Wind Power Chaos Reigns: Scots Build Diesel Generators & Brace For Week-Long Blackouts

Let renewable energy zealots and other such ideologues anywhere near your power system and prepare for deadly chaos.

Wind and solar ‘powered’ South Australians know what it is to do without power for days on end. Having experienced plenty of load shedding lasting for 5 hours or more, South Australians got a real taste of the dark ages in September 2016, when the whole State went black.

sudden collapse in wind power output during a vigourous spring storm (wind turbines automatically shut down in high winds) delivered what’s known as a ‘system black’.

Some parts of the city of Adelaide had power restored within about 5 or 6 hours, while some suburbs were without power for 24 hours or more.

Regional centres like, Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Ceduna were without power for days and more remote towns and rural properties were powerless for more than a week, some for close to a fortnight.

BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam gold, copper and uranium mine (the backbone of SA’s struggling economy) was starved of electricity for more than a fortnight: September 28 to October 13.

When the lights go out for an hour or so, while everyone’s safely tucked up at home, the experience can be fun, if not even a little romantic.

Candles come out, along with cards and boardgames; who doesn’t enjoy squabbling over the unwritten ‘rules’ of Monopoly? Some even relish the fact that their mobile phones have gone dead and the mobile network is down. For a while, anyway.

But, when the experience becomes part of daily life and/or the periods without power start to interfere with people’s work, health and safety, the gloss soon wears off.

The loss of mobile phone services in emergency situations, exacerbates them, placing more lives at unnecessary, mortal risk.

The loss of street lighting and traffic lights turns the evening commute into a game of life and death. But these are just the most obvious consequences of losing a power supply across a city, state or country.

The Germans have been dealing with the chaos delivered by intermittent wind and solar for a decade now, so it’s no surprise that they’ve already alive to what happens when the power goes out. The stark reality is that life and limb come under mortal threat: Blackout Blueprint: German Study Reveals What Really Happens When Power Supplies Fail 

Now, its the Scots who are rueing the day they threw all caution to the wind.

Major Scottish power cut could last days, engineers warn
Express
Ben Borland
5 December 2018

The Institute of Engineering and Shipbuilding in Scotland (IESIS) said relying on wind farms at the expense of coal and gas has led to the “growing likelihood of a complete failure of the electricity system”. With Scotland now almost entirely dependent on wind, nuclear and hydro power, it would take “days rather than hours” to restore the country’s electricity supply. The warning comes in a new IESIS report which calls for the creation of an independent UK-wide energy authority to avoid the problems witnessed in the USA and elsewhere.

It warns that lengthy electrical blackouts “lead to deaths, severe societal and industrial disruption, civil disturbance, loss of production” and cites 1977 riots in New York City.

The report adds: “All UK coal-fired generating stations are expected to close by 2025. Coal-fired and gas-fired generators are important in restoring electricity supply after a system failure.

“Wind generators can only have a very limited role in such situations and nuclear generators cannot be quickly restarted. The time to restore supply in Scotland is now estimated in days – several days – rather than in hours.

“A lengthy delay would have severe negative consequences – the supply of food, water, heat, money, petrol would be compromised; there would be limited communications. The situation would be nightmarish.”

The report’s author, Iain MacLeod, called for politicians at Holyrood and Westminster to urgently review the safety of the UK’s power supply.

He said: “The system was designed to keep the risk of failure to an acceptable level. For many decades the risk of failure was low.

“Now, we are closing thermal stations to reduce emissions without a robust plan in place to address the long-term security of supply and security of operation.”

GMB, the energy union, said there were 65 “low wind days” last year where wind farms produced less than 10 per cent of their total installed and connected capacity.

Louise Gilmour, GMB Scotland senior organiser, said: “This report is the latest document to back up what we’ve been saying for years – government must heed these expert warnings and place gas at the heart of future energy policy.

“Gas heats 85 per cent of UK homes and provides nearly half of our electricity. As we transition to a lower carbon economy, we need to make sure our energy supply is safe, secure and in our own hands and, should the worst happen, gas will be vital to quickly deal with a power outage.”
Express

Renewable energy capital of the world: Adelaide 28.9.16.

 

Blackouts, deaths and civil unrest: warning over Scotland’s rush to go green
Herald Scotland
Sandra Dick
29 November 2018

A massive gap in the electricity system caused by the closure of coal-fired power stations and growth of unpredictable renewable generation has created the real prospect of complete power failure.

According the Institution of Engineers in Scotland (IESIS), there is a rising threat of an unstable electricity supply which, left unaddressed, could result in “deaths, severe societal and industrial disruption, civil disturbance and loss of production”.

The organisation is also warning that the loss of traditional power generating stations such as Longannet, which closed in 2016, means restoring electricity in a “black start” situation – following a complete loss of power – would take several days.

Its new report into the energy system points to serious power cuts in other countries, which have resulted in civil disturbance, and warns: “A lengthy delay would have severe negative consequences – the supply of food, water, heat, money, petrol would be compromised; there would be limited communications. The situation would be nightmarish.”

IESIS is now calling on the Scottish and UK governments to transform their approach to how the electricity system is governed, with the creation of a new national energy authority with specific responsibility for safeguarding its long-term sustainability and avoiding blackouts.

The startling warning comes against a background of increasing reliance on “intermittent” energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Earlier this month ScottishPower became the first major UK energy firm to switch entirely from fossil fuels to green energy after selling its remaining gas and hydro stations to Drax for £702 million.

The closure of Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire, scheduled for 2023, is causing concern there will be an even wider gap in the nation’s electricity supply.  All UK coal-fired power stations are expected to close by 2025, while reliance on electricity to meet the needs of electric vehicles and domestic heat rises.

The engineering body has also raised concerns that an electricity system designed specifically for gas and coal-fired generation is being asked to take on a new form of supply without having undergone full engineering assessment.

It also highlights a piecemeal approach to siting new energy generating plants driven by private companies and efforts to meet CO2 emissions targets rather than the overall security of the electricity system.

Iain MacLeod, of the IESIS, said: “The electricity system was designed with generation coming mainly from coal and nuclear energy. However, as we change generation sources to include intermittent renewables, we must review how the system works with these new inputs. The risks involved when introducing new sources of generation need to be controlled. Intermittent renewable energy sources do not supply the same level of functionality as power stations to meet demand at all times and avoid operational faults. Intermittency issues … relevant to wind and solar energy have not been adequately explored.”

IESIS has published its call to action in a report, Engineering for Energy: A Proposal for Governance of the Energy System, which it plans to take to the Scottish and UK governments.

It argues that Longannet was closed “well before assessments of the impact of its closure had been completed” and adds that transmission is now being upgraded “before detailed decisions about the siting of generation facilities have been made”.

The EISIS report warns the closure of thermal infrastructure such as coal and gas-fired generators will affect the restoration of supply after a system failure, when wind generators have a limited role and nuclear generators cannot be quickly restarted.

It also stresses that the cost of integration of intermittent renewables to the current electricity system will lead to increasing energy costs for consumers.

It adds: “The extra generation and storage needed to safeguard security of supply, the facilities required to ensure it is stable, extra transmission facilities, and energy losses over power lines from remote locations will all contribute to rising costs.”

A spokesman or SP Energy Networks, which owns and maintains the transmission network in central and southern Scotland, said: “The resilience of the system, and the ability to deliver an efficient and timely Black Start restoration, minimising the social and economic aspects of such an event, continue to be areas of particular focus.”

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett said: “No-one disputes the need for Scotland, and everywhere else, to move towards cleaner generation of energy. But this has to be done in a sustainable way which ensures there are no blackouts and enough power to meet the needs of the country”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “While electricity policy is reserved to the UK Government, we are working closely with National Grid and the Scottish network companies to ensure that Scotland has a secure and stable supply of electricity.  Renewable generation now plays substantial role in meeting electricity demand across Scotland and reducing the carbon intensity of the electricity that we generate.

“Our energy strategy highlights the need to plan and deliver a secure, flexible and resilient electricity system.”
Herald Scotland

Particulate production on the rise in Scotland.

 

When virtue signalling combines with renewable energy rent-seeking to displace physics, economics and engineering, get ready for pure chaos.

Common sense left the building years ago, to be replaced by lunatics obsessed with what they deem to be ‘clean, green energy’.

Instead of dreamy fields full of whirling wonders, lovingly caressing nature’s bounty, the reality is banks of hundreds of dirty diesel-fired generators.

Our power grid and the Titanic scenario
The Herald
DB Watson, Saviskaill, Langdales Avenue, Cumbernauld.
29 November 2018

MAJOR collapses of developed world electricity grid systems are not uncommon. The rise in renewables increases the probability.

Being able to rapidly “Black Start” the country is a public health priority and, rightly, a public expectation. In Scotland it is presently an unrealisable imperative.

Industry expectation for Scotland to Black Start has now risen to five days and the replacement of large-scale dispatchable on-demand generation with weather-dependent intermittent distributed renewables is the cause.

The PM088: Scottish Black Start Restoration Working Group reviewed its procedures in September. These are based upon Local Joint Restoration Plans from transmission operators to first power up and stabilise “local transmission islands” . Thereafter these islands/areas can be electrically synchronised and interconnected progressively to rebuild the onshore grid.

The report prefix expresses concern that restart practice post-Longannet will result in “severe delays” to restoration – highlighting oil refineries.

Previously the 53-year-old Cruachan pumped storage station was to be used to restart Longannet providing up to 440MW for a maximum of 22 hours and this plan was successfully “tested” in the 1980s. Peterhead gas-fired station is now Scotland’s only high-powered and high-inertia (essential to stabilise frequency) dispatchable power station and is seeking planning permission to install 32 diesel generators capable of running at full power for seven days to secure its restart. It will be unable to restart all of Scotland, being half the capacity of Longannet, without input from Foyers pumped storage/Cruachan and from England, which is an untested scenario.

Wind farms will be unable to Black Start the grid for several reasons. Both principal generator types in national deployment need external power to start generating. Whilst some latest devices have self-start capabilities, connecting to a dead grid via long offshore cable interconnections remains an unsolved problem as the turbines cannot provide enough reactive (wattless) power to energise them. They would also be unable to meet National Grid requirements for block loading, grid voltage or frequency control if asked to support grid reloading.

The first grid restoration activity therefore under PM088 is to disconnect all offshore generation networks.

Similarly, onshore windfarms will be progressively reintroduced to the grid only once it is restabilised providing they are not frozen and there is wind.

Critical restart power will arrive from England only once the north of England grid is re-established.

Scotland’s two nuclear stations can only be reconnected into a stable grid, this taking several more days post-Longannet increasing their diesel back-up reactor cooling demand.

The new £2.4bn plus HVDC interlinks from Wales to Hunterston area and from Moray Firth to Spittal south of Thurso have not been engineered to support Black Start as their inverters are not of the latest design.

London has a similar Black Start problem for differing reasons and I understand the Black Start issue has recently attracted the attention of Cobra, the UK Government’s civil contingencies committee.

Parallels with the Titanic disaster are obvious. The grid is assuredly sinkable and the lifeboats, rather than being too few, won’t even appear in Scotland for five days.
Herald Scotland

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett reckons there’s no dispute about “the need for Scotland, and everywhere else, to move towards cleaner generation of energy.”

Not sure how that starry-eyed nonsense sits with “32 diesel generators capable of running at full power for seven days to secure [the grid’s] restart”. Remember, no one was talking about ‘firming capacity’, diesel generators, batteries and the like before governments became obsessed with sunshine and breezes. And, come to think of it, no one was too concerned about black starting grids, either.

Forced to the concession that wind power couldn’t keep the lights on in SA, its then Labor government spent $815m on a 100MW Elon Musk battery and 276MW worth of diesel generators, which would chew up 80,000 litres of diesel an hour, at full throttle.

As a result, wind ‘powered’ South Australians are acutely aware that the cost of running a diesel generator, compared to an efficient coal-fired power plant on $/MWh basis, is staggering. Modern diesel plant will at its near-optimal 65-70% loading, generate 3 KWh per litre.

STT calculated the cost, based on diesel at $1.30 per litre, of a MWh of diesel generation (in terms of fuel cost alone) at A$433 (333  litres being needed for 1 MWh @ $1.30 per litre), which compares somewhat unfavourably with coal-fired power, which costs less than $50 per MWh to deliver, day in, day out.

As to SA’s ‘green’ street-cred, it’s sufficient to note 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 the current mantra about cutting CO2 emissions in the electricity generation sector in order to save SA and, presumably, the rest of the Planet.

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 in Australia), are a minuscule fraction of what will spew forth from Scotland and SA’s diesel generators.

Each and every one of the millions of litres of diesel consumed by SA’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 SA’s 276MW of diesel generation is in operation, they chew 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.

You won’t hear plants complaining about CO2 gas (they thrive on it).

But you will hear of humans coughing and spluttering in response to the kind of truly toxic gases and particulate muck that spews out of the banks of diesel generators needed to deal with routine, total and totally unpredictable collapses in wind power output.

Welcome to your diesel powered future!

 

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Seems these systems are ripe for ‘illicit exploitation” either by hackers or even worse, terrorist. Have we put the proverbial “cart before the horse”?

  2. Marc deroover says:

    I would like to mention here the excellent document “Challenges and opportunities for the Nordic power system” written by
    The Nordic Transmission System Operators (TSOs).

    It is a fascinating document, published on the 15 August 2016, written partly as a technical report and partly as a political declaration. Simply said the document enumerates about 9 different technical reasons explaining why wind power will not work, amongst them stability problems, frequency problems, black start constraints, HVDC constraints, etc

    You have the executive summary version, and if you are not convinced the full technical report with models, calculations, etc

    Each time I read it I have the feeling that it has been written by people that do not want to lose their job by saying the truth, but that at the same time need to have said it for the day the system will crash…

    My favorite one is the sentence “Research, development and demonstrations will also be required, especially where future solutions are unclear, and/or contain new technology or concepts”, which basically means that the enginneers are required to do things nobody actually know how to do.

    It is available here: https://www.svk.se/en/about-us/news/european-electricity-market/report-challenges-and-opportunities-for-the-nordic-power-system/

  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    Let renewable energy zealots and other such ideologues anywhere near your power system and prepare for deadly chaos.

    Wind and solar ‘powered’ South Australians know what it is to do without power for days on end. Having experienced plenty of load shedding lasting for 5 hours or more, South Australians got a real taste of the dark ages in September 2016, when the whole State went black.

    A sudden collapse in wind power output during a vigourous spring storm (wind turbines automatically shut down in high winds) delivered what’s known as a ‘system black’.

    Some parts of the city of Adelaide had power restored within about 5 or 6 hours, while some suburbs were without power for 24 hours or more.

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