Power on the brink


More red flags are flying for the power supply and more badly-informed commentary from RenewEconom and the Fin Review. This (Friday) morning the wind supply was negligible in SA and Victoria, just like Wednesday which was reported on Climate Realism, a Heartland Institute site.

This evening at sunset, wind in Victoria was generating 3% of demand at CP 5%, the comparable figures in SA were 17% and 8%. In SA gas accounted for three quarters of local generation and they were burning diesel. The battery was making money by discharging while the state had the most expensive power in the nation.

Victoria was in deficit and power was draining from the battery of the nation (Tasmania).

The response to impending blackouts.

At RenewEconomy we read:

A new tender has been launched by the New South Wales government for a new big battery that will help replace the capacity that will be lost when the country’s biggest coal generator, Eraring, closes in 2025.

The tender is officially for firming capacity of at least 380MW and two hours storage, and is open to a bunch of different technologies, including hydrogen electrolysers, gas peaking stations, but battery storage is probably the best bet for that particular mandate, and the tight timeline.

And in the Fin Review, a more respectable rag than RenewEconomy, one would hope.

Adding big volumes of new wind and solar power capacity are contributing to supply security, with AEMO pointing to 401MW of battery storage committed since its last report, involving more than 600 megawatt-hours of storage capacity.

What does it mean to have batteries helping to replace Eraring? This is the biggest station in the grid with four 720MW turbines (2880MW). Batteries don’t generate power, (nor does pumped hydro like Snowy2.0), they store it when there is power to spare. “Replacing” means feeding the stored power back into the grid to avert blackouts.

Consider the amount of stored power required to substitute for Eraring through 14 hours between sunset and sunrise on a windless night. Say 2000MW to allow for a realistic capacity factor, well short of 100%, to make the sums easier.

That comes to 28,000MWhours which is more than 40 times the 600 megawatt-houres mentioned above. In the RenewEconomy report they refer to “firming capacity of at least 380MW and two hours storage,” which amounts to 760 megawatt-hours of capacity. That is 1/36 of 28,000 MWhours.

What is more, the output from Eraring is continuous in contrast with the battery that has to be charged, and what if there are two or more windless nights in a row, when the wind drought persists for two or three days?

How is this reckless folly sustained?

During the day the sun and wind together provide about 50% of power at their peak on a bad wind day and that gets up to 60% and a bit more on Sundays if there is a lot of wind about.

This is enough to keep the greens happy, as though we are almost half way to getting rid of coal. But, one more time, it is the windless nights that do the damage, as explained by the Iron Triangle of Power Supply. In summary, wind power will not work in Australia due to the need for continuous input to the grid, the interruption of wind power by wind droughts, and the lack of storage at the scale required to bridge the gaps.

Consequently, when the next coal power station closes, every wind drought will threaten the power supply, and prolonged wind droughts will be potentially catastrophic.

We need more “wind literacy”. People need to be alert to the frequent lack of wind, and this could easily be achieved by incorporating a windpower report in the regular weather reports that go out with the news on radio and TV all day and night.

Alternatively, anyone and everyone can glance at the NewWatch widget on phone or computer to check the wind supply, especially at breakfast and dinnertime! This is the picture on Wednesday morning: find the wind, that is the green segments on the bars.

Droughts have been recognized in Australia for a long time but defective advice (neglecting the droughts) resulted in the the worst policy blunder in our history – connecting subsidised and mandated intermittent wind and solar power to the grid.


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132andBush
132andBush
March 18, 2023 3:35 am

Thanks again, Rafe.

What is more, the output from Eraring is continuous in contrast with the battery that has to be charged, and what if there are two or more windless nights in a row, when the wind drought persists for two or three days?

This is the thing I think a lot of people can’t intuitively grasp. Batteries require surplus power in order to be recharged and we are rapidly losing any chance of having a system which possesses such capacity.
We have been very lucky this summer was cool as there is virtually no shock absorbance in the system.

Tom
Tom
March 18, 2023 4:49 am

It’s pointless having batteries if you have nothing to store.

Someone should tell the hippies at AEMO.

Peace and love, man.

Anchor What
Anchor What
March 18, 2023 6:34 am

We are governed by idiots who are influenced by the zombie left enviroloons and the complicit media.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
March 18, 2023 6:58 am

The tender is officially for firming capacity of at least 380MW and two hours storage

The SA big battery of 100 MWh cost about $100 million. So factor the lithium price explosion and inflation and that 380 MWh one has got to be half a billion bucks at least.

Which gets you the output of Vales Point power station for 20 minutes before it has to be charged up again from…something somewhere. And it has to be replaced in about 8 years as the battery performance declines.

These people are off the planet nuts. Didn’t they ever do arithmetic at school? No wonder our electricity prices are going through the roof.

Angus Black
Angus Black
March 18, 2023 8:29 am

You can’t convince cultists by exposing them to evidence and logical argument.

It will take revolution.

mem
mem
March 18, 2023 8:30 am

These people are off the planet nuts. Didn’t they ever do arithmetic at school? No wonder our electricity prices are going through the roof.

What now happens with many government or semi government major projects is that anyone that has critical analysis skills is by-passed or shifted out as they are seen as potential impediments to getting the project done. The project is comprised of yes men and yes women, often younger people without experience. Consultants are employed and by their nature are paid to push the project forward not to find obstacles. And it is all other people’s money anyway so therefore there is no financial responsibility for outcomes.

Katzenjammer
Katzenjammer
March 18, 2023 9:50 am

The solution is simple. If no electricity is available then it won’t be used. Problem solved.

Robert Sewell
March 18, 2023 11:31 am

Bruce O’Nuke:

These people are off the planet nuts. Didn’t they ever do arithmetic at school? No wonder our electricity prices are going through the roof.

It’s too late now for any remedies to flow from Government – in fact, they are the cause of this crisis.
Our new motto:
“sauve-qui-peut”

Bruce
Bruce
March 18, 2023 12:10 pm

@Anchor Watt?

“We are governed by idiots who are influenced by the zombie left enviroloons and the complicit media.”

Your generous compassion for these traitors is touching.

As for the self-anointed “opinion-shapers”? Blowing the bugle and beating the war-drum to urge on the psychopathic hordes means utter complicity. Their “innocence” NEVER existed.

“Interesting Times”, dead, (so to speak),ahead, for EVERYONE..

Rohan
Rohan
March 18, 2023 12:11 pm

It’s going to be a lesson learnt the hard way. I don’t see it going down any other way.

WolfmanOz
March 18, 2023 12:48 pm

Rohan says:
March 18, 2023 at 12:11 pm
It’s going to be a lesson learnt the hard way. I don’t see it going down any other way.

Agreed Rohan.

I used to think it might take a few weeks of no power to shake the populace out of their collective apathy.

Now I think it will take at least a year or two of continuous power cuts etc – that will certainly bring home to everyone the extreme pain, discomfort and even death before the plebs finalise realise they’ve been conned.

Great post again Rafe !

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