Let’s Lift Wind Literacy

Reading literacy appears to be in decline and that is causing concern but spare a thought for the prevalence of “wind illiteracy.” This means lack of awareness of the wind supply, especially at the continental scale.

Wind illiteracy has enabled the biggest peacetime policy blunder in our history, that is, connecting intermittent energy sources from sun and wind to the grid. That mistake has been compounded by subsidising these providers and mandating the use of the product.

The result is a mortal threat to the electricity supply which is the lifeblood of modern society since the horse and buggy days. At the very least the price of power will rise sharply, crippling energy-intensive industries, wrecking household budgets and feeding inflation in every sector of the economy where electricity is an input.

The root of the problem is the combination of extensive and protracted wind droughts, the need for continuous input to the grid to match demand, and the lack of grid-scale storage to fill the gap in supply on windless nights.

Did anyone involved in planning the transition to intermittent wind and solar power think about the wind supply in the way that irrigation planners presumably pay attention to the water supply?

Did anyone call the Bureau of Meteorology or seek advice from some wind literate person who might have warned them about the widespread wind-lulls that occur when high pressure systems hover for a day or three, as they do, several times a year.

These are not the result of recent climate change. In the history of the Lameroo district in the Mallee of western Victoria:

A drought of a very different kind occurred in March and April of 1934. Because Lameroo sits above our underground water supply, windmills (wind pumps) were used to draw water to the surface for stock water and personal use. The period from mid- March to the end of April was almost completely windless; therefore no water. Farmers were soon desperate for stock water. Source

Paul Miskelly accessed the AEMO records of the power delivered from wind farms attached to the grid. During the calendar year 2010 the total wind output across the entire grid fell rapidly to zero or near zero on 109 occasions in the year.  Source

He showed that these droughts occurred when high pressure systems fell over the area, these are visible in the weather maps that show the high and low pressure systems that move from west to east across the continent.

He flagged the need for a fleet of fast-acting gas plants with enough capacity to match the installed wind capacity, on standby mode “to balance the wind’s mercurial behaviour.” 

In 2010 there were only 23 wind farms with less than 2GW of installed capacity and it was anticipated that the supply would become more reliable as the number of sites increased. John Morgan reported that the situation was much the same in the 12-month period from Sep 2014 to Sept 2015 when the capacity of the wind fleet was approaching 4GW. Source

The problem persists with almost 9GW of installed wind capacity at present. Mike O’Ceirin, an independent analyst working with the Energy Realists of Australia, has an interactive site using the AEMO records. Source

 The records can be interrogated to the depth and duration of all the wind droughts from 2010 to the latest serious episode which lasted over 40 hours  through the 7th, 8th and 9th of August.

People need to become wind savvy and alert to the Achilles heel of the intermittent energy system, that is the nights when the wind is low and there is next to no RE input. During these periods no amount of additional installed capacity will help because there is next to no grid-scale storage to save the excess power generated on sunny afternoons.

RE promoters celebrate record high inputs like the wind just before the drought in August and the solar input for an hour in SA on the afternoon of Oct 16.

AEMO recently started to promote a massive fraud on the data dashboard with a record of Renewable Penetration. See the tab at the top of this page.

Admittedly it is labelled “highlights” but that will mislead the unwary who don’t realise that the highs are useless as long as the lows persist. It is directly comparable to the fence around the cow paddock where the gate is always open or there are permanent gaps. Doh! The cows will get out regardless of the height of the fence.

The transition from coal is limited by the lowest level of RE input on windless nights and until that rises to meet the full demand we had better keep all the coal and gas capacity that we have at present or be prepared to eat breakfast and dinner cold, and in the dark in winter.

In the early afternoon we have sunk into a wind drought with the Capacity Factor (% of plated capacity that is being delivered) near 6% and the wind is contributing almost 4% of the demand. The level of demand is as low as it ever gets in the daytime, being a mild Sunday afternoon, and with plenty of sun about the penetration of RE at present is 60%.

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November 6, 2022 1:41 pm

Stupid liberals are just as bad as labour!
mat guy for victorian liberals is anything labour promises we will
match and beat them by 10%…clowns
Will Australia ever get a Donald Trump impersonator?

Carpe Jugulum
Carpe Jugulum
November 6, 2022 2:26 pm

People in Venestralia won’t understamd how badly they have been let down/duped until the power goes off on a hot or freezing day.

I’m glad i emigrated.

November 6, 2022 3:27 pm

The hippies and grifters ripping off taxpayers with the renewable energy “system” never had a clue that it wouldn’t work because none of them has an engineering degree.

Their interest wasn’t in energy production but in getting rich off government subsidy mining.

A farmer could have told them it wouldn’t work. Wind energy is perfect for pumping water provided you aren’t relying on the arrival of the water in a timely manner.

That is, wind energy can’t be relied on for anything, least of all the production of electricity.

The hippies and grifters getting rich off the new government subsidy mine won’t be around to repair the damage they’re doing – because it’s a get-rich-quick scheme.

Anyone despoiling the landscape with a wind “farm” isn’t a farmer, but a city-bred hater of farms and farming.

November 6, 2022 3:37 pm

Thanks for that Rafe, great stuff.

You have to be admired for persisting with common sense against the ‘renewables’ propaganda, propaganda pushed by government, media and industry grifters.

Fair Shake
Fair Shake
November 6, 2022 4:27 pm

Chris Bowen should urgently ban all High pressure systems (HPS) and lobby the UN to do the same. Anyone giving HPS a platform are to be denounced as Wind Haters and cancelled.

November 6, 2022 4:34 pm

With you Tom. I object to the virtuous name of farm being attached to wind and solar subsidy establishments.

November 6, 2022 6:05 pm

It’s hilarious how the ESB and the others have a cow if a coal fired station takes a unit out for repair. I note collide is doing some repairs. And this is reported in the press. And yet this morning wind was under 600mw of the 9600 mw plated capacity. When things are going great it can rise above 6 GW but then quickly shed 4 or 5 GW. Yet that is not newsworthy. Solar is the same. Clouds play havoc with production. None of this is reported as an issue. And yet the PM prattled on about cheapest energy. This energy illiterate has to know that wind and solar need backup, and a new grid. None if this comes for free. The only thing “free” is the wind or sun. But the capital still needs a return. And with 100s of billions to be spent, there is a bees dicks chance of electricity prices reducing by 275.

November 7, 2022 12:10 am

But. When do the blackouts start?

November 7, 2022 6:52 am

When do the blackouts start?

pretty soon we’ll be having ‘Once In A Decade” wind-drought catastrophes.

deffo nothing to do with experts

Gaia is just fickle

November 7, 2022 9:22 am

Rafe. One of your best articles yet. I spent some time with a couple at the weekend who are great RE supporters. They also believe the Earth is heating up. When I point out some of my concerns with RE they just gloss over these and have blind faith in “the experts” solving these problems. I am seen as negative and against progress. When I tell them about windmills on our farm used for pumping water being replaced or boosted for use with an electric or diesel pump to make them reliable they stare at me blankly. The only moment I cut through to them was when I asked them if they are gamblers. No, definitely not is the reply. Neither am I say. So why do you think gambling with peoples lives and livelihoods by installing an untried and extremely expensive grid system is good? I don’t believe the government has the right to take this risk.

November 7, 2022 10:21 am

Rossini wrote…”Will Australia ever get a Donald Trump impersonator?”

Maybe when our politicians do a little research and grow some balls.
I have no faith in that ever happening.

November 7, 2022 10:45 am

Improving wind literacy!
I’d love a cup of coffee.
Turn on the jug ….. nothing.
Oh well maybe next time.
An hour later ….. turn on the jug ….. nothing.
Oh well, maybe next time.
An hour later ….. turn on the jug. Water begins to boil. Ah! Beauty. I was hanging out for that coffee hit.
One time in three. I’d be seriously angry with the manufacturer of the jug if it only worked one time out of every three times you wanted to boil water.
Take the car to the Supermarket. Trouble is it only starts up one time in every three also. I’d be seriously angry if my car only worked one time in three, or got me part of the way to the supermarket and then stopped, with no idea when it was going to start up again.
That’s the EXACT equivalent of wind generation.
It only operates at 30% of its total, or, looked at another way, it only operates for 30% of the time, and the further point being, you never really know what time it will be operating.
Wind generation has got to be the (second) worst way to generate electrical power that was ever devised. (and hey, when was the last time you heard of Concentrating Solar Power?)
There is currently a total Nameplate of 9854MW of wind generation connected to the vast AEMO grid.
The absolute maximum power ever delivered by wind generation was at 8.50PM on Thursday 4August2022 when it delivered 7304MW, and why am I so precise about that. Because it only delivered that total for ONE five minute recording period. The best it has EVER been, 74.1% for five minutes.
A good day for wind generation is when it can sustain 40 to 45% of its Nameplate across the whole 24 hour day, and occasions like that are few and far between, and again notice that’s a GOOD day ….. 45%. If that was the best I could get out of ANYTHING, I would be seriously angry, to the point of maybe even wanting my money back.
The point about all of this is that ….. NO ONE knows about it.

Anchor What
Anchor What
November 7, 2022 7:42 pm

We are in a serious intelligence drought at the moment.

November 8, 2022 10:03 am

And if the wind blows a gale, the turbines have to be switched off.

Louis Litt
Louis Litt
November 8, 2022 3:16 pm

Tony From OXZ – Love your work – I really like the simplicity of yoru aticles and wht plates eman etc. You hae de mystified the basics of energy for me – concepts which I never understood before.

November 9, 2022 10:59 am

Wind energy is perfect for pumping water provided you aren’t relying on the arrival of the water in a timely manner.
I’m told farmers are removing the wind driven pumps and replacing with a solar cell and electric motor.

  1. Headline of the day: The Matildas and Arsenal weapon tasked with filling Kerr-sized hole Fnarrr.

  2. And puts lie to the media’s claim that he held a firearms licence “for recreational purposes”.

  3. The word doing the rounds (as yet unsubstantiated) is a total ban on “recreational” firearm use. Can see a lot…

  4. Outstanding. Just outstanding commentary on the current semitic sentiment in this country. The back end of a Gray Connolly piece…

Oh, you think that, do you? Care to put it on record?x