The unpacking of the wind industry death warrant

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Meet Jenny

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Recently the Climate Speculator ran a story with the title, The report that could kill wind power penned by Dr Jenny Riesz.

A catchy title, so we thought it warranted further investigation

The ‘report’ was the  Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) report Integrating Renewable Energy – Wind Integration studies, which is a rather lengthy (121 pages) piece that addresses the main issues when it comes to the potential operational impacts of connecting 8.88GW of additional wind generation to the east coast transmission network.

Clearly the Climate Speculator did not like the implications of this report, so they commissioned Dr Riesz to write a critique.

Jenny completed her PhD by examining the quantum and spectroscopic properties of melanin skin pigment. By the way, Jen also penned another article, Junking the garbage baseload argument, that pays homage to the old Green chestnut that wind can now provide bulk energy more cheaply than coal-fired and gas-fired plant.  One immediately feels a twitch of the old BS detector on reading that.

BS detector

A positive reading on the BS detector

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Be mindful that AEMO is a bureaucracy that has evolved via the NEMMCO from state-owned electricity utilities.  As a descendent of former state power utilities, we suspect that the AEMO’s organisational culture would be such that the government decree that the RET is good policy for Australia would be accepted without question, at least in the senior ranks of the organisation!

Floating Soap Bubble Against Clear Sunlit Blue Sky and Clouds

AEMO uses the term “wind bubble” to describe prospective areas where wind projects may develop.  A Freudian slip perhaps, they define wind bubbles thus:

AEMO uses the concept of “wind bubbles” to model expansion of wind generation. A wind bubble corresponds to a geographical area where:

  • The wind resource is believed to be sufficiently attractive for wind generation development.
  • All wind generation within the bubble is assumed to experience the same wind speeds.

Riesz identifies what she refers to as a key difference that this study doesn’t identify namely:

[the] AEMO’s study doesn’t take account of the fact that wind developers are likely to shift development away from congested network areas when these constraints begin to become important.

On form, we would expect the wind industry rent seekers would more likely opt for bubbles in friendly jurisdictions, that is the States that are sympathetic to Green/Left ideology where they would expect easy project approvals and where the additional costs of making the electrical network adapt to their needs would more likely be borne by the tax payers and or electricity users.

At paragraph 7, Riesz says:

However, they don’t capture many of the important limitations of the grid that will become apparent as the generation mix changes.

The author obviously accepts without question that the generation mix will/should change to include more remotely located low inertia wind generation, which has much potential to cause stability and voltage control problems on the diverse interconnected network.  If rational economics were to apply, without the artificial market distortions created by the RET, remote wind generation would not even be considered.

At paragraph 7, Riesz says:

Furthermore, constraints on interconnectors mean more frequent price separation between regions, and wind farms in South Australia are already receiving lower average wholesale prices than elsewhere in the grid. Astute wind developers are well aware of this, and will carefully examine likely future revenues taking grid constraints into account.

This is interesting, wind receives what the carpetbaggers consider to be a low wholesale price but SA actually has the highest average power prices in the country, due in no small measure to the generation mix in that state includes a glut of wind generation.  These “lower average wholesale prices” have more to do with SA wind installations having surplus power, mainly at times when power is not needed (in the middle of the night) when grid pool prices are very low and when low conventional generation levels sometimes mean that stability constraints preclude the export of much of this surplus power to Victoria.  The outcome of this is that we are to see electricity users slugged with the bill to beef up transmission interconnections into Victoria primarily to help the wind carpet baggers profit by selling more subsidised, wind power into Victoria.  This will be yet another cost directly attributable to the RET but, unlike the reasonably well known impost we pay for Large-scale Generation Certificates, in this case it will most likely be folded seamlessly into your electricity bill, not unlike the smart meter surcharges we currently pay.

Riesz doesn’t comment specifically on the measures the AEMO report identifies as necessary should the wind component of total generation continue to grow as required under the RET legislation.  If wind curtailment is to be avoided, a range of additional costs will have to be met by grid operators, and by conventional generators.  These curtailment avoidance measures are are described in the AEMO executive summary e.g.:

  • Establishing new ancillary service requirements to provide services that allow adequate control of power system frequency under conditions of low power system inertia.
  • Investing to install purpose-built synchronous condensers to maintain system inertia and power system fault levels.
  • Investing to allow some existing generating units to operate either with reduced minimum load or as synchronous condensers. This would allow existing generation to maintain system inertia and power system fault levels during periods of high wind generation.
  • Establishing new control schemes, or modifying existing schemes, to ensure adequate control of power system frequency under conditions of low power system inertia.

These measures will involve significant costs for design, capital works and ongoing operation.  We suggest that its likely the  “Grid Improvement, Wind Anti-curtailment Levy Act” will be the next piece of RET-related weasel legislation that will tack still more unnecessary costs onto your electricity bill.

electricity-price-rise

Wind Power: Unreliable and expensive for all power consumers

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Too much BS! We’re told expenses come from much needed infrastructure (which is now required to support and cope with the growing wind industry) yet how many times have people in regional towns like Port Fairy been without power for hours on end, over and over again? We’re paying too much for electricity to further subsidise wind energy, when the turbines don’t work. It’s BS! Beware the bursting bubble, it’s gonna hit the fan.

  2. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Bubbles burst, and all it takes is a sharp needle – keep needling everyone.

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