Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Who's behind the RICO push? | Main | Enforcing the dogma »

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?

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (66)

The Green solution to this, is to build more windturbines, with bigger batteries. There is an assumption by the Greens, that there is always a battery charger somewhere, if there isn't wind somewhere else.

Battery charging wind trees, grow next to money trees, in the secret emerald forest, known only to the elite Green cognoscenti.

Nov 2, 2015 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

bit o/t but i'm sure Ed Davey is now working in my local burger shop - he insists everyone should have there burger rare for some reason, no takers so far :-)

Nov 2, 2015 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

I live in South Australia, and the mania knows no bounds.

The local coal fired plant (actually a long way away) was originally build many years ago and later upgraded. It was built to give an assurance of energy independence.

In general the power system works well, and my solar helps to defray the horrid cost of running the airconditioning through the 4 months of stinking hot summer (typical daytime temps of 30 - 45 degrees C are normal).

There are however sufficient power outages that I now have all my computer equipment running from UPSs, at great cost of course.

Unfortunately all the pollies of every persuasion are riddled with green madness here; and the use of the interstate connectors means that we are at the mercy of both supply and pricing from elsewhere. This is considered good.

As for those predicting the end of times when the power fails: Don't bet on in - remember the NZ Auckland power crisis of 1998 - pretty much no power for 5 weeks. The world didn't end. The full repairs actually took about a year.

Nov 3, 2015 at 1:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterWally

A big 40% efficient diesel generator makes about 4kWh per litre of fuel. A small 30% efficient one (like a Hatz or Lister) about 3kWh. Gasoline generators slightly less than either of these.

So IC engine supplied electricity is expensive if supplied to the grid, but not actually that bad to a home user paying high retail electricity costs already. And if you can get an IC engine generator running on natural gas (a bit trickier, but solutions exist) then you actually get to the point of being pretty much cost competitive with grid electricity.

Nov 3, 2015 at 3:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobL

Andrew Bolt has now covered this South Australian story ..Maybe he adds nothing new, but his commenters do

Bolt's always worth checking for Australian stories :
#1 Fact Checking the media on Pacific Atholl claims

#2 Unbelievably the ABC put Paul Ehrlich on the Q&A show ..Bolt comments

Jones: “Can I just mention one to you. 1971, you said that by the year 2000 the UK would be a small group of impoverished islands inhabited by 70 million hungry people. Was that just wishful thinking?”

Ehrlich: “They’re not hungry but otherwise it’s accurate...”
(em it's not correct in any way the UK popn was 58.9million in year 2000, it din't even break 60m until June 2005)

‏@GuardianAus 10 hours ago
Q&A: mining will turn Australia into a third-world country, says ecologist Paul Ehrlich

Nov 3, 2015 at 5:59 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Why does anyone, anywhere give serial failure, Ehrlich, airtime?

He is a fruitcake, who should be walking the streets, carrying a "Repent, The End is Nigh" sign.

Nov 3, 2015 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Wally - Adelaide Hills?

The emission savings are derisory. By switching from black coal to mostly brown coal fired (imported from Victoria) plus wind plus OCGT gives the same emissions. By knocking back the chance to have a new CCGT plant we lost out on a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Nov 3, 2015 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Interesting to note that about half the comments on that Aussie newspaper article are from people who have a clue what's going on. The facts are getting through, it seems.

Nov 4, 2015 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

Somewhat prescient Bish, not tomorrow, but maybe today, or should I say Monday's "The Day After Tomorrow".. oh dear..


Nov 4, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPMT

"National Grid is asking the UK power industry to provide more electricity later on Wednesday.
However, it says that there is no risk of electricity supplies being disrupted.
National Grid has issued a Notification of Inadequate System Margin (NISM) as a result of multiple energy plant breakdowns"

Nov 4, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterPMT

PMT - "When a notification is issued, generators with spare capacity can respond quickly, ramping up supply within the system" is I believe a coded statement for STOR which includes loads of environmentally friendly diesel generators though the BBC declines to mention this. Don't know which stand by gas fired stations actually exist and who runs them.

Nov 4, 2015 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

The Financial Times also had an article today about STOR and how much the environmentalists should like it along the same lines as Don Keiller's post yesterday but obviously milder in tone.

Nov 4, 2015 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

Thursday 5/11/15:

There have been 2 further but smaller blackouts in Adelaide but this time it is being blamed on wild weather.

Nov 4, 2015 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Sounds like a cunning plot to thwart asylum seekers

Nov 6, 2015 at 1:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterBlacky

This seems like a fairly good summary of the SA issue

Nov 8, 2015 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrancisT

I love the way they use the term "market failure". As if the result of all that interventionism can be described as a free market in electricity supply.

Nov 9, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTDK

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>