South Australia’s Wind Power Disaster: No Solution in Sight

panic-disorder-971

‘Panic’ is the only word capable of describing the mood among South Australia’s policymakers.  Over the last few posts, STT has detailed a wealth of media coverage on SA’s self-inflicted energy debacle.

The former general manager of the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA), Bruce Dinham is one of many groping around (knowing SA’s power supply, probably in the dark) for solutions to the disaster.

Bruce Dinham: How to slash South Australia’s electricity bills
The Advertiser
Bruce Dinham
6 July 2016

Investigation into huge increases to SA power bills

Huge electricity shock as EnergyAustralia bills to jump by $261 a year

Electricity bills in South Australia already nation’s highest, set to increase

State’s largest energy retailer, AGL, set to hike electricity bill prices

BLAMING ETSA’s privatisation for high electricity prices — as a recent The Advertiser editorial did — doesn’t solve the problem but it does give clues to what needs to be done.

For several years with Tom Playford’s ETSA, South Australia had the lowest electricity prices of any of the mainland states. Only Tasmania, with cheap hydro-electric power, was lower.

Today SA’s price is about the highest, so it is interesting to compare what we had or didn’t have then with what we have now.

We didn’t have retailers, we didn’t have generator bidding, we didn’t have a futures market, we didn’t have a governance bureaucracy costing over $160 million a year but in itself not producing a single unit of electricity, we didn’t have the so-called National Electricity Market which is neither national nor a market.

The Commonwealth has no constitutional authority or responsibility for electricity supply in the states but depends upon state legislation for which SA has been the bellwether and with a few large generators and fixed wiring to consumers who have no choice of supplier it in no way resembles a trading market.

There is no need for a bidding arrangement or a futures market. Any competent system operator would or should know the condition, actual costs and performance of each generator and schedule them accordingly for optimum combined output.

Retailers are also unnecessary. As such they don’t own or operate any part of the generation, transmission or distribution systems and contribute nothing to the production or delivery of electricity.

They send out the bills and collect and distribute the money but they don’t own or read the meters. The money function could almost certainly be done more efficiently by the distributor, who does own and read the meters.

The argument that retailers compete and keep prices down is a farce. The electricity you get comes from the same generator, through the same wires and the cost of producing and delivering it to your premises is exactly the same regardless of whom your retailer may be.

Get rid of retailers, the ridiculous generator bidding arrangement, the futures market and much of the governance bureaucracy, none of which are necessary and we could significantly reduce the cost of electricity.

Wind and solar renewables can increase supply costs because they are intermittent and unreliable. To maintain voltage and frequency and system stability they must be backed up continuously with conventional generation or recoverable storage. This means, in effect, that we have to operate and maintain two systems at the same time.

As well as the obvious problems with our present supply, the closure of the Leigh Creek Coalfield and Northern Power Station mean that much of the electricity on which we depend will come over 800km of vulnerable overhead transmission line from brown coal-fired generators in Victoria.

In the circumstances we now have there is clearly a need for an open and comprehensive public inquiry into cost and reliability and future arrangements for our electricity supply. As present arrangements depend upon SA legislation, the responsibility for such an inquiry clearly rests with our State Government.

So the question is: When is it going to happen?

Bruce Dinham is the former general manager of ETSA.
The Advertiser

STT is in full agreement with Bruce Dinham’s observations about legendary former Premier Tom Playford’s development of ETSA and its ability to deliver reliable power at prices which were once the lowest in the world: ETSA: Sir Tom Playford’s Ghost

However, South Australia is a victim of not only the stupidity of a succession of Labor governments – starting with Mike Rann in 2002 – like all Australian states – it is subject to the Federal government’s Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target.

Under the LRET, all Australian power consumers are being whacked with the massive cost of subsidising wind power; a cost which will soon hit $3 billion a year as a Federal power tax, on top of their already punishing power bills: half of which will go to wind power outfits as REC subsidy; and the other half of which will be collected as a penalty, payable to the Federal government (see our post here).

The only difference between South Australians and their neighbours is that South Australia launched into wind power with a vengeance; and is, accordingly, reaping what its political betters have already sown.  Whereas, states like Queensland and Western Australia did not.

While Bruce Dinham’s suggestion of an open and comprehensive public inquiry into the fiasco is noble, SA’s political brains trust needs look no further than the pages of STT.

What’s occurred in South Australia is no mystery; it’s inevitable. We told you so.

blackout

It’s no mean feat trying to find solutions in the dark…

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Crispin Trist says:

    STT should consider themselves well and truly vindicated. They have been predicting these events in South Australia all along.

    The 2013 National Wind Fraud Rally footage featured above and to the right of the screen under the STT TV links also features Barrister Peter Quinn forecasting the very events that are currently unfolding in July 2016. It is titled …

    Rally – Peter Quinn. https://stopthesethings.com/2013/07/09/rally-peter-quinn/

    Shot in June 2013, here is a fine example of going ‘back to the future’. He was introduced by one Alan Jones.

    Whilst the likes of GetUp held a pro wind party in the Canberra CBD, and the ABC were showing aerial footage of the Waubra wind farm on their morning TV breakfast show, in fact doing everything in their power to draw public attention away from the Wind Fraud Rally that was underway up at Parliament House, Peter Quinn was giving this stirring speech. When you listen to his speech now, you can understand why!

  2. Reblogged this on Jaffer's blog.

  3. Terry Conn says:

    ‘We told you so’ — indeed we did, and have not been able to be contradicted in terms of accuracy or false claims, but still the powers that be refuse to listen, so down the slippery slope we remain – Victoria is next to go.

  4. Hail the mighty goat. says:

    The late and much missed Martin Hayles of Curramulka was not a man to mince his words when it came to the wind industry. A man who stood true against the unscrupulous behaviour and harassment of the Ceres wind proponents.
    Marty had the foresight that has alluded many others in seeing the economic and environmental fraud of the wind industry. Quite simply he was brave enough to go against naive populist propaganda.
    What is left of the Ceres proposal?
    A divided community, the toll has been great personally for many and that includes the proponents themselves.
    May we all learn from this insanity.
    Vale Martin Hayles.

  5. estherfonc says:

    Greetings,

    PETITION UPDATE: I have just added the latest ABC news reports from this week. PLEASE READ AND SIGN MY NOW UPDATED PETITION. Thankyou !

    I just start a PETITION “Premier Jay Weatherill: DEMAND THE RESIGNATION OF SA ENVIRONMENT MINISTER IAN HUNTER FOR WIND POWER PRICE DISASTER” 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:

    https://www.change.org/p/premier-jay-weatherill-demand-the-resignation-of-sa-environment-minister-ian-hunter-for-wind-power-price-disaster?recruiter=135406845&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

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

    Thankyou for your time and your assistance.

  6. E.Foncueva says:

    Hi Everyone,

    PETITION UPDATE: I have just added the latest ABC news reports from this week. PLEASE READ AND SIGN MY NOW UPDATED PETITION. Thankyou !

    I just start a PETITION “Premier Jay Weatherill: DEMAND THE RESIGNATION OF SA ENVIRONMENT MINISTER IAN HUNTER FOR WIND POWER PRICE DISASTER” 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:

    https://www.change.org/p/premier-jay-weatherill-demand-the-resignation-of-sa-environment-minister-ian-hunter-for-wind-power-price-disaster?recruiter=135406845&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

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

    Thankyou for your time.

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