RE fails in SA as usual


Checking at 6.30 Sydney time, South Australia has turned the corner as the sun went down in the mid to late afternoon after exporting power since late morning and is now importing bigtime. Check the live display and the dispatch summary. The wind across the South East has been at drought level all day, with NSW doing better than most while at present in SA and Victoria (the wind leaders) the windmills are delivering 4% of installed capacity.

Gas is providing 2/3 of the generation in SA and coal is delivering over 80% with the brown coal clunkers cranking at 95% of capacity. Not bad for equipment that is unwanted. But Sandgropers and Victorians would have cold dinner without them.

Bright and early on Sunday morning and the RE enthusiasts are predicting that RE will establish a new record of penetration into the grid this afternoon after a rousing performance yesterday.

But right now SA would be black without coal power from Victoria. The top bar in the chart represents demand and the bottom bar is the local supply.

The wind in SA is contributing 260MW compared with Gas at 450 with another 450 from Victoria.

This is the picture an hour later as shown by the NewWatch widget.

The wind has picked up but not enough to make up the gap to meet demand.

The picture will change during the day as the sun comes up, this is the dispatch summary, this is the widget and this is the Aneroid 24-hour rolling display.

10.15 in Sydney. As the sun builds up SA is no longer a power mendicant state but lo and hehold, Victoria is importing! There is next to no wind in SA, Victoria and Queensland as you can see in the Aneroid display if you tick and untick the boxes to look at individual states. 80% of local generation in Victoria is brown coal compared with 2% from wind.

Early this morning the much maligned “ageing” brown coal clunkers were delivering 91% of installed capacity! OK, they are out of service occasionally, but solar is out of service every night and widespread wind droughts are more frequent than individual coal station downtimes.

In response to comments. The briefing notes of the Energy Realists (see here!) go to 830 state and federal politicians. We know that most will be intercepted by green staffers and trashed but the point is to put them on notice that they can never say that nobody warned them. The wheels will fall off before long. In the meantime we have to get the best information in the clearest possible form to our friends and relations and anyone else who is prepared to discuss the matter.

I like to think that we are getting better at explaining the key issues even though things are going to get a lot worse before we can hope to make much impact on public opinion. Simplicity and graphic visual displays will be the key to convey the critical issues – wind droughts, no grid-scale storage, the flood protection wall effect. Sustainability has to be measured by the low points of RE supply, not the high point or the average penetration.

Noon update. All the states now have negative prices, mostly near -$30 with SA the standout at -$92. Imagine a market where the goods are not worth anything! Apart from the subsidies provided to the wind and solar providers. The usual suspects find this to be very exciting and a sign of success. Well us we know, RE can displace coal but not replace it!

13 responses to “RE fails in SA as usual”

  1. Tintarella di Luna Avatar
    Tintarella di Luna

    Doing God’s work Rafe thank for your information and dedication to the cause

  2. min Avatar

    Rafe I know you send this information to the pollies do they ever comment ?

  3. bemused Avatar

    Unfortunately none of this makes any difference, as there’s none so blind as those who will not see. We are committed to remain in this wheel rut of insanity until the road ends at a cliff.

  4. Mark M Avatar
    Mark M

    Q. If sunbeam & sea breeze collectors are so much cheaper and work so much better than fossil fuels, why would Vietnam double down on coal?

    If you just paid top dollar for your electricity in South Australia to lower your carbon (sic) emissions, you’ve just been offset.

  5. Winston Smith Avatar

    It’s a Hell of a Drug…

  6. Roger Avatar

    It’s a Hell of a Drug…

    I’ll say…

    How South Australia became a renewable energy powerhouse.

  7. C. Paul Barreira Avatar
    C. Paul Barreira

    The reaction of the public, generally, to these circumstances is curious and closely related to the broad loss of literacy and general disparagement of learning that has occurred during the past half-century, certainly in South Australia. First, the public is mostly ignorant and seems to accept the “climate” and “Zero” narratives without question let alone demur. Secondly, when irritated people moan perhaps to friends and relatives but beyond that have no civic notion or not one that dares get involved in any way. One should note here that any correspondence with government today will probably elicit no reply. Nonetheless, the curious feature of the present is the trust invested in government and the (alleged) distrust of politicians. Given the sheer hostility of government for the general public, all this is thoroughly discouraging.

  8. flyingduk Avatar

    we all know they will ban backup gennies, California style, when it gets really bad

  9. Roger Avatar

    we all know they will ban backup gennies, California style, when it gets really bad

    It’s becoming hard to avoid the conclusion that politicians increasingly despise the electorate, as C. Paul Barreira above states.

  10. Davey Boy Avatar
    Davey Boy

    in my experience, making a polite but persistent pest of yourself with your local MPs (of all flavours) must be carried out as a long term exercise, noting that along the way they will try to block you, belittle you, sideline you etc. We can no longer afford to be disengaged from them, that’s their preferred position for us. Make the bastards sweat and justify themselves at every turn, ring them up and have a civil disagreement with them, see them in person and bring the entire family along to show them that there’s a mob behind you, take a video recording if they let you, tell the MPs that we know they are nothing more than placeholder politicians and that they get paid a shitload to not read legislation before voting along party lines. Somebody has to tell them, it may as well be me and you. The time is long gone for shrugging the shoulders or throwing hands up and acting like it’s hopeless.

  11. John McBratney Avatar
    John McBratney

    Thanks Rafe and all other commentators, most interesting and quite discouraging. Rafe’s comment that politician’s staffers trash incoming reports is worrying too. Somehow we collectively have to find a way to bypass these mindless idiots and get the pollies to read the reports. Surely the kindergarten arithmetic is not beyond them!! The cost aspect is one they should understand. The technical difficulties associated with large scale RE generation will only be understood when a dollar figure is attached to the highly technical engineering assessments. The engineers amongst us understand that RE as presented at present is a hiding to nowhere, it can never work using the current technologies, NEVER! How do we get the Greater Unwashed Pollies to understand? That is the crux of the matter, reduce the technical problems to words of one syllable and simple dollar values. Only way !!

  12. MatrixTransform Avatar

    have a look right now … even betterer than before

  13. Rafe Champion Avatar
    Rafe Champion

    The wind has been near 10% of installed capacity since 8 in the morning. Vicoria has just gone below 1% and SA has surged to 9% after going down to 2%.
    The % of wind power in the grid is 4% and that is fairly unusual although it has been down near 2% occasionally.

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