Tasmania’s Pathetic Wind Power Push: Plug Gets Pulled on Plans for All RE Future

These days, it’s almost impossible for wind power promoters to finish a sentence without reference to batteries or pumped hydro.

In the beginning, when the wind industry said ‘let there be light’, they meant only occasionally, and only when the wind was blowing, just right.

Now that the average punter has worked out that the only guarantee delivered by wind power, is guaranteed chaos, those still in on the rort are bound to start waffling about storing all that wonderful ‘green’ energy; lovingly caressed from nature’s bounteous breezes (albeit at times when there is no market for it), to be gently guided back into the grid when there might actually be a demand for it.

In that vein, PM, Malcolm Turnbull is all pumped up about Snowy 2.0 (an un-costed $10 billion brain fart, unlikely to get past the scoping phase).  And there are plenty also pumping up Tasmania as the great white hope for part-time power producers.

One well-worn line, is that once you’ve spread wind turbines far and wide, all you need to do is run a few extension cords between them and, hey presto, you’ll have power around-the-clock.

Except, as this piece from the team at Jo Nova details, it’s not quite that simple.

The Battery of the Nation disconnected for two months – Basslink cable inoperable again
Jo Nova Blog
Jo Nova
10 May 2018

For the last year everyone has been calling Tasmania the “Battery of the Nation” — Turnbull, Hydro Tasmania, government departments, the ever hopeful green press. It’s an official plan. The bright idea is to add “Pumped Hydro Storage” to the large dams already on the island state, boosting the only reliable renewable type of energy. But right now, as far as mainland Australia goes, Tassie is a No-Volt Battery.

Even Hydro Tasmania is calling itself the “Battery of the Nation”

 

The dirty secret is just how fragile the link is. Not only did it break for six spectacular months in 2016 — leaving the “green” state flying in squads of diesels – but its now quietly out of action again and it’s projected to be out for two months all up. The 290 km undersea cable known as Basslink is the second longest of its type in the world. It broke on 24 March 2018. It is not expected back in action til May 31. It was an accident of routine maintenance at one end.

“The equipment was damaged by a third-party contractor during routine works. There is no damage to the cable itself.”

The hype:

It’s a glorious title, but the Battery of the Nation is apparently just an “initiative” to “investigate and develop a pathway”. So it’s a $2.5m thought bubble about a plan to make a path. This was announced in April last year by the PM and Tas State Premier.

It’s … a web page:

“Tasmania is uniquely placed to help lead Australia through its challenging transition towards cleaner sources of energy. Battery of the Nation offers a future that’s clean, reliable and affordable.”
– Steve Davy, Hydro Tasmania CEO”

Which is all true apparently, except it’s not so clean nor reliable and costs billions. But apart from that….

Back on March 1, 2018: the Australian Fin Review was lauding it: “Hydro Tasmania’s 5 GW ‘Battery of the Nation’ dwarfs Snowy 2.0“. Three weeks later the cable was inoperable again. Where are the headlines now?

The Tasmanian government-owned hydro electricity monopoly will unveil a report next month saying preliminary studies have identified 4000 megawatts to 5000 MW of potential pumped hydro storage sites across more than a dozen sites that can be delivered at a cost of $1 million to $1.5 million per MW.

And where is the report that was due in April? There’s no press release yet. I guess no one wants to mention the Battery of the Nation while it is effectively dead — including the lefty-lobbying-media.

If a coal plant was out of action for two months, there would be a headline every week in the Fairfax press. The Australians for Big Government (ABC) mentioned the disconnect on March 28th, and played it down a few weeks later as the fault problem was extended — “it’s no threat to power security”. Of course, if the dams were empty, it would be.

The Tasmanian Labor opposition policy is now aiming for a 120% renewable target. If the cable breaks again, perhaps they can post those extra electrons in shoe boxes.

“We’ve seen what South Australia has done, Tasmania could have been been leading the charge here,” Ms White said.

If your aim is world leading electricity costs, the highest unemployment, and businesses abandoning the state while others revert to fifty year old diesel tech, SA is the place to beat!

What about a second interconnector?

A second interconnector across the Bass Strait would cost $1 billion dollars and is considered unlikely to ever go ahead. But the AEMO wants it now, and Infrastructure Australia is thinking about it with a $20m study.

Spent a billion, get 15% back, looks like an “affordable” big-gov solution:

“The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has handed down a report calling for a second Tasmania-Victoria interconnector from 2025

A second Bass Strait cable had the lowest “cost to benefit” ratio of the other options recommended in the report.

The AEMO found the cable’s overall net benefit over 20 years would be $143 million when combined with augmented interconnector capacity linking to New South Wales.”

Still cleaning up after the last debacle

In 2016, Hydro Tasmania had run their dams too low out of greed — collecting carbon credits by exporting renewable hydro power to Victoria – even as an El Nino was forecast which meant dry conditions were coming. Things reached high farce when Hydro Tas attempted the world first of generating electricity by the not-so-renewable option of cloud seeding. The icing on the Farce-Cake was that they tried this in the face of a major storm front that caused flooding rain.

Basslink and Hydro Tasmania are still fighting it out in court over who’s to blame for the last breakage.
Jo Nova Blog

Tasmania is divided into three roughly equal parts: a national park, an organic dairy and organic berry farm; and is peopled by a mixture of flannel-clad rustics and sandal wearing troglodytes.  The latter have been pushing an all wind and solar powered future on the Apple Isle for years.  However, this is the same crowd that chained themselves to bulldozers in the 1980s to prevent the dams that built its hydro capacity.  So, there is more than just a little irony when Tassie’s wind and solar zealots are forced to concede that there is a place for hydro, after all.

As noted above, back when the Basslink first shorted out, Tasmania was forced to fly in more than 200 MW worth of diesel generators, notwithstanding wild wind industry claims that its 308 MW of wind power capacity would muscle up and save the day: Tasmania’s LRET Inflicted Power Crisis: its 308 MW of Wind Power Capacity Deemed Utterly Worthless

Tasmania has two major wind farms, Musselroe (on the north-east tip) and Woolnorth (on the north-west tip), with a combined capacity of 308 MW.

Here’s their total output over the month of April:

Conscientiousness isn’t a word that springs to mind.

Going completely AWOL for days and even a week at a time is hardly anything for those talking up Tasmania’s wind ‘industry’ to write home about.

That purportedly premier wind resource, is just as pathetic as it is on the mainland.  If not, worse: here’s the ‘effort’ from March:

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. The present load capacity of the Basslink cable (even when working) is barely adequate to service the needs of the Apple Isle, let alone to meet the power transfer requirements of storage for the mainland. So yes pmm232 it really is all a matter of noise, as in static, because that’s about all this latest piece of tweedle dee, tweedle dumb fantasizing is ever likely to amount to.

  2. Son of a goat says:

    As expected Desert Head and AGL aren’t going to relinquish the Lidell power station. Profiteering by having a stranglehold on energy generation in a market where the government has destroyed any chance of investment in new large scale thermal generation, as a business decision it was always a no-brainer for AGL.

    The question now becomes has the Monash group the courage of their convictions to put the country ahead of party line politics?

    No doubt the PM and Frydenberg are determined to kill off any rebellion with various threats. With Labor having a more outrageous policy on renewables, would any member of the Monash group on weighing up the benefits of a revolt, risk their position in parliament?

    Maybe, “cometh the moment, cometh the man.”

    Barnaby might just think what the hell, what else has he to lose.

  3. Noise is the issue from industry and these ugly monsters.

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