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Optimistic? SA Energy Minister says helpfully “The grid blowing up is not the right term”

South Australia has built unreliable generators on one third of all homes in the state. They are expensive, encased in glass, and all fail at the same time, usually for breakfast, and definitely for dinner. They randomly fail when clouds roll in, but consistently fail all night long. When they do work, they all work together, producing an excess of energy when no one need an excess.  In order to pretend that this surge is useful, a billion dollars of working infrastructure has to switch off, scale down, spin its wheels, and toss money out the window.

A few weeks ago, the State Energy Minister of SA, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, warned that the state is only a few years away from reaching “net negative demand” which is a fancy-pants way of describing the moment that solar power makes more energy than the whole state can use. His reassuring comment was “The grid blowing up is not the right term, but it simply will not work.”

With 250,000 unreliable generators in the state the midday excess is now so large it threatens to break things, drive up voltages, drive out reliable generators and generally muck up what was a finely tuned system honed over 50 years.

There is already so much excess at lunchtime that the Energy Czars want to remotely switching off people’s solar panels at their most productive time, much to the outrage of hapless homeowners who thought they were buying something useful.

Rooftop solar destabilising South Australia energy supply, says Dan van Holst Pellekaan

by Perry Williams, The Australian, August 5, 2020

One third of the state’s households have rooftop solar systems installed but the strong uptake has created issues for the renewables-heavy grid, with solar at times generating so much surplus energy that demand falls near zero, destabilising the power system.

Residents with solar now face the prospect of their rooftop panels being switched off remotely to ensure the grid stays stable and secure.

“If the grid reaches net negative demand which under current operations is forecast in South Australia only a few years away, that’s not a political issue, that’s not a market issue, that’s not an environment issue. It’s actually a physics and engineering issue,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan told a Smart Energy Council forum on Wednesday. “The grid blowing up is not the right term, but it simply will not work.”

South Australia has also accelerated a timeline for renewables to provide 100 per cent of its electricity needs with plans to hit the ambitious target by 2030.

It didn’t have to be this way

The entirely artificial rise of solar panels in South Australia:

Solar installations in South Australia to the SA Power Networks distribution network, July 2008 to July 2020. Source: SA Power Networks.


No wonder South Australia is in so much trouble

The conservative party is in charge now in SA, but here’s the sensible party, telling us how practical they are, while they are trying to change the global weather with green electrons.

“We are not philosophically or ideologically constrained in our governance in South Australia,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan told the forum of Australia’s state and territory energy ministers. “We are constrained by a firm conviction that we must move forward with regard to harnessing renewable energy and it must be in a practical way that works for everybody who participates in the market. We’re not locked into ideology. We’re locked into continuing down a path of making sure it’s a practical way to do it.”

We’re not ideologues, my foot.

It’s projection all the way down.

Money, money,money

It’s an expensive game — global weather tweaking. The cost of managing the grid is rising fast.

The costs of managing the power system soared to $310m in the first quarter of 2020, more than double the previous record set in 2008,consuming 8 per cent of all energy costs for the three month period compared with just 1-2 per cent historically, the Australian Energy Market Operator said.

Are these $310 million dollar new costs being borne by the wind farms and solar panel owners?

The solution to the destabilization-by-unreliable-generators, is to add more unreliable generators and on top of that — spent $1,500 million dollars on a giant interconnector emergency IV line to NSW.

The report also highlights the benefits of a greater interconnected grid as levels of renewable energy increase. In South Australia’s case the proposed EnergyConnect project will dramatically reduce security challenges and allow South Australia and NSW to take advantage of their geographic ­diversity through their ability to share resources when it is to their economic advantage.

This will drain unreliable energy out of South Australia at lunch time and windy days. That way, the surge can destroy the baseload economics of New South Wales as well. It also means South Australia can pretend to be 100% “renewable”, even though it won’t be able to do it without the billion dollar extension cord.

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