Don’t Say “We Didn’t Warn You”

denisis-300x0

Victorian Premier tells prized sheep his funniest joke.

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Risible”: provoking laughter through being ludicrous.  That’s a pretty fair summation of Australia’s so-called “wind industry” in the week just gone.

It would be, except, wind power was pitched as a reliable replacement for on-demand power generation sources (like coal, hydro and gas) and a cost-effective means of reducing CO2 emissions.  Our political betters sucked it up – including dunces like Victorian Premier Denis “I love turbines” Napthine.

Well the punch-line was delivered last week all over South-Eastern Australia as our weather put on a few typically hot Australian summer days.

Wind power generators simply couldn’t deliver when demand for sparks spiked.

Here’s The Standard with a Victorian take on the energy market debacle caused by Australia’s misplaced faith in wind power.

Apology follows another outage in Port Fairy
The Standard
Sean McComish
16 January 2014

ENERGY network operator Powercor has apologised to Port Fairy customers over the third outage in less than a week.

About 100 customers, most in the town centre, were without power yesterday morning for nearly an hour because of disruptions caused by a blown fuse.

The minor incident came after separate outages on Friday and Tuesday, triggering anger from cafe owners, who lost thousands of dollars when they were forced to close their doors.

Powercor regional manager Nick Rees told The Standard heavy demand from airconditioners and refrigerators was the likely cause of a fuse that blew in a circuit box on the corner of Sackville and Bank streets.

“We had a low-voltage circuit fuse that blew, which was caused by an overload over the past couple of days,” Mr Rees said.

“We’d like to apologise to our customers in Port Fairy who are affected.

“We’ll be working today on the issue to find a resolution,” he said.

He said the company would also monitor the circuit closely.

While cafes making the most of the busy tourist season managed to stay open for business yesterday, there was frustration over the number of outages.

The Hub cafe owner Craig Hood said he had to send several staff home.

“It’s cost me money,” Mr Hood said.

“You rely on the summer to get you through the winter.

“I sent a couple of staff home and they’re uni students working over summer so they rely on this as well.”

Rock Salt cafe owner Bronwyn Mellor was also angry.

“We would have lost half our breakfast service,” Ms Mellor said.

“The infrastructure is pathetic, it just doesn’t cope.”

Port Fairy Business Association head Ken Brookes said the group would seek a meeting with Powercor to discuss the recent outages.

Meanwhile, a purpose-built, gas-fired power station, designed to step in during peak demand is running at full capacity, according to operator Origin Energy.

“The Mortlake Power Station was designed to meet periods of peak demand and the facility is running at full capacity today to support the near-record demand for electricity during the current heatwave,” a company spokesman said yesterday.

The region’s wind farms have been unable to alleviate demand pressures.

A spokeswoman for AGL said the company’s 140 turbine Macarthur wind farm had limited output because of weather conditions.

“Macarthur Wind Farm is not currently operating at full capacity,” she said.

‘‘However, it is performing as expected in a low-yield wind week.”
The Standard

Nice work, Sean! Keep on digging and you’ll eventually strike journalistic “gold”. This is the greatest economic and environmental fraud Australia has ever seen – and Sean just keeps getting closer.

STT loves the “work” from the AGL spokeswomen. The wind weasel would, of course, be nothing without euphemism and yet another cracker seems all set to enter the wind scammer lexicon: the “low-yield wind week”.

What AGL meant to say was that it simply couldn’t deliver meaningful power from a technology which was redundant before it began.  It should have just come right out and said: “hey what did you expect?  Wind power is delivered at crazy, random intervals, get over it!”

It is a meteorological and physical fact that the wind will be insufficient to operate industrial wind turbines around 70% of the time.  And, even if there is sufficient wind to operate, giant fans simply can’t stand the Australian heat.

The nacelle (the giant oblong box that sits on top of the tower) is filled with fans and on-board cooling systems to prevent the generator and the bearings from spontaneously combusting.  There is a natural limit to what these systems can handle – maybe because they were designed and built in Denmark where it never hits 45°?

TURBINE FIRE

An “after shot” – fire risk realised.

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When the mercury hits 40° the turbine’s generator and bearings are at risk of heat damage or bursting into flame – a 3 MW turbine carries around 200 litres of highly flammable hydraulic fluid in the nacelle.  And – as the temperature climbs – the fibre composite blades expand and become so pliable that they face the risk of structural damage – if operated – or – in another cracking wind industry euphemism – what’s called “component liberation” (see our posts here and here).

At around $3 million a pop it’s little wonder that AGL was quick to shut down its fans at Macarthur, as the mercury climbed this week.

Origin was, naturally, quick to cash in on a golden opportunity to fire up its 550 MW Mortlake peaking plant – which runs highly inefficient Open Cycle Gas Turbines.  OCGTs’ cost in the order of $200-300 per MW/h to run – and spew out 2-3 times the CO2 that a modern thermal coal-fired plant does for the same given output.

The dispatch price averages around $40 per MW/h – so OCGTs sit idle until wind power output collapses – as it routinely does – and it did this week – just when power punters needed it most.

But don’t shed any tears for Origin – yes, its OCGTs cost a bomb to run, but the dispatch price into the Victorian grid bounced over $2,000 per MW/h several times, ran above $6,000 per MW/h for a time and hit the $12,500 per MW/h cap a number of times during the week – as wind-watts went missing for most of it (see this link).

So what does a “low-yield wind week” look like?  Well, STT’s happy to draw some pictures.

First, let’s have a look at AGL’s 420 MW Macarthur outfit.  Oh, and if the graphs look a little fuzzy on your screen, click on them and they will pop up in a new window, clear as crystal.

Macarthur 15 Jan 2014

Here’s 15 January when the output (the middle graph) looked like a fat bloke, after a big lunch, struggling to get off the bottom of the deep end at the local pool.  Note the steady increase in Victorian demand for sparks as the day warmed up, businesses got to work and people kicked their air-conditioners into gear.  Who would have thought, hey?

What a fantastic contribution to Victoria’s energy needs.  Notice how AGL was able to throw its 420 MW into the grid in an instant as demand increased?  No?  Funny about that.

If you think that’s RISIBLE, have a look at the entire output of all windfarms connected to the Eastern Grid on the same day – which includes the hundreds of fans relied upon in South Australia, as well as Tasmania, Victoria and NSW.

15 January 2014 National

Just as the country was warming up – and householders and businesses were ready to crank their air-conditioners into gear in Victoria, Tasmania, NSW and SA – wind power output goes completely AWOL.

In the middle of the day the entire phalanx of Australian fans that are hooked-up to the Eastern Grid struggled to produce a risible 100 MW of their 2,660 MW capacity – a piddling 3.75% of wind power’s total nameplate capacity.

2014-01-15-at-12-20-NEM-Watch-newrecordforecast

In the top-right graph above (the scale is $1,000 per MW/h – if it’s too small to read on your screen, click on it, it’ll pop up in a new window, then enlarge it) wind power’s extended absence without leave on 15 January occurred at precisely the same time as the dispatch price rocketed to the regulated cap of $12,500 per MW/h – the almost total collapse in national wind power output lasting for a very similar duration to the dispatch price spike.  Unlucky coincidence, perhaps?

Maybe STT lacks a sense of humour – because we really fail to see the funny side in any of this. This is Enron all over again.

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).

Australia is not usually lumped with the Third World, but our energy market has been set up to operate to the same level of reliability as one might expect in sub-Saharan Africa.

National energy security is far too important and far too serious to allow the current stock of idiots to continue to control Australia’s electricity market.  Policy pygmies – like Ian “Macca” Macfarlane – have helped create – and seem keen to maintain – a system that encourages opportunistic thieves to profit from the ignorance and stupidity of our political brains trust.

The only way to bring sanity back to Australia’s power market is to ensure that the clowns claiming to be in charge – like “Macca” Macfarlane, Gregory Hunt and Denis Napthine – are made acutely aware of events like those set out above.

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.

In another lovely euphemism – widely employed this week – Australia’s pollies have been talking about “load-shedding” – to describe planned regional blackouts.  Tough luck for granny if she was trying to run an air-conditioner – or even a fan – to keep her cool.

If Australia continues to rely on wind power as a serious component of its otherwise well managed electricity grid – then you’ll get to hear a lot more about “load-shedding” – except – that the way we’re going – it’ll be the entire grid that’s plunged into darkness.  And when it happens – don’t say you weren’t warned.

light-in-darkness

The wind power “joke” just isn’t funny any more.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. We live next to the Hallett Wind farm in the mid North of South Australia. When the wind doesn’t blow, the old style AEMO data spreadsheets of energy production data used to show -0.5 MWH for the 32 non-complying collection of Indian crap turbines that make up this ‘farm’. So on days of high demand, all wind farms are stealing much needed capacity from the Eastern Australian Grid.

    At about 10.30 AM on 15-1-14, I was having an inspection of one of Eastern Australia’s true GREEN energy facilities at Snowy Hydro’s Murray 1. Ten x 95 MW Turbines that actually work when they are most needed. We witnessed several of these turbines starting up. They went from 0 to 95 MW in 90 seconds, (times 10 turbines), producing 950 MW. That’s about what 450 unreliable, noisy, oil-leaking Suzlon 88 turbines can make.

    After a full tour of the Snowy Mountain Scheme, I came away thinking how the bloody hell our leaders in this country could have been led so far down the wind turbine path and waste so much of our money and resources on a system that is comparable to a sailing ship, when we already have this fantastic system which we were informed produces 74% of our renewable energy? The answer – the GREENTARDS.

  2. Keith Staff says:

    The Windies mob are showing signs of “desperation”.

    There is no end to the weasel words and spin that they are now attempting. They know the game is nearly up.

    Go’ team Abbott, show some intestinal fortitude.

    Hasta la vista.

  3. Right on the money, as usual, STT, I have been around for quite a while and I have never seen anything so ridiculous.

    Now, correct me if I am wrong, but while the turbines are shut down when it is hot, or not producing, because the wind drops out, around the same time everyone fires up their air conditioners, during a heatwave, aren’t the turbines consuming much needed power, just to keep them functiona? That must make the business owners around the country, that lost their stock during the load shedding blackouts, feel really chuffed about the benefits of wind power. There were some in Adelaide as well, that lost a considerable amount of stock.

    Have you also noticed that the ‘greentards’, the ones who were most vocal earlier on, have gone very, very, quiet, you don’t think they would be starting to feel just a little bit stupid, with wind power turning into the disaster that it is, not only here, but around the world and as for Global Warming, that started all this, well that has just turned out to be a non event.

    No, they wouldn’t, they just don’t get it!

    These idiots have become the laughing stock of the Internet.

    CW.

    • Sharp eye, as usual, from the Callous Wind. Turbines use a considerable amount of power when idle. Fans, cooling systems all whirring away. The hydraulic systems are needed for braking and yaw control – the nacelles must be kept at right angles to the direction of the wind so the blades don’t start spinning – in high winds if the turbine is “out of yaw” the blades will spin, overcome the brakes and the next stop is “component liberation”. We are yet to get a bead on just how much power a turbine (and, therefore, wind farm) uses when laying idle, but it is more than the average fridge or AC. The NEM data simply show output is zero. Strangely, the operators aren’t that keen to publicise the details of how much is being chewed up when their fans have a little “down time”, 70% of the time. Those kinds of FACTS are probably not a good “look” during “low-yield wind weeks”, when thousands of homes and business are without power at all. Funny about that.

Trackbacks

  1. […] – as it does on a routine, but unpredictable, basis (see our posts here and hereand here and here and here andhere and here and here). And for more recent woeful […]

  2. […] of total capacity, just as demand starts to peak – and see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  3. […] which are – ie hydro, nuclear, gas and coal (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  4. […] and will never reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  5. […] and will never reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  6. […] routine, but unpredictable, collapses in wind power output (our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  7. […] be predicted, but which happen on a routine basis (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). The greater the installed capacity of wind power, the more […]

  8. […] – as it does on a routine, but unpredictable, basis (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  9. […] and will never reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  10. […] represents a few “unlucky” days for wind power generators see our posts here and here and here and here and here and […]

  11. […] almost each and every day – wind power output plummets (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  12. […] 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  13. […] running when wind power disappears every day and for days on end (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and […]

  14. […] the electricity sector, simply because it can never be supplied on-demand (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here). It’s the last point which is the only possible […]

  15. […] more STT Mythbuster’s data see our posts here and here and here and here and […]

  16. […] nothing more than hollow promises of “powering” millions of Australian homes (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and […]

  17. […] day – and on plenty of occasions – for days on end – hundreds of times each year (see our post here). It’s point we’ve hammered – and they simply […]

  18. […] run their ACs to beat the heat) – second week of January (13/1, 14/1 and 15/1) (see our posts here and here and […]

  19. […] every day of the year and – on plenty of occasions – for days on end (see our posts here and here and […]

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