Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Shut Hazelwood coal fired generators – what could go wrong

The weekend has seen a welter of speculation about the closure of Hazelwood neatly timed with a report by the Grattan Institute titled – Keeping the lights on. Victoria has the following coal fired generators – Hazelwood 1600MW –
Loy Yang A 2180MW – Loy Yang B 1000MW – Yallourn W 1450MW
Total 6230MW = possible max 149,520MWhrs per day
If Hazelwood shuts the total coal fired generating capacity reduces to 4630MW making for a possible max 111,120MWhrs per day if all units operated 24/7.

This chart of Vic daily generation by source (omits solar) shows the current dominance of coal – for large chart. I have marked with the pink X where a horizontal line would be drawn at 111,530MWhrs per day. So just below that would mark 111,120MWhrs per day. Without some way of replacing the reliable 1600MW capacity of Hazelwood – it seems amazing that the media run with this fairy-story.

Wind drought in fifth 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.