Australian Power Prices Set to Surge With Interconnector To Wind/Solar ‘Powered’ South Australia

A maniacal reliance on chaotically intermittent wind and solar poses an existential threat to Australia’s power grid. And Australia’s power problems have absolutely nothing to do with the grid itself.

Depicted above – courtesy of Aneroid Energy – is the output delivered by Australian wind power outfits to the Eastern Grid during July.

Spread from Far North Queensland, across the ranges of NSW, all over Victoria, Northern Tasmania and across South Australia its entire capacity routinely delivers just a trickle of its combined notional capacity of 7,728MW.

Collapses of over 3,000 MW or more that occur over the space of a couple of hours are routine, as are rapid surges of equal magnitude, which make the grid manager’s life a living hell, and provide the perfect set up for power market price gouging by the owners of conventional generators, who cash in on the chaos.

During June there were lengthy periods when the combined output of every wind turbine connected to the Eastern Grid struggled to top 400 MW (5.1% of total capacity). Such as: 11 June when output collapsed to a trifling 86 MW (1.1% of total notional capacity); 17 June when total output fell to 134 MW (1.7% of total notional capacity); 26 June when, after a 1,200 MW slide, output was between 300-400 MW (3.8% to 5.1% of total notional capacity); and 27 June when output dropped over 900 MW to bottom out at 96 MW (1.2% of total notional capacity) .

There are hundreds of occasions each year when the Eastern Grid’s entire wind fleet’s struggles to deliver more than a tiny fraction of its combined capacity.

Accordingly, the idea that adding capacity to grids to connect wind and solar ‘powered’ South Australia with its populous and more prosperous eastern neighbours will somehow benefit them, is pure nonsense.

Sunset is a process of general application (occurring incrementally later as one heads west across this continent).

And, as depicted in the data above, calm weather across the Eastern half of Australia is universal, as well. Which means that there are plenty of occasions when their isn’t much wind or solar to shift anywhere, at all.

What’s really in play is the ability of Australia’s generator/retailers – like AGL – to import South Australia’s wind power chaos across the border into New South Wales, thereby giving it the opportunity to rort and game power market in that state, as it has done in SA for over a decade.

The team at JoNova take a look at the cost of spreading South Australia’s renewable energy calamity to its eastern neighbour.

Extension cord to rescue renewable South Australia will now cost $2.4 billion
Jo Nova Blog
10 October 2020

It’s another hidden subsidy for “Green Power”.

The totally non-essential new interconnector between NSW and SA will now cost nearly a billion more than was expected. It will add no new baseload generation but allow the random energy surges from South Australia to interfere with New South Wales supply. Surges of subsidized energy will break the balance sheets of cheap baseload infrastructure in NSW, making them less profitable, and driving them out of business unless they charge more for the fewer hours they operate. Both states will spend more on electricity but be less self sufficient, and more dependent on other states.

Why aren’t NSW generators complaining? Because they know prices will rise, not fall. Ask AGL — the more coal plants it can close, the more profits it can make from the gas and unreliable generators.

The extra interconnector won’t solve the real issues — it “probably” won’t change the massive high pressure weather systems that stop wind towers working in both states simultaneously. The magical transmission lines “probably” won’t stop the sun setting in Adelaide one hour after it sets in Sydney either. But it will make some property developers rich.

The $2,400 million dollars won’t fix the real problem which is that low density energy sources are inefficient and intermittent, and productivity gains from the generation of green electrons are zero, or less. It’s just physics.

But that kind of money would pay for a lot of HELE Coal power. A gift for generations to come.

Project EnergyConnect SA-NSW interconnector to cut $100 off power prices, says ElectraNet
Chris Russell, The Advertiser

Opposition Energy spokesman Tom Koutsantonis said the increase in costs was “staggering”.

He was concerned the interconnector would force SA’s gas-fired generators to close, losing the state’s capability to power itself.

The death of the entire Australian Aluminium Smelting industry is a mere sideline in the modeling:

Revised modelling has taken into account lower projected energy demand, including assumed closures of the Tomago, Boyne Island and Portland smelters.

The economic comprehension of electricity markets is childlike:

Increased generation from more renewable energy projects would lift supply. Less demand and more supply would lead to lower wholesale prices.

If only electrons were bananas, it might be true. But the last decade in Australia shows that electrons are not priced like tropical fruit. In the last ten years Australian demand for electricity has declined while renewable generation has been added like fairy floss, but prices went wildly up, not down.

The modelling suggests SA households would pay $10/year to fund the interconnector but receive $110/year cheaper power – delivering a net $100/year benefit.

The modeling will deliver whatever the modeler wants.

As usual, the Labor Party gets it exactly backwards.

In a Budget reply speech on Thursday night, Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said if the ALP was elected it would invest $20bn on creating a Rewiring the Nation Corporation which would build national transmission lines.

“As more renewable energy gets built, we need the transmission network to support it,” Mr Butler said.

To which, Jo Nova says: We don’t need the transmission lines at all. The renewables industry needs them.

When will the Labor Party start acting like they serve the people instead of the Renewables Industry? When will the ABC?

When will the Liberal Party grow a backbone and say the obvious?
Jo Nova Blog

2 thoughts on “Australian Power Prices Set to Surge With Interconnector To Wind/Solar ‘Powered’ South Australia

  1. Most politicians have drunk the koolaid of unreliables.
    The dumbest are the Greens, followed closely by Liebor with the Libs edging ever closer to Liebor.
    The idiots are in charge and we are the experimental bunnies.

    Who will be left to pay taxes when businesses decide to close up shop and move to greener pastures?

  2. Sky news is exposing a very interesting story on renewable energy report right now.

    NT government refuses to release energy report

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