Victims of the South Australia Statewide Blackout to Sue Wind Farm Operators

wind-turbine[1]

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

During the recent statewide blackout in South Australia, there is no doubt that unstable output from wind farms triggered the cascade of events which caused the power outage. The question is – are wind farm operators liable for the economic harm their “product” caused?

Lawsuit looms over South Australia wind shutdown

South Australian businesses left without power could form a class action after it was revealed yesterday nine of the state’s 13 wind farms tripped or reduced output during last month’s storms ­because of a “software issue”.

Litigation funder IMF Bentham said the statewide blackout was on the company’s radar as state Treasurer Tom Koutsan­tonis warned of “lawyers at 20 paces everywhere”.

The Australian Energy Market Operator yesterday released an update to its preliminary report on the September 28 blackout. It identified six voltage disturbances which occurred in the network and also downed transmission towers, triggering the “ride through voltage” systems of nine wind farms.

The wind farm systems tripped as a result, causing them either to shut down or to reduce their output, pushing 445MW of electricity demand on to the Heywood interconnector linking South Australia to Victoria.

With the sudden rush in ­demand, the interconnector shut down to protect itself and isolated the state from the national grid.

“We knew this storm was ­coming, could there have been better preparation? I think so,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

The turbines affected remained on the factory settings and were installed unchanged, he said. “It wasn’t wind energy per se that caused this black system; it was a software glitch.”

The Institute of Public Affairs seized on the report. “The report shows that the five operating thermal generators powered through the storm, in contrast to the wind turbines that turned themselves off,” said Brett Hogan, research director at the free-market think tank. “Australia is a land of heat, cold and other weather extremes. At these times in particular, households and businesses need safe and reliable electricity.”

The Clean Energy Council said there was no evidence to show the power system would have stayed running if wind farms had not tripped off in an unsafe electrical environment.

The agency pointed to the finding in the AEMO report that five transmission line faults ­resulting in six voltage disturbances on the network “led to the SA ­region black system”.

Read more (paywalled): http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/lawsuit-looms-over-south-australia-wind-shutdown/news-story/cd3712fbccccff765826c7135af9a2f6

The following is an excerpt from the AEMO report referenced by The Australian.

In this updated report, it is now known that five system faults occurred within a period of 88 seconds on 28 September 2016, leading to six voltage disturbances.

Data now shows that nine of the 13 wind farms online at the time of the event did not ride through the six voltage disturbances, resulting in a loss of 445 MW of generation. Preliminary discussions with wind farm operators suggest this inability to ride through all disturbances was due to ‘voltage ride-through’ settings set to disconnect or reduce turbine output when between three to six disturbances are detected within a defined time period.

Thermal generators remained connected up until the SA system disconnected from the remainder of the National Electricity Market (NEM). The Heywood Interconnector remained connected up until the sudden increase in electricity flow resulting from the loss of generation caused the automatic protection mechanism to disconnect the lines.

Read more: http://aemo.com.au/Media-Centre/Update-to-report-into-SA-state-wide-power-outage

This affair could go very badly for wind farm operators.

Serious players, large mining and manufacturing companies, are making big claims against their insurance policies or reporting large losses to shareholders, because of the damage the South Australian blackout caused to their operations. The insurance companies are facing millions of dollars of payouts. The only option for recovering all those millions is to sue whoever was responsible, to sue wind farm operators, or possibly to sue the South Australian Government, if the courts determine that government energy policies rather than wind farm operators are to blame for the loss.

The comments by South Australian State Treasurer Tom Koutsan­tonis suggest the state will vigorously oppose any attempt to pin the blame on the government. Suggesting the problem was caused by turbines which had been misconfigured, left on their “default settings”, in my opinion suggests that Mr. Koutsan­tonis thinks the turbine operators were negligent.

Even if wind operators manage to wriggle out of legal and financial liability for the South Australian disaster, the world is watching – unless operators find an acceptable solution to the problems which caused the wind farms to abruptly disconnect from the grid, it is only a matter of time before something similar happens again. Reconfiguring turbines to be more tolerant of voltage disturbances might have prevented the wind turbines from going offline, but more fault tolerance might also create a higher risk of damaging voltage spikes and other electricity supply problems.

Whatever happens in this case, one thing seems clear. The financial risk of being a wind farm operator just skyrocketed.

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216 thoughts on “Victims of the South Australia Statewide Blackout to Sue Wind Farm Operators

  1. They are not Wind Mills, they are Breeze Mills. As soon as there is wind they have to close down.
    Poor operators might have to give back some of the money they have panhandled.

      • They are not any kind of a mill. Mills are for milling ( the clue is in the name ). These things are called wind turbines.

        This story just like a giant buck-passing operation. I do not see how the SA govt can get away from the fundamental problem being a massive over reliance on non synchronising generators. They have so heavily rigged the market that they have forced coal burning generators to shut ( and quite intentionally so ). They have competent engineers who have been warning about this structural problem for years and they have been ignored by the politicians who make the rules. The buck must stop there.

        Whether the ‘default’ settings for the trip-out were optimal or not was not the heart of the problem.

  2. The risks increase……the wind farm operators will ask larger subsidies……..and the political whores will pay it….and taxes will go up. Regardless, I hope they will sued for their incompetence and that they have to pay heavily.

    • The political whores wont pay for it the tax payers will.

      However the tax payers got these political whores at the ballot box – self inflicted injury – an own goal

  3. it would seem that the South Australian government policy demanding renewables is responsible, but I am still feeling a sense of schaudenfreude over the rent-seeking wind farm operators.

  4. The idiot politicians in South Australia who are fully responsible for this renewable energy electric system failure fiasco will no doubt create government protections to cheat energy users from receiving damages they are in fact completely entitled to while shielding the electric system incompetence of renewable energy providers from any financial damages.

    Those ignoring the proven reality of renewable energy which have created a complete debacle of electric system and grid instability in South Australia will continue to promote this costly, unreliable and highly limited energy supply capability and be rewarded for their lies, deception and distortions that try to excuse these fundamentally unavoidable and flawed performance inadequacies of these technologies.

    • I think you will find those protections are already in place to protect the politicians who are responsible for this sham.

      • Yes, we do.
        However we also have a preferential voting system where electors MUST distribute preferences to candidates below their first choice. This can, and has, resulted in a candidate with fewer first preference votes being elected due to a deal with other candidates, generally independents or the Greens!
        South Australia, along with Tasmania, is a mendicant state which is propped up financially by the growth states such as NSW, QLD & WA.
        Our Federal Government has given the green light for SA to build our next fleet submarines, at an expected additional cost of some Billions.

    • The fact that the turbines are renewable and subsidized is irrelevant to the technical issues. If the setpoints had been correct, would the blackout not have happened? It is at least logically possible it would have happened anyway, then who would you sue? It is not a trivial exercise to get the right setpoints, I was part of an effort that examined them at two US nuclear stations over 30 years ago. A number were found to be OK for grid settings, but their impact on the emergency electrical equipment had not been realized. It took a considerable engineering effort to calculate the correct setpoints. So part of this could be attributed to growing pains.

      So think of it this way, if the turbines were not favored by subsidies and were simply another way to generate power, we would chalk this up to lessons learned, extract whatever market penalties the contracts stipulated, like any other generator and then move on. The favoritism leaves a foul taste in everyone’s mouth.

      • Oeman — To compare the set points of a nuclear power generating plant to those of wildly unpredictable, highly prone to failure, wind turbine power generation is worse than useless, for by doing so you create a false impression of the state of wind tech. It is ABYSMALLY not ready for prime time.

        And look as far ahead on the known or reasonably-likely-to-happen horizon as you can strain your eyes (or research on the web) to see and you will find that the scenario is a bleak one. Very bleak.

        No one, NO ONE, other than a gambling addict, would invest in wind (or solar), but for the funding provided by tax/rate surcharge on viable power sources.

        ***********************************

        Sue those rotters into oblivion, Australian Industry!

    • and as an ex-South Australian, I’m glad I no longer live there. I’m still rather disappointed that Tony Abbott is no longer PM, and we have to put up with Turnbull’s carbon trading nonsense.

  5. I think there is fine print allowing Electricity providers free reign in regard to most power shutdowns.
    If wires fall over in a normal storm or lines are hit by trees or a power pole by a truck the loss of power and consequent damages is not claimable by law.
    Though this is a different and foolish way for the power to go down I think the operators are unfortunately in this case, and most cases.

  6. “Serious players, large mining and manufacturing companies, are making big claims against their insurance policies or reporting large losses to shareholders, because of the damage the South Australian blackout caused to their operations.”

    I’d like to see the shareholders and mining and manufacturing companies be vindicated and made whole.

    But how can the insurers respond and offer plans that do not punish every one with higher rates for what SA did to destabilize their own grid?

    • “I’d like to see the shareholders and mining and manufacturing companies be vindicated and made whole.”

      Made whole? Do their contracts with the electricity suppliers promise uninterrupted power with penalties? If not, then they should have a backup plan to keep running, or just accept that blackouts are a thing that happens.

      If they aren’t paying for the promise of uninterruptible power, then they aren’t owed anything if they don’t get it.

  7. “Victims of the South Australia Statewide Blackout to Sue Wind Farm Operators”
    So far, in the report it’s just talk from a “litigation funder”:

    “IMF Bentham investment manager Justin McLernon said the fund was awaiting further ­information from the numerous inquiries under way at state and federal levels. “We are always interested in assisting claimants who have suffered a loss in these types of cases if there is wrongful conduct or someone to blame,” Mr McLernon said.
    “Certainly it is on our radar and we will be taking a look at it.””

    There is nothing in the report to say that the planned target of the notional suit is ‘wind farm operators’. And no indication that Bentham have signed up any “victims” yet. They are just looking for business.

      • Nick is correct.

        Where there is a Will, there is a way – to dispute it.

        In former colonies of Great Britain the grid operator is responsible for damages arising from a disconnection of supply. Compensation for spoiled food (etc) though small, is routinely paid.

        One doesn’t have to sue to get it, just file a claim for direct harm. Indirect harm is not compensated nor should it be. Life does not come with a guarantee.

      • Quote marks have various meanings. If you weren’t demeaning the victims, I take back the allegation of shameful behaviour.
        ============================

      • Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek October 22, 2016 at 11:16 pm
        Nick is correct.

        Where there is a Will, there is a way – to dispute it.

        ——————————————————————————
        Replace “Dispute with “Obfuscate”

    • “…So far, in the report it’s just talk from a ‘litigation funder’:..”

      The first words quoted from the article in the Australian say, “Lawsuit looms.” Take it up with them.

      And if it were more than “just talk from a ‘litigation funder,” then we’d be in the “suing” phase, not “to sue.”

      But play whatever stupid semantics you want with it. It puts you one rung on the ladder above the grammar Nazis. Maybe the Skeptical Science folks will give you an outfit.

      • “But play whatever stupid semantics”
        No, relying on hype (“lawsuit looms”) is the stupid semantics. The heading here makes claims of fact “Victims sue windfarm operators”. No victims have been identified as wanting to sue, and no targets of any potential suit have been named. All we have is a lawyer hoping that somebody unnamed will sue somebody unspecified. Looking for business.

  8. The damages bill will be huge. and hopefully the insurance companies around the world will come to their senses and realise just how much risk they are carrying because of the UNRELIABILITY of wind turbines and solar energy.

    If something like this happened in Germany, imagine the damage.

    This STUPIDITY of subsidised, mandated erratic energy from unreliable sources surely has to come to an end soon.

    The world’s economies cannot sustain it much longer.

    • And there should be harsh prison sentences for the politicians and activist scientists who fraudulently diddled data to bring us to this state of affairs.
      Lock Them Up! Lock Them Up!

      • I certainly don’t want to see them locked up. My preference would see them stripped of every asset they possess, down to and including their underwear, then forced into indentured servitude until the trillions of wasted money are recovered. Not that it would be possible in their lifetime, but who cares? Until politicians and advocacy groups are held personally and jointly responsible with real and painful consequences there is no hope the madness will end.

      • Please explain why prison sentences would not be more appropriate for those who fail to take action to provide clean energy.
        Continuing to pump vast amounts of CO2 into the sky is clearly insane by any measure.

      • Continuing to pump vast amounts of CO2 into the sky is clearly insane by any measure.
        ================
        The problem is that the alternative are worse. Every solution has unintended consequences. Every one. As a result, it is always easier to propose solutions to problems than to actually build solutions that don’t cause more problems than they solve.

        The quality of life people enjoy is directly tied to the amount of energy they use.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_energy_consumption_per_capita

        Fossil fuels have improved the quality of life around the world because they provide huge amounts of energy at low cost, as compared to the alternatives. People says that the wind is free, but so is coal in the ground. It is extracting the energy into useful work that costs the money. And therein lies the problem. It is a whole lot easier to heat your house with a lump of coal than it is to heat it with the wind.

      • Terry, I can see there is no sense trying to explain anything to you, so I will simply use your own logic. If you believe as you do, you need to stop using all forms of energy that release carbon dioxide, as well as any product which was produced using such energy. The only reason fossil fuels are used is because of the demand for cheap, reliable energy, and products made by that energy, from people like you. If people are jailed, then you should be, too, for paying people to generate carbon dioxide-producing energy. You can easily choose not to and live a caveman existence.

      • To Terry at 3:46 a.m.: The CO2 in the air that we breathe is a trace gas at a mere 4 molecules out of every 10,000 (the real meaning of 400 ppm / 0.04% / 0.0004 (decimal). I would not consider that to be “vast amounts of CO2”. (To the above, add that more than 95% of the CO2 going into the atmosphere is from decay and other natural causes.)

    • Nothing more unreliable about a wind farm than a coal plant.
      Coal generators are breaking down all the time.
      As battery storage comes into play it will further smooth out power supply.
      Distributed energy is what creates grid stability.

      • Seriously? Coal generators can produce power 24×7 for years at a time before being taken off-line for maintenance. That’s reliability. Being able to produce power only when the wind blows at certain speeds is not.

    • Thanks clipe, the paywall was there to collect a few bucks from those that might have been willing to pay the bucks to read 1 article, what a bunch of sleezes. The few times I have read some of their free articles stopped me anyways.

    • It would seem that the poorly built transmission towers are more at fault than the wind farms…given that so many towers crumpled.

  9. In California they are nothing but a con job to suck money out of taxpayers and give it crony-capitalists who then “donate” a proportion back to Democrat politicians and party. A complete scam.
    I am sure it is the same elsewhere.

  10. You even boldfaced the quote that explicitly stated this has nothing to do with the power coming from wind versus any other source: “It wasn’t wind energy per se that caused this black system; it was a software glitch.”

    • That is the knee-jerk default denial, the updated report skewers the falsehood that “It wasn’t wind energy per se that caused this black system [ …]”

    • A software issue INHERENT to the operation of wind turbines.

      And NO , it was not a glitch….. it was how they were meant to be programmed.

      Or are you saying the operators were incompetent ?

      not wise to say that, a big legal door opens up.

    • Was this really a ‘software glitch’ in the individual turbines (or the whole windfarm control system, if such exists), which was perhaps not predictable, or simply sloppy work in just choosing to use the default value for the ‘voltage ride-through settings’, rather than this (now apparently) vital step in the commissioning process having been discussed and agreed between the turbine manufacturer, the windfarm operator and the network operator (and maybe the SA govt.), and then the whole system tested before the farm went online? This might make all the difference in any liability court case. I watch with interest…

      • Looks like they set them up and activated them to employ the settings from the factory, declining to adjust them for area specific needs or emergency situations.

        I’m sure the answer is more subsidies.

    • It was not a software glitch. It is a feature. Wind farm operators knew their farms would switch off like that when detecting with sudden grid voltage changes. If they did not know, it was their incompetence.

  11. Looks like the full story might just find its way to the surface , one things for sure South Australia is definately about to pay more for their already overpriced electrickery and the unreliability issue won’t go away anytime soon .
    South Australians voted for this madness and now suffer the consequences good riddance .

    • Rob, I fear that the rest of us in Oz will share that burden as well in the provision of backups systems to protect SA’s energy reliability. To me, they shyte in their own nest and they alone should lie in it.

  12. There are two interconnectors with Victoria, the AC one through the southern part of SA and a DC one that goes a bit north and east of Adelaide to Mildura. The Redcliffs terminal station at Mildura Vic is interconnected to NSW grid as well.

  13. It’s just unbelievable that Oz isn’t powered by coal. The impact on the environment to supply OZ’s electricity with coal and with today’s tech with the new scrubbing methods is minimal at worst.

    • Most of Australia is powered by coal or gas (Tassie, sensibly, uses mostly hydro, because they can)

      If we updated our current coal fired powered stations to the latest HELE types we would almost certainly reduce our CO2 emissions by more than any attempt at using unreliables would, and we would still have a robust energy supply system that could support a thriving economy.

      This FAD of unreliable energy supplies must be brought to a halt before more even damage is done.

      Trouble is that we have far-left pseudo-green governments in SA, Victoria, and Queensland, and a federal government that doesn’t have the guts to say.. ENOUGH !!!

      • Last week somebody “leaked” the discussions into closing the Hazelwood power plant in Victoria. Forcing the Andrews government into issuing a denial. A sure fire gaurante it’s happening. Make no mistake, Andrews is in bed with Wetherill in South Australia.
        This should end not just his ideolygy driven governments assault on the people of Victoria. It should also drive the final nail into the coffin of the South Australian government at the next election but I fear not.

    • But health researchers are joining the global warming jihad. Coal power is now routinely demonized for causing XXXXXX’s of deaths worldwide (WHO reports put the global burden of disease at 7 million per year due to air pollution). UK health SJWs recently issued another report demanding UK stop burning coal for energy. I expect Oz has this kind of thing too.

      PS: I must accept some responsibility myself for promoting/accepting these arguments. I apologise to coal! I won’t do it again.
      PS 2: “Global burden of disease”, GBD, says 7 million “deaths” annually due to air pollution. It does not seem to mean 7 million people actually die. WHO measure of all negative effects on health: illness, lost work days, actual deaths (if any) to get “Disability Adjusted Life Years” (DALY) values, which are a kind of “death equivalent”. So 7 million seems to refer to a DALY value of 7 million.
      PS 3: It should go without saying that life expectancy is now higher than at any time in the history of the world. All of that made possible by levering fossil fuel to build civilization.

      • Yep the 7 million is a FABRICATION , just like everything to do with this scam. !

        And how many people die per year because they DON’T have decent electricity power supply.

      • And where are the studies providing death figures if all coal plants were shut down? Methinks that number would be much higher.

      • Doesn’t “air pollution” include all sources? Like cooking over dung fires? Watch too for the computer model on those numbers. Nothing is real anymore. It’s all virtual reality.

    • Not by a long shot. All other states and territories in Australia have made commitments to go down the renewable path to a similar extent to South Australia in the next 20 or so years.

    • Wind power works fine in many applications (e.g. my rancher neighbor’s well pump for his water trough).

      Just don’t tell us it can replace everything when it can’t.

    • Australia has some of the best coal in the world.
      SA has very good gas supplies

      Those are what Australia should be using.

      This idiocy of unreliable so-called renewables needs to be stopped somehow. !

      • Australia has ~500 years of known reserves of coal at current consumption rates. There is so many undiscovered reserves. True, Australia is a big exporter of uranium. Sad that we can’t use it here. Fear, as with CO2, prevents it in small-minded Australia.

  14. Just noticed whenever the CAGW crowd have a photo to demonstrate the evil C02 they use a photo of some plant spewing steam and whenever our side do a story on wind power we show a wind turbine on fire .
    Seems fitting .

  15. Sue them into absolute oblivion, and do it again and again and again. Keep suing them until the sun is a dark chunk of coal in the sky. Do not allow them to raise their heads in the electric market ever again. Make them scavenge the rotting hulks of their windmills to pay the costs of shutting down their parasitical shakedown rackets erroneously called businesses.

    • I read somewhere that there are some 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in the USA.

      As you say “rotting hulks”.. but left for someone else to tidy up.

      • “AndyG55 October 22, 2016 at 10:59 pm

        I read somewhere that there are some 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in the USA.”

        I have read that too, but have not been able to find reliable information about that. There are images of derelict turbines, but I am not sure about there validity. Images on the interweby are unreliable.

      • I used to work in the USA a often flew into California in small aircraft at low level. I was surprised by the fields of derelict wind turbines – and this was in 1992.

        How many are there now ?

      • I live in california and there were some failed wind farms in the state that were standing when I move here. They were early designs that didn’t work well. They have since then all been removed and replaced with newer designs that work. I have driven past other wind farms in other states and not seen any derelicts.

        I think that 14,000 number is a myth or includes a lot of very old designs which were often small and never generated power. Most were probably removed some time ago.

  16. By definition, the term “default settings” means the windmills did what they were supposed to: At the slightest hint of trouble, like Brave Sir Robin, they buggered off.

    The pension funds love windfarms because the IRR is underwritten by subsidies and take-or-pay contracts. Nothing can go wrong. Well they’re about to learn a new lesson.

    • Your post would be credible if you can quote the number of oil rigs on fire compared to wind turbines.

      • “Your post would be credible if you can quote the number of oil rigs on fire compared to wind turbines.”

        How about comparing the size of the fire, or the cost of the damage?

      • > Guess what happened to the two technicians?

        If they didn’t jump to their deaths, I’m guessing they got cooked extra crispy. How well-done do you suppose the 167 roughnecks lost in the Piper Alpha SNAFU were? And can I get that with a side of chips and some coleslaw?

        Here’s some *non-anecdotal* data, catweazle666. Educate yourself if you have the willingness and capacity to do so. Conversely, you could continue to cook your own goose. Which?

      • “Educate yourself if you have the willingness and capacity to do so”

        Hehehe!

        Gates you foolish, patronising, credulous, frightened little man, I was educated way, way beyond your capacity maybe half a century ago.

        Live with it.

      • > Gates you foolish, patronising, credulous, frightened little man, I was educated way, way beyond your capacity maybe half a century ago.

        I’m pretty sure empirical data was preferred to anecdotal even in science classes 50 years ago, catweazle666. You might want to ask for a refund.

    • We don’t object to windmills because they catch fire, Brandon. Personally, I love it when a windmill catches fire and in Australia people shoot at them.

      Think of it this way, if every windmill was a bore for oil or a fracking well and thousands of them littered the landscape, they would do less harm to wildlife, yet you and every other greenie activist would be screaming from the rooftops at their very presence for being damaging and intrusive.

      Which is what windmills are. Damaging and intrusive and destructive to ecosystems. Environmentalists should hate them. REAL environmentalists (in the original sense) do.

      • > We don’t object to windmills because they catch fire, Brandon.

        I didn’t say “we” did, A.D.

        > Personally, I love it when a windmill catches fire and in Australia people shoot at them.

        Yes, someone else already invoked schadenfreude as a reason for Anthony’s affinity for that burning wind turbine pic. I get it … images of ‘sploding offshore oil rigs are somewhat satisfying in a morbidly perverse way for me, and such pictures can certainly come in handy for attempting to score points in a policy spat as you have just seen. I’d probably limit my shooting to photography if I ever saw one go up in person, however.

        Personally, I’m inclined to let otters voice their own opinions for themselves. Speaking of …

        > Think of it this way, if every windmill was a bore for oil or a fracking well and thousands of them littered the landscape, they would do less harm to wildlife, yet you and every other greenie activist would be screaming from the rooftops at their very presence for being damaging and intrusive.

        … I can say that you’re quite wrong about that on my part. But since buildings kill more birds than windmills, and windmills power some buildings, I’m confused about which I should hate most. Oh, never mind, I remember …

        … I hate feral cats the most. Easy call.

        > Which is what windmills are. Damaging and intrusive and destructive to ecosystems. Environmentalists should hate them. REAL environmentalists (in the original sense) do.

        I know of no human activity necessary for our well-being and comfort which is NOT somehow intrusive and/or otherwise damaging to the ecosystem. But since I place my own species success above all others, I do try to make intelligent and informed choices about what’s in our overall *net* best interests. Part of that calculus is not wrecking the environments upon which we depend for food. Another part is not more directly killing ourselves. As such, I’m a big fan of nuclear fission by these numbers as the primary replacement for fossil fueled electricity in most of the industrialized world. Number two would be geothermal where that could be made to work, followed by solar, wind and finally hydro.

        That’s in a “perfect” world. In the real world, hydro and wind currently happen to be the most politically and economically viable options that aren’t natural gas … but I’m ok with natural gas as a trade for coal. These are at least steps in what I consider to be the correct direction, just not in the order of prioritization I’d otherwise wish.

      • “In the real world, hydro and wind currently happen to be the most politically and economically viable options”

        In fact, hydro power is responsible for several orders of magnitude more deaths than most other energy sources. Take the Banqiao Dam disaster, for example:

        Casualties

        According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, in the province, approximately 26,000 people died[14] from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam

        Or the Sichuan earthquake, perhaps:

        BEIJING — Nearly nine months after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, left 80,000 people dead or missing, a growing number of American and Chinese scientists are suggesting that the calamity was triggered by a four-year-old reservoir built close to the earthquake’s geological fault line.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/world/asia/06quake.html?pagewanted=all

        How many were displaced by the Three Gorges, do you know?

        Then there’s the current disquiet among the Greens about methane from the dams…

      • > In fact, hydro power is responsible for several orders of magnitude more deaths than most other energy sources. Take the Banqiao Dam disaster, for example:

        How is an *example* supposed to support your claim that hydro power is responsible for several orders of magnitude more deaths than other energy sources, catweazle666?

        This is what a *comparison* looks like:

        Energy Source           Mortality Rate (deaths/trillionkWhr)
        ---------------------   ----------
        Coal – global average   100,000    (50% global electricity)
        Coal – China            170,000    (75% China’s electricity)
        Coal – U.S.              10,000    (44% U.S. electricity)
        Oil                      36,000    (36% of energy, 8% of electricity)
        Natural Gas               4,000    (20% global electricity)
        Biofuel/Biomass          24,000    (21% global energy)
        Solar (rooftop)             440    (< 1% global electricity)
        Wind                        150    (~ 1% global electricity)
        Hydro – global average    1,400    (15% global electricity)
        Hydro – U.S.                  0.01 (7% U.S. electricity)
        Nuclear – global average     90    (17%  global electricity w/Chern&Fukush)
        Nuclear – U.S.                0.01 (19% U.S. electricity)

        From the article, which you apparently did not read the first time I linked it for you, says, “Hydro is dominated by a few rare large dam failures like Banqiao in China in 1976 which killed about 171,000 people.”

        I ranked hydro *dead last* in my order of preferences for reasons. It’s almost as if I know something about their environmental and human impacts or something.

        > Then there’s the current disquiet among the Greens about methane from the dams…

        Dams were disquieting to “Greens” well before the methane story broke, you know. In the grand scheme of things, that would be the least of my concerns about them.

  17. As I understand it the whole event, i.e. the blackout, was triggered when several (six?) transmission towers carrying electricity from windfarms were blown over in the storm. This initiated the domino effect of cutouts.
    If this is correct, then it was not a problem with the wind turbines themselves which was the cause. Perhaps someone with local knowledge might have information relating to this.
    I should add that I am no fan of wind power, but if the above is correct then a knee jerk reaction blaming the turbines would be wrong. Whatever was the cause the truth is important.
    Thomas

    • Your understanding is incorrect. Most of those towers were lost after, not before, the blackout. In any event they coild not cause a statewide blackout including Adelaide because they were in the north and most generation is in the southeast. The cause was about 30% of wind tripping off almost simultaneously for whatever reason (excess wind speed, frequency sag), which overloaded the rest, causing Hayward to trip off causing blackout. Been discussed and analyzed in detail here and elsewhere using the actual grid status monitoring data.

      • Before the towers started collapsing 20MW of wind power had tripped off line due to high winds. That is about 10 wind turbines. When the transmission lines towers collapsed during a 88 second window,6 voltage glitches were created. The wind turbine software detected these glitches and enter ride through mode. during the ride through the turbine continues to generate power at a fixed frequency to support the grid. The wind turbine software only allows a limited number of ride throughs in a specific period of time. The default for the software was about 3 in 2 minutes. there were 6 in 88 seconds during the storm. So after the 88 second even 9 out of 13 wind farms had shut down. For the other 4 the wind turbine operator had at the time of installation had changed the ride through settings and the turbines continued to produce power.

        Based on the report:
        the wind turbines did not shut down due to high wind speeds.
        There is no evidence to support the claim that the transmission towers collapsed after the blackout.
        System frequency also stayed in spec after the 4th glitch but at that point 9 out of 13 wind farms had disconnected from the failing grid.
        When the 5 and 6 glitch occurred the grid collapsed. The remaining wind and thermal generator could not keep the grid up.

        Most of the wind farms have already changed there default ride through setting to 19 faults in 2 minutes. Of the remainder some have changed the software to 9 ride throughs and are evaluating there system before making further changes. one wind farm needs a software upgrade.

        There is no report yet on why the transmission towers collapsed. The wind turbines survived the winds witout damage. The grid did not.

        https://www.aemo.com.au/Media-Centre/-/media/9027D5FB69294D408E4089249F38A36D.ashx

  18. “It says much about the nature of our national dialogue these days that it degenerated into a rather tawdry ideological and political brawl even as a once-in-50-year, catastrophic storm event raged across South Australia, as homes and businesses remained without power, and the clean-up was still to come.

    The brawl was on between those who wanted to blame renewable energy for the complete loss of power to an entire state, and those pointing out that the problem was not primarily in generation of power but in its transmission, after twin tornadoes on Wednesday brought down 22 massive transmission towers and generated 80,000 lightning strikes across SA.”
    http://www.afr.com/opinion/a-perfect-storm-hits-south-australia-and-the-climate-change-debate-20160929-grrgkm

    • No. The brawl was between those that just wanted their power to keep going and those that wanted to push their own far-left ideologies onto everybody else.

    • Just curious about your apocalyptic but cherry-picked reference to

      80,000 lightning strikes across SA.

      What’s the context? What are you comparing it to? SA is a very large territory. Are you suggesting that in the whole history of SA, they never had a previous storm that had 80,000 lightning strikes across SA, and that this one particular storm, that coincidentally wiped out the wind farms, was unprecedented? It is really amazing and mystifying to me how many weather events that most people historically have taken in stride become “unprecedented” in relation to CAGW and renewable energy.

      • Phil R said:

        “Are you suggesting that in the whole history of SA, they never had a previous storm that had 80,000 lightning strikes across SA, and that this one particular storm, that coincidentally wiped out the wind farms, was unprecedented?”

        Well, perhaps you can tell us about all the other storms in SA that took out that many transmission towers. If such a thing is common, I’m sure you’ll easily be able to give examples.

      • Philip Schaeffer, towers do go down. It’s not the first time such a thing has happened, but the loss of towers and lines do not take out the entire grid. There would be localized blackouts, yes, not the whole state left without power for a whole day.

      • A.D. Everard said:

        “”Philip Schaeffer, towers do go down. It’s not the first time such a thing has happened, but the loss of towers and lines do not take out the entire grid. There would be localized blackouts, yes, not the whole state left without power for a whole day.”

        OK, so tell me about the last time that many towers went down in one storm.

    • The problem is that policy makers arrogantly think they don’t need engineers involved in policy discussions. Engineers are by far the most informed people on power generation and should be involved from go to whoa.

  19. This sounds more like operator error than a software glitch. A glitch would be something in the software that does not do what the active configuration specifies. That didn’t happen.

    • If I’m not mistaken there was a fossil fuel plant running at low output, which, had it been running at high output, could have prevented the blackout. It was running at low output because grid operators expected high output from wind. The cutting out when wind velocity was too high trapped them, and could have been expected, but wasn’t. It was predictable, and was.

      They shoulda known better; the root problem is overpenetrance of the grid by an unreliable source.
      =======================

      • No, it was the gas turbines. Several were off and the ones that wer running were not at full power and could not ramp up fast enough when about 30% of wind generation tripped off in less than 30 seconds.

      • Problem is you can not have BOTH running at high output at the same time. High output of one is going to drive the other down. Individual wind turbines are small and can change faster than large coal fired generators or even medium sized CCTGs. Thus, they cause the halving which causes the fluctuations which cause the trips.

      • With the wind turbines running near their windspeed limit, it should have been anticipated that they’d exceed it, and the fossil fuel plants ramped up. A child can understand that, and that is the problem, and the liabilitiy.
        ===============

  20. The east coast blackout of 2003 is similar because it was a result of design, software, and human error. As far as I can tell, there were no successful lawsuits by people who, for instance, lost refrigerators full of food.

    In the report on the disaster was a recommendation to …

    Shield operators who initiate load shedding pursuant to approved guidelines from liability or
    retaliation. link

    If the local government was paying attention, there should be legislation protecting the power companies.

    On the other hand, here’s a settlement related to a Con Ed power failure.

    Will there be a successful lawsuit over a blackout? It has happened but the bar seems to be quite high.

    • Well-regulated networks have that sort of protection. They also have regulations that compel operators to cut back on production when necessary for system stability. Unfortunately wind power is usually exempted from such rules, and often it is even physically impossible to regulate hundreds or thousands of physically dispersed windmills from a central control site. Such networks are inherently unstable since it means cutting down on large synchronous generators with system inertia when wind-strength and wind-power production (with no inertia) increases.
      It is perfectly possible to build synchronous wind-power station that will contribute to system inertia, but it costs, and cuts into profit margins.

      “Never in the history of energy production, has so many paid so much to so few, for so little”

      • Never in the history of energy production, has so many paid so much to so few, for so little.

        Brilliant.

  21. Wind power is good for nothing, but pumping water. As the Dutch discovered ages ago. That’s because water can be stored cheaply, while electricity can’t.

  22. “unless operators find an acceptable solution to the problems which caused the wind farms to abruptly disconnect from the grid”
    The update report is quite explicit on this.
    “AEMO then worked with each of the operators of these wind farms and determined that their ‘voltage ride-through’ settings were set to disconnect or reduce turbine output when between three and six ‘voltage ride-through’ events were detected within a given timeframe. “

    And when they have fixed that:
    “The wind farm operators and the turbine manufacturers are working to propose improved ‘voltage ride-through’ settings for consideration by AEMO. As they are re-configured, the wind farms are removed from the reclassification and returned to normal operation. “

    • The problem is not that they have fixed it, the alleged problem will be, they either knew or should have known.
      That is, a problem of negligence.
      The argument would be that they could have mitigated the damage to the system by fixing it prior to a predicted weather event.
      A fall back argument would be that the system itself was inherently unstable and likely to fail.
      This is hardly new information and supportable by previous technical report.
      There is no doubt the insurance companies will join in any action.
      They will be looking for compensation to pay for valid claims.
      Reports were coming in of aluminium production freezing over and business interruption, particularly in manufacturing.
      This is a really sad day for our people in Australia.
      Real people are hurt by these events.
      An ‘Act of God’ won’t cut it.
      We, as a nation, need to rethink our energy policy.

      • “That is, a problem of negligence.”
        If so, which I doubt, it can be fixed. It’s not an inherent problem with wind power.

        “aluminium production freezing over”
        There are no Al smelters in SA. There was a problem in a blast furnace in Whyalla. But they lost power because of transmission line failure, which continued long after the grid was back on.

      • “Nick Stokes October 23, 2016 at 3:18 am

        There was a problem in a blast furnace in Whyalla.”

        A blast furnace for aluminium production, are you sure about that Nick?

      • If they were programmed how they were meant to be programmed, it is not negligence, but an inbuilt feature of the wind turbine system.

      • The assumption would be that the setting were to overcome some vulnerability.

        So, if they change the settings, hopefully the wind turbines will become more vulnerable to fatal damage.

      • Patrick,
        “A blast furnace for aluminium production (?)”
        You don’t read very well. I’ll say it again:
        “There are no Al smelters in SA. There was a problem in a blast furnace in Whyalla.”

      • “Nick Stokes October 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm

        There was a problem in a blast furnace in Whyalla.”

        Blast furnaces use electricity in the process of smelting?

      • “catweazle666 October 23, 2016 at 5:21 pm”

        Electricity isn’t the primary source of energy in melting iron ore for pig iron in a blast furnace, unlike bauxite for aluminium.

      • Patrick MJD: “Electricity isn’t the primary source of energy in melting iron ore for pig iron”

        So what is going to supply the air blast for the furnaces, lots of little men operating bellows?

        Have you ever been in an iron and steel plant?

        How long do you think it would continue to run with no electricity?

      • With negligence this turns on fact.
        If the system may be easily fixed to allow wind power, why was it not done prior to the 50 year event, when the event itself is forecast?
        You can’t just brush this away.

        Alcoa has an aluminium plant just off the border of SA in Victoria, yes, you are right, not actually in SA.
        Building it meant a base load power line to SA providing stable power.
        http://www.alcoa.com/australia/en/info_page/smelting.asp
        Early reports were that this line tripped.
        There will be valid claims for at least business interruption.

      • “Nick Stokes October 24, 2016 at 3:08 am

        His link;

        …had already cooled and welders would have to go in and cut the steel out.”

        Welders *DO NOT* cut steel. Apart from blowing wind into the furnace, electrickery is not the prime power requirement for iron smelting. It’s burning coal! That is why it is called a *BLAST* furnace. 25 tonnes of iron ore and 5 tonnes of coking coal for ever 1 tonne of pig iron.

    • Nick, I do not want to seem as offending or misbehaving, but I have to ask:
      Do you really know or understand what you ARE TALKING ABOUT?

      I do not think you do!

      THIS IS NOT A CASE of settings reducing turbine output, it is a case of turbines not being able or capable of increasing their output when demanded by the grid……….

      The decrease of power supply to the grid by the wind farms did happen simply because the wind farms in question could not increase the energy as per the demand at that moment and maintain a steady power supply to the grid.
      There is no any kind of settings or lines of code that can change that Nick, it is an inherent problem with wind farms…. completely unstable and incompatible with the demand……. the basic requirements of the grid…..

      There was no a reduction Nick, it was simply no any possibility of increase by the wind farms……as required when some other wind farm completely fucked-up and could not operate anymore……

      cheers

      • It is my belief that Nick Stokes is a paid commenter. Given what we’ve seen from Hillary and other political outfits, it is certainly within the realm of plausibility.

      • It makes little sense for Hillary Clinton, or her campaign, to be distributing money to paid commenters on sites like this. Climate change has been a very minor issue in this campaign.

      • In 2008, Al Gore bragged that he had a Three Hundred Million Dollar fund, that’s $300,000,000 for the numerate, to push climate alarmism. When asked the source of the money, he said it was from ‘internet and anonymous donors’. Even Andy Revkin blanched at that.

        Gore is still training hundreds of useful idiots at a time. The best get on to the better skeptical sites.
        ================

      • > It is my belief that Nick Stokes is a paid commenter.

        I suppose that’s fair, Anthony, wot with all the idle *speculation* roundabouts that you’re a fossil fuel industry shill and all.

        On behalf of my own paymasters/comrades here at Warmunists LLC, we thank you for your concerns.

      • “The decrease of power supply to the grid by the wind farms did happen simply because the wind farms in question could not increase the energy as per the demand at that moment and maintain a steady power supply to the grid.”
        That is completely backward, and contradicts what has been maintained at WUWT. Demand was not increasing; the wind farms were doing what was expected of them, until their protection switching was triggered by the accumulation of voltage events (from wind damage to the transmission). After that there was a power shortfall, which was too much for the capacity of the interconnector to make up. The normal remedy would be load shedding, but there just wasn’t time. The interconnector disconnected too. Neither wind nor gas generators can increase their output on this time scale to compensate.

        That switching criterion can be changed, and that is what AEMO is referring to in the section I quoted. When the supplier and AEMO agree, which seems to be happening, the wind farms are reclassified.

      • “In 2008, Al Gore bragged that he had a Three Hundred Million Dollar fund, that’s $300,000,000 for the numerate, to push climate alarmism. When asked the source of the money, he said it was from ‘internet and anonymous donors’. Even Andy Revkin blanched at that.” Do you have a link to support that?

        Clearly there is money being spent to discredit the AGW premise: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dark-money-funds-climate-change-denial-effort/

      • Note the difference in 8 years, Chris. Today he wouldn’t dare brag about such things. Even then he was ashamed to admit the source of the money.
        ==========================

      • Nick Stokes
        October 23, 2016 at 1:43 pm

        Nick, The interconnection was subjected to a “deficit”, so were the wind farms and the gas generators Nick.
        Deficit means demand Nick.

        The gas generators did increase their energy input as they seemed to have maintained a steady power supply Nick, when in the same time wind farms went downhill from bad to worse and making the situation impossible to be “arrested” from the grid, the SA grid Nick, a grid that seems to be very “smart” indeed. It happened in 6 seconds Nick………..The wind farms performance mast have being woeful going down so fast so quick……….
        Of course there was not enough thermal generators on line to assist the SA grid in “arresting” such a stupid condition….the ones that were did the most possible to maintain a steady power supply to the grid
        From my own experience Nick, in such weird grid problems, guess who gets it…….the protection systems, the “golden scapegoat”….. like some how if the settings were different the out come would have being a different one.
        No any kind of protection settings would have kept the interconnection on…..

        Again Nick read carefully my previous comment that you have replied to, to the very last sentence so you will have it in full context……

        cheers

      • Anthony Watts
        October 23, 2016 at 8:33 am

        Thank you for showing clearly your care and responsibility again, for all of us here, including Nick Stokes, and for all your straggle to keep up with it and all the hardship and headaches resulting from it all ,,, really appreciated. :) Honestly

        Thank you ..

      • whiten. Read steven f’s comment. Then read it again. The wind power cut out because a certain number of grid faults were detected and the software cut the output. The software settings have been changed to allow for more faults before going into safety mode. It had nothing to do with the wind generators not being capable of producing enough power.

    • The complete utter truth. Even the farmers replaced the wind driven pumps when they got electricity. One of my jobs as a kid sixty years ago was checking on the troughs in each of the various pastures, daily!

      • So true.
        Years ago I worked on a 110 thousand acre property at Hillston in NSW where all the water troughs were filled by
        Southern Cross mills pumping subartesian water.
        The wind was relentless, however if it stopped for three days, the cattle and sheep died as the tanks ran out.
        Its a shame that a whole state in Australia is put on the same sort of fine line for failure.
        ‘When will they ever learn?’

    • And then how are the going to fix the problems created by overriding the industry standard override actions? Next time there is a bad storm or and a power outage take note ofthe fact that, usually, the lights will dim three times before they go black. And usually, if it only dims once or twice, the lights stay on. That is because the circuits are designed to maintain power, not shut it off on momentary problems. A fallen tree, or a car, or wind blowing two wires together can cause a momentary high current. That will trip the circuit. The breaker will then, automatically, reclose. If it does not trip then you have lights, if it trips two more times. Then the automatic sequence decides it is a real problem and the power stays off.

  23. I read the original report and the voltage disturbances (due to collapsing transmission towers) that caused the shutdown were actually rather minor, the kind that causes your lights to dim very briefly, nothing more. However several (three) such disturbances closely together may signal a more serious problem, so I can understand the software doing a precautionary shutdown. This is a reasonable policy from a purely commercial point of view in a business that is used to living in a subsidized, no-risk-ever-needed-to-be-taken environment.
    However it is highly irresponsible for a major power provider. Note that no other generator or interconnect reacted. They were set to close down only when voltage/frequency departed so far from nominal that there was risk for major damage to the system. Unfortunately the near-simultaneous shutdown of the wind-power farms caused such a departure.

  24. So no matter what happens in court it seems that insurance rates for the wind farms should increase significantly. Thus the cost of their operation will increase and must be offset by higher rates to the consumer. Just Dandy! I see no out for the consumer.

  25. Before getting too carried away lets just remember that all coal fired plants were purchased with public money.

    So why not a little help to cover a small portion of the installation cost of turbines?

    Once they are installed, the energy is free.
    Now for new build powerstations wind and solar provide the cheapest power.
    That is why they are causing the reduction in wholesale prices.

    • …What planet do you live on ?? Here on the planet Earth, coal fired plants are privately owned,wind and solar are not cheaper, even with tax payer subsidies and consumer prices are skyrocketing…

    • Ian- I assume you are talking about Australia? Not true everywhere. There are many private power producers including gas, coal, wind and hydro. I grew up in a Canadian Province where private companies had built large hydro power plants for industrial purposes. Private industry continues to build private power plants; I now live in a province where many industrial plants produce some or all of their power and even sell their surplus power to the grid. The heavily <b)subsidized wind farms are also private. The four western Canadian Provinces have had and still have private power companies.

      PS: There is no such thing as a free ride and wind is certainly NOT FREE once the turbines are installed. When doing an analysis, you have to take in capital cost, operating costs, (fuel) and maintenance. Maybe you think the wind makes wind turbines fuel free. But the capital, operating costs and maintenance costs PLUS grid interconnections, power collection, substation builds and large transmission lines from windy ridges to point of use are YUGE. ;-)

    • “So why not a little help to cover a small portion of the installation cost of turbines?

      Once they are installed, the energy is free.”

      For the same reason that after a coal – or gas – or nuclear – power station is built, the power is not free, of course.

      “Once they are installed, the energy is free.”

      No it isn’t.

      • Dead right, Catweazle.
        From what I understand (as an albeit retired Civil Engineer with lots of exposure to Power Plant), there are issues of:
        1. Maintenance – Wind (not free)
        2. Repair (not free) of M&E components subject to constantly varying load conditions (as opposed to much more consistently steady-running conditions of a major thermal plant). Correct me, please, if I’m wrong, but the per kWh maintenance of a wind-turbine *has* to be several orders higher for wind — runiong-around all over the countryside fixing problems with scores of turbines, compared with the effiencies of scale of maintaining 4-6 big turbines in a turbine hall, running much more smoothly.
        3. and the Elephant in the Room (which ‘Ian’ VERY CONVENIENTLY!!!!!!) avoids is the Externalities of Wind-Farm operations: bird-deaths by the thousands; loss of property values ‘cos of visual & acoustic POLLUTION. (All the reasons trotted-out by the ‘Other Side’ when it suits their position. What’s Sauce for the Goose, is Sauce for the Gander.)
        4. Maintenance – Solar (absolutely *not* free — you lie thro’ yr teeth Sir!)
        4.1. A window-washers’ paradise like the Sydney Bridge repainting … never-ending!
        4.2. The gadzillions of connectors all corroding and needing cleaning to reduce resistance & restore perfect connectivity!
        4.3. Solar panels, like everything else, includiong the fairy-lights in my garden, fail (in the case of my fairy-lights, in about 5 years.
        4.4. What have I missed, ye with more expertise than I can bring at a common-sense level?

    • “Once they are installed, the energy is free.”

      Still waiting for American wind farms to decline all available subsidies once the wind turbines are installed.

    • Even if it is true that both coal and wind are paid for with public funds, that doesn’t change the fact that the cost of wind power is way higher for wind.
      As to your contention that wind is free, so what. Maintenance isn’t.

  26. Big U.S. electricity consumers pay demand charges, based on their capacity to consume, derived from the past year’s peak usage. If there is an outage, no suit is required: the utility pays them. Demand charges cover the utilities fixed cost for having production capacity available for peak demand.

    An “act of God” shields the utility.

    Big U.S. electricity consumers are self-insured, which means they don’t have insurance for such things. The insurance business model is:

    Price = claims + admin + profit

    Big companies have no interest in paying someone else’s admin and profit.

    To the extent than SA has similar business practices, as Philip Schaeffer points out above, wind farm operators have no liability. In a suit, the plaintiff would have to prove the outage was NOT an act of God. The power went out in a storm – all the jury needs to know. Convincing a jury otherwise with technical details is unlikely.

  27. The South Australian government can rightly claim that they do not have any direct control over either wind farm deployments or the grid operation (even though they knew that the grid was unstable whenever there was a lot of wind generation). The grid operator, ElectraNet, can rightly claim that they can only request generators take action according to the market rules and pricing directives run by the AEMO.

    This leaves the AEMO and wind farm operators as the ultimate defendants for any lawsuits. The AEMO can point out that the wind farms’ fault ride through settings were not provided during their registration with the NEM. Without the settings, their behaviour was incorrectly modelled for assessment of likelyhood for non-credible events meaning the pricing directives were not set for more thermal generators to be brought online. The wind farm operators sole defence is that the AEMO did not explicitly ask for the details of these settings.

    Looks like omission of relevant facts to me. Even if the AEMO wears some of the blame, they can pass on costs by fining the wind farms for failure to meet performance standards (as has been done to thermal plants in the past).

  28. ” suggests that Mr. Koutsan­tonis thinks the turbine operators were negligent”

    As the joke goes: “I didn’t say I thought it was your fault. I said I was going to blame you.”

    Mr Koutsantonis knows the wind farmers were doing exactly what he wanted. He just doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own policies.

  29. An inherently unstable system will fail with an indeterminate frequency and eventually folks will wake up. Fool me once: shame on thee; fool me twice: shame on me.

  30. I say finding the cause of this outage will be a difficult task because the network is large, widespread, and interdependent. Finding someone to blame will be easier.

    No doubt the proximate cause is the storm which knocked down some transmission capacity. But many earlier decisions, all of which seem politically expedient, put the grid in a precarious state, and this may be the root of the problem. South Australia has a very large proportion of wind generation. About half of this is composed of turbines that cannot provide frequency support or reactive power to the grid. The other half are able to do so, but the facilities may not have had the requisite additional plant installed in an effort to encourage more wind development and contain rates.

    Here in the middle of North America, where the battle cry seems to be shutter the coal plants, and install more wind power, we need to listen to people who have concerns about grid stability. Stability does not mean simply adequate real power to meet demand. It also means reliable sources of reactive power and frequency support.

    I hope SA produces a credible study and learns from this, but I would say there is too much need here for getting a correct result politically and having the blame assigned just right for truth to emerge.

    • “we need to listen to people who have concerns about grid stability”

      Good luck with that. We don’t listen to engineers anymore and prefer to receive our energy wisdom from 3rd rate sociology graduates with gaia fantasies.

    • I am curious about whether S.A. has ever had a complete blackout PRIOR to the installation of wind power? I don’t know the answer to this question and I humbly request someone more knowledgeable then I (not Nick Stokes) can answer?

  31. Well there is at least one precedent for compo I know of and that’s the puzzling cheque for $450 a mate got explaining it was for a previous storm blackout to his power supply earlier this year. He like me lives in suburban Adelaide and it was a case of what the hell is this cheque for and did I get one and did I recall any blackout around the time?
    No and no but as I got to thinking I recalled a tornado type storm up Mannum way on the River Murray that knocked out power lines for a day or two and guess who had a holiday shack up there? Yep that’s what it was for upon checking the bill it related to, even though no one was there to even notice, so over to you with the current log of claims for the State wide blackout Premier and Treasurer.

  32. The problem for many politicians and the public in general is that they have no appreciation of how much energy is in fossil fuels. They think that since a barrel of oil is small and a windmill is big, there must be more energy in the windmill than the barrel of oil.

    We lived off the grid for 20 years. During that time we had a propane/electric dual fuel ammonia fridge/freezer. One 15kg tank of propane (200 kwh) would run this for 6 months, and the refill would cost about $20 in SE Asia. About 10 cents a kwh. Over 20 years $800.

    We could also run this on solar panels. In the tropics you get about 1000 hours of usable sunshine in 6 months. Which means to equal the 200 kwh in a tank of Propane you need 200 watts of panels, plus at a minimum, 1 x 200 amp hour 12v battery for the time the sun is not shining.

    The panels will cost about $400 and last 20 years. The battery will cost $200 each and last 3 years if you are careful. Over 20 years your batteries will cost about $1400, meaning your solar system will end up costing $1800, as compared to only $800 for the fossil fuel system.

    • And it is this simple costing ($800 vs $1800 over 20 years) that shows the problem in South Australia. Solar panels are cheaper than fossil fuels over 20 years, if you don’t consider storage. You can store fossil fuels for years at very low cost, until they are required. But you cannot easily store sunshine or wind until they are required.

      The problem is that energy is only useful if it available when you need it. A fire in the fireplace is fine in the winter, but not in summer. Not only is a fire in the fireplace not useful in summer, it is worse the useless. It is a problem.

      And it is the storage costs of fossil fuels versus the storage costs of green energy that are being ignored by the politicians and environmental groups. It is these storage costs that lead to unreliability in the power grid, because there is no money being invested to store green energy, because the costs are so impossibly high as compared to the alternatives.

  33. From a satellite-height observation erspective, it seems to me:
    1. The Politico-Alarmist Complex (“PAC”) have stampeded themselves into a rush to Salvation by Renewables, with a lack of understanding of the risks involved.
    2. PAC has conned the taxpaying public into believing that “We know what we’re doing, and grid reliability will remain assured at pre-Renewables levels. (B-S!!!)
    3. Ditto, “Energy Prices will eventually come down as a result of the change to Renewables” (B-S!!!)
    4. Ditto: “Jobs and the Economy will rise/benefit from the shift to the Renewables industry” (B-S!!!)
    WE’VE ALL BEEN HOODWINKED & CONNED!

    • Jobs and the Economy will rise/benefit from the shift to the Renewables industry
      =================
      Given the high degree of automation in today’s industry, the driving force behind superpower status is energy costs. If the US had the lowest cost energy on the planet, companies would stampede to the US to set up manufacturing plants. Instead they are fleeing offshore.

      More and more it is not labor costs that determine where companies locate, because labor is increasingly a smaller and smaller part of overall costs. The driving force has become regulatory, tax, and energy costs.

      High regulations + high taxes + high energy costs = no jobs

  34. Anthony (or whomever is responsible for the photo choice) – I notice whenever there is an article about wind energy that photo of a WT failing is shown. There is now an article here about a new nuclear generator in Tennessee but it isn’t accompanied by a photo of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima. Why the disparity of treatment?

    Please don’t pick up the bad habits of the mainstream journalists and editors – e.g. even the FT nearly always has poor photos of Trump – now that’s just pure childish behaviour by a so-called quality newspaper.

    • Hoplite said:

      “Why the disparity of treatment?”

      When you’re fighting an ideological war against such evil the ends always justify the means…

  35. Eric – there are contradictions in your article above. These wind turbines aren’t bought at a retail store. The ‘factory settings’ are what the purchaser would have requested. What settings would the purchaser have requested? The settings the Australian Grid Operator have laid out in their technical conditions of connection, who, I notice, are not mentioned in your article above at all. Kinda suggests neither you nor the others writing above know what they are talking about.

    Wrt the fault ride through capability of WT’s the early models with asynchronous generators (the cheap and nasty ones) had poor fault ride through capability and huge reactive power requirements on voltage recovery – just what you don’t want or need when the network is on its knees. Later models DFIG, PMG etc are much much better at riding through faults but the traditional grid operator approach is to get them to disconnect and that sounds like what happened here with the settings set to trip out permanently with 6 faults in a 88 second period (horrendous network performance btw and nothing to do with WT’s). Modern WT’s have fault performance that traditional synchronous generators can only dream of (fault current limited response which really helps with continuously increasing fault levels on the grid).

    Nice attempt to diss renewables – but all it really shows is your ignorance of them.

    • Modern WT’s have fault performance that traditional synchronous generators can only dream of (fault current limited response which really helps with continuously increasing fault levels on the grid).

      Limited to a few seconds before the rotor grinds to a halt and then you have a big generation shortfall while the turbine slowly comes back up to speed. The does give the grid operator those few seconds to shed load but it’s no substitute for being able to add fuel.

      Nice attempt to pump renewables – but all it really shows is your ignorance of them.

      • ‘Limited to a few seconds before the rotor grinds to a halt’

        No. Modern WT’s generally have full converters. They are essentially programmable current sources. In theory, they can supply indefinitely into a fault at their rated current (depends on the nature of the fault and level of residual voltage at the terminals). Overall, modern WT’s are a challenge to grid operators mainly due to the protection and control philosophy that has built up over many decades but on a first principles basis, the new full converter technologies are far superior to traditional large synchronous generators (i.e. they are generator and fault limiter all in one). In the real world, the solution isn’t all one or all the other but a combination of the two: the synchronous generators provide frequency stability that non-sync WT’s can’t and the full converter WT’s provide additional generation capacity with no increase in short circuit levels as well as voltage support capability in remote regions of grids where operators have traditionally struggled to maintain voltages within acceptable limits (this latter can be provided with or without the wind blowing as it is reactive power).

      • You seem to believe that the full converters magically produce as much power as required. Basic physics should tell you this is impossible.

        When providing support for short circuits, the additional current supplied by the turbine requires an increase in power output from the turbine. To produce this extra electrical power, this requires the rotating inertial energy of the rotor/turbine assembly to be converted which slows the rotor and turbine (with increasing loss of speed as the fault current period progresses). Recovery then occurs when the rotor is accelerated back to normal operating speed and lasts longer than the short circuit period since the wind power is necessarily less than the additional power supplied for the fault period.

        TANSTAAFL

        http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40565-015-0143-x

        All the fancy asynchronous generation synthetic inertial capacity provides is a tradeoff between an immediate short circuit shortfall and a delayed generation shortfall. Granted, it gives grid operators some extra breathing space to shed loads but it is not the panacea you like to present.

      • ‘You seem to believe that the full converters magically produce as much power as required.’

        Don’t be ridiculous. I said they can continue supplying into a faulted network if there is reasonable residual voltage at their terminals. I also said they limit their fault current. It would seem you don’t really understand what any of that means.

        ‘When providing support for short circuits, the additional current supplied by the turbine requires an increase in power output from the turbine.’

        If they continue supplying at the same active power level they had been supplying at the don’t speed up or slow down. You do not seem to understand that they are not passive electrical components but active components that can, within limits, continue supplying the same active power output for a significantly diminished terminal voltage (or indeed wildly varying frequency – low or high). You fail to understand that none of this involves changing active power throughput – hence no change in turbine speed. If the voltage is too low or fault too long a duration for mechanical and thermal limits then, of course that will impact on active power throughput and changes to the rotation speed, pitch etc. But insofar as it has limits, it is significantly less limited, wrt to faults, than a sync gen with some sort of thermal prime mover. Of course thermal has the advantage of stepping on the gas when required which a WT can’t do unless it has a some significant active power storage – which can be done cost effectively in the converter DC link to give some seconds or 10’s of seconds active power boost if that is what a grid operator specifies in the tech conditions of cxn.

      • btw the paper you referenced has nothing really to do with the topic you and I are discussing. It is discussing the reduced frequency stability with lots of non-sync generation. If I recall correctly, I actually even mentioned that issue in my first post to this article.

    • The fact that they need these tripouts is sufficient to diss renewables.
      The fact that you want to excuse them just shows that you are more interested in promoting renewables than in promoting reality.

      • Mark – all generators will trip out on prolonged or rapidly repeating faults. Network collapses happened before WT’s ever existed. I am not making any excuses but correcting people’s misunderstandings and technical ignorance here.

  36. ASSUME all the problems of wind turbines (bearing failures, settings, etc. etc.) can be resolved – a low probability but just ASSUME this anyway.

    There is still the fatal problem of intermittency of wind (and solar) power – it may come to a shock to wind power advocates and politicians, but the wind does to blow all the time, and when it does blow, the power that wind generates is highly variable. Therefore wind power is not dispatchable, unlike conventional power generation systems – that is why, globally, 98% of global primary energy supply is conventional (fossil-fuel, nuclear and hydro) and fully 86% is fossil fueled.

    In Alberta, I have demonstrated this fatal problem of intermittency to our new socialist government, who are hell-bent to retire our coal plants and adopt more wind power, at a current cost 5 to 10 times that of coal and gas-fired power. Notwithstanding the highly credible evidence from around the world that wind power is too intermittent and too diffuse to work effectively or economically, they are committed to make it work. IT WON’T.

    Our loonie-left government is relying on grid-scale electricity storage schemes to iron out the intermittency of wind power, and is ignoring the fact that grid-scale storage schemes do not exist for Alberta. Most grid-scale storage schemes are experimental and highly uneconomic for the foreseeable future; the only one that works now is pumped storage, and we have exactly ZERO sites suitable for pumped storage in Alberta.

    Cheap, abundant, reliable energy is the lifeblood of modern society. When misinformed politicians fool with energy systems, real people suffer and die. That is the tragic legacy of false global warming alarmism.

    Regards, Allan

    • Allan:
      Excellent reply, and right on the ball.
      The Brits tried Pumped Storage up a Welsh mountain to ‘store’ nuclear generated, off-peak energy from Trawsfynnyd (was it), and I *think* it was an experiment not repeated (but I stand to be corrected, please).
      I also agree with your comments about pump-storage sites in Alberta: On contract work for TransAlta,, I undertook a map-search for reservoir sites in the province.
      1. Yes, there are the Rockies, but all the viable sites had long been adopted (and I seem to remember that hydro-reliabiility is limited by low feed in winter months (5 months of the year??) which is when the grid most needs it. (It’s the reverse problem to my garden irrigation system, in which the tanks get filled in wet months — winter here on b.C. coast — and drain within the first month of hot weather (June +/-)
      2. the foothills have ‘dimples’ and coulees, but none was economically viable from memory.
      For these Pols, it’s all wishful thinking …. when are they going to get their heads outta the clouds about the intrinsic unreliability of Renewables and the fact hat they are only useful at the margin (but at incomparably hi’er kWh cost on an all-in accounting analysis) and NOT AS RELIABLE BASE-LOAD GENERATION WHICH IS THE STAPLE OF A MODERN STATE.

      • Thanks you Ross – good comments.

        We have known since about 1985 that global warming alarmism was scientifically wrong – a false crisis.

        We have known with greater certainty since about 2002 that it was a deliberate fraud.

        Here is “a little light reading” that you may find of interest.

        WHAT WE KNEW AND WHEN WE WROTE IT
        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/05/28/greens-blame-donald-trump-for-crumbling-paris-climate-accord/comment-page-1/#comment-2225581

        Best, Allan

      • ON CO2 STARVATION

        A but more information that you may find of interest.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/14/the-divergence-between-surface-and-lower-troposphere-global-temperature-datasets-and-its-implications/comment-page-1/#comment-2319871

        [excerpt]

        9. Finally, atmospheric CO2 is not alarmingly high; in fact, it is dangerously low for the survival of terrestrial carbon-based life on Earth. Plants evolved with about 2000ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, or about 5 times current CO2 concentrations.

        10. In one of the next global Ice Ages, atmospheric CO2 will approach about 150ppm, a concentration at which terrestrial photosynthesis will slow and cease – and that will be the extinction event for terrestrial carbon-based life on this planet.

        11. More atmospheric CO2 is highly beneficial to all carbon-based life on Earth. Therefore, CO2 abatement and sequestration schemes are nonsense.

        12. As a devoted fan of carbon-based life on this planet, I feel the duty to advocate on our behalf. I should point out that I am not prejudiced against other life forms. They might be very nice, but I do not know any of them well enough to form an opinion. :-)

        Regards, Allan

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/01/celebrate-weve-finally-hit-a-climate-tipping-point/comment-page-1/#comment-2249552

        [excerpt]

        The global cooling period from ~1940 to 1975 (during a time of increasing atmospheric CO2) demonstrates that climate sensitivity to increased atmospheric CO2 is near-zero – so close to zero as to be insignificant.

        Furthermore, warm is good and cold is bad – for humanity and the environment. Excess Winter Mortality globally is about 2 million people per year, including about 100,000 per year in the USA and up to 50,000 per year in the United Kingdom. Excess Winter Mortality rates are high even in warm countries like Australia and Thailand.
        Reference: “Cold Weather Kills 20 Times as Many People as Hot Weather” by Joseph D’Aleo and Allan MacRae, September 4, 2015
        https://friendsofsciencecalgary.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cold-weather-kills-macrae-daleo-4sept2015-final.pdf

        The scientific conclusion is that there is NO global warming crisis, except in the minds of warmist propagandists.

        I recently received a letter from Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips (cc’d to our Minister of Energy and our Premier) wherein she speaks of the government’s plan to reduce “carbon pollution”. Yes, really – some people still talk like that.

        There is overwhelming evidence that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans is not dangerously high – it is dangerously low, too low for the continued survival of life on Earth.

        I have written about the vital issue of “CO2 starvation” since 2009 or earlier, and recently others including Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, have also written on this subject:
        https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/moore-positive-impact-of-human-co2-emissions.pdf

        Executive Summary

        This study looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy. All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth.

        This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation. It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments. The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.

        [end of Exec Summary]

        http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/varcoe-feds-look-to-target-coal-power-plants-following-albertas-plan

        Basic science for Paul Caden, who seems to have missed primary school:

        CO2 is not dirty – it is colourless and odourless. Animals inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. Plants live on CO2 and produce oxygen – CO2 is plant food. If you fear CO2, you could stop breathing – just a suggestion.

        Moving up to high school science:
        No CO2 means no photosynthesis, and that means the end of all carbon-based life on Earth. During the last Ice Age, which ended only 10,000 years ago, atmospheric CO2 was so low that photosynthesis slowed to a crawl – it was close to an extinction event. In the next Ice Age, which is imminent, or the one after that, or the one after that, we could see the end of carbon-based life on Earth – due to CO2 starvation.

        Moving up to university science:

        It gets a little more complicated – there are C3 plants and C4 plants, but the issue is pretty much the same.

        But don’t feel bad Paul – even though you are a dolt, every time you exhale, you make a little flower happy.

        Regards, Allan

      • No, Dinorwig is an integral part of the UK grid and helps compensate for the intermittency of wind turbines and PV during the course of a day – it cannot compensate for an extended period of calm nor the overnight shutdown of PV.

        It’s original roles was what you said – store nuclear power during overnight offpeak and help with the morning and evening demand peaks. This has been compromised to some degree by its partial repurpose.

        Dinorwig is also a blackstart facility for the UK grid.
        http://www.electricmountain.co.uk/

      • Thanks,Analitik, for your informative reply. I am refreshingly updated!
        Your comment that “[I]t cannot compensate for an extended period of calm nor the overnight shutdown of PV” is most interesting: without running numbers, any layperson can grasp from Dinorwig just how big a compensating back-up “battery-pack” is needed to offset the vagaries of wind and the reality of nights. And even re-purposed Dinorwig isn’t big enough!
        Nota bene, Greeno’s, that the already exorbitant cost (per kWh) of Renewables has to be added-to by the capiotal and operating-costs of the stand-by “battery-pack”.
        The World really has gone mad when (wo)man tries to make unreliable Renewables the *primary* source of reliable power, and displacing reliable generation to a back-up role.

      • Mr./Ms. Analitik replies elsewhere to my comments about pumped-storage in Wales. (S)he identifies Dinorwig “Electric Mountain” … check out his/her comment, and the website.
        To which I replied:
        ” ….. Your comment that “[I]t cannot compensate for an extended period of calm nor the overnight shutdown of PV” is most interesting: without running numbers, any layperson can grasp from Dinorwig just how big a compensating back-up “battery-pack” is needed to offset the vagaries of wind and the reality of nights. And even re-purposed Dinorwig isn’t big enough!
        Nota bene, Greeno’s, that the already exorbitant cost (per kWh) of Renewables has to be added-to by the capital and operating-costs of the stand-by “battery-pack”.
        The World really has gone mad when (wo)man [halllooooo, Rachel Notley!] tries to make unreliable Renewables the *primary* source of reliable power, and displacing reliable generation to a back-up role.”

        The Brits, as I understnad it, are busy de-commissioning coal-fired power-stations; converting others to wood-chip burning (shipping-in chips from USA do I hear — WHAAAAT??!!!!); and buying thousands of back-up diesel gen-sets to compensate for Renewables’ inability to maintain power across the grid.
        Many Brits will remember the black-outs during the Miners’ Strike (the “Who Rules Britain” debate sparked by Maggie Thatcher), in the dead of winter, and we all took our turns freezing in the dark for 4 hrs at a time. It was grim. With idiots like Notley trying to manage the provincial Electricity Power system in the face of a) economics and b) her professional advisors, Albertans had better stock-up on candles, matches, kerosene heaters, propane tanks, bulk water (the pipes will be frozen), batteries, mittens, toques, and layers of extra clothing and blankets.

      • Ross King: “The Brits, as I understnad it, are busy de-commissioning coal-fired power-stations”

        You understand correctly, Ross.

        Incredibly, the components are being sold as scrap to the Germans, who are incorporating them in the twenty-odd new lignite (dirtiest fossil fuel ever) burning plants that they are building to compensate for the close-down of their nuclear plants due to fear of tsunamis(!) and the utter failure of their Energiewend to supply reliable power at an economic price.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25149717

        You couldn’t make it up!

    • @Allan M.R. MacRae October 23, 2016 at 12:50 pm:

      To your excellent comment I would add only that few (in theory) and none (in economically viable practice) of the “renewables” have the stable primary energy source combined with large rotating mass – inherent to conventional base load generation and, to a lesser (in rotating mass) degree, in conventional peak generation – that is so important for maintaining grid stability.

    • I don’t like the word “intermittency.” To me, it implies cycles. Short cycles. With wind, you can have outages lasting days. Storage can address intermittency, it can’t address long outages. Backup generation is required for long outages, so measures to deal with intermittency are irrelevant, accomplishing nothing at great expense.

      • Gamecock:
        Intermittency exists and is a problem at all time scales – your comments just tend to confuse the issue.

        Our socialist NDP government really believes that grid-scale electricity storage (that does not exist) will solve ALL the problems of intermittency due to wind and solar power.

        Yes, they really do – they wrote me a letter and sent me their report on electricity storage. The report was surreal – imagine grown people telling you not to worry, everything will work out because unicorns would come to our rescue.

    • Bob:
      On the nail comment!
      Just as Skeptics/Denialists get pilloried for ‘not understanding that the Science is Settled’, so the Politico-Alarmist-Complex lobbyists shd get pilloried for rushing new technology into operation, throwing caution aside to make the Pols look good.
      I’m delighted to see that the chickens are coming home to roost with the Politico-Alarmist-Complex promoters in SA. If Notley gets to black-out Alberta in mid-Winter, I hope there will be an enormous backlash in the streets, especially as Alberta once had a very reliable and reasonable-cost electric utility system that was well-regulated, and which let the Power Systems Engineers do their technical jobs without political interference.

    • The South Australian politicians are fully aware of the issue of lack of stability when there is lots of wind and PV generation – there is a comprehensive report by the market and grid operators back in February on this, Why else would their energy minister have requested a market rule change back in July to ensure a higher minimum percentage of thermal generators would be online?

      You can read about it on page 10at the bottom of the following link (Appendix A).
      http://www.aemc.gov.au/getattachment/073a6ab7-ca4b-4408-8a0e-8833e3c497f2/Rule-change-request.aspx

      Of course they won’t admit it in any public statements.

  37. Spot prices of electricity in July in South Australia went from
    $60 to $9000 a MWhr as the wind farms supposedly capable of supplying nearlyb40% of the states power stopped turning because of lack of Wind
    Murphy’s law kicked in as it often does
    One of the interconnector lines to the 5 state
    East coast grid (mostly supplied by coal fired generators) was down for maintenance

    The SA government had to ask a closed gas plant to come back on stream to save the state

    Now three months later in October the same
    State has had a blackout triggered by a
    big storm but not helped at all by most of the
    windfarms self closing down to protect them from voltage fluctuations caused by storm damage to rest of the grid which by placing excess demand on the interconnectors to Victoria caused them to also trip out in self protection
    Its worth noting that the original idea of the interconnectors was for SA to be able to expirt
    Excess wind power into the national grid
    whereas the way its turning out the interconnectors have become the base load
    back up for SA
    In short wind generators seem only to work
    in a relatively narrow band of conditions
    But potential back up by local state coal fired power for continuing base load powerwas no longer available as Greens had demanded the government blow up the old coal fired power stations
    Thus the state relies for backup on largely coal fired power from other states via the interconnector
    Anyone versed in risk management can readily
    see the inherent weakness in those arrangments niot to mention the hypocrisy
    of claiming your green credentials while relying
    on coal fired powered generators in other states

    But all this may get a big shake up soon
    when as seems likely the French owner’s of
    iVictoria’s Hazelwood browncoal fired
    power station close it down losing 1600 MW
    about one quarter of that state’s production
    -meaning Victoria may not be in any position
    to go on propping up SA particularly as
    the Vic Government seems it too will join the
    Madness of introducing unreliable and costly wind farms to replace the retired brown coal Hazelwood plant

  38. Just as commercial realtors trumpet: “Location, Location, Location” so the Power systems Engineers shd trumpet: “Reliability, Reliabilty, Reliability”.
    Trouble is that most Engineers are ‘long’ on theory, practice, probity and intellectuasl-honesty, and ‘short’ on bullshitting-, marketing-, & self-promotional-skills — all possessed of the Snake-Oil Salesmen who successfuly & connivingly woo the Pols into bed with them, to their mutual advantage… financially in the case of Snake-Oil Salesmen, and both financially(for the next campaign war-chest) & ‘look-good’ politics to the proles/taxpayers whom they jointly plan to rip-off.

  39. Since rising national average electricity costs have not been squarely tied to wind mill farms in other countries, the Australian case might be useful in the making the link more direct and more profound in grid issues, damages, and reliability factors. It’s time to learn from stupid instead of copying it.

  40. A further angle on the whole issue is that, while as some common taters aver, ‘modern’ WT’s can via clever power electronics, appear synchronous to the grid, they cannot be used as the frequency controller for the entire grid. As my simple aged brain understands it, they can only follow an already set frequency, which is conventionally produced by high-inertia synchronous generators such as thermal or hydro.

    So when a grid-in-crisis such as SA’s in the September event is ‘islanded’ (so that the functioning parts of other grids do not themselves cascade into widespread failures) there is quite simply no localised frequency master control possible.

    In these circumstances, unless and until there is such a master generation facility spun up and ready to take on the frequency-controller task, no number of ‘follower’ generation sources can be of any assistance.

    • Bill, as far as I know, the derivation of “farm” is sort of backwards, meaning originally something one derives money from, not market gardening as such. So, wind farm uses farm in the original sense.

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