Want To Wreck A Power Grid? Add Chaotically Intermittent Wind & Solar Power

Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse battled over whether America would run on DC or AC power, but they never had to battle with the chaotic intermittency of wind and solar.

Celebrated in the recently released film, The Current War, Westinghouse and Edison fought a pitched battle over technology, patents, media approval and the support of legislators in their efforts to dominate the generation and distribution of electricity across the USA. Spoiler alert: Westinghouse won and AC remains the delivery system of choice.

In wind and solar obsessed Australia, the battle raging today about power generation and delivery is simply about keeping the lights on.

Rafe Champion takes a look at how the chaotic delivery of heavily subsidised wind and solar is the real Current War.

How intermittent energy kills coal-fired power and the grid
Catallaxy Files
Rafe Champion
16 March 2020

The damage inflicted by a good wind day. The first version of this post focused on choke points that are the fatal flaw of Renewable (unreliable) Energy. This is a reminder about the way RE kills the coal-fired providers and eventually the whole grid if the windrush continues.

On Sunday March 16 the black coal supply fell to the lowest level that I have observed: this was 8.4GW and on Sunday between 11am and 3pm it fell to 8.1. That was the result of substantial wind and also rooftop solar until it began to fade near 3 (Sydney time). Then black coal ramped up sharply, followed by gas and hydro.

8GW is half the capacity of the black coal plants and most of the time they run between 10 and 12 that is probably close to the limit of economic viability. The picture tells the story.

The shape of things to come, see also Perth. Smaller grids are more prone to disruption of course, so in Darwin the intrusion of RE threatens blackouts.

Households and businesses in the Northern Territory face an immediate and growing risk of costly electricity blackouts because governments and regulators have failed to adequately prepare for the growth of renewable energy, industry experts say.

The Territory Labor administration’s hand-picked solar tsar, Alan Langworthy, has joined the recently departed head of the ­region’s leading fossil fuel generator, Tim Duignan, to blow the whistle on a range of problems.

Mr Duignan was sacked late last year over a system-wide blackout in Alice Springs that an official report linked to a single cloud.

SA WATCH. At 7.30 this morning SA was exporting 105MW of power, by noon it was slightly in the red and at 1.30 they are taking in 60MW. They are generating 402MW towards their meagre demand of 877MW and the mills are running at 20% of capacity.

SA at 5.30. Importing 101MW. Next to no wind, 6% capacity in SA and contributing 120MW!! Australia wide 16% capacity, 1.1GW to meet 24.5GW demand. 4.4% Go wind!

SA at 7.30. Demand 1636, local supply 1236, wind 92, 6% of demand, 4% of capacity. Importing 400MW.

SE Australia NEM at 7.30 Demand 24.9GW, wind providing 1.3GW, (5%) at 19% of capacity.
Catallaxy Files

Here’s the collective effort of every wind turbine connected to the Eastern Grid (6,960MW of capacity) on 21 March:

3 thoughts on “Want To Wreck A Power Grid? Add Chaotically Intermittent Wind & Solar Power

  1. Curiously I had problems with the electricity that night (April 3) with a series (about 30) of 1-4 second blackouts over about two and a half hours. It made it impossible to watch TV and the wireless modem would reset (and the feed to my iPhone hotspot via Telstra) also died, so my laptop was only usable for stuff on it hard drive.
    We had a cold front move through and the wind turbines are reported as generating 113% of demand, so with even a minimum of gas generation a lot had to go to Vic. With the wind gusting it is possible that too much output was as bad as too little.

  2. What we need is a dose of ‘Rennies’ to blow the wind blockage away and allow a more settled and comfortable life to return.
    Consistently putting up with Wind is not only uncomfortable but could lead to a reduced ability to work effectively without constant pain.
    We know what is causing our discomfort and energy disruption so lets stop using it and only do what is best for ours and our Nations future comfort.

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