More South Australian Grid Instability: "No Way Renewable Energy can be Blamed"


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova – Major employers are getting fed up, as South Australia, rapidly becoming the world’s renewable energy crash test dummy, has again experienced a costly unscheduled blackout.

BHP issues jobs warning after another SA blackout

South Australia’s electricity system separated from the national power grid overnight, prompting a stern warning from BHP Billiton about threats to Australian jobs and investment.

About 200,000 homes and businesses lost power for over an hour, but BHP’s Olympic Dam operations in the north of the state were interrupted for about four hours.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) confirmed today that the disconnection happened at 1.33am, due to “an issue on the Victorian transmission network, impacting the flow via the Heywood Interconnector to South Australia”.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie issued an urgent warning to policy-makers after the latest incident, which comes two months after the statewide blackout led to about two weeks of lost production at Olympic Dam.

“Olympic Dam’s latest outage shows Australia’s investability and jobs are placed in peril by the failure of policy to both reduce emissions and secure affordable, dispatchable and uninterrupted power,” he said in a statement.

“The challenge to reduce emissions and grow the economy cannot fall to renewables alone.

“This is a wake-up call ahead of the COAG meeting and power supply and security must be top of the agenda and urgently addressed.”

The incident also cut power to a Victorian smelter for about three hours.

Read more:

The South Australian government was quick to respond to BHP’s harsh criticism of their mismanagement of grid stability.

… Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the problems were on the Victorian side of the border and “South Australia’s grid operated effectively as an island and load began to be restored within half an hour”.

He said BHP built back-up power at its mines across the world.

“Why they haven’t done so at Olympic Dam is a matter for them,” he said. …

Read more: Same link as above

See – the problems are not the fault of South Australia’s lunatic green government driving the state electricity grid to the brink of collapse. The problem is BHP made the mistake of expecting reliable electricity – they should have built redundant backup systems, like they do in corrupt idiocracies in the third world.

285 thoughts on “More South Australian Grid Instability: "No Way Renewable Energy can be Blamed"

  1. They should come and learn from our German Network engeneers – they handle 2000 nearly-blackouts per year….
    Germans – always the 150% guys. We march on until the Endsieg -uhm- Endkarbonisierung…

      • Griff
        This year an unscheduled power outage caused by green cost a steel maker 3 weeks of production. Germany also has many interconnectors between it and neighbouring countries. Poland has been complaining to Germany about them crashing the polish grid with the uncontrollable windpower and France and Poland litigated to stop the germans paying their subsidised industrial electricity price for balancing power supplied from french nuclear and polish coal.
        German stability come from france and Poland in much the same way that SA use Victoria and much like victoria Europe are getting sick of it.
        Germany also subsidises its industries by charging its domestic customers vastly greater prices for electricity than its industry. German industry is still moving out. Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia all make german flagship vehicles.
        That’s success eh Griff?

      • Meanwhile, back in the real world – The richest nation in Europe achieves it’s energy stability by screwing up Poland’s.
        What an effing surprise!
        You might want to actually read what you post, and the associated links before making a Richard of yourself!
        Doubtless, you missed this bit in your cut and paste frenzy (from one of the links, I’ll let you figure out which one): “Transmission experts say a more radical reengineering of power markets will ultimately be needed, one that pays less heed to national borders. “Today the borders are drawn at the wrong places,”………”
        So, ze redrawing of ze national borders begins mein Herr. Ve haff vaited too many years!

      • Grif always shows up with the climate extremist view. That doesn’t hold up when actually examined closely.

      • “You might want to actually read what you post”
        Well, I read it. And IEEE supported what he said:

        The latest numbers (released in German) reveal no sign of growing instability despite record levels of renewable energy on the grid — 28.5 percent of the power supplied in the first half of 2014. In fact, Germany’s grid is one of the world’s most reliable.
        According to the Bundesnetzagentur, unplanned outages left the average German consumer without electricity for 15.32 minutes in 2013, down from 15.91 minutes in 2012 and 21.53 minutes in 2006. The performance, using the power industry’s System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI), affirms Germany’s place in the top five for grid reliability for European countries.
        German grid reliability, meanwhile, far outstrips the best SAIDI results delivered by U.S. and Canadian utilities. The top quartile of SAIDI results captured by last year’s North American reliability benchmarking exercise by the IEEE Power & Energy Society, for example, had consumers without power for an average of 93 minutes — six times longer than outages experienced by the average German consumer.

      • “Well, I read it. And IEEE supported what he said:”
        Did you bother with this bit, or did you just dismiss it?
        “The problem is that real power flows pay no heed to markets and national borders. Consider Poland’s dilemma. North-south flows within Germany and between Germany and Austria loop out across the Polish border and overload Poland’s lines. The problem can extend onto other grids such as the Czech Republic’s, and it’s especially severe when Germany’s northern wind farms are running full tilt.”
        From what I have seen of your post’s you are unquestioningly loyal to the GW/CC cause. But the underlying cause of the whole scam, which is causing a global energy crisis, has not been proven, that CO2 causes global temperature rise.
        The only place it has been proven is in laboratories which take no account of the myriad (5,000?) other influences, including water vapour (some 31 times greater atmospheric content than CO2) that affect our climate.
        Personally, I agree with reducing particulates and noxious gases, but that can be achieved by filtering or converting. NASA themselves have shown the planet has greened by 14% in the last 30 years, 70% attributed to increased atmospheric CO2. Nothing in the alarmist’s portfolio of disaster scenarios including sea level rise, increased droughts, increases in hurricanes etc etc. even comes close to 14%.
        Despite no evidence CO2 causes temperature rise and empirical evidence for the benefits of increased atmospheric CO2, you insist that the damage a horrendously expensive, insane global energy policy is worth it.
        There are millions of people dying right now for the want of access to cheap energy. Nor is that restricted to developing countries, there will be several thousand deaths from cold in the UK this winter because people can’t afford to heat their homes. And the reasons given to justify these deaths? It’s for my kids and grandkids.
        You are killing people right now based on an unproven hypothesis.

      • I don’t think that’s true for this year Stephen. Please quote me a link.
        The only glitch I know of was a single outage in winter of 2011, after they switched off half their nuclear plant overnight in May and hadn’t covered things completely for winter.
        Yes, Germany has many interconnectors and is building more… that is how it is supposed to work!
        There’s a day ahead market in electricity across W Europe and people queue up to buy cheap electricity when the next day’s forecast shows it is abundant. similarly Denmark’s surplus goes to Germany, etc.
        Yes, there have been problems with surplus electricity routing itself over the grid to or in fact through Poland. I was under the impression they blocked that some years past and now the surplus is happily bought up by Denamark, France, Netherlands, Norway (German electricity production and exports both increased last year)
        Read the article: Germany has a rock solid, renewable grid. Interconnection is part of the design for renewables.

      • Greff: Excuse me, But Comparing Germany’s power system to Australia is like comparing Apples to horse manure. Australia has 21 times the land area as Germany. (7.692 million Km2 to 357,000 km2) Germany is surrounded by more than 7 countries, all of which can immediately supply a 5 – 10 Percent increase in load to make up for a loss of power.
        Look at the hourly power load transfer stats for Germany and Australia. You will notice that Germany’s Renewables (Unreliables” are getting a free ride from the surrounding countries systems. Just like the typical homeowner gets a free ride from the local power company for installing a solar panel on their roof and THINK they are saving money. They are actually pushing their free ride onto the backs of all of the other customers.

      • The latest numbers (released in German) reveal no sign of growing instability….
        Correct…the instability has stayed the same….they are not saying it’s improved

      • “According to the Bundesnetzagentur, unplanned outages left the average German consumer without electricity for 15.32 minutes in 2013, down from 15.91 minutes in 2012 and 21.53 minutes in 2006.”
        The only unplanned outages we have around here are when a thunderstorm comes through and lightning hits a transformer.

      • Data sources matter. Look at This running tabulation showed an average duration of power outages at 43min. in 2015. THE major cause of outages in North America is Weather/Trees.
        I couldn’t find a blackout in North American grid so far in 2016 that was caused by under generation- a failure caused by not matching production to demand. There were 9 in 2015. Of the top 10 outages in 2015, one was caused by overdemand in San Diego, CA. California leads all states in the number, duration, people affected of outages and has for several years.

      • NICK: “average German consumer without electricity for 15.32 minutes”
        do you know the definition of average? TOTAL number of customer minutes without power divided by the total number of customers. That means that easily, many customers had no power for well over an hour and thousands gould have no power for days. Notice they said “Customers.” The local “smelter” is a “Customer.” a one hour shut down takes several weeks to recover. Averaging out the outage to just 15 minutes does not prevent the problem at these facilities. On the other hand, most people would not even know that a rather destructive outage (shut off the power to a refinery for 2 minutes) occurred if it was not for their flashing clock. The power company I retired from has leased/sold property to local refineries bordering the utility property to provide them with extremely high Reliability.
        Sort of like the Dish TV add of 99.99 % reliability. Well that 0.01 percent is almost an hour! And I can guarantee you that those few minutes at a time of loss will be during the game ending touchdown or worse.

      • Griff,
        Come on man. Green scams have a fundamental engineering weakness, besides costs. The average cost of electricity in Germany is three times more than in the US.
        What is being discussed/promised is lunacy, ridiculous, not possible, …
        Regardless of costs there are engineering limits that make it not possible to reduce anthropogenic CO2 by 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 90% with wind and solar without energy storage.

        We have reached a global warming paradox. “The science is weak (William: the scientific support for CAWG is nonexistent, not ‘weak’) but the idea is strong,” writes Darwall. “Global warming’s success in colonising the Western mind (Willliam: Rather like a cult) and in changing government policies has no precedent.

        Germany has installed wind and solar that is 100% of base German power load for the peak nameplate rating of the wind and solar installation.
        The problem is German wind and solar installation runs at less than 20% average efficiency, German wind and solar total power output varies from 100% to close to zero.
        Germany has 100% natural gas/coal back-up to supply the 80% of their power during times when the wind does not blow and the sun is not shining.
        Germany needs nuclear power to reduce CO2 emissions further. Unfortunately, the only thing the cult of CAGW hates more than CO2 is nuclear power.
        German and all other countries ‘calculated’ CO2 ‘savings’ do not include the energy input required to build, install, maintain, and replace wind and solar systems and does not include the energy loss to use single cycle natural gas turbines that can be turned on/off/on/off/on/off as compared to 20% more efficient combined cycle (produce steam from the waste heat from the first pass turbines) natural gas power plants that take 20 hours to start and hence cannot be turned on/off/on/off/on/off multiple times per day in respond to changes in wind speed. Power output of a wind turbine is at the cube of wind speed.
        Germany Energiewend Leading To Suicide By Cannibalism. Huge Oversupply Risks Destabilization

        The coming age of power cannibalism…Germany on the verge of committing energy suicide
        Capacity without control:
        The problem with the “renewable” power sources of wind and solar is their intrinsic volatility coupled with their poor capacity utilization rates of only 17.4% for wind and 8.3% for solar (average values for Germany).
        Yet Germany has a unique peculiarity: its leaders sometimes exhibit a stunning inability to recognize when the time has come to abandon a lost cause. So far €500 billion (William: €500 billion is $550 billion US) has already been invested in the “Energiewende”, which is clearly emerging as a failure. Yet all political parties continue to throw their full weight behind the policy rather than admitting it is a failure (which would be tantamount to political suicide). Instead, the current government coalition has even decided to shift into an even higher gear on the path to achieving its objective of generating 80% of German electric power from “renewable” sources by 2050.
        If the situation is practically unmanageable now with 25% renewable energy (William: Note that the Germans are receiving 25% of their electrical power from green scams, the actual carbon reduction is only 15% to 25% due to requirement to turn on/off/on/off single cycle natural gas power plants rather than to run combine cycle more efficient power plants that take 10 hours to start and that are hence left on for weeks), it’ll be an uncontrollable disaster when (if) it reaches 80%.

        cannibalism has already started
        The combined rated capacity of all “renewable” power sources already reaches about 87,000 MW, which is the maximum power consumption the grid has been designed to secure. Additionally, a minimum conventional power station capacity of some 28,000 MW has to be constantly connected to the grid in order to secure supply stability. As a result the risk of the grid reaching an oversupply situation if weather conditions are favorable for both wind and solar power plants is growing with every additional “renewable” plant that comes online. Currently 5,000 – 6,000 MW are getting added each year.
        That situation is aggravated by the fact that there exists no technology to absorb and store any noticeable quantities of oversupply.
        Neighboring countries are already taking measures to fend off surplus-power-dumping that could destabilize their grids.
        The result is a grid which at times is so oversupplied with power that something will have to give. Fossil fuel power plants have been throttled to the point where they are no longer profitable and many power companies have started mothballing them, so quickly in fact that Germany had to pass legislation forcing producers to keep their fossil plants on stand-by, and to do so even if they lost money. Even the reliable “classic” renewable power sources – e.g. hydropower – are starting to suffer because most are not supported by government schemes.

      • Giff that link you provided is pure green-wash-propaganda !
        Here’s a link that gives actual data, and it ain’t anywhere near 32% from renewables.
        You have had this German power generation link put in your face before and you still insist on posting porkies like the link to the green-wash-propaganda site, you have no credibility.

      • I don’t know why everyone spends time bothering with Griff. His arguments aren’t even worth the time. He’s just another anonymous troll with an agenda, probably paid.

        • Anthony, it is sometimes useful to have an easy target for practice, exercising basic skills on something it is difficult to miss. Griff is just that, reminding everyone else of the lame arguments of the green blob.

      • LOL. Just keep putting lipstick on that pig, Griff, maybe someone will eventually find it attractive. But I doubt it.

      • ‘I don’t know why everyone spends time bothering with Griff. His arguments aren’t even worth the time. He’s just another anonymous troll with an agenda, probably paid.’
        Undoubtedly paid. I said that the first time he posted. In fact, he’s probably a salesman or a promotional rep – he’s like listening to some ridiculous advocate who just parrots pretty much any spin that supports said agenda – he’s a walking psychological profile.

      • Nick, behind the scenes the picture isn’t rosy, and off-camera nearly everybody admits that.
        The German Federal Grid Agency tellingly does not tell how often interventions were necessary in 2015, but it had to be much more than 3000 times, as it speaks of a „significant increase“, that is 15 800 hours vs. 8450 h in 2014. On 331 days 16 000 Gwh had to be added or taken off, which raised overall grid-stability management cost by 260 % to 1133 million € (or 1313 mil. – not clear).
        7.5 GW capacity (= 65 700 Gwh if used fully = 11% of total net production) had to be on stand-by („Reserve“); they were employed on 93 days.
        4 700 Gwh mainly wind-energy had to be kept out, 3 times more than 2014; that cost 315 million (overall 480 mi.), nearly 4 times that of 2014. When conventional power-stations were throttled, they got nothing. (Monitoringbericht 2016 in German)

        • And politicized bureaucracies would never sugarcoat their “public information,” would they? I mean, Public Information Specialists are there to make sure the public is fully informed about agency actions, warts and all, right?

      • I hear they have so much super reliable renewable energy that at times they have to pay people to take it off their hands.

      • Because it does not actually rely on renewables hence the very high electricity cost in Germany. It is backed up to the point where no trust at all is actually put in the output from renewable energy.

  2. It would be cheaper if the grid operator paid them not to produce wind turbine power (make nothing and get paid), that is pay for hypothetical KWhrs. And then generate the electricity needed with coal generation.
    For example Canada:
    For example UK:
    For example USA:

    • At times of excess power production, it is cheaper to curtail wind than other power sources.
      also, increased grid connectivity reduces the need to curtail wind.
      the UK has opened 1 new HVDC line last December, is completing another and starting on a third – UK wind curtailment will be dropping in the next few years.

      • Griff
        Curtailing wind is much more difficult than decreasing stable output. The problem is restarting stable output takes time. High winds in that period causes instability and crashes. Wind energy is shit uncontrollable and very expensive

      • The UK/French Interconnector is down due to damage/failure and won’t be available again until February. Meanwhile we suffer a typical extended period of winter high power demand during periods of low pressure and no wind and/or extended periods of darkness rendering WT’s and SP’s useless. Nothing like self-sufficiency to provide security of supply and that means base capacity sufficiency – power available when needed, and not renewables such as WT’s and SP’s power when available!

      • Griff,
        I work in the Euro power industry. German wholesale prices are the lowest in Europe and thus there is no incentive to build new power stations. However, their retail energy price (what customers pay) is the most expensive in Europe… This is because the Govt has to pay for the enormous subsidies to keep renewables viable on the power grid.
        Why? Because no matter how much renewable energy capacity you have….if it is a low wind, low solar day…you need to have back up power usually supplied by fossil fuels. So this means the German govt is paying extra money for installing expensive wind and solar and a extra money to keep fossil fuel generation on standby doing nothing until required. Hence why DE power customers are paying the most for power in Europe.
        There is no way around this problem because even if you find some new wonder power storage system…you would then have to put in enormous amounts of probably expensive (more cost) storage for those occasions when it is windless and cloudy for a whole week or more (it happens). Add to this the triple whammy that if you have windless cloudy weather you also get dry weather over the Alps so hydro power is reduced as well because it is normally under high pressure.
        Renewables are fine in small amounts and do have its uses in the right place, but once you get to large percentages of national supply then you need, as said above, loads of interconnectors to other countries so that you can both dump excess power and bring in power when required.
        What happens if Euro interconnectors are shut down for some reason? DE power grid would become the most unreliable in Europe. FR for example would be fine with nukes giving steady baseload power. On this note, the UK to FR power interconnector was damaged last week. Ship anchor ripped it up. I was told we were very close to a power outtage in the UK next week if the cold weather continued because of lack of baseload supply. Luckly mother nature has come to the rescue with warm weather forecast next week to save the day. However, this is how close they are to blackouts. We are heading down a very dark path….

      • If Germany were to increase its wind+solar capacity to 5x what it had in 2015, to include the equivalent of 125,000 wind turbines of 2Mw capacity, then within the last year it would have needed the equivalent of four Tesla powerwalls in every household on at least two occasions to avoid running out of power, or to avoid burning brown coal, or depending on its international interconnects.
        Germany also realizes that undersea interconnects are hopelessly vulnerable when needed most. All naval powers are feverishly developing unmanned underwater capabilities. Any planning must acknowledge that critical underwater power links will likely be mined shortly after they are put into place, and could be rendered inoperative at any moment.

      • pbweather
        The high cost of German electricity to the domestic consumer is because they are paying for the ‘FIT’ payments solar and wind producers get for outputting to the grid, not any additional extra costs from running the grid.
        Yes, it is a subsidy – it is intended to encourage people to install the new renewable power generation. They are reforming and reducing these payments for new suppliers, but lets not get into that now.
        Back to the grid…
        Well, the aim of German renewables is to need less and less fossil back up until they are 80% renewable in 2050. Their increasing grid storage, used to cushion need for fossil fuel plan as wind and solar (predictably) ramps down is one way. Buying in wind from elsewhere is another. Demand management a third.
        Increasingly they try to build virtual power plants, with combined wind solar and fuel cells or the new turbines with built in pumped hydro.
        In short, this is not a problem…

      • wind is perfectly predictable…
        Of course it is……you can always predict it’s going to work less than more
        For decades they have been pushing wind…..if it’s so great, why are they still having so much trouble pushing it?
        …pet rocks had a better run

      • So let me ask you this simple question then Griff. Do you think that renewable energy sources cost the same or lower than their fossil fuel equivalents? I am not interested in what might happen with economies of scale etc in the future…I mean now. Right now. Do you think that renewable energy can compete with fossil fuels to generate power….without any subsidies? Renewable energy is more expensive…by far…and therefore can not compete on a level playing field without subsidies with fossil fuel generation and it will not compete anytime soon.
        So then it comes down to a question of judgement. Do we pay more for our power and suffer potential reliability of our power for a potential problem with GHG emissions? Those on the left think yes. Those on the right think no. The vast majority in the middle could be swayed either way so hence the propaganda war that has occurred in our schools, media and universities to convince us it is a price worth paying. However, now…due to lack of evidence of harm (hurricane/tornado/floods/drought trends) and lack of evidence of some of the scaremonging predictions (coastal flooding, famine, CC refugees, crop failures etc)…the public are starting to think…hey….is this really a problem and should be paying to fix a non problem?

      • Griff
        the UK has opened 1 new HVDC line last December, is completing another and starting on a third – UK wind curtailment will be dropping in the next few years.
        Didn’t some interconnectors in the channel get damaged in a storm the other day?

      • Ever notice how watermelons slip in “demand management” when fantasizing about power system operations?
        Demand management = cut peoples’ power off.
        Industry will move to obtain more reliable power supplies.
        Cold, hungry people will vote out watermelon politicians.

      • Let me state this in a simplistic yet mathematical framework. If one takes die that rolls a moment in time that demand will fluctuate and a second die to determine if it is up or down and by how much, this is a very rough model of demand. (Clearly, prior demand and time dependence of demand invalidates this simple model but my point is based on another issue.)
        This is the basic idea of a martingale in probabilistic theory. Now if we model, wind supply in a like manner, then we can consider the sum (or difference) of these martingales to create a grid surplus model.. One additional simplification, is that we can make them identical and independent. The first result is that the relating the number of steps taken in the sum as it relates to the model, as in time, is that the s.deviation over time is twice the original. (you get approximately twice the number of ‘roll’s’ in the same period of time.)
        This means that the systems is behaving in a more problematic manner since there are always at least two thresholds that have to be monitored. If the random variable (surplus) exceeds a specific threshold (high) then power generation has to be curtailed, and if it falls below a certain level power generation has to be increased.
        Now clearly, they are NOT identical martingales; but as the size of the deviation of the wind grows (ie a larger percent of windmills) the amount of time before one of these thresholds is crossed decreases. (See Wald’s theorem on two thresholds). Hence, mathematically, it gets harder and harder to control a grid. Now if you add in as ‘Griff says’ additional inter-connectors, then the assumption that they act as another martingale would imply greater difficulty in controlling the system. Those inter-connectors could either demand to provide to grid. It IS ONLY under the assumption that the inter-connectors provide a more stable behaving martingale (slow moving in time) then the one you are working with will it improve your grid.
        In other words, an unstable grid providing demand or power to another unstable grid would make that grid more unstable.
        If one, restricts the interconnector to say, providing power, or nothing, but never demanding, It will mitigate one of the thresholds (meeting demand) but it will cause the other threshold to be more difficult to contain.
        It the real world, you can see how the interconnectors are working. It is only those stable interconnectors that continously have a stable amount of excess power, that stabilize other grids. Like France, with its Nuclear power plants providing power to England and Germany. And where the German Polish interconnector from the unstable German grid messes up Poland. This is exactly as expected.
        If everyone was throwing wind power into their grid at the level of Germany, then overall the extensively interconnected grid would fail MORE often.

      • Griff: “wind is perfectly predictable…”
        You must have posted that a hundred times, Griffie.
        It is not true and you damn well know it.
        How much do you get paid to spread your mendacious propaganda?

      • What other energy supply produces an output that is the cube of the raw fuel supply rate(wind) over which the user (turbine owner) has no control whatsoever ??

      • How can it be cheaper to curtail wind when the curtailed wind still gets paid 90% of what accepted wind would get (in UK)?
        You just make everything up don’t you Griff? Admit it.

      • Chart showing comparison between UK actual wind generation, and the initial and final forecasts given to the grid per BM Reports:
        The s.d. of the error in the initial forecast is 935MW, and of the final forecast is 639MW, and the s.d.of the change between the initial and final forecasts is 751MW. That compares with average generation of 2774MW over the sample period. I don’t call that particularly accurate.

    • 610 KDAL, Duluth, MN, Sept.10, 2016
      ‘Storm Damages Mn Power Solar Plant’
      97 rows of solar panels and ~ 1/4 were damaged. damages-mn-power-solar-plant
      Wayne Times, New York, Nov.26, 2016
      Major damage to a solar array because of strong winds off from Lake Ontario.
      This is Ontario, New York.
      It’s becoming more difficult to hide what mother nature can do to renewable energy projects.
      Never mind Germany, there are plenty of problems with renewable energy projects in North America.

  3. It appears there is a competition to find which state or country will be the first to have blackouts on a regular basis. There are plenty of competitors: Scotland, the UK, many other EU countries, California, for starters. All because of the greenblob with its obsession for “tackling climate change” with useless renewables.

  4. “See – the problems are not the fault of South Australia’s lunatic green government driving the state electricity grid to the brink of collapse.”
    This is just silly. SA gets a lot of power via the interconnector to Victoria. That has been true for a long time. The interconnector failed, causing blackouts. That has nothing to do with the green movement.

      • It’s nothing to do with grid instability. Any system which suddenly loses a large power source will have to shed load until another power source can be brought on line.
        Alcoa on the Victorian side, running a large aluminium smelter, also lost power. Nothing green there either. It happens.

      • “Nick Stokes December 1, 2016 at 12:15 am
        Alcoa on the Victorian side, running a large aluminium smelter, also lost power. Nothing green there either. It happens.”
        I don’t think you have any idea what you are talking about, esp aluminium smelting.

      • It also gives them a chance to pay their entire workforce for zero output. Not exactly something a company can do very often. You often find major de-investment decisions coming out of little “issues” like this.

      • When the contents of Alcoa’s aluminum smelting “pots” all harden up due to lack of electricity …… then Nick Stokes and Griff should be given the job of “cleaning-them-out” so that they can restart the smelting process.

      • Peter, if they’d have had that storm when the coal plant was operating, the grid would still have gone down.

      • Nick, if they had fossil fuel plants, then there would have been no problem with the interconnect went down.
        The problem is that you need to connect to other areas, with reliable power, when you start using wind/solar. Without that connection to areas with excess fossil fuel production, you get these blackouts whenever the wind stops blowing, or a cloud passes over you solar field.

      • Griffy, are you trying to claim that the storm would have prevented the coal plant from producing power?

      • @Nick Stokes (it happens) that is a bogus claim from someone who knows how to read data. The fact of the matter is we keep track of these ‘it happens’ episodes. There are at least two things that should be investigated before saying ‘it happens’ a.) was the demand on the inter-connector unusual, and if so caused by what? b.) compared to a system without these renewables, (say in OZ without large percentages of renewables) does ‘shit happens’ happen too frequently?
        The DOE is the US has outages and causes and hours etc…
        If you look at 2015 there were 29 episodes cause by gird/supplier issues: dumping MW, excessive demand unable to be met, etc…. Guess what? This shit don’t happen on the scale in OZ. The scale of your disruption caused by “what ever” is indicative of a poor system that will cost people jobs money etc… Way to go: “save” the planet in the year 2200, but screw millions every year in the process for 200 years. Time to pick up your pen and start actually calculating your fairy-world cost benefit analysis with empirical numbers and finally get you “Aha!” moment.

        • Look, you troglodytes, all we need for renewables to be successfully integrated is for electrical systems to operate at 100% reliability. Why are you so negative all the time?

      • Nick,
        I have looked into the details of the SA power blackout, the latest update can be read at:
        While there were a lot of consecutive failures, mostly grounding of the high voltage lines due to the storm, the final blow was from automatic disconnections of several wind farms, which overloaded the last connnection with Victoria, which was automatically disconnected too and SA had not enough “spinning reserve” to maintain the grid.
        While better software like maintaining a minimum load from wind power, even during power stability problems; limiting the input power from Victoria to a maximum, could have prevented this particular event, the basic problem is that for solar and especially wind, fluctuations are so rapid that you need as much “spinning reserve”, that is mainly fast gas turbines running at synchronized speed, but not delivering any MW to the grid. That costs a lot of money, that should be added to the cost of renewables…
        For “conventional” power you need some 10% extra installation for times of maintenance (mostly planned in times of low demand), repair + 10% of interconnectivity between states/countries.
        In the case of solar and wind, you need 100% backup in “conventional” backup for times without wind and no sun. Preferentially hydro (as that can be ramped up very fast), or nuclear or gas or coal, but then you need additional extra fast gasturbines…

      • “the final blow was from automatic disconnections of several wind farms”
        No, the final blow was the closing of the interconnector. There was, as you say, a chain of events, of which the automatic wind farm cut-offs were just one, and the basic initiator was the storm. And it is quite likely that had wind generation continued, further line failures (of which there were many) would have brought down the system.
        There is no particular reason why the spinning reserve should be in SA, provided there is an adequate interconnector. That is why they need a second one. The mandated national reserve is 850MW.

        • Hell, Nick, just throw in a third or even a fourth interconnector! It’s only money, fer christsakes. Who the heck needs a degree in power system planning? It’s so easy!

      • Keep in mind that Stokes lives in a different reality. State wide power blacks outs are perfectly normal routine events. Just respond “Sh*t happens” or make some other asinine remark, and move along, nothing to see here…

      • @Griff and Nick Stokes
        I am pretty sure the Alcoa site at Point Henry in Victoria has closed and is in mothballs so I am not sure they would care if they lost power 🙂 Anyone in that neck of woods care to confirm?.
        The argument of you guys is then the solution to making plants immune to power outages is to mothball them I believe.

      • LdB,
        “I am pretty sure the Alcoa site at Point Henry in Victoria has closed”
        Yes, I’m talking about the much larger smelter at Portland, for which the line via Heywood was built. It’s still operating.
        “When the contents of Alcoa’s aluminum smelting “pots” all harden up due to lack of electricity”
        I’m well aware of the problems when pots freeze, and so is Alcoa. But this has nothing to do with SA Greens, or even SA.
        “Nick, if they had fossil fuel plants, then there would have been no problem with the interconnect went down.”
        They have ample fossil fuel plants. They can’t help unless they are spinning.
        “Griffy, are you trying to claim that the storm would have prevented the coal plant from producing power?”
        The storm would have prevented the coal plant from supplying power. It knocked out both lines that were built to take the power to the market.
        “The scale of your disruption caused by “what ever” is indicative of a poor system”
        This recent incident wasn’t even caused in SA but in Victoria. And it certainly wasn’t caused by greens.

    • Awesome Nick, no doubt you are a business owner and you would be pleased at losing money in a state that has unstable power supply? Wouldn’t think of relocating would you Nick? Your posts are now becoming so short sighted, I’m thinking that you simply write a post just for the sake of trying to stay relevant on this web site.

      • SA needs a second interconnector, although this event seems to have been a problem on the Vic side due to some maintenance work gone wrong. That’s a straightforward money issue. Nothing to do with Greens.

      • Nick Stokes December 1, 2016 at 12:32 am
        I love that reply; They need another interconnector. So they interconnect to another unstable green system which interconnects to another unstable supply system.
        Pack of cards anyone
        Not that they need a stable, dependable electricity supply; Oh NO they need more green shit.
        Madness has overcome critical thinking.

      • “So they interconnect to another unstable green system”
        The Australian network is much larger than SA needs, and quite diverse. NSW and Qld have huge coalfields with power stations in close proximity. There are large hydro systems in NSW and Tas. Vic still has large brown coal generation, although that too may suffer under competition.
        The national network is required to maintain 850MW of reserve. A national grid can do that. SA was 200MW short.

      • I am no fan of Nick but he is right here.
        In around 1993/4 (my memory is bit fuzzy) the National Grid Management Council (charged with developing NEM) engaged a consultant from the UK (also Malcolm Roberts) to examine the issue of reliable supply to SA. At the time SA was proposing a capacity mechanisms to ensure generating plant was available (I was one of the authors). The consultant said that the only way to ensure supply in SA was to increase the number and location of interconnections to the Eastern States.
        He was right and SA has suffered a number of blackouts (with or without wind/solar) when the interconnection suddenly drops. This occurs despite there being sufficient local capacity as the cost of maintaining “spinning reserve” for the entire interconnector flow is too high. SA has always allowed for a period of loss of supply after the loss of the interconnector while local plant is brought on line.

      • I forgot to mention that SA actually has a second interconnection – Murraylink – but it is relatively small and relies on the Victorian network as well.

      • “SA needs a second interconnector,”
        BS !!
        With Hazelton closing down, SA needs to build its own STABLE power supply instead of relying on COAL FIRED POWER from other states while playing the greenie “FEEL-GOOD” card.

      • “Nick Stokes December 1, 2016 at 1:52 am
        “So they interconnect to another unstable green system”
        The Australian network is much larger than SA needs, and quite diverse. NSW and Qld have huge coalfields with power stations in close proximity.”

      • “SA needs a second interconnector”
        No, Nick. South Australia needs a government that is capable of delivering stable power that works when the population needs it. Not a government so into virtue signalling that it refuses even to see the obvious results of it’s own actions.

      • South Australia has HUGE reserves of gas and shale oil.
        This is what they SHOULD be using to provide SOLID RELIABLE CHEAP ELECTRICITY
        The NON-VIABLE wind and solar scams need to have their subsidies and mandated usage removed forthwith, so that a sensible, stable power supply can be built.
        Then they can build the extra interconnects and provide cheap electricity to the other states as well, rather than expecting everyone else to prop them up because of their clownish green agenda.

      • Nick how can you say its nothing to do with Greens? Green power displaces reliable power which is then encouraged to shutdown via green $ scamming, then you have no spinning reserve. Have interconnector issues on any kind and you are toast because you are too reliant on it. SA just needs more reliable power sources.

      • “Vic still has large brown coal generation, although that too may suffer under competition.”
        Hahahahahahaha- the cheapest form of power ever created will “suffer under competition” from a power source 3-5x as expensive and intermittent???

      • Nick, tat 850Mwof reserveis going to look pretty thin in about 5 months time when Hazelwood shuts down taking it’s 1600Mw with it. Who gets to call dibs on the power from NSW and Tasmania (if the interconnector doesn’t crap itself again).

      • What Nick is saying, though he won’t admit it, is that in order for solar/wind to work, you need reliable interconnects to areas that don’t use solar/wind.

      • People, interconnections provide economy ENERGY. That is, when it is more economical to produce ENERGY in one region, it makes sense to purchase such ENERGY from that region.
        Interconnections cannot provide reliable POWER. Interconnections are a single point of failure. When a significant flow of energy is provided over a single interconnection, catastrophic electrical system failures will result with the loss of that interconnection.
        Additionally, government subsidies do not make wind or solar energy more economical. They just distort the marketplace. Greenwash cannot hide the excess costs to German and Danish consumers.

      • AndyG55, as much as i wish your link to the Advertiser article were true, that story comes from 2013 and there’s not so much as a murmor about the ‘massive’ resource waiting to be exploited in the Akaringa Basin today. A visit to Linc Energy’s webpage didn’t have much to say about the 233 billion barrels of oil about to be unleashed onto the market, but I admit I lost interest after several minutes navigating around notifications of bankruptcy proceedings.
        The SA Department of State Development’s page on the basin is more sobering with respect to oil:
        but encouragingly does talk of the opportunity to mine the coal deposits with reliable electricity generation mentioned as possibly delivering 560 MW per annum to the national grid (clearly not all of SA’s public service is inhabited by the sort of morons who form it’s elected government).
        I always take these sort of bombastic headlines about super discoveries with a very large grain of salt, especially when they’re coming from unheard of small operators whose existance and access to capital is dependant upon share price. Unconventional oil and gas certainly exists in academic volumes in large swathes of Australia’s geology, but it’s so far only economic in Queensland’s coal seams and then only when the QLD government isn’t changing the rules to appease noisy ecotards every fortnight. What I am aware of regarding unconventional oil and gas in SA and the NT can be summarized as one disappointment after another.

    • Only that green movement mandated low carbon initiatives guarantee that the system failed when power was needed.
      The wind turbines fail as the wind stops blowing or when it blows outside their safety boundary.
      This has been true for a long time.
      It starves SA of electricity in the midst of plenty.
      If a state had diabetes, this is the one.
      The sick man of Australia.
      What is worse is that it has the contract for $A90 billion of high tech submarine construction.
      It is now a state of liability to our collective defence and industry.
      It gives rational green advocates a bad name, who want technology and development to proceed.
      Why support the policies that led to this?

    • I guess there is no correlation between those countries installing large amounts of unreliable weather-dependent renewable energy and those countries where there are massive concerns about impending blackouts!

    • NIck; do you mean that as a consequence of going green they have given up self sufficiency in electricity and in effect export their emissions to Victoria. So the overall effect is not reduced emissions at all, simply moved emissions. When Hazelwood goes off line in March our power generating capacity will be reduced. Will we still have the reserve to supply SA and if not what happens? Do Victorians suffer blackouts in an effort to spare SA, or do the SA’s suffer more blackouts, not of course because of their green power (Oh no perish the thought), but because Victoria is not generating enough dirty coal fired power to satisfy their short fall?

      • “NIck; do you mean that as a consequence of going green they have given up self sufficiency in electricity and in effect export their emissions to Victoria.”
        There is nothing new here. The Heywood interconnector was built in 1989. Nothing there about going green. Power has always been expensive in SA, because they only have a poor supply of low grade coal way out in the desert. Electricity can be generated much more cheaply in the East, and SA consumers benefit from that. The Pelican Point station was built in 2001 because the Heywood interconnector was being overloaded. People like cheaper power.
        It isn’t just Victoria that supplies SA. We have a national grid. It may well be that Vic too becomes an importer of electricity, since our low grade coal too, although abundant, probably can’t compete with Qld coal and Tas hydro. We are one nation, you know. Commerce has been free across state lines since Federation.

      • “Electricity can be generated much more cheaply in the East, and SA consumers benefit from that.” And yet SA electricity prices are the third highest on the planet, so where’s the benefit you speak of.?

      • “And yet SA electricity prices are the third highest on the planet”
        I find that hard to believe. But SA prices always have been high. Australia has a freely traded national market. SA consumers are no doubt paying for the cost of the interconnector, and more because of its inadequacy. But it’s cheaper than maintaining a mine and town in the desert, a 230km rail line, and coal generators in Port Augusta (still remote from market) using marginal coal.

      • Its far worse. Loy Yang B is up for sale. No buyers it will be shut. Alcoa will also shut, Australian Paper is shutting. Industry is leaving.

      • Money doesn’t mess around.
        Follow the money, Nick, and you will find…………..>>>>> that you are no longer in Australia.
        Green “renewable” policies are the easily traceable direct cause.
        From posted article:

        …. load began to be restored within half an hour …

        That says it all. “Began”…. “half an hour” — I would NEVER advise building ANY major production facility in Australia (at this time). Such advice would be malpractice in certain professions.

      • As a ex-power system engineer and electrical power operations manager, I find it hilarious how watermelons, including Nick Stokes, find it so easy to design reliable and economic power systems.
        Uneconomical wind and solar generation, with long-distance interconnections, are prescriptions for system failure on an ongoing and wildly costly basis. Only the willfully blind can disagree.

      • Nick wrote:
        “it’s cheaper than maintaining a mine and town in the desert, a 230km rail line, and coal generators in Port Augusta (still remote from market)…”
        To put that remark into perspective, Port Augusta is the northern vertex of what is called ‘The Iron Triangle’. Whyalla, forming the western vertex is home to a steelworks and haematite export port. Port Pirie forms the eastern vertex and is home to a lead and zinc smelter. Port August labels itself as ‘the cross roads of Australia’ and is home to the railways depot servicing the transcontinental railways to the west and to the north. As mentioned in the article, the Olympic dam mine is 270 kilometres (170 miles) north and the Moomba gas fields are 670 kilometres (420 miles) north west.
        Furthermore Port Augusta is about 280 kilometres (175 miles) north of the 1.1 million consumers of electricity in Adelide, the state’s capital city.
        remote from market? aye, sure.
        It’s apparently wiser policy to rely entirely on inter-connectors to reliable power generation in Gippsland (Victoria), some 860km (540 miles) distant or in the Hunter Valley(New South Wales) some 1400 kilometres (880 miles) distant.

    • Gee Nick, is the interconnector part of the grid or isn’t it? And yes it most certainly has something to do with the greenies here.

      • The actual failure was in Victoria, apparently during scheduled maintenance. SA was suddenly 200 MW short. So what exactly does it have to do with SA greenies?

      • C’mon Nick, is the interconnector a part of the grid or isn’t it????? Surely it can’t be that hard of a question to answer…..
        By relying so much on wind and solar to power the state how can that NOT fall directly on the shoulders of the greenies?

      • Wendy, if an oil pipeline had a leak and had to shut down, would you blame that on a refinery that ships oil through the pipeline? Of course not (unless the same company owned both assets). So why assign blame to green power when the root cause was a failure of an interconnect in the grid?

      • “Chris December 1, 2016 at 2:09 am”
        Pipes are not affected by wind or solar issues, interconnector drop outs, supply fluctuations…blah blah blah…

      • “Nick Stokes December 1, 2016 at 1:11 am
        The actual failure was in Victoria, apparently during scheduled maintenance.”

      • “Evidence?”

        Just after 1:00am, a problem with the Victorian transmission network during scheduled maintenance cut the electricity supply from the Heywood interconnector, leaving South Australia to manage on its own.
        Authorities said load shedding was needed to balance the network and about 220 megawatts of supply was lost.

      • “SA was suddenly 200 MW short”
        The reason South Australia was 200 MW short is because they demolished their power generating capacity a week before the last major blackout.

      • Let me try and summarise:
        Move all your generating capacity outside your land boundary. That will reduce your emissions to zero so that is obviously “good” and will make all the greenies very happy.
        That forces you to rely entirely on energy from out of state/country etc. So, if the supply ever fails it is someone else’s fault and has nothing to do with your policy of removing your own generating capacity.
        I think I understand …
        I wonder what happens when those surrounding states/countries do the same?

      • Chris, if SA had reliable sources of power, the fact that the interconnect went down, wouldn’t matter.

      • “Nick Stokes December 1, 2016 at 3:10 am
        Authorities said load shedding was needed to balance the network and about 220 megawatts of supply was lost.”
        So, the Victorians didn’t inform the South Australians that maintenance was scheduled and ~220MW of generated power was lost? SA never seemed to have these problems before going for un-reliables and relying on inter-state connectors. Just sayin…

    • actually it does
      SA is sucking far more than prior.
      and the greentards are the ones that stuffed any hope of retrofitting the powerplant thats closing at Hazelwood soon
      so we in Vic are going to be DOWN on our own supply while SA sucks more over summer especially
      though it might manage to get by IF the cool weather hangs on
      and as of today Vic public got notice of price hikes to electric n gas supply charges
      as if theyre Not outrageous enough now?
      a huge concern about power outs in summer for me personally as my only source of water to fight a fire is? Borewater which NEEDS a power supply to pump
      and the cost of a genset to run it is above what I have finance wise
      shouldnt have to BE buying gensets either.
      SA spent billions on wind
      now after the massive cost rises to public in part due to privatisation as well
      theyre copping billions more cost to ADD interconnector from NSW as well?
      NONE of which would have occurred if they upgraded Pt Agutta OR added a new plant in state
      that btw has a sh*tload of coal close handy!!! leigh creek

      • ozspeaksup, we also have a potentially economic seam of coal near Kingston in the south east which could ideally power a reliable thermal power station, but the ecotards have successfully blocked that for decades on the grounds that the water table will need to be lowered locally by about one metre. This would apparently be disasterous in the only region of SA where the problem with water is that there is too much, hence the need for drainage canals to allow any kind of agriculture at all.

    • Nick Stokes
      December 1, 2016 at 12:00 am
      SA gets a lot of power via the interconnector to Victoria.
      The question is why,,,,, Nick why for so long, as you say, SA keeps getting lot of power via the interconnector., with a lot of loses when considering the long distance of the intercomnector?
      Why the amount of power-energy dependency instead of decreasing actually it keeps increasing, to the contrary of what it should have being?!!!!

      • “with a lot of loses when considering the long distance of the interconnector”
        Electricity costs. The question is, what costs least. Mining low grade coal in the desert and railing it to Port Augusta also costs.
        ” amount of power-energy dependency”
        Australia is one country. States don’t have to have independent power, any more than SA needs to grow its own bananas. South Australians are entitled to access whatever is most efficient for them.

      • Nick Stokes
        December 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm
        Australia is one country. States don’t have to have independent power, any more than SA needs to grow its own bananas. South Australians are entitled to access whatever is most efficient for them.
        Thanks for the quick reply Nick.
        Now, are you saying and claiming that SA as a state does not have its own energy strategies and policies independent from the central government of the Australia as a country????

      • Yes, they have an energy policy. They may have a banana policy, for all I know. But that doesn’t mean they have to generate it all themselves. Or find their own oil, etc.

      • Yes, they have an energy policy.
        Then Nick, if they do have such energy policies and strategies, all of it has no any relation any more to the concept of the energy security and energy strategies and policies complying with such a requirement, the energy security………no wonder why so many more interconnectors “needed” to cover that handicap…
        Seems like similar to the Germany lately……..
        Wondering what the assets of energy insecurity liability could be in this case!!!!!!!!

      • It really is fascinating when those who are demanding that other people subsidize their preferred form of electricity, go on and on about how expensive other forms of electricity are.

    • Once upon a time South Australia, SA, had enough power in reserve to handle grid failure. Now SA can’t handle failure because they closed fossil fuel reserve plant. Greens hate energy, electricity and the human capacity to lever energy to do work. That’s the real reason why they are always demanding we use less energy. Global warming is just a convenient proxy excuse. They invoke it whenever they bully us into using less energy (or wind, solar). Greens forget about it when anyone proposes using non-CO2 nuclear power.
      Relying on electricity from Victoria is everything to do with the green movement. They shut down a lot of SA’s fossil generation.
      PS: I’m using a wide definition of green movement here to include greens in other political parties.

    • The normal basis of scheduling for a grid is the N-1 criterion: that is, the grid should be robust to the loss of any of its N power sources, allowing for both the capacity in spinning reserve, and the re-routing of power over the grid in ways that don’t cause excessive flows that lead to cascading trips and blackouts – and the same applies to grid links. The interconnector is simply one of the N power sources, and evidently the SA grid operation is no longer robust to loss of its supply. The idea that there is something special about the SA grid link is nonsense: the loss of power from Victoria did not historically cause high risk of blackout conditions in SA – that is an entirely new phenomenon as conventional capacity offering grid inertia has closed. The UK has been seeing 4GW reversals (from 2GW import to 2GW export) on the French interconnector in short order without causing any blackouts. It’s called having sufficient resources (just – the UK is dangerously close to having insufficient margin) and good planning.
      See p 26 here:

  5. Sa have enough employment problems this just says don’t invest here unless you BYOE that’s bring your own electricity , can’t understand why it’s not catching on .
    This state is a basket case and worse a role model for victoriastan .

  6. What Mr. Stokes and others of the Green fraternity keep ignoring is the fact that renewable power generation systems such as Wind Turbines, Tidal Power and Solar Panels are not base load systems, i.e. they cannot produce power when needed, only when available. As such when problems such as core base load Power Plants failing or Power Transmission failures occur then these renewable Power Generation systems cannot provide, on demand and quickly, the shortfall in power needed to maintain supplies. It’s as simple as that! It’s not simply a matter of what caused the original problem!

  7. Nick beat Griff running in to this thread defending the stupidity of SA. Nick’s colution to the SA power problem is ANOTHER interconnector. Too funny!

    • Interconnectors are a significant part of new power solutions…
      There are over 7GW of new interconnectors planned for the UK, for example.
      and I note that if the planned grid storage projects in SA were operational, SA could likely have avoided this.
      I’m also surprised BHP don’t have solar/battery power for their mining ops – it is standard in countries like Chile

      • Someone has to build reliable power somewhere at the end of those interconnectors. This is the crass stupidity belief that the wind is blowing somewhere so lets connect the world.
        It stupid; inept lack of critical, logical thinking. Its also extremely expensive to interconnect with 1000s kms of copper.

      • Solar Power for emergency power back up with batteries! Have you any idea of the power demands in mining operations, the areas of solar panels needed and the size of batteries needed, even if available to accommodate, say, just a 24 hr. power outage?

      • Keep digging Griff…INTERCONNECTORS are powered by non-renewable energy sources soon to be at risk with the closures of conventional power generation in Victoria. I suggest the Victorian will sever that/those interconnectors when THAT state experiences blackouts, and it will. It is the essence of idiocy.

      • Hey Griff SA would be ok if they could just get the plebs and industry to stop using electricity from the state grid .

    • One thing for sure, if all the tosh Nick wrote here was electricity, Australia wouldn’t have a problem. We could close all our generators and be totally green.
      And what’s more, to extend his theory on interconnectors, after all the states have completed their intention to go all out renewables, we could build a couple of interconnectors across to China and shift our ‘pollution problem’ to the North.

  8. I truly hate it when Nick is trying to have an adult conversation and everyone here acts embarrassingly in response.
    A second interconnector makes sense for increasing stability under any circumstances, including as a stabilizer when adding unstable renewals, of which I am not a fan. A second connector is expensive and is a judgement call depending on who is deciding.
    It is possible for normal failures to occur which have nothing to do with poor green ideological planning,

    • I do wonder if Australia has a general problem in management of its power network/interconnectors…
      The situation in Tasmania when the cable went out and the dam was dry reeks of bad management, as does the management of the network during the SA storm outage… in other nations that power line might not have tripped and taken out the wind farms…

      • I think a lot is just adjustment to competition and trading opportunities as the national network develops. The Tas situation was essentially commercial. They sold a lot of power when Basslink became available and prices were high, then got hit with a double whammy of broken link and drought. Easy to criticise in hindsight; also bad luck. But that just meant that they had to resort to expensive gas for a period. I’d be interested to see if they came out ahead in the end. They may well have, despite the bad luck.
        As I’ve suggested above, the SA situation was also fairly forced by competitive economics. It was insupportable to compel SA consumers to pay for expensive Leigh Creek generation when much cheaper power was available from the national grid. So Leigh Creek/Port Augusta had to close. There is risk in being at the end of a rather long wire in a national grid, but also a lot of cost saving.
        And BHP isn’t going to leave Olympic Dam because of the odd electricity failure.

      • “adjustment to competition and trading opportunities ”
        Yep, like removing all RET, mandated renewable usage and subsidies.
        Real trade, where the NON-VIABLES would disappear, leaving just the rotting husks of turbines and the chemical pollution of decaying solar panels…… for the taxpayer to tidy up

      • “They sold a lot of power when Basslink became available and prices were high, then got hit with a double whammy of broken link and drought. Easy to criticise in hindsight; also bad luck. But that just meant that they had to resort to expensive gas for a period.”
        Good grief Nick, bad luck?! the drought didnt exactly sneak up on them, reservoir levels were dropping and they kept going, of course it was bad management. They had no plan, no checkpoints apparently. Firing up the gas turbine they wanted to dismantle previously was the least of their issues, they also had to import and fuel a fleet of heavy diesel generators much as the UK does know to meet its needs when the wind doesnt blow.

      • Nick Stokes has absolutely no idea.
        SA is rapidly heading to a point where will will have no base load power. Wind has been generating 6% of name plate for some of the last few days – and when we have to rely only on wind and solar, business will regularly have to shut down. No business will choose to operate in SA.
        And yes BHP can leave Olympic Dam if it suits them, or simply run at much reduced capacity. It has already cancelled major upgrades. Mines close and reopen depending on market conditions all the time. This is a regular occurrence for SA copper mines already.
        The governments response that BHP should build a power station if it wants reliable power is absolutely extraordinary and irresponsible.

      • You have to love how Nick and Griff think interconnectors are the missing link ( 🙂 ) in a more “renewable” grid.It’s all about spreading out the load and the supply, averaging demand and generation.
        ie Homogenizing to utopia
        Sadly, the real grid isn’t like that

      • There is only one reason for government to be involved in electrical power to the population. To insure CHEAP (read monopoly), RELIABLE, and UBIQUITOUS electrical power. Set the requirements and then get out of the way of the utility. In the end, the voters can decide if the government set the right requirements. The government getting involved in micro-managing the grid WILL BE A DISASTER. Lest you wonder, I received my electrical engineering degree back when you had to memorize the steam tables and I have been involved throughout my career with regulated utilities. And I might add, after viewing some of the responses here, some folks have no idea about designing the least expensive, most reliable, with power for all electrical grid.

    • Thank you Charles. What Nick writes is almost always relevant and worth reading. Even if we may disagree with him on many points we should value his input. He deserves respectful replies.

      • Nick calmly pushing green talking points is him putting lipstick on a sow. He gets what he deserves.

        PLUS ONE!

      • What Nick has been doing is calmly explaining that for renewable power sources to work, they have to be connected to regions that don’t rely on renewable power sources.
        Of course Nick wants the whole world to rely on renewable power sources, so his proposed solution will only last for a few more years.

    • Nicks position seems to be SA shutting down dispatchable power systems is OK, all SA needs is another interconnector to source dispatchable power from Victoria, so they can continue building more unreliables.
      Even if SA is running out of fossil fuels (doubtful – given how fracking has revolutionised US fossil fuel recovery), SA is also sitting on one of the largest deposits of Uranium in the world. If they want zero carbon power they shouldn’t be wasting their time building renewables and praying the interrconnector doesn’t fail.

      • now theyre saying they want to install a solar thermal steam unit
        like Ivanpah bird killer back in pt Agutta
        the stupid is never ending
        and the haste they ripped the guts out of PA and flogged it off so it couldnt BE restarted is??
        rather amazing considering the ineptitude n slow speed on other demo projects like the mobil refinery trashing down sth
        or the massive cost n non event of the new RAH

      • It must be tempting to BHP-taken to task by the SA Minister for Energy Tom Koutantsantis or whatever for not having their own power source at Olympic Dam -to reply saying OK we will build our own power -a nuclear reactor using the uranium we mine

    • Sorry Charles, but on this I disagree. Without the green ideological planning such that SA runs on wind and solar this power blip wouldn’t have mattered. They made their bed and now they don’t want to lay in it.

    • Of course failures occur. That is why you build excess despatchable capacity, not unreliable weather-dependent renewables. Green planning means you don’t have that excess despatchable capacity and hence you get blackouts.

      • SA has plenty of capacity. It’s just not economic for them to keep 200+ MW running in reserve, just in case. The nation can do it – mandated national reserve is 850MW. SA just needs to be able to access it. There is no reason why states need to be regarded as islands. Not even Tas, now (electrically).

      • “Nick, if SA had plenty of capacity then why did they lose power?”
        SA does have plenty of capacity. 1280 MW gas at Torrens Island. 480 MW at Pelican Point. I bet they weren’t running full blast at 1am. That’s the deal; with sudden loss of power (200MW), you have to start up something else, and it takes time. They did that within half an hour.
        I see that even BHP did have power stations – in fact two, at Whyalla. Of course, they sold them with the steelworks.

      • SA did not have plenty of capacity.. There was a major blackout. do you DENY this fact ?
        If those plants had been running and providing the supply, there wouldn’t have been a blackout.
        Instead they were relying on COAL fired power from Victoria.
        Not very green or “feel-good” of them, was it.

      • “SA has plenty of capacity. It’s just not economic for them to keep 200+ MW running in reserve, just in case. The nation can do it – mandated national reserve is 850MW. SA just needs to be able to access it.”
        So basically it’s up to everyone else to pay for the backup so that SA can do what it wants. Um, no. Sorry. You Victorians can keep a few generators spinning to supply SA, the rest of us will look after the rest of the country. Frankly I fail to see why Qld taxpayers should pay to keep reserve running for the benefit of SA.

      • Nick, I note that you aren’t denying that keeping the reserves running costs money. You are just quibbling about who gets shafted with the bill.

      • “Nick, I note that you aren’t denying that keeping the reserves running costs money.”
        Of course. And you need reserves in any system, to guard against sudden outage. As in this event, which had nothing to do with renewables.
        But it costs much less relatively on a national grid. All that is needed is to give SA full access to the national reserve, to which they contribute.
        “Clearly not”
        SA had ample reserves, which they were able to get running within half an hour. What they didn’t have was enough spinning reserves. The national grid did, but with the interconnector not linked, they couldn’t access it. With another interconnector, they could.

      • And as you have admitted, you need a lot more spinning reserve in order to accomodate the un-reliabilty of wind and solar.
        So that makes wind and solar even more of a money loser.
        Not to mention the fact that this spinning reserve also negates almost all of the so called CO2 benefits of wind and solar.

    • Except that this isn’t the issue – yes a sudden loss of 200MW would probably need to be made up, but the issue is – for Nicks benefit, that SA does not have enough local capacity to make up for the interconnector at times of peak usage – For example if this happened at 7-9 AM or 4 -7 PM on a summer weekday (when wind is likely to be stalled) SA would have to dump part of it’s grid for the duration, because it can’t generate enough while islanded to meet peak needs – This is what BHP is worried about. The loss of hazelwood will only make that worse, Victoria will island if it needs to preserve it’s own network integrity – that’ll almost certainly drop SA whenever it happens.
      It’s actually a betrayal of SA citizens that their government has let things get so bad. The line from the interconnector is 40 years old – a disaster waiting to happen.
      South Australians need to tell their representatives that it’s not good enough, that SA must be able to operate without that line.
      It’s a good thing its not wartime, just one munition to take out a whole state. The feds should intervene with the defense power and insist that SA be made resilient to attack.

    • “A second interconnector makes sense for increasing stability”
      Charles, you should note that South Australia already has a 2nd interconnector to Victoria. What they need is a 3rd interconnector: to a state that still generates power using reliable methods such as coal, gas or oil. Or, perhaps it would be more sensible for them to just build a new power station to replace the one they demolished this year.

    • as an EX sth aussie
      its ok to mine uranium but NOT use it…
      or to be responsible and take back waste to store it?
      even though income from storage would help build the nuke plant..
      I dont like nuke ie fuku n chernobyl reasons
      would prefer we use the coal gen
      hypocrisy to the max is as bad

    • “I truly hate it when Nick is trying to have an adult conversation and everyone here acts embarrassingly in response.”
      Yeah, you have to admire Nick for not losing his temper sometimes.
      We should all try to concentrate on the matter under discussion rather than trying to run someone’s character down.

      • Making bad arguments with excessive faux-politeness, so you can accuse anybody who forcefully challenges them of acting “embarrasingly”, is not adult conversation. It’s passive-aggressive smokescreen.

    • Ah, the age old conundrum of electric power system planning: Reliability versus economics.
      Watermelons want us to vote on it! An adult conversation? Technical issues be damned! Griffie and Nick are the experts.
      Traditionally, interconnections bring in ECONOMIC energy, with minimal reliability. Now, they bring in UNECONOMIC green generation, with still minimal reliability.
      No amount of greenwash armwaving and uneducated electric power system analyses changes fundamental facts.

    • I’m sorry, I disagree. I’ve posted below studies that show that SA prices have moved sharply higher and become much more volatile since they shut dispatchable capacity, as well as on the costs of proposed new interconnectors. SA power consumers are spending an additional A$500m p.a. thanks to their state’s policy already – a figure that is rising. Moreover, SA is in desperate need of grid inertia to keep their grid stable – it is the lack of inertia that provides a high element of statewide blackout risk. The best way to solve their problems is to end subsidies on renewables, and get on and build reliable, cost competitive sources of power.

  9. It is too late for SA to fix this. Soon there will be no spare capacity in neighboring states, so 100 inter-connectors wont help. Base load power stations are not profitable and the remaining gas fired stations will close. The government has vowed not to subsidise fossil fuel base load.
    Residents will be forced into battery backup – business will move elsewhere.
    I don’t see this unfolding any other way as the opposition is unelectable, and appears to have essentially the same policies anyway (having recently announced banning fracking as one of their policies)
    Fortunately there are other states to live in – and Australians are generally welcome any where in the world.
    It is not important that SA prospers.

    • Chris is right there will be growing lack of reliable capacity in Victoria if the state government proceeds with its 40% renewables target and Queensland similarly and tjis would be even more so should the Victorian Greens get their way with 90% renewables ( read wind and solar) by 2030!!
      So no mattet how many connectors SA persuade others to fund if they are plugging
      into an increasingly stresed and less and less
      reliable “national” grid where are they then?
      And as many have pointed out why would a footloose industry needing reliable power invest in SA?

    • “business will move elsewhere. ”
      Yes, any business would have to be concerned over this situation. It might not be time to move out, but I’ll bet those looking to move in, are having second thoughts.

      • Back during the days of the Soviet Union there was a rather poignant comment from someone who’s name I’ve forgotten.
        In the west, they have walls to keep people out. In the east they have walls to keep people in.

  10. Maybe those ‘hot rocks’ of Timmy’s in northern South Australia, that we spent $90 million on, could help out ??

    • only help…would be US throwing them AT the greentards n pollies who allowed and continue this farce!!!

  11. California now pays Nevada Power $.08 kWh to take its excess solar, they have outlawed a stable grid and forcing down our throats expensive battery storage. It is great for Green Crony capitalists like Tesla’s Musk to mandate your solar roof, energy storage and cars by subsidies. They have shutting down low cost nuclear to do this, Insane.

  12. It is sad to see the destruction of South Australia. There was a time when governments in that state would do just about anything to increase industry and the wealth of its citizens.

  13. I lived in California during the power blackouts some years ago. Bad weather power outages are at least something that can be sort of anticipated, and are usually over rather soon. The sort of thing California had disrupted any work that day, and the next, as I could not really tell when the power would stay back on. Whatever Griiff and other greens do, it obviously does not need reliable power.

  14. Nick deliberately forgets to mention how far away South Australia is from the other sources of electricity. It is at least 400 miles away from the brown coal Victorian power stations and 600 from any Tasmanian hydro fill in.
    Coal is not that expensive and it is a lot easier and cheaper to buy and transport the stuff and produce power locally than transport it by wires 400-600 miles, at a huge, immense loss in power hence having to pay a lot more for it when it arrives.
    What about the distance factor, Nick?
    It is the green mantra that demands SA closed and blew up its coal power plant. It will be the continued power failures that change the Govt and bring back coal or nuclear power in one election cycle.
    Yes they have a national grid but the cost in SA is much higher proportionate to the huge distance to transport the electricity plus the need to subsidize the inefficient wind farms.

    • ” It is at least 400 miles away from the brown coal Victorian power stations”
      They are plugged into a very expensive and high capacity line that Vic built in the 1980’s to supply the aluminium smelter at Portland. That is why heywood, which is quite close to SA.
      “Coal is not that expensive and it is a lot easier and cheaper to buy and transport the stuff “
      Really? I’d like to see how you work that out. Why do you think power stations are in the Latrobe Valley? Or at places like Callide in Qld. Why not ship the coal to Brisbane?
      “It is the green mantra that demands SA closed and blew up its coal power plant.”
      No, it couldn’t compete. Alinta closed it.

      • Sorry Nick, coal is shipped to Brisbane.
        “Queensland Bulk Handling (QBH) is a separate venture located at the Port of Brisbane. It is a multi-user facility with the capacity to export 10 million tonnes per annum of coal and is Brisbane’s leading coal export terminal. In 2012, it exported a record 8.67 million tonnes – a 33% increase on past performance.
        All coal managed by QBH is transported by Queensland Rail. Unit trains carrying 1,900 tonnes of coal can typically be unloaded and stockpiled within one hour. The facility offers superior flexibility through its eight discrete stockpiles with total storage capacity of 909,000 tonnes.”
        From the “New Hope” website.

      • “Really? I’d like to see how you work that out. Why do you think power stations are in the Latrobe Valley? Or at places like Callide in Qld. Why not ship the coal to Brisbane?”
        Because it makes sense to co-locate and keep the stations out of the city when you have reasonable grid proximity. Why move it when you dont have to. It a nonsense comparison.

      • If Wind and solar power was subsidy free then fossil fuel generation would have been able to compete…and compete very well….but it is not a level playing field….and this is because of green lobby groups and desire by the SA govt to go green on power generation. Simple as that.

      • “Coal is not that expensive and it is a lot easier and cheaper to buy and transport the stuff “
        Really? I’d like to see how you work that out
        Nick, Australia is a [the] major coal exporter. We have lots of coal. There is a train track that runs from the Gippsland coalmines direct to South Australia with lots of cheap brown coal. It is so cheap India and China buy it to run their power stations. Do keep up.

      • “Nick, Australia is a [the] major coal exporter. We have lots of coal. There is a train track that runs from the Gippsland coalmines direct to South Australia with lots of cheap brown coal.”
        We don’t export brown coal. In fact, we don’t move it any distance at all, and certainly not to SA. We tried to move it. A lot of money was spent upgrading (and electrifying) the line from Morwell to Newport, with briquetting and all sorts of unloading facilities. Even a huge chimney. But it was all uneconomic in the end, and closed.
        And we have power lines that conduct the electricity perfectly well.
        “Sorry Nick, coal is shipped to Brisbane.”
        Read it again.
        “In 2012, it exported a record 8.67 million tonnes “
        Coal is railed to Brisbane for export, not power generation.

      • Strewth Bruce! Oz exports around 180 million tonnes of thermal coal a year:
        It’s not too difficult to divert some of that to a coastal power station in South Australia, conveniently located to supply the major demand in Adelaide, if you bother to build the thing. The freight cost is a lot less than shipping it instead to China, and still leaves coal way cheaper than other alternatives, including a several hundred mile interconnector to coal fired power in another state.

      • Of course it couldn’t compete against the high subsidies offered to wind and solar, and the grid priority granted to them. That’s not a level playing field though: remove the subsidies, and no-one would bother with wind and solar for anything other than off grid support.
        The reality post closure has been that power prices in SA have risen sharply, and become highly volatile. That’s exactly what you would expect if you shut down a reliable source of cheap power.
        See p 15/p 29 here:
        The assumption is that they will manage to build a new 650MW interconnector for A$500m-A$1bn. Then you have to pay for 650MW of generating capacity on top. There are other even more expensive interconnector proposals, all driven by the lack of grid inertia in South Australia: the easiest way to solve that problem is to put rotating generation conventional powerstations back into the SA grid. Still, when you have a business building power lines, that’s the last thing you think of.

      • “Of course it couldn’t compete against the high subsidies”
        The entire cost of building the Northern Power station, creating the mine at Leigh Creek and the rail link, was funded by the SA Government. Now that is subsidy!
        “It’s not too difficult to divert some of that to a coastal power station in South Australia, conveniently located to supply the major demand in Adelaide,”
        We’ve been there before. Sixty years ago (peak Playford) Australia’s iron ore came from Iron Knob and nearby, inland from Whyalla, and not far from Port Augusta, site of Northern Power station. Most ore was taken to source of coal (Hunter, Illawarra), but a steel mill was built in Whyalla, bringing coal from those places. BHP built a power station too, using that coal. SA could have used it for a bigger station for general supply. Instead they built Northern, not far away,, using Leigh Creek brown coal. That is the rickety arrangement now ended. But clearly shipping black coal didn’t add up.

      • You seem unable to distinguish between investment and subsidy. The Northern Power station opened in 1985, when there was no subsidised competition from wind and solar, and when ETSA held a state monopoly in power provision. ETSA was privatised in 1999, and the power station was still profitable. It is unfair competition from subsidised and prioritised regardless of cost wind and solar that has led to closure.
        Meantime I read that it could be re-opened to mitigate the rising blackout risk:
        It is ultimately a question of greenstanding vs sensible economics. Present day economics would greatly favour running on coal and shuttering windfarms. Your reference to the economics of many decades ago is irrelevant.

      • I’m sure the governments would describe their fairly small subsidies to wind as an investment. Northern may have been presented as profitable for privatisation, but the buyers got the sunk cost of building the station for very little. Actually, the power station is a lot older that 1985 – I saw it in 1960.
        The talk of reopening Northern comes from an investor, who seems to be getting very little enthusiasm from BHP. It isn’t just the power station – it is a town that would have to be repopulated, and a railway line to restart.

        • Nick Stokes: “I’m sure the governments would describe their fairly small subsidies to wind as an investment.”
          It isn’t the government’s money though, is it?
          Funny how you lot never seem to appreciate that.
          As a consumer, I can assure you that I sure as hell DON’T describe it as an investment, I describe it as an out-and-out ripoff, tantamount to demanding money with menaces.
          I doubt the 31,000 elderly described here describe them as fairly small, either.
          The social cost of fuel poverty is massive, and growing. In the winter of 2012/13, there were 31,000 extra winter deaths in England and Wales, a rise of 29% on the previous year. Around 30-50% of these deaths can be linked to being cold indoors. And not being able to heat your home also takes a huge toll on health in general: those in fuel poverty have higher incidences of asthma, bronchitis, heart and lung disease, kidney disease and mental health problems.

          Nor are the subsidies small, not by any stretch of imagination!
          But hey, why should you care, you’re in the business of “Saving the Planet™”, right?

  15. He said BHP built back-up power at its mines across the world.

    The cost of electricity is already a threat to the mine’s continued operation. It’s an electric arc smelter so it uses a lot of electricity. The cost of a sufficient backup power supply will also threaten the mine’s continued operation.
    A three hour blackout isn’t much of a threat to the smelter but a two week blackout sure is. link

    • “A three hour blackout isn’t much of a threat to the smelter but a two week blackout sure is.”
      And the reason they had a two week blackout wasn’t to do with SA grid instability, which was over in four hours. It was because of lines downed in the storm. They were physically disconnected.
      If you want to make huge profits mining and smelting in remote desert locations, you have to deal with the cost issues. It isn’t someone else’s problem. In fact, BHP had similar issues when they developed the iron at Iron Knob, and a steel mill at Whyalla, also in the then remote north. They built a power station.

      • Example 1:
        Hamilton, Canada, iron smelters.
        Coal and iron ore delivered by lake ship.
        The energy needed to melt the ore came from coal/coke. Electricity was needed to run the mill. It originally came from Niagara Falls. It wasn’t necessary to build a power plant specially for the smelter.
        Example 2:
        Quebec aluminum smelters.
        Bauxite ore came from South America by ship. The smelters were located to take advantage of hydroelectricity available in Quebec.
        The energy to process the ore came from electricity. Each smelter had its own hydroelectric power plant.
        You can’t just say, off the cuff, ‘build a power plant’. It’s not cheap and you still need to have a source of fuel. Almost everything about a smelter is a ‘big deal’.

        • Everything is easy if you are an Alt-Watermelon. Read the history of hydroelectric power and basic metals smelting in the Pacific Northwest. Recent history is ugly.

  16. I have to smile when reading proponents of primitive renewable power capacity argue that one CAN
    avoid the effect of renewables’ intrinsically unreliable nature if one does this and does that and so on and so forth. The very arguments they put forth are proof that renewables have no place on the grid, for any conceivable reason, and have a ton of environmentally negative characteristics which these “environmentalists” somehow manage to ignore. In a world about to be revolutionized by advanced nuclear designs especially molten salt, likely to be commercialized first by Moltex (or the Chinese) in the early 2020’s, anyone throwing money down the drain on renewables can only be characterized as totally ignorant of our future energy technologies. Wind as solar are very old, very primitive means of making energy that died when reliable power technologies apppeared centuries ago, only to be resurrected in the recent past because of hysterical and unfounded fears. You don’t have to refer to any tables of data to understand the almost total uselessness of most renewable power technologies, geothermal and hydroelectric excepted. All you have to do is observe their intrinsic deficiencies, deficiencies that cannot be removed by such holy grail bandaids, such as cheaper storage technologies. In a word, wind and solar power technologies are stupid methods of making grid-level power. They may have a niche usefullness for off-grid situations, but the grid requires a reliable supply to match an intrinsically unreliable demand. The why and the how that extreme environmentalists latched onto wind and solar is something of a mystery. Environmentally, they suck, as anything that flies can tell you. Perhaps it was the misleading belief that the sunshine and wind is “free”. Who knows? Who cares?

    • It would seem the solutions to the problem of the green blob are beginning coming thick and fast.
      OPEC has dropped its output and the American shale industry is rubbing its hands. The Dutch look likely to ditch the Paris agreement, Donald Trump hates windmills! The Chinese are increasing coal production (surprise. surprise) and Germany’s conservative party is considering abolishing renewable energy subsidies.
      As I’m already branded a racist for voting Brexit, and UKIP seem to be the only UK party to be taking a stance against GW, I think I’ll be voting for them come the next general election.
      Finally, we might be able to kick the greenies off the pristine, white cliffs of Dover and get our lives back.
      Good luck Aus. I hope the sceptic movement comes your way soon.

    • “The why and the how that extreme environmentalists latched onto wind and solar is something of a mystery.”
      They reject using fossil fuels and nuclear powerplants to supply energy, so the only thing left to them is solar and wind.

  17. The reason ‘alternative energy’ was alternative in the first place is that it is inherently unreliable.
    The mistake was simple human error – setting the system up to rely on unreliable resources.

    • I guess you need to get your engineering faculty more involved. In 1995 Princeton University was making plans to update its old on-campus boiler system for heating the campus buildings. Members of the engineering faculty wrote a proposal to the board of trustees suggesting a cogeneration plant which would use waste heat to heat the buildings while meeting the campus electricity needs. The economics of this were so obvious that the plan was adopted and the Co-Gen plant was built in 1996 and has operated successfully ever since (even during Sandy). The generating capacity is sufficient to power the average campus demand (15 MW) and is now supplemented by a solar array. Electricity is also supplemented by the grid when necessary and economic to do so (computerized in real time). The generation is mainly by natural gas with a thermal efficiency of ~80%.
      Currently (a sunny day) solar is 2.5MW and the gas turbines 11MW with ~3MW off the grid according to their live website:

    • Phil.
      A sensible and well thought through local energy plan. Our governments, on the other hand, are so scared of minority groups they surrender democracy to them for fear of being called a nasty name and, in the UK at least, splashed across the front page of the socialist “Guardian” as a denialist Government. We are forced to pepper our countryside and shores with wind farms which are expected to (eventually) deliver 100% of the countries power needs, because greenies have threatened us with our survival.
      The accountants are also running the asylum! For too many years, instead of focussing on need rather than cost, everything is reduced to the lowest common denominator. Energy policies are calculated on grid connected, centralised energy distribution, rather than seeking local solutions that suit people who live in the region, because it saves money, which it rarely does.
      Europe is largely running on a denationalised, privatised, nationalised industry basis. Electricity, water, gas, trains, roads etc. etc. All the supposedly ‘denationalised’ industries are now run nationally by private companies. But that was never the vision sold to the UK at least. We expected denationalisation to mean private companies, operating services on a local level, delivering services that reflected local needs.
      Instead, I buy by my gas and electricity from Scotland, I live in Kent. We are lucky enough to be a 4 car household, not one car is built in the UK, and not one built in the same country, I suspect at least one is from a different continent. I resent that I can’t buy a car from a British owned car company. That goes for my washing machine (Bosch) Tumble dryer (Whirlpool) Dishwasher (Miele) Fridge freezer (Samsung) TV (Panasonic) Computer….Clothes….Food……and of course energy imported from France (and soon to be more) through idiotic inconnectors.
      WTF is the UK doing? I could understand Thatcher’s desire to drive out crap, union dominated industry, and replace it with the financial sector, but we have had financial disasters that dwarf manufacturing disasters and nearly 30 years to change our service dominated society. Blair, Brown and Cameron have utterly failed to balance the countries needs for low-skilled employment which many people demand. Not because they are stupid or lazy, but because they are good at manual labour and enjoy it.
      We used to be a nation of shopkeepers. Now we’re a nation of toilet cleaners, only we all have degrees in Media Studies, and the Media is worse than it ever was!

    • “…Some 122 university green campaigners signed an open letter calling for the conversion to be cancelled and replaced by renewable energy. There was not one engineer among them…..
      Exactly Dean. And therein lies the bottom line as far as I am concerned regarding wind and solar energy. The failure of political leaders (and everyone else pushing wind and solar) in Europe, Australia, North America and everywhere else to understand that energy generation is an issue involving physics, math, and engineering, not green quasi-religious ideology.
      I could be wrong about this, but I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if a survey of greenie wind and energy pushers revealed that very few of them have any background in these disciplines, if any. Which leaves them with little or no understanding of the consequences of what they trying to sell all of us.
      In my book, the key to ending the madness of massive malinvestment in wind and solar is simply making the people of all of of these nations understand the serious problems with wind and solar energy when physics, math and engineering analyses are applied to them.
      Don’t know if Trump is planning on doing this here in the U.S., but I for one would applaud him LOUDLY if he did.

    • Most of these snowflakes have been told from birth that they are the smartest person in any room. So it’s natural for them to assume that they know all they need to know about power generation.
      They don’t need mere engineers to tell them anything. They have Doctorates, don’t you know.

  18. @ Griff / Nick Stokes
    A comment to the german grid reliability.
    While it is true that we have one of the most reliable grids you have to consider that the grid needs and gets more capacity in operation. A good example for that
    are the redispatch operations which control the different area capacities and which e.g. redirect the redundant current into blind generators to stabilize the grid. Those operations have risen 900% in the past 6 years!!! (see picture here:
    And you also have to consider that we have the not very intelligent “luxury” of having nearly 100% conventional capacity in the backhand.
    Yes, we have one of the most reliable grid, but we installed a lot of grid control and safety capacity to reach that reliability which is why we pay the second highest prices in Europe and about double of the medium global price. Up to you to decide whether it makes sense to get a 26% renewable content for a double price that actually helps nobody.

    • Yes, a renewable grid needs a lot of management.
      Thankfully modern capabilities in managing networks with computer support are up to it.
      The cost paid by the consumer is from FIT payments, not operating costs.
      Is it worth it? German public opinion continues to say it is.
      And energy independence from Russian gas someday might be a thing worth having?

      • The electicity costs are clearly separated in production costs, network management costs and the costs for subsidizing renewables. The latter two have risen dramatically over the last 10 years due to renewables. So the consumer also pays for operating.
        Yes, the Germans think renewables are good because they are living in a green Wonderland. There is the 100% belief that renewables are really good for the environment or climate and the mainstream thinking meanwhile is green because of the german Angst from nuclear technology and potential harm to the environment. Without having some “green” or “bio” in a slogan you will not be able to market a product in Germany. This was the reason why the “Energiewende” could happen in the first place. There never really was a discussion about climate change in Germany. The people just believed that we were doing no good to the planet and we have to do what politics is telling us to save a planet that is doing fine or even better without our help. I guess more than 90% of the people in Germany don’t know anything about the harm, biomass, biofuels or solar technology are doing. They just believe the green slogans that are coming from every political party. This is the next difference to other countries: There is no real political opposition to green policy. Merkel adopted the green policy and also said good-bye to nuclear power just to sail in this mainstream wind. Nobody here would believe that there were zero dead people in Fukushima related to the nuclear catastrophy because the media reported and still report as if the majority of vicitms came from nuclear radiation.
        The result is that the majority believes that Energiewende is a great deal. Living in Wonderland is nice as long as reality doesn’t hit it. But that day will come. If you look a littler closer the majority of the people are proponents of the Energiewende but are at the same time not happy about the real consequences of it for which they blame the policy (see a poll in “Die Welt”). But this is stupid since the whole thing comes from there.

      • ‘And energy independence from Russian gas someday might be a thing worth having?’
        In that case get fracking!

      • If energy independance is what you are after, the worst thing you can do is install wind and solar. The amount of energy required to keep the reserves spinning 100% of the time easily exceeds the power generated by wind and solar.

      • MarkW says: “The amount of energy required to keep the reserves spinning 100% of the time easily exceeds the power generated by wind and solar.” But Mark, you forget that weather forecasting is very reliable 2 to 3 days out, so you can easily predict wind speed, wind direction, and cloudiness 2 to 3 days out. This prediction ability makes your claim of “100% of the time” bogus.

      • Paul, I don’t see solar is doing any harm…
        There are issues with biomass and biofuels, but these are being managed… renewables are not a magic technology: they have problems to solve and require hard work and money to implement.
        Germans don’t import wood for biomass and the use of inappropriate woodland is being cracked down on… biofuel has been reigned in throughout the EU and Europe never had the bioethanol boondoggle that US Republicans foisted on the US.
        If the energy transformation was doing harm, it would see protest. but it isn’t, is it?
        A lot of people own German renewables, not big power companies… they are directly benefitting from the income streams… it is keeping N German farmers and surrounding villages going…

      • HENRY: Are you actually claiming that 2 to 3 days out, weather forecasters can call the windspeed for each minute of the day, down to a mile or two per hour?
        If you are then you are delusional to the point of being beyond help.
        Just saying that Wednesday is going to be windier than Tuesday is of no help to anybody.

    • +10 Thanks
      That helps put into perspective the cost shifting aspect that any good advocacy lobbyist will ignore or hide at any cost.

    • Ptolomy
      That is contradictory.
      I guess I think importing expensive fossil fuel from far off/dodgy regimes is a bad idea, but cheap surplus renewables is OK.
      I’m contradictory.

    • Paul
      If I could add my personal experience; I have twice visited Germany -as it happened in consecutive summers,
      We traveled by train from Frankfurt to Berlin then south to Munich the first year and west to east from Frankfurt to Berlin and further east again in the second year-quite big distances considering the size of Germany
      In both years as we traveled looking out from the train we noted wind turbines as far as the eye could see running from horizon to horizon-too many to count
      What was also notable was that in both years not one of them was spinning with all huge blades hanging listless
      I recall thinking at the time based on my experience as a project economist what huge capital costs were represented yet for which there was no productivity.
      While I recognize this was only several days experience over consecutive years nevertheless it drove home two thoughts:-
      1 That it was also possible if not probable that this lack of turbine movement happened on other occasions throughout the year, and
      2 Only a very rich nation such as Germany could possibly afford such an indulgence of underemployed capital
      On the basis of our experience I can see why Germany has decided to provide conventional powered back -up to cover no -wind days such as we observed -which also confirms my initial thought that maybe they do re-occur throughout the year,
      As you conclude in your post “what a high price to pay just to be able to say you have 26% installed renewable capacity”
      Yet this is the propped- up uneconomic high cost system that people like Griff and Nick Stokes appear to support in the name of green energy

  19. For decades utilities planned for reliable and affordable local grids. Interconnections enhanced reliability and intercompany wholesale transactions had low price volatility. Enter competition and renewable energy mandates and VOILA, the system becomes volatile, unbalanced and increasingly unaffordable.
    Think Dr. Suess flow chart….

    • Think Dr. Suess…….. okie dokie : )
      I do not like green blades with spans
      I do not like them, mad I am
      I do not like them on the roads
      I do not like them in the rows
      I do not like them standing tall
      I do not like them, not at all
      I do not like them killing birds
      I do not like them killing bats
      I do not like them causing harm
      I do not like them on a farm
      I do not like them — Do No Harm
      I do not like them false green farms
      I do not like the spinning blades, noise, flicker, insane rage
      I do not like them on this page
      I do not like these giant fans
      I do not like them on the lands
      I do not like those men in ties
      I do not like those telling lies
      I do not like them on the ground
      I do not like them dead birds found
      I do not like those concrete holes
      Where toxic water then must flow
      I do not like them in the sun
      I do not like them in the rain
      I do not like them in the snow
      I do not like them, they must go!
      I do not like them any day
      They harm us all in every way
      I do not like them in the north
      I do not like them in the south
      I do not like them east or west
      I do not like them, Can you guess?
      I do not like green blades with spans
      with giant sweeps upon our lands
      In Germany Australia Netherlands Canada USA or UK
      Take your fans and blow away!
      I do not like green blades with spans
      I do not like them, Mad I Am
      — Ella Rupprecht

    • Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
      I must now conclude my lay
      By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
      That your central girders would not have given way,
      At least many sensible men do say,
      Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
      At least many sensible men confesses,
      For the stronger we our houses do build,
      The less chance we have of being killed.
      William Topaz McGonagall

      • I once passed over the Tay on the current rail bridge on the anniversary of the disaster… the remains of the old bridge just visible in the gloom of the evening, the moon shining on the water…

  20. Thankfully modern capabilities in managing networks with computer support are up to it.—aye, that might be true. Until some mischievous hacker takes that network down.

    • JVC, It won’t take a hacker, just a good old fashioned hurricane, a bit of sea level rise, a few droughts, a bit of snow. These are the global disasters predicted by the greenies, but we can’t deal with the fairly stable environment we have now without threats of power cuts. How the fcuck they imagine an already overloaded global power supply can deal with what they’re selling us, I’ll never know.

  21. Shutting down mines and smelters is EXACTLY part of the plan. The progressive plan for the future does not include any mines or smelters or large-scale agriculture or industry. These events just help people get used to it, and adjust to their new future.

  22. Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said … “BHP built back-up power at its mines across the world. Why they haven’t done so at Olympic Dam is a matter for them,”
    So they are admitting that South Australia is now a third world country (where you always need power backup)?

  23. Late to weigh in, but as a veteran of power plant operation, I can only recommend installing some robotic gas turbines equal to the potential downward variation in supply possible when wind and solar both subside to prevent Knocking your Hydro-system off-line and having to initiate a black grid startup.

  24. Renewable drivers, consumable technology, unstable energy production. The Environmentalist propaganda is a double-edged scalpel that should be administered equally.

    • The Victorian Employment Minister can dribble all the platitudes he likes but as Greg Brown reports in The Australian today (Dec 2nd)-
      “A major power outage at the Alcoa aluminium smelter in Victoria’s west has forced the closure of more than half of its manufacturing capacity with fears that the plant may never fully recover.
      The plant in Portland, 350km southwest of Melbourne, employs about 500 people and the power outage comes as its owner is trying to negotiate a competitive power deal that will keep its doors open.
      Analysts predicted that the closure of the Hazelwood power station would precipitate the closure of the Portland smelter due to higher power costs. The closure of the smelter would impact 2000 jobs, with the local council predicting Portland would lose 30 per cent of it’s population”
      When SA was islanded with the interconnector shut off power prices rocketed to $14000/Mwhr so you can see where the big industry users are coming from and looking ahead to Hazelwood closure must be wondering if their investments are going to go the same way.

      • Resourceguy:
        I’m sure the Greens regard closing a smelter as a victory. That it is replaced with highly polluting marginal, energy inefficient capacity in China matters to them not a jot. Lots more CO2 emissions, and lots more PFCs.

  25. We clearly need to dismantle our current industrial society which stupidly and wastefully requires constant and non-intermittent, polluting power and get back to the pre-industrial bliss we once had when money and the latest technology grew on trees and we all rode gentle non polluting horses and bullocks!
    The climate was also cool and stable then without these traumatizing ups and downs of hundreds of a degree C and all was well with the world.
    Also, think of the children!!!!!!

  26. Currently in the UK, we are importing more electricity from the Netherlands (1% of total demand) than from wind/solar (0.8%) – This is updated every 5 mins. The weather has been pretty calm in UK for a week now. I cannot imagine any electrical storage system that would continue to supply a nation’s electricity for days on end but I can imagine the outcry if we had blackouts lasting more than a few hours across the entire country.

    • We always import from the Netherlands and until the recent accident we were importing the same from France (with a short spell of exporting due to the French reactor problems).
      It may be as you say when you write, but earlier in the week wind power was much higher…
      There are by the way another 7 GW of interconnectors to various countries on the planning board, including Iceland and Norway, plus as much wind power as we currently have will be delivered by 2020.
      Really there is no UK winter crisis, even with a cable to France out and most of the coal power closed…why are you so keen on a crisis?

Comments are closed.