Retro-Power: Australia’s Wind & Solar Obsession Delivers Third World Power Supply

Australia’s obsession with intermittent wind and solar is delivering a power supply you’d expect to find in the darkest corners of the Third World.

Yet again, peak power demand in summer has renewable energy zealots berating consumers for having the temerity to turn on air-conditioners, dishwashers and appliances.

Yet again, the same zealots waffle on about “smart grids” and “mega-batteries” being the solution to wind and solar power’s insoluble intermittency.

Yet again, the delusional assert that Australia’s “ageing” coal-fired power plants are at fault because they’re “unreliable” and that it’s “dangerous” to depend on them.

STT has dealt with that kind of nonsense a couple of times recently:

Ever-Dependable: Coal-Fired Power Keeps On Keeping On During Australia’s Bushfire Battle

Deranged & Delusional: Victorian Government Claims Wind & Solar More Reliable Than Fossil Fuels

What was mildly amusing about the story from The Australian below was not just the fact that STT has been predicting this very calamity for the best part of seven years, but the fact that numerous of the hundreds of comments made on the online version of the article (available to subscribers here) included the suggestion that, instead of switching off their ACs and appliances, everyone should do precisely the opposite in order to crash the grid and teach the lunatics that hijacked Australia’s affordable and reliable power supply a timely lesson. Such as this from Ted:

Dear Victorians .. just set your aircon on a full blast to survive the heat .. after all you are paying for it and it is your human rights to live in dignity and the Labor and Greens mates do .. and if the power goes off .. remember that next time when voting…

Who said revolutionaries can’t have fun?

Anyway, here’s the usual propaganda and banter from the usual suspects. STT will take a quick look at the facts and return to reality, in a moment.

Victoria power emergency: SA interconnector cut as heat soars
The Australian
Perry Williams and Tessa Akerman
31 January 2020

Victoria’s power supply was plunged into chaos after a storm triggered the South Australian ­interconnector to shut down, cutting electricity to the state’s giant Portland aluminium smelter and forcing the national power operator to find emergency supplies to keep the lights on amid heatwave conditions.

The summer’s biggest power crisis started after six major transmission towers in western Victoria fell over in a storm early on Friday afternoon during extreme weather that knocked out the electricity interconnector and left South Australia separated from the national power market.

Electricity demand in Victoria and NSW soared near record levels as temperatures remained high throughout Friday night, leading to an emergency hunt for extra power supplies in both states to avoid blackouts.

The loss of any more generation or further transmission outages may lead to load shedding in both states, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator, as part of a process that deliberately shuts down power to parts of the network.

NSW’s Tomago aluminium smelter outside Newcastle, which consumes 10 per cent of the state’s power each year, shut down one of its potlines on Friday night in response to the tight conditions and lamented the fragility of the market during peak conditions.

“We are just seeing the lack of supply in the market,” Tomago chief executive Matt Howell said. “We desperately need more baseload power so we’re not in this situation going forward.”

In Victoria the Alcoa-owned Portland smelter managed to ­resume operations after securing an urgent supply fix with Origin Energy and ElectraNet, avoiding a potentially catastrophic shutdown of the plant that relies on an around-the-clock supply of electricity.

The state’s damaged transmission lines are expected to be out of service until February 14, AEMO said, although the extent of damage to the infrastructure is still being assessed.

Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland gained access to 1500 megawatts of power ­reserves to cover the risk of high temperatures and unplanned generation outages and ensure compulsory load shedding is avoided during periods of peak demand.

Two-thirds of the supply is for Victoria and South Australia and the remainder covering NSW and Queensland to cover risks to the grid.

AEMO had earlier on Friday called for households to reduce their electricity usage between 1pm and 8pm in a bid to avert forced outages.

Electricity demand is forecast to hit its highest levels since January 2014 due to the combination of heat and humidity.

Consumers have been urged to use air conditioners only at higher temperatures, avoid running dishwashers and switching off pool pumps.

“As a result of damage to multiple transmission towers in Western Victoria, extremely high demand levels caused by high temperatures across southeast Australia, and multiple generation outages, both NSW and Victoria are in an actual lack of ­reserve 2 condition and emergency reserves have been activated in both states,” AEMO said on Friday night.
The Australian

So, this time it’s the loss of a single transmission line that put Victoria’s power supply on the brink of collapse?!? Well, that’s the spin, anyway.

The Australian’s Perry Williams seems to have a very hard time locating any data and facts which might identify the real culprits. Perry has had plenty to say about “ageing” coal-fired power plants being unreliable, but somehow manages to overlook the bleeding obvious when it comes to a lack of reliability. So, STT’ll spell it out for him (again), with a little help from Aneroid Energy.

Set out above is the output from Victoria’s wind power fleet on 31 January 2020, which has a combined capacity of 2,116 MW.

After a brief spurt of 1,250 MW (59% of capacity) there followed a staggered series of collapses, with output falling 850 MW to 400 MW by 2pm.

There’s a brief spurt to 600 MW, followed by a solid 500 MW collapse, with output settling at 100 MW (4.7% of capacity) by 7.30pm, right about the time those reactionary Victorians were cranking up their air conditioners, dishwashers and other appliances.

Now, what about Australia’s wind power capital, South Australia?

SA’s wind power fleet has a combined capacity of 2,142 MW which on 31 January ‘performed’ as set out below.

There’s a brief spurt in the morning to 1,500 MW (70% of capacity), with a sudden 300 MW collapse to 1,200 MW. There’s a rapid increase to 1,500 MW, followed by a precipitous collapse of 565 MW to 935 MW (43.6% of capacity).

Output then bubbles along for a few hours at around 1,100 MW, before performing a 1,029 MW swan dive from 1,164 MW to 135 MW (6% capacity).

The collapse in SA’s wind power output coinciding beautifully with the collapse in Victoria’s, as if conducted by some grand Maestro. [Note to Ed: it’s called the weather!]

By 9pm the combined output from both Victoria’s and South Australia’s wind farms – with a total capacity of 4,258 MW between them – is a little over 250 MW and falling; that tenuous 250 MW represents a trifling 5% of that combined capacity.

And, of course, solar power output had already collapsed in both states (it’s called “sunset”, by the way).

So, whatever happened to a single transmission line in Western Victoria had no bearing on the availability of wind or solar; as demand peaked on 31 January neither were adding anything to supply in either Victoria or South Australia, and arguments about transmitting the output from either wind or solar seem more than just a little academic.

But, that’s where Australians find themselves in 2020; in a theoretical wonderland, being misled by delusional zealots – parading as all-knowing energy experts – still claiming that we’re well on our way to an all wind and sun powered future.

Notwithstanding repeated routine load shedding and mass blackouts caused by collapses in wind and solar output, these clowns (ably assisted by gullible dupes in the mainstream press) maintain the line that the “transition” to wind and solar is “inevitable”.

The only thing “inevitable” about the attempt to rely on wind and solar is rocketing power prices, a grid on the brink of collapse and, ultimately, mass blackouts.

Welcome to your wind and sun powered future!

SA led Australia’s wind & solar charge: Adelaide in the dark 28.9.16

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  2. Jacqueline Rovensky says:

    This morning 2.2.20 the following Wind projects were not operating at all – Canunda, Lake Bonney in SA. Portland (Cape Bridgewater) and Macarthur in Victoria. Funnily enough these are the projects that span the Eastern Grid Border between the two States.
    In both districts the wind is blowing strongly and in The SE of SA is going to be strong throughout the day according to the BOM with winds of around 39 – 41kmp.
    The article from The Australian appears in the opening of its article …” Victoria’s power supply was plunged into chaos after a storm triggered the South Australian ­inter-connector to shut down,…” to be saying the problem was caused by South Australia, yet in other articles relating to the lack of energy supply in Victoria winds through Western Victoria have been extreme and have caused pylons to collapse. What they forgot to mention is this Inter-connector has two sides to its formation – SA and Victoria.
    Furthermore, there has even been suggestions Victoria’s Grid link to Tasmania is/was tenuous.
    What is evident is the wind industry seeks to control the level of wind available when they need it – a fascicle desire as the wind is a natural phenomenon with its strength and direction created from its movement around the world and no one, no State, no Nation and certainly no industry can control it.
    The collapse of ‘delicate’ infrastructure – pylons and cabling’ laid out across vast areas is always going to be a problem, but funnily enough we seem to be having more problems of such pylons and cabling being torn down by winds and therefore landing vast areas of our States without energy since Turbines became so prevalent!
    Maybe there’s a clue there, maybe the problem is not just with pylons and cables, but with the production method which is an added influence by virtue of its ability to catastrophically suddenly stop working for very short periods before it as suddenly starts up again – the gusting manner in which wind performs – which sends shock waves through the system. This shock can then cause inter-connectors and other systems to shutdown causing catastrophic problems for any energy grid system.
    That AEMO has other energy sources (coal, gas) available to step in to help ‘smooth’ the return to distribution is important to remember, because these processes are not reliant on the wind or even the sun to produce a steady reliable energy source which has little problem operating within the Grid structure. This provides energy for everyone not affected by the Pylon/cable collapse and as soon as they have been restored energy can once again be delivered to everyone.
    Loss of energy when using these sources and others which don’t rely on the vagaries of wind (its presence and strength) and sun (cloud, night-time) are eminently suited to the Grid system.
    Loss of energy using these is almost always the result of things like poor maintenance issues with respect to pylons and cabling or occasionally excessive wind speeds.
    Whereas turbines and solar panels are reliant on unreliable/uneven wind production and solar availability 24 hours a day.
    Even ‘backup’ battery storage is unreliable as it relies on excess production from wind and solar being available to re-store after the stored energy is used.
    No matter what the media, the ‘renewable’ industry, howling activists or AEMO say there is nothing more certain than the reliability of centralised base-load energy production to ensure energy is available when and where it is needed.
    The question being asked by the media is when is it going to accepted there is a desperate need for a turnaround and acceptance this is the only way this Nation can flourish and provide for its people needs.

  3. Reblogged this on Gds44's Blog.

  4. Crispin bpm says:

    It doesn’t matter how many wind turbines you build, in an effort to replace baseload power. No wind means NO WIND POWER!

    It isn’t rocket science.

    But maybe that’s the problem!

  5. They are working on the same here in the US — read the communist manifesto–

  6. In Victoria the Alcoa-owned Portland smelter managed to ­resume operations after securing an urgent supply fix with Origin Energy and ElectraNet,” Well, if Alcoa loses one of it’s smelters permanently, I hope they have the good sense to leave the country once and for all. And screw all you down under.

  7. Reblogged this on Climate-

  8. What an incredibly complicated mess the Australian energy grid is. Frankly, I really don’t understand it.

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