- JoNova - https://www.joannenova.com.au -

Manufacturers getting ready to get out of Victoria this summer if power fails

It’s a nervous wait til summer. The Australian grid appears to be in slightly better shape than a couple of months ago, but it’s still so shaky manufacturers admit they are developing contingency plans to move operations interstate if a blackout hits, or they get attacked by a bout of high prices:

Something that doesn’t happen in competent countries with reliable electricity:

Victorian manufacturers prepare for power crunch

Angela McDonald-Smith and Mark Ludlow, AFR

Manufacturers are drawing up contingency plans to shift operations out of Victoria this summer as fears of blackouts and sky-high electricity prices for the March quarter keep nerves on edge.

While worries about blackouts in Victoria have eased in the past three months, Coca-Cola chief executive Alison Watkins said on Friday the company was prepared to beef up manufacturing in other states should the worst-case scenario eventuate in Victoria and generation fall short of demand.

Just another burden and inefficiency on business.

As power gets more expensive and unreliable the Victorian government is blaming coal:

Victoria’s Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, reiterated her concern that the increasing failure of ageing privately owned coal power generators was the biggest threat to Victoria’s power supply. She noted the work by AEMO “to secure the back-up power we need to compensate for this unreliability”.

The definition of incompetence is having a 430-billion tonne brown coal reserve but not enough electricity to operate the  manufacturers that haven’t already left.

In any case, old coal plants don’t have to die, we could just keep fixing them. But the land of incompetence not only seems to have forgotten how, but it’s forgetting that it ever could. Running the behemoths in an increasingly peaky grid, with more volatile demand, higher voltage swings, and more outages, while on shrinking profit margins and in a culture of doom is hardly conducive to good corporate maintenance.

Saved by fossil fuels:

South Australia, with more renewables than anywhere, seems rather desperate to get gas power:

AGL this month switched on its new $295 million Barker Inlet gas plant outside Adelaide and has won approval to defer the mothballing of units at its Torrens Island plant until at least March.

Saved by jet engines

South Australia rushing to add another lean green jet engine to the fleet by summer:

The new generator, an Aeroderivative Open Cycle Gas Turbine, is a variation of a jet plane engine and has the capacity to reach full load within five minutes from start. The new turbine is more environmentally friendly, using half the amount of fuel of other generators on site.

The Hallett power station at Canowie, around 210 kilometres north of Adelaide, currently has 12 operating turbines with total generation capacity of 203 MW, enough to power over 60,000 South Australian homes. — Energy Australia

 Saved by other people’s money

In this case the money comes from hapless customers who have to pay more because the law says they can’t choose to buy electricity from cheaper generators.

After adding more renewables per capita than anywhere on Earth strangely electricity is not cheaper yet, and not forecast to ever get cheaper than  what it used to be before we got all those renewables.

Forward prices for wholesale power reflect the concerns, with Victoria’s March quarter price now at $147/MWh, having risen early in the winter and only marginally softened. The plant outages, combined with the drought, drove Victoria’s average spot power price to $98/MWh in the September quarter, the fifth highest quarter on record, AEMO said.

Victoria’s March quarter price is now almost 45 per cent above that in NSW, which has also risen north of $100/MWh.


Bring out your wallet.

9.7 out of 10 based on 87 ratings