Power Supply Crunch: Mass Blackouts Guaranteed When Demand Spikes Coincide With Wind & Solar Collapses

Wind ‘powered’ South Australians marshall their reserve power sources.


Pin your power needs to the weather and expect results to vary. Last summer saw mass load shedding and blackouts across Victoria, South Australia and NSW when spikes in demand combined with collapses in wind and solar output. Demand patterns are as predictable as the delivery in wind and solar are chaotic.

That chaos is starting to focus the minds of those who pretend to have the management of Australia’s Eastern Grid all in hand.

But this is October, when the days and nights range between mild and warm and power demand is relatively moderate.

Cue the first hot spell in December and power demand spikes as ACs get cranked into action to cool homes and businesses and refrigerated systems have to work harder to keep things cool. As is often the case, those demand spikes coincide with total collapses in wind and solar output – think a run of breathless 42°C days killing the former and sunset dealing with the latter.

With a looming disaster barely a month away, energy aficionados appear to have lulled themselves into a false sense of security, believing that the worst will never happen.

Among them is the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Audrey Zibelman. Zibelman, an American import, is as obsessed about wind and solar as she is deluded about their ability to deliver the goods, when it’s needed most. Blissfully ignoring the mass load shedding that took place barely 9 months ago, when wind and solar output duly collapsed and hundreds of thousands of Victorians were plunged into sweltering darkness: Blackout Fallout: Wind Power Debacle Leaves Thousands of Powerless Victorians Furious

A Grand Master of bureau-speak, euphemism and good old-fashioned gobbledygook, Audrey is attempting to conjure up electricity generating capacity out of thin air. Her bemusing imaginings should be of the gravest concern to any Australian hoping to keep their cool this summer, and beyond.

Rafe Champion poses a timely ‘please explain?’ to Audrey below.

Will Ms Zibelman please explain what she means by strategic reserves of power?
Catallaxy Files
Rafe Champion
10 October 2019

Subscribers and people who can get around the paywall at The Australian can read about the boss of the AEMO calling for new market rules and strategic reserves to reduce load shedding and the risk of blackouts.

Ms Zibelman repeated calls for changes to Australia’s rules to create a “day-ahead” market that would require generators to guarantee fixed supply and pay to acquire it if they were unable to supply it. The proposal is the latest in a series of moves by AEMO to insure the market against the risk of blackouts and load shedding, a risk that has been rising with the increased outages at ageing coal-fired plants.

She has previously called — unsuccessfully — for the creation of a strategic reserve that could be drawn on when prices were high or supply was low, and for longer-dated purchases of emergency reserves than those allowed under national electricity market rules.

Ms Zibelman said the lack of such powers forced the AEMO to intervene in the market in the short term and at a much higher cost.

This muddle-headed wombat is confused. What sort of rules and what sort of reserves? Stored power? Spare capacity? There is effectively no storage and at the peak there is no spare capacity.

This looks like the handwaving and gestures of a magician to distract you from seeing the attendant putting the rabbit in his hat or whatever the trick is. What is the trick with strategic reserves of power?

I suppose the trick is to distract people from the reason why we have lost the coal-fired capacity that used to be the strategic reserve.
Catallaxy Files

Audrey measures her chances of dodging a full ‘system black’ this summer.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Hi check this link out very interesting reading.
    The hidden environmental impact of windfarms.

  2. I agree with the basic premise of this article.

    Also…”Ms Zibelman repeated calls for changes to Australia’s rules to create a “day-ahead” market that would require generators to guarantee fixed supply and pay to acquire it if they were unable to supply it. ”

    I have been calling for a similar plan as she has suggested.
    Put the onus of supply squarely on the generators, where it belongs, not on the retailers.

    This, along with getting rid of the LRET would guarantee that the unreliables would be extinct in a very short space of time.

  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  4. Go to Nigeria (or almost any other Subsaharan African country) and ask anyone there what they think about blackouts. They will tell you that it pisses them off but there is little that can be done about it. Everyone who can afford so has a backup generator mostly running on diesel. This and horrendous traffic spoils the air in most African cities. This will happen in the developed world too. Gensets sales will be outrageous. And the air will suffer. Courtesy of unreliable wind and solar.

  5. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

  6. Terry Conn says:

    I have only one complaint about this post ie referring to (not) our Audrey as a ‘muddle headed wombat’ – what an insult to our earthy native marsupial – I have never seen a wombat as muddled as this North American female homo sapiens who is doing her best to destroy the economy and comfortable lifestyle of all inhabitants of the land she knows as ‘down under’ – why oh why are we allowing this to happen!

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