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SA loses power in another wind farm fail

February 9, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Stewgreen




It’s not long since South Australia’s wind power went AWOL during a storm, plunging most of the state into darkness.

Now, as the Herald Sun reports, there’s blackouts there because there’s no wind:


South Australia’s wind farms fail again, grinding out just 2 per cent power when the wind’s die in a heatwave.

Result: blackouts to 40,000 homes as the temperature soars above 40 degrees. And lives put in danger by this green madness.

Widespread power blackouts were imposed across Adelaide and parts of South Australia with heatwave conditions forcing authorities to impose load shedding.

About 40,000 properties were without electricity supplies for about 30 minutes because of what SA Power Networks said was a direction by the Australian Energy Market Regulator.

The temperature was still above 40C when the rolling blackouts began at 6.30pm to conserve supplies as residents sought relief with air conditioners…

SA Power Networks said in a tweet tonight: “AEMO has instructed us to commence 100MW rotational #load shedding via Govt agreed list due to lack of available generation supply in SA.’’

The interconnector bringing most coal-fired backup from Victoria was working flat-out at the time. South Australia simply did not have enough electricity generation of its own.

Once again it is important to recognise five things.

  1. South Australia has the country’s most expensive and yet most unreliable electricity because it has scrapped its coal-fired power and relies instead on wind power for 40 per cent of its electricity.
  2. Expensive and unreliable power costs South Australia jobs, and risks lives as the poor and old cannot afford – or get – cooling in a heat wave or warmth in a cold snap.
  3. South Australia cannot rely for long on backup from Victoria, which has its own renewable energy targets gthat have already helped to force the announced closure of the giant Hazelwood coal-fired generator, responsible for up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s power.
  4. What we’re seeing in South Australia will spread to the whole country if Labor is elected federally and imposes its own renewable target of 50 per cent by 2030. This will force us to use triple the wind, solar and hydro power we do now (but without adding any more dams) at an estimated cost of $48 billion. Our electricity will become as unreliable as that of a Third World state. Or South Australia. Same difference.
  5. And none of this pain – the expense, the lost jobs, the risk to health – will make the slightest measurable difference to global warming. The whole point of switching to green power is to cut the emissions that is blamed for causing the world to warm. But the cuts we make in Australia by building wind farms are too tiny to make any difference that any scientist can measure. It is all pain, no gain.

Madness. This global warming policy is a deliberate policy to make us poor.


Yes, madness indeed!

  1. February 9, 2017 10:57 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Global Warming ideological insanity on stilts. And the AUS govt wants more of these useless 16th Century feel-good windmills to meet some arbitrary emissions target set by unelected, ideologically deranged elites over at the UN!

    We truly are living in the age of collective madness.

  2. AlecM permalink
    February 9, 2017 11:10 am

    The answer is obvious: install smart meters so only the rich can stay cool…….

    [For the UK replace ‘cool’ with ‘warm’.]

  3. NeilC permalink
    February 9, 2017 11:17 am

    And the UK government is taking us down the same track, utter stupidity.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      February 9, 2017 1:48 pm

      Well, they wouldn’t want us missing the fun.

  4. Ian Cunningham permalink
    February 9, 2017 11:22 am

    For South Australi read Scotland in few years time!

  5. February 9, 2017 11:22 am

    You would think that in a heatwave all that sun would keep the solar panels going, but I am told that they work best at around 25 degrees C, so at 40 degrees they are not very efficient. Can that be right?

    • February 9, 2017 11:30 am


    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      February 9, 2017 11:34 am

      Yes. Solar panels are usually rated at 25C. The output drops off with temperature. The output temperature coefficient is typically -0.7%/C. If the ambient air is 40C, the panels will be up around 55C – maybe more with poor airflow. So they could be operating 30C above their rating. Hence output down around 20% in very good sunshine. ( Rick Will comment JNova)

    • Joe Public permalink
      February 9, 2017 12:13 pm

      The ‘true’ greenies will have both solar panels + Powerwall (or similar)

      It’s not only panel performance which deteriorates as temperature rises. See caveat at bottom of Powerwall warranty:

      • Dave Ward permalink
        February 9, 2017 3:34 pm

        “It’s not only panel performance which deteriorates as temperature rises”

        So will the necessary inverters – rated power output will go down with increasing temperature, and so will their ultimate life time (particularly the electrolytic capacitors they contain). If you are relying on inverters to produce the high start-up current needed by aircon compressors, it might be embarrassing if the normal rating is sufficient, but the de-rated output isn’t…

  6. Graeme No.3 permalink
    February 9, 2017 11:30 am

    1. It was 90,000 homes not the original figure.
    2. The Premier of SA has tried to blame the grid regulator for not starting up a shut down CCGT plant rather than rolling blackouts. In practice the heat affected the main interconnector to Vic. reducing its capacity, and it would have taken at least an hour to start up the Pelican Point No.2 plant. And why was it not working? Because it runs at a loss whenever the subsidised wind blows. Even Pelican Point No.1 was down when the State blacked out – the joy of wind energy.
    3. SA has avoided blackouts for a whole 24 hours!
    4. The RECs given to the wind operators and sold to the electricity retailers have run into opposition with one retailer electing to pay a fine of $123 million rather than buy the necessary RECs.
    The fine was calculated at $65 per MWh whereas a RECs costs $90 (maximum allowed), I wonder how many other companies will follow suite.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      February 9, 2017 11:38 am

      There was also a suggestion that there was insufficient gas supply to fire the back-up which, if true, was another grotesque political decision.

      • February 9, 2017 1:11 pm

        Gas tends to be sold on long-term supply contracts, not suitable at all for the very sparse demand spikes in South Australia, which tend to DOUBLE from normal levels during heatwaves.

  7. February 9, 2017 11:40 am

    Coming to the UK soon. Alex Chisholm, Permanent Secretary, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy admits that they do not know, and have never bothered to find out, what the implications are for all the weather-dependent renewable energy that has been connected to the grid or embedded in the distribution network. In his own words following the installation of over 800,000 projects funded by the Feed-in-Tariff scheme “That is a tremendously decentralised approach. Clearly, that has big implications for the future development of the grid and distribution network, and we are trying to understand fully the implications of that”. Don’t worry though because “the technologies supporting the new distribution system continue to evolve very rapidly, because of not only the needs of the energy market but battery storage particularly, because of the exciting developments in relation to electric vehicles”.

    No problems there then, the mandarins have it all sorted! They understand all about engineering and technology. It’s in their genes and they learn all about it in their PPE degrees.

    • February 9, 2017 1:50 pm

      “the weather-dependent renewable energy” Yes, it’s “energy from weather”. Only a complete fool would think weather makes a good energy source, which means there are apparently a lot of fools out there.

      • Dave Ward permalink
        February 9, 2017 3:47 pm

        I have to wonder what the complete fools round here (and there are a LOT of them) must think when they see all the old derelict windmills & wind pumps sitting out on the marshes. Does it ever occur to them that the reason they no longer turn is because steam pumps took over when the industrial revolution came about. The Fens would never have been drained to become one of the most productive agricultural regions in the UK if it wasn’t for fossil fuels:

        “The major part of the draining of the Fens was effected in the late 18th and early 19th century. The final success came in the 1820’s when windpumps were replaced with powerful coal-powered steam engines, such as Stretham Old Engine, which were themselves replaced with diesel-powered pumps, such as those at Prickwillow Museum and, following World War II, the small electric stations that are still used today”

  8. Malcolm Bell permalink
    February 9, 2017 11:45 am

    —- and the BBC didn’t mention it of course.

    • mikewaite permalink
      February 9, 2017 1:12 pm

      Which is a shame because the present and previous fiascos in SA would make a very interesting and revealing Panorama -type programme.
      So would a programme about the topic raised here a few days ago about £450million spent on smart meters and not one compliant meter fitted . Where did the money go ? would make a fascinating story .
      How about an item showing how coal outperformed wind and solar to keep us warm this winter and the implications of further coal closures .
      Or the BBC could do a sort of “selfie” and turn the cameras and journalists on itself and ask whether the financial commitment of the BBC pension fund to renewable energy interests( a not unreasonable financial decision in itself) might influence its editorial policy.
      So many interesting programmes that will never be made . Surely there are some journalists in the BBC who feel frustrated at the apparent constraints .

    • February 9, 2017 1:15 pm

      No, they are too busy exploiting the “explosion” at a French nuclear plant.

    • Joe Public permalink
      February 9, 2017 1:40 pm

      All current resources are focussed at knocking Trump & the NHS.

      • February 9, 2017 1:52 pm

        So true. Short of nuclear war, and even that is questionable, the Trump is now the entire focus of the news. An occasional mention of weather events (giant snowstorms on the East coast) is about it. It’s all eyes on the guy who knocked the Dems off the top of the hill and is now dealing with them trying to destroy the hill to get even.

      • CheshireRed permalink
        February 10, 2017 9:17 am

        Yup. Must just be a coincidence there’s 2 crucial by-elections coming.

  9. February 9, 2017 12:05 pm

    When a theory is belief based then believing that continuing to carry out the same action would produce a different result is feasible. Unfortunately to the rest of the thinking world it is the first sign of madness. It is the same as religion, no matter how many people believe in a religion it will not prove that a god exists – it is belief based. How intelligent people can base their science on belief rather than proof shows how far our religion based science has spread.

  10. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    February 9, 2017 12:15 pm

    Eric at WUWT:

    “Hilarious: Renewables Won’t Work – Even If Climate Claims are True”

  11. JOHN permalink
    February 9, 2017 12:19 pm

    And in South Africa the same madness is taking hold. The wind industry has made some solid inroads already, but they want more! Here the weasel words are not ‘subsidies’ but ‘Power Purchase Agreements’, negotiated between the wind developers and the Department of Energy. This is a 20 year agreement whereby the National utility, Eskom, MUST take everything produced by the wind farmers at pre-agreed prices, escalated annually. So Eskom has to buy electricity when it does not need it, and the wind does not blow when Eskom needs electricity. That’s a subsidy by any other name!

    Then our clever chaps at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) produced a highly misleading report proving that wind and solar renewable energy had saved Eskom a huge amount of money during a period when the country’s supply was seriously constrained. And for their calculations they used Eskom’s abnormal costs during that period, which included a large amount of diesel fuel used to run OCGTs – a totally abnormal situation, and a temporary one at that. Eskom has 9,600 MW of new coal coming on line over the next couple of years – thank goodness.

    But the CSIR has now planted a seed in the minds of government and the greens that wind power is is the cheapest option for the future, and every nutter that writes to the newspapers quotes the CSIR report as if it is the ultimate authority. I hope these people will take a lesson from South Australia before they condemn South Africa to expensive, unreliable wind energy, with our beautiful, scenic, and biodiverse countryside blighted by monstrous erections. Behind a lot of the pro-wind posturing is the anti-nuclear lobby, which is trying to put the brakes on South Africa’s nuclear aspirations.

    • February 9, 2017 1:55 pm

      One supposes if the government officials had to pay for this out of their salaries, they’d learn math very quickly and figure out the snow job given them by the wind industry. It’s so easy to ignore reality when you lose nothing by doing so.

  12. A C Osborn permalink
    February 9, 2017 12:29 pm

    Paul, sorry this is off topic.
    Over at Climate etc they have been discussing the Rose/Bates expose of the Karl Paper.
    At the bottom of the comments commenter Peter O’Neill has posted some tables about the Changes that have been made to the Irish Temp Raw Data by NASA/NOAA in their GCHN database.
    This could be a very big expose indeed.
    Nick Stokes is trying his best to down play it.

    I have also sent you an email regarding this, unfortunately I can’t ask any questions as I do not have any of the required input methods.

  13. Gerry, England permalink
    February 9, 2017 1:50 pm

    Worth reading Jo Nova on this one. She mentions lack of bids to provide the necessary power. Only a person in a white jacket with long sleeves could think up this sort of policy or believe it was sensible.

    • February 9, 2017 1:58 pm

      Too bad the civil rights progressives got all such people removed from institutions and dress them just like normal people. Makes identification very touch.

  14. February 9, 2017 3:16 pm

    Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of ‘SA blackout’ – unless you live there that is :/

  15. February 9, 2017 3:53 pm

    Update: Rolling Blackouts In South Australia As Wind Farms Fail Again

  16. February 9, 2017 5:52 pm

    If Labor is elected (and Australians seem dumb enough to do that), I hope it goes full-bore with its eco-lunacy project, and plunges the nation into energy poverty (a fancy term for darkness). Socialists voters need to feel the pain of their decisions.

  17. Hivemind permalink
    February 10, 2017 3:01 am

    “another wind farm fail”

    I have to take exception to the title. The wind farms didn’t fail this time. They worked exactly as designed. There was no wind… therefore they produced no power. Exactly what you would expect.

  18. Graeme No.3 permalink
    February 10, 2017 4:27 am

    Further news from SA. The Premier continues to blame AEMO who have defended themselves saying that the start-up time for the Pelican Point No.2 plant was too long at 4 hours, and they are bound by rules “which they didn’t write”.
    The local News has a headline (approx. 150 point) referring to the State government as DIMWITS and demanding they fix the problem. It also publishes an extensive list of the next suburbs that could be blacked out.
    In return the Premier has said S.A. will go it alone – apparently forgeting the third of supply coming from Victoria. He hints at big undertakings in a few weeks (hoping that with no further blackouts the anger will die down?) and a possible new gas plant in S.A. – which of course is what you build when the losses incurred have shut down your existing ones.

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