Taking the wind power fraud to new lows in hypocrisy, pointlessness and infantile stupidity, it seems that every shark in the pond is ready to cash in when the wind stops blowing.
STT has covered the consequences of wind power going AWOL 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 darkness.
STT has focused on the use of Open Cycle Gas Turbines which are a highly inefficient and costly way of generating power. Never meant to run for more than a couple of hours at a stretch – backing up missing wind-watts means OCGTs are operating for 10-12 hours straight and often over several days.
But OCGTs – which cost around $300 per MW/h to run – are a snip to operate compared to diesel generators – and a hell of a lot “cleaner” in terms of CO2 emissions – not to mention the emission of particulate matter associated with diesel engines.
Having diesel generators being ready to be used as emergency backup at a hospital, say, makes sense. If there is a general blackout – then patients strapped to life-support systems feel a whole lot more comfortable knowing that there is an immediate solution when the lights go out everywhere else.
But banks of diesel generators are now being used as backup for missing wind-watts when the wind stops blowing – actually supplying serious amounts of power into the grid – and for lengthy periods.
Croweaters are well aware that they are paying the $1.5 billion cost of South Australia’s “White Elephant” Desal plant – as well as guaranteeing its French owners a fat return on their investment – even if it never supplies a single drop of water to Adelaide.
Adelaide – and a number of other Australian capitals – signed up to Desal plants on the advice of – none other – than self-proclaimed “weather expert” – Tim Flannery.
Tim – an expert on extinct giant Australian marsupials – and obviously the first person you’d call when it came to water management issues – predicted right throughout one of Australia’s frequent, prolonged droughts – that it would be “hotter and drier forever”.
Check out his doomsday interview with Maxine McKew in 2005 – here – a classic example of how being wedded to a delusional belief in “Catastrophic Global Warming” overtakes history and science all in one breath. He kept that rubbish up – right until the floods started in Queensland on New Year’s day, 2009 (it kept bucketing down right through to May that year) – and returned with a vengeance in December 2010 – totally normal La Nina related flooding events – preceding the three wettest years (on average) recorded since white settlement. And it’s still raining – Adelaide recording one of its wettest Julys ever. Onya Tim!
Wits at the time pointed out that Adelaide’s Desal plant would be running on coal-fired electricity from Port Augusta and – therefore – generating more of the very CO2 emissions that were said by Tim Flannery to cause the drought he said required Desal plants to be built – all over the country – in the first place.
In answer to his clever critics – then Labor Premier Mike Rann – announced – with his usual air of smug-self-satisfaction – a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel – HIS magical Desal plant would run on wind power.
But it seems that the money behind the Desal plant – which has been mothballed and may never be used – have twigged to the greatest RORT in history and couldn’t care less about wind power – except cashing in when it disappears for days at a stretch. AGL helped set it up and it seems just about anyone can play.
All you need is access to the grid – which the Desal plant has – and a few $million to buy a swag of diesel generators to hook up to that grid. Here’s the AMAR Group explaining how it works:
Pt Stanvac 65MW Diesel Peaking Power Station (2010 – 2011)
AMAR Group worked closely with the Cummins Power Generation, Energy Solutions Business construction and engineering team to assist in providing their client, Infratil Energy Australia a high performance 65MW Diesel Peaking Power Station.
AMAR Group responsibilities for this project included; initial engineering design input, installation and commissioning of the 66kV substation, construction temporary power, supervision of electrical installation, technical support and liaison with ETSA Utilities for the grid connection, AEMO requirements, validation testing and full commissioning.
This project consisted of thirty-six diesel generators capable of providing nearly 60MW of electricity into the national electricity grid. These generators are installed within six acoustically designed buildings, all containing auxiliary power and lighting systems, control systems and mechanical services. The 11kV alternators are connected to 11kV switchboards, which in turn are connected to 11kV/66kV power transformers connected to a 66kV switchyard and remotely controlled switching equipment. One 66kV circuit run underground to the nearby ETSA Utilities sub-station where the Power Station is connected to the 66kV electricity network.
This plant is capable of being fully online within five minutes and supplying nearly 60MW into the national electricity grid to help meet short-term peak load demand on the distribution network.
Nice to think that they’re ready to “help meet short-term peak load demand”. But as STT readers know that means helping themselves to $12,500 per MW/h for something that normally costs $40.
Money for jam. And it needs figures North of $1,000 per MW/h to warrant cranking these fuel hungry little fellas into gear.
Cummins Australia says the machines at the Desal plant use around 300 litres of diesel to generate a MW/h of electricity. That translates – in terms of fuel costs alone – to at least $450 per MW/h – and that figure excludes depreciation, maintenance etc and the capital cost of the plant. THIS IS INSANE – gas thermal, coal thermal and hydro all cost less than $50 per MW/h to the grid.
And it seems the opportunity to fleece power consumers hasn’t been lost on wind weasels in the UK. Here’s much the same story being told by The Telegraph.
We could soon be paying billions for this wind back-up
3 August 2013
The National Grid’s latest plan is taking off into the weirdest scheme yet, thanks to our politicians’ obsession with wind turbines.
Occasionally, one comes across a story so mind-blowingly unexpected and out-of-left-field that it seems hard for readers to take on board that it is true.
Such is the story I first reported here last month, under the heading, “Our lights will stay on, but it’ll cost us a fortune”, about the scheme being devised by the National Grid to solve what has long been the most intractable problem created by the Government’s plan to see the best part of £110 billion spent in seven years on building tens of thousands more wind turbines – namely, how to keep our national grid “balanced” when it has to cope with all those unpredictably wild fluctuations in the speed of the wind.
The answer National Grid has come up with, only made possible by the latest computer technology and “cloud software”, is to hook up thousands of diesel generators, remotely controlled by the grid, to provide almost instantly available back-up for when the wind drops.
As we can see from recent reports, such as the National Grid’s draft consultation on “Demand Side Balancing Reserve and Supplemental Balancing Reserve”, this is now taking off into the weirdest and most ambitious scheme yet called into being by our politicians’ obsession with wind turbines.
As uncovered by the tireless research of my colleague, Richard North, on his EU Referendum blog, owners of diesel generators are being incentivised with offers of astronomic fees to make them available to the grid – subsidies equivalent to up to 12 times the going rate for conventional electricity, and even, on very rare occasions, up to £15,000 per megawatt hour (MWh), or 300 times the normal rate of £50 per MWh.
Initially, this “short-term operating reserve” only envisaged relying on existing standby generators, many owned by public bodies such as hospitals, prisons and military installations – which stand to earn hundreds of millions of pounds from the Government, paid for by the rest of us as a “stealth tax” through our electricity bills.
But so lucrative is the subsidy bonanza now being proposed that dozens of private firms, with names such as Renewable Energy Generation and Power Balancing Services, are flocking to cash in by building dedicated “virtual power stations”, capable of generating up to 20MW or more, knowing that they can expect up to £47,000 a year in “availability payments” for each MW of capacity, even before they have generated a single unit of power.
This solution to the “grid balancing” problem created by wind was pioneered in the US. The first firm to set up a “virtual power station” in Britain was UK Power Reserve, run by a former governor of Oklahoma, who was amazed to find the British offering subsidies seven times larger than those available in his native state.
When last week I asked National Grid, Ofgem and others for an estimate of how much we will all be having to pay for this “balancing” scheme, the general response was that this is still too much a “work in progress” to allow for overall cost estimates – although National Grid has been quoted as suggesting that within two years it could be £1 billion a year, adding 5 per cent more to our already soaring electricity bills.
But, without question, we are looking here at one of the most sure-fire moneymaking wheezes of our time – what one firm happily describes as “money for nothing”.
And the final irony, of course, is that those diesel generators chuck out almost as much, per unit, of that supposedly polluting CO2 as any of the coal-fired power stations our politicians want to see taxed and regulated out of existence.
Diesels are for hauling hogs, logs and – the occasional – down-on-his-luck – Country singer hitching a lift. They were never meant to be used as an answer to large-scale power generation. This RORT has got to stop. Let your Federal Coalition MPs know what you think – NOW – before we’re all in the poor house – and needing to thumb down Diesels to “gets where we’re all going” – just like Bobby McGee.
Yesterday STT reported on a bogus tale tossed up by the Financial Review that policy pygmies, Greg Hunt and Ian “Enron” Macfarlane “slapped down” Angus “The Enforcer” Taylor (STT’s confirmed that no such event occurred – save in the dreams of the wind weasels).
Now here’s a golden opportunity to give Hunt and Macfarlane a little “slap” over what you’ve read here. This insanity is the direct product of the RET which these intellectual lightweights seem keen to give a public tick of approval. Here’s their email addresses. Ian.Macfarlane.MP@aph.gov.au and Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au
Readers might start by sending them the link to this story and asking them to explain – in clear and precise terms – just how using diesel generators to generate the power needed to replace unreliable and intermittent wind power helps “save the planet”? And ask them about how much power consumers are paying to have Adelaide’s Desal diesel power plant – and other peaking power plants – fired into action 80-100 times a year when wind power goes AWOL? STT will be only too pleased to publish their responses.
28 thoughts on “Bobby thumbed a “Diesel” down …”
SA people have known from the start the desal plant was a con, and many of us have known that Wind Energy is a con, but it takes strong leaders to accept it and turn things around before we plummet into the depths of a third world environment.
It’s time governments stopped the rot, and remembered they are there to look after us, the electorate, not themselves. We are not there to turn them into some kind of God. They are there to treat us with respect and ensure the country is better off when they leave power, than when they were voted in. All politicians, no matter whether they are forming government or not, are there to look after our interests, not their own and not to sit in the chamber and keep mute.
This whole scam gets more ridiculous every day!!!!
Gotta have a read of this article
The windies are making a big deal out of 1.5 hours of continuous renewable energy supplying King’s Island. Hydro Tasmania has even weighed in with a few comments. Hilarious!!
STT, once again, thankyou for your ability to articulate the madness of what will come to be known as the great wind bubble. It’s time for the wind fraudsters PR dept to come out and attempt to refute the irrefutable, again.
With the knowledge we now have, how can they possibly argue that wind is free? How can they attempt to suggest that the greentard version of an energy “system”, in it’s entirety, is reducing greenhouse gases? (Do the greentards even realise water vapour is by far the greatest greenhouse atmospheric certainty?)
I put the challenge out to the green apologist fraudsters…..come and meet with me and mine and let us have the debate. C’mon Delusional Dave (the following are just using you, you self-important fool), Marsh man, Ketan and Barnyard. What I would like to say to you, as put by the real Diesel…well it’s ‘right on the tip of my tongue’ …. time to get your CVs in order.