‘Green’ Premiers Red-Faced: Wind Power Fiasco Ends in Dirty Diesel Debacle

SA’s Premier: dogged by dirty diesel debacle.


Australia’s ludicrous attempt to run on sunshine and breezes sometimes reads like the farcical plot of an episode of Blackadder or Fawlty Towers.

In a ‘you couldn’t make this up if you tried’ moment, Australia’s ‘greenest’ States, Victoria and South Australia (which has been forced to wear its mantle as ‘Australia’s wind power capital’, more like a crown of thorns), have been reduced to running on diesel generators.

Consumers set to cop cost of diesel back-up
The Australian
Samantha Hutchinson
14 November 2017

Victorian consumers could foot the bill for a summer energy plan using diesel generators as a stopgap during periods of peak ­demand.

In an about-face by the Andrews government, diesel generators will pump up to 100 mega­watts of power into Victoria’s energy grid as back-up in case of extreme heatwaves this summer.

The plan by the Australian ­Energy Market Operator aims to prevent blackouts in the summer peak, using the generators alongside deals with big energy users to cut demand during peak times to make sure the lights stay on.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has called the plan an “insurance policy” for the state during extreme weather events, and dismissed suggestions taxpayers would pay the bill.

“The national energy market operator is doing exactly what it should — putting measures in place to ensure Victorians have secure supply over summer,” a spokesman for Ms D’Ambrosio said. “This occurs on a regular basis when an extreme summer is forecast. It last took place in 2014 under the previous Liberal government, when Hazelwood was still in operation.”

But energy market experts say retailers will just pass the costs of the generators on to consumers.

“Whatever it costs, under the normal mechanism then the taxpayer does foot the bill,” Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood said. “Depending on how much it’s running and obviously the cost of the diesel. Diesel power generation is expensive — two to three times coal or gas.”

The Hazelwood power station, which generated a quarter of Victoria’s power supply by burning brown coal, shut in March after more than 50 years of operation.

The diesel generators pump out more carbon emissions than gas, but are marginally cleaner than conventional brown-coal power plants. Diesel generators are likely to emit about 0.8 tonnes of ­carbon per megawatt hour, compared with gas at 0.4 tonnes per MWh and brown coal at 1 tonne per MWh.

AEMO told The Australian that energy retailers would largely pay the bill. “The costs of the RERT (Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader) program will be predominantly paid for by energy retailers,” a spokesman said. “Costs to consumers are detailed by the retailers.”

AEMO is obliged to minimise costs where it can and to use the cheapest power options first.

It will announce its complete reserve plan for summer — outlining how and when the generators will be used — by the end of the month. From the outset, it appears the generators will be used during the third or fourth day of a heatwave when people ramp up their airconditioning.

Yesterday a defiant Ms D’Ambrosio said the energy market operator was taking the necessary steps to ensure the state was well prepared for extreme events.

News of the diesel plan represents a dramatic about-face for the Victorian government, which has repeatedly dismissed suggestions diesel generators would be brought in over summer to supplement the state’s energy supply.

As recently as September 6, a spokesman for Ms D’Ambrosio told The Australian there were “no plans” for large-scale diesel generators. Government sources indicated that position changed in early September when AEMO told the state there was a 0.0023 per cent risk the supply could fail.

An AEMO report to the federal government released in early September warned of widespread power outages throughout Victoria and South Australia during peak times throughout summer, and called for emergency reserves of energy to be built up over the next four years to avoid blackouts.
The Australian

Lily and Dan, the man with a diesel powered ‘plan’..


Clean, green Premier Jay Weatherill hooks up his new diesel generators
The Australian
Michael Owen
14 November 2017

Diesel generators the Weatherill government is buying to prevent blackouts this summer ahead of the March state election have been connected to South Australia’s wind-reliant grid.

Premier Jay Weatherill and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis yesterday toured the former Holden factory at Elizabeth in Adelaide’s northern suburbs — one of two sites where the emergency generators have been installed. A second fleet of generators is at the Adelaide Desalination Plant in Lonsdale, south of the city.

Mr Weatherill said the state now had access to an extra 276MW of electricity generation, after weeks of installation and testing, which could be switched on with 12½ minutes’ notice.

The new GE TM2500 aero derivative turbines will initially run only on diesel. The generators, which the state government is calling a “power plant”, have been supplied by APR Energy and will ultimately be publicly owned.

Mr Weatherill confirmed the generators would operate on diesel during the next two summers, before being relocated to a central, permanent location as a state-owned power plant operating on gas. A permanent location is yet to be publicly identified.

The Premier claimed the generators would be “cleaner” than the former coal-fired Northern Power Station at Port Augusta and, once operating on gas, would be cleaner and more efficient than the gas-fired Torrens Island Power Station. He said the hybrid generators would be complemented by the world’s largest lithium ion battery and new ministerial powers of direction.

APR Energy’s bid was selected following a competitive tendering process conducted by privately owned electricity distribution company SA Power Networks.

In August, The Australian reported the generators would use 80,000 litres of diesel an hour. The fleet of generators, which were shipped from Europe three months ago, will cost taxpayers more than $300 million. However, Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis yesterday refused to detail the exact cost, claiming it was commercial-in-confidence. “It’s within budget,” the Premier said.

Asked yesterday how he reconciled using dirty diesel given his green-power agenda, Mr Weatherill said South Australia already generated 48.9 per cent of its power from renewable energy. “What this represents is our state-owned energy plant … that will provide the long-term security for our energy future,” he said.

The Premier said the state would use the generators to intervene in the market if private operators “misbehaved”. “We would not hesitate to intervene in the public interest,” he said.

The opposition said the project showed the desperation of the government to prevent further blackouts before the next election.

“Labor is trying to bind any future government to an absolutely dodgy deal,” Deputy Opposition Leader Vickie Chapman said.
The Australian

Jay’s re-election plan: diesel fuelled jet-engines.


Jay Weatherill’s move to keep the lights on in SA using dozens of diesel fuelled jet-engines is a staggering concession that his state’s wind power experiment has failed.

Almost as staggering as the cost of running dirty Dan Andrew’s conventional diesel generators, compared to an efficient coal-fired power plant on $/MWh basis. Modern diesel engined plant will at its near-optimal 65-70% loading, generate 3 KWh per litre.

With diesel at $1.30 per litre that means a MWh of diesel generation (in terms of fuel cost alone) will cost Victorians $433 (333  litres being needed for 1 MWh @ $1.30 per litre), compared with coal-fired power, which costs less than $50 per MWh to deliver, day in, day out. On those numbers, dirty Dan’s diesel power plan brings with it a whopping cost, going way beyond the $20 million or so needed just to get his diesels up and running. Hazelwood, a 1,600MW coal-fired plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley would deliver power all day, every day for less than $40 per MWh, before Australia’s suicidal RET policy killed it.

The irony in all of this is that the so-called ‘wind power capital’, South Australia will come to rely even more heavily on coal-fired power delivered via interconnectors from Victoria and 276 MW worth of diesel generation, on those numerous occasions when wind power output collapses on a total and totally unpredictable basis.

The four economic powerhouses that rely upon the same type of diesel powered jet engines that are about to power South Australia are: Indonesia, Algeria, Greece and Egypt.

As to SA’s ‘green’ street-cred, it’s sufficient to notice that burning 80,000 litres of diesel every hour to generate a potential 276 MW (the turbines in question are de-rated by 25% when temperatures hit 40°C) is hardly consistent with Jay Weatherill’s mantra about cutting CO2 emissions in the electricity generation sector in order to save SA and, presumably, the rest of the Planet.

In the first article, Samantha Hutchinson reckons that:

diesel generators pump out more carbon emissions than gas, but are marginally cleaner than conventional brown-coal power plants. Diesel generators are likely to emit about 0.8 tonnes of ­carbon per megawatt hour, compared with gas at 0.4 tonnes per MWh and brown coal at 1 tonne per MWh.

On a MWh-for-MWh basis the CO2 emissions from High Efficiency Low Emissions coal-fired plant, of the kind being proposed by Coalition back-benchers and big energy users, are a minuscule fraction of what will spew forth from Weatherill’s diesel generators.

Each and every one of the millions of litres of diesel consumed by Weatherill’s diesel generators will punch out 2.7Kg of CO2. That’s right: a diesel generator emits 2.7Kg of CO2 gas for every litre of diesel consumed.

So, for every hour that Weatherill’s re-election team is in operation, SA will be chewing up 80,000 litres of diesel, pumping out an extra 216 tonnes of the dreaded CO2 gas, along with a host of real environmental nasties, as this article – ‘Estimation of carbon footprints from diesel generator emissions’ – points out:

[D]iesel engines release many hazardous air contaminants and greenhouse gases (GHG) including particulate matter (diesel soot and aerosols), carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. Particulate matters are largely elemental and organic carbon soot, coated by gaseous organic substances such as formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are highly toxic. In 2001, the mortality due to diesel soot exposure was at least 14,400 people out of 82 million people living in Germany.

Note to Jay and Daniel: coal, gas and diesel all come from the same family – they’re all called ‘fossil fuels’ – and it’s that family that will be keeping the lights on in South Australia and Victoria for years to come. Welcome to your diesel powered future!

140,000 litres of diesel off to power Victoria & South Australia:
enough to run Jay’s jets and Danny’s diesels for an hour or two.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Looking at NEM dispatch this 7AM this morning. Most interconnectors maxed out and SA exporting power to VIC, however SA statewide wind generation is only 9MW so I guess they are burning diesel to export power to a State that let its coal fired plant close. This plan is really coming together.

  2. Will someone stop me if I’m wrong, but these are aero-derivative turbines that will run on natural gas once fully commissioned? So we are talking about a bunch of open-cycle gas peaking plant units that will be run on diesel as a stop gap until the gas infrastructure is brought up to them?
    I’m not an expert on the South Aussie situation and I haven’t been in energy policy in Australia since 2011, but this not the silliest thing I have heard of by a long way. Gas peakers are common all over the world. They are dear to run per MWh, but that’s not what anyone installs them for; they follow load rapidly and come on fast. They are there to provide stability; FCAS, spinning reserve, etc. If we want to see if this is dumb ( and I am totally willing to believe that it might be) then the cost of the whole system needs a look. The marginal cost of generation for wind is really low, since the ‘fuel’ is free, but there is some OPEX and there is a need for peakers to back them up. That all has to be costed in. Has anyone run these numbers or are we just slagging the general idea here?

  3. This reminds me of the desalination plant era but this is going to be far worse in the long run

  4. In The Age a couple of days ago there was a very confused article about grid scale batteries (a whopping nominal 100MW) that were supposed to save the grid in VIC but were now delayed for some reason. The article was the usual mish mash of transposing instantaneous power with capacity and use over time. Despite everything they still managed to make it sound like renewables were a sensible course. Seems like there are a lot of costs washing through the system.

    We are indeed lucky that we have someone as knowledgable as Minister D’Ambrosio at the helm in the coming months. Heaven help us.

  5. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Why then does Weatherill not build a clean coal power station if he believes diesel is marginally cleaner than brown coal then surely he could accept a clean coal one is even cleaner than diesel. Or why not go down the path of nuclear or thorium which are even cleaner.
    All it takes is acceptance that he has made a mistake and south Australians are paying the cost – but that’s not his style and he continues to put himself forward as the saviour of SA and no doubt the world in his tiny little mind.
    You only have to keep an eye on the AEMO Data Dashboard to recognise that the grid is in danger of collapse at some point most days. Queensland is the only part of the grid that appears to constantly produce more than it requires, pushing the over production through the grid to keep others alive. So what happens when they turn to more and more ‘renewables’, do we all go down together or will the grid begin to disintegrate and each State return to looking after its own needs?
    Weatherill saying his diesel is capable of turning on in around 121/2 minutes – well a lot of damage can be done to industry and business in that interim period and people reliant on electricity to keep life saving machinery operating in their homes could die.
    For the cost of purchase installation and re-installation then conversion along with the cost of the diesel to be brought in, for a period of 2 years or more he could probably have kept the Pt Augusta plant open until a new one could have been built.
    Far from being self reliant on energy supplies SA is now going to be reliant on imported diesel.
    Oh what a web of mad ideas he and his Government have spun, and we the public have been caught up in it with little chance of escaping from its sticky entrapment. Even if they are sprayed with a can of ‘defeat’ at the election in March next year it will take many years to untangle this web.

  6. Son of a goat says:

    I am sure the looney left have already prepared their spiel come the first major “blackout” of the season here in SA.

    Obfuscation of the facts will be the name of the game.

    Why I’m willing to bet some of those keyboard warriors will have the word “blackout” as being some kind of racially motivated slur.

    Well by the end of summer we could also have “brownouts” when the toxic plume arises as the diesel generators kick into action filling the air with the fruits of Koutsy’s good work.

    Heavens forbid, we might even have a “burnout” as Elron’s big battery cant handle the pace and explodes into a fire ball like a giant fire cracker for New Years celebrations.

    Plenty to look forward to here in SA especially if your a manufacturer of candles or air pollution masks.

  7. You are, unhappily, a textbook example of what not to do. Here in Canada we have a province ( Ontario) which is following the same path toward the same result and another (Alberta), also led by a socialist administration, just beginning its descent into the same rabbit hole. We also have a clueless Prime Minister reigning over Canada as a whole (hole?) attempting to bury national interest in favour of globalism. Insanity appears to be the norm.

  8. Peter Pronczak says:

    What a farce – costs always get passed on to consumers – it’s the nature of the beast.

    No lesson was learned from Tasmania lowering its hydro dam reserves to profit from selling power to the mainland, until the Bass Link cable broke and they had to bring in diesel generators that cost more than the profit made. Was that cost passed on to consumers? You betcha!

    It’s all a bit Disney cartoon land, ” I tawt I taw a brainy cwak” or maybe Wile E. Coyote over a cliff.

    A “0.0023 per cent risk the supply could fail” must be from the same people who worked out the hedging fomula and the National Competition Policy. And 4 years of the same stop-gap can be looked forward to. What’s the longest we’ve had a drought for?

    Maybe Mr Weatherill will find a permanent site in the middle of a uranium field; it’ll be quite safe there.

    “The Premier said the state would use the generators to intervene in the market if private operators “misbehaved”. “We would not hesitate to intervene in the public interest,” he said.
    Spare me the rhetoric bulldust, if they cared about the public interest we wouldn’t be subjected to a private usury financial system and any ‘misbehavers’ would be jailed.

    Was it 4 or 5 blind men describing an elephant, as it looks like we’ve got a state of 7 plus the NEMO.

    If it’s considered ‘well prepared’ I’d hate to see unprepared; but wait, that’s what happened to Tassie.

  9. Why are they so stupid?

    • irritable Bill says:

      Insane is the word you are looking for Ann, and insane needs no reason…it just is.
      Please don’t blame ordinary Australians, they have been lied to by the entire mainstream media and till recently actually believed that their “leaders” were representing their interests. Sadly it couldn’t be further from the truth. And they are beginning to wake up to this fact…hence the diesel solution panic from the socialists. When the power goes out and the power bills come in, then we will see a change in Gov and future Govs will have to act in a more sober manner.
      The PM of Australia is about to lose his job due to a complete abandonment of conservative principles and a disgusting and unseemly groveling acquiescence to the unelected commissars of the UN and EU. On this site where I am writing to informed and clever people I don’t need to say any more than this….the PM of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull was previously a CEO of Goldman & Sachs. And the assorted Premiers of States are either Globalists or socialists of another ilk and are fully paid up members of the globalist agenda 21 club. Filthy stinking Vermin.

      • Well said irritable Bill. The future for Australia looks bleaker every hour as the crazy renewable energy believers keep following the same failed rhetoric of electricity getting cheaper as more solar panels and windmills are installed. Lucky for the rent seekers Australian schools stopped teaching maths decades ago when the left found adding two figures together and coming up with a correct answer was beyond their pea sized brains.

  10. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    DIESEL generators hooked up to energy networks in Australian states with a heavy reliance on “green” energy as part of a last-ditch effort to keep the lights on this summer!

    SO, climate theory obsessed politicians blow up and decommission baseload “dirty” fossil-fuel power stations, to stop bad weather, and replace them with “dirty” fossil-fuel diesel generators to stop blackouts!

    YOU literally can’t make up this unreliable-energy-insanity stuff up anymore.

    AND the further cost to taxpayers already skyrocketing power bills!!


  11. crosspatch says:

    100 MW of diesel is not going to do a whole lot and it is likely to be dirtier than a modern coal plant. A hot day with no wind is going to require a lot more than 100 MW to stabilize the grid.

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