Aussie Triumph? Solar Briefly Overtook Coal, then Failed at Sunset

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Observa; If only those lazy engineers would figure out how to keep the solar panels working at night, when people actually need the electricity…

Solar briefly overtakes coal in Australia as number one source of power nationally

by political reporter Tom Lowrey

Key points:

  • Solar energy beat out coal as the leading source of power across the energy market for about half an hour on Friday
  • Most of the power came from rooftop solar panels, rather than from large-scale solar farms
  • Energy experts say it is a sign of things to come as Australia transitions to renewable energy

For about half an hour on Friday, the national energy market caught a glimpse of what a renewables-powered future might look like.

Solar energy eclipsed coal as the lead source of power across the energy market, which includes all states and territories except Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

It was not the first time it had happened, but experts said it was the first time it had happened under relatively “normal” conditions.

It was not caused by a shortage of coal-fired power, and it happened just outside the sunniest time of the year.

Joshua Stabler, from energy consulting firm Energy Edge, said that made it particularly significant.

“This is the first time in business-as-usual that we’ve ever seen coal be dethroned as [the] number-one fuel source in the market,” he said.

“Coal has been at times up to 80 or 90 per cent of the amount of energy coming into the market.

“Which means that this is a big event.”

Coal still dominates the grid during the evening peak, when solar sources are no longer available.

But Richie Merzian, from progressive think tank the Australia Institute, said that was solvable through a transformation across the energy grid.

“We can make more energy on our rooftops in our communities, we can plug in more large-scale renewables, but we need a grid that can accommodate that,” he said.

Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-20/solar-briefly-overtakes-coal-australia-number-one-source-power/101354054

What I love about this article is not one mention of batteries or storage. Until some genius figures out an affordable energy storage system, none of these green triumphs help ordinary consumers. Renewable capacity will continue to inflate household energy bills.

Whatever coal providers lose to renewables during the day, the more than make up for at night, or during unfavourable weather conditions, when the power they provide dominates the electricity grid.

We can forget about the gigantic Snowy 2 pumped storage system, which was the great green hope until someone bothered to actually run the numbers. Even the deep greens at Sydney Morning Herald nowadays call Snowy 2 a “White Elephant”.

The leverage coal providers hold over the Aussie government is they can simply pack up and leave, and crash the Australian electricity grid, if anyone attempts to interfere with them taking the same profits as they did before renewables entered the market.

We have already seen this leverage play out, during the recent crisis when the Aussie government tried to impose fixed prices on coal plants during a wind drought. We can only guess what coal operators said to government representatives behind closed doors, but the government response was an immediate offer of large capacity subsidies for coal plants, in return for a promise to keep their plants running.

Coal providers demanding the same profit they made before renewables entered the market, and being in a position to force the Australian government to comply, leaves ordinary Australians lumbered with the combined cost of running both the old coal powered electricity system and the new renewable electricity system. These costs will either appear directly in people’s energy bills, or indirectly via federal taxes, which are passed on to coal plant operators in the form of capacity subsidies.

One thing is clear. There will be no end to skyrocketing household electricity bills, so long as the Australian Federal Government keeps trying to inflict useless renewables on the market.

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August 20, 2022 10:29 pm

” Even the deep greens at Sydney Morning Herald nowadays call Snowy 2 a “White Elephant”.”

The linked opinion article, indeed doubtful about Snowy 2.0, is not written by a deep green. It is written by
“Ted Woodley is a former managing director of PowerNet, GasNet, EnergyAustralia, China Light & Power Systems (Hong Kong).”
About as heavily into fossil fuels as you can get.

PCman999
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2022 11:10 pm

The Sydney Morning Herald printed/displayed it, right? Do they allow any diametrically opposed views to their own to be featured in their paper? Was anything in the article factually wrong? Do deep greens like carving up protected forests and the overiding of environmental protections? Would any deep green still support Snowy 2?

John Hultquist
Reply to  PCman999
August 21, 2022 8:32 am

Do they allow any diametrically opposed views to their own to be featured in their paper? “

Most newspapers have “news”, Opinion, and Commentary sections — maybe with differing names than these. The “Opinion” page or pages will be written by employees that establish the nature of the paper — green, not-green, some other color.
I have no knowledge of the nature of the opinion editors of the Sydney paper, but this appears to be commentary by a knowledgeable outsider, a common practice.
The “news” articles are often picked up from multiple sources from which the daily editor(s) can choose.

RobK
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:04 am

This one is written by deep greens :
https://reneweconomy.com.au/aemo-market-crisis-report-highlights-big-constraints-on-snowy-2-0-storage/
“ During wet periods, Snowy 2.0 will only be able to generate a fraction, and sometimes none, of the potential energy stored in its upper reservoir (Tantangara). As demonstrated by this current wet period, of over a year and not yet finished, such operational constraints can apply for a long time.”

Reply to  RobK
August 21, 2022 3:48 am

No, in fact it is written by the same Ted Woodley.

b.nice
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 3:49 pm

Published by the laughable “reneweconomy” putrid greenies.

Get over it.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:27 am

Considering Solar is only good for about 16 – 25% of nameplate and that it only produces something close to nameplate capacity 4 of 24 hours per day you would need about 48 times your daily requirement to produce and store what is used daily.
Solar takes a lot of area. Topaz solar farm is 4700 acres and produces a meager 143 MW daily. Australia uses 11TW daily so would need enough solar to produce 11TW daily from 10 am – 2 pm. 48 x 11 = 528TW solar capacity to produce and store 11TW daily. 4700 / 143 MW x 528 TW 17b acres. Australia has 75m acres of arable land so would need about 15 times currently available land. Even more would be needed to electrify transportation, cooking and heating

Josh Scandlen
Reply to  Bryan A
August 21, 2022 7:43 am

amazing to me how many people don’t understand the difference between nameplate and actual generation.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Josh Scandlen
August 21, 2022 9:43 am

It is difficult to get someone to understand something when his paycheck depends on not understanding it.

Steve Taylor
Reply to  Josh Scandlen
August 21, 2022 12:04 pm

Amazing how much of the press doesn’t see the difference between MW and MWh.

James H
Reply to  Bryan A
August 21, 2022 2:05 pm

The government has the solution to these problems. They will reduce your “demand” until it matches supply, by taking control of your HVAC and other appliances to schedule when you can run them and how much energy you can use.

Greg Locock
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:49 am

350 GWh of storage for $10 billion is pretty cheap, and if you have intermittently excess unwanted power around, which is the way we are going, the loop efficiency is of little interest.

RobK
Reply to  Greg Locock
August 21, 2022 1:36 am

They will be lucky to get 50% of that storage, as outlined in the linked article .
In flood times it will produce zero.

joe x
Reply to  Greg Locock
August 21, 2022 3:39 am

when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow or at night, there is no such thing as “excess unwanted power”

Bryan A
Reply to  joe x
August 21, 2022 3:44 pm

Simply unavailable, lack of generation

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Greg Locock
August 21, 2022 5:18 am

Wrong. The lower the round trip efficiency the more capacity you must install to feed it, and the less the time it is redelivering to the network. That drives up costs

KevC
Reply to  Greg Locock
August 21, 2022 6:11 am

RE pushers love to use LCOE to “prove” that solar is cheaper. Two major things to consider with this new mathematics is that LCOE does NOT take into account ANY of the additional costs associated with adding more than a few % to the grid. Everywhere you look, there are increased costs..More wires, more network management services, more capital and operational expenses for plant to run when the sun don’t shine or major areas clouded out.. But the one that really taks the cake is that we are going to have to install up to 5X what would be required and then we are going to have heaps of very cheap “curtailed” solar power to fill PHES systems, give away at lower “midday” pricing etc…LCOE is based on cost of producing power to the grid when it’s available, NOT when he grid NEEDS it.. The TROUBLE is that by having to install 5X of a network (PLUS all the added infrastructure), doesn’t that actually push UP the LCOE price of SOLAR (X5 times)…Tell me again Chris Bowen, and Albo, how this transition is going to save us money….oh, and when can I expect the PROMISED $275 reduction in my electricity account…The way we are going, the ONLY way I’ll get the same cost electricity account is to change from qtr billing to monthly..BUT I’ll get the same value bill 12 times a year instead of 4.. Look at what’s happening in Germany !!

Mr.
Reply to  KevC
August 21, 2022 6:40 am

Yes, LCOE cost comparisons are like comparing the cost of 2 similarly priced new cars, except that one regards an engine as an optional extra.

Reply to  Greg Locock
August 21, 2022 6:31 am

Remember the utlity in Spain once ran diesel powered floodlights at night to power the subsidized solar cells. Cjeap clean electric power is available from Thorium liquid salts cooled reactors.

b.nice
Reply to  Greg Locock
August 21, 2022 3:50 pm

Just means the coal-fired power stations are being used to pump the water..

This helps the coal-fired power stations because they don’t have to throttle down as much..keeps prices up.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 2:54 am

And therefore knowledgeable.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:30 am

Nick, using an ad hominem attack as a way to make an argument is beneath you. You have not entered one fact into evidence that the assertions made in the article are not factual. You can do better.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
August 21, 2022 8:54 am

The assertion in the article is that the cited opinion on Snowy 2.0 came from a deep green. All I did was to quote the Author bio that came with the article to show that is clearly not true.

b.nice
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 3:51 pm

Published in far-left SMH and dark green “reneweconomy”

Poor Nick.

Tekov Yahoser
Reply to  Jim Gorman
August 21, 2022 3:51 pm

I must dispute your contention that he can do better.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:30 am

https://www.energyaustralia.com.au/

A company so proud of their Green their selected corporate colour is… GREEN.

Nice try Nick. EnergyAustralia is carbon neutral and proud of it.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
August 21, 2022 9:02 am

They sell gas.

They are not, of course, carbon neutral. They offer what they say is a carbon neutral option.

BobM
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 9:58 am

Like Al Gore has a carbon neutral mansion.

b.nice
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 3:53 pm

They are carbon neutral like ACT is 100% renewable.

Is that what you are saying ?

Reply to  b.nice
August 21, 2022 6:29 pm

No. I am saying that they are not carbon neutral. Can’t you read?

Tekov Yahoser
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 3:49 pm

Big Gas loves Big Green. So does Putin.

Macha
August 20, 2022 10:30 pm

How can they ever fill the regular gap.

june-17-solar2.jpg
Graemethecat
Reply to  Macha
August 21, 2022 12:56 am

Thank you for a diagram so clear and simple even Griff could understand.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Graemethecat
August 21, 2022 2:09 am

He won’t, though.

Mr.
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
August 21, 2022 6:43 am

He’ll avert his eyes.
(brain is on permanent bypass)

Not Dan
Reply to  Graemethecat
August 21, 2022 4:26 am

And maybe Grifters cousin, Nick may cotton on too.

richard
Reply to  Macha
August 21, 2022 2:54 am

and they have relatively little heavy industry and a population smaller than the UK- it’s pretty hopeless.

Richard Page
Reply to  richard
August 21, 2022 5:49 am

A highly dispersed population at that. Less than half the UK population in an area 32 times the size of the UK. Smaller scale localised power would have to be a solution, wouldn’t it? As for recharging points along the roads, that could never work.

CoRev
Reply to  Macha
August 21, 2022 5:19 am

Even another illustration how renewables (especially solar) can not fulfill peak demand. Just compare outputs at 0700 and 1800 to the demand required.

Cool Tolerance
August 20, 2022 10:32 pm

Intelligent people figured all of this out a long time ago.
No wind, no power. No sun, dwindling power reserves.

Mr.
Reply to  Cool Tolerance
August 21, 2022 6:50 am

How old was that kid who could see that the emperor had no clothes?

Similarly, a 7 year old can tell us that solar & wind were never going to cut it as utility scale power providers.

(Mind you, Michael Moore had to get into his 50s before he woke up about the inadequacies of “renewables”)

H.R.
August 20, 2022 10:33 pm

Solar energy beat out coal as the leading source of power across the energy market for about half an hour on Friday



What will it take for solar to be the leading source over coal for the other 23.5 hours in a day?

What will it take for solar to eliminate coal for 24 hours out of a day?

That’s a l-o-o-o-n-g expensive road ahead. Can Australia afford it?

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  H.R.
August 21, 2022 2:08 am

No. No one can. Net zero is an insane idea.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
August 21, 2022 4:30 am

That’s the bottom line.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  H.R.
August 21, 2022 6:54 am

Not a question of can they afford it. It simply can’t be done.

August 20, 2022 10:34 pm

“Whatever coal providers lose to renewables during the day, the more than make up for at night”
But less (very expensive) coal is burnt. This is a saving to the companies and the public, and less CO2.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
August 20, 2022 11:10 pm

Eric,
Here is the recent price history (AER) in Australia. SA, making heavy use of renewables, has come right down. Queensland, heavily into coal, has gone right up. NSW (coal) is pretty high too.

comment image

PCman999
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2022 11:28 pm

You really are a something with the stats aren’t you, trotting recent figures. Bring out figures going back at least to 2000, say, and include all the subsidies and monies spent on the extra powerlines to wind and solar farms that only produce power a fraction of the time, and the cost of storage, and any other special treatment and money that’s been needed to prop up Rube Goldberg-esque green power systems.

David A
Reply to  PCman999
August 21, 2022 1:47 am

Nick, PC mann and others are correct, you are wrong.
Suppose you develop a very nice energy generation plant, and successfully produce required base load demand 99 percent of the time, while running near capacity 24 7 for years! Good job Nick

Now Mr Government “ here to help” comes in and says “ Nick, continue to operate daily, but I will reduce your revenue by over fifty percent, demand you staff for 24 hour operation, and add more staff to be prepared to ramp up or ramp down production multiple times a day, in short I will greatly increase your operation costs, decrease your infrastructure life ( regularly ramping up and down is hard on equipment) and dramatically reduce your revenue. In addition I will not give a a schedule on when you will need to achieve this, as I don’t know, so please staff 24 7.

If then some yahoo on the internet, say a Mr Stokes, says, “look Nick’s energy is expensive to generate,” you may find yourself very irritated at Mr Stoke’s foolish comment.

Last edited 1 month ago by David A
Derg
Reply to  David A
August 21, 2022 3:49 am

This ^

Crisp
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2022 11:50 pm

Nick, the prices here in Queensland are high because the generators are owned by our socialist (Labor) State Govt. They are broke, stony broke. They are screwing over their own citizens by charging obscenely high power prices to make up the difference. It is no reflection of actual generation costs.

KevC
Reply to  Crisp
August 21, 2022 6:34 am

not only the major generators are owned by the qld state govt, but also the coal mines feeding them non export grade coal at prices locked in by decades long contracts. Fuel costs for these qld govt generators are reported to be around the $40/Mwh making it really cheap by world standards. What drives the cost up is the scenario described by David A above where their daily output has been white anted by unrelable solar (it FAILS at sunset EVERY day, and intermittently through the day as well). Operational costs are higher, maintenance costs are higher, and revenues are down.. QLD govt has been using the electricity assets as a cash cow for years and attempts to placate the average punter with a “dividend” of $50 every year or so… There should be a moratorium on adding ANY new generation to the grid unless they can prove that they can supply power to the grid at PEAK times when consumers need it. AEMO and CSIRO also need to start using REALISTIC methods of calculating costs based on LCOCE (levelized costs of CONSUMED electricity) rather than the utterly biased and misleading LCOE which is meaningless …… unless we ALL change our consumption habits and only turn on when the sun shines and the wind blows….

Dave Fair
Reply to  KevC
August 21, 2022 9:57 am

…… unless we ALL change our consumption habits and only turn on when the sun shines and the wind blows….” That IS the plan, KevC.

Socialistic rationing rather than free market abundance.

Russell
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:16 am

Latest graph including 2022 Q2 is not showing much of a difference for your blessed SA renewables – everywhere.
https://www.aer.gov.au/wholesale-markets/wholesale-statistics/quarterly-volume-weighted-average-spot-prices-regions
Maybe the SA folks have been just leeching on the rest of Oz?

Reply to  Russell
August 21, 2022 1:10 am

Thanks, I couldn’t find that. It certainly shows the prices shooting up in Q2. What happened then? Not some spike in Green activity. Just the world price of coal and gas spiking.

They rise together, because the grid market links them. But again, it’s the coal states leading the way. Here it is:

comment image

David A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 1:54 am

World price of coal and gas soaring.
Dang Nick, how arrogant and ignorant. Those prices did NOT soar in a vacuum! Government policy is the cause.
You have been told this in detail. You have refuted ZERO of those assertions. Yet you repeat the same failed comments. That is entering troll territory.

Reply to  David A
August 21, 2022 3:19 am

The basic cause of prices soaring is that a whole lot more people want the product. But the immediate cause is the war in Ukraine, which involves a major producer.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:08 am

and ukies sh*tfight shouldnt affect us at home, I can see why theyll hike os charges per tonne cos easy profit
but ripping home off is dirty

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:26 am

The basic cause is a dangerous lack of dispatchable capacity, aggravated by increasing reliance on gas to balance intermittents in place of coal and nuclear that is being shuttered, coupled to determined action to prevent gas developments in many important provinces around the world – not least onshore in Australia.

Richard Page
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:58 am

The immediate cause has been the shunning of Russian product after using more and more of it for decades. That artificially produced shortfall vastly increased prices solely by government intervention, nothing else. There is enough oil and gas available to satisfy everybodies needs at a reasonable (lower) price but by taking out the Russia produced oil and gas, our leaders created this mess all by themselves. Your lie that, suddenly, ‘a whole lot more people want the product’ is simply that – a blatant lie. Demand hasn’t suddenly increased out of all proportion – our leaders have curtailed supply.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 7:24 am

Mr Stokes,
It isn’t as though Australia isn’t a “Major Producer” itself
https://www.worldometers.info/coal/australia-coal/

Coal Reserves
159,634,329,600 3rd in the world
Coal Production
554,763,963 4th in the world

The only reason to have such supplies locally and leave yourselves to the whims of Putin is purely political.

Reply to  Bryan A
August 21, 2022 9:06 am

Australia is a major exporter. That means that locals compete with everyone else to buy the coal that is mined here. We pay the world price, or overseas it goes.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 1:42 pm

Wrong. You pay a discount to world price reflecting transport costs as a maximum. Where coal directly feeds a power station there is no transport cost, but no exposure to world markets either. The price then depends on the cost of coal extraction. Building a transmission line for power becomes the cost effective way to market the energy. See e.g. Loy Yang.

BobM
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 10:10 am

“the immediate cause is the war in Ukraine” – said Joe Biden’s teleprompter….

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:00 am

Why have unreliable solar and wind not capped the costs of coal and gas generation? The fact that coal and gas prices increasing and raising prices for electricity is more a testament to the fact that their generation is necessary and not superfluous.

Doesn’t speak well for the unreliables.

Bryan A
Reply to  Jim Gorman
August 21, 2022 3:48 pm

Increasing Oil, Gas and Coal prices keep more plays profitable to drill, pump and mine the costly areas

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Russell
August 21, 2022 4:07 am

funny last i checked for a mate in SA same company as I use in vic was a LOT more per kwh in SA

LdB
Reply to  ozspeaksup
August 21, 2022 6:13 am

Nick won’t ever tell you but WA and NT have cheap gas because they reserve local supply at a fixed cost

WA price is currently $6-$7 a gigajoule
https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/could-the-east-coast-s-gas-crisis-prove-to-be-an-opportunity-for-wa-20220607-p5arv9.html

The only reason eastern states prices are flicking around is because they don’t lock in percentages for local market because they got sold up the river with AEMO.

LdB
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:22 am

Always funny they leave Western Australia and Northern Territory off cost graphs because it doesn’t fit the narrative and both aren’t part of the Australian Grid crap.

Climate believer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 1:57 am

Graphs are pretty…

AER-Quarterly volume weighted average spot prices - regions.png
Bryan A
Reply to  Climate believer
August 21, 2022 7:28 am

You could play Hockey with that graph and probably get in trouble for the extended blade

PCman999
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 20, 2022 11:19 pm

The public is paying more to maintain the coal power plants and their profits and supporting wind and solar that don’t produce enough when it’s needed. And the public will have to pay for battery storage as well.
Why do you even bother with these lying comments?

Aussies: anyone from Australia with knowledge of the historical power prices before the green kool-ade went around – what would power prices be like if the various governments didn’t interfere with the utilities and coal was at it’s current price (which is ridiculously high because of failed green power worldwide and the mad scramble to prop up grids).

KevC
Reply to  PCman999
August 21, 2022 7:05 am

try the openNem site
https://opennem.org.au/energy/nem/?range=all&interval=quarter

That shows data back to 1998 but pricing only from around 2009 onward… I am sure I saw pricing for 2007 previously. Interesting just on available data that price/Mwh was coming in $24-$48 back in 2009.. and very little RE in the system… now look at it.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  PCman999
August 21, 2022 1:57 pm

There’s an excellent history of electricity in Australia to be found here

https://ewh.ieee.org/r10/nsw/subpages/history/electricity_in_australia.pdf

One of the features was falling real prices in the pre renewables era.

michel
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:08 am

I would need to see proof of that. The article says that solar is providing the power during the day, as you would expect. But the question is, what is the coal plant doing during this time? You cannot just turn coal plants on and off twice a day.

Its not enough to assume that coal consumption is reduced, if you want to make the case for a system of combined wind, solar and coal (as opposed to just coal) you have to show the numbers. Do a business case.

I have not done it, don’t have access to the numbers, but I find it completely implausible that such a system can beat out coal only.

The only half way plausible proposal for renewables is combined solar, wind and gas. Gas at least you can turn on and off as the other sources deliver their intermittent generation. I have never seen a case that adding solar and wind to gas is cost effective, but there may be one.

But the idea that you can somehow supplement coal with wind and solar cost effectively, when the coal only works as continuous operation and the wind and solar are intermittent?

Its totally implausible. If you really believe it and have evidence, show the numbers. I think this is the second time I’ve asked this question. Time to put up or shut up.

Iain Reid
Reply to  michel
August 21, 2022 12:54 am

Michel,

see my reply to Nick,

it is a train wreck waiting to happen to increase renewable capacity, eventually there will be a crash.
Renewables are unsuited for large scale grid supply.

Reply to  michel
August 21, 2022 1:15 am

You cannot just turn coal plants on and off twice a day.”
For decades, generators have been switching on and off to meet the wide daily fluctuations in demand. The renewable cycle is just a modest additional call on their flexibility.

David A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 2:04 am

absolute nonsense. They knew and scheduled the predicable needs. And these fluctuations were mild compared to unpredictable weather variance that forces 100 percent capacity then quickly to almost zero.

That daily flux was very predictable and it was hard on equipment. Adding a demand to follow the unpredictable weather is further hard on equipment, demands over staffing, and a GREAT reduction in revenue as “ renewables” take precedence.

RobK
Reply to  David A
August 21, 2022 2:28 am

The RE variability is predominant on the NEM app, click on 5 minute resolution button and the graph turns into a fine sawtooth affair. Worse still is the swings in feed are fluctuating in location as well as amplitude. The grid version of “whack a mole”. It’s an expensive nightmare.

b.nice
Reply to  RobK
August 21, 2022 4:16 pm

When there is a wind lull there can be a drop of some 4000MW+ of electricity produced

This is the equivalent of a couple of big coal plants.

b.nice
Reply to  David A
August 21, 2022 4:14 pm

You can always go to

https://www.aemo.com.au/energy-systems/electricity/national-electricity-market-nem/data-nem/data-dashboard-nem#nem-dispatch-overview

Choose fuel mix tab, and switch to 48hr

Black coal goes up and down to follow need

Brown coal is usually dead flat.

Nick is, as usual, either totally confused.. or deliberately misleading.

David A
Reply to  b.nice
August 21, 2022 6:30 pm

I agree, thus the “troll” label. He is not a stupid person.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 2:13 am

What utter BS.

Hivemind
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 2:41 am

Nick, this isn’t true. Coal was used to provide the baseload power, with gas (typically) running peaking generators to smooth out the ups and downs in demand that occurred during the day (especially with the start and end of the working day).

Climate believer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:12 am

“The renewable cycle is just a modest additional call on their flexibility.”

Translation: just another nail in the coffin of coal.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:13 am

You know nothing about what you are talking about. Steam driven turbines can not be “turned on and off” in 15 minute periods. The peaking you are talking about used peaker plants which were generally much smaller than the base load. Steam pressure can not be changed drastically in mere moments. You can’t run constant high pressure to the turbines or they will overspeed with no load. These aren’t like steam train engines where you can use the whistle to vent excess pressure.

Have you ever visited a steam power plant to see the size of the turbine? It is large and heavy. Think a steam train engine turning on bearings. Lots of inertia to deal with.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:40 am

There is a big difference between meeting forecastable limited diurnal fluctuations and having to switch off completely because renewable production is given priority. To understand the idea, consider 12 hours at peak demand and 12 hours at 50% of peak. You can run generator A for 24 hours flat out, and Generator B for 24 hours flat out, by scheduling them 12 hours apart. If they take 6 hours to warm up, then just 20% is spent on warm up. If solar means that the coal only runs overnight, it must spend 6 hours per day warming up to provide 12 hours of power. A forecast cloud front could see the coal kept as spinning reserve, worsening the economics still further.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
August 21, 2022 9:11 am

Solar is a diurnal fluctuation.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 9:39 am

And it exacerbates the problem of plant scheduling when it becomes capable of supplying a high proportion of demand during its peak generation..

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:45 pm

This is clearly willful ignorance. You chose the one aspect of renewable supply we can predict and ignore all the vagaries that make renewables a disaster for grid management. This isn’t a serious discussion, it is propaganda.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:00 pm

Solar is …
ZERO MW @
6pm
7pm
8pm
9pm
10pm
11pm
12pm
1am
2am
3am
4am
5am
6am
Starts to rise slightly @ 7am
Rises to 25% @ 8am
Hits 75% @ 9am
And tops off at 10am
Remains maxed @
11am
12pm
1pm
Drops sharply a after 2pm
50% @ 3pm
25% @ 4pm
Starts to bottom out @ 5pm
Any cloud shadow passing over the panels between 10am and 2pm will cause generation to fall off until it passes. Cloud shadows cannot be predicted so reliable back-up is a must…anything less than 100% reliable back-up capacity is foolishness

b.nice
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:19 pm

“Solar is a diurnal fluctuation.”

LOL.. Yep, provides during a 4-8 hour period (assuming no clouds) when the peaks are in the morning and evening

Wake up Nick, and stop trying silly distractions in a vain attempt to defend the indefensible.

David A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 6:33 pm

Duh!
Clouds are not.
Stop trolling.
Read “ It doesn’t add ups” comment below, and many above.

LdB
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 6:15 am

You just proved you know nothing of the subject and should be ignored.

KevC
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 7:32 am

Hey Nick, Obvious that YOU have never looked into what it takes to turn on or turn off a large coal fired generator. Now, to be FAIR, they can be throttled back and throttled UP again, but there are LIMITS to how much and how quickly that can occur.. Coal fired plants just LOVE to run continuously at 100%…day in, day out..and using some of the cheapest, NON exportable coal,at least where they are sited in Qld, (That’s WHY they are sited there !), they can produce some of the cheapest electricity in the world… OK..those graced with heaps of rainfall, high mountains etc do better with Hydro, but that a small proportion of the world’s supply. Traditionally, to meet peak in demand, and to meet ramp up and ramp down factors in doing so, peaker plants were added to the network. On a per Mwh basis they are more expensive to run, gas being more expensive than coal on average, BUT they filled a need and together, Coal, peakers, and incentives to use off power created a useable, RELIABLE and cost effective grid with average costs, according to openNem between $24-48/Mwh back in 2009…BEFORE any appreciable RE in the network… There’s the benchmark, Nick….show me how RE is going to provide a RELIABLE network CHEAPER than that !!!! To be FAIR, Let’s allow for inflation over the past 13 years… What’s driven up cost ??? First, adding RE (mainly Solar) to the grid which adds NOTHING to the morning and evening peaks WITHOUT storage…. Second, all Solar does is reduce coal fueled income, WTHOUT reducing major costs.. Sure there is SOME reduction in fuel, but capex, remains the same and Ops and maintenance increase under the “favor solar when solar can supply” mantra.. Heaps of other costs when adding RE that drive up the consumer costs..Now, remind me again HOW the electricity costs are going to be REDUCED in this new net zero network ?? Oh, tha’s right, the solar and wind is FREE…. BUT it needs collecting, but more importantly, STORING… COAL is also “FREE”..(it could be considered “stored solar energy- which it IS !) it just needs digging up, BUT it doesn’t need the storage factor… It can be burnt and used to supply most of the energy the consumer needs WHEN the consumer needs it…and in peak times, we find it more economical to add more expensive to run, peakers for a short time, rather than overinstall more coal burners than necessary..The traditional power gen method WORKED and was very economical to meet consumer demands…Then along came the global warming/climate change religion and the rest is history….

b.nice
Reply to  KevC
August 21, 2022 4:22 pm

“Coal fired plants just LOVE to run continuously at 100%…day in, day out.”

Particularly brown coal plants.

Go to https://www.aemo.com.au/energy-systems/electricity/national-electricity-market-nem/data-nem/data-dashboard-nem#nem-dispatch-overview

Chose Fuel mix go to Vic, 48hrs you will see what I mean.

michel
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 9:53 am

No, its something completely different. But, if you want to give evidence for your point, just quantify how much coal is actually saved by having the renewables kick in twice a day (in the case of solar) or at irregular intervals (in the case of wind).

Give a quantified case, with a source, of how much coal consumption is saved by adding wind and solar to the system.

Why is this so hard to do?

b.nice
Reply to  michel
August 21, 2022 4:24 pm

It wastes coal having to ramp up and down.. Just like accelerating a car.

I recall a calc some time ago, that showed that MORE COAL was actually used, and was burnt less efficiently.

So a significant INCREASE in CO2 emissions.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:42 pm

Absolutely wrong. The daily fluctuations of demand are fairly predictable and conventional plants can manage them and have for decades. The variability of wind, cloud cover and other weather events make renewables highly variable in an unpredictable and often sudden way that is impossible for conventional plants to manage with the exception of rapid cycle gas.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
August 22, 2022 8:00 am

But it also takes longer for those gas plants to recover their fixed and sunk capital costs and forces up the cost of the gas because the supplier does not know when it will be needed.

Lrp
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 1:40 pm

That’s either a lie or ignorance

b.nice
Reply to  Lrp
August 21, 2022 4:30 pm

I estimate 100% of both.

He is obviously clueless how NEM pricing works..

The big costs are when the gas peakers have to be used because wind and solar disappear. (regularly)

IF ONLY Australia had had the common sense to expand is coal fired fleet of power stations over the last 20 year rather than wasting money on integrating costly erratic unreliables into the grid, there would still be a surfeit of cheap coal fired electricity (as there was for many years before), and these huge price fluctuations would not be occurring.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 22, 2022 7:50 am

Rubbish Nick

Here’s Prof Helm again from an article on his web site dated 17th July 22

“A gas station in an electricity market with lots of wind generation runs only when the wind is not blowing. This is devastating to the economics of gas generation and for two reasons: it means that the recovery of the fixed and sunk capital costs takes longer and is more uncertain; and it means that the contracts for gas supply to the gas power stations have to be provided on demand without the gas supplier knowing when the gas will be required. The result is that the cost of supplies of gas go up.The more wind, the higher both of these costs.”

As I’ve said before Prof Helm is no climate change sceptic but he is an expert in Energy Policy and I’ll take his words before yours every time.

http://www.dieterhelm.co.uk/enery/climate-change/the-coal-question

Reply to  Dave Andrews
August 22, 2022 3:27 pm

No disagreement there. Wind is competitive with gas, and that is inconvenient for gas, and raises their costs. But consumers benefit.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 23, 2022 6:18 am

Wind isn’t competitive with gas. The gas has to be there for when the wind doen’t blow but it can’t operate as efficiently as it could because of the erratic wnd power production. Take away the wind and gas would be much more efficient and cheaper too.

michel
Reply to  michel
August 21, 2022 1:22 am

Same fallacy in the latest Spectator, for example:

And ‘useful’ is an understatement for solar power. The 15 gigawatts of power the UK can generate from the sun is energy we don’t need to get from other sources. More panels means less reliance on expensive fossil fuels. There is a problem with solar panels in fields: there aren’t enough of them.

The assumption is that you can turn off the ‘expensive fossil fuels’ when the sun is shining, and thus save on energy consumption.

Maybe you can, with gas, though the total expense of running a dual system needs to be proved in a proper business case to be lower than not having the solar at all.

But its pretty certain that this cannot be done with coal, so you end up running the coal system 24 x 7 but not using it for 8 hours.

David A
Reply to  michel
August 21, 2022 2:09 am

Worse then that. By giving wind and solar precedence, you greatly reduce coal and NG revenue, and increase operating costs considerably as that reduction in “ renewable generation is as wildly chaotic as the weather. So there may be a sudden demand in that window of reduced revenue ANYTIME of the day when clouds move in, or the wind dies.

David A
Reply to  michel
August 21, 2022 1:58 am

Nick has repeatedly been shown that government policy is cause to dramatically REDUCE fossil fuel generator income, INCREASE their operating staff costs, and INCREASE their overhead, as daily ramping production up and down on an unknown schedule greatly reduces infrastructure life.

He ignores this willfully while making the same blind wrong assertions.

Derg
Reply to  David A
August 21, 2022 3:52 am

It’s on purpose.

Reply to  michel
August 21, 2022 5:44 pm

The only half way plausible proposal for renewables is combined solar, wind and gas.”
That’s why I keep coming back to South Australia. They ditched coal (celebrated here) and went with that combination. WUWT of course predicted disaster, but in fact they are doing very well. They went from having chronic shortages and high prices to being a net exporter of power with wholesale prices well below the coal states. And what I read here seems to be a litany of reasons for ditching coal.

michel
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 22, 2022 12:38 am

The UK experience (from a post on Paul Homewood’s site)

Past yr = 42% gas
Past mth = 54% gas
Past wk = 53% gas
Past day = 66% gas
https://grid.iamkate.com/

The result of trying to move to wind and solar on a grand scale has actually been to move to gas, supplemented by (or interfered with by) wind and solar.

The result of this has been exposure to fluctuations in the price of gas which feed through into electricity pricing.

Religious enthusiasts then say, this has nothing to do with renewables, its purely a matter of the gas prices rising and falling.

No. The question is, why have we become so dependent on gas that rises and falls in the price determines the price of electricity? And you see why in the above numbers, the case of the UK.

Its sold as a move to renewables. But what it actually is, its a move to gas. Because gas is the only reliable generation that you can combine with solar and wind.

This is why its not just a matter of the price of gas. This is why gas price fluctuations are determining electricity prices. This is why the only sensible thing to do to have energy security and reasonable and predictable prices is to go back to coal. Modern superheated coal generation. Do this until enough nuclear can be built.

As the above numbers show, and as examples around the world show, you cannot move a modern economy to wind and solar generation. If the UK continues trying, all that will happen will be increased dependence on gas. If it declines to provide the gas generation, the result will be rationing and an economic collapse.

This applies whether there is a climate crisis or not. I call the advocates of wind and solar religious enthusiasts for this reason. Even if they are right about the climate, their proposed solution is not feasible. To keep advocating it and believing in it is pure superstition. It does not work. It cannot be done. Whether there is a climate crisis or not.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:27 am

Coal fired turbines weigh in excess of 120 tonnes and here they rotate at 3000 rpm. That’s where the alternating current frequency of 50 cycles per second comes from. You cannot get that from any other device. Turbines of this size do not stop and go. They take many hours (~18?) to gain speed and slow down. You would not want to be anywhere near one if it happened to stop like a car engine.

Nexus321
Reply to  Martin Clark
August 21, 2022 12:45 am

Seen a CEGB vid of that happening. Ripped right of its mountings.

Reply to  Martin Clark
August 21, 2022 3:27 am

Turbines of this size do not stop and go.”

Ah yes, dispatchability. Renewables can’t be turned on – coal can’t be turned off. You’re not making coal sound very good here.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:35 am

No Nick. He is making coal sound very reliable.

You clearly are either unable or unwilling to understand basic engineering principles.

David A
Reply to  Craig from Oz
August 21, 2022 6:39 pm

I think Nick died and a troll took possession.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:41 am

It’s stupid to turn off coal, so that’s not a liability.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:23 am

It is sad that our politicians have decided to listen to ignorant promoters of unreliables like yourself. Nick, you know nothing about electricity generation, why do you want to make yourself knowledgeable about it anyway. Electrical Engineering degrees are a difficult field of study and I would think you should listen to what they are telling you rather than spouting straw man arguments and misinformation about power plant operation.

CoRev
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:38 am

Nick, renewables need thermal backup. Thermal sources do not need renewables back up. Adding renewables to a thermal grid ALWAYS add costs. Unless you price the WHOLE requirement to run you are lying about costs.

Yes, you are a liar.

LdB
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 6:18 am

Most of the coal generators have had enough and are going to voluntarily turn off or get some help with the like of Mike Cannon-Brooke. When the Eastern States starts blacking out it might harden a few voters minds.

BobM
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 10:28 am

Nick, do you understand the value of “dispatchability”? Do you have electricity 24/7 or do you live with what the wind and sun can provide? Just wondering where you’re coming from here… do you live off-grid, for example, and only post to WUWT when the sun is shining in Australia?

b.nice
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:36 pm

“coal can’t be turned off. ”

LYING yet again , hey Nick.

The whole of your life you have have had CHEAP RELIABLE COAL FIRED ELECTRICITY..

until recently… with the infection of wasteful erratic unreliables.

Black coal CAN ramp up and down to follow the load,… has done so for several decades.

Its just that, because they wasted money building unreliables, instead of beefing up the coal fired fleet..

…. there is no longer the surfeit of reliable availability that there used to be.

The reliance on expensive gas peakers for a large proportion of supply when wind and solar regularly FAIL to produce, is what is causing the current price fluctuations.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 22, 2022 8:08 am

Coal sounds very good to China and India. I wonder why they don’t believe you Nick?

Iain Reid
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:51 am

Nick,

those coal fired power plants cannot shut down during the day they are still running, still emitting some CO2 and raising their operating costs from maintenance as thermal plants do not like being load cycled. But make no mistake they are essential to keep the grid live and the transition that is talked about will not happen. It is a big mistake to think that renewables and tradition generators are equal, and that renewables can replace conventional generation, they will not. They are not just back up but ensure that demand and load is matched at all times, renewbles cannot do this.
Isn’t it strange that this ‘expensive’ coal produced electricity for a few cents a kilowatt hour ten to fifteen years ago and what are Australia’s unit cost for electricity now, much, much higher and all due to renewables. They are not cheap when all costs are accounted for and they are not suited for intermittency and other technical deficiencies to power any country’s grid.

Carlo
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 1:48 am

“But less (very expensive) coal is burnt. This is a saving to the companies and the public, and less CO2.”

  • The major part of the kWh tariff of the coal generator company is the so called capital recovery cost (50, 70%?) and the fixed operation and maintenance cost (8-10%). Reducing its capacity factor from 60% to may be 30% by working only at night or in bad days for solar and wind, means it has to increase substantially the tariff in order to recover his investment and for the higher O&M cost due to the more intermittent operation, for which the coal power plant is not designed for. The increased coal generator tariff will offset the possible gain for the renewable generation part. So , no saving for the companies and more cost for the public who has to pay for the subsidies to renewable producers either in their bill or as taxpayer.
  • Less reliability. With an operation for which is not designed for, the coal power plant, specially if it is old, is more prone to outages, undermining his capacity as back up and facilitating black-outs.
  • The emission reduction , already costing in terms of higher bills and less grid reliability,

is also diminished by the fact that by operating so intermittently the coal power plant
loses in efficiency, so burning more coal per kWh produced.

Reply to  Carlo
August 21, 2022 9:33 am

None of this makes coal sound good.

Old Cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 3:43 pm

It’s a mistake to concentrate on the heat source – it just gets things het up.

When you’re writing about coal, that’s shorthand for AC electricity produced by coal-fired steam turbines.

The characteristics of the turbines and generators are independent of the heat source – it’s the working fluid which counts. As far as a steam turbine is concerned, it could be biomass (typically wood because of the energy density) coal (in various physical configurations), hydrocarbons (various short-chain or aromatic gases, or long-chain liquids) with or without added oxygen, nuclear (various fission reactions, or fusion in 30 years time), concentrated solar, geothermal, whatever.

Steam is an excellent working fluid, which is why it has been used for centuries. Production also has very high time lags, so is most effective when run continuously.
Thermal losses are reduced by increasing the size of the container (square-cube law), so bigger is better.
Material use is reduced with larger units.

The end result is that steam turbines are at their best when run continuously at or near their optimum capacity, and have very high inertia.

Gas turbines don’t have the lead times of steam production, so their speed of response is constrained by inertia. Like any heat engine, they have optimum loads and speeds. Air is nowhere near as good a working fluid as steam, so they are less fuel efficient.
Various sizes of turbine and generator have greater or lesser inertia, so can be used for meeting peaks on varying response times.

b.nice
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:45 pm

Coal is what has provided electricity for you for all of your miserable existence.

It is only since the advent of parasitic unreliables that real problem in reliablity and cost have arisen. !

Carlo
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 7:56 pm

“None of this makes coal sound good.”
THIS (more cost to the public, less reliability of the grid) is the result of the increase of intermittent renewable without connected back up, penalizing
dispatchable but necessary power ,of coal and gas.

And if any solar or wind company would be forced to produce “firm” kWh (as they like to say now) enjoy yourself ,if you are able, to calculate its cost.

michel
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 22, 2022 4:09 pm

Its irrelevant whether it sounds good. The question is about investment appraisal.

I don’t understand why people like yourself who deal in an exact science like math in their professional lives don’t realize that exactness and rigor also apply in matters of investment and accountancy, and consequently feel free resort to arguments which are no more than arm waving.

Coal fired generation has some characteristics. When appropriately engineered, systems based on it have positive NPV and generate positive returns. Its about cash flow. Quantitative reasoning applied to power generation.

The only way anyone manages to argue that wind and solar are less expensive and generate higher returns is by

  1. Leaving out half the costs (backup, transmission etc)
  2. Pretending that intermittency doesn’t exist

This is what the financially illiterate concept of LCOE does. Wind and solar on a rigorous financial appraisal do not generate positive NPV without government subsidies in one form or another, the most damaging of which is compulsory purchase.

David A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 23, 2022 1:13 pm

Reading comprehension?
Nick died, Griff took over.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 2:11 am

Coal is cheap,as chips, Nick.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 3:28 am

Nick, analysis of the electricity prices charged throughout Europe shows that the more wind and solar capacity a country has installed, the higher its price of electricity. This is caused by a combination of the subsidies for renewable energy and the gigantic costs to electricity grids resulting from the intermittency of renewable energy. The additional electricity system costs mean that intermittent sources of power like wind and solar can never be cost competitive with other forms of energy.

https://friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=2491

Last edited 1 month ago by Bill Toland
joe x
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 3:47 am

there are some German members of the public that would disagree with your last sentence. and tell us again what is bad about co2?

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/08/21/german-electricity-prices-spiraling-out-of-controltripling-since-2000-blackouts-unrest-loom/

Derg
Reply to  joe x
August 21, 2022 7:24 am

Nick doesn’t care about CO2 only that wind and solar get subsidies.

Reply to  joe x
August 21, 2022 9:16 am

Here is the graph that went with the WUWT article you cite (with my annotations):

comment image

Dave Fair
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 10:55 am

Not reading German, Nick, I’m not sure what you are trying to get at by posting a graph by some green (Tech For Future) outfit. It appears to reflect the direct costs of the various components of unidentified rate structures. Do the costs include direct taxpayer inputs, tax subsidies and other direct and indirect governmental and system support mechanisms? If their leap into unreliables is so beneficial, why are Germany’s electricity prices so much greater than comparable countries’ even with taxpayer subsidies?

The data graphed appear to reflect the recent hefty increases in FF prices. All that shows is that the feckless, ideologically driven destruction of indigenous FF resources have consequences. They were warned against relying on Russia for their energy needs and the likely consequences. Those assessments have now proven to be true, being based on others’ realistic assessments of actual geopolitics and real-world energy systems’ operations and economics as opposed to the destructive fantasies ginned-up by Leftist social science majors.

I’ve run electric power systems and electric utilities. I tell you you are full of ideological shit, Nick. In short, your comments are meant to deceive rather than make complete, reasoned arguments. Its an ugly trait.

Reply to  Dave Fair
August 21, 2022 3:04 pm

Not reading German, Nick, I’m not sure what you are trying to get at by posting a graph by some green (Tech For Future) outfit.”

Did you read Gosselin’s article? Or even notice the graph that was featured with it? That is the plot I posted with some minor annotation.

b.nice
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:56 pm

LOL.. Nick FAILS yet again

Shows that cost of production leveled of in 2009 while renewable charges jumped significantly in 2013 at the start of wind and solar

Yet another petty attempt at distraction. !

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 4:05 am

coals just around 375 a tonne
it was as low as 80? not that long ago I think

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 12:16 pm

Coal is expensive in Oz? I thought you had lots of it.

Lrp
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 1:14 pm

Yes, the power companies save coal while making the same or more profit

b.nice
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 3:56 pm

“(very expensive) coal”

An absolute LIE… Coal is cheap..

Its the renewables pushing up cost of electricity.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 21, 2022 5:03 pm

The fact that there’s no good reason to be doing any of this has been completely plowed under.

Bob
August 20, 2022 10:43 pm

Governments are so stupid it takes my breath away.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  Bob
August 20, 2022 11:13 pm

But we’ve known that for years and have been unable to do anything about it. It is impossible to get the voters to understand it and to get rid of stupid politicians.

Felix
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
August 21, 2022 12:25 am

The core problem is that governments interfere so much in people’s lives that one vote every few years is useless for guiding politicians. People end up casting votes on feels and emotions because all the single-issue voters cancel each other out.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Felix
August 21, 2022 4:44 am

You can’t guide politicians. You need to elect politicians that start out looking at the world the way you see it. Then you don’t have to guide them.

Felix
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 21, 2022 7:30 am

Guide them, match them, no difference.

That’s exactly the problem — government does too many things for you to have any hope of finding one that views the same zillion pieces of the world as you see them. You end up having to vote on some nebulous feels and emotions.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Felix
August 21, 2022 7:57 am

Or you can vote for a leader like Trump who is a known conservative quantity and one who can keep the other conservative politicians on the proper track.

Trump is promoting many “America First” conservatives for the upcoming elections in November, so you can vote for a Trump-promoted Republican and be pretty sure where they will stand on the basic issues.

I think Trump has promoted about 215 America First candidates and over 200 of them have won their primary elections. Those are not exact numbers, but they are close.

So Trump’s conservative outlook is increasing in the Republican Party, even without Trump being in office.

Trump’s conservative outlook?: A Strong National Defense, strong enough that the Bad Guys won’t dare attack; Secure Borders; Support the police, lock up the Bad Guys and keep them locked up; Lower taxes and regulations; Energy Independence; Freedom of speech; Free Enterprise; Teaching the facts, all the facts, in schools; Freedom from government interference to the largest extent possible.

What’s not to like? I would vote for a person who supported those positions.

PCman999
Reply to  Bob
August 20, 2022 11:21 pm

They are paid to be stupid, and being eloquently stupid gets them elected.

Nexus321
Reply to  PCman999
August 21, 2022 12:47 am

The stupid politician have money to try and make stupid ideas work

Old Man Winter
August 21, 2022 12:38 am

Thanks for another well written update on the energy situation in Oz.
The early cold start to winter has show that unreliable solar & wind
(SAW) need much more storage capacity to be considered reliable & on
par with coal. Without that, the grid is whipsawed too much where the
reliable coal generators will demand subsidies just to participate.
Since pols aren’t even mentioning storage, that means they’re willing
to let taxpayers continue to pay for unnecessary subsidies & then,
possibly blame it on everything else but SAW. Hopefully, you can
eventually garner enough support to be able to pop their fantasy bubble.
Good luck!

Hivemind
Reply to  Old Man Winter
August 21, 2022 2:45 am

What we need is for only dispatchable power to be allowed to connect to the grid. What I mean by this isn’t that unreliables like wind an solar can’t be connected, but that they must guarantee that they will provide power when needed by being backed by the same amount of reliable power (however it’s generated). And they must pay the cost of this, not the Government or consumers.

I can already hear the greenies and rent seekers bleating.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Hivemind
August 21, 2022 12:32 pm

That is a fare-play rule that should make sense to everyone except the grifters who milk the public with their renewable schemes. This will help to ensure the true cost of renewables is visible to all and ounce this rule is in place there should be no preferential access to the grid but rather an honest best price bidding process.

If someone wants to sell wind or solar power to the grid customers they must guarantee reliable input like any conventional plant and then should bid against the price of those conventionals. Let’s see how long they survive in a competitive free market.

Russell
August 21, 2022 12:40 am

Most of the power came from rooftop solar panels, rather than from large-scale solar farms

Sadly, the “measurement” of rooftop PV is not real like large-scale farms and fossil stations. It is concocted by AEMO models that are trained by sample readings that are provided by their solar industry partners. These partner models estimate both net energy AND the unseen energy on the consumer-side. They simply scale up their sample sites to all registered PV installations where they really only have the inverter rating. Just kid those sample sites are “typical”. This is manipulation heaven for folks that have a narrative to push.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Russell
August 21, 2022 12:28 pm

Interesting observation – so really this headline about renewable performance is most likely mythical like all the other nonsense we hear about renewables.

Voltron
August 21, 2022 12:41 am

It’s a funny way of saying there are 336 half hours in a week, and coal provided energy for 335 of them.

Greg Locock
August 21, 2022 12:41 am

My new favourite website, pulls in the data from AEMO in a usable form

https://opennem.org.au/energy/nem/?range=7d&interval=5m

RobK
Reply to  Greg Locock
August 21, 2022 2:41 am

It’s a good site. Scroll through the individual states including WA. Click on the 5 minute resolution button and you will see occasional blue slithers which represent the buffering offered by big batteries. You need to look closely to spot it.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  RobK
August 21, 2022 6:21 am

I like this one, especially when it comes to looking at thing like batteries. You can download the 5 minute data and work out the cumulative charge/discharge in a spreadsheet.

http://nemlog.com.au/show/unit/20220814/20220820/?k1=sa_battery

Also gets interesting looking at the lack of correlation with wind, the domination of FCAS (grid stabilisation) in battery revenues etc.

David A
August 21, 2022 1:27 am

“ Solar Briefly Overtook Coal, then Failed at Sunset”

Ha, yes, shocking! I think it Emerson who said, “ A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of SMALL minds”. Solar certainly is consistent in failing.

BTW, what us happening in the Southern Hemisphere Antarctica region…

comment image

Last edited 1 month ago by David A
Bryan A
Reply to  David A
August 21, 2022 7:31 am

To a certain extent…Winter is happening

David A
Reply to  Bryan A
August 21, 2022 6:47 pm

That is an anomaly graphic.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  David A
August 21, 2022 12:26 pm

What is happening is what always happens – those are anomalies and some parts of Antarctic are warmer than usual and some colder than usual – when is that not the case???

David A
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
August 21, 2022 6:48 pm

It is the largest anomaly I have seen there. Just curious. I am 100 percent certain my SUV did not cause it (-;

It is possible that the flat 2 d map distorts the actual area?

Last edited 1 month ago by David A
RickWill
August 21, 2022 1:34 am

but the government response was an immediate offer of large capacity subsidies for coal plants

The capacity mechanism mandated theft is almost dead on arrival. The current National Cabinet and State Energy Ministers do not support paying coal generators to remain available. ALP are more aligned with the Greens on this that only batteries and hydro should attract the capacity payment.

It is futile to resist the nonsense. It is insane for people to keep the light on when rolling blackouts will have a much more powerful influence than talking sense.

The ESB was regarded as Angus Taylor’s stooges. The ALP will reject the current direction; Albanese simply because it came during the LNP watch.

Peta of Newark
August 21, 2022 1:52 am

I had a brief craic with my next door neighbour recently.

He did used to be in the business of being a scaffold erector,
He’s certainly still working but not in his original job/position/company

He’d promised to help me replace a couple of the double glazed windows in my house and said he could come on any day at any time after 3pm, when he returned home from work (After an 06:00 start)

I left a note on his door saying ‘today is the day’ and he didn’t show.
Well, yes he did, at 18:30hrs by which time I’d nearly given up and was about to fug off down the pub for a coffee.

It seems that he is now ‘working at a Power Station‘ (of which there are dozens around here, mostly coal) and was now working 12 hour shifts.

The Enquiring Mind wonders, why is a scaffolding erector required to work 12 hour shifts at power stations that have all been switched off, shut down and closed?

It doesn't add up...
August 21, 2022 6:25 am

Omitted from the analysis is the fact that excess solar caused negative regional reference prices, curtailment at utility solar, but ongoing subsidy to rooftop solar. The negative prices are a reflection of the costs imposed on other generators from surplus supply.

August 21, 2022 6:37 am

“Coal has been at times up to 80 or 90 per cent of the amount of energy coming into the market.
“Which means that this is a big event.”

All they have to do is reduce the amount of coal produced electricity and “SHAZAMMMM!!”, solar wins.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Matthew W
August 21, 2022 7:20 am

LMAO. If only power demand was limited to that specific half hour period. Then there’s reality.

RevJay4
August 21, 2022 6:47 am

Solar as a sustainable source of energy is laughable. It is sustainable as long as the sun is shining on all the panels littered about the landscape.
Same goes for wind power. Except it depends on the wind blowing. Constantly and predictably for long periods of time.
Should the sun get blocked by long periods of clouds(actual weather events), or the wind stop blowing(due to changes in weather patterns of high and low pressure systems aloft), then both are as close to useless as one can get.
Oh, except for killing birds in the case of the whirling blades of the wind collectors.
Its common sense, folks. Don’t need no “scientists” to figure that out. Its all a gigantic scam to line the pockets of the green grifters in the climate ideology cult. Simple, but the sheeple can’t seem to use their god-given brain, if they have one, to see what is right before their eyes.
Just another scam of the leftists to gain more money and power over the folks.
Just sayin’.

RicDre
August 21, 2022 9:42 am

“For about half an hour on Friday, the national energy market caught a glimpse of what a renewables-powered future might look like.”

I agree, they got a glimpse of a grid that works for about a half an hour each day.

Shoki Kaneda
August 21, 2022 11:06 am

Now, if they could only figure out how to make them work when the big, yellow thing is not around.

Andy Pattullo
August 21, 2022 12:13 pm

This is like celebrating a compulsive thief for going a few hours without stealing.

August 21, 2022 2:01 pm

If the same thinking in the electricity generation debate was applied to public transport it would be providing incentives to Ubers with the scheduled train and bus services only operating on demand. I doubt they would then run the buses and trains as per the schedule but not stop to pick up passengers. That what is being expected of the base load coal generators.
What should be done is that all generators should be contracted to supply baseload power and if they want to reduce costs by using renewables, how they incorporate that into their fleet is entirely a matter for them based on economics. Presently the renewables are bludging on the base load generators. Once upon a time being a bludger in Australia was about as low a person could get and it’s about time Australia stood up and tells the bludgers that they have to carry an equal share of the weight or move out.

Last edited 1 month ago by kalsel3294
Old Cocky
Reply to  Kalsel3294
August 21, 2022 4:36 pm

That’s a nice analogy

observa
Reply to  Kalsel3294
August 21, 2022 9:30 pm

Equality and the level playing field with electron suppliers? What are you some kind of rational logical consumer? Lefties contextualize these matters and some dumping practices are more equal than others.

ResourceGuy
August 21, 2022 5:27 pm
Steve G
August 22, 2022 4:06 am

The energy consumer should have a choice. I’d like to see the option to choose between fossil or renewable energy as a consumer. Tick the box – How do you want your energy generated? Note – This will apply 24/7. 1. Fossil Fuels or 2. Renewables. How many would choose renewables.?

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