Careless, expensive & barely relevant

Your taxes at work in a university centre of climate science excellence

Looking at a preprint of a paper by Richardson et al on “compound solar and wind droughts” from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes at the University of NSW. The purpose of the study was to assess the risk to energy security in the NEM posed by periodical shortages of sun and wind.

We believe this is the first study that systematically assesses the role of weather systems and climate modes on the frequencies of compound solar and wind droughts.

That is if you don’t consider the work of Anton Lang and Paul Miskelly over a decade ago. They went straight to the point: are there low points of wind supply that are deep, wide and long enough to threaten the power supply if we replace coal power with wind power? We know there is no sun at night without elaborate research.

Paul’s paper was published in the academic literature in 2012, and this site has open access. Anton’s observations go even further back and can be found in thousands of blog posts covering many aspects of power generation from all sources.

Miskelly concluded that the findings suggest that the connection of such a wind farm fleet, even one that is widely dispersed, poses significant security and reliability concerns to the eastern Australian grid. These findings have similar implications for the impact of wind farms on the security of electricity grids worldwide.

As for Richardon et al contributing the first paper to assess the role of weather systems in relation to wind droughts, Paul Miskelly made the connection of low wind with high-pressure systems that move across the country and sometimes settle for days. Richardson et al know about “blocking highs” that are associated with calm conditions but they did not go directly to the AEMO records on wind power to look for the association, instead they used an elaborate analysis of numerous Renewable Energy Zones to see how often drought conditions might occur at the same time in different locations.

Clearly this is an example of the genre of literature that starts from the assumption that the green transition is going to happen and the studies are all about optimizing the location of RE resources. This is an example from the US, using a massive database and sophisticated models to generate additional data to throw into the mix.

Testing the basic assumption is avoided like the plague. This calls for analysis of worst-case scenarios like the “killer months” in the AEMO records -June 2017, June 2020 and August last year.

This note from the Australian Energy Realists shows the multiple low wind days in June 2020. It is also an early warning to beware the various icebergs in the path of the RE Titanic. There is an appendix on the sources to do your own wind-watching.

Richardson et al wrote “Whether, or how often, the AEMO grid is at risk from widespread, weather-induced reductions to production is not known.”

To the contrary, long periods, up to three days, with next to no wind are clearly visible in the AEMO records. This demonstrates that the system will fail when more coal power is retired, unless gas picks up the slack at crippling expense. These records are available in a processed form at Aneroid Energy and the NemWatch widget, They have been ransacked by the Energy Realists, notably Mike O’Ceirin who has an interactive website to interrogate them, and by Paul McArdle of Global Roam.

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July 2, 2023 2:02 am

Another great article Rafe.

Thank you for your wind watch.

Leon L.
Leon L.
July 2, 2023 8:54 am

Thanks Rafe.
It is just so plainly obvious that sustainable renewable energy is science fiction with current technology.
The catastrophic consequences unfolding are very much like following a suicide cult.
The five years to “save the planet” will be prophetic, with current renewable energy policies the cause of our demise.

July 2, 2023 9:18 am

Any study which uses “modelling” should be immediately suspect at the very least.
Garbage in/garbage out is the first thought that comes to mind.
AND the fact that this research had no idea about previous excellent studies done by Anton and Paul reveal their laziness and inability to face the truth.

Perfidious Albino
Perfidious Albino
July 2, 2023 11:19 am

I imagine we will all be asked to ‘accept’ the periodic electricity rationing as part of ‘doing our bit’ for the planet.

John McBratney
John McBratney
July 2, 2023 9:31 pm

I have only one overall comment – total incompetence by government AEMO and all associated with the push for solar and wind grid supply. They simply ignore the basic physics and engineering assessments. Reprehensible all.

another ian
another ian
July 3, 2023 7:49 am

And years behind “Practical Windmills 101” where windmills pumping water usually had very large storage tanks, auxiliary engine driven pump jacks or both

July 3, 2023 1:06 pm

Richardson et al wrote “Whether, or how often, the AEMO grid is at risk from widespread, weather-induced reductions to production is not known.”

Just another academic twit who has sold his soul. Have you sent him some literature to open his eyes, or more likely, to ignore Rafe?

July 5, 2023 4:40 pm

This isn’t incompetence.
None of this is a blunder.
Nobody has made a mistake.
It’s not an accident.
It’s not laziness or the inability to face truth.
It’s not even a suicide cult.

It’s the planned destruction of Western civilisations being implemented by a depopulationist murder cult.
No other explanation accounts for all aspects of this disaster.

As I mentioned over on Cairns News recently – city dwellers will die off en masse four days into a system black brought on by renewables’ intermittency when there are too few synchronous generators to restart the grid.

Jack Napier
Jack Napier
July 9, 2023 1:24 pm

Love your writing, Rafe, but in this case I think you made a slight error.

Paul Miskelly’s paper relates to Wind Farms only:


Whereas, the new paper is an analysis of solar and wind together:

Title – “Climate controls on compound solar and wind droughts in Australia”

And of course, ‘compound’ means they are studying how wind and solar lows combine together, which Miskelly and Lang have not done.

After recognising that the renewables industry is aware of droughts, the next claim will be that the storage requirements are too large, but not so according to David Osmond’s model:

David is showing weekly how a renewable centric Australian grid would fare with only 5 hours of storage (24GW/120GWh).

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