Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Australian Government financial disasters

I will add to this list and links as ideas come in. We may be the lucky country but surely stupidity will extract a price one day. All these issues would make articles in their own right.

[1] AUSSAT $700mill losses & debts rolled over into Pay TV 1990’s,
[2] $6Bn Collins Class Submarines 1990’s – duds we are still stuck with,
[3] Electricity privatisations started in 1990’s – looking at our ballooning power prices would we have been better off keeping the old State Electricity Commissions? Despite the feather-bedded unions.
[4] MRET scheme making 3 worse and harming our electricity grid into the bargain – ongoing multi $Bn’s as taxpayers fund wind & solar that can never power our 24/7 grid,
[5] Defence purchases eg MRH-90 helicopters $4.2Bn,
[6] Frequently delayed and poorly performing F-35 fighters $24Bn alone,
[7] Eastern States Desalination plants ~$20Bn,
[8] Rudd Labor watering down border laws $11.6 billion over five years,
[9] Decades of anti-damism – after not building the Franklin Dam in the 80’s,
[10] Antifracking hysteria affecting gas exploration policy in face of rising prices,
[11] Building the Education Revolution $16.2Bn – More money for Education = worse results,
[12] Adelaide Hospital third most expensive building in the world $2.1Bn,
[13] Inability to control rogue unions like CFMEU which affects 12 and all other construction est +$10Bn,
[14] NBN a future $100Bn mediocre performer?
[15] Buying 12 French submarines before even a prototype is built future $50Bn,
[16] The GST carve up which rewards the basket case States SA & Tas.
[17] Various States and GreenLabor anti-nuclear policies.
[18] Climate change policies – have a effect in 4, 7, 10, multi-$Bn’s.
[19] Just been told about this from Toytown 17 Jan 2017. Amazing construction stuffup with Sydney Metro NorthWest rail bridge.
“Investigation reveals ‘disappointing’ failures in Skytrain construction”

Please send in useful links and analysis. I must have been half asleep to leave the Rudd MkI Pink Batts and School Halls stimulus projects off the list. Also forgot to add GreenLabor’s Murray Darling Basin Plan to waste more dam water to the ocean.

AEMO confusing cause of 28 Sep 2016 South Australian electricity blackout

On the AEMO page “Energy Updates and Media Releases” where you access their various reports post the 28 Sep blackout there is text summarising each link.
The link for – Updated 29 Sep 2016 – Media Statement 3 – South Australia Update 10:30 am – includes the following. “Initial investigations have identified the root cause of the event is likely to be the multiple loss of 275 kilovolt (kV) power lines during severe storm activity in the state.”

However that statement or claim is not found or repeated in the 5 Oct update(current at 3 Oct) see Exec. Summary on pdf page 5/31.
“The weather resulted in multiple transmission system faults. In the short time between 16:16 and 16:18, system faults included the loss of three major 275 kV transmission lines north of Adelaide.” So by 3 Oct the loss of transmission lines was not front and centre as in the statement on 29 Sep.

The 5 Oct AEMO report also has this text in para 3.2 on pdf page 16/31 headed “Network damage resulting from the storm” and mentioning the loss of 22 transmission towers.
“Data currently available to AEMO indicates that the damage to the Davenport – Brinkworth 275 kV or the Port Lincoln – Yadnarie 132 kV lines occurred following the SA Black System.” So towers fell after the blackout!
This statement buried deep in the update also is a backing away from the original “…root cause of the event…” putting blame for the blackout on falling towers.

The next update was on 19 Oct with data current as at 11 Oct.
In this Exec. Summary on pdf pages 5 & 6/31 there is no mention of falling transmission towers. The picture is one of multiple faults where wind farms cut out after not “riding through” voltage disturbances.

In my opinion AEMO should add a dated proviso or addendum to its webpage link text “Updated 29 Sep 2016 – Media Statement 3” – correcting or elaborating on their “…root cause of the event…” statement.
I think Australian taxpayers deserve the most accurate information possible from the experts they pay so well.

How monthly AEMO electricity prices are rising

The chart is from data at AEMO Average Price Tables – and shows prices rising from the brief period of stability post June 2014 after the Carbon Tax was abolished.

The closure of the last coal fired generation in South Australia in May 2016 preceded the price explosion in June. Then in July the “Safeguard Mechanism” administered by the Clean Energy Regulator kicks in and is designed to make large emitters purchase Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) if their emissions exceed a baseline. So that would tend to add costs which probably pass on into electricity prices. It is intriguing that while NSW, Qld and SA have seen firm prices in Spring 2016 compared to pre-May – Vic prices have weakened. The reasons for the spikes in Qld prices late 2014 to early 2015 and again in Feb 2016 are not known but operational shutdowns could be a cause. Check NemWatch for realtime generation.

Return of $14,000 per MWh nightmare electricity prices to South Australia

Bit of a wind drought drives AEMO RRP into the stratosphere in SA – the interconnectors must be humming. Check button for SA and you can toggle between 30min and 5min data graphic.
At $14,000 per MWh generator bikes would be viable earners.
NemWatch shows SA wind at 4MW. Wind across SA, Vic, NSW, WA(200MW) only 332MW.
Added 11.15am 1 Dec – Jut noticed this – Blackout affects thousands in SA, blamed on supply loss in Victoria 1 Dec 2016
For my updated chart of daily AEMO RRP across four states.

AEMO wholesale electricity prices compared across four states

Updating my chart of daily AEMO RRP prices across SA, NSW, Qld, Vic – we see the great South Australian price explosion of June which affected all states. Then by mid July prices in NSW, Qld, Vic were crashed back to pre-June levels – SA prices took a week or two longer to fall. Looking at the 30 day smoothed trend. For large chart.

Queensland prices have risen post July and rival levels in South Australia – why would this be?
New South Wales prices have risen post July but recent softness leaves the 30 day average just above $50.
Victorian prices have fallen post July and now look similar to April 2015.
South Australian prices slumped into September but since October continue their starring role.
It is interesting that the lunacy of negative daily prices is appearing in NSW. Periods of low prices tend to be when winds are strong – check chart to MW. NemWatch gives a realtime picture of generation.

5 minute data South Australian electricity blackout

AEMO is fine tuning their story with another edition out.
– at least this edition has a better map. Any idea of the blackout being caused by wind blowing over transmission towers seems to be vanishing. Now the blackout seems due to wind generators cutting out after being subjected to a specified number of faults. Alan Moran says – South Australian blackout: it was, in fact, caused by the windfarms – he also raises issue that consumers who have suffered losses could claim compo.
Followup stories on the ABC –
SA Treasurer vainly beating his drum that wind power is never to blame.
Chris Uhlmann reviews the AEMO update
We now have 5min data which shows that wind on the 28th was lower than the peak on the 26th despite wind being stronger on 28th.

Here is a table over 3 hours – When you compare demand against – import + gas + wind it looks as though they lacked reserve. But there is also rooftop solar to factor in.