Desperate & Deluded: SA’s ‘Virtual’ Power Station Premier’s $Billion Brain Fart

Adelaide, SA 28.9.16: Virtual City, Bathed in Virtual Darkness.


When wind ‘powered’ South Australia, the most pathetic economic performer in the Country, was plunged into total, Stone Age darkness on 28 September 2016, it made headlines around the world. Gale force winds associated with a typical Spring storm front caused the automatic shutdown of SA’s fleet of whirling wonders, resulting in SA’s first statewide blackout; the rest as they say is history (see above, Adelaide’s unscheduled Earth Hour).

SA’s hapless Labor government blamed the debacle on everything, but the obvious:

It claimed that a few pylons (in an ancient and barely used part of the grid) that were toppled by the wind in the North of the State (after the blackout began) caused the entire State to suffer a total blackout.

It went on to blame ‘climate deniers’ (whatever that means?), Tony Abbott and everything under the Sun (except the wind, of course).

What really went on is dealt with here: ‘GUILTY’: South Australia’s Statewide Blackout Caused by Deliberate Wind Farm Shutdown

Premier Jay Weatherill and his thuggish sidekick, Tom Koutsantonis will never be accused of dealing with facts in any kind of rational or adult fashion.

No, delusion rules the day. These boys are determined to drive their State off a cliff, with their constituents as only partly willing passengers.

Instead of doing what needs to be done to slash power prices (SA suffers the highest power prices in the world) and keep the lights on – building reliable and dispatchable power generation capacity and relegating wind power to the bottom of the grid manager’s purchase sheet – Weatherill & Co have conjured up another $billion brain fart, which will do nothing but lumber taxpayers with hundreds of $millions in debt (on top of the $550m taxpayers are up for to pay for his $150m Elon Musk mega-battery and $400m for his 276 MW of dirty diesel-fuelled jet engines).

With his usual knack for overblown media hype the Premier announced his ‘virtual’ solution to a very real and tangible problem.

Here’s David Bidstrup bringing the latest burst of lunacy in SA firmly back to Earth.

More madness from the state of darkness
Catallaxy Files
David Bidstrup
7 February 2018

Recently “The Advertiser” reported that the SA government will solve the power problem with a “250 MW virtual power station” comprised of 49,000 solar/battery systems plonked on roof tops in Adelaide. It is headlined as a “solar brainwave”.

The systems will comprise a 5 kW solar system coupled to a Tesla, (who else?) battery with some “authority” having control over the contents of the battery if the poo starts hitting the fan. Using conservative numbers, each system will cost around $21,000 and produce 7.75 MWh in a full year.

49,000 5kW solar systems will produce 379,750 MWh in a full year. SA’s annual consumption in 2017 was 11.5 million MWh so the $1,029 million “investment” will produce the equivalent of 3.3% of our annual consumption.

24,000 “free”, (but taxpayer funded), systems will be installed on Housing Trust public housing properties, will cost $504 million and will produce 1.6% of the state’s annual power consumption. A further 25,000 private home systems, (dependent on finding enough gullible folk with a lazy $21,000 in their pockets), will cost a further $525 million and add another 1.7% of annual consumption.

In the depths of winter solar output reduces to 40% of peak summer output, (and is zero every night of the year), so there will not be enough “winter sun” to charge the batteries and provide “free” power.

Much is made of “future savings” of “$80 on all bills”. This has been “modelled” by the government’s pet consulting economist. The $80 reduction, if it ever manifests, will cost participants about $21,000 up front and they will cede control of their “free power” to others. On the basis of 4 power bills a year the $21,000 investment yields a return of $320 annually, or 1.5% – slightly worse than a term deposit. The “payback” period, without discounting, is 66 years.

The proposal is marketed as a “250 MW virtual power station” however when the production is compared to a conventional station it is around 43 mW, a capacity factor of 17%. This is about half of the abysmal output from wind farms.

Using a discharge rate of 2kW for a time of 5 hours, (Lithium batteries cannot be discharged below 10%), the “virtual power station” could deliver 98 mWh per hour or a total of 490 MWh. At “average” load of 1,500 MW this is about 20 minutes’ worth of power. For days like January 19, 2018, where the daily consumption was 51,000 MWh the “contribution” would be just under 1% of the day’s consumption.

It is fascinating that these people expect us to believe bullshit like this. Far from being a “solution”, it is an act of desperation from a government that destroyed our power system and hopes to fool us into believing they have a fix for the mess they made.
Catallaxy Files

Tangible ‘solutions’ to SA’s very real power supply problems.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Small point. A mW (lower case m) is a milli-Watt, 0.001W. A megawatt is written MW. A quibble, I know, but it helps your engineering street cred to be accurate.

  2. It’s being allowed because Australia, one of the hottest countries on earth, is more susceptible than most places to believe the global warming scam. Where I live in Canada, there was more than a kilometre of ice above the land, and even here the end-of -times by heat is driving this mad project. Blind faith is in and facts are out. Oh, and one more thing: there’s lots of money to be made when the poor have been convinced that it’s in their interest to make the rich even richer.

  3. Okay, being an American I don’t understand why the good citizens of SA haven’t tarred and feathered these punks and then run them out of town on a rail. The amount of corruption and money involved here is staggering. A child of four can see that it is impossible for “virtual” batteries to keep the electricity on! How can the government go off and spend this kind of money on insane public works projects?

    The real damage to the citizens and businesses of SA is mind blowing. WHY IS THIS BEING ALLOWED TO CONTINUE?!

    • Ever tried reasoning with Neo-Marxist fanatics?

    • Jackie Rovensky says:

      Unfortunately we are led to believe we live in a Democracy and without going into great lengths to explain our Parliamentary and voting system, I will just say we did not get the Government we voted for but a continuation of the one we had had for 12 years – we have a fixed 4 year term for Government here in SA so now they have been in for a 16 year stretch and many more years prior to a short stint of a Liberal Government which brought us out of a massive debt created by the Previous Labor fools. As a result we are suffering from this Governments desire to ignore Democracy, to ignore the needs of the people and to grab at any straw offered without considering the ramifications.
      This Government has sold us out.
      They changed Planning Regulations to meet the tune being played by the Wind Industry, they assisted them and continue to do so.
      They stand there with smug faces continuing to say they are doing OK, they are saving SA and everything will be fine, because they have the answers.
      That they have said this from the day the first turbines were installed to the day they cheered when the last Coal Fired Power Station here was blown up, to the day they fell over themselves with delight at being fooled into buying a ‘Big Battery’ and still try to convince us they know what they are doing.
      Even though they were told time and time again you cannot rely on the wind blowing that base-load secure energy supply was needed, they continued to smile and call anyone who didn’t agree with them ‘climate deniers’, even today they do not admit what they have done even though it is obvious they are tearing their hair out, panicking and no doubt tearing their hair out they will not admit they have been wrong.
      All the while we are sinking deeper and deeper into debt, we have an energy system that is not only chaotic but downright dangerous to this States ability to survive as an independent State within the Australian Federation.
      Will we be able to bring ourselves back to being a first world State, will be able to overturn the last minute spending of this Government and will we be able to pay our debts. Any incoming government is going to have an even bigger job than when Labor got us into the last catastrophe of debt – the State Bank debacle. Who know what the future for us is, I don’t but I will support anyone who has a rational answer to bringing us back from the brink and is willing to stand up and say it as it is – we need BASELOAD, power generation as soon as possible and if this is clean coal or nuclear then that is what it has to be.
      Do we have any Politician who has the guts to do that in this climate of denial of the obvious failure of Renewables to secure our energy needs and who is capable and strong enough to face the retribution from so many compromised soothsayers.

      • Yes Jackie, Cory Bernardi of the Australian Conservatives is your man & party, join up & fight the good fight, the day is late but all is not lost, this is one decision you will not regret.

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