South Australia: Where did the Wind Power Go?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova – South Australia, the world’s renewable energy crash test dummy, has just encountered a new problem; “climate” has caused their wind power to collapse.

Lack of wind blows out South Australia power costs

12:00AM July 4, 2017


Resources reporter

The slowest wind conditions on record in some places of South Australia have slashed east coast wind generation in the June quarter, pushing up electricity prices, cutting wind farm profits and spurring concerns about future energy market planning.

The trend, spurred by unusually high pressure systems in the Great Australian Bight that are becoming more prevalent as the globe warms, is forecast to continue in July and August, the weather bureau says.

The so-called wind drought has meant National Electricity Market wind generation in the June quarter, the first quarter after this year’s closure of the ­Hazelwood brown coal-fired power station, was its lowest in five years, despite rapid growth in the number of wind turbines.

Darren Ray, a senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, said the low winds had been caused by a high pressure system over the Bight.

While this had eased, and wind had picked up, it was expected to return.

Modelling of weather patterns is keeping the high pressure systems a bit stronger than average, with lower than average winds, over July and August,” he said, adding it was probably not going to be as extreme as June.

Global warming was making the high pressure systems more common.

“There is a long-term trend linking it (high pressure systems in the Bight) to climate change,” Mr Ray said.

The tropics expand as the planet warms and that sees high pressure systems staying through­out the south longer than they used to.

Read more:

As JoNova points out, the current Bureau of Meteorology analysis contrasts with yesterminute’s modelling which indicated climate change would produce stronger winds, more violent weather systems – for exactly the same reason.

Climate change ‘blowing in’ stronger winds, CSIRO finds


12:00AM September 22, 2011

WIND speeds in Australia have increased by about 14 per cent over the past two decades, but you may not have noticed because the speed of the air just above the ground has actually slowed down.

CSIRO scientists analysing data collected since 1975 at numerous wind stations around the country found the average speed measured 10m above the ground had increased by about 0.7 per cent per year, whereas that measured 2m above the ground had slowed by about 0.4 per cent per year over the same period.

Moreover, they found that the weakest winds had increased in speed but the fastest and strongest winds increased more slowly by comparison — good news for wind-farm developers but potentially bad news for farmers.

Alberto Troccoli, head of the CSIRO’s Weather and Energy Research Unit, said the difference between the measure at 2m and 10m was due to the lower stations being shielded by obstacles such as trees and buildings, and that the higher station provided the more accurate measure.

We think the overall increase is caused by the widening of the tropical belt, due to climate change,” he said.

Read more:

A skeptic might suggest that Aussie climatologists are just making it up as they go, that they haven’t got a clue what is really happening to the climate. But I’m sure this can’t be the case; after all, the science is settled.

NPS West Coal Bunker and Tower Demolition

South Australia Demolished their last coal plant April this year: NPS West Coal Bunker and Tower Demolition

143 thoughts on “South Australia: Where did the Wind Power Go?

  1. “Modelling of weather patterns is keeping the high pressure systems a bit stronger than average, with lower than average winds, over July and August,”
    Cousin Larry, this modelling is AMAZING stuff.

    • Just letting you all know that the South Australian Government has just put out tenders to build a new solar farm that will cost around 1 billion dollars with of course with battery back up. And, instead of a coal fired power station producing the same amount of electricity, it will be built by early next year. So we are fine down here, thanks for the concern.

      • Would that be the same batteries that you can buy over the counter at Tesco?

      • You know what Einstein said about madness – it’s doing the same thing over & over and expecting a different outcome.
        But good luck with it anyway.
        Just don’t try hitting up Victoria for a cup of power when you run short. In case you haven’t kept up, we’ve just lost ~ 20% of our generation capacity with the closure of Hazelwood.

      • Try boasting on WUWT about the madness of SA when the next blackout occurs, because it’s not a question of if but one of when.

      • Moderately Cross of East Anglia July 6, 2017 at 1:30 am
        Would that be the same batteries that you can buy over the counter at Tesco?

        Those batteries don’t last for many charge-discharge cycles. link
        As far as I can tell, there is no viable battery technology that will allow solar and wind to match the reliability of the power we now enjoy. link They are experimenting with all kinds of things including giant flywheels and compressed air energy storage.
        The one storage technology that is viable and is widely used is pumped hydro. link The problem is that it needs favorable geography. You can’t just plop it down anywhere. Do The Math has analyzed the situation and it isn’t pretty.

        Let’s be clear that I am not making any claim that large scale storage at the level we need is impossible. But it’s far more daunting than almost anyone realizes. It’s not a matter of “just” building up when the time comes. We could easily find ourselves ill-prepared and suffering insufficient energy supplies, intermittency, and a long, slow economic slide because we collectively did not anticipate the scale of the challenges ahead. link

      • Wind and solar are already way more expensive than fossil fuel or nuclear.
        Adding in battery backup just makes it even more expensive.

      • MarkW July 6, 2017 at 6:09 am
        … Adding in battery backup just makes it even more expensive.

        One wit quipped that buying electricity cheaply, storing it in batteries, and selling it at a higher price later was:

        Equivalent to selling potatoes from a Ferrari. link

      • And that solar farm will drastically degrade the environment that lies beneath it, soil, animals, & plant life will not like it one bit.
        Not to mention the toxic by-products of solar panel manufacturing and the pollution caused when they are disposed of.

      • Roger Sowell July 7, 2017 at 12:40 pm
        For commiebob, re needing space for the pumped storage hydro. Not so fast.

        Do The Math. The problem is daunting to say the least. Wishful hand waving won’t do. Yes, there are indeed successful examples of pumped hydro but they depend on local conditions. To scale up and use less favourable terrain requires a lot of concrete.

        At an energy cost of 2.5 GJ per ton of concrete, and a density of 2.4 tons per cubic meter, we end up needing 32 billion kWh of energy per dam, and 90 trillion kWh total. This over 250 times the amount of energy impounded by the dams, and represents three years of the total energy appetite of the U.S. today.

      • for commiebob, there is plenty of space for the shore-to-ocean pumped storage hydroelectric systems. Those have more of an environmental impediment than anything technical or economic.
        As for the batteries that you and so many others claim just do not exist, the facts belie your claims.
        Tesla, as just one company, has a contract with Australia for a 100 MW battery based on Li-Ion technology to assist with wind-related grid issues.
        There is also a 70 MW battery in Southern California, at Escondido near San Diego, in grid service. .

      • Yes, it is. Electricity is invisible and magic. Makes selling any scam about sooooo easy.

  2. Wind speed a metre above ground is lowered by more vegetation.
    Hypothesis. Global greening from CO2 causes more vegetation causes slower winds.
    A test with one plausible variable removed – study areas over water.
    P.s. That is, if it is important enough to bother.

    • Geoff
      Putting ideas to the test by logical physical experiments seems obvious to some but was revolutionary when introduced by Galileo, Vesalius, Regiomontanus and others – this outbreak of childlike honesty constituted the Renaissance.
      Now the renaissance is over, dead and buried. Logic is right wing. Testing ideas is unfashionable. Uber-inductive untestable unfalsifiable “science” such as AGW is the new catholicism.

  3. “. . . after all, the science is settled.”
    But Earth’s climates aren’t.

    • It’s not Gaia, it’s Pachamama, Gaia’s mountain-dwelling, wicked alter ego who should get the credit (blame?). And there’s the Pachamama popey who is currently installed in the Vatican. We can’t overlook his influence.

  4. Did the wind level really decrease, or did the sensors/weather stations simply have more obstructions built around them in the past decade, which reflected less wind with recorded data? I can cite one or two stations in the Tucson area which have had numerous construction sites erected over the past thirty-odd years and these would all have some affected on recorded data.

    • I would assume that the Australians had at most a dozen weather stations for all of east Australia, and another dozen for south Australia with most on the coast. From that, they extrapolated to millions of sq km what is going on. Then in came hundreds of winds farms producing a detailed climate record not seen before, and now the weather is a lot less homogeneous than they presumed. That is, again, more undersampling and overgeneralization and gross extrapolation proved false as more wind farms with more climate data, showed up. The “change in climate” is due to increased station data. Gross extrapolation of thousands of sq km to the data and income around an exact wind farm hill in that territory are two different things. This is ignored, and become climate change as cliche science, which appears increasingly to be climate conclusions without critical thinking.

      • The Australian system is a bit better than that
        Here’s a list of the sites recoding sites used ACORN-SAT data
        There are thousands of other sites but less constrained.
        Data isn’t the problem, it’s the world and how you interpret it….
        Alberto Troccoli Australian CSIRO 2011
        WIND speeds in Australia have increased by about 14 per cent over the past two decades…….We think the overall increase is caused by the widening of the tropical belt, due to climate change,” he said.
        Darren Ray Australian BOM 2017
        Darren Ray, a senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, said the low winds had been caused by a high pressure system over the Bight……..The tropics expand as the planet warms and that sees high pressure systems staying through­out the south longer than they used to.
        It can’t be that difficult to work out whether wind speeds have increased or decreased. The SA experience would suggest that they’ve decreased, but increase or decrease it’s all the result of climate change and we’d like some more research funds to sort it out [and keep us employed].

      • So many erroneous guesses in one paragragh Donald. Well done.
        And Eric “Clickbait” Worrell trying his best to get a bit of mileage out of recycling Joe Nova’s click-bait.
        This confected, ‘make up your mind’, ‘how can we trust the BOM’ rubbish Eric is running is transparently dishonest. One is talking about the whole continent and the other about the Great Australian Bight.
        Alberto Troccoli Australian CSIRO 2011
        WIND speeds in Australia have increased by about 14 per cent over the past two decades…….We think the overall increase is caused by the widening of the tropical belt, due to climate change,” he said.
        Darren Ray Australian BOM 2017
        Darren Ray, a senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, said the low winds had been caused by a high pressure system over the Bight……..The tropics expand as the planet warms and that sees high pressure systems staying through­out the south longer than they used to.

      • I see Tony – so what you are saying is wind farms in South Australia were always a dumb idea because climate modelling predicted all along that there wouldn’t be enough wind in South Australia, for significant periods of the year.
        Shame the politicians didn’t listen to the climate community and farm unicorns instead.

      • Peril as in not shorting AGW? Every AGW prediction so far has failed, so with that hindsight going long AGW seems pretty perilous.

      • Would these be the same meteorologists that just announced they could predict the weather…100 years out

      • Ignore predictions that have never been right at your peril.
        McClod, you really should copy right this stuff. It’s comedic gold.

      • ““The tropics expand as the planet warms and that sees high pressure systems staying through­out the south longer than they used to.”
        This is the key problem with everything they say. If the planet is warming, high pressure systems would be less not more. High pressure systems mean cold, dry air. Key word there is COLD, which does not occur more with warming but less. The very cold weather down under is not due to warming.
        Their entire system of thinking is flawed from the start. With the hiatus firmly recognized, where do they get these amazing predictions? The Cartoon Model Network. Think about it, these people think that the laws of science are those that they saw in cartoons when they were little kids—slapstick, run-him-over-with-a-steamroller-and-slide-him-under-the-door cartoon reality—think of Wiley Coyote and you have a good idea of the “science” they practice.

    • I can only see about 8 ACORN sites in WA, most on the coast.
      ‘Here’s a list of the sites recoding sites used ACORN-SAT data’
      Not very convincing.These with the non constrained sites, if believed, tell us that measuring wind power is parlous in SA.
      When the Federal minister shut down the live cattle export industry there were not only humane consequences, but political and civil consequences.
      I don’t know how far the action for damages against him has gone.
      The more I see of this climate change, lets build renewable narrative in SA, the more I see of loss making business and inevitable expert commentary and litigation.
      The arguments for the process in SA are weaker and weaker.
      It would seem the models for this power system, based on wind at least, were not sufficiently robust.
      In the meanwhile my fellow citizens in SA are hit by higher power bills and the need to buy generators, shut down, move or go without heating in a cold snap or cooling in the next summer.
      They are the victims of an ill conceived experiment.
      The fact that discussing such real conflicted human deprivation is seen as clickbait shows a disrespect for the ultimate needs of civil society.
      We in Australia need cheap reliable power.
      These needs are fundamental so not negotiable.
      Our continent is a net carbon sink.
      On any climate model, providing that does not alter climate to any measurable degree.
      Consumers need to be able to opt out of green renewable power, and let those who believe in it pay the costs.
      This, or taking action against ministers who persist in setting up such power schemes,with a high chance of business and financial loss, as alleged in the live cattle export dispute,may be the only way out of Australia’s bind.
      To put the argument, we owe it to the next generation of our children as much as we owe it to ourselves.

  5. Also, should one not ask, officially and demanding an answer, whether wind pattern studies were performed adequately before the decision to build wind farms was made.
    I am in Melbourne. A trend in reporting of SA wind farm problems is a gradual acceptance that the decision was made on ideology before the engineering was done. Like the now-needed fossil fuel station that was blown up ahead of reasonable planning time.
    It stinks. I have to pay hundreds of $$ a year more now for electricity, because ideology.

    • Hazelwood was shut down by the foreign owned company that acquired it from the state because they didn’t want to invest in upgrading its turbines and furnaces. It was a commercial decision that had nothing to do with the renewable/green agenda…the plant was nearly 70 years old ffs….so Geoff get ya facts right and blame the folk that deserve it…. conservative privatisation of essential infrastructure.

      • Last time I looked, the govt regulates the infrastructure. Perhaps they should not expect consumer invesment to back economically faulty infrastructure. Boo Hoo

      • David Job;
        the oldest part of Hazelwood was 53 years old. It ran 7 out of 8 units for the last month (1 in reserve and used briefly as another went off line) putting out 83% of its original capacity.
        You are right that Engie decided not to invest in the future, faced with a State government which had tripled the royalty paid on coal and had made no secret about its determination to increase the disruption from wind farms. Whether the State government would have behaved differently if the station was publically owned is unlikely.

      • Bet you the infrastructure inside, like boilers and turbines, would not have been 70 years old.

      • Job needs to get his facts straight … public funded subsidy of “renewables”, read windmills, led to the demise of the power stations being undercut by the very taxes they and we pay … ffs, Blow get your facts right!

      • David Job,
        You have part of the story correct. The important parts that you miss re Hazelwood are
        1. Victorian Govt increased royaltybimposts on coal, making it more expensive
        2. The Govt preference to use renewable energy first, the fossil, with $$ consequences, made Hazelwood less competitive
        3. There were ample signals from Vic govt that coal was to be used as last resort, renewables favoured, so the future for Hazelwood looked bleak. The war on fossil fuels extends now to a State ban on fracking.
        These views are shared by others above, thank you others, and by almost every informed person I know. Geoff

      • Be very careful what you wish for. Public ownership of any large industry is fraught with peril. there is an old maxim regarding ownership and maintenance: “If everybody owns it then nobody is responsible and nobody takes care of it.”

      • So it was a lousy investment, therefore the government should have done it? Socialism! Where tax money goes to die!
        And why did it then make sense to replace it with unreliable renewable energy at twice the price?

    • going to get worse Geoff, out in the sthwest Vic and running down to the coast..theyve just approved a whole slew more birdshredders, billions of dollars of course
      brags about work for locals(construction phase only as usual)
      and those same areas run along high ground n bush reserves so they can g/tee birdkills- grampians etc

      • There’s nothing like pride in one’s completely wrong beliefs. I think it’s all that “self-esteem”. One supposes when the lights go out, it will be the fault of weather for not providing sufficient fuel. Perhaps lawsuits can be brought against Gaia for failure to keep the lights on. Marches demanding Gaia increase wind. Wind dances, like the old rain dances.

  6. Whatever you want, Global Warming CAGW will provide it for you instantly, no questions asked. It’s all thanks to homogenized modelling.

    • He’s building his own power station for it.
      And apparently, as he’s not selling the power commercially, he won’t have to pay the pseudo carbon tax on it.

      • Griff – “… renewable energy has a part to play in steel making”
        A Part to play? Renewable energy can’t produce all of the energy required to construct themselves?

      • I am just pointing you at Gupta’s plans for renewable energy (tidal lagoon) to power a scrap steel melting plant
        If you can meet 100% of electricity demand from renewables, then you can supply all the electrical power needed for society.

        • “If you can meet 100% of electricity demand from renewables, then you can supply all the electrical power needed for society.” So, you admit your fantasy is a total failure. Glad to see you finally accept reality.

      • “If you can meet 100% of electricity demand from renewables, then you can supply all the electrical power needed for society.”
        “…if wishes were fishes…”
        Some pretty big IFs.
        And, IF frogs had wings they wouldn’t bump their bums when landing.

      • Sorry Griff, as an oil company employee, all of the higher-ups say that. ESPECIALLY if they don’t believe it. It’s only business sense.

      • He means the part where the government gives him lots of money to use more expensive energy because politics.

      • Belief in alchemy dies very slowing. I’m waiting for the plans to capture lightening and store it so I have a month’s electricity for FREE!! I’m so excited!

      • All mouth and no trousers from Gupta. He has yet to get through green tape in Australia.

      • Gupta has been given the inside running to grab the lions share of the cash from the SA renewables development grants and all he has to do is paint some pretty story. No brainer .. never stand between a entrepreneur and a bucket of cash. Will anything come from it well the SA taxpayers will be down the best part of $200M.

  7. It is incredible that so much conversation and moralising can take place over fake imaginary things; such as global warming, climate change, GHE, GHG,s, etc. Imagine if the news media were blocked solid with stories discussing the overwhelming evidence that Santa Claus has a reindeer with a red nose, and whether it is possible that it only glows on Christmas Eve, and whether or not the Easter Bunny lives in a traditional burrow or a man-made burrow. Because the “overwhelming evidence” and the “consensus” for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny is far closer to reality than the AGW nonsense.

    • There should be a poll of Western 2-5 year olds. I bet there would be a 97% consensus for the existence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. This would clearly demonstrate that views and reality are not necessarily the same thing.

      • It would also provide an excellent reference point for the mental acuity of the AGW crowd.

    • A feature of climate work is “Wishing for the predicted outcome to come true”. Like wishing that every year will be hotter than the last, so you can claim there is actual global warming.Then wishing that people will believe it to be man made.
      Part of my hard position on all this came from using science, including complex models, to find more ore deposits. The stark reality is that the target is either there or not there. No amount of wishing will change that reality. No amount of subjective adjustment of data will help you. No number of media articles, with or without spin, will change that reality.
      It is handy to use this as a filter when you see a new climate papers. Some recognise wishing, a few recognise the reality.

  8. Wrong siting of the wind turbines. They should have put them close to the parliament and get the politicians to work 24/7. In that situation the wind turbines will be assured of a constant hot air supply.

  9. Climate change is the bureaucrats “get out of jail free” card.
    “Yes, we mismanaged, and yes we destroyed the system that worked, but we are saving the planet”!!
    “And it would have worked, but the climate changed”!

    • Stick it to the Mann! Let’s hope “climate fraud” becomes contagious and exacts justice on those that have prostituted science for their own personal gain, at the expense of taxpayers, and consumers of energy.

    • The only thing reasonably certain from the article is that Mann missed a deadline for submission of data to the court. The outcome is totally dependent on the judge’s response, which has not been released. Motions by the Ball legal team have no standing and may be rejected. The source, which never actually states that Ball has defeated Mann, may be totally wishful thinking.

      • I don’t believe that you realize the import of failing to produce court ordered data. I don’t invision any participant prevailing by failing to provide evidence. Duh!

      • “failing to produce court ordered data”
        It wasn’t court ordered data. It was Ball-ordered data. There is no indication of what the court thinks about it.

      • Not quite right Nick. Mann requested an adjournment, and the Ball team requested Mann provide all the data for the graph for examination in open court as a condition to agreeing. Mann accepted the condition. When Mann did that, the data is then required by the court by the due date. The adjournment order made by the court contains the requirement the data is provided. It is now ordered by the court.

      • True, but the impact of that statement is that the adjournment was conditional on production of that data. That is, the production of the data was enshrined in a court order. Ergo, breach of it is contempt of court.
        That’s what the article says, rightly or wrongly

      • Contempt of court can carry a punishment ranging from finger-wagging and a lecture all the way to jail time. Unless something goes seriously wrong, missing a deadline is far closer to the former than the latter. If true, it’s good for Ball, but it’s not a slam dunk by any means like the article says.

      • My late friend, Dave Arneson, had numerous legal battles with TSR over royalties for the original Dungeons and Dragons game. In one case, TSR missed a deadline for discovery for which the Judge found them in contempt and signed an order to turn over the data or be closed down. When Dave showed up at the TSR offices with the order and a Sheriff, they changed their tune very quickly. He walked out with boxes of documents and eventually taught them a lesson in court that they never forgot.
        If I were Mann, I would tread lightly. Most judges don’t like to be defied.

    • I have to agree with the moderator. Seeking corroboration of this story has yielded nothing as yet. We need to wait and see.

  10. It’s an ill wind……………..that does as it damn well pleases.
    Most Adelaidians will remember the summer of ’17. Unfortunately, quite a number will be overcome by the lack of electricity for their air-conditioners. The interconnector to Victoria will be sucking on a dry teat.

    • especially since i read tassie was low on water and were firing up the generators as well as buying FROM Vic last week..
      going to be interesting indeed as its damn cold now and people are running a hell of a lot of reverse cysle setups over using wood, and rural folks like me cant GET mains gas and bottles 100kg are over 130$ ea now and dont last a month when heaters are used.

  11. Most of the wind farms in SA are located around Adelaide – York Peninsular coast.,133.0872483,6z/data=!3m1!4b1
    According to the BOM site that part of the country on average never has what would be regarded as optimum wind speed conditions for wind turbines at any time of the year which I understand is around 25-30km/hr — although the maps don’t indicate the height of the measurements

    • even dumber is the ones along the highway from redhill to near crystal brook and Bute hills
      and then Hallet inland
      yes it does get windy sometimes
      its also bloody cold and desolate so the locals were overjoyed at any chance to rent land at huge prices to windfarms.

  12. Earth and it’s cohorts! the cabal of atmospheric gases, their deliberate disruption of settled science is outrageous! it is now perfectly clear that these gases have been seduced by big oil and are somehow deliberately withholding the appropriate level of wind.

  13. I sent the opposing statements to my local South Australian politicians asking which one is going to lose his job. I don’t expect a rational response.

    • You might have more success by asking a rational question.
      If you mean the statements below; they are not opposing.
      Alberto Troccoli Australian CSIRO 2011
      WIND speeds in Australia have increased by about 14 per cent over the past two decades…….We think the overall increase is caused by the widening of the tropical belt, due to climate change,” he said.
      Darren Ray Australian BOM 2017
      Darren Ray, a senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, said the low winds had been caused by a high pressure system over the Bight……..The tropics expand as the planet warms and that sees high pressure systems staying through­out the south longer than they used to.

      • Poor McClod. Just a small drop in wind , and wind power COLLAPSES
        Even the political base subsidies and far-left feed-in idiocy can help it.

      • tony
        How is an increase due to climate change not opposed to low winds due to climate change?

  14. If SA has no ability to buy power from outside and has to depend upon wind, events like this will require more back up capacity. Backup capacity, long pushed under the rug by wind proponents,
    constitutes a sizable side effect expense due to wind’s unreliable nature. And the expense is there even if these no wind conditions rarely occur, since the majority of costs for a power station are not related to fuel costs, especially when dealing with low capacity plants. When wind constitutes a small portion of a grid’s power, bullt in dispatchable reserves can usually cover its inadequacies. Wind power cannot replace dispatchable power generators. And, contrary to the faulty logic of the renewable crowd, batteries are NOT a solution : batteries have finite capacities, must be recharged somehow and store energy. They don’t create energy. They also are not cheap and have a limited lifespan with respect to power systems. Wind is a primitive means of producing power that justifiably disappeared with the advent of the power grid system. Wind power is expensive, producing very low quality power. It should have remained where it belongs – in the 19th Century.
    It’s environmental footprint is obscenely gigantic with respect to acreage required. Why anyone who considers himself an environmentalist would support wind power is one of life’s little mysteries of the mind.

    • Arthur
      Go to
      and click the top rhs “NEM Despatch Overview” and you get a picture of who is supplying what.
      I haven’t worked out where you get the maximum that the various who’s can produce as yet. Tony in Oz who posts at Jo Nova has probably put this data up but I don’t have a link just now.
      You’ll get the idea that it will be interesting if a big coal or gas set drops out though.

    • It is worse than providing backup capacity. During that blackout where power supplied from the wind turbines went from near full capacity to zero, it was a voltage collapse that prevented the turbines from supplying the grid with power, not a lack of wind. On an AC transmission grid, all of the voltage support comes solely from spinning synchronous machines. One way SA could have added voltage support would be to keep the actual generators and switch yards of that decommissioned coal generating station in service, bolting the largest feasible flywheels to the generators, and using the grid to drive the generators as synchronous motors (which would only require a tiny fraction of the rated full load power of the generator), so it can act as a synchronous reactance (depending on the excitation, the unit can be either an inductance or a capacitance.
      When a power shortage threatens to cause a voltage collapse, the frequency drop of the grid will pull real power out of the rotational energy, the spinning inertia will slow down the frequency drop, and the excitation can be controlled to support the grid voltage.
      Hypothetically, you could support the voltage with switched capacitor banks, but to counteract dropping frequency and dropping voltage, you would be adding the substantial switching transients to a grid that is already unstable.
      ***BAD PUN ALERT!***
      For South Australia, wind power is truly a fair weather friend.

  15. If we could tap the surplus energy from humbug emissions and convert it to electricity, we’d be fixed.
    In the meantime, expect self-interested doomsayers to mine isolated tidbits of data and screech, “AHHHHH!!!! It’s long term! It’s long term, and we’re going to be wiped out!”

  16. It’s just dawned on me – why the temperature connection with climate is so poorly understood and unmeasurable and computer models are total garbage…
    It goes like this- The power output of windmills goes as the third power of the wind-speed.
    Taking an average of the windspeed to calculate your expected power output is nonsense.
    By example and shooting off-the-hip, but a single day within any given month of 30mph wind will make more electric in that one day than all the rest of the days in that month combined and blowing at 3mph.
    But heat-loss from Planet Earth follows Stefan’s Law and goes as the fourth power of the temperature. To predict the mechanical processes (weather) using a simple average can only lead to The Wrong Answer. Just like with windmills.
    Hence planting, running and observing windmills that operate on a cube law (and failing miserably to meet expectations) should tell any intelligent mind out there that using averages to project/predict/expect a climate, following a quartic law, is basically a hiding to nothing.
    If we can’t get cube laws worked, how the fook can we predict things that follow a quartic?
    I repeat: When humankind can demonstrate its ability to take 2 rocks, place one atop the other and get them to remain that way – I’m The Skeptic

    • I could be quite pleased with that little nugget actually, the windmills are actual ANALOGUE climate computers running a real Climate Model in the real world..
      Rather than a digital (computer) model in rarefied Ivory Towers. Only an analogue computer can ever hope to have the speed, resolution and the parallel processing abilities that could get anywhere near cracking the climate nut.
      In a way, the windmills are the forerunners of potentially a very good Climate Computer.
      (Yes. One of the very few times I *ever* watch TV and Alan Turing was on last night on Film 4)
      We know, buck passing, demands for more research, more time, more staff, more supercomputers, more ivory for tower construction will get in the way of any progress.
      Sad innit. Like Turing’s story

  17. “Global warming was making the high pressure systems more common.” It’s wurst than we though. Next high pressure systems will become less common and low pressure systems more common. In the final stages, the models say that systems will vanish all together. Now, please excuse me, I have to visit the isobar for a nip before closing time.

  18. Low wind conditions are so unknown at around 30 degrees of latitude that there is actually a name for them the “Horse Latitudes”, which are associated with the “Sub-tropical Ridge”, a ridge high pressure that sits for weeks at a time. An ocean voyage that could takes weeks in ideal conditions often took months before 1818 when the Horse Latitudes. The stationary air-mass of the “Horses” is credited by some to the creation of vast deserts on nearly every continent including Australia…my God, who knew? Mariners over 400 years ago.

  19. Well now I am really ticked off. These conditions are very similar to 1972 in Melbourne.
    I remember because I had a chronic allergy that was spurred by dry still conditions and SMOG if anyone west of Beijing remembers that.
    I sneezed and wheezed all through that Cold, Dry, Still Winter. That was pre CAGW. BOM please explain??
    You can’t because you talk crap!!!

  20. swings and roundabouts. Those high pressure systems make for some great wintry flying off of the dunes in my hangglider on the east coast of NSW.

  21. Always remember – whatever happens in the weather today is due to climate change (and human-induced climate change to be more specific).

    • Unless it’s colder, in which case it’s only weather. Only if it’s warmer is it evidence of climate change. All other measurements (wind speed. precipitation, etc.) support climate change regardless of which direction they are going.

  22. As of 1 Jan this year, our solar feed-in payment dropped to 6 cents/kwh. How many large solar projects would be viable at this rate?

    • Answer: An unlimited amount of new capacity….from the sector leaders. We never get to that kind of open market bidding because of protectionist, demonstration project, local content rules, lobbyist, special interest world.

  23. Here is a hint, kids, wind mills can’t heat your homes or run your hospitals when the wind don’t blow. What can heat your homes and run your hospitals when the wind don’t blow? Coal. Nuclear. Hydro.

    • That nuclear power is not allowed in Australia, mate. Besides, nuclear power plants bankrupt the populace. And things won’t grow right after they go BOOM…

      • Roger
        You mean in the way that nothing at all is growing in the astonishingly abundant green wildlife paradise around Chernobyl?

      • First, they don’t go boom. Second, the people of Australia have the God given authority to physically remove their enemies from government positions. This sh*t keeps up and we will see it happen, free people do not simply sit down in the mud to die. They fight back, and when their “political” system fails them physical violence is the only avenue left to them.

      • “Roger Sowell July 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm
        Besides, nuclear power plants bankrupt the populace.”
        Rubbish! The plants are not the cause. The cause is the legal and environmental processes that has to be followed to even get the first sod of earth turned. But it’s not only nuclear that is costly, read this;
        This is our future in Australia thanks to lawyers, politicians and the climate change scare.

      • Patrick MJD says: ” Rubbish!”

        Can Patrick explain why the French nuclear power industry is deeply in debt?

  24. Add that to the running tally of climate firsts and impacts. The headline writers will lap it up.

  25. For every high pressure system there has to be a low pressure system.
    Unless we are adding more atmosphere.

    • I always thought they came in pairs, or in series (high, low, high, low).
      As far as I can tell, there are neither more or less high/low pressure systems around now than in the past.

  26. Donuts – Is there anything they can’t do
    ~ Homer J. Simpson
    Models – Is there anything they can’t do
    ~ BOM

  27. Here’s the June picture in a graph bearing in mind last year those wind farms produced on average 34% of installed capacity-
    You can see how the wind farm operators are moaning from a comparison with May-
    but note that low week in May in particular and what it says about wind despatchability and what sort of storage capacity you’d need to capture those peak outputs and guarantee an overall average output during those low periods. Electrochemical storage at that scale is the stuff of science fiction or smoking something you shouldn’t, which largely leaves pumped hydro in the driest State in the driest continent.
    So that only leaves any mountains reasonably near the sea and Oz being an ancient weathered continent poor old South Oz only has what real mountain men would call hillocks so here’s one aspirant for pumped hydro picking the best spot they can find along our Gulf-
    Yeah 300 metres of lift and 100MW of storage for 6-8 hours and we’re supposed to be jumping for joy our Green overlords have it all under control.
    Meanwhile back at Green central the brains trust have a cunning plan-

  28. “the current Bureau of Meteorology analysis contrasts with yesterminute’s modelling which indicated climate change would produce stronger winds, more violent weather systems – for exactly the same reason”
    Same here in Toronto, Canada: we had a wet spring, and the Great Lakes are rather full, so we’ve had some localized flooding. Damn climate change! More precipitation is the “new normal”. The models say so.
    Except that…only a few years ago, we had a dry spring, and the very same climate models were used to show that we would get LESS precipitation. THAT was the new normal.
    Can’t wait for next spring, which will either be wetter, or drier, or average, all due to climate change.

    • I guess using “climate change” and dumping that whole warming thing does allow one to blame every outcome on climate change (unless the climate actually stopped changing) no matter what it is. If one ignores all previous models and projections and just goes with what the weather is doing at this moment in time, it is a perfect plan. Everything is due to climate change. Of course, that also takes humans out of it, so there could be down side.

      • Indeed. This case here is rather amazing, though: models said there would be more wind, so build the turbines right….THERE! Oh, no wind? Well, the models say there will be less wind, of course. So build solar right…THERE!
        Seriously, I’d be looking for a guy selling a monorail.
        And someone has started a small list. Its a few years old, no doubt its a bit bigger now:

      • Caligula Jones: From what I have read, in some places no one cared if enough wind blew or not. Contracts and handouts were the goal, not making electricity. So up went the turbines.
        (I live where “the wind always blows”. It’s 90 degrees F and there is a 3 to 6 mph wind. Not a turbine anywhere that I can see turning. I’m not sure if the models show the wind “always” blows here, but it does not. Especially when it’s hot and everyone has their A/C on and is using massive quantities of electricity. You know, when we don’t need electricity……)

  29. All my life I’ve been told that Australians were down-to-earth matter-of-fact nondeferential pragmatists. What happened?

  30. It seems our Green overlords are doubling down with these unreliables and no prizes for guessing who is hanging around the taxpayer honeypot-
    Given up on the 100MW 6-8 hours worth of pumped hydro perhaps but no mention of the number of hours of storage the giant battery will be able to supply.

  31. Do I detect a note of skepticism?? “A skeptic might suggest that [Aussie] climatologists are just making it up as they go, that they haven’t got a clue what is really happening to the climate. But I’m sure this can’t be the case; after all, the science is settled.” Lol
    Ask Piers Corbyn of fame…

  32. It is impossible to concentrate huge amounts of power for potential electricity generation, without significant danger of explosion 💥, fire 🔥 or other threats to life and limb.
    The dangers of nuclear (much exaggerated by Khmer Vert Luddites) are as nothing compared to the minefield of incendiary hazards that will soon proliferate across landscapes as the fantasies of the Green Reich are rolled out in subservient nations. Sadly there will be a growing toll of fatal catastrophes from grid storage (that CNN will decorate with flowers and ear-to-ear monkey-grins).

  33. To me, the interesting thing about solar is that the more efficient it gets, the more and more solar energy will be captured, and NOT reflected back into space. It will be converted indirectly to work and be dissipated as heat. Result of less reflected light – by definition – lower albedo – hence warmer earth. You can readily see this at work by considering a black asphalt road vs a white concrete road. And a solar collector is much more effective than a blacktop – and that heat is staying down here.

    • Lee
      It’s called making work for yourself.
      More solar panels = less albedo = more global warming = we need even more solar panels = etc. etc.
      Solar panels are acting as self-multiplying automatons, or Von Neumann robots.

  34. I will travel to Australia on business in a week’s time (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide) so I’ll get a chance to find out how delighted Australians are with their politicised electricity.

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