Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Wind drought in third day – electricity prices rocketing across Australia – not news

Electricity prices at AEMO have spiked to over $250 per MWhr across Australia in the morning rush – Nemwatch shows wind through the “National Grid” (excl WA) is under 250MW. The Wind Energy site shows how this wind drought is now in its third day. None of this is news in the GreenLeft main-stream-meedja. Imagine the headlines if coal or gas fired generators were to fail like this? Write your MP’s and Senators – call for a moratorium on wind power – say you will vote to curtail the excesses of the MRET scheme and for sensible electricity prices.

Australian wind drought again – SA electricity prices spike as usual

Electricity in South Australia $265 per MWhr as they fire up the diesel gensets. NemWatch for real-time generation in the states – AEMO for price & demand within the states – the differences shows SA must be importing over 500MW from Victorian brown coal generation. To see progress of the wind drought open the 3hr graph for August & check MW . Write your MP’s tell them of this and say you will be voting for a sensible power grid and moderate power bills. Drive home that these price spikes will keep recurring whenever the wind fades.

Simultaneous electricity price spike in all States

Noticed this today on the way to morning peak demand – see the spike in all States at about 6am. The Wind Energy site shows a wind drought from yesterday midday. NemWatch. Easily understandable how low wind in South Australia can lead to price spikes when demand is high. But in the case of Vic, NSW and Qld with large coal and gas gen – the wind sector is too small to have much effect I would have thought. In the case of Tasmania obviously the Basslink cable lets Vic prices reflect to the south side of Bass St.
I am wondering if this spike is another sign that the fossil fuel generators are fed up with being used as suckers by the MRET scheme. I say good on them if that is the case.
Edit – 8am 6 Aug – Hiroshima Day – National wind drought now – to check on progress at Wind Energy – click the Tab to MW.

Clean Energy Council delusional about wind power

Dug out of my files this 9 page April 2012 pdf from the CEC titled “There’s power in wind: national snapshot” – easily found by Google.
They have a few pages of statistics showing how marvellous wind power is at solving Australia’s problems. This screenshot from p 2 shows that if all “proposed” windfarms were built they would power 6,236,602 “equivalent homes”.

I thought that was a big number and sure enough the ABS in 2012 said there are ~10 million homes in all Australia.

I am hoping some readers can check other CEC claims from 2012. Such as – wind power saves “…around 1 tonne of greenhouse gas for every megawatt-hour (MWh) produced.”
Moving on I see the CEC is still in existence – and have a new report out “Time for honest discussion about energy in South Australia”. At first glance looks a shocker too. They claim ” There is a very strong correlation between wholesale electricity and gas prices in South Australia.”
I would say – Post the closure of coal generation on 9 May 2016 – and at times of poor wind output – gas generation and imports are relied upon to meet demand. Increasing gas consumption in electricity generation will have a consequence of putting upward pressure on gas prices. Not the other way around as CEC claims.

Coast to gorgeous coast – Australia has only 200MW wind power at 8am

This NemWatch screenshot shows how wind is completely useless at times. Unless we shut the Nation down during wind droughts we need to keep a full complement of reliable generation ready to go at any time.

Australia runs on coal. See how South Australia is pounding their gas plants – even firing up some diesel to cope with the morning rush. Comparing their AEMO demand with NemWatch shows they must be importing about 200MW from Victoria.

The Australian Energy Market Commission makes it up as it goes along

Read and weep – Review of market frameworks for power system security 14 July 2016 – No mention of “Elephant in the Room” sky-rocketing AEMO Regional Reference Prices in South Australia, Vic, NSW & Qld.
Quotes in italics –
Challenges in maintaining power system security are emerging because of the physics of maintaining technical generation parameters like voltage and grid frequency. And this was not predicted?

Conventional electricity generation, like hydro, coal and gas, operate with large spinning turbines that are synchronised to the frequency of the grid. These generators support the stability of the power system by working together to maintain a consistent operating frequency. And no electrical engineer told you this before the Grid was infested with wind turbines?

Less conventional forms of electricity generators, such as wind and rooftop solar, are not synchronised to the grid and are therefore limited in their ability to dampen rapid changes in frequency or respond to sudden large changes in electricity supply or consumption. This is no surprise to electrical engineers.

Why not sack the useless AEMC – get some engineers in to chart the future of the grid – wind back the uptake of subsidised renewables – make sure any future renewables pay their own way including the full cost of the grid coping with their production.

South Australia burning diesel to prop up electricity exports to Victoria

At 10.35am AEST Nemwatch shows SA burning diesel to generate 91MW to contribute to a Region Total Demand of 1,992MW. However AEMO at the same time – says SA demand was just under 1,600MW – which I see as evidence that just over 300MW were being exported to Vic. I assume it pays SA to pay the diesel and gas costs to keep exports up because at times of abundant wind in SA the AEMO Regional Reference Price can go negative.

Australian electricity bills set to soar

Our electricity grids are clearly under stress as evidenced by these booming AEMO daily average prices. On 6 June I blogged – Surge in wholesale electricity prices last week – and I expected the daily average AEMO prices for the four States would return to be mostly under $50 again. Not so, the South Australian price is trending over $100 and the three big States are near $100 on the 30 day average.
Eventually these booming power prices will feed into power bills and the media is ignoring the issue. NemWatch is worth checking to see which State is generating from what source at any point in time.
Power prices set to rise following legal challenge 27 Feb 2016 Not sure if issues talked about in this SMH article can explain the AEMO price surge of past two months.
Yes, Let’s Triple The Cost Of Electric Power! 23 June 2016 a Wentworth Report by David Archibald.
AEMO annual av RRP 1999-2016 financial years. (RRP = regional reference price)

Comments – anybody know why SA was high in 1999?
Was the 2007 step up in all States something to do with RET?
The Carbon Tax peak shows clear in 2013-14 then RRP seemed to settle in 2015.
AEMO monthly av RRP financial year 2016

Comments – SA was high in winter 2015. Qld spike Feb 2016 is a mystery so far.
Remember the Port Augusta coal fired stations shut on 9 May – so SA price increases in May & June not that odd as supply tightened. But why do the three large States with ample coal generation also show major RRP increases in May and June?

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.