions. And the model for the Nuclear Steam Supply System modeled every device in the system. Every pump, level gauge, and temperature measurement. The grid is not modeled to even 1/10th the of this accuracy. So all it takes is one wire to fall in a certain way or one generator to trip off line because of a certain condition and the dominoes start falling and you have a blackout. Case in point the massive outage from Ohio to NYC about twenty years ago. Read about how it happened. Just one overloaded powerline did it.

    • I heard of an Inuit settlement that uses wind power as a heating source, and it makes sense. Houses need extra heating with strong winds and below freezing temperatures.
      I’d say it is important to establish correlation of an intermittent source with energy demand prior to mass implementation. With poor correlation, at best you get balancing energy nightmare (checked) or a complete blackout (checked).

      • The problem in this case wasn’t intermittency. It was that the wind power plants lack reactive power and are therefore excessively sensitive to fast frequency shifts. In this case three high tension lines went down in quick succession due to a storm. This caused a considerable and fast frequency shift, which was however well within system specifications. However the wind power stations tripped en masse and brought the whole system down. That is the reason that wind power is now “rationed”. All major networks are built on a basis of weathering the instantaneous loss of the largest generator in the system, and often also the two largest in quick succession. Now they must apparently also factor in losing all wind power within a few seconds after any major failure. Probably there are quite a few systems who do not have this capability.

  15. Wind operators should be required to provide their own backup reserve. That would solve the problem for sure.

    • Great idea, Rudy!
      Even better, Big Wind (and Tiny Solar) should pay its own costs of production and operation and maintenance (i.e., no more tax subsidies and non-“renewable” power rate surcharges.

    • That should be the basis of the economic comparison between renewables and thermal – every engineer knows this. And greenies and socialists know this but deliberately ignore it because their beautiful proposal has no merit if evaluated this way.

    • excellent idea, a mandatory requirement for them to supply X amount of power per day at a given rate, with no excuses.
      If their claim that wind is viable, this requirement should be a doddle for them, if not then they’re trying to sell us a painted horse and they can either find someone else to sell their sporadic power to, or tear the things down (at their own expense).. we don’t need them contributing to instability or risk them damaging our functional grids.
      If they want to invest some of the money they’ve swiped made in stabilizing their power supply to the point it is as viable as other sources, they should go for it.
      There’s no reason consumers should be paying for their lame duck.

  16. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    The great “green” energy fiasco, in bright lights, there for all to see – if you’re running reliable fossil fuel energy, that is!
    Take note politicians, climate zealots and wind carpet-baggers.
    The facts and evidence are irrefutable.

  17. Anybody got a tally of how much these wind farms cost? This should be included in their per kWh costs.

  18. Latitude October 5, 2016 at 8:53 am opines:
    What kind of idiots would set up a system like this….
    The same kind of idiots who are bringing in regulations to prohibit the sale of 3kW kettles and to restrict their power to 1700 watts (or perhaps 2200 watts). I kid you not. This is a current EU directive doing the rounds.
    These people think that less CO2 will be produced if households do not have a 3000 watt kettle. They do not appreciate that the energy required to boil the water is dependent upon the amount of water in the kettle, its start temperature and the ambient temperature of the room, and has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the kettle is 3000 watts or 1500 watts or 1000 watts.
    When law makers/politicians/focus groups can make that sort of error, is it any wonder that they mess up the grid because they do not understand the problems associated with intermittent and non despatchable energy.
    Unfortunately the ruling class are, at least as far as science and engineering matters are concerned, idiots and have no comprehension of basic fundamentals.

    • Richard
      Yes, most politicians are idiots when it comes to technical issues, but the solar crowd has a stealth reason to limit the wattage of common appliances. Remember that a Tesla Powerwall can supply only 2.2kw continuously or 3kw peak. Regular use of either draw will likely will lead to a shortened battery life.
      Now consider the typical morning in your household. Does anyone take a hot shower? Most electric tank water heaters require 2 elements of 1.5 to 4.5 kw each and tankless heaters draw even more, so forget having your water heater on a single Powerwall. Count on 1.2 kw for a hair dryer or microwave or toaster oven, and likely 3 kw for a range and say 2.5 kw for that tea kettle, so if you live in a solar home prepare yourself and breakfast with caution. Of course you will likely need lights, ventilation, and heat or air conditioning in addition. The reality is that a true solar-powered home will need not one Powerwall, but 4 or 5 of its equivalent, or else many of the larger loads will have to be wired so as to circumvent battery storage.
      Welcome to life “off the grid”. As a life-choice it might be a fun adventure, but it can be an expensive inconvenience when we are forced to live that way due to a whim of the ruling class.

      • Welcome to life “off the grid”. As a life-choice it might be a fun adventure, but it can be an expensive inconvenience when we are forced to live that way due to a whim of the ruling class.

        Had a prolonged (~12 hr) outage here in southern Tasmania this last winter. The only thing I missed was being able to play music on my hi-fi. We use firewood for space-heating, cooking and hot water, mainly because it’s cheaper than electrickery. And I much prefer cooking with a combustion stove.
        Happily, the electricity supplier compensated us for the downtime with a much bigger cheque than we would have needed to pay for the minuscule amount of electrickery we might have used. Who knows, maybe if the usually reliable power supply goes down more often we might be given thousands, rather than hundreds of dollars. “Expensive inconveniences” like that I can live with 🙂

    • I am new to this forum and would like to add some information to the comment above. While as stated you still require the same amount energy to boil the same amount of water with a 3KW or 2KW kettle there is a reasoable difference in the transmission losses involved in doing so. Assuming a purely resistive load the loss = Current squared x resistance. Result is the transmission losses are around 2.25 times higher at 3KW than at 2KW. As to the size of the losses. The contribution is really only from the kettle to the transformer. The generator and main distribution lines are not likely to see any differance once a significant number of kettles are operating as the 3KW ones would run for less time and the end result is the same amount of kettles boild over the same peak periods. The question? Is there a worthwhile saving in local transmission loss to justify waiting longer for the kettle to boil.

  19. They do not appreciate that the energy required to boil the water is dependent upon the amount of water in the kettle, its start temperature and the ambient temperature of the room, and has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the kettle is 3000 watts or 1500 watts or 1000 watts.

    While I do not disagree, you forgot a couple of factors. The material from which the kettle is fabricated makes a difference. Heat transfer across stainless steel, aluminium, ceramic and plastic differs. Atmospheric pressure makes a difference, too. The kettle will boil quicker when placed near the ceiling, or slower when placed on the floor. It will boil quickest if placed in the centre of a one cubic metre box made of styrofoam.
    Sorry if that’s given the legislators a few more idiotic regulations they can enact…

  20. One question I always ask a wind turbine enthusiast is: Which has killed more bald eagles, DDT or wind turbines?
    The answer is wind turbines. Although to be correct, DDT was never suspected of outright eagle deaths, but of thinning the egg shells. Then again, wind turbines don’t always kill, sometimes they maim the birds so that they cannot successfully hunt and starve, or cannot fly and are prey to land predators.
    DDT was banned for less environmental reasons than wind turbines exhibit (killing or causing the deaths of not just eagles, but other birds as well as bats). At some point environmentalists will realize this and the turbines will lose popularity with that crowd.

    • Good points, but real environmentalists have known about the Bird Shredding problem for quite a while, and at least this potential problem should be obvious. Meanwhile Big Environmental Groups like Green Peace, The Worldwide Wildlife Fund, the Sierra Club, and The Union of Concerned Scientists – the last 3 of which I used to be a member – have converted to activism behind the CO2-Climate Change Hoax & Scam. It’s much more profitable in the “green” they like most; and also in either their need to control people, or their own need to be controlled by a Totalitarian State in order to get along against life’s challenges and threats. Their respective flocks don’t seem to care which one, because now they’re “saving the Planet” from Man’s “Destruction of Creation”, dontchaknow.
      Did you convert any alleged environmentalist “wind turbine enthusiast” back to grounded reason, with your question? If so, I doubt it would be lasting. Example:
      I had one such person completely stymied in regard to CO2-Climate Change in general. She had to claim it didn’t make Predictions, then finally ~”All I know is we’re polluting the world.” I assured her that it wasn’t from CO2. But months later, by applying the concept of increasing Word Drought to our own small spring water supply system, she brought it up again. I let it pass because we both had a bigger fish to fry sitting right in front of us. And a day earlier when I saw her for the first time that year, she had asked me if the level of the biggest lake around here was dropping. I said no, mostly only after tourist season as usual and referred her to my son in law #3 who is intimately connected to the lake’s level because he and his fellow rancher-farmers are in on controlling it for irrigation by a small dam. At the time, I really didn’t get exactly why she was asking. But by now I know I’d made no headway against her apparently energizing, meaning-giving belief in the CO2-Climate Change Apocalypse.

      • Word World Drought”.
        Although it seems a “Catastrophic Word Drought Finger Printing Event by 2020 is also predicted to be caused by CO2” in the Dreams of our wannabe Totalitarian Mother and her “right hand persons”. Miraculously, it would be one of the only “good” kind of Catastrophe CO2 ever “causes” in the eternal PC word game also Modeled by our betters in Agenda 21 as The Science’s Utopia. After all, our Benevolent Mother Mistress would also be “The World’s First Elected Person Evah!”…”Help green her up The Real People by your charitable contribution stat, before it’s too late for all you deplorable proles. So many Windmills and Solar Panels can’t be wrong!”

    • That point may be some time after they have reduced the earth’s population to less than a billion (sevenfold).

    • Thanks for that. It’s quite an eye opener that the South Australian generators couldn’t be restarted with the local support services and that they had to wait for the Heywood Interconnector to provide the power to restart the local power plants.
      Thank goodness for the Victorian brown coal power plants.

  21. Lol, Josh should have had a look at a picture of Australia at night before drawing that cartoon. SA doesn’t look that much different with the lights out, because most of it is desert, and nearly all of its 1.6 million people live in the south east corner of the state.

    • Heh, and I bet it didn’t even feel to those people in SA anywhere near as bad as energy starvation does to the people of North Korea! But after all, it really is only the nearly invisible little people in NoKo who are malnourished in their Desert and getting littler, not their whole freaking Country! Just as Kim Jong ill’s own corpulence definitively proves for all objective people to see, and right smack in the face of Josh’s misleading Cartoon!
      Another news flash to you D’Niers: it’s derivatively certain to 97% of Social Science and Psychology Experts that the EU Countries are likewise only over-reacting to D’Nialist Propaganda – the Cartoons and all the rest of your ill-aimed Sophistry paid for by Big Oil – as demonstrated by the EU’s travesty of successively discontinuing new subsidies for their equally misperceived Wind and Solar “Failures”. In effect these Experts know you D’Nialists obviously want to kill off all of us, except for you, by enabling “The Destruction of Creation!” complete with your “coal cars” carrying us off to the Chambers and Incinerators. Now that’s real “intent” if I’ve ever seen it.
      Please, someone pass this penetrating insight on stat to NY AG Eric Schneiderman, because the Experts have warned me that I might be dead as soon as I push “Post Comment” here because of the secret automatic WUWT Swat Ray, or perhaps transported to Roswell Area 51! That kind of threat has also certainly damped down our and the Expert News Outlets’ ability to get out the facts.
      But otherwise, don’t anybody get worried by China and India’s big push to construct as many coal-fired electricity plants as possible, because it’s only fair that they catch up to the Developed Countries, who have profited off them to get to their unfair opulent Standard of Living which has produced the despicable “obscene inequality of the Rich Nations over the Poor Nations” Fair is Fair. Justice is Justice. Equality is Equality. And Wealth is immutably a Fixed Pie of Wealth. It can never be created or destroyed, only reapportioned, just like Thermodynamic Law indicates. Because I am just like Albert Einstein.
      No, no worries at all, my unfairly frightened friends of the Planet, because so many Windmills and Solar Panels can’t go or be wrong! And The Science says we actually need more of them and Bigger Lewandoskies to hammer it even more firmly into the heads of the deplorable D’Niers – don’t forget to see them get humorously “exploded” in our Cartoon – so as to justly be led, herded, and culled to the 97%, nay even 100% level of Consensus that “The right thing is the right thing!”*
      Moreover, no alleged “Death Threats” can possibly be implied anywhere by our funniest Cartoons ever and The Science which proves that as well, when they both show instead that in fact we’re the ones who care so much that we’re trying to save the whole Planet! The Real Messiahs are indeed The Real Messiahs!
      Lol, the D’Nialists have no real sense of humor at all, especially if they really do think we might want to take over the whole Planet just because we say we want to save it! No, what we have here is only a failure to communicate. [*Goebbels at Nuremburg, ~We must communicate to the common people what they only dimly perceive, that “The right thing is the right thing!” ~1934]
      Hahaha, and we often hear the D’Niers even say that CO2-Climate Change is “disproven by its [100%] Prediction Failure”, and that after our very generous green feedings to Wind and Soar Plants, they are “not fit for purpose!” Well, that’s impossible to begin with: more money in = more of the right things out; and they’ve both fed us very well indeed over almost several decades! The Good is The Good, because it can’t be otherwise. And I channel The Truth as well because it’s the same as The Good!
      And who doesn’t love the SA Desert and the diversity there which keeps the delicate web of life intact, but which is threatened by the D’Niers? Thus from objective Satellite Images, other Deserts are already threatened with Extinction by CO2 and its Warming!
      In other words, contrary to what Josh’s Cartoon tries to fool you prole volk into believing against your unfairly and cynically manipulated common sense, we must actually follow the example of North Korea in Josh’s Cartoon, before it’s too late! And its dark areas are what we all should aspire to create. The Delicate Web of Life is always The Delicate Web of Life.
      But we do need to have some preferably Fat Charismatic Spiders around to show you the Right Way to preserve the Right Web. Of course that would be people like me and PhiIip. And I know I am surely Right about this, because I am surely Right! Just try laughing at that I don’t know about Philip but I even know I better stop losing weight or I’m not going to look enough like Kim Jong il or Al Gore!
      As Mougli of “The Jungle Book” explained it near the time when The Science tells us Fossil Fuel CO2 began its really horrific onslaught against the Planet, ~”The Monkeys know they are the wisest People of the Jungle, because they always say they are”. They achieved a 100% Consensus before we “mainstream” Climate Scientists did, and therefore we must always bow deeply to their Evolutionary Superiority just as much as we struggle valiantly against the D’niers to mimic it.

      • Important additional warning to all us CO2-Climate Change Experts who have as our sacred charges the common people and the very Planet itself!
        Don’t even let our possibly easily-shaken Believers listen to Joe Bastardi’s, @~2:50 pm Pacific Time on Fox Business News, only apparent complete shredding of the deplorable notion that Hurricane Matthew’s Fury will be no different from others historically – or not even as inherently bad, given the “examples,history,and logic” he just conjures up, depending on its Category and tract, etc., and people’s preemptive and subsequent response to it when it hits land…etc. etc. blah blah blah.
        It will only pollute your subjects’ minds with “evidence” from a Meteorologist who makes money forecasting the weather! And it really only proves what we’ve been up against ever since Faux News began. I’ve noticed Faux’s more recent trend to have this Ho Bastardi on as an alleged Expert on climate and weather, and it has bothered me most because of its Propaganda Power on the people and against the Planet that we are trying valiantly to save – although I am of course immune to his kind of disinformation myself. But your subjects’ tender heads might explode! It’ll probably even be on You Tube!
        In fact, don’t anyone whomever listen to anything unless I tell you to.

  22. From Michael Owen SA Bureau Chief for The Australian (7:40PM October 5, 2016)-
    ‘The Weatherill government says the debate over renewable energy has forced it to convene an urgent “summit of leading scientists, energy experts, and economists to provide accurate and factual information about the role of renewable energy in Australia”.
    The summit will be held tomorrow at state parliament ahead of the COAG Energy Council meeting in Melbourne on Friday.
    “It is critical that the importance to Australia’s future energy requirements of renewable energy is recognised, and national leadership is shown on this issue in Canberra,” South Australia’s Environment Minister Ian Hunter said this afternoon.
    “It’s important that we have a fact-based discussion around how we make our energy system more secure, cheaper and cleaner. This summit will bring the science behind renewables to the table — and dispel misconceptions — ahead of important, nation-shaping discussions to be held this Friday.”’
    Now these watermelons want to know what makes an electricity system really tick?

  23. Translation:
    Don’t panic, we’ll have a one day Cook up in Lew of any real science and nip off to Canberra to demand more interconnection to eastern thermal in order to save the planet.

  24. And just when you thought the greentards couldn’t get things more wrong, a statement from The Greens senator (and former bank teller), Sarah Hanson-Young

    We need to support the renewable energy industry in South Australia and the thousands of jobs that it will bring to our state.
    This essential industry was unfairly attacked over the last week and we need to see united support for the sector from Canberra.
    I will move a motion in the Parliament, calling on my Senate colleagues to support South Australia’s renewable energy target, helping to restore investor and consumer confidence in the renewable energy industry in our state.
    A strong wind and solar sector in South Australia, coupled with an increase of battery storage in homes and small businesses, will pave the way for this state’s clean, green renewable energy future.

    Greens to move Senate motion in support of SA renewable energy target
    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  25. This is what happens when political ideologues design power systems. Leave it to the engineers and technicians please, they know what they’re doing.

  26. As for the fancy term “synthetic inertia” Stokes needs to explain in terms of basic physics.
    It appears the concept is to quickly extract more torque from the blades by slowing them, by increasing the generator demand on them. That uses some of the rotational momentum in the blades, _assuming_they_were_not_already_deliberately_slowed as they’d be in icing conditions (yeah, perhaps not much of that in AU but it is a major problem in UK), or stopped to reduce wear on bearings and gears when forecasts of wind and power demand indicate no need for a few days.
    Momentum comes from mass and speed, inertia is resistance to change of speed which seems an imprecise term. Feathered blades may or may not keep turning, regardless they may be braked to stop them, so may not have momentum.
    Apparently the changes in control function to exploit the concept are not trivial. I also want to know how grids handle frequency drop, that may depend in part on how users react to it (plants depending on synchronous motors may take them offline quickly due to the bad effects of under-frequency power).

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