Wind Power Collapses Send Power Prices Into Orbit in Wind ‘Powered’ South Australia

Wind power outfits often claim that their particular operation ‘powers’ 30,000 homes; RE zealots even claim that South Australians get 50% of their power from the sun and wind.

Whacked with the obvious retort of ‘when?’, the wind cultist changes tack and starts mumbling about mega-batteries (non-existent and insanely costly), pumped hydro (non-existent and costly) and then starts ranting about an evil fossil fuel conspiracy.

South Australia is the shining example of the true cost and absolute chaos that comes with attempting to run on sunshine and breezes.

Set out above, courtesy of Aneroid Energy, is the output from every wind turbine in SA during the merry month of March (with a notional capacity of 1,810 MW).

Even if you add in the piddling 100 MW capacity of its $150,000,000 Elon Musk special, it’s pretty clear that collapses in the order of 700 to 1,200 MW (which occur in the space of minutes) mean that, for more than half the time, SA’s households and businesses aren’t really being powered by the wind, at all.

While wind power output collapses have caused plenty of mass load shedding and Australia’s first statewide blackout, there is still the pretence of trying to keep the lights on, across the economically beleaguered state. The cost of doing so, however, isn’t cheap.

But, before we come to price attached to being the most morally ‘virtuous’ place on the planet, consider for a moment that the headline from The Australian has been written about what was a state that enjoyed the lowest power prices, in the world, for more than a generation. Moreover, prior to the intervention of subsidised and chaotic wind power, South Australians also enjoyed power delivered, almost without fail, save localised blackouts caused by lightning strikes and fallen lines. These days, thanks to an obsession with wind and solar power, headlines like this are the new ‘normal’.

South Australia braced for blackouts as scorcher hits
The Australian
Luke Griffiths
11 April 2018

South Australia faces an ­increased risk of blackouts today as temperatures soar into the mid-30s for the fourth day in a row amid looming power supply shortages.

The state’s electricity grid, powered by an almost 50 per cent ­renewable energy mix, late yesterday came under considerable strain with an unseasonable hot spell, low wind-farm generation output and system maintenance that constrained gas generators.

Demand peaked in the early evening as people switched on their airconditioners to escape the third consecutive day of mid-30C temperatures.

The Australian Energy Market Operator last night issued a supply shortage warning, noting a lack of reserve power generation.

“The contingency capacity ­reserve required is 600MW — the minimum reserve available is 376MW,” the alert said.

New state Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said there was reduced capacity due to system maintenance, which typically took place between the summer and winter months, when demand was typically at its lowest.

With South Australia’s last coal-fired power station forced to close in May 2016 by the rapid rise of renewables, below-average winds yesterday put significant pressure on the state’s grid as output from wind farms plummeted.

An AEMO spokesman last night said the state’s fleet of emergency diesel generators, installed at two locations in Adelaide by the former Labor government to lower the risk of blackouts, had not been called upon but remained available if required.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan was seeking further briefings on the situation.

“A lot of things are on standby,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

The temperature in Adelaide yesterday hit 35C — the first time the city has experienced three consecutive days of 33C-plus temperatures in April. The Bureau of Meteorology predicted Adelaide will have a top temperature of 36C today.

But a cool change is expected to move across the state later today, bringing much milder conditions for the rest of the week.

In September 2016 a statewide blackout devastated industry and sparked a national debate about the transition from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy generation.

A series of subsequent blackouts in South Australia led to the Weatherill government developing a go-it-alone $550 million ­energy plan for the state, which ­included the world’s largest battery built in the state’s mid-north by American tech billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla company.

The battery was delivering its full capacity yesterday.

The former government also budgeted $432m for the lease, ­operation and purchase of nine diesel generators.

The new Liberal government promised at last month’s election to explore the development of an interconnector with NSW.

Last month the Liberals ­announced that Mark Livesey QC would examine Labor’s procurement of diesel generators.

“The public have the right to know exactly how much has been spent to date on these diesel generators, what the ongoing costs will be and whether there is a binding contract,” the Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, said.

“The former Labor government’s failed energy policies forced it to throw more than half-a-billion dollars of taxpayers’ money at the problems it had created.”

The Country Fire Service battled two serious fires yesterday: one at Birdwood, in the Adelaide Hills that destroyed about 35ha of stubble, and one at Stansbury on the Yorke Peninsula that burnt about 350ha.

Assistant chief CFS officer Rob Sandford said conditions across most of the state would be some of the worst ever experienced in April. “People will be put at risk if fires start,” he said.
The Australian

Luke Griffiths talks about SA’s electricity grid, “powered by an almost 50 per cent renewable energy mix”, coming “under considerable strain [on 10 April] with an unseasonable hot spell, low wind-farm generation output and system maintenance that constrained gas generators”, with demand peaking “in the early evening as people switched on their air conditioners”.

We have set out above the pathetic performance of SA’s whirling wonders on 10 April. And we have set out below the effort made by SA’s gas and diesel generators to fill the whopping gap left as wind power went AWOL that afternoon:

Contrary to Luke Griffiths claim about gas generators being “constrained” that afternoon, STT considers their efforts to be quite liberal. Although, not exactly ‘free’.

In order to ‘encourage’ SA’s fossil fuel fleet into action, the grid manager was forced to pay a spot price of $5,077 per MWh:

Not quite the market cap of $14,000 per MWh, but well on the way.

The model was perfected by Enron when it raped and pillaged the Californian power market in the late 1990s and early 2000s: engineer a deliberate ‘outage’ at a gas-fired generation plant, allow the grid to almost collapse and then extort outrageous prices from the grid manager to prevent a ‘system black’.

Over the last few months there’s been plenty of fear-filled talk about AGL’s plans to kill off its 2,000 MW coal-fired Liddell plant in New South Wales. AGL reckons that it will ‘replace’ Liddell with a few solar panels, wind turbines and a battery or two.

The threatened early termination of Liddell is one reason that the Monash Forum has gone on the offensive – a fired-up group of 30 National and Liberal MPs are determined not only to prevent that event, but also to ensure that Victoria replaces its recently closed 1,600 MW Hazelwood plant, with a High-Efficiency Low-Emissions coal-fired plant, to prevent blackouts and bring power prices back to earth in that state.

AGL was, of course, the reason that South Australia was carpeted with these things, starting back in 2009. It also owns the last big conventional generator, a 1,280 MW gas-steam plant at Torrens Island, along with fast-start OCGTs (aka gas peakers).

What AGL did to SA over the last decade, is precisely what it wants to do to NSW over the next decade; and precisely what Enron did to California. Except, rather than faking the shutdown of gas-fired power plants to make a killing, Mother Nature happily engineers the required ‘outage’, every single day: South Australia’s Unbridled Wind Power Insanity: Wind Power Collapses see Spot Prices Rocket from $70 to $13,800 per MWh

Events like the one above aren’t one offs, as the post linked above points out, they happen whenever wind power output collapses, as it does every single day.

Ever wondered why SA pays the highest power prices in the world? Well, now you know.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. An interesting comment in the article,
    ” the battery was delivering full capacity”
    Does this mean they emptied it in a few minutes, and then had no way to charge it again? I wonder……………………………….

  2. Reblogged this on UPPER SONACHAN WIND FARM and commented:
    Self explanatory article from STT showing why once again, this technology causes mayhem….

  3. Son of a goat says:

    When Repower/Senvion was spruiking the virtues of its planned 600Mw Ceres wind farm here in SA in 2012 its then head honcho “Pretty boy” in the face of an uproar from local citizens declared at a business lunch in Adelaide that “Opposition to wind farm development in South Australia is driven by political ideology dressed up as a grass roots movement.”

    Pretty boy these days is skipping through the hills of NW Tasmania in another incarnation as Luke Skywalker, hand in hand with none other than the grand master himself “Yoda Yates” singing Que Sera Sera as they plan to carpet NW Tasmania with turbines.

    Journalists use many slogans to describe the war on energy describing as been driven by “political ideology” or describing it as “class wars.”

    Having watched the whole energy debacle unravel here in SA for over a decade this is no class war, everyone is hurting.

    The whole situation has arisen from the greed of rent seekers using an army of deluded green zealots to exploit naïve governments to feather the rent seekers nests all under the umbrella of saving mankind from the effects of climate change.

    I’ve always said if climate change is real, then the one thing inhibiting meaningful action is the delusions of the zealots and the greed of the rent seekers.

  4. In the olden days, these people would be charged with treason. Tar-and-feathering would be too good for them.

  5. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “In order to ‘encourage’ SA’s fossil fuel fleet into action, the grid manager was forced to pay a spot price of $5,077 per MWh…”

    IT’S no wonder wind ‘powered’ South Australia has, officially, the highest power prices in-the-world! 🤦‍♂️

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