South Australia today, UK tomorrow?
Nov 2, 2015
Bishop Hill in Energy: grid, Energy: solar, Energy: wind, Foreign

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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