Blackouts Beckon: Calm Weather & Sunset Deliver Chaos in Renewables Obsessed Australia

South Australians know the summertime drill…


In renewables obsessed Australia these days, whenever the sun sets and/or calm weather sets, the talk inevitably turns to blackouts.

Last summer, load shedding caught power consumers short in South Australia, Victoria and NSW. Energy hungry businesses such as aluminium smelters and even hospitals were forced to power down during run a scorching days and nights, when temperatures soared and wind power output plummeted: Australia Closes Coal-Fired Power Plants: Hospitals Forced to Cut Power Use & Power Prices Rocket

This summer, the barbecue stopper will literally be another round of what’s euphemistically called “demand management”: Soviet era power rationing, an integral part of Australia’s ludicrous attempt to run on sunshine and breezes. If it wasn’t deadly serious, it’d almost be hilarious.

STT made the point a week or so back – Summer Holiday-Hell: Power Consumers Face Staggering Bill Whenever Wind Power Goes AWOL – here’s JoNova tackling the same topic.

SA and Vic at high risk of blackouts this summer
Jo Nova Blog
Jo Nova
18 November 2018

Even the AEMO is warning of blackouts coming, because the BoM is forecasting hot, dry conditions. El Nino on the way, and I hear rumours our Snowy Hydro Dam levels are not great.

There’ll be blackouts this summer if nothing is done, AEMO report warns

Stephanie Dalzell, ABC News

Victoria and South Australia are at a high risk of forced blackouts this summer if no action is taken, according to the latest report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Not enough supply? Put another million bucks on the BBQ:

To stop that from occurring, the AEMO has sourced emergency energy reserves, which are typically not available to the market and are only accessed when supply is not keeping up with demand.

Those emergency reserves — otherwise known as Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) resources — do not come cheap.

It’s only money:

The report stated that last summer emergency energy cost taxpayers in Victoria and South Australia almost $52 million.

That equated to an average of an extra $6 per household bill.

That’s nothing. The two day heatwave last January burnt up $400 m — $45 per person in Victoria and $70 each in SA.That’s just two days of electricity. Families had to find $200 to pay for two days electricity. That’s an emergency.

When is capacity, not capacity?

Andrew White at The Australian explains that part of the emergency is because a thermal generator has just told the AEMO that 240MW won’t be available as expected for summer.

The demand for reserves has been increased this season by the loss of 240 megawatts of thermal generation that its owners have told the market operator will not be available to meet short-term spikes in demand or the loss of generation elsewhere in the ­National Electric­ity Market.

The Australian Energy Market Operator is seeking up to 930MW of reserve power to reinforce the NEM during what is expected to be a hotter, drier summer and an earlier bushfire season.

The whole NEM Australian National Grid has 55,000MW of generation capacity. But a 240MW shortage is creating an emergency. Something doesn’t add up here…

What if 5,000MW of wind or solar capacity was not available tomorrow? That’s not an emergency, it’s business as usual. Every day we pay for back up reserve power lest the wind and solar generators take the day off.

Emergency action includes …”recalling mothballed gas-generation plants in Tasmania, Queensland and SA, diesel generators, and “demand response measures’’ that pay users to switch off their power.”

What do we do when renewables cause instability and price spikes — add more:

But the system operator stated more energy generation and storage capacity would enter the market in time for summer. As much as 2100MW of new energy capacity — mainly from wind and solar generation — will be added to the grid by December.

Another 2GW of renewables coming in the next month. Just what we need!

The AEMO Summer Readiness Plan is here.

Still, it’s not like there are only 12 days til summer….
Jo Nova Blog

And the problem would be??…

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Call to halt new wind farms in SA
    Australian Associated Press
    November 28, 2018 5:47am
    SA-BEST MP Connie Bonaros has called for a moratorium on new wind farm developments in South Australia amid ongoing health concerns and impacts on local communities.

    About 50 protesters took to the steps of parliament house in Adelaide on Wednesday to voice their own issues with wind farm developments which they say are being built too close to homes.

    Of particular concern is a proposal for a wind farm at Crystal Brook, in the state’s mid-north, where French company Neoen wants to install 26 wind turbines that are 240 metres high, or nearly twice the height of the tallest building in Adelaide.

    “Wind farms around the world, including many either being built or being proposed in SA, are getting ridiculous in size and generation capacity,” Mr Bonaros said.

    “It is therefore imperative that they are located in areas that do not impact local communities and the people who live in those communities.”

    Ms Bonaros urged the government to halt approval or construction of all new wind farms to allow for an independent and thorough review of their impacts.

    “We must ensure that both operating and future wind farms in South Australia are not allowed to emit noise that causes sleep disturbance or otherwise harm human health,” she said.

    “We also need to review legislation surrounding wind farm developments to ensure that SA residents are adequately protected from harm over the lifetime of each project.”

    Gayle Manning, from Keyneton in the Adelaide Hills where a wind farm is set to be developed, said the size and capacity of wind turbines had increased dramatically but Environment Protection Authority studies and guidelines had not kept up.

    “In order to ensure the safety of all people living close to wind farms, it is imperative that we better and fully understand their impacts,” she said.

    Originally published as Call to halt new wind farms in SA

  2. It won’t just be SA, Victoria and NSW in trouble. Queensland is going into wind farms in a big way. During last night’s peak power demand, the output of the new 180MW Mt Emerald project was ZERO.

    • QLD will be the last man standing, thanks to its enviable coal-fired generation capacity and trivial wind capacity. When things get serious, QLD will shut off its interconnector and leave the southern states for dead.

  3. I have a question, and one that bears consideration! We all know that solar panels on their own, will not work when the grid goes down. But what about batteries? I know there is a push to have those with solar, also install batteries, but do these systems provide power in the event of a blackout?
    I did some rudimentary searching, and it appears that unless a ‘blackout relay’ has been installed, then the battery system will also not be available.
    If this is the case, I wonder how many people know, or even consider this when potentially purchasing a very expensive battery system! Anyway, food for thought. I guess there are those who know the answer!

    • The safety issue is that neither battery nor solar PV can be allowed to back-energise the supply cable. This is recent design correspondence, after I stuck my nose in to other people’s business :
      … it has taken us a while to get back to you on this.  We’ve been discussing with … over exactly how their systems work – some of this is new to the UK market.
      Attached is a quote for 10kWh of battery storage and the … 1300 (1300W output).  This allows you to provide up to 1300W to the house in the event of a mains failure.  During this time, the panels will also continue to re-charge the battery (if it is sunny), so you could get more than 10kWh over a period of days.
      This comes as a separate supply off the inverter and therefore you will need to decide which ‘keep alive’ circuits you want to run off this supply.  Lights, MVHR and fridge would be the obvious ones … we also need to make sure there is no cross-connection from this supply to the regular mains supply.
      Also attached are datasheets for the hybrid inverter and panels. We have quoted for the … hybrid, one cabinet that contains your PV inverter and all battery components.. You could choose to install less battery capacity at this point, but still go with the larger cabinet so you can increase capacity in future. Installing 7.5kWh instead of 10kWh would reduce the total cost by approximately £1,000.
      The quote assumes 70% self-consumption, which might be a bit conservative, but this will depend on your usage patterns.  Please also note that the Feed in Tariff ends in Apr 2019, so we have assumed that the panels will not be in place by this point.
      This system has 15 x 280W panels, which is 4.2kWp, but is still G83 compliant (i.e. we don’t need permission from the DNO). This is 2 fewer panels than option 2 in our previous document. 
      It does not come cheap and needs a second domestic circuit installed to supply a chosen list of low power items that costs even more!

    • Graeme No. 3 says:

      The blackout relay is a compulsory safety device to prevent electricity being fed back into the grid during blackouts. Prevents workers on powerlines getting electrocuted. It can be coupled with an ‘auto-start’ to a generator.
      The last time I looked it would cost about $1200.

  4. If you can afford it buy a generator now and get your house wired up to run on it.

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