Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Tasmanian power exports via Basslink in Dec 2015 were triggered by Victorian price signals

I should have included this price graphic in my March blog – Tasmanian electricity crisis explained day by day
Now it is crystal clear to see that Tasmania initiated power exports when the Victorian RRP rose through ~$80(per MWhr) and exports ceased when Vic RRP fell back. Looking at my March chart of the 5 minute data from 15th to 21st Dec 2015 it is clear that imports ceased just prior to exports being commenced and vice versa. I have no idea what stresses can be induced in a cable when the current is reversed frequently like this. It is also worth noting that the export MW exceeded the import MW. Here is the daily chart from 1 Nov 2015 to 10 Mar 2016.

Rival thermal solar power plants proposed for Port Augusta

Taxpayers should be watching their hip pockets. Concentrated Solar (CS) proposals for the Port Augusta region have made news for a while now – this technology involves the use of tracking mirrors to concentrate the suns rays to heat a container of liquid which can then be used to generate electricity when the sun is not shining. Solastor announced a plan to build a 170-megawatt “graphite block heating water” solar thermal plant. Then we hear about the US firm Solar Reserve who have a 110MW molten salt CS plant at Crescent Dunes in Nevada which has cost +$Bill and they claim produces 500K MWhrs per year which is less than Queensland produces from Hydro.
The Port Augusta future solar power scene is made more interesting by the Solarstor Chairperson Dr John Hewson going on the attack against Solar Reserve – and then the RenewEconomy site criticising Dr Hewson. Marvellous stuff as the GreenLeft pixies brawl – considering the way renewables advocates always stick so close to the hard provable facts. I have found it near impossible tracking down reliable evidence for claims made by solar proponents. More later – for over five years now Solarstor has been building/experimenting with a CS pilot plant at Cooma using a graphite block on a tower. There is also a Solastor installation of eight towers(graphite blocks) and mirror arrays at Lake Cargelligo in central NSW. Near Forbes Vast Solar is building a molten salt thermal solar plant. As I said – more later on the NSW thermal solar plants.

Exactly why wind power is too often useless

After posting the submission by Tony from Oz re Queensland Govt plans for 50% renewables by 2030 – I wondered what NemWatch shows now. The chart below shows next to zero effective wind across Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

So in our future renewables nirvana what would we do at times like now? Turn off most of Australia and all just sit around waiting for wind. Or do we keep sufficient fossil fuel powered generators waiting around to substitute for wind when required? Who pays for that? We will pay have no doubt. Vote 1ALA and always put Greens last.

Media gem from 2009 – West Australian Govt backed Perth geothermal projects to generate electricity from steam

Geothermal mine to power University of WA – note the quote “…be used in the design of a desalination plant, which would utilize geothermal energy to create fresh water.” I wonder where we find this raging success 7 years later? Green Rock Energy GRK is mentioned in the above article – they were reconstituted as Black Rock Mining Limited asx code BKT and here is the full share price history. Green Rock Energy fell on tough times and changed into Black Rock Mining Limited about a year ago – April 2015 and at that time the new company moved into graphite exploration. Note the map of Hot Rock tenements still held by Black Rock Mining Limited. Some around Wellington Dam.

Port Augusta coal fired power station shuts today

An example of Govt delusion IMHO – ABC reports – Port Augusta’s coal-fired power station closes in South Australia – They should be OK until peak loads on Adelaide hot summer days – then they will be stretching their resources if wind is light in the late afternoons. Checkout Nemwatch. Amazing that a modern first world State puts its entire economy at the whim of the wind. I have a few articles on this issue. For Peter Bobroff’s site AusGrid

How secure will the South Australian electricity grid be when coal shuts down next month?

Media reports say Alinta will close their coal fired generation at Port Augusta in May 2016. SMH and ABC – Last month I blogged – Will South Australia walk the talk and close their coal fired electricity generation? Since then I have obtained 12 months of daily South Australia electricity data and on Adelaide hot summer days when wind is not stellar it looks difficult to meet demand without coal. NemWatch

Large version chart -I am looking for a period of 5 minute data to check this further. Thanks to Peter Bobroff from the grid.publicknowledge.com.au site for these data.

Tasmanian Government fined $54K by ACCC for false advertising renewable energy

About time somebody got pinged considering claims made by renewable energy advocates over more than a decade. At a time when Hydro is saddled with the Basslink failure – I bet behind scenes unprintable.
Momentum Energy ads falsely claimed power generated ‘from thin air and fresh water’, ACCC rules
Check the brilliant little NemWatch to see in real-time how much renewable energy is being generated State by coal burning State
Here is the ACCC media –
Momentum Energy pays penalties of $54,000 in relation to renewable energy advertising 21 Apr 2016

What exactly are the three NSW large scale solar power plants generating?

I have been saving NemWatch screenshots offline for a few months now to get a handle on what the three NSW large solar power plants actually produce out of their rated capacity of 211MW. Plants are at Nyngan 102MW & Broken Hill 53MW – and Moree 56MW. I made 69 readings, mostly in March (36). If there are more than one per half hour slot – then they are averaged.

AGL’s Nyngan and Broken Hill plants combined are expected to produce 359,000MWhours of electricity per year which equals 40.98MW on a 24/7 basis.

Will South Australia walk the talk and close their coal fired electricity generation?

Last October South Australia was talking big about closing their last coal fired power stations near Port Augusta in March 2016 – Alinta to shut SA coal mine, power plants early – we will see. What do readers think? This chart of daily generation shows they would have to work their gas fired units much harder if coal closed.

NemWatch lets you see real time generation sources but does not show imports and exports. Thanks to Peter Bobroff from the grid.publicknowledge.com.au site for these daily data which reveal much.