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The South Australia energy disaster

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The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby sparky » Thu 09 Feb 2017, 18:12:36

.
With 2 major black-outs in in 5 months and 6 load shedding of regional supply in one year,
the South Australians are quite irate .

From the "Advertiser" the local paper
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/sout ... 449f1cb2d6

the first black out was caused by too much wind , the second by not enough .

The State government went heavily into renewable , with subsidies for individual panels and windmills
the majority of generation is produced by gas turbines
a large amount of complementary power would be imported from others State through the dual inter-connector line

two coal fired power stations were driven out of business

Then things went wrong , in September , high winds caused the wind mills to feather down to zero , some line were damaged and one of the inter-connector was down .

two days ago a predictable heat wave struck ( this is Australia , the sunburn country )
the State authority decide which generators get to switch on , those idiots though they could wing through it and didn't request a gas plant to come on line to save some money .

At sunset , with no wind whatsoever , the solar output dropped to zero , the inter-connector had no power to give as the others States were having high demand of their own .

The local government blame the national energy authority , which answers that they are not in the business of rationing
only of co-coordinating standards and prices ,
They also blame the Federal government who answers that they are incompetent and blinkered ,
playing the green card to be elected and too cheap to set up a decent grid and too hypocritical to mention that they import a lot of brown coal power , the dirtiest kind

While the voters are angry , the industry ,dairies and businesses are frothing at the mouth
for them it's not an inconvenience it's a major financial cost ,
several have flagged their intention to relocate from job deprived S.A. to States who are more mindful of their needs

As a longer heat wave is forecast in the coming days ,things looks grim ,
Both New South Wales and Victoria have informed the Federal authority that they will barely be able to supply their own market and have no power to trade .
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby coffeeguyzz » Thu 09 Feb 2017, 22:02:48

This scenario is on track for New England in the coming years during winter time cold snaps.
Several weeks back, the wholesale spot price for electricity briefly spiked to just under $500/Mwh, far above the annual average of about $30/Mwh.
As of this posting, it's under $4 per.

Wild, wild gyrations depending on how the wind blows ...and how the cold goes ...
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby toolpush » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 01:56:48

Coffee,

$500 per MHr is cheap compared to our $14,000 AUD the price is allowed to max out at.

You can see on this link current prices and supply in each state.

https://www.aemo.com.au/

All the talk of the Pelican Island combined cycle power plant not being fired up, can be answered by the fact it has been in mothballs for quite awhile due to lack of market access. As all wind power must supply the market before any ff plants are allowed in to supply. This creates a situation where the ff plant needs to be kept available even though they may never get to opportunity to sell any electricity. So they down manned, did not put gas supply contracts into place, and we got the result we did.
If intermittent renewables are to be used at a high rate, then someone, needs to pay for standby generation/storage. The question is, who?
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 02:30:01

sparky wrote:.
With 2 major black-outs in in 5 months and 6 load shedding of regional supply in one year,
the South Australians are quite irate .

From the "Advertiser" the local paper
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/sout ... 449f1cb2d6

the first black out was caused by too much wind , the second by not enough .

The State government went heavily into renewable , with subsidies for individual panels and windmills
the majority of generation is produced by gas turbines
a large amount of complementary power would be imported from others State through the dual inter-connector line

two coal fired power stations were driven out of business

Then things went wrong , in September , high winds caused the wind mills to feather down to zero , some line were damaged and one of the inter-connector was down .

two days ago a predictable heat wave struck ( this is Australia , the sunburn country )
the State authority decide which generators get to switch on , those idiots though they could wing through it and didn't request a gas plant to come on line to save some money .

At sunset , with no wind whatsoever , the solar output dropped to zero , the inter-connector had no power to give as the others States were having high demand of their own .

The local government blame the national energy authority , which answers that they are not in the business of rationing
only of co-coordinating standards and prices ,
They also blame the Federal government who answers that they are incompetent and blinkered ,
playing the green card to be elected and too cheap to set up a decent grid and too hypocritical to mention that they import a lot of brown coal power , the dirtiest kind

While the voters are angry , the industry ,dairies and businesses are frothing at the mouth
for them it's not an inconvenience it's a major financial cost ,
several have flagged their intention to relocate from job deprived S.A. to States who are more mindful of their needs

As a longer heat wave is forecast in the coming days ,things looks grim ,
Both New South Wales and Victoria have informed the Federal authority that they will barely be able to supply their own market and have no power to trade .

Gas turbines didnt get turned on
They predict demand and bid to supply power
But the gas can make more money being sold somewhere else than generating power .
Yet conservatives blame the Greens

As temperatures in New South Wales, South Australia, the ACT, Queensland and Victoria soar, there are predictions of rolling blackouts in some parts of the national electricity grid.
However, experts agree there is more than enough generation capacity in the energy market to meet demand, so why are we having power outages?
Is it market failure?
Are renewables to blame?
Or are power companies gaming the system?

https://www.theguardian.com/global/vide ... -explainer
https://www.theguardian.com/global/vide ... -explainer
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 03:02:13

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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 05:24:03

Image
Im in the pale yellow zone
Not too bad we are getting nice cool Easterlies
Garden is needing to be watered though I havent watered in the wet season before
Its a very dry wet season
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 07:59:11

There are two "enabling" power sources which can rapidly be throttled up and down to compensate for the variability of wind and solar power. These are hydropower and gas turbine "peaking" power plants.

Any reasonable power grid design has both sufficient "baseload" power generation, and peaking power plants. If you let engineers rather than politicians design your power grid and power generation, then such problems would not happen.

I'm not saying that green energy is not viable, only that you need a good design and you need to complete building that design before you shut off your Fossil Fuel power plants.

Live and learn.
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 11:20:43

KJ - "...two "enabling" power sources which can rapidly be throttled up...". If I understand the situation as explained above the primary problem was a lack of NG to fuel those turbines and not the lack of capacity. Enough NG was in the system but contracted to other users with little to none available in the spot market. As said above someone has pay for guaranteed supplies which is typically done with "take or pay" contracts. Yes: it sucks to pay for a commodity you don't use. But sucks worse when you suffer thru blackouts.

No grid improvements would solve that problem. And again why alts are working so well in Texas: we haven't abandoned fossil fuels. Not only are the NG/coal burning plants still in place but actively generating electricity. And thanks to some fortunate geography our wind power is actually backing up our fossil fuel burners: in the winter those cold northern winds that stress out our ff plants (one Arctic blast knocked offline two NG fired plants) also makes our west Texas turbines spin like crazy. At one point wind power was supplying almost 40% of the electricity of the largest consuming state in the country.

When the wind stops blowing and the sun goes down Texas lignite/NG power plants have ready supplies to fill the gap. And the consumers (thru the utility companies' GUARANTEED supply contracts) pay for that blackout "insurance". And given the continued growth of our population and industries it's proving to be monies well spent.
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Zarquon » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 15:28:05

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-24/h ... rt/8055164

"Having just spent $200 billion over the best part of a decade to become the world's biggest exporter of LNG, Australia is now looking down the barrel of having to import gas for domestic users.

In a 21st century variant of "selling coals to Newcastle", energy supplier AGL has flagged it may need to spend up to $300 million to build an LNG import depot to shield itself from soaring gas prices and increasing difficulty in finding reliable local supplies."
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby AdamB » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 15:41:56

sparky wrote:.

While the voters are angry , the industry ,dairies and businesses are frothing at the mouth
for them it's not an inconvenience it's a major financial cost ,
several have flagged their intention to relocate from job deprived S.A. to States who are more mindful of their needs

As a longer heat wave is forecast in the coming days ,things looks grim ,
Both New South Wales and Victoria have informed the Federal authority that they will barely be able to supply their own market and have no power to trade .


And here I thought it was only Americans that were dumb as stumps about where their electricity comes from. Long live renewables! (if only because companies specializing in building power generation on short notice and with a 100% surcharge for the need to build it quickly will profit mightily!).
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 16:29:18

Z - Granted a picky point but still valid and explains the situation: "Australia" is not exporting NG...nor will "Australia" be importing NG. Companies (mostly pubcos) that own NG reserves in Australia are selling much of that resource to foreign buyers under long term contracts. And Australian companies (mostly utilities) may be buying NG from foreign producers. And may be required to do so to satisfy domestic demand because they CHOSE to not sign long term supply contracts with domestic producers. In order to justify the many $BILLIONS required to build out the LNG infrastructure producers had to secure long term purchase contracts. Australian utilities had that option to sign those same contracts and decided for whatever reason to pass.

In short: how the free market works. Same reason the US has exported 1+ BILLION bbls of oil over the last 40 years despite being a net oil importer. That oil didn't belong to the "United States" anymore then that NG belongs to "Australia".
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Fri 10 Feb 2017, 17:31:18

There's been talk of compensating Engie(power company) to fire up the uneconomic Pelican Point No. 2 plant(gas powered station) during high-stress episodes.

"There is a bit of mud on everyone's hands now," says Grattan Institute's Wood. "South Australia ended up with more wind than any other region in the world and it's on the end of the line [of the National Electricity Market]. That's a lethal combination."
and the gas fired power station lay idle
.........................................
The Climate Change deniers in the Conservative government (the Coal- alition) say "let them eat coal" we shouldnt be scared of fossil fuels

but instead of embracing coal the cause of the heat wave there seems to be some solutions around the corner

................................................
Silicon will blow lithium batteries out of water, says Adelaide firm

An Adelaide company has developed a silicon storage device that it claims costs a tenth as much as a lithium ion battery to store the same energy and is eyeing a $10 million public float.

1414 Degrees had its origins in patented CSIRO research and has built a prototype molten silicon storage device which it is testing at its Tonsley Innovation Precinct site south of Adelaide.

Chairman Kevin Moriarty says 1414 Degrees' process can store 500 kilowatt hours of energy in a 70-centimetre cube of molten silicon – about 36 times as much energy as Tesla's 14KWh Powerwall 2 lithium ion home storage battery in about the same space.

The device stores electrical energy by using it to heat a block of pure silicon to melting point – 1414 degrees Celsius.
It discharges through a heat-exchange device such as a Stirling engine or a turbine, which converts heat back to electrical energy, and recycles waste heat to lift efficiency.
If the claims stand up at commercial scale the molten silicon storage device could be one of the technological breakthroughs that make it cheaper to store energy from wind and solar farms. This could smooth out their intermittent generation and also help prevent or isolate blackouts from transmission failures
Rather than just sell its storage devices, 1414 Degrees wants to enter into joint ventures with customers – or partners – and share in the benefits.
For example, Mr Moriarty said its devices could increase the revenue of a wind farm by 25 per cent, through increased output and exploiting higher wholesale prices when the wind isn't blowing.

http://www.afr.com/news/silicon-will-bl ... 207-gu7eg7
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Sat 11 Feb 2017, 19:27:13

Turns out the owner of the gas fired power station had 2 power stations one in another state and one in the state with blackouts.
Under the system it could make more money by generating power in the other state and selling it over the border,but even more money if there was heaps of demand,so it wasnt in its financial interests to turn on the gas fired power station in the state that was having black outs.

Seems the problem isnt green energy but the profit motives of privatised utilities.
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 11 Feb 2017, 21:06:57

Unfortunately when your only sense of self worth comes from maximizing cash flow instead of doing your best work, this is the kind of shenanigans you get. It is the same reason a medical prescription for the identical medicine filled in India is 1/10 the price of it being filled in the USA.
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby yellowcanoe » Sat 11 Feb 2017, 22:09:21

Shaved Monkey wrote:
Seems the problem isnt green energy but the profit motives of privatised utilities.


We have the same problem here in Ontario, Canada. The skyrocketing cost of electricity is being blamed on green energy but few people understand that the more fundamental problem has been the privatization of electricity generation.
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby sparky » Sun 12 Feb 2017, 03:05:16

.
not quite , the grid management did no request the Pelican plant second unit to be fired , when it became obvious there was going to be a shortage , they were told it would take 4 hours to fire up to production , the blackout lasted 30 minutes

all together nobody is in the clear , blame all around is fitting
as for corporate greed ,
it was a serie of political decision which hounded two coal fired power station out of business
so that the Green state of South Australia could purchase dirty brown coal power from the state next door
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Sun 12 Feb 2017, 05:52:58

This was painted as green is bad coal is good by the climate change deniers.
Murdochs nasty little rag and the conservative side of politics.
Another Coal fired power station isnt going to fix the problem.

The predictions of demand need to improve
The incentives to game the system need to be removed.

The dirtiest brown one is being phased out .
If it wasnt privatised it would have been phased out already.

Renewable energy is not “causing” blackouts.
They’re primarily due to the (incredibly complicated) energy market that wasn’t designed or isn’t being run to cope with a higher proportion of renewables, and is throwing up perverse incentives that mean South Australia can have a blackout while generators are sitting idle.
It would seem obvious that the answer to this problem is not to abandon all incentives for renewable energy but rather to fix the market and the rules.


https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... l-comeback
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Sun 12 Feb 2017, 07:17:34

Just half of the capacity of the gas fired power station would have stopped the blackouts
It ran the day after the blackout to ensure it didnt happen again.

http://www.theage.com.au/environment/cl ... u7vxr.html
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 12 Feb 2017, 08:10:54

Monk - Until recently I had not given much thought to the relative stability of the Texas grid and electricity market. We've had occasional bumps in the road but over time getting better. Which stands in stark contrast to worsening conditions in the other US grids. But then I discovered our ERCOT...the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. It operates with great power by wielding a combination of meaningful sticks and carrots. And that allows for some surprising cooperation between consumers, utilities, alterative energy developers, environmentallists, private industry and state/local regulators. Not that we're perfect in Texas (just damn close to it. LOL) but it sounds like the Aussies could use an "ERCOA":

"ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers - representing about 90 percent of the state's electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 550 generating units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 7 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT's members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers,) and municipal-owned electric utilities.

If you go back a long ways to its origin you'll find its basic structure developed out of necessity during WWII. Perhaps the Aussies should encourage a similar level of patriotic zeal. It sounds like they are already in a serious "energy war".
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Re: The South Australia energy disaster

Unread postby Shaved Monkey » Sun 12 Feb 2017, 16:34:00

The Conservative government statements blaming last year's South Australian blackout on its high renewable energy target ignored confidential public service advice stating that it was not the cause, according to emails obtained under freedom-of-information rules.

Yet within hours of the calamity the Conservative government was capitalising on the blackout, suggesting it was a function of the state's unsustainably high quotient of wind generation which had failed to keep working in the conditions.


http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politi ... uaxf0.html

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