Totally Choked: Australian Wind Power Investment Suffers Massive Collapse

Renewable energy rent seekers are fuming because Australia’s power grid can’t take any more of their chaotically generated wind and solar power.

The massive daily spikes and collapses in wind and solar power output have made the grid manager’s life a living hell: Hopeless Joke: Australia’s Wind Industry Keeps On Failing to Deliver the Goods

As a result, AEMO has introduced new rules about grid access for intermittent wind and solar and, much to the horror of the wind and solar industries, is actually enforcing them.

Dozens of proposed wind farms and large-scale solar projects have been shelved, simply because they can’t be guaranteed of ever being able to deliver a single watt into the grid.

Their grid troubles also coincide with the fact that the Federal government’s principal RE subsidy scam – the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target – tops out this year at its ultimate annual target of 33,000 GWh. And, given what’s already in the system, will be comfortably satisfied. That means there is no opportunity for new players, absent an extension of or increase in the LRET, which is something the Federal Energy Minister, Angus Taylor has suggested will happen over his dead body.

So, the large-scale solar and wind industries are left to rely on luck and credit.

As to their credit, it appears that investors are none too keen to hand over their cash to build projects which will never earn a dollar.

One outfit in serious trouble is Tilt Renewables – a wind power outfit backed by the New Zealand Government.

A couple of years back, Tilt (formerly Trustpower) was a 300 pound gorilla, with dozens of planned projects involving hundreds of turbines across Australia.

Projects such as Palmer, which was planned for the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges to the east of Adelaide in SA.

Tilt won a legal battle in South Australia’s Supreme Court over its proposed project at Palmer on planning grounds. But, if this AFR article is anything to go by, that project will go nowhere.

And it seems that Tilt’s troubles don’t end there.

In Victoria, Tilt can’t get the grid manager to take the chaotic output from its Dundonnell wind farm.

In NSW, its plans for a wind farm at Rye Park have hit the skids. Apparently, Tilt is having some difficulty in convincing potential investors of the merits of spending hundreds of $millions to build a wind farm that will never be able to deliver electricity to the grid. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

No new renewable projects while the grid is in crisis: Tilt
Australian Financial Review
Angela Macdonald-Smith
19 August 2020

Kiwi wind farm developer Tilt Renewables has advised shareholders not to expect any go-aheads on new projects in Australia for the foreseeable future as it struggles with grid issues that are severely curtailing output at its new $650 million wind farm in Victoria.

Chairman Bruce Harker told the Tilt annual shareholder meeting that the Australian market had proved much riskier than anticipated, pointing to the technical problems preventing the Dundonnell wind farm bringing its full 330 megawatts of capacity online.

New project decisions will be “challenging” until investors are provided with information from the energy market operator on exactly how a new project can reach full capacity, he said.

Tilt had to slash earnings guidance last month after Dundonnell was unexpectedly hit by a curtailment order by the Australian Energy Market Operator, even after the project had previously secured full certification and the wind farm was operating exactly as expected.

The setback is only one among several impacting new wind and solar farms across the National Electricity Market as AEMO grapples with multiple technical issues arising from the rapid increase on the grid of variable renewable energy generation.

The problems have triggered curtailment orders for some projects, while others are unable to get as much generation to their customers as anticipated due to network congestion. Other ventures have suffered long delays in securing a connection into the grid.

Kerry Schott, chairwoman of the Energy Security Board, said earlier this week investors were seeing their revenues “really being bashed around” because of the transmission problems. Grid issues are a key reason cited by the Clean Energy Council in a steep plunge in investment in large-scale renewable energy projects in the June quarter to the lowest for more than three years.

The Dundonnell project in western Victoria is currently operating at about 130 MW of capacity and is working with AEMO on step-ups in capacity later this year but has no definite date for coming fully online, chief executive Deion Campbell said.

He said that while AEMO’s latest Integrated System Plan confirms the core opportunity in the Australian market, with 26 gigawatts of additional grid-scale renewables likely to be installed over the next 20 years, there are “significant challenges” in the current market, requiring urgent reforms.

Tilt is aiming for the June quarter of 2021 to reach financial close on its next Australian project, the 400MW Rye Park wind farm north of Yass in NSW, but as of today sees no path to meeting AEMO’s new technical requirements for the turbines, which are not achievable by any available turbines, Mr Campbell said.

Mr Campbell and Mr Harker also voiced concerns about the New Zealand government’s proposal for a huge pumped hydro project at Lake Onslow in central Otago, which would have 5000 gigawatt-hours a year of storage but which they said could deter independent investment and interfere with a well-functioning market.

“We are not sure that pumped hydro over a 70-year life is going to have an unchallenged future, so I think the government needs to tread carefully,” Mr Campbell said.
Australian Financial Review

7 thoughts on “Totally Choked: Australian Wind Power Investment Suffers Massive Collapse

  1. Renewables are powered by politics; understanding 101.

    The phenomenon of literate societies is believing the written word.
    Education teaches what to learn, rather than how to learn. This maintains systemic control.
    And the limiting learned echoing voice in your head as you read.

    World-wide it is obvious, regardless of increased freedom controls breaking down, the old guard is under attack, and short of ‘democracy’ (read NATO) enforcing mass marshal law, the end of the world as we know it will happen exponentially.

    That the movement is in so many countries (200ish) ensures it will not cease.
    This does not mean that that every person must vote on every subject, it means those implementing laws regarding technological change, has society looking over their shoulder.

  2. Dumb Arse Dan left holding the can as the shit hits the fan.

    Here in SA the topic of conversation on the airwaves is the threat of the state govt taking control of household solar installations and cutting off them off the grid when there is too much sunlight causing grid instability.

    The many purchasers of solar and battery systems are starting to realize they have been conned and are a little irate to say the least.

    There’s threats of class actions and plenty saying should the govt go ahead with such action they would be thrown out.

    Of course the rent seeking solar retailers are all carrying on like a mob of scalded banshees.

    Our Liberal energy minister, Dan Van Pelekan has followed in the footsteps of self destruction of former Labor leader Media Mike Rann and his boofhead energy minister Aristotle Koutsantonis and promoted the rapid uptake of solar systems.

    Unfortunately for Dan the complete bastardization of the South Australian energy grid is reaching tipping point he has a choice – cut off solar during peak times or have blackouts.

    I’ve met the softly spoken Dan and hes a big man but I’m not sure the lift goes to the top level.

    1. Spot on about SA’s Hapless Energy Minister SOAG.

      I had a discussion with him on the steps of the Peterborough town hall about 9 years ago, when I was togering with Windweasel extraordinaire AGL over the proposed Hallett 3 WF, trying to explain that most Rural residents had no desire to have their peaceful lives shattered by Useless Noisy Oil Leaking Subsidy sucking Windturbines.

      Dan seemed to have no understanding of what I was very patiently telling him. I informed him that Reenooables were the domain of the Greens who would never vote for him in a fit and as a supposed Liberal the best thing he could do was distance himself from the RE scam.

      It seems Danny boy is either a very slow learner as you suggest or on the Turnbulls payroll.

      With the shenanigans that have gone on at Lincoln Gap in Dan’s Heartland, the Turnbull connection could well be behind his lack of empathy for his constituents who get their eardrums blown out whenever the wind is in the wrong direction. Something about biting the hand that feeds you comes to mind.

  3. The problem with connections to the Grid is a problem AEMO and the Industry is placing fully on Rooftop Solar installations in SA. They are demanding and getting permission to force shutting down input from rooftop solar when things get tricky.
    They are not suggesting shutting down any of the Turbines or LS Solar plants but are happily looking for more to be installed – ready for when the New Grid connection to NSW is up and running – to secure SA’s supply – well just as long as the Victorian connection to the Grid does not fail again and NSW is not running short of supply.
    The system is in a mess and all the batteries and all the windy belly aching by the Industry and AEMO cannot fix it. It needs to transform back to a sensible reliable system not reliant on the vagaries of the weather.
    But try getting that through to the thick as bricks brigade in State Energy Ministers offices and at AEMO .
    Role on the day the Federal Government decides to act on its powers to ensure the security of this massive ESSENTIAL SERVICE we all rely on have readily at hand when needed at a price all can afford.

    1. Hi there Jacquie. An observation of SA wind generation on windy days readily available at will show that on such days, SA’s 2,100 MW of Wind capacity is curtailed to around 1,250 MW, whilst Victoria’s 2,700 MW of Wind capacity appears to be limited to around 1,600 MW.

      The Windweasels and Large Scale Sunseekers are already feeling the pain of over investment in an already overloaded grid. If you have some spare time it is quite amusing to have a look at the RE RentSeekers own website and read the bleating and wailing of Giles Parkinson and Kane Thornton. Tales of woe abound.

      Neoen the French mob that have already built Bulgana WF North of Ararat and can’t get access to the Congested Grid are running around the Burra area spruiking another 1,200 MW of Wind power, 500 MW of Solar and of course a Mega Battery 3 time the size of the Musky Conglomeration at Hornsdale.

      All the while fervently praying that ScoMo will weaken and throw more of that wonderful until it runs out Other People’s Money in their direction.

      From the above post that doesn’t seem likely to be happening any time soon, which is pleasing to read.

      Keep up the good work Jacquie I enjoy reading your comments.

  4. Excellent news STT. Just what we needed to read. This article has been forwarded to the RE loving Goons at the Regional Of Goyder who are Loudly Spruiking French WindWeasel Noeons Ridiculous Goyder South Wind And Solar Project with the Mega Battery of course. This Mega Battery is claimed to be 3 times the size of the Hornsdale conglomeration Of Musky Power Walls so by using that $150 Million Scam as guide this latest proposal will power the S.A. grid on an average day for a whopping 12 minutes and that’s probably being generous.

  5. Just as Matt Kean is leading the charge in NSW to spend billions in Renewable Energy Zones. Talk about a parallel universe:)

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