Australia’s Federal RET Blown Away by South Australia’s Wind Power Disaster


Renewable strategy blowing in the spin
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
6 October 2016

The nation’s renewable energy strategy has officially blown a fuse. Everything is back on the table after an interim report found last week’s storm-induced statewide blackout in South Australia was the result of a dramatic, sudden loss of wind power generation.

The loss of wind power came after fierce lightning and strong winds hit the transmission system but the reason for the collapse of wind power production is not explained. Industry insiders say the wind farms “had not responded as they were supposed to”. This puts the lie to claims renewables had nothing to do with the statewide blackout.

As does the admission by the Australian Energy Market Operator in its interim report that the bulk of damage to high-voltage transmission lines that have been paraded as evidence in defence of renewables was most likely to have happened after power had been lost.

It will take weeks to flesh out the forensic, time-sequenced analysis already conducted by AEMO. But there is enough in the interim report to make the still-persistent claims from state leaders and industry lobby groups that renewable energy had nothing to do with the blackout seem foolish.

Certainly, the power would not have been lost were it not for the big storm. And seven big towers were damaged in the lead-up to the blackout.

But AEMO said data currently available indicates the damage to the Davenport to Brinkworth 275kV line, on which 14 towers were damaged, “occurred following the SA Black System”.

The big event was a 123MW reduction in output from North Brown Hill Wind Farm, Bluff Wind Farm, Hallett Wind Farm and Hallett Hill Wind Farm at 16:18.09. Seconds later there was an 86MW reduction in output from Hornsdale wind farm and a 106MW reduction in output from Snowtown Two wind farm.

No explanation was given for the reduction in wind farm output. But the loss of wind farm production put too much pressure on the electricity interconnector with Victoria, which cut off supply. This in turn led to a shutdown at the Torrens Island power station, Ladbroke Grove power station, all remaining wind farms and the Murraylink interconnector.

AEMO says more work is needed. But definitely there are lessons here for putting high levels of intermittent renewable energy into the electricity system, as state governments are now rushing to do. As a result, the AEMO report provides a handy reference point for energy ministers meeting at a Council of Australian Governments emergency conference tomorrow.

The issue is the need for co-ordination and a national plan. The need for greater recognition of reliability of supply, stability and cost that must be considered in any transition to a less carbon-intensive energy system.

South Australia is significant in world terms for its high penetration of renewable energy without a complete power back-up from neighbouring states. Blackouts, price spikes and traditional job losses are lessons now being learnt the hard way.

The speed with which renewable energy spruikers rushed to argue that renewables had nothing to do with the events in South Australia is a measure of their ideological self-interest.
The Australian

Go Graham

Mr ‘balance’, Graham Lloyd finally lets loose.


Finally, a piece from The Australian’s Graham Lloyd that doesn’t include the usual tosh pitched by John Connor from wind-cult-central, aka the ‘Climate Institute’ and/or the usual suspects from the Clean Energy Council.

In most of what Graham writes, it’s evident that he seems to think that allowing lunatics to engage in preachy, virtue signalling constitutes ‘journalism’ – to hell with the actual facts and their ultimate consequences. However, in the piece above, we actually get to hear Graham unshackled – and what a pleasure it is.

Note to Graham: stop pandering to them – the John Connors of this world are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

As WA Liberal Senator, Chris Back aptly put it: “The current situation in South Australia provides a wake-up call. There should be no further subsidies paid for an intermittent and unreliable power source that can be seen as a proven failure.  There are solutions to our climate challenges but wind power is not one of them.”

Indeed! And that punchy and prescient observation was long-before the worst blackout in Australian history.

If the Climate Council and the Clean Energy Council were even vaguely serious about reducing CO2 emissions in the electricity sector, they would be pushing for Australia to follow Britain’s lead and build a system around nuclear power.

Until that happens, the twaddle they pedal is just mercenary, moral posturing and financially motivated, virtue signalling.

One who could never be accused of either is Judith Sloan.

State of insanity has infected energy policy
The Australian
Judith Sloan
7 October 2016

There is not a sensible economist in Australia who thinks the renew­able energy target is good policy. If the objective is to reduce the rate of growth of carbon dioxide emissions, then a policy such as the RET is both expensive and ineffective.

It’s as bad as the old quota system that used to apply to the ­importation of cars and textiles, clothing and footwear. It made a few spivs rich, but consumers lost out big time.

The RET picks winners — elig­ible renewable energy — when policy should be neutral about the energy sources that will achieve lower emissions growth.

And then there is the intermittent and non-synchronous nature of renewable energy relative to demand. The wind must blow but not too much. The sun must shine but night always intervenes. Battery storage may help but it will be expensive and is in the future.

In the meantime, we must deal with the instability that renewable energy is creating for the electricity system. And the means of dealing with this problem are not straightforward or cheap.

Let’s face it, it was like drawing teeth for the government to re­negotiate the national RET down from the completely unrealistic figure of 45,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000GWh by 2020. This latter figure is expected to amount to 23.5 per cent of electricity generated at that time. Note that the RET runs on to 2030.

We are currently sitting at about 15 per cent. It will be difficult to get to 23.5 per cent by 2020. Whatever happens, we will be paying higher electricity prices as shortfall charges kick in if the ­target is not met.

We now have loopy, virtue-signalling Labor state governments thinking that they can do their own thing by setting their own renewable energy targets. The one I particularly love is Queensland. It wants to have 50 per cent of electricity generated by renewables by 2030; it is currently 4.5 per cent.

Mind you, Victoria is not far behind when it comes to harebrained thinking. A state that was once a powerhouse of manufact­uring based on cheap and reliable energy will now aim to have 25 per cent of renewable energy by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. This must be a joke.

There is about 1200 megawatts of large-scale renewable energy currently installed in Victoria. It wants an extra 1800MW by 2020 — in three years. By 2025, the aim is to have 5400MW of wind and solar. It simply beggars belief that a sufficient number of projects could be firmed up, financed and completed in this time period.

And completely discount the deluded claim of the Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, that an extra 3000 jobs in Victoria will be created by 2020. She forgot to subtract the thousands of jobs that will be lost directly — think the closure of the Hazelwood power station — and indirectly from this insane policy.

Luckily, the federal Department of Environment and Energy is injecting some commonsense and numbers into the debate. Adding together the renewable energy plans of Queensland and Victoria, the additional costs will be $41 billion, which will feed its way into higher bills for households and businesses. Their combined plans amount to an extra 37,000GWh — the equivalent of an additional 4800 turbines.

There is no doubt that the ­energy debate in this country has now entered cloud-cuckoo land. Just when the rest of the world is waking up to the limitations of ­renewable energy — Denmark, Spain and Britain are all backtracking quickly — we have a number of cockamamie state governments trying to do their own thing and promote completely unrealistic renewable energy targets.

There can only be one target, and that is the national one. The focus of the debate has to be on ­energy security and affordability.
The Australian

Nice work from Judith, but she suffers a brain fade in the last paragraph: the national target she cites is the very reason SA suffers from an unstable grid, routine load-shedding and total blackouts and the highest power prices in the Nation, by a factor of 2.

Federal Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg has been running the line that the power pricing and supply chaos playing out in SA – and which inevitably threatens all other States – is about ‘ideological’ State-based targets.

In the aftermath of SA’s ‘Black Wednesday’, the only true utterance to pass the SA Premier Jay Weatherill’s lips is that the financial incentives that built SA’s 1,580MW of wind power capacity are the exclusive result of the subsidies paid as RECs issued under the Federal government’s Large-Scale RET.

Note to Judith, Weatherill is right on that score; and the cost to all Australian power consumers of the subsidies (or fines) paid under the Federal LRET will soon hit $3 billion a year and continue at that punishing rate until 2031: SA’s Wind Power Debacle Escalates as Australian Wind Power Subsidies Hit $3 Billion a Year.

Welcome to your wind powered future!

josh frydenberg

Josh Frydenberg measures the chances of voters
buying his line that it’s all the States’ fault.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. You Ozzies are at least airing your spleen about Wind Farms. Here in New Zealand they shut you down completly when you try and go Public.
    As a Power Systems Diagnostic Engineer i have fought hard to explain to all those Green and Government Idiots that not one Wind Farm Produces the Required 50 Hz Energy your Appliances need to Operate on.
    Which means they are totally USELESS AND ALL SHUTDOWN
    they are part and parcel of the biggest Illegal Scam,Corruption operation in the World today.
    I am willing to donate $1Million Dollars to be proved wrong in my Statement.
    You Ozzies have my appreciation of what you are trying to achieve, as history will reveal that all Wind Farms are as useless as the TITS ON A BULL.
    Keep up the good work.
    Bill Harding Taupo

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    The mess we are now faced with, not only here but across the world, is countries having ‘targets’ to try and change the worlds climate was reckless without having well researched and considered ways of achieving targets or even change in the worlds climate before making the targets or even beginning to make significant changes to how energy is produced and distributed.
    More attention should and still needs to be made to ways we can not only reduce ‘bad’ emissions, but to clean up what is in the atmosphere to start with.
    Work on those areas first would have given time for the research into the more aggressive energy production methods.
    Over many years there have been moves to reduce emissions. Back in the 1950-60’s in the UK areas were barred from burning coal in their home fires, having to go to ‘smokeless coke’, instead to reduce the instances of smog, you do not hear of smog events in the UK anymore.
    A while ago in Adelaide, SA, the use of backyard incinerators were banned to prevent smog events on the Adelaide plains. The old style light globe has been banned and we now have to use those which are meant to be ‘cleaner’ as they use less electrical energy, white goods now have energy ratings, cars have emission controls, manufacturers have now to find ways to cut emissions, buildings are being built with energy use a high consideration and the list goes on, but has it been of any use? No.
    Has our use of ‘renewables’ for energy production made any reduction into the emissions measured in the atmosphere? No.
    So why are we continuing down a path which is a failure?
    Yes we can use renewables that are cost effective and safe, but we should NOT continue down the path of unreliable, expensive, dangerous and inefficient sources to meet unrealistic ‘targets’ that have been set in an atmosphere of trumpeted fear, a need to puff ourselves up to other nations, which has led to being seen as stupid, manic and a place where investment without Government subsidies to support the investment is the norm.

  3. "Federal Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg has been running the line that the power pricing and supply chaos playing out in SA – and which inevitably threatens all other States – is about ‘ideological’ State-based targets."

    Well Minister time for a reality check, it's a bit like saying Weatherill and his SA wasters are fully pregnant.  While you and your boss pretend, Maxwell Smart style, that you're "just this much" pregnant.  Wake up Josh, there were some who once thought it time to dust off and trot out that old appetitive "the colt from Kooyong", how wrong they were.  It's high time the once conservative Liberal Party brought itself into the 21st century and recognised that pandering to the long discredited man-made warming orthodoxy by throwing tens of billions of subsidy dollars at renewables cannot make any measurable difference to the temperature of the planet's atmosphere, even if alarmist man-made warming theory were true.
    The truth is Josh if you and your boss really believed, as former PM Kevin 07 once professed to, that climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time then you would opt for the only possible means whereby any significant reduction in CO2 emissions could be achieved without completely destroying the country's economy and prosperity – nuclear energy. 
    But the truth is you don't and you won't – it's just a game of ideology and politics?

  4. estherfonc says:


    I started a petition “SA PREMIER JAY WEATHERILL : Demand the RESIGNATION of the Energy Minister for HIGH POWER PRICES CAUSING SA’s JOBS CRISIS and 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.

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