While ecos and wind farm proponents tried to blame the blackout on downed powerlines, a detailed report from AEMO shows it was actually wind farms that were the cause.
From the Institute of Public Affairs | Australia’s leading free market think tank
5 October 2016 PRELIMINARY AEMO SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BLACKOUT REPORT: WIND RESPONSIBLE
The Australian Energy Market Operator’s preliminary report into the recent South Australian blackout reveals that the primary reason for the total loss of power was a sudden reduction in wind power being fed into the electricity network, according to free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
“The Preliminary Report makes it clear that while the weather was responsible for multiple transmission system faults, the blackout did not occur until after the sudden loss of 315 megawatts of wind output at six separate sites over a six second period,”
said Director of Research Brett Hogan.
“The South Australian Government and the renewables industry can no longer credibly argue that the reasons for the fault relied solely on the weather. Images of downed pylons do not tell the whole story.” “In simple terms, the wind increased and some transmission lines went down but electricity generation continued. It was only the as-yet-unexplained reduction in wind farm output which overloaded demand on the interconnector with Victoria, causing the whole network to seize up.”
“Gas generation continued through the storm and the transmission line faults as did supply from the interconnector. Importantly, it was also the Torrens Island gas-fired Power Station that was used to re-start the electricity network later that evening.”
“When you rely on the weather to generate electricity, and the weather turns bad, then you shouldn’t be surprised when your electricity system in turn cannot cope.” “While renewables may very well have a place in our future energy needs, their uncontrolled rollout, powered by federal and state government subsidies is starting to do Australia damage.”
“Demand-limiting kill switches and blackouts are symbols of policy failure. It is not the role of government to favour one energy technology or provider over another. Government should be encouraging competition in a free and open market so that technology and the private sector are free to work out the best energy sources.”
“Generation initially rode through the faults, but at 16:18, following an extensive number of faults in a short period, 315MW of wind generation disconnected (one group at 16:18:09, a second group at 16:18:15), also affecting the region north of Adelaide.” Source: AEMO Preliminary Report – Black System Event in South Australia on 28 September 2016 p.2
A copy of the Preliminary Report is available here.
From that report:
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.