Where will you be when the lights go out for good?

Australia faces a very dark and uncertain future – if there is any further increase in wind power generation capacity we can expect widespread power blackouts to become part of the daily routine.


At least they run till the wick disappears.


That flows from the inherently intermittent nature of wind and, in consequence, the utter unreliability and unpredictability of wind power.

STT has spoken to the engineers that built and now manage the Eastern Grid – keeping the lights on and the power there when and where we need it.  The introduction of wind power into what was an otherwise stable and easily controlled grid is viewed as a daily nightmare by these boys.

The other issue – not so much of a nightmare for grid managers, but for power consumers – is the “need” for otherwise unnecessary peaking power generation.

STT has looked at the cost of peaking power to the grid – delivered by Open Cycle Gas Turbines and Diesel generators.  The only reason for the investment in “fast-start-up” generation of that type is that wind is simply so unpredictable.

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.

The case against wind power on these grounds was made cogently and forcefully in a brilliant piece of research by Paul Miskelly, titled “Wind Farms in Eastern Australia – Recent Lessons” published in the Energy & Environment Journal in December last year.

STT is delighted that the publishers have given open access to it and here it is.  We’ve set out the Abstract and Conclusion to give you the thrust of the argument – there is a link below to the full paper – it makes for compelling reading.

“Wind Farms in Eastern Australia – Recent Lessons”
Energy & Environment Journal
Paul Miskelly


Academic discussion continues as to whether a fleet of grid-connected wind farms, widely dispersed across a single grid network, can provide a reliable electricity supply.  One opinion is that wide geographical dispersion of wind farms provides sufficient smoothing of the intermittent and highly variable output of individual wind farms enabling the wind farm fleet to provide for base load demand.  In an examination of the 5-minute time-averaged wind farm operational data for 21 large wind farms connected to the eastern Australian grid – geographically the largest, most widely dispersed, single interconnected grid in the world (AER, [1]) – this paper challenges that opinion.  The findings also suggest that the connection of such a wind farm fleet, even one that is widely dispersed, poses significant security and reliability concerns to the eastern Australian grid. These findings have similar implications for the impact of wind farms on the security of electricity grids worldwide.


Engineers are required to do more than merely analyse and report on natural phenomena. They are required to create practical solutions to real world problems.  In so doing they must test and design systems ensuring that they have addressed the worst case scenarios. As a result, they may not concentrate merely on average values.  With these requirements firmly in mind, to the electrical engineer, a careful scrutiny of the available wind farm operational data shows that, on the eastern Australian grid, it is not possible for wind energy ever to displace dispatchable, reliable generation supplying the base load demand.  In this regard, an examination of the graphs comprising Figure 3 clearly indicates that the proposal by some Australian policymakers to replace major coal-fired power stations with a fleet of wind farms is not technically achievable.

Additionally, the analysis shows that further increased wind penetration, even if spread evenly across the eastern Australian grid, will result in an increasing contribution to grid instability, potentially making wind energy an increasing threat to grid operational security and reliability.  To continue a policy strategy to increase wind penetration across the eastern Australian grid, to seek to meet a target of some 20% installed capacity, as has already been achieved in South Australia, (with the presumption that wind may thereby meet 20% of base load requirements), has the potential to be a dangerous strategy.

To address the increased instability due to wind, a fleet of fast-acting OCGT generation plant may well be required to back up wind’s intermittency.  The use of a significantly greater proportion of this form of generation, rather than the more thermally-efficient CCGT, in the gas-fired generation plant mix may lead, seemingly paradoxically, to both higher gas consumption and higher GHG emissions from the resulting OCGT/CCGT generation mix than if wind generation was not included in the generation portfolio.

As the eastern Australian grid is:

  • the world’s most geographically dispersed single interconnected grid,
  • as the present wind farm fleet is dispersed across it at its widest portion in the east-west direction, that is, in the direction of the prevailing mesoscale atmospheric circulation,
  • and that this fleet also occupies a significant region in the north-south direction, these conclusions are significant for grids worldwide

Paul Miskelly

Here’s the link to the full paper: “Wind Farms in Eastern Australia – Recent Lessons”.

STT says: “hats off, Paul”.

Paul’s detailed research and analysis puts to bed once and for all the wind-weasel-waffle that “the wind is always blowing somewhere across a widely distributed wind power generation network”.

That little furphy has just been “skewered”.  What’s that you say about needing to “act on facts”?

Next time the goons working for wind weasels start spinning tales about the wonders of “fun, free and festive” wind power, slip a copy of Paul’s paper into their manbags.  They’ll hate it.


Give that goon some take home reading – if he understands it – he’ll hate it.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Paul has done a wonderful job.
    Unfortunately it seems those who could do something are not wanting to, they are ignoring what is obvious and what is sensible to maintain an ideology, an ideology that is destined to send this country into a ‘tailspin’, resulting in economic, environmental and medical catastrophe.
    Then and only then will they say ‘it was the other persons/parties fault not ours’, leaving you and me to pick up the pieces and pay the price.

  2. On the rocks says:

    In the Greece of the south.
    Well that’s where we could end up should Repower and the guru get their way with the $1.3 billon Ceres project.
    Escalating power prices , government incompetency and corporate bullying could certainly tip a very vulnerable South Australian economy over the edge.
    Did some say the host contracts financial remuneration is all specified in Drachmas?
    A bit like the walls of the homes in Santorini, I think the hosts have all been white washed!


  1. […] The data above (and which we’ve covered in numerous posts) make it plain that 100% of wind power’s installed capacity has to be backed-up 100% of the time: if it wasn’t, there would be widespread blackouts across the entire Eastern Grid (see our post here). […]

  2. […] Where will you be when the lights go out for good? […]

  3. […] Eastern Grid the result of the inherent intermittency and unreliability of wind power (see our post here). Here’s a link to Paul’s paper: “Wind Farms in Eastern Australia – Recent […]

  4. […] With 2,660 MW of installed (nameplate) wind power capacity connected to the Eastern Grid, the task of grid managers in trying to balance the grid has become a nightmare – the fluctuations in wind power output vary enormously, second by second, minute by minute and hour by hour – and bring with it a serious risk of widespread blackouts (see our post here). […]

  5. […] on end – those same wind farms collectively produce less than 5% of their installed capacity (see our post here). At the abstract level, that means that 70,000 homes (5% of 1.4 million) could be “powered” by […]

  6. […] of “powering” millions of Australian homes (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and […]

  7. […] wind-watts disappear every day and, frequently, for days on end (see our posts here and here and here and […]

  8. […] take wind power – on the few occasions it actually delivers (see our posts here and here and here and […]

  9. […] when they disappear every day and, frequently, for days on end (see our posts here and here and here and […]

  10. […] which 70% of the time that might be. Positively Stone Age stuff (see our posts here and here and here and […]

  11. […] of wind farms fail to deliver any meaningful power to the Eastern Grid hundreds of times each year (see our post here). And that’s a […]

  12. […] time this happens (and it happens over 100 times each year – see our post here) the dispatch price skyrockets from its usual average of around $40 per MW/h and often hits the […]

  13. […] time this happens (and it happens over 100 times each year – see our post here) the dispatch price skyrockets and often hits the $12,500 per MW/h regulated […]

  14. […] The twaddle dished up by the AEMO about “averages over time” was the target of Paul Miskelly’s cracking paper that showed just how vulnerable the Australian power grid is – due to the inherent unreliability and intermittency of wind power (see our post here). […]

  15. […] If our political betters don’t smarten up very soon STT predicts that our – already vulnerable – national electricity grid will suffer widespread power blackouts on a regular basis. Paul Miskelly has spelt it out in clear and simple terms – see our posts here and here and here. […]

  16. […] Where will you be when the lights go out for good? […]

  17. […] of the time by fast start-up fossil fuel generation sources can never do (see our posts here and here and […]

  18. […] Where will you be when the lights go out for good? […]

  19. […] designed to supply power to punters 24 x 365 results in INCREASED CO2 emissions.  See our posts here and here and […]

  20. […] brilliant work – which covers much of the same territory – in our posts here and here and […]

  21. […] Where will you be when the lights go out for good? […]

  22. […] As STT has pointed out on numerous occasions Australia’s 2,600 MW of wind power fails to deliver hundreds of times each year has to be backed up by fast start-up peaking power generation systems – Paul Miskelly said it best in his peer-reviewed paper which we covered here. […]

  23. […] using gas thermal (gas fired boilers) or Combined Cycle Gas Turbines – NOT the highly inefficient Open Cycle Gas Turbines being used in Australia and […]

  24. […] Paul Miskelly pointed out in his peer-reviewed paper – in this post – as wind power generation capacity increases there will be an increase in CO2 emissions […]

  25. […] Where will you be when the lights go out for good? […]

  26. […] STT Champion, Paul Miskelly hit the STT headlines with his brilliant study into the economic and environmental lunacy that is wind power in this post: Where will you be when the lights go out for good? […]

  27. […] And we’ve looked at how wind power’s crazy fluctuations are causing nightmares for grid managers in this post: Where will you be when the lights go out for good? […]

  28. […] Where will you be when the lights go out for good?.There is no safe distance for wind Turbines, NOT GREEN, NOT CHEAP, NOT RELIABLE, and come with a very BAD side EFFECT on people and the ENVIRONMENT. there is Nothing GREEN about TURBINES. SAY NO TO WIND TURBINES. […]

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