Does Wind Intermittance Over Short Hourly Periods Gives a Clearer Picture?

By Bob Irvine

Cheap intermittent renewables appear to be very expensive.

The current Australian Government has ruled out nuclear energy and is committed to phasing out all fossil fuel base load power with gas seen as a transition fuel to an energy grid run entirely by intermittent wind/solar with battery or pumped hydro storage, with a small contribution from direct hydroelectric base load.

Can any of the electrical engineers at this site estimate the cost to consumers of a system run in this way. Is such a system even possible?

I live in Queensland, Australia. Until 30/6/23 our power bill for general usage was 25.559 Aus cents per kwh. On the 1/7/23 it jumped to 31.724 Aus cents per kwh a rise of about 24%. This is up from about 19 cents per kwh a few years ago.

The long-term picture is not much better. The Australian power price history has a close correlation with the penetration of intermittent generation into the system. See Figure 1, below.

Figure 1, Australian Energy prices compared to intermittent wind/solar penetration into the grid.

The Australian Energy market Operator (AEMO) has been singing the praises of “low cost” wind/solar for many years now.

To counter these assertions, I decided to collate the daily wind energy input to the Main Australian Grid, referred to here as simply the “grid”. This Main Australian Grid has an enormous area but does not include the Western Australian grid which is separate and about 8% of the size of the main grid.

My data source is this great site compiled over many years by Anton Lang. Thanks Anton.

Australian Weekly Wind Power Generation Data – Introduction And Permanent Link To All Data Posts | PA Pundits International (


I will focus mainly on wind intermittence here with a short paragraph on solar intermittence at the end. The figures and graphs quoted here refer to the entire grid and indicate that the wind is not always blowing somewhere as claimed. It is almost certain that at various times there will be no wind energy generated at all over large areas of the Australian continent.

Apologists and propagandists for intermittent wind usually quote monthly penetration as this has less variability. It is, after all, averaged over longer periods. A truer picture is attained by looking at daily wind penetration and comparing that with the variation within each day.

This has been done in Figures 2 and 3 below.

If we look at daily averages, wind contributed 5% or less of total grid generation on 9 days for the 285 days covered. See Figure 2.

It is only when we look at the variation within each day, however, that the true picture emerges. For the year from 26/9/21 to 25/9/22 wind contribution dropped below or was equal to 5% of grid generation at some time during the day on 151 days. It dropped below 2% at some time during the day on 32 days and dropped below 5% at some time during the day on 18 of 20 consecutive days from 10/3/22 to 29/3/22.

All batteries and pumped hydro storage would have been exhausted during this period unless a massive overbuild is being proposed. If we were to cover the entire grid, my back of the envelope calculation is that we would need tens of thousands of industrial scale batteries to provide reliable power during this period of low wind activity. The capital cost alone would be two to three times Australia’s GDP. Even with some hydro and gas in the system it would appear that a system of this type is almost impossible to imagine.

As mentioned, these figures are averages for the entire grid. If we were to look more locally it is virtually certain that there would be no wind generated energy into the grid at all for large areas of the east coast for hours at a time and at times very little over many days. In this situation, of course, we would need tens of thousands of kilometres of high voltage power lines to keep the lights on over the entire country.

Add to this the tens of thousands of square kilometres of wind farms and we have fundamentally changed the Australian landscape. A real environmental catastrophe on a massive scale and all our own work.

The graphs below show the difference between looking at intermittence as daily averages and alternatively as 5-minute averages within each day. The system has to cope with enormous changes of wind input over short time scales and certainly on the scale of hours. Australia is an island and can’t import energy from neighbouring countries, so I can’t see our energy system coping with this variability when we have decommissioned all our base load power. This impossible situation is the stated aim of our current government unless you believe green hydrogen can play the base load role and be brought on-line very quickly. It can’t and it won’t be.

Figure 2, Over the 9.5-month period covered, wind provided 5% or less of the total grid generation on 9 days and 10% or less on 102 days out of a total of 285 days.

Figure 3, At some point during 151 days in the year shown, wind input to the grid was less than or equal to 5% of the total energy generated by the grid. This low input often lasted many hours and was 2% or less at some time on 32 of those days.

Wind input to the whole grid is graphed for 19 typical days in the appendix below. While we have significant coal base load power in the system we can deal with this intermittence. Nearly all Australia’s base load coal power stations are slated to be gone by 2030. At that point the instability in the system would be unsustainable and catastrophic. Remember gas is only mentioned as transition base load by our current government and is expected to be phased out over time.


The average solar input to the grid for the month of June 2022 was 1742 MW and for December 2022 was 4015 MW. These figures indicate that solar input in winter is approximately 43% of summer input.

Solar input also goes to zero every day at night fall. It’s possible our Government may have noticed this already.


  • Wind generated about on average 11.3% of total grid generation for the year to 21/6/23.
  • Wind Capacity Factor (CF) for the 4 years prior to 22/9/22 was 30.38%.
  • Wind CF for one year to 22/9/22 was 30.40%.
  • Industrial solar CF is 18 to 22%
  • Rooftop solar CF is 12 to 15%
  • Solar contributed about 15% of total grid generation in 2023.
  • Hydro contributes about 8% of total grid generation.


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Tom Halla
July 5, 2023 2:08 pm

Well, it does look like the Australians can actually count on 350 MW from wind. It doesn’t matter what the average is, and especially not the peak.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 5, 2023 2:21 pm

Except for the 26th of August

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 5, 2023 6:03 pm

How many trillions of dollars had to be spent to create that “reliable” 350MW?
How many trillions more will have to be spent in order to increase that 350MW to an amount that is actually useful? Don’t forget to account for the law of diminishing returns.

July 5, 2023 2:13 pm

What might be interesting is looking at a combination of solar and wind. High pressure produces low production from wind. High pressure however produces high solar output [during the day]. Low pressure does the opposite. Does a mix work?

However there’s an easier solution that cures climate change

First a green register for greens. They get a special badge to show off their green credentials

Then their name is added to the no fly list. Personally, this should happen just after they jet off long haul

Electoral Roll is cross checked against the register and gas supply. Then the gas is cut off.

Smart meters, when the wind doesn’t blow etc, click the power is cut off. 

Green only tarrifs, no subsidies. After all they say subsidies are bad. 

Electric only driving licenses.

If caught in a fossil powered vehicle, that they own, its crushed. 
If caught in a fossil powered vehicle, that someone elses owns, its crushed, and they compensate the owner. 

There you go, an easy fix, using existing systems bar the register, so its cheap

Tom Halla
Reply to  LB
July 5, 2023 2:25 pm

They would lie, and place all vehicles and utilities in granny’s name.

Reply to  LB
July 5, 2023 3:13 pm

If caught in a fossil powered vehicle, that they own, its crushed. 

No, that is a waste, and takes ICE vehicles off the road.

It should be confiscated and GIVEN to someone who wants it, but can’t afford to buy one because of high electricity prices..

Reply to  bnice2000
July 5, 2023 3:17 pm

And if the miscreant also has an EV and is driving the ICE instead, then their EV should be confiscated, (as they obviously don’t want to use it)…

… and yes.. CRUSH IT

Get the darn things off the roads !

Reply to  LB
July 6, 2023 8:19 am


The Biden administration announced on October 13, 2021, it will subsidize the development of up to seven offshore wind systems (never call them farms) on the US East and West coasts, and in the Gulf of Mexico; a total of about 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030.
This is part of the “Inflation Reduction Act”, which CBO estimated at $391 billion, but Goldman Sachs estimated at $1.2 trillion
Biden’s offshore wind systems would have an adverse, long-term impact on US electricity wholesale prices, and the prices of all other goods and services, because their expensive electricity would permeate into all economic activities.
The wind turbines would be at least 800-ft-tall, which would need to be located at least 30 miles from shores, to ensure minimal disturbance from night-time strobe lights.
Any commercial fishing areas would be significantly impacted by below-water infrastructures and cables. The low-frequency noise (less than 20 cycles per second, aka infrasound) of the wind turbines would adversely affect marine life, including whales, and productivity of fishing areas.
Offshore Electricity Production
Annual production would be about 30,000 x 8766 h/y x 0.45, capacity factor = 118,341,000 MWh, or 118.3 TWh of variable, intermittent, wind/weather/season-dependent electricity.
The additional wind production would be about 100 x 118.3/4000 = 2.96% of the annual electricity loaded onto US grids.
That US grid load would increase, due to tens of millions of future electric vehicles and heat pumps.
Counteracting Power Plants
The more annual wind electricity loaded onto the US grid, the greater the fleet of quick-reacting power plants, such as combined-cycle, gas-turbine plants power plants, CCGTs, and hydro plants to:
1) Counteract wind output variations, MW, 24/7/365
2) Fill-in wind production shortfalls, MWh, during any wind lulls. Such lulls occur at random throughout the year, and may last 5 to 7 days, and may be followed by another multi-day wind lull several days later.
These URLs provide examples of wind/solar lull conditions in Germany and New England
High Costs of Balancing the Grid with Increased Wind and Solar
The grid balancing costs are entirely due to the variations and intermittencies of wind and solar, because the other power plants have to operate far from their efficient modes of operation, 24/7/365. These plants experience:
1) More up/down production at lesser efficiencies; more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh
2) More wear-and-tear, due to up/down production and more starts/stops; more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh 
4) Increased hot, synchronous (3,600 rpm), standby plant capacity, MW, to immediately provide power, if wind/solar generation suddenly decreases, or any other power system outage occurs.
5) Increased cold, standby plant capacity, MW, to provide power after a plant’s start-up period.
When wind and solar were only a very small percent of the electricity loaded onto the NE grid, those balancing costs were minimal, i.e., “buried in the data noise of the grid”
Those balancing costs should have been charged to the Owners of wind and solar systems (the grid disturbers), but, in reality, they were politically shifted to taxpayers, ratepayers, and government debts.
Those balancing costs are in addition to the various government subsidies, which are also politically shifted to taxpayers, ratepayers, and government debts.
Now you are finally beginning to see just how wonderful wind and solar have been, and will be, for your pocketbook.
Energy systems analysts, with decades of experience, saw this mess coming about 25 years ago, but all-knowing legislators and bureaucrats ignored them, because they were pressured into aiding and abetting the “harvesting” of federal and state subsidies for RE businesses “to create jobs, save the world, etc.”.

Rud Istvan
July 5, 2023 2:26 pm

There is no scalable grid storage solution for intermittent wind.
You have to install backup CCGT and then use it about 75% of the time. Pumped hydro just not big enough as Snowy River 2 shows.

In essay California Dreaming in ebook Blowing Smoke I covered all the technically plausible grid battery storage proposed solutions. The only remotely commercial grid scale one is the molten sodium/sulfur battery. There are manufacturers in Japan and Italy. It comes in units as large as 4MW*8 hours, costing $25 million (US). Operates at 350C with a maximum lifetime of 15 years depending on how cycled. Obviously inadequate for AUS wind based on the guest post data.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 5, 2023 8:07 pm

The complex math is unnecessary. The answer to the question of how much it will cost to reach net zero can be answered like this: it will cost more than any Australian is willing to pay. So it won’t happen. I call this stuff magical policy making, or magical legislation. We have a lot of that here in California. For example, our governor has decreed that all vehicles will be electric by 2030, or some such date, but it will not happen no matter how hard he decrees it to happen.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Thomas
July 6, 2023 6:26 am

Not discussed much, but very relevant IMO, is the issue of the constitutionality of someone elected at some certain time, making laws that will only come into effect long after that person is no longer in office.
Logically it makes no sense at all to give an executive or a legislature the power to proscribe laws which they themselves will not be bound by, but others will be bound by long after those making the laws are no longer in power.
It is the opposite of the very sensible requirement that every law and policy should have to be reaffirmed on some periodic basis.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
July 6, 2023 9:04 am

No law is permanent. Anything that is passed by one congress can be repealed by a later congress.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 5, 2023 8:55 pm

What irritates me is authors like this that mention how much battery storage would be needed without mentioning that there would be not enough power to charge them.

Reply to  eastbaylarry
July 6, 2023 4:09 am

Right on!

James Snook
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 6, 2023 3:47 am

If the molten NA/S cells rely on beta alumina ceramic electrolytes, as they probably do, they are the achilles heal of the system. The larger the cell, the greater the risk of the electrolyte failing and the molten NA getting to the molten S. The effect of that makes lithium ion fires look like sparklers. Speaking from developmental experience (forty years ago, cells running at 400C, so that may be out of date!).

James Snook
Reply to  James Snook
July 6, 2023 5:03 am

whoops – Achilles HEEL!

Reply to  James Snook
July 6, 2023 9:06 am

I was working up a joke about self heeling heals.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 6, 2023 5:32 am

I have found this study to be useful :
Abstract: In the context of 100% renewable electricity systems, prolonged periods with persistently scarce supply from wind and solar resources have received increasing academic and political attention. This article explores how such scarcity periods relate to energy storage requirements. To this end, we contrast results from a time series analysis with those from a system cost optimization model, based on a German 100% renewable case study using 35 years of hourly time series data. While our time series analysis supports previous findings that periods with persistently scarce supply last no longer than two weeks, we find that the maximum energy deficit occurs over a much longer period of nine weeks. This is because multiple scarce periods can closely follow each other. When considering storage losses and charging limitations, the period defining storage requirements extends over as much as 12 weeks. For this longer period, the cost-optimal storage capacity is about three times larger compared to the energy deficit of the scarcest two weeks.

James Snook
Reply to  RobK
July 6, 2023 2:38 pm

And then you have to have sufficient spare generating capacity to recharge the batteries……

Chris Hanley
July 5, 2023 2:43 pm

… my back of the envelope calculation is that we would need tens of thousands of industrial scale batteries to provide reliable power during this period of low wind activity. The capital cost alone would be two to three times Australia’s GDP

That cost would be recurrent say every ten years due to battery degradation, as the IEA admits viable reliable grid-scale storage doesn’t exist at present.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
July 6, 2023 9:09 am

Don’t forget the cost of building all the factories you are going to need in order to build all those batteries.
Whatever the total number of batteries turns out to be, your factories need to be able to produce 1/10th that number each year just to keep up with replacement needs.

July 5, 2023 3:14 pm

Build new fossil fuel and nuclear generators and remove all wind and solar from the grid.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Bob
July 5, 2023 3:36 pm

Actually, as said several times here before, the long term Egrid solution has two parts. For the next 40 plus years, CCGT at 61% thermal efficiency. Thanks to fracked shales with >25% RIP recovery factors, we have globally plenty of fossil fuel methane, even if some for some places has to be converted to more expensive LNG.
During that 4-5 decade timeframe, seriously investigate the various Gen 4 nuc options. There are several. Build pilot plants for the most promising and operate them for a decade or two to shake out the engineering bugs. Down select the best one or two, and then go nuclear with them as the bridge grid CCGT nears its end of life several decades from now.
Details with many footnotes in essay ‘Going Nuclear’ in ebook Blowing Smoke.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 5, 2023 8:48 pm

No, Rud,
You are allowing their rules to affect your proposal.
The critical solution is an overnight removal of all impediments to the operation of a free market.
Intelligent engineers of which we have plenty will calculate optimum cost:benefit plans for the future, not bureaucrats blinded by ideology. They will get cracking in fierce competition with each other and new plants will quickly rise from the ash heaps.
We Aussies have a template. Our national electricity supplies before about 2005 were among the most reliable and lowest cost globally. They could have been better because even then there was substantial handicapping bureaucratic lead in the saddle.
Our large surplus of regulators must soon realise that they are regulating themselves out of existence through industry destruction and voluntarily resign, go elsewhere to do proper, value-adding work. Many of them are smart, useful people when they are pointed in the right direction.
We Aussies know how to optimise electricity once the free market impediments are destroyed. The enemy, in essence, is too much socialistic political sway, not a lack of skill for electricity production operation.
Geoff S

Iain Reid
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 5, 2023 11:26 pm


CCGT can be very efficient but that is impacted quite severely when it’s providing essential support for wind, i.e. balancing, inertia, reactive power that wind (and solar) do not provide). There has to be more spinning reserve, i.e. using fuel but not contributing power when there is a lot of wind capacity connected.
Many comment on intermittency but few seem to know of the technical deficiencies of renewables, which means that renewables just cannot replace conventional generation.
This post is on variability, wind will be very variable as it’s power output is relative to the cube of wind speed, thus small variations in wind speed cause much larger variations in power output, far from ideal for grid supply.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Iain Reid
July 6, 2023 6:31 am

Most people have no idea that terms like “Reactive Power”, and “Power Factor”, even exist, let alone what it is they precisely mean, let alone the various implications thereof.

Chris Hanley
July 5, 2023 3:51 pm

An official Australian Government website * claims: “in 2021, 29% of Australia’s total electricity generation was from renewable energy sources, including solar (12%), wind (10%) and hydro (6%)”.
That claim is misleading and the current government should prosecute itself under existing consumer law although they may only be trying to convince themselves.
It is an example of the deceptive use of averages like the statistician who drowns while fording a river that he calculates is on average three feet deep.
As this post shows graphically there are many times when renewables are generating next to nothing.
* The Minister running the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water is Chris Bowen who thinks storing intermittent energy is as simple as storing water.

John Oliver
July 5, 2023 4:10 pm

There is something about this holy grail of battery technology that has been bugging me for awhile now. I’m not sure it exists ( Well at least not at any compact physical size ) Certainly not for vehicles. We already know all the elements on the earth. And I don’t care what combination of elements you put in the “ box” we ‘ll call a battery( anode cathode medium etc) You can only put so much electrical energy into it in a given period of time before it just becomes essentially a heating element or cracks or melts down or blows up or something, well bad and destructive. Or am I missing something.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  John Oliver
July 5, 2023 6:19 pm

Electrochemistry has been around since Alessandro Volta in the 1700s. There is almost nothing new to discover. LiIon was just a theory until proven practical in the 1990’s using graphite anodes for ‘rocking chair’ Intercalation and various composite metallic cathodes.
All the other remaining good theoretical stuff has practical experimental severe problems. An example is zinc air, which suffers from recharging ‘whiskers’ that short it out after just a few cycles. Nobody knows how to stop zinc whisker growth, since is an inherent electrochemical zinc air property. when charging in air as zinc electro forces want to grow zinc filament whiskers along the force lines. Zinc just does that, as a consequence of the applied electromotive force fields on it.

Will there be a battery breakthrough someday? Unlikely. Is Toyota’s claimed new breakthru real? Who knows? Might be just a trade secret, because nothing showed up on the USPTO application website that I checked today. Ordinarily, to preserve Patent priority, you NEVER announce anything publicly before filing an application. And those per law become visible after 6 months. NADA.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 6, 2023 6:18 am

Interestingly, last month the UK Advertising Standards Authority banned advertisements by Toyota and Hyundai for exaggerating the speed at which EVs could be charged and for misleading consumers about the availability of rapid chargers in the UK.

July 5, 2023 4:16 pm

This is a bit amateurish, but just from the observations of my backyard weather station I can say – “You can’t rely on the wind, ever!”

David Wojick
July 5, 2023 4:59 pm

You might look at Ken Gregory’s hour by hour estimate of the storage capacity needed in the lower 48 US just to replace present day annual fossil fuel generation with wind and solar. It works out to something like 12% of total FF generation. His study is here:

Also there is my add on study. I first extrapolated to the whole US getting roughly 250 million MWh. At today’s battery prices that works out to about $150 trillion or about seven times annual national GDP of $22 trillion so absolutely impossible. Even assuming a fantasy price drop of almost 90% predicted by a MIT study it is about equal to one year GDP so still impossible.

None of this includes electrification under net zero nonsense which greatly increases the storage requirement. In short the transition is impossible.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  David Wojick
July 5, 2023 5:49 pm

You might look at Ken Gregory’s hour by hour estimate of the storage capacity”

You might also look at the refutation here.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2023 6:42 pm

And Nick I see that in comments at your Moyhu site, commenter “Anonymous” refuted your refutation, but you hadn’t refuted his / her refutation of your refutation.

While lotsa people diddle about with “what if” numbers supporting the “benefits” and “lower pricing” of w & f, consumer costs of their electricity consumption go up by 25 – 30%.

What’s up with that?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mr.
July 5, 2023 9:30 pm

He was a nuclear enthusiast, not refuting anything. And certainly not supporting Gregory, of whom he said I don’t need dubious Info from the Friends of Science.”

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 5, 2023 9:47 pm

This reads like a refutation by ‘Anonymous’ of your 100% wind & solar to me, Nick –

Nick: Numerous sources agree that 100% renewable electricity that is 99+% reliable will require building generation capacity that is roughly three-fold greater than needed to meet average demand with average output PLUS some storage capacity PLUS a large increase transmission capacity (5?-fold today’s). In other words, two-thirds of the electricity that could be generated nearly for free from wind and solar capacity will be wasted, roughly tripling today’s levelized cost of generation.

I first came across this conclusion at ScienceofDoom which discussed this paper by Budischak for a single US distribution area. Other papers since reach the same conclusion.

Princeton’s Net-Zero American plan has a 100% renewable option (E+ RE+) that calls for generation capacity that is 5-fold bigger than today (See page 90). 4.5-X more transmission capacity (page 168) Land Use: Total area spanned by onshore wind and solar farms is ~590,000 sq-km, an area roughly equal to the size of IL, IN, OH, KY, TN, MA, CT and RI put together. (p 172)

I don’t need dubious Info from the Friends of Science. Just read the realistic advocates of 100% renewable. They had an option with lots of nuclear power.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mr.
July 6, 2023 1:53 am

No, it isn’t a refutation. He says you’ll need excess capacity. I agree. You can price that, which I did here (with a false start). It is still economic.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2023 4:42 am

Are you seriously producing a pricing that includes $0 for the very necessary transmission overbuild, a low ball costing for storage and zero awareness that the entire planet currently produces a total of 1TWh of batteries most of which are earmarked to EVs.

Also your “costings” don’t include an annual depreciation cost, which would cover the fact that each of these “renewable generators” needs to be renewed rather frequently, with batteries being the most vulnerable and wind and solar being around half the lifetimes of fossil fuel generators.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2023 9:16 am

Nick: It’s not a refutation until I say it’s a refutation.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Mr.
July 6, 2023 4:21 am

‘Princeton’s Net-Zero American plan has a 100% renewable option…’

They apparently have a ‘plan’ for everything now. Sadly, PU has devolved from espousing to be ‘in the Nation’s service’ to actually being useful idiots for the State.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
July 6, 2023 9:16 am

In Nick’s world, having a plan is proof that the plan will work.

Mr David Guy-Johnson
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2023 12:20 am

That does not refute anything. Fairyland dreams

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2023 12:52 am

Nick, why don’t you try addressing the serious and detailed point Mr Irvine is making?

He is saying that when you look closely, hour by hour, at the actual performance of wind generation in Australia, it is obvious that its impossible to move to net zero in electricity generation. This is not about Ken Gregory, this is about what he has actually shown in a series of charts about your native land.

You get the same picture by the way for the UK from

If you think there is some way this can be made to work, using the actual charts and data he has produced, make the argument. Or if you are going to argue that his data is wrong, say so.

You have previously argued here that the main justification of installing wind and solar is that it will save on fuel costs from a conventionally powered grid, because you can turn the gas generation on and off as wind and solar come on, and so save fuel. You’ve argued, without supporting it with any studies or any numbers of your own, that such a grid is going to be cheaper to install and run than a purely conventional one.

That was a major concession – it basically admits that net zero in generation is impossible, and the best that can be done is supplementing a conventional grid with wind and solar.

What these charts (and the gridwatch ones for the UK) show is that the default case is that this cannot be true. The price of setting up the conventional grid to accommodate the wildly fluctuating wind deliveries looks like it must wipe out any savings. Your gas generation is going to have to be SCGT, not combined cycle, and that alone will wipe out any savings because of the decrease in efficiency. But once more, if you have numbers, put them up, or refer to them.

I don’t understand it. Whether you believe in a coming climate catastrophe or not isn’t the point here. Even if you do, you should not be advocating wind, and especially not without a detailed business case. Its not going to work. Its not going to save any money. And its not even going to reduce CO2 emissions. Its just installing extra stuff that is not going to deliver, but which will also cause you to degrade the conventional network that its supposed to benefit. Its nonsense.

Or, if you have the studies, or have done them, lets see them. And for goodness sake, directly address the important question here. The question is, given how wind is performing, why does it make any sense to install it? It seems obvious to me that it doesn’t. The attempt to get to net zero using it will fail. The attempt to use it to supplement a mainly gas grid to save fuel costs will also fail.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  michel
July 6, 2023 2:39 am

Wind in Australia makes a considerable national contribution, but is unevenly developed. It is mainly in SA and Vic, exploiting the westerlies that are the north fringe of the roaring forties. They are a good source, but more diversity is needed. Still, average wholesale prices are markedly lower in SA and Vic

comment image

A main reason that works here is Tasmanian Hydro. That has been limited by the capacity of Basslink, but Marinus is on the way. It means that Tas can sell its power when prices are high (low wind), and turn off the taps and import Vic power when prices are low. That is a market solution; everyone benefits (and more so when marinus is working). Basslink was built to export Tas power, but now runs as much the other way.

And of course, the other big thing here is solar (and Snowy 2).

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2023 3:45 am

You haven’t answered the question or addressed Mr Irvine’s argument.

Reply to  michel
July 6, 2023 6:48 am

He never will.

Stokes has never explained why RE needs Government subsidies in the first place if it is so wonderful.

Reply to  michel
July 6, 2023 9:17 am

He’s still claiming that every kWh of wind/solar power means an equivalent reduction in fossil fuel usage.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  michel
July 6, 2023 10:29 pm

I was addressing David Wojick’s argument. Bob Irvine lost me with the long sequence of day plots. These seem to be not national, but of a bunch of 10-15 wind farms in central NSW.

Chris Morris
Reply to  michel
July 6, 2023 11:11 am

You do not understand the market. The grid spot price is not the cost of electricity to SA. All the market interventions like keeping the GTs running are in grid not wholesale charges. How does the averaging treat negative pricing – especially when they shut wind and solar off and keep GTs on?
The bottom line is SA consumers pay considerably more at the meter than the neighbouring states.

Chris Morris
Reply to  Chris Morris
July 6, 2023 12:47 pm

The averaging data that Nick quotes from AEMO does not give a true reflection of the actual wholesale costs either. It needs to take the load into account to be a true average. Zero or even negative pricing at noon when SA grid is down to 500MW or less compared to >$200/MWh at dawn or dusk when loads are 2000MW or more would illustrate the point. Then there are the times when pricing goes over $5000, also at heavy load. AEMO sees these adding $10-15 MWh to the average and they recognise they are getting more numerous and worse.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Chris Morris
July 6, 2023 4:31 pm

 It needs to take the load into account to be a true average.”

I believe it is a volume-weighted average. The AER has similar figures, which are definitely volume-weighted:

comment image

Chris Morris
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2023 10:23 pm
Nick Stokes
Reply to  Chris Morris
July 6, 2023 11:26 pm

The graph you show is of the instantaneous prices at 7 July 2023 – 16:25

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Chris Morris
July 6, 2023 11:34 pm

If you mean the annual numbers in this table, one reason is that they are for financial year ending 30 June, not calendar year.

comment image

Chris Morris
Reply to  Chris Morris
July 6, 2023 1:08 pm

It has to be also emphasised that during those periods of negative or low pricing, there will be three or four GTs on at minimum load to provide inertia and fast reserves. They will be operating at a very high heat rate, but their costs don’t show in the wholesale rate. Even the batteries are raking in lots of money during these periods, providing the ultra-fast reserves. That is where they make most of their income, This is in addition to if they are charging off the “free” power.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Chris Morris
July 6, 2023 5:00 pm

You mention these extra costs but never quantify them. The entire cost of FCAS services for AEMO in Q1 2023 was $38M. That is about $2 per head for customers, and only fraction of that could be imputed to renewables.

Chris Morris
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 6, 2023 10:14 pm

The analysis done by one of the consumer groups in 2018 put the grid costs for SA as 41% of the retail price. That was significantly more than the power wholesale cost. Within that, the components are all opaque. However, by ratioing, the grid cost % has now gone up.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Chris Morris
July 6, 2023 10:36 pm

That would be the proportion of the user’s bill that goes to the distributor, which is Power Networks SA. That pays for upkeep and fixing of the poles and wires etc. It has very little to do with the type of generation.

Chris Morris
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 7, 2023 12:35 am

According to the report, network was transmission and distribution. The first part would include cost of direction. And environmental levies were on top of that. Between 2007-8 and 2017-18, the largest portion of the price increases were network costs.
But of course, even back then, they promised the price to consumers would drop. How is that getting on Nick? Even with the taxpayer subsidies, which is consumer costs out of a different pocket.

Chris Morris
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 7, 2023 12:53 am

How did this AEMC prediction turn out Nick?
“South Australian households look set to see an 11% or $200 drop in electricity prices between now and 2023,”
It is almost as bad as windmills getting cheaper over the same time period.

Chris Morris
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 7, 2023 4:49 pm

If that is the case, what does the daily supply charge which is about 20% of the bill and on top of the unit costs pay for? I believe it is typically about $1 a day in SA.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Chris Morris
July 7, 2023 7:55 pm

Privatised elec, as in Vic and SA, has three levels of operators. There is the generator/NEM level, the poles and wires level (Power Networks SA) and the retailer (eg AGL). Each gets a cut. The second and third levels are unaffected by the type of generation. Somewhere in there too is Electranet, which does the HV transmission. It is the retailer who decides what is a supply charge and what is a charge per KWh.

July 5, 2023 5:03 pm

Can any of the electrical engineers at this site estimate the cost to consumers of a system run in this way. Is such a system even possible?

The question is open ended because the cost depends on when you decide to make your own electricity. That obviously depends on having the capital available to make the transition.

I have been producing an average of 2.5kWh per day off-grid for the past 11 years. All of the equipment doing that is still operating near the original specification so no need to replace anything yet. The cost 11 years ago was slightly under $6,000. The money was otherwise in term deposits earning an average of around 4% throughout those years.

If you do the sums, amortisation of the 10.000kWh produced is now 60c/kWh. The interest income foregone equates to $3,000. So another 30c/kWh to total 90c/kWh. The longer it all lasts, the lower the amortised cost.

There has been some inflation in AUD terms of the required components over the past 11 years. However the system could have been improved by angling the panels to maximise May sunlight at 37S. If I was to convert the whole house it would be more economic to reduce the battery size proportionally to the higher demand and add a small fossil fuelled generator. The current battery is 5kWh so 48 hours of storage. The current solar array is 3kW giving average CF of 3.6%.

My point it that there is no economy of scale with intermittent sources. Any benefits of added complexity like tracking arrays are quickly eroded by the cost of transmission and stability control. Likewise any benefit of higher altitude of wind turbine rotor is offset by the cost of transmission. Diversity is non-existent in a region the size of Australia as you pointed out.

So your cost of electricity will depend on when you make the decision to make your own and whether it is funded by debt or free capital. So far there are 4.6M distributed solar generators in Australia. It increased by 360,000 just last year. Most are still connected to the grid but a growing number now have batteries and are mostly operating independent of the grid.

If you do not make the transition yourself and rely on the grid then all the additional capital being spent to bring you power from remote parts of Australia will fall on fewer consumers so the cost will rise to astronomic levels.

This is my submission to the Finbkel enquiry that set out the scoping for a grid scale solar system in Australia to provide the then load:

The bottom line in this report is that a solar array in central Australia rated at 240GW and battery capacity of 750GWh could supply the 2016 average demand of 22.9GW.

Reply to  RickWill
July 5, 2023 6:20 pm

AS a general question to anyone able to provide a fact based answer:

To the best of my knowledge, most home solar electricity generation is grid connected, meaning it uses the public power supply as backup at zero cost to panel owners and the panel owners get paid for their small contribution to the public supply. They generally pay normal retail rate for their draw on the grid. From what I’ve read, payments to them for their contribution to the grid is from local wholesale rate to 3X the local retail rate, depending on local policy.

I’ve read, and been told, various stories about individual situations for home solar setups, running for a number of years, that have reduced power expenditures to near zero, or like the most recent word of mouth tale recounted to me, the sum of monthly power bill plus monthly payments for the solar hardware+labor (on borrowed capital) is lower than the previous monthly power bill was without home solar generation. Unfortunately I’ve never had the opportunity to ask questions of the involved solar panel owners.

If true, this net power cost to the home almost certainly depends on a generous subsidy offsetting the purchase and installation, and perhaps on the generation to the grid payment being significantly higher than wholesale rate from the grid. Is it actually a widespread possibility?

Reply to  AndyHce
July 5, 2023 7:28 pm

Is it actually a widespread possibility?

My analysis on my off-grid system is free of any “subsidy”, meaning theft from poor consumers. If you join the gravy train and enjoy the benefits of the theft, then your costs are lower so the cost/benefit becomes more favourable.

Places like Australia that have abundant sunlight and adequate roof space can do better than any grid using intermittent generation.

Two Australian states WA and SA can already produce more from rooftops than the total grid demand. They have found ways to manually curtail rooftop solar output by forcing local voltages higher in order to maintain grid stability.

Right now, it is mostly partial grid defection but that is already forcing a greater burden on those who cannot defect.

The “subsidies” is actual theft from poor consumers. More people seeking the “subsidies” increases the theft from the remaining consumers.

Reply to  AndyHce
July 5, 2023 9:12 pm

These are meaningless questions for us apartment dwellers.

Reply to  AndyHce
July 5, 2023 9:19 pm

Every single time I ask the commenters, who either claim that they have paid their home solar off in less than three years, or they now have zero electricity, for their actual data, crickets. Nobody has yet provided their data to backup their very dubious claims.

Reply to  Graeme4
July 7, 2023 2:29 pm

That is what my question is about. Can it be true that grid connected rooftop solar actually pays for itself, including paying for the hardware, installation, and maintenance? If so, it would seem to imply that subsidies, including but not limited to the payment for electricity into the grid, is very high. Or maybe I’m missing something.

July 5, 2023 6:19 pm

As a rule of thumb, divide the nameplate cost by the capacity factor to get the true cost.

So offshore wind energy with a 33% capacity factor would actually cost 3x more than nameplate cost, and solar with a 10% capacity factor would actually cost 10x nameplate cost.

The nameplate cost being what the green energy would cost if the turbines/panels could produce 7×24 power.

The extra cost being the backup for when green energy is not available. This goes up exponentially when demand exceeds supply.

Reply to  ferdberple
July 5, 2023 7:38 pm

So offshore wind energy with a 33% capacity factor would actually cost 3x more than nameplate cost, and solar with a 10% capacity factor would actually cost 10x nameplate cost.

Way off the mark. An optimised grid relying solely on wind or solar or a combination using battery storage will have capacity factors in single digits; way different to their unconstrained CFs.

My analysis for the Finkel enquiry was optimised for overall cost for the then cost of battery and solar panels – not much has changed in these prices. It required 240GW of solar to supply a 23GW average load giving CF of 9.6%. Wind is worse in Australia because it can go long periods like two weeks without much output.

Reply to  RickWill
July 5, 2023 11:44 pm

You haven’t supplied a figure for actual costs of intermitancy as the author asked for.

Instead you have arrived ar the 10% capacity figure I gave just as an example.

Reply to  ferdberple
July 7, 2023 2:16 pm

The nameplate cost being what the green energy would cost if the turbines/panels could produce 7×24 power.

Minus a substantial factor for the actual 100% available input at a given latitude.

John Oliver
July 5, 2023 6:47 pm

I am not in anyway against wind and solar off grid . Interested in it myself for my survival apocalypse retirement compound. But I would be curious see a real all inclusive economic calculation of what the retail parts price would be if everything was sourced in a first world country including materials cost, mining etc. But I am happy for now to have China save me some money.

Reply to  John Oliver
July 5, 2023 7:53 pm

if everything was sourced in a first world country including materials cost, mining 

Such a country does not exist unless you define China as first world. The only country with commercial processes to make all the inputs for solar panels and wind turbines is China. The heavy industry needed to produce commercial wind/solar energy collectors is incompatible with NetZero.

The only way NetZero will be achieved anywhere is for China to continue to burn vast quantities of coal. Intermittent generators, chemical storage and associated transmission gear requires more carbon to make than it can save over its operating life.

And any individual land owner will always be able to produce lower cost weather dependent electricity than any power supply network. The only sensible source of the stuff needed is China because they have no silly restrictions on burning coal.

Mike O'Ceirin
July 5, 2023 8:22 pm

Drought ( this is from my website and shows droughts during the period you are nominating I have highlighted the top of the list which has dropped below 8% for 42 hours during August 2022. I do not see the advantage in looking at it daily a drought is a drought and I can easily pick them up. Any wind drought that occurs at night means you must have enough baseload to meet your entire demand. In this case you are getting about 700 MW but that is on average as soon as night falls solar is lost. In order for renewable energy to reliably supply electricity all the time you must have exactly the same capacity as a backup. You can use nuclear or fossil take your pick.

Reply to  Mike O'Ceirin
July 6, 2023 9:26 am

You need 100% wind capacity to cover for when the sun isn’t shining.
You need 100% solar capacity to cover for when the wind isn’t blowing.
You need 100% FF/nuclear to cover for when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining

Or you could just build the FF/nuclear and save trillions on wind and solar.

Reply to  Mike O'Ceirin
July 7, 2023 2:19 pm

Maybe give lab rats a choice: would you rather run a wheel attached to a generator or be injected with creepy bugs?

Rafe Champion
July 5, 2023 9:10 pm

The situation is quite clear, given the pioneering wind-watching work of Anton Lang and Paul Miskelly. The Energy Realists of Australia have been telling all the politicians and a large cohort of journalists since 2020. that the conjunction of wind droughts and lack of big storage means that the transition to wind and solar cannot happen. We are stuck with two parallel systems for ever or until we have nuclear power in Australia.

Intermittent inputs can DISPLACE conventional power, but not REPLACE IT.

That is one of the notes in this collection.

For more on wind droughts and the delinquency of the official wind-watchers, the WMO and the meteorologists of the world.

Rafe Champion
Reply to  Rafe Champion
July 5, 2023 9:34 pm

Story tip. Join the dots, Maurice Strong tapped the WMO to get the climate alarmism ball rolling in the UN, follow the role of the WMO until the IPCC became the scientific spearhead of alarmism. Find what the worldwide agencies of the WMO were doing to get the nations of the world on board before the second IPCC report, and their ongoing role to report all kinds of extreme weather except wind droughts, and their role as custodians of the official temperature records.

July 5, 2023 10:02 pm

The current Australian Government has ruled out nuclear energy

asked France to design a non nuclear sub (which officially we were good at, with lots of experience, but not really) and then went to the US to buy nuclear, instead of going back to France, say: “sorry we meant to buy nuke”, and get French tech that we know we can make because it already exists and we already build those.

Dave Fair
Reply to  niceguy12345
July 6, 2023 12:40 am

Are you talking about French nuclear electric power generators? If so, it has nothing to do with naval propulsion nuclear power. Your post is very confusing as to what you mean to say.

Reply to  Dave Fair
July 6, 2023 9:29 am

A few years back, Australia was talking to France about buying diesel powered submarines for coastal defense.
They ended up buying American nuclear powered subs.

Dave Fair
Reply to  MarkW
July 7, 2023 11:35 am

I was very well aware of that; it was the genesis of my question.

July 5, 2023 11:50 pm

Nameplate/capacity factor = true cost.

As capacity factor goes to zero, true cost of intermittentcy goes to infinity.

July 5, 2023 11:58 pm

Nameplate/capacity factor = true cost

This shows the underlying danger to society of green energy. No country can survive infinite costs and there have been more than a few scams in the energy industry to take advantage of infinite prices by artificially restricting supply.

It is way to tempting for electrical generation companies to take advantage of the infinite prices and negative prices that occur at the opposite ands of the supply curve.

July 6, 2023 12:05 am

Pass a law. Simply freeze electricity prices to where they are today.

So long as they don’t raise prices or the debt, the government can’t put in place whatever they want, so long as it pays for itself.

July 6, 2023 1:56 am

Meanwhile, in the UJ

Yet another demand for more subsidies.

And anyone still intending to argue that renewable is cheaper despite this approach by the wind industry needs to read this (referenced in the notes to the above).

A quite long piece, this being the key point:

Renewables do not provide cheap electricityRenewables supporters also claim that the energy they provide is cheap, an argument which has widespread appeal since it is clear to everyone that wind and sunshine are free. Unfortunately, this fact isn’t that relevant when considering the cost of renewable generation, because what matters is the cost of reliable electricity which includes the electricity that has to be provided when it isn’t windy or sunny.

Also read Gordon Hughes.

If wind were not subsidized, and if there were no obligations to buy its output, no-one would ever sign up to buy it, and no-one would ever build any. Its a total nonsense as a proposition for generating electricity, and the attempt, if seriously made, to get to net zero by using it will result only in economic depression and social welfare disaster.

Mark BLR
July 6, 2023 4:46 am

Apologists and propagandists for intermittent wind usually quote monthly penetration as this has less variability. It is, after all, averaged over longer periods. A truer picture is attained by looking at daily wind penetration and comparing that with the variation within each day.

In my experience this would count as a “false dichotomy” logical fallacy.

There are advantages and disadvantages to only looking at either the daily or the monthly min-max values.

In my (not so) humble opinion “a truer (big) picture” is seen when combining both options as an ensemble.

As a “whinging Pom” I am mostly focused on the BM Reports and ESO data for the GB (island of Great Britain) electricity grid, which is available in 30-minute resolution, i.e. with 48 regular “Settlement Periods” per day (46 or 50 on the Sundays the clocks go forwards or backwards respectively).

My daily graph since 1/1/2021 (to last Sunday, 2/7/2023) is attached below.

This “picture” highlights the inherent variability of both wind and solar, and also when “wind droughts” occur. The most visible example of the latter in my selection is in the spring and summer of 2021, especially from the last week of August to the third week of September.

– – – – –

PS : “Whinging” is probably not the right pejorative prefix to use in this specific case.

I am genuinely curious to know what an actual “Bruce” (or “Shiela” ?) would suggest as an alternative.

Mark BLR
Reply to  Mark BLR
July 6, 2023 5:04 am

NB : I can only attach one image file from my local hard disk per WUWT post.

A truer picture is attained by looking at …

One advantage of using monthly data is that you divide file sizes by an additional factor of ~30 (compared to the factor of 48 going from 30-minute to daily resolution).

My monthly min-max graph for the GB grid, attached below, starts in January 2018.

This highlights the annual “Solar Max.” cycle, and in the case of the GB grid shows how the maximum 30-minute average went from the all-time high of 21.93 GW this January (SP 38, 18:30 to 19:00, on 10/1/2023) to a maximum of only 13.1 GW last month (June 2023, the lowest “monthly max” value since June and July of 2021).

NB : That 30-minute maximum … for the entire month of June, remember … is less than half of the nominal, or “nameplate”, 27.6 GW capacity for wind just released in the DUKES data (Table ET 6.1, GB = England + Scotland + Wales) for Q1 2023.

Reply to  Mark BLR
July 6, 2023 9:35 am

Daily is still meaningless, since the grid exists second to second.
If the power needed, is not available right now, the grid collapses.

The fact that the sun will come up or the wind will start blowing in a few hours is meaningless.

Saying that ff or nuclear can cover the shortfall is also meaningless since those pushing wind and solar have stated that their goal is to get rid of both.

Peta of Newark
July 6, 2023 5:09 am

Something that dawned here and has got to be worth enquiring about…

We see all the graphs of wind production
But for any grid, production and consumption (demand) are always equal.

So the question is, was there spare production capacity while the turbines were supplying the demand shown?
Were the producing windmills in any way throttled – either by strong winds or remoteness and thus a lack of connection capacity?

iow. If there’d been a sufficient ‘storage solution’ close to each actual windfarm, could they themselves have filled in (any of) the demonstrated production shortfalls.
Basically acted like a ‘smoothing capacitor’ in your classic power-supply circuit

What as the nameplate capacity of the windfarms and how strong was the wind while they were producing what they did?
i.e. Could they have ‘dispatched’ more power if there’d been something to soak it up – then release it when the wind dropped?

Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 6, 2023 8:03 am

The answer is almost certainly yes. The peak production from wind in the UK was I think 21GW, don’t know how long for. Peaks of 15GW+ are quite common. The low is less than 1GW. From a parc of 28GW faceplace. UK demand varies from a bit over 20GW to about 45GW, mainly by time of day but also somewhat seasonal.

Its inevitable that a peak of wind will coincide with a low of demand sometimes. Whether there is anything useful to do with the unneeded production, don’t know. It would depend on having a use which can tolerate extreme unreliability. Making hydrogen has been proposed.

The other interesting thing about those numbers is overbuilding. Sometimes people think the answer to intermittency is just build more. But as you can see from the less than 1GW lows, the amount more you have to build is huge.

Doing that will certainly lead to far more periods of excess production. Like, you manage to get a parc of 100GW faceplate. Then you can expect peaks of 75GW with the same 20-45GW demand, so probably a lot of excess production. And still have lows of less than 5GW production. Make it 200GW. Your lows are still under 10GW, but you now have peaks of 150GW. And your demand is still not going to be over 45GW.

Its not fit for purpose. Absent subsidies and legal compulsions no-one would ever build the things.

Reply to  michel
July 6, 2023 11:29 am

Parker Gallant ( frequently posts about the periods when the Ontario industrial wind turbines are producing more power than is needed and the costs to ratepayers when the grid operator dumps the excess to Michigan and New York. Here is an example: Just what is supposed to happen when everyone has overbuilt wind systems and there is no place to dump the power is not clear.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  michel
July 7, 2023 6:18 am

Peak UK wind production was 21.69GW on 10th Jan 2023 between 6.30 and 7.00pm

July 6, 2023 6:10 am

Good ideas to show wind/solar deficiences..during system demands.
Even better would be to show the capacity and energy needed to make-up intermittant sources continuously (not average or hourly). This would show that to make wind/solar the more like (but not same) as 24/7 dispatchable power/energy.
One way to show that as a colorspace along the transmission grid supply curve. The maximum generationdifference from grid demand (customers usage, stability, ready generation, etc.) plus reserves needed to manage the grid…for short and long term periods.

Paul Hurley
July 6, 2023 8:18 am

Canadian energy policy researcher Parker Gallant has a recent article on his blog:

Wind Energy is Non-existent Over Six Days in Ontario

A recent post demonstrated how those IWT (industrial wind turbines) fell flat over the final three days of June but who knew they would add the first three days of July just to demonstrate their unbridled unreliable and intermittent nature.

Reply to  Paul Hurley
July 6, 2023 11:30 am

Great minds think alike – see my comment above

Douglas Pollock
July 6, 2023 10:25 am

Thorough and clarifying statistical analysis of Aussie’s main grid. However it deserves to be further complemented with some technological issues.


Leaving the stupid economically and physically impossible wishful thinking of pumped storage, green hydrogen, and, oh yes, battery backup aside, then:


First: thousands of kilometers of high-voltage cables DON’T SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF RENEWABLES INTERMITTENCE just because electricity is brought from wind mills from elsewhere, it only may change a bit the average capacity factor of those renewables, a.k.a. UNreliables (capital letters UN refers to, of course, the UN), as a whole, yet maintaining the everlasting and disastrous reality that demand goes its way while renewable generation goes its own and very different way.


Second: careful with the base load generation sources because not all of them are suitable to backup UNreliables such as coal, nuclear, geothermal, biomass and run of river hydro. Why? Simply because turtles and rabbits have the bad habit of running at different speeds. The only ones that can keep pace with climate changes are oil and gas-fired power stations. Dismiss oil because is too expensive, emits as much CO2 as coal and pollutes a lot more, so we only have natural gas left. But not any gas-fired power plant. Only combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT), that may allow a negligible CO2 emissions cut as UNreliables expand, serve as backup. Simple cycle gas turbines (SCGT) would, instead, cause CO2 emissions to increase when increasing those dead weight madness.


So the question for Australia is: do you have only and enough CCGT plants to backup the huge renewable infrastructure that already has passed by far the limit above which all renewable generation is inevitably being lost (the opposite scenario as the one exhibited here), making electricity prices only to continue to increase without being able to reduce even a single extra CO2 molecule?


I wonder.


Reply to  Douglas Pollock
July 6, 2023 11:31 am


July 6, 2023 4:49 pm

NO ONE commenting on this problem really appreciates the problem of severe weather. Big thunderstorms and cyclones or hurricanes can totally destroy wind and solar installations. In Australia we have not seen very severe thunderstorms for nearly forty years and this is why most don’t appreciate the danger they pose and the destruction they cause.
When I talk about severe, I am describing thunderstorms with tops above 50,000′ and when lines of storms with those heights develop they contain very high winds, large hail and large numbers of lightning strikes. When the conditions for those sorts of storms occurr the storms are not isolated and will often be in lines over 400 miles long, so they are capable of destroying large areas.
Storms associated with fronts cause the wind to veer 180 degrees in the opposite direction in passing and no wind turbine blades can adjust for that sort of change. Nor can they be designed to withstand the downbursts under thunderstorm cells which can easily exceed 200 m.p.h. It is no wonder Siemens, G.E. and Vesta have all announced large losses recently with high warranty and maintenance costs being the cause.
You cannot keep those blades in balance after a short time in operation as minor damage will always occur from flying debris. Even remaining still they would cause issues with the bearings and distorting the main drive shaft and whilst the wind industry do their best to hide the data it is known that few turbines reach 10 years without gear box and bearings problems and many within five years.

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