‘Saving’ South Australia from its Self-Inflicted Wind Power Disaster Needs $1 Billion Right NOW!

head slap

And they’ll claim they couldn’t see it coming …


Wind and solar create headaches for energy market operator
Australian Financial Review
Mark Ludlow
19 February 2016

State governments may have to spend billions of dollars to duplicate the electricity network to cope with the unreliability of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, according to the national energy forecaster.

As the Australian Energy Market Operator released a report [press release here and the full report here: Joint AEMO ElectraNet Report_19 February 2016] that found there could be reliability issues for the South Australian market, which has embraced renewable technology, its chief executive, Matt Zema, said the rise of wind and solar could also create problems throughout the country.

“It is becoming more and more of a challenge. We might need to build another interconnector to the South Australian market to improve reliability and in the longer term another bigger loop across the nation to be a back-up,” Mr Zema told The Australian Financial Review.

Electricity prices spiked in South Australia late last year after problems with the Heywood interconnector to Victoria, effectively cutting off South Australia from the NEM. South Australia did not have enough of its own locally generated power to cope with demand, which significantly pushed up prices.

A joint report between AEMO and South Australia’s electricity transmission company Electranet found there will be ongoing issues with controlling reliability in the state’s power network either during or following any future loss of the Heywood interconnector and the closure of coal-fired power stations.

Interconnectors are high-voltage transmission cables connecting electricity markets.

“Measures can be taken in the short term to address some of the immediate operational effects, but as the power system continues to evolve, in the longer term there could be an increasing need for changes to market arrangements or infrastructure to continue to meet security and reliability expectations, particularly at times when SA is synchronously islanded [separated] from the remainder of the NEM,” the report found.

AEMO is conducting further studies to maintain power system security in South Australia if it becomes isolated from the NEM.

Grappling with implications

Mr Zema said state governments were still grappling with the implications of moving away from the more reliable coal and gas-fired generation. He said they may have to invest billions of dollars in a back-up “loop” of interconnectors to ensure there are not reliability issues which could lead to blackouts.

“South Australia is at the front end of this [renewable] curve, Tasmania is not far behind as they are finding out with Basslink connection to the mainland,” Mr Zema said.

“If you build another interconnector to Victoria you may well extend it from Victoria to NSW.”

A new interconnector between South Australia and Victoria which would cost about $1 billion.

Mr Zema said the only alternative to building back-up interconnectors or more gas-fired power stations to cover for wind and solar – when the sun isn’t shining or the wind is not blowing – would be to dismantle the NEM.

“You either strengthen the grid and have more reliability and more paths or you break it up and its gets smaller and smaller and each state becomes an island,” he said.

“You either become better connected to the grid or you become your own grid which would result in huge price fluctuations.”

South Australia is leading the charge towards renewable energy, especially with the closure of coal-fired power stations, including Alinta Energy’s coal-fired power stations at Port Augusta.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill last year said the price fluctuations would not last and the state would benefit from leading the adoption of wind and solar power.

The precarious nature of the electricity network was further demonstrated by Tasmania also being isolated due to problems with the Bass Strait undersea power cable.

Victoria’s energy market could also be facing an overhaul with Alcoa’s Portland smelter – a large energy users – close to closure. It is negotiating with AEMO about an energy subsidy for its poles and wires.
Australian Financial Review

jay weatherill

Jay Weatherill’s more of the same, ‘Kumbaya solution’.


SA’s vapid Premier – a former worker’s compensation solicitor – wouldn’t be STT’s first pick when it came to sorting out a power market in absolute crisis and a grid on the brink of total collapse. His ‘belief’ that betting his beleaguered State’s failing ‘fortunes’ on more of the same smacks of child-like delusion, but, given more sensible (but costly) moves made recently (albeit under pressure), politically driven deception.

Contrary to Jay’s let’s all ‘hold-hands-around-a-turbine’ chanting Kumbaya approach – and Matt Zema’s line about “moving away from the more reliable coal and gas-fired generation” – SA’s Labor government has just signed their constituents up to throw $50 million a year at a heavily subsidised (guaranteed standby capacity) contract with the French owner of a mothballed CCGT plant at Pelican Point.

That panicked move is all about ensuring something like a reliable power flow (for the time being); and, at the political triage level, is an attempt to avoid any more ‘unhelpful’ wind power blackouts – like the one that plunged almost the entire State into Stone Age darkness last November – and a generally chaotic weather driven power supply that has businesses, like Uni SA coping with power supply ‘interruptions’, wild voltage and frequency fluctuations, and total blackouts on a regular basis.

email ML

Once upon a time, thanks to the pragmatic vision of its longest-ever-serving Premier, Sir Tom Playford, South Australians enjoyed both electricity supply autonomy and the cheapest and most reliable power in the Country – if not the world; and, with it, unparalleled growth in population, employment and incomes. Now, the reverse is true on all counts.

Due to its pathetic Labor government, SA is rightly regarded as the mendicant State. With his Labor predecessors having willingly signed up to an economic suicide pact, creating the wholly predictable debacle that followed, Jay Weatherill & Co will do what they do best: beg like fury for the Federal Government to bail them out, which means SA’s neighbours will, as usual, end up footing the bill for the most ridiculous power ‘policy’ ever devised.

tom playford-anzac-parade

Sir Tom Playford would be turning in his grave.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. estherfonc says:


    I just started a petition “SA PREMIER JAY WEATHERILL : Demand the resignation of the Energy Minister for HIGH POWER PRICES CAUSING SA’s JOBS CRISIS and also 15,000 household POWER DISCONNECTIONS, frequent POWER BLACKOUTS and the JULY 2016 POWER CRISIS” and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

    Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support.

    You can read more and sign the petition here:


    Please share this petition with anyone you think may be interested in signing it.

    Thankyou for your time.

  2. grumpyoldman22 says:

    I think SA is ripe for takeover by competent management. My worrying thought is that the takeover could be by China. The Feds seem hell bent on giving the country over to them in dribs and drabs as food and yarn producing farms. I didn’t want to study Mandarin at my advanced stage of life.
    Let us look at a business case. The Business; The Government and infrastructure of SA is bankrupt of solutions, direction and ability to plan ahead sustainably. It cannot rely on wine industry and tourism in the long term.
    The Opportunity: Shipbuilding is run down poorly managed, Power supply by State is failing rapidly, BHP Biliton (the Big Australian, SA steelmaker ) is on its knees, Australian steelmaking is sorely in decline, SA is surrounded by raw materials, Manufacturing Industry generally is failing, labour is plentiful. Potential exists to rise from its knees and take over shipbuilding in the southern hemisphere.
    There are in existence Joint Venture conglomerates of English speaking companies within the Commonwealth with the expertise and proven ability to get alongside the elected State government and bail it out, provided the political and green class stay right away from the project.
    Such JV company background and experience would include, Steelmaking (once Australia’s strongpoint), Current Nuclear power generation technology and Construction, Mining (Deep and opencut), Shipbuilding, Major Construction works including waterfront and landside infrastructure, global financing with host ownership. No rocket science anywhere. Simply an enormous BOOT scheme.
    Even fast tracked and red-tape free such a vision would take 5- 10 years. Every year we take to make up OUR minds to do something, will probably add two fears to the end point. I do not believe SA has any time to wait nor any alternative.

  3. No wonder Weatherill wants a 50% increase in the GST…
    We now know that won’t happen, according to Shorten and Turnbull.
    SA has milked local charges and taxes but has maxed out…
    The state’s shabby infrastructure declines further…
    The mining boom is over, removing the last rug under the govt’s feet.
    Arrium is demanding $60m to keep Whyalla going, but Arrium is a managerial basket case, now $2 billion in debt. Santos just announced a $2 billion loss…
    The wind turbine/solar fiasco in SA punishes everyone outside the privileged inner urban ring. The idiocy of renewables has been known for decades and well-known for at least 15 years. Grid instability, extreme cost..the lot.

    Just how this insidious nonsense came to be THE chief obsession of my side of politics (Greens, Left) is revealing…it reveals a nasty blend of class arrogance, technical ignorance and millennarian fervour.

  4. Industrial wind farms are net consumers of electricity when properly measured over a one year period.

  5. What with the inmates running the asylum, Mr. Davis’ comments make “perfect” sense. What, you don’t believe him?

  6. Let South Australians raise their own $1 billion to pay for the mess they have created by consistently electing state governments that are run by very, very, ignorant people who are ideologically committed to destroying their own industries and the tens of thousands of jobs that those industries have created. Any request or demand that Australians in other states should pay for this madness must be rejected outright. South Australian voters are only getting the government that they richly deserve.

    • grumpyoldman22 says:

      Possibly a little cruel at the end Paul. No State “richly deserves” the governments SA has endured. Time for the SA electorate to harden up and hold their politicians accountable. Certainly not time to cry out for help from other struggling States to fix their serious power problems or pass them off to others.

    • Jackie Rovensky says:

      Unfortunately the majority of South Australians did not vote for this Government. They took control by default and a system which ensured them power if they offered so called Independents favours.
      Hopefully it may be more balanced at the next election, but as we have 4yr fixed terms we have to wait and hope there will be a State left for us to vote for – one not sold to the highest bidder. Hopefully other States will not fall into the trap SA is in – but Victoria and NSW appear to be going along the same path – everything resting on the intermittent, unreliable and useless Wind Industry to not only save them from the dreaded Climate Change, but by creating jobs via massive financial investment and cheap energy for the masses – all of which is nothing more than ‘pie in the sky’ promises which disappear as the jobs and money go overseas – just look at SA – if these promises had been true South Australians would have full employment and plenty of money in their pockets to spend on luxuries instead of struggling to keep their families from the ‘poor house’.

  7. Jackie Rovensky says:

    All these supposed experts even with the same organisation cannot agree on what is so patently obvious to everyone else – even die hard Laborites – SA is in a diabolical state and Labor has no answer to the problems they have caused.
    As far as a new interconnector – haven’t we recfently been paying for a boost up of the Heywood interconnector, haven’t we been paying for years for improvements to the poles, wires and Grid system, what more do we have to pay to ensure we have this ESSENTIAL SERVICE available when-ever we need it.
    And there was the architect of the whole idiotic and damaging affair – Mike Rann, SA’s ex-Premier who was told to vacate his position by his own party – on the news tonight, in London, telling the British not to vote to leave the EU!!!!
    He should come back and face the people of this State and apologies, no maybe he should stay away so we don’t have to see the fawning that would ensue between him and Weatherill as they praise each other for delivering us to the devil – the wind industry.

    • E Griffiths says:

      We don’t want Mike Rann up here either – nor be a part of the undemocratic EU which is ruled by a bunch of unelected commissioners.

  8. Terry Conn says:

    Delusion rules supreme! South Australia is shutting down and more fool the rest of Australia if it joins in. Even though AEMO bosses sprinkle the wonders of wind power its own reports when analysed demonstrate its complete failure. When will a government leader obtain the courage to call this scam to heel?

  9. But according to (the renewables faction within) the AEMO, Mr Zema’s comments were not the message they were trying to get across. Chris Davies, the Head of Renewable Energy Management at AEMO, says there are no technical problems. “The system is secure and we can maintain security,” he told RenewEconomy in an interview on Friday.


    Renew Economy – a totally respectable, neutral source. All will be well /SARC

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