SA the wind leader running on gas and coal

Approaching breakfast-time SA is importing half of its power from Victoria and 94% of the local generation is gas. The turbines are running at 2% of capacity and providing 5% of demand.

Victoria is generating a small excess of power but not enough to prop up SA without help from Tasmania and NSW. The Victorian windmills are running at 12%, just above wind drought level, and providing 8% of local generation, with coal delivering three quarters of the supply and gas 5%.

Across the NEM the wind is delivering 3.7% of consumption, running at 8% capacity and the fossils are giving 83% (coal 75%).

This is the snapshot at the time. In each state the upper, coloured bar shows generation and the lower (grey) bar is demand.

This is the picture in real time, so it will change when the sun is on duty.

This is the wind supply in real time so you can look at the picture across SE Australia and state by state.

RE enthusiasts need to realise that SA is the leader in demonstrating that we will never run on wind and solar power until the storage issue is resolved and that is nowhere in sight, certainly not in the next decade or three.

The International Energy Agency (a green organization) is projecting record coal consumption this year with coal consumption holding up past 2040. The fossil fuel contribution to worldwide energy use has declined all of 2% from about 87% to 85% over recent years despite the tens of billions that have been spent to make power more expensive and less reliable, with massive collateral damage on the environment.

Keep your eye on Europe to see the shape of things to come and the way Russia and China will gain power and influence out of the western energy crisis.

And check out the supply chain for Lithium where the IEA projects a 4000-fold increase in demand to meet 2040 targets for the net zero targets in the western world. Interesting to see that both Serbia and Chile have recently shut the door for western interests to mine the mineral (bad luck for people with Rio in their portfolio.)

Update on the situation in Chile, complicated by the recent change of government.

UPDATING AT 10AM. Wind across the NEM is down to 2% of supply at 6% of the capacity of the windmills. In NSW and Qld it is providing 1% of supply, 2% in SA, 5% in Victoria and Tasmania. The price in SA is three times the price in the other states. So much for cheap and reliable power from intermittent energy sources.

30 responses to “SA the wind leader running on gas and coal”

  1. GreyRanga Avatar

    That’s a nice interconnector you’ve got there, shame if something should happen to it. Might give SA a good dose of reality but I suppose when you’re already living in an alternate reality you wouldn’t know.

  2. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John


    Something did happen to the interconnector a few years ago, leaving much of SA in the dark. That is why taxpayers are now paying for an interconnector to NSW.

  3. bemused Avatar

    Is the SA government still recommending businesses and home owners to install generators, as they did after the last major blackout?

  4. Roger Avatar

    Approaching breakfast-time SA is importing half of its power from Victoria and 94% of the local generation is gas.

    No shortage of smugness though.

    If only you could power a state on it.

  5. thefrollickingmole Avatar

    So who thinks Nato responses to Russian interests in the Ukraine (tip, Im pretty ignorant of the causes) are being rather muted by the knowledge that the Russians have their “General Winter” gas pipeline to the “west”.

    The EUmongs have effectively made Putin an essential partner with a winter veto on anything he wants.

  6. duncanm Avatar

    It is a pity the interconnect wasn’t turned off when the covid wall went up.

    As for Lithium batteries– I don’t see that as a viable bulk storage solution. Redox flow cells have a bit more promise.

  7. duncanm Avatar

    January 25, 2022 at 9:34 am
    So who thinks Nato responses to Russian interests in the Ukraine (tip, Im pretty ignorant of the causes) are being rather muted by the knowledge that the Russians have their “General Winter” gas pipeline to the “west”.

  8. Megan Avatar

    Reason and reality mean nothing to the deeply bright green environmental warriors. Just as long as they feel good about their virtuous opinions. They simply don’t recognise that underneath all that renewable huffing and puffing is Hercules’ goddess of vice disguised as virtue.

  9. Tom Avatar

    Apart from being a subsidy scam for socialist cronies who loathe the free market, just look at Rafe’s figures on how little of market demand is being met by 19th century windmills. With so many people peddling a delusion, you’d be forgiven for thinking “renewable energy” is a diagnosable mental illness.

  10. Speedbox Avatar

    duncanm says:
    January 25, 2022 at 9:34 am
    As for Lithium batteries– I don’t see that as a viable bulk storage solution. Redox flow cells have a bit more promise.

    Redox cells have interesting potential. Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL) are installing a 5kW/30kWh flow battery as a trial at Water Corp’s hub in Shenton Park, WA. Powers a mobile water purification unit.

    Years of development and market acceptance ahead but should not be discounted.

  11. miltonf Avatar

    I thought all cells were based on Redox.

  12. miltonf Avatar

    2V lead acids certainly are

  13. Speedbox Avatar

    miltonf says:
    January 25, 2022 at 11:05 am
    I thought all cells were based on Redox.

    As I understand it, Redox flow batteries utilise a different system to separate power and energy where the amount of electrolyte flowing between the electro-chemicals is only a small percentage (and controlled) of the total amount present. Sort of like two ‘inert’ parts that, when mixed, produce the power. (to a non-chemist like me, more power = more mix; less power = less mix). This differs from a standard packaged battery where the full amount of energy is connected at all times and is available.

    BoN , if he is around, can probably offer a much better explanation.

  14. miltonf Avatar

    ok sort of get it Speedbox. Thanks!

  15. miltonf Avatar

    I’m not a chemist either but I still think the wet lead acids and nickel cads are very hard to beat. Lead acids very easy to recycle too. Just a shame they are so heavy.

  16. miltonf Avatar

    A lead acid’s capacity varies depending upon how much current is drawn. Interesting stuff.

  17. miltonf Avatar

    Internal resistance.

  18. duncanm Avatar

    Pretty much so.

    With a redox flow battery, your output power (kW) is limited by the membrane or whatever is used to combine two electrolytes, but your battery capacity (kWh) is only limited by how big you want to build your tanks for those electrolytes.

    Lead acid is a little different, as there’s only one electrolyte and it relies on species of lead building up on the plates to transfer the ions (or something).

  19. Kneel Avatar

    “I’m not a chemist either but I still think the wet lead acids and nickel cads are very hard to beat. “

    Carbon based batteries are also promising – no, not ye olde AA,C etc sized batteries. Basically, it is aluminium foil, layer of activated charcoal, layer of and electrolyte of some kind, another carbon layer and another aluminium foil layer. Electrolyte can be as simple as a sheet of paper soaking in salt water, or use magnesium disulfide (as used in single use AA etc batteries). Electrolyte choice determines cell voltage and total capacity. Pack the lot into a vaccuum sealed plastic bag (to keep layers pressed together) and you are done.
    From what I have seen, this out-performs lithium cells in power and energy to weight/volume and lifetime. Extremely tolerant of over-voltage on charge, fast charge/discharge etc (can charge a 1.2V cell with 12V very quickly with no damage). Potentially very easy to scale up using well known and understood printing techniques. Depending on electrolyte, materials are easy to recycle and are mostly non-toxic, not a significant fire risk etc. Materials are also widely available and cheap. A package of these the same size as a car battery is at least as good if not better than lead acid (including peak current etc) and much lighter, plus no hydrogen outgassing.
    No idea why this hasn’t been commercially persued – perhaps a good candidate for a GovCo grant if you are well connected enough.

  20. Speedbox Avatar

    A black art this battery stuff.

  21. Rafe Champion Avatar
    Rafe Champion

    I think batteries are just a distraction techo nerds to talk about, storage of energy does not follow Moore’s Law which is what so many people absurdly expected. Check out <a href="”>the talk on RenewEconomy!

  22. Perfidious Albino Avatar
    Perfidious Albino

    WA seems like the ‘wind leader’ based on that snapshot, apparently meeting a significant chunk of the then demand?

    I was surprised VIC demand was so much lower than both NSW and QLD, given the relative populations. It has been hot in Melbourne the last few days (30+) and remaining hot overnight. We had a brief power outage around 3am which I put down to everyone running their a/c, fans etc through the night.

  23. yarpos Avatar

    They should use the old Powderfinger classic as the theme for the SA grid; These days turned out nothing like I had planned.

  24. Tintarella di Luna Avatar
    Tintarella di Luna

    Rafe, thank you so much for posting this, I’ve missed your informative and ever welcome insights into the madness driving the West back to the cave.

  25. duncanm Avatar

    Rafe, yes and no.

    The energy density obviously won’t go up like Moore’s law (who TF thought that would ever happen? really?), but redox flow are extremely scaleable. All you need is space.

    Vanadium redox is something like 50Wh/litre of fluid, and its safe (no lithium fires!).

    That’s much more realistic than pretending you can dam all the high points and have hydro, and may make sense for scattered local power storage systems.

  26. JohnL Avatar

    Renewable Energi magic pudding:
    Let me put it another way: one thousand times zero is not larger than one hundred times zero. Less theoretically, one thousand wind turbines not a-turnin’ provides no more power than one hundred turbines not a-turnin’.

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