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« Who's behind the RICO push? | Main | Enforcing the dogma »
Monday
Nov022015

South Australia today, UK tomorrow?

The authorities in South Australia have been pretty right on in terms of their devotion to the green cause, and the state has been in the forefront of efforts to increase renewables' share of electricity generation. That being the case, the state is something of a leading indicator for us here in the UK. Over the weekend there were strong hints that the chickens are coming home to roost.

A spokesman for SA Power Networks said the state lost supply from “upstream” when the interconnector shut down, triggering an automatic loss of power — load shedding — in SA, resulting widespread outages.

About 110,000 homes were affected by the load shedding from Victoria, which started about 10.20pm on Sunday night — and there are warnings this morning that such a large blackout could happen again...

When the Victorian system shut down, 160 megawatts of energy was lost and wind power did not supply energy because it often does not start until 3am.

These problems seem to have been widely expected. As this fascinating article from a couple of weeks back noted:

The full force of the fall-out of subsidies to the renewables industry is set to be felt in South Australia over the next few years as much of its baseload power generation capacity is idled, leaving it increasingly exposed to the intermittency of renewable energy.

Concerns about the full implications of potential severe supply interruptions in that regional market are believed to be part of the reason for the extensive review by the electricity market operator into ways of restarting generation, after significant market failures such as a so-called "system black", a grid-wide disruption which can take several days to restore.

It all sounds very familiar doesn't it?

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Reader Comments (66)

Hmm they are pretty damn green bonkers in Aus but we're not too far behind.

In yesterday's Sunday Times,

Fairy tales business edition.

Was proffered a fantasy, a proposed inter connector costing £5 billion [GOVERNMENT ESTIMATED.....gulp] a lecky cable linking Iceland with the UK is all the rage ala Dave's chez nous and Amber is just the man to get on wi' it. Alack and thrice WOE, reading between the lines, I deem desperation is the code and all nuclear options are causing untold panic because they are so 'in the future and no bloody guarantees aught will actually come of it'... Thus, has panicked administration - moved up a notch to defcon 3 now in - wtf mode.

£5 billion and doubtless > a few quid more! How many coal/gas/oil electricity generating stations - could you buy for that sort of amount?

Can we conclude that, the Tories have lost what few marbles they had or, is it their designed and deliberate policy to shut down British industry and put the lights out permanently....... in which case is it also pertinent to observe that, FoE, Greenpi77 and WWF and any combination thereof - are still making policy and running the DECC and heavily influencing Dave's executive?

The only policy which guarantees security and the future - is cheap energy - all else, is just bollocks.

Nov 2, 2015 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

But, but, but.... We have thousands of dirty diesel generators ready to produce hugely expensive electricity at short notice. And we have lots of industries waiting to be paid huge sums of money to stop being industrious.

It is also to be noted that this country has never had to perform a black start if things really start to go belly up. Who knows how long it would take and how it would be done?

Nov 2, 2015 at 9:24 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If that is what it takes - then that's fine.

Punishing the perpetrators must be a priority - although the goons will presume they are still "in charge" and seek to point the finger elsewhere.

renewables eh? who'd have thought they don't know what they're doing?

Nov 2, 2015 at 9:38 AM | Registered Commentertomo

O/T but there's a lovely post on Antarctica gaining ice mass over at WUWT. It's also on Phys.org.

I'm amazed how all the Pro AGW people can go from explaining how Antarctica is losing ice-mass and that the reasons are all in accordance with AGW theory and then when evidence that Antarctica is gaining ice-mass, that's also in accordance with AGW theory.

That's a pretty amazing theory.

Nov 2, 2015 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

The National Grid page about Black Starts has some information, especially in the 3 pdf files it links to. They seem to be hoping that new nuclear power stations might save them.

Nov 2, 2015 at 10:01 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

How can we possibly have an energy crisis in the UK? What a stupid suggestion!

It could not happen.

Over the last seven years we've installed 8,400 MW of onshore wind, 5,000 of offshore wind, 6,900 MW of solar, and 4,800 of biomass. That's a total of 25,100 MW of new generation, much of under the guidance of our visionary Ed Davey. It must have cost over £25 bn, and is certainly costing us near £10 bn per annum in production subsidies.

What could possibly go wrong?

Nov 2, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Nov 2, 2015 at 10:01 AM Jonathan Jones

Thank you for the link.

This is the most worrying statement therein:


The output of the work undertaken through Project Phoenix did however include an industry expectation that most of the NETS should be energised within twelve hours of a total system shutdown. The rationale for this time scale being that DNO substation systems, during a BS, will be powered by backup batteries which will keep protection equipment operational and allow switching to continue from the relevant DNO Control Centre. DNO networks therefore need to be energised within approximately 24 hours as this is the expected resilience of the substation batteries.

I suppose they could issue Nissan Leafs to the "Black Start Go Team" personnel so that they could park up and plug the Noddy cars into the substation control system to keep things going a bit longer.

I am sure Tesla could come up with something exciting?

Does anyone have a link to "Project Phoenix"?

Trebles all round.

Nov 2, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

It is worth remembering that for deep greens an energy crisis is a desired outcome , for how else can they get their madder ideas enforced on a population who otherwise would never touch them, while it would be consider a 'just punishment ' for the evils of man against nature.

So for some the fact that renewable cannot achieve a reliable power source in the modern world , is not a bad thing at all.

Nov 2, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

So for some the fact that renewable cannot achieve a reliable power source in the modern world , is not a bad thing at all.
Or put another way, "it's not a bug; it's a feature".

Nov 2, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It's the logic that's simply great:

(1) renewables cost lots and lots more than traditional power so they need "subsidies"
(2) no subsidies means folks won't build more renewables and lose millions
(3) shuttering all the cheaper traditional power plants is needed to create blackouts and a crisis
thus
(4) adding back subsidies will fix the problem

The proponents should be put into a home.

Nov 2, 2015 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

I think everybody has been looking at this the wrong way round.

Rather than electric cars that can be recharged from a house, we need petrol/diesel cars with the ability to provide enough electrical power to run a house.

Such a radical change in thinking has been made economically viable by the absurd energy policies pursued by Governments. Inner city carparks would become powerstations, as drivers were paid to drive in to work, park, and plug their cars in, to power cities, factories, offices shops and homes.

Cars should be seen as mobile powerstations, that also provide transport.

All the technology exists ...............

More reliable than wind and solar.

Nov 2, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"We have thousands of dirty diesel generators ready to produce hugely expensive electricity at short notice." (Nov 2, 2015 at 9:24 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby)

Given the VW scandal, what are the true extent of harmful emissions from these? You can bet your bottom dollar that they will be producing copious amounts of NO and NO2 emissions, as well as other harmful pollutants.

Scrubbed coal is far cleaner, and gas produces far less CO2. It is a crazy crazy world that a politicians have forced upon us .

Nov 2, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

"The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind....."

Nov 2, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

"I think everybody has been looking at this the wrong way round. Rather than electric cars that can be recharged from a house, we need petrol/diesel cars with the ability to provide enough electrical power to run a house." (Nov 2, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf Charlie)
///////

I think that at the present low cost of diesel, a diesel generator is somewhere between 2 to 3 times as expensive to run compared to buying electricity from the energy companies. That means that a small diesel generator coupled to a heat pump could provide heating as cheaply as running say a fan heater directly off the grid, but it would be an expensive set up.

However, if energy prices double in the coming years and if the supply becomes intermittent then the case for having a home generator may begin to tilt towards becoming as energy independent as one can become.

Nov 2, 2015 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Belching clouds of particulates and NOX from STOR diesels is a small price to pay for comedy duo Sam and Dhimmy saving the planet single handedly from the thermal catastrophe every right thinking government scientist reliably predicts is just around the corner. Trimming UK 1.3% of world CO2 emissions is vital in this struggle because it represents a not insignificant 0.039% of overall global CO2 flows. Even if we can trim that to 0.038% it will be worth the cost. The factory shutdowns, the lay-offs, the economic suicide, the hypothermia deaths, the export of jobs to the far East and the trebling and quadrupling of CO2 there for the same output. Way to go.

Nov 2, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

'Such a radical change in thinking has been made economically viable'

Not quite yet, but Golf Charlie and Richard Verney are correct. Continued government screwing with energy production will lead to decentralization of power generation, with the requisite loss of economy of scale, and, surprisingly, the loss of control. Governments' abuse of its power to control will result in its loss of control.

Nov 2, 2015 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

"We have thousands of dirty diesel generators ready to produce hugely expensive electricity at short notice." (Nov 2, 2015 at 9:24 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby)

Given the VW scandal, what are the true extent of harmful emissions from these? You can bet your bottom dollar that they will be producing copious amounts of NO and NO2 emissions, as well as other harmful pollutants.

Nov 2, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

You'll like this: New Study Links VW’s Emissions Cheating to 60 Early Deaths.
I'm not saying I believe it, as it bears the hallmarks of model alarmism, but the ambulance chasers are circling.

Nov 2, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Nov 2, 2015 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock : "Continued government screwing with energy production will lead to decentralization of power generation,..."

It already is, in a small way. There is a 110 house estate down the road from us which was built with underfloor electric heating and all electric cooking yet I would say at least 25% now have stainless chimneys poking up through the roof and even more have gas bottles bolted to the wall. We have a lot of woodland so there is a trend towards scavenging for wood...a lot of it off my land. I have gone from electric heating to calor gas as it is more convenient and hopefully will become cheaper in the long run.
If the Government are serious about reducing emissions (Ha!) then they need people to move TO electricity wheras the trend they have created is going the other way.

Nov 2, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

New Study Links VW’s Emissions Cheating to 60 Early Deaths.

We'll need to see the death certificates.

Nov 2, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

New Study Links VW’s Emissions Cheating to 60 Early Deaths.
Better than even money it's a computer simulation.

Nov 2, 2015 at 1:22 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I like watching the grid situation at http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
In a fog bound Britain, wind is producing scarcely 1% of the demand at this time.

Nov 2, 2015 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterEnglish Pensioner

The alternator on a car is designed to recharge the battery following start up, and run heated windscreens, headlights, etc. High output alternators are available, and used on many yachts, as straight replacements for the standard units fitted to recharge the large battery banks, so that electrical power is available with the engine off. Many yachts have solar panels and windturbines.

I live in a remote area, vulnerable to local power cuts from tree damage. Trees take out above ground cables with their branches, and below ground cables with their roots, as they fall. A petrol generator has been part of the standard kit in the house since the miners strikes n 1973/4. It will run central heating pumps fridge freezer and some lighting. It ran for about 5 days 2 years ago at christmas.

Running a house, from a car with a high output alternator, is not a completely tongue in cheek idea.

Nov 2, 2015 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

New Study Links VW’s Emissions Cheating to 60 Early Deaths.
Better than even money it's a computer simulation.
Nov 2, 2015 at 1:22 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The book is closed, MJ. It is.
As we know, model simulations of what might happen in 100 years are considered by some as good enough to justify crippling the world economy, but this might encourage a large city to sue for punitive collective damages. I'm no lawyer, but we can be sure some of them are looking at how best to milk this one.

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Mike Jackson, more to the point, how many premature deaths are attributable to faked computer simulations by climate scientists, preventing the provision of reliable power in developing countries? 60 per hour?

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

As I recall, the definition of early death in the previous BMJ Nox scare-o-rama was just 3 months earlier than the grim reaper. Not testable, worrisome, or of any utility whatsoever!

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Allow me to add my observations.

1) Philip Bratby will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong, but I would have thought that nuclear power stations with their considerable amount of monitoring, safety systems and equipment would be unlikely to be used for initial recovery from a black start. It strikes me that STOR gensets would now actually be very useful for this scenario, as you can simply turn a key and have them running in seconds. A diesel generator doesn't have to be "ramped up" gradually like a gas, coal or nuclear station. But I guess this would be dependent on grid managers being able to direct their output towards those conventional stations to provide the supply for their re-starting, before allowing local grids to be energised.

2) Using cars & vans to power houses is indeed feasible with modern technology - special alternator & inverter combinations are already offered (primarily) to the marine and mobile fleet maintenance market. These typically provide 3-5kw at 230 volts. These days even a modest car comes fitted with around 100 amps of DC generating capability, which translates to about 1kw of mains via an inverter. HOWEVER, in a real emergency (such as nationwide blackout) supplies of fuel will quickly become exhausted. Refineries will shut down, and fuel distribution depots won't be able to fill road tankers, even with existing stocks. There will be panic buying at every local filling station which still has any power or a generator.

3) This leads me to fear the situation portrayed by a TV play from a few years back - anyone with a genset and fuel to drive it is going to be targeted by those who feel their needs are greater. Even if I don't run an engine, and make use of my assortment of batteries, inverters, and lights, it will still mark out our house to the morally challenged. The rapid breakdown of society is going to be the greatest problem, not the loss of supply...

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

Dave Ward,
The rapid breakdown of society is not going to be the greatest problem... not unless the power stays out for more than a week.

We'll moan and help our neighbours and generally be far better people because we have a bit of adversity.

This isn't just an imagined nostalgia for the Blitz Spirit. This is what happens in the UK. It seems to be what in New York when the power went out in the 21st century.
Because today we are comfortable and don’t know enough to be scared.
Without fear, people are nice.

A while back, my County (Gloucestershire) lost drinking water supplies for a month. We had bowsers put in and everyone took what was needed – no more. The housebound were served by neighbours whom they’d never spoken too.
It wasn’t Lord of the Flies.

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Has anyone worked out exactly what happened in South Australia yet?

I see that the report says that South Australia was relying on power via an interconnect from Victoria, and when this was pulled South Australia had to start rolling blackouts.

Why was the Victoria interconnect pulled? Was there an unexpected failure, or was the interconnect not contractually locked in place? This may have been a power failure which would have occurred no matter whether green supplies were in force or not...

However, if it was due to, or made worse by, green power policies, I expect to see a lot of back-pedalling and refusal to answer questions...

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Dave Ward:

I am only familiar with the start-up of Sizewell B. It needs a live grid connection before it can go critical and run up power (all part of the safety case). It probably needs to draw about 50MW from the grid before it can get all systems fully operating (mostly 7 or so 4MW+ pumps). Hence it won't be the first to be loaded onto the grid following a black start.

I objected to an application for a diesel STOR recently. I knew it was a hopeless case, but I thought lots of greens might object because of all those dirty emissions (and CO2 as well). There was not a peep from them, so clearly greens love dirty diesel. It was, of course, approved.

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

re STOR this article by Richard North is a good introduction to the STOR concept

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84095

Nov 2, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

Dave - good to hear civilisation continued in Gloucester, but I would not be so confident about this in the cities where I suspect looting for food and batteries will become the norm on the second if not the first night.

Philllip - I recall from a tour of Torness that it needed a hefty grid connection, mainly for the four 15MW cooling pumps. The only blackstart station I am familiar with is Cruachan (0 to 400MW in about 2 minutes). The upper reservoir if full has capacity for about 24 hours, but by statute they are never allowed to run the level down below half - so they always have 12 hours capacity for a black start. That's how it used to be anyway, before supermarket managers and other idiots were allowed to oversee our electricity infrastructure.

Nov 2, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

@ M Courtney - That's reassuring, however I suggest that electricity is actually far more important than water - at least to the modern generation! They can always drink booze and pop, and walk around dirty, but woe betide they should loose the ability to text the person next to them. Although main telecoms/internet installations will have backup generators, the majority of mobile phone masts rely on batteries if the mains fails. I would be very surprised if more than 24/48 hours autonomous operation is specified by the operators. And that is assuming they don't "fall over" as soon as the power goes off. Unfortunately sealed lead acid batteries are known for that when they spend 99.9% of their life on float charge. This also applies to anyone getting their "Superfast Broadband" from a BT/Openreach supplied FTC circuit, or phone/internet from Virgin Media. Both make use of equipment in street corner cabinets...

@ Philip Bratby - thanks, it's what I thought. By the way (and if memory serves me right) the 4 circulating pumps at Sizewell are rated at 6MW. I had the job of following one of them on its delivery run from Norwich (they were made at Laurence Scott and Electromotors) as far as Acle. At the time the Southern Bypass hadn't been built, and the only "high load" route was not as well maintained as it should have been. I was a BT engineer, and had to clear the telephone cables which didn't survive the deflector strap on the transporter! Some time later, on a site visit, I was able to stand underneath one of them after it had been installed.

Nov 2, 2015 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

Good luck with a country wide black start.

For a conventional fired boiler power station if the boilers can be re-fired quickly, less than about ten minutes, then not too bad but if more than 30 minutes pass then more likely it would take hours to days to re-establish stable steam generation. That assumes that the facilities have stand alone bootstrap/emergency systems, that they have been maintained and tested frequently, and more importantly that the operators have procedures to hand and experience in them.

I would suspect that not all of the UK plants have been designed for stand alone start-up, it's not cheap. Re-establishing full grid capacity would likely take days, possible extending to weeks if serious damage is incurred.

Have no doubt, there would be damage, to some degree or another, to facilities and transmission systems. Those damages would erode overall system reliability and further increase the risk of additional cascading outages. Should further outages occur then a vicious downward spiral would result. I've been front and center in such a series of events three times during my working days and they take their toll, not just on the equipment but, critically, the people. It's a slow long hard slog to get back to a stable state.

It would be reasonable to assume that the generating and grid management companies have integrated comprehensive contingency plans in place to respond to such an event but given the political interference in the UK power systems one does wonder at how sound such contingency plans are. Have individuals under-estimated probabilities and consequences to satisfy political needs?

Lest anyone assumes that the interconnects to the continent will save the day I would point to the wide-spread grid failure in Eastern Canada and the US about a decade ago where the grids were interconnected. It took weeks to get back to full stable grid supply and that occurred in a system with far more spinning reserve than the UK and with significant hydro power available from Quebec.

Should it happen the only good news would be the brutal reality that would be thrust into the land of Rainbows and Unicorns that is Westminster, but the hurt that would be imposed on the population should not be underestimated.

Nov 2, 2015 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

Interesting comments from those above with insider knowledge

Nov 2, 2015 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Don't panic. Industrial Heat's 1 MW LENR plant has now been running well for 252 days (of the 350 day trial) and should start to be available late 2016.

More worrying is that ALL the GOP presidential candidates (except Trump who has not commented) believe in creation rather than evolution. This includes noted brain surgeon Ben Carson(!) As presumably they know better, it just shows even a potential President will lie about anything in order to get elected.

Nov 2, 2015 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdrian Ashfield

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:27 PM Dave Ward - I think quite close to the truth.

Nov 2, 2015 at 2:45 PM M Courtney - Bit optimistic

After 6-12 hrs your fridge and freezer contents are probably screwed
Supermarkets do not, as a rule have generators, they rely of a Generator Truck turning up to save the day, safe to assume these will not be forthcoming for every or even many supermarkets.

So you fridge/freezer are empty, but then so is Tesco's, so in 24 -36 hrs, people will be looking for food, as I suspect many, the poor especially, do not have more than a couple of days, 3 full family meals per day, in the house.

Total black out will be hard, very hard.

Nov 2, 2015 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRockySpears

@Mike Singleton: in 2011 the committee that oversees the German Grid wargamed a 5 day grid failure.

Then death toll was 45,000. Many cities had to be under Martial Law.

We would face the same.

Nov 2, 2015 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

According to National Grid's latest (20 Oxtober 2015) "Transmission Entry Capacity (TEC) Register", they are expecting 5,678MW of coal fired generation to go off-line by 01 April 2016:

Fiddlers Ferry......498MW
Eggborough......1,940MW
Ferrybridge.........980MW
Longannet........2,260MW
----------------------------------
Total.................5,678MW
----------------------------------

See:

http://www2.nationalgrid.com/UK/Services/Electricity-connections/Industry-products/TEC-Register/

This will leave just 12,179MW of coal fired generation:

Ratcliffe on Soar....2,021MW
Drax.....................2,001MW
Cottam.................2,000MW
West Burton A.......1,987MW
Aberthaw..............1,620MW
Fiddlers Ferry........1,455MW
Rugeley................. 980MW
Uskmouth...............115MW
-------------------------------------
Total...................12,179MW
-------------------------------------

At 7pm today, coal is providing 13,380MW.

Interesting times.

Nov 2, 2015 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Black station start is not easy. If you're the starting station, you cannot just slap any load circuit breaker on, you have to initially pick up load in small batches, and bring them to 50 Hz. But your unit governors will have control parameters (PID) tuned for a grid with high inertia, not the light load you've just picked up. Now pick up another batch of load and the fun starts, because you'll have great difficulty not causing a frequency drop and thus automatic load shedding. What you need is governor that can switch governor parameters quickly. I suspect only Dinorwig can do this.

Nov 2, 2015 at 7:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Dodgy Geezer, the South Australian blackout was due to a technical fault in the interconnector. It's the kind of thing that could happen anywhere - no system is perfect 100% of the time. But, it does highlight the vulnerability of electricity supplies without significant redundancy. South Australia is very vulnerable because of deliberate policy decisions by lunatic politicians - closing down conventional power generation capacity and deterring investment by subsidising and prioritising grid access for "renewables."

From what I read here, the UK has gone down the same path, so expect the same consequences sooner or later.

Nov 2, 2015 at 8:26 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Dave Ward @ 3:28 PM: The four RCPs are each 4.5MW. I always used to say that on average, four 18MW wind farms would on average be able to run the four RCPs at Sizewell. It's quite amazing how decision makers are prepared to believe that the pathetic amount of energy produced by intermittent generators like wind farms or solar farms makes an important contribution to our electricity supply.

Nov 2, 2015 at 8:51 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The retail cost of electricity in South Australia, second-lowest income state (Tasmania lowest), is up there with Denmark and Germany.
It has vast areas of desert and semidesert where no human has ever trod or ever will as well as the largest known uranium ore deposit in the world (Olympic Dam), but of course there is no processing of it let alone electricity generation from it. Go figure as they say.

Nov 2, 2015 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Hanley

South Australia is dependent on the interconnector ( there is a smaller one but it isn't working as being up-graded) from Victoria, which brings electricity from their brown coal fired stations whenever the wind turbines don't deliver. One the rare occasions when the turbines produce at a full rate for a few hours the direction is reversed, and the excess is passed onto other States.
The ageing coal fired station in SA is due to shut down next March. It is uneconomic running 50% of the time, and absolutely necessary during peak demand (summer) as previous experience has proven. The interconnector cannot deliver more than 25% of peak and the State is poorly served by gas. Most other generation is from OCGT s so a long hot spell with little wind will result in blackouts for days.
The previous experience occurred when the Government decided there was enough wind capacity to "go green" and do without the coal station. It was back on as quickly as possible but the Government never learnt. Many of the state cabinet may not be, despite their appearance and statements, morons but don't bet on it.

Nov 2, 2015 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

The Richard North article refers to a large number of typically 20MW STOR installations throughout the country.

http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84095

The reserve appears to be substantial and they appear to be able to kick it in very quickly.

Clearly there may well be issues about how the reserve would operate over longer periods due to a loss rather than failure of major front line capacity.

Nov 2, 2015 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

No doubt readers will think my previous post 'over the top'.
I should then point out that the government has almost eliminated industry as a factor, as the factories either shut down or move elsewhere with lower electricity, water and government charges. At one stage south australian electricity prices were close to Germany's but the devaluation of the $A has widened the gap.

As for my statement about the mental ability of the ministry, I refer you to the (BBC imitating) ABC for a picture.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-20/'too-many-coincidences'-in-bernard-finnigan-case/6406592

Nov 2, 2015 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

The feared consequences to human life after a nuclear strike, may be receding, but replaced by civil unrest due to power failures caused by the caring Greens. They only care about the planet, and their own grandchildren.

With access to a petrol generator, the prospect of days without mains electricity is not so daunting, provided petrol is available. I have done it.

For those who have considered buying a petrol engine powered generator, search high output alternator. More suitable if you have secure off road parking. 12 volt DC needs a transformer to get 240volt AC etc.

Interestingly, the original Landrovers had a mechanical Power Take Off, like a tractor, for running agricultural equipment, which would have included generators, as it was thought that many farmers, in the UK and the export market would benefit from a 'stationary engine' that was mobile and also run a 4wd. It seems Landrover were only about 70 years ahead of their time.

Nov 2, 2015 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

No, Graeme No.3, I think your post is spot on. As "renewables" become a larger portion of electricity supply, the business case for conventional generation disappears. No one is going to build/maintain/staff a plant to be run occasionally.

Nov 2, 2015 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Gamecock:
Therein lies the danger. Get enough wind turbines installed and everything else becomes too costly to run, and new plant cannot be justified, so every consumer is at the mercy of the wind (or sun in some places). It would seem that 2016/17 will be the deciding point in South Australia and the UK, and probably Germany as the instability of electricity supply results in the scrapping of governments followed by turbines.
Personally I am going to buy a generator.

Nov 2, 2015 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

via Richard North

"With no apparent evidence of conventional back-up plants being built, little did we imagine that, under our very noses, the capacity was being provided in a form undreamed of. Standby diesel generators are being bought up on a colossal scale, by a growing band of companies set up to exploit what is turning out to be a huge "back-up bonanza".

This is the Short-Term Operating Reserve (STOR), and entrepreneurs have not been slow in recognising what has been described as "Money for Nothing".

Nov 2, 2015 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

And will the Greens be monitoring the NOx and PM10 pollution from STOR when their beloved renewables go belly up?
You CAN BET YOUR LAST PENNY they won't.
Why? Because they are human-hating, hypocritical scum.

Nov 2, 2015 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

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