The Great Watt and Pole Swindle


“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”


To put you in the mood for some truly “shocking” news – you’d best view this first.

Now, while that clearly wasn’t the CEO of AGL telling it like it is – it could have been “the message” yesterday (3.6.13) – when South Australia was paying a diabolical $12,199.20/MWh for nothing more than an hour’s worth of sparks.

Please be seated when you digest this report on SA’s power prices on 3 June 2013 – STT takes no responsibility for elevated blood pressure or cardiac events – you have been warned.  The numbers have been confirmed with AEMO – the market operator.

No – the power punters in SA didn’t get 10 ounces of Gold – or 12 nights at the Hilton – for their 12 grand.  That was the cost of a SINGLE MW hour of electricity in South Australia during several price “spikes” during the trading period on 3 June.

And for much of the day, the price exceeded $2,000 per MW/h.  That’s 2 grand for an hour’s worth of “excited matter” – not 3 bottles of 56 Grange.

The Croweaters were paying through the nose, simply because the wind does what it has done since the dawn of time: it stopped blowing. What a “surprise”.

Here’s the wind farm output for SA yesterday (the combined output for SA, VIC, TAS, NSW and QLD wasn’t much better – click on “change date” and select 3 June).  If this graph doesn’t appear sharp as a tack, click on it, it will open in a new window and look crystal clear.

june 3 SA all

Next time a greentard, eco-facist or wind industry goon starts waffling on about a “distributed network” or that “the wind is always blowing somewhere” take them to this graph. In 2010, this scenario played out over 100 times across the entire Eastern Grid

Of SA’s total “installed wind power capacity” of 1,223 MW, the sum total output was a big fat doughnut from lunch time, and never more than 200 MW (or 16% of notional capacity).  Note the collapse in wind power output starts around 5am, the plummet follows and the graph looks like a scene from the film “Flatliners” for the rest of the day.

At the point when demand was picking up, wind power was barely able to run a 5 watt globe.  But never mind, the “evil” fossil fuel boys were there to back up the wind weasels who ran out of puff.

The fact that there wasn’t enough wind to blow out a candle in SA, meant that the 40% of its installed capacity in wind power was as useful as the third wheel on a bicycle.

This in turn meant that the grid managers had to scrounge around for enough power to keep the lights on in SA.  The only thing that avoided a brush with the stone age was the ageing Playford Power Station at Pt Augusta, which was cranked into gear to save the day.

The other big fat lie that has been told over and over again by the wind industry, the cartel that controls power prices and the pollies like Gillard, Combet & Co that run “interference” for them – is that the wild escalation of power prices in the last 2 years is all about network operators recouping their investments in “poles and wires”.  As Johnny Rotten might have put it: “what a complete load of bollocks”.

The chiseling that took place yesterday (and which is forecast to continue for the rest of the week) is all about the need to back-fill the grid when the wind stops blowing. If there is no supply available from wind power the whole dang lot has got to come from conventional sources – at ENORMOUS COST to power consumers.

With base-load sources fully committed, this means that the shortfall is made up from Gas Turbines, including Open Cycle Gas Turbines (a jet engine hooked up to a small generator) which cost at least $300 per MW/h to run and which are highly inefficient (AGL has a stack of them right next to several of their wind farms, including a plant at Macarthur.  Energy Australia “helpfully” runs an OCGT peaking power plant right next to AGL’s Hallett wind farms).

turbines, transmission and peaking power

Energy Australia’s OCGT peaking power plant at Hallett, SA.


With the grid managers panicking to keep the lights on, it’s not so much a case of them asking the generators “how much will it cost?” – as the generators asking the grid managers “how much have you got?”.

Gas or coal thermal or hydro ordinarily wholesales for around $30-40 MW/h, and tops out around $90 MW/h, during periods of peak demand.

Instead of paying $40-90 per MW/h, the Croweaters were paying – for a single MW/h of power – what might be a fair down payment on a new car for most of the day and what might get you a smart little Korean job for parts of it.

Prizes for the STT reader that gives the correct answer to the following: what is the percentage increase from $40 to $2,100?  And, for the bonus points: what is the percentage increase from $40 to $12,199.20?

This rampant price chiseling is all about the need to back-fill the grid when the wind stops blowing and has nothing to do with “poles and wires”.  In truth, the problem is not so much about the price of wind power when it is supplied to the grid, but about the cost of meeting demand from conventional sources when the wind stops blowing and the wind farms are producing nothing.

This is not the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last.

Much the same corporate shenanigans went on in the US a decade ago when Enron used “rolling blackouts” to manipulate the power market in California to huge advantage.  The Enron boys would use “forward” markets to hedge against price movements and then “engineer” blackouts by turning off gas pipelines, or shutting generation plants for short periods, etc.  They also got into wind power in a big way, because nature provided the unscheduled “outage” they needed, so they could profit very handsomely from selling “peaking power” to desperate grid operators when the wind stopped blowing.  Sound familiar?

For a recap on how the Enron swindlers did it, check out the Enron documentary – The Smartest Guys in the Room.

AGL is one of the big “players” in the wind scam in SA, but no fools these boys.  They own a series of peaking power plants that are geared to cash in on the crisis created when the wind stops blowing by “helping” to make up the shortfall. Looks like they are set to “clean up” this week in SA.

The boys that ran Enron, until they were rounded up in chains, would call it maximising market opportunities.

STT calls it State sponsored theft.


Stand and deliver!

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Victor Hibovesky says:

    The point is well made.. this needs to be exposed as widely as possible!

  2. Wind brick says:

    I hope the self funded Ramblings of a bush nutter retiree from Crystal Broke has enough money stashed away to pay for his higher electricity bills.

  3. High Treason says:

    We hear publicly-funded cretins calling for an end to coal mining because Australian coal is 4.5% of all the coal burned in the world (boo-hoo, global warming and all that). There goes 750,000 jobs! Maybe some can be clawed back from renewable energy sector for domestic use. Oh, the cost of renewables is a good 5 x that of coal powered energy. An extra $8,000 per household on unreliable energy.

    And there is more! 75% of electricity used is from industry- this EXTRA $24,000 per household finds its way in to household expenses, be it lower dividends and profits or higher prices. This is an EXTRA $32,000 per year out of median income of $65,000. Oh, 43 billion lost in vital foreign currency-multiplier effect through wholesale retail chain – another 150 billion odd lost (about $30,000 per household.)

    And there is more – you can bet that spending will be cut to the bone- the multiplier effect will be 4x this with unemployment through the roof – less spending. The economy will be destroyed well over thrice over.

    And there is more – Australian industry will be totally uncompetitive – no exports, all imports (we do insist on free trade) – more unemployment. We will have to sell off the land to foreign interests to pay for everything (this will not last long). Australians with no land and no assets – nothing but debts.

    Now, where will we put those steak knives?

  4. $40 to $2,100 is 5,250% and $40 to $12,199.20 is 30,498%

  5. Michelle Edwards says:

    Wonderful reporting. We need more of the same!!
    The entire Wind Industry is based on a tissue of lies. Why will the Government not do a cost/benefit analysis????!!!!!! Is it because the enormity of the fraud will be revealed, a fraud that we the taxpayers are paying for, a monetary cost and a health cost that we can ill afford. The words technical due diligence and duty of care spring to mind.

  6. Come in suckers???? Why is this stuff not in the papers right around the country? Is the media getting paid off by the wind companies to not report this? Thank you STT for telling it like it is. We only hope enough people read it & make a noise about it. Bring on June 18th! ……Wind Power Fraud Rally!!


  1. […] The same conditions that allow rorting and gaming of the power market in Germany exist in Australia: huge fluctuations in wind power output – with almost daily collapses – allows sharp operators to cash in, with grid managers entirely at their mercy. During wind power “outages” the dispatch price has rocketed from around $40 per MWh to the regulated cap of $12,500 per MWh – see our post: the Great Watt and Pole Swindle. […]

  2. […] Rusty might like to explain why it is that Australia’s wind power capital, South Australia, has the greatest installed wind power capacity in the nation and the highest retail power prices in the world? Mere coincidence, perhaps? (see our posts here and here). […]

  3. […] The AFR might also like to explain why it is that Australia’s wind power capital, South Australia, has the greatest installed wind power capacity in the nation and the highest retail power prices in the world? Mere coincidence, perhaps? (see our posts here and here). […]

  4. […] demand, the dispatch price rockets all the way to regulated cap of $12,500 per MWh (see our posts here and […]

  5. […] resulted in South Australians paying the highest power prices in the world (see our posts here and here). And see page 11 of this […]

  6. […] seen prices jump since then). As to why SA pays the highest power prices in the world see our posts here and […]

  7. […] fans – there are plenty of occasions when they struggle to muscle up with even 5% (see our posts here and […]

  8. […] This is not the first time this has happened in SA and it won’t be the last (see our post here). […]

  9. […] And we’re ready to hazard a guess that the lack of a reliable power source is testing the humour of business owners in Port Fairy.  This is not the first time this has happened and it will not be the last (see our post here). […]

  10. […] usual fiction about wind power reducing power prices, when nothing could be further from the truth (see our post here).  Perhaps, raking in a Federal Minister’s plum salary, Butler hadn’t noticed, but South […]

  11. […] is blowing or the insane spikes in the dispatch price when it stops.  For a recap see our posts here and here and […]

  12. […] unreliable wind power delivered at crazy, random intervals – no wonder it has the highest retail power prices in the […]

  13. […] purpose than cashing in when the wind takes a well earned rest 120 times a year – see our posts here and […]

  14. […] means the true cost of wind power must be taken to include the exorbitant costs of peaking power AND the INCREASE in CO2 emissions that results from using fast-start-up fossil fuel generation […]

  15. […] scrap the RET now and prevent any more ludicrous investment in intermittent, unreliable and insanely expensive wind […]

  16. […] covered the impact of exorbitant peaking power costs on SA’s power prices here , here and here. These posts deal with the FACT that when wind-watts go missing 80-100 times every […]

  17. […] Oh, sorry, we forgot – there is one other reason – and that’s generators, like AGL, with peaking power plants making out like Mexican bandits – every time the wind stops blowing. […]

  18. […] their power cut-off due to rapidly escalating power prices – driven there by its great “wind rush“.  And where a growing number of families are routinely cooking on gas barbecues and wood […]

  19. […] When it disappears for hours and sometimes days at a stretch – the dispatch price jumps to $2,000 per MW/h and often hits the capped price of $12,500 per MW/h. […]

  20. […] SA – power punters are paying the highest electricity prices in the world thanks to expensive, intermittent and unreliable wind power.  Last year, over 10,000 families had […]

  21. […] over 100 times each year – as peaking power plants jump into action and charge anything from $2,000 per MW/h to $12,500 per MW/h (instead of the usual $40) to keep the grid from collapsing into […]

  22. […] the most geographically stretched grid in the world is hard enough – without having to find hundreds of MW in a hurry every time the wind stops […]

  23. […] – the result of the mandated RET and PPAs (when the wind is blowing) and the insane costs of peaking power when the wind stops blowing 80-100 times a year as a meteorological […]

  24. […] with paying 4 times the cost of conventional power for wind power; and are even happier to be paying $2,000 per MW/h and over the Moon to be paying $12,500 per MW/h for peaking power when wind power goes AWOL 100 […]

  25. […] as a form of meaningful energy – is an economic nonsense.  Intermittent, unreliable and ridiculously expensive – wind power simply cannot compete with energy sources which – in a 1st World economy need to […]

  26. […] to the price paid by retailers is the cost of “peaking power” needed to urgently backfill the grid when the wind stops blowing and demand outstrips available […]

  27. […] STT says the inquiry suggested is more than called for and can’t come soon enough – but don’t expect those profiting from it or their apologists to come quietly. There’s far too much money to made – this is – after all – State sponsored theft. […]

  28. […] somewhere across a “distributed wind power network” some time back – and has demonstrated what that means to the dispatch price (the very figures referred to by Bruce in the piece above and the very reason for those price […]

  29. […] A couple of points are worth noting.  Greg Combet’s assertion about reduced coal use in power generation says nothing about the increased use of gas – now being used faster and more inefficiently than ever in Open Cycle Gas Turbines – which are employed to keep the lights on when the wind does what it does 80-100 times a year – ie it stops blowing across the whole of South-Eastern Australia – leaving a couple of thousand giant fans looking like ugly helpless giants – grid managers scrambling to get enough sparks into the grid to cover the shortfall and generators like AGL making out like Mexican bandits. […]

  30. […] Predictably, Laura went on to spout from the spin sheet given to her by her masters – Pac Hydro and the Clean Energy Council – you know all the usual drivel spouted by hack pseudo-scientists and others on the wind weasel’s payroll.  Although, funnily enough she didn’t go anywhere the economic fraud or power prices. […]

  31. […] we know numbers aren’t the greentard’s strongest point.  And after that little effort you wouldn’t trust them to sell a mob of your best young ewes or […]

  32. […] we reported on the moment when Maurice Newman had the courage to point to the elephant in the room: spiralling power prices being driven through the roof by intermittent and unreliable – subsidy fuelled – wind […]

  33. […] readers are well aware of what happens when SA’s 1,223 MW of installed wind power capacity takes a well earned break for days at an […]

  34. […] than just about any other place in the world – they share the honour with wind power mad South Australia as having the highest power prices in the world. It helped that Vestas has its home base there and […]

  35. […] Open Cycle Gas Turbines are cranked up to make up for “lost” wind power capacity in our posts here and […]

  36. […] was the situation we reported on for 3 June 2013 in South Australia, when wind power output dropped to zero for about 12 hours straight. As predicted […]

  37. […] content with lying – as a way of life – it seems the next phase in big wind’s crusade to bleed power consumers and taxpayers dry – by covering the entire planet with giant fans – is to stomp on […]

  38. […] shouting “enough”. According to “smarter than brain pie” Professor Myles Allen it seems the obscene cost of intermittent and unreliable wind power is a case of “the wick ain’t worth the […]

  39. […] readers recently learned that – this week – power consumers in SA have been paying $2,100 per MW/h – and up to […]

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