South Australia’s Wind Power Nightmare Contagious: Power Pricing & Supply Calamity Spreads

Among other descriptions, the power pricing and supply calamity that is South Australia has been referred to as the ‘canary in the coal mine’, the consequence of its hell-for-leather renewable energy experiment.

The ‘canary in the coal mine’ was, of course, destined to be sacrificed in order to save underground miners from the perils of hard to detect toxic gas.

In SA the canary snuffed it years ago and what’s left is more of an economic dead duck.

South Australia’s erratic power supply is dominated by 18 wind farms with a notional capacity of 1,698 MW.

Each and every turbine erected in South Australia is the result of the Federal government’s Large-Scale RET.

To satisfy the ultimate 33,000 GWh annual targets set by the LRET, Australia needs to more than double its current renewable energy output. If not, all Australian power consumers will be paying something like $1.5 billion a year in fines tacked on top of their already crippling retail power bills. And if the target is satisfied, the total cost of the subsidies (also tacked on top of retail power bills) will reach more than $3 billion each year. Either way, the cost of subsidies and/or fines adds $42 billion to retail power bills between now and 2031, when the LRET expires (see our post here).

Where an ideological obsession has all but destroyed South Australia’s economic prospects, the mandated targets set by the LRET guarantee that the self-inflicted harm being suffered by South Australians will not be contained within its borders.

Al Gore Praises “Climate Leader” South Australia
Watts up with that?
Eric Worrall
11 July 2017

South Australia’s catastrophic renewables policies have been endorsed by former Vice-President Al Gore; Gore considers South Australia to be a climate world leader.

“Donald Trump ‘isolated’ on climate change: Al Gore says rest of world moving on without US President

7.30 By Callum Denness

The United States will meet or exceed its Paris Agreement emissions targets despite an increasingly isolated President Donald Trump withdrawing from the accord, former vice-president Al Gore says.

In Australia to promote his latest film, An Inconvenient Sequel, the climate campaigner and one-time presidential candidate said Mr Trump was out of step domestically and internationally.

“The country as a whole is going to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement, regardless of what Donald Trump says or does,” Mr Gore told 7.30.

Disputing the argument renewable energy is less reliable and more expensive than conventional power sources, Mr Gore praised South Australia’s recently struck deal to build a battery storage facility with Tesla.

“The electricity from both solar and wind continues to come down every single year. And the new historic development is battery storage is coming down significantly in cost,” Mr Gore said.

“And this historic announcement that South Australia is leading the entire world with the installation of the largest battery in the world, it will be the first of many to come.”

… Read more:

The escapades of South Australia, the world’s renewable crash test dummy, regularly appears in WUWT. But for people suffering blackoutssurging electricity costseconomic hardship, and inane political excuses for their ongoing misery, South Australia’s botched energy policies are no laughing matter.

Will the new battery pack help? The South Australian grid typically draws around 800Mw-2Gw of electricity.

100MWh is not a lot in the context of 800Mw-2Gw of power demand.

The cost of the battery is not clear – estimates range between AUD $33 million to $240 million.

Yes the battery might give a few minutes of breathing space to fire up a backup gas generator, if clouds cover the sun or the wind dies. No the battery will not help if the vagaries of seasonal weather deliver several months of unusually low wind, as just recently occurred in South Australia.

South Australia could solve their problems almost overnight by restoring baseload capacity. They don’t even have to go for a fossil fuel based solution. South Australia has one of the largest deposits of Uranium in the world. One large nuclear reactor could easily produce all their energy needs without emitting CO2. Nuclear power is frequently proposed in South Australia. Nuclear power works – you can build a stable, competitive economy on the back of zero emissions nuclear power.

Instead the South Australian government persist with hideously expensive, unstable, and untested solutions, with using their people as guinea pigs to see what breaks first – the South Australian electric grid, or the South Australian people’s patience with their blundering politicians.

South Australia’s policy in my opinion represents a patchwork bandaid approach to power grids. Too much instability? Add a battery. Unseasonably slow winds? Add more solar or wind. Even slower winds? Add even more solar or wind. Better add another battery to cope with all that extra solar and wind.

It seems very unlikely that such a patchwork effort to create a power grid could ever approach the stability of a grid which offers true weather independent baseload capacity. No matter how much extra renewable capacity is added, plausible intermittency scenarios exist which lead to grid failure. And we haven’t even considered the load of all the electric cars South Australia expects to be able to attach to their grid the near future.

Why should anyone care about what happens in South Australia – other than South Australians of course? The reason is that what happens in South Australia will have repercussions elsewhere.

If South Australia declares victory over renewable instability, regardless of how unjustified or premature their declaration, it is likely the South Australian template for grid chaos will be attempted elsewhere, maybe in your home state. I think from Al Gore’s words of endorsement we can reasonably conclude that South Australia’s nightmare electrical grid problems are Gore’s template for the entire world.
Watts up with that?

Here’s some South Australia prepared earlier…

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Crispin Trist says:

    It has been a wild night in Southwest Victoria with strong northerly winds. I see from the Andrew Miskelly website that at least 2 wind farms in both Victoria and South Australia stopped producing power through the early hours of Saturday morning. Mortons Lane and Waterloo wind farms appear to have dropped out whilst producing at near capacity.

    Miskelly link below. This is a live link. At the time of writing, the power output readings were still current.

    Actual footage of a wind farm cutting out in high winds. Link below…

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Sorry but the rest of Australia is already going down the path of SA. Just look at the number of turbine installations proposed for Victoria’s SW and NSW’s ranges. Even Tasmania is looking at installing more.
    Governments never learn from others mistakes and SA has had more than its fare share of fools in government since Thomas Playford (Liberal & Country League) who served from 1938 – 1965 and created SA into a manufacturing giant by ensuring there was cheap and plentiful electricity for all from SA’s own resources. If the other State do not step back and take a clear uncluttered by so called expert opinion they will see just how SA has shown how NOT to run a State.
    Since Playford SA has had the incompetence of a Labor government between 65 -67, 67 – 68, 70 – 79, 79 – 79, 82 – 82, 92 – 93 and 2002 until the present day.
    With Liberal serving from 68 – 70, 79 – 82, 93 – 96, 96 – 2001, and at each time they had to cope with the overspending and mismanagement of Labor.
    Instead of glorifying the difference of SA, Labor has continually tried turn SA into what they consider a socially progressive State leading the country in the Arts and social reform and more recently leaders in environmental issues.
    The first two they have maybe notionally have achieved, but at what cost.
    The last we know the cost, they have driven industry out, they have caused energy prices to rise to a point its businesses and citizens can no longer afford it and prosper in a modern world. They have succeeded in bringing SA to its knees and the attention of the world, showing the world and the rest of Australia how not to manage its energy resources.
    It has brought it to the attention as a place that has ignored warnings that it’s not possible to rely solely on Renewables in the form of Wind and Solar for its energy requirements.
    It is now leading the world in showing how not to accept they have made a mistake and own up to it.
    They are leading the world in how to spend and spend and get nothing of any use from all that money.
    They are leading the world in how easy it is to be sold a ‘pup’ by falling under the spell of a consummate salesman and becoming their free advertising agency.
    They are leading the world in consequences of not researching possible outcomes before pushing ahead with an industry and ideology that so obviously had many faults, by not accepting if it sounds too good to be true it possibly is.
    They fail the citizens of SA by not accepting the truth of their failure, they fail the citizens by continuing to lie and bluster about their false achievements while the people feel the pain and anguish.
    Yes SA is leading the world in stupidity and lethargy and it is nothing to be proud off.
    Watch out the rest of Australia and look to your citizens future before following SA’s example.
    SA is a great place or could be if not for the failings of our Government.

  3. When you read the SA media, its mind numbing that a good proportion of the SA population think that its good to destroy one fossil plant, then build another one, rent some diesels and buy a token battery. All while their economy crumbles around them.

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