JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

Nearly a billion dollars for electricity for just one day — $500 per family

The Electro-pyre conflagration escalates.

The cost of electricity on Thursday in two states of Australia reached a tally of $932 million dollars for a single day of electricity. Thanks to David Bidstrup on Catallaxy for calculating it.

As Bruce of Newcastle says “ “Three days and you could buy a HELE plant with the money wasted.” That’s a power plant that could last 70 years, and provide electricity at under $50/MW. (Forget all the high charges for 30 years to pay of the capital (in red below), we could just buy the damn thing outright, paid off in full from day one.)

Cost of old coal plants in the USA. From the report by Stacy and Taylor, of the Institute for Energy Research (IER)

Burned at the stake: $500 per family

In Victoria, per capita, that means it cost $110 for one day’s electricity. For South Australians, Thursday’s electricity bill was $140 per person. (So each household of four just effectively lost $565.) In both these states those charges will presumably be paid in future price rises, shared unevenly between subsidized solar users and suffering non-solar hostages. The costs will be buried such that duped householders will not […]

The hottest thing in SA and Victoria tomorrow may be electricity prices

Millions of dollars will be burning on electricity tomorrow

With normal hot summer days expected tomorrow price spikes are forecast.

It’s not that hot

These are hot, but not unusual days for the capitals — Adelaide is forecast to be 41C, the other capitals are tame: Melbourne 33, Canberra 39 and Sydney 30. Though small inland cities are baking – like Albury at 44C.

South Australia could burn $36 million an hour

For South Australia tomorrow the AEMO is forecasting the state will need 2,800MW for 2.5 hours at $12,000/MWh. That could be $35m per hour. Note that forecasts in electricity often vary quite a lot from actuals. Looking at the truckload of cash being offered (from a generators point of view) will presumably bring in some extra supply and lower that price.

Forecast prices for Jan 15th 2019 | AEMO

 

For Victoria, things are even worse

The AEMO is forecasting 9,000MW will be needed at $14,500/MWh for 3 hours. That’s $130 million per hour. Hypothetically, it would be an obscene $390 million dollars just to power the state just from 3 – 6pm. Enough to buy an entire gas fired power plant and have it sitting around […]

More wind and solar than SA can use — we threw away 10% of the generation

South Australians have so much wind power, too much, that in Quarter 3 last year the AEMO had to intervene to cut off excess wind and solar generation. Ever since the Great Blackout of 2016 new rules mean that there must be enough back up power running to cope with the fickle vagaries of intermittent energy. (Obviously, this wasting of sacred green electrons wouldn’t need to happen if people weren’t so persnickety about blackouts!)

This graph is from the Quarter 3 AEMO report for 2018. It is technically about both wind and solar, but it appears to be mostly wind. Solar is not a star player in Q3 because it’s winter.

Would we put up with any other industrial output that had such a dismal performance. Imagine this was your car….

AEMO Quarter 3 report page 7

Synchronous generation is the kind that comes from machines that spin at 50 Hz (like coal, gas, hydro, nukes). These keep the system stable. Happy happy hertz.

But ten percent of all the wind and solar power had to be thrown away in SA because there wasn’t enough reliable back up power to guarantee the stability of the system.

During […]

SA and Vic at high risk of blackouts this summer

Even the AEMO is warning of blackouts coming, because the BoM is forecasting hot, dry conditions. El Nino on the way, and I hear rumours our Snowy Hydro Dam levels are not great.

Print Email Facebook Twitter More

There’ll be blackouts this summer if nothing is done, AEMO report warns

Stephanie Dalzell, ABC News

Victoria and South Australia are at a high risk of forced blackouts this summer if no action is taken, according to the latest report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Not enough supply? Put another million bucks on the BBQ:

To stop that from occurring, the AEMO has sourced emergency energy reserves, which are typically not available to the market and are only accessed when supply is not keeping up with demand.

Those emergency reserves — otherwise known as Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) resources — do not come cheap.

It’s only money:

The report stated that last summer emergency energy cost taxpayers in Victoria and South Australia almost $52 million.

That equated to an average of an extra $6 per household bill.

That’s nothing. The two day heatwave […]

Add that to the windpower bill: SA Battery cost $90m which is $220 per family of four

The ABC reports that finally the people of SA can find out what the emergency Tesla battery cost — $56 per person, or $220 per family, just for the purchase, not for the operation. Hands up South Australians, who would have rushed to sign up to be the Star Renewable State if they had to sign the checks themselves and their electricity bill had a item called: “The price of renewables”.

South Australia didn’t need a battery when it had coal power:

A 505-page report released by Neoen this month ahead of an initial public offering suggested the battery cost around $90 million, at the current exchange rate.

The giant 100-megawatt lithium ion battery near Jamestown in the state’s mid-north commenced operation late last year.

“It actually costs taxpayers’ money. There’s a cost of $4-5 million a year to have the battery in place.

“There are more costs than that involved.

Where does Giles Parkinson think these “revenues” come from?

However, Giles Parkinson said the battery was on track to “make revenues of about $25-26 million in its first year”

The battery makes no electricity. All it does is shift […]

Spent $1.5 billion on an interconnector to get a tiny cut in obscenely inflated electricity bills!

What costs $1,500m, makes no electricity, but “saves money”?

South Australia has used federal subsidies to build more wind power than it can use. They’ve spent half a billion already on diesel powered jet engines and a battery that can power the state for “minutes”. For 139 hours last year the state produced so much wind power it supplied 100% of the states electricity needs and then some, and the problem of excess electricity is only getting worse as wind generation keeps increasing and solar PV uptake is rampant.

When government rules and regs have created an inefficient, expensive problem, what do we do? More of it. A new report suggests that South Australia needs a direct transmission line to NSW which will cost $1.5b. We could spend that on a reliable generator instead, or get the government out of the way and let the private sector do it for us, but instead we need to pay for another transmission line to connect up different zones-of-subsidy-rent seekers and hope we get $30 off the bill? It’s a savings in the statistic margin of error…

South Australia didn’t even have an interconnector til 1990. Now with decentralized and renewable power they […]

Surprise: Australia closed a cheap coal generator and electricity got 85% more expensive

Last year one of our largest coal power plants suddenly closed, with only five months warning, catching the market by surprise and taking out 5% of our cheapest generation. (This kind of improbable anti-free-market feat shows just how screwed our national market is). The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has looked at the effect the closure of Hazelwood had on electricity prices and concluded that closing cheap brown-coal plants and replacing them with black coal and gas will make electricity prices rise. This will come as no surprise to anyone who can count to 100.

Dan Harrison at the ABC reports:

A year on from the closure of the 1600 megawatt-sized plant in the Latrobe Valley, the report from the Australian Energy Regulator found wholesale prices in Victoria were up 85 per cent on 2016.

Because electricity retailers use hedging for wholesale prices, the rise in retail prices is still feeding through. In the wash, the wholesale increase is expected to add 16% to retail prices this financial year compared to last year. After that, through some miracle, the AEMC expects prices to come back down from Exorbitant to Slightly Lower Than Exorbitant in the next two years thanks […]

Australian elections: Left-Greens lose — Weatherill’s revolutionary battery powered state runs out of power

The government running the renewables crash-test-dummy state has lost

In South Australia, Jay Weatherill is gone. Resigned. Tally so far: Libs win 24 seats, Labor 18. Though according to commenters SA voters were choosing between Lite-Left and Hopeless-Left. The new premier will likely be less-bad. Xenophon (small alternate non-establishment player) was crushed. He didn’t side with either Labor or Libs, so voters probably felt they couldn’t afford to sit on the fence and risk more years of Weatherill’s reckless industry-destroying state government.

The Greens are down from 8.7% to 6.6%, a fall of 25% in their popularity. (Not that I could find any news headlines to that effect).

The message for the soft left:

Chris Kenny: [A Lib win] … will flash a warning to Labor in Victoria, Queensland and Canberra about the perils of ambitious renewable energy targets prioritising climate gestures over electricity affordability and reliability.

The Libs appear to have made the most of hi-tech analytic campaigning. The Kochs and others in the US have set up i360:

Through i360 the SA Liberals believe they have progressed to a new level of targeted campaigning… the MP called up a marginal seat, […]

Battery acid spills at SA star “Green’ hospital – and blackouts as Doctors operate

….

Complexity has a price

Royal Adelaide Hospital, dubbed the “third most expensive building in the world” is doing more to help with global climate control than any other first world hospital. But a few weeks ago some of the planet saving batteries leaked all over the floor.

The government has claimed it [Royal Adelaide Hospital] produces half the greenhouse gas emissions of other hospitals.

Shame about 80 litres of sulphuric acid spilled into a hospital room. Firefighters were called in, and one person had to be decontaminated.

Are battery acid burns covered on your health plan?

Four giant batteries installed inside the new $2.4 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital to help the facility meet the Weatherill government’s strict low-emission targets have ruptured without warning, spilling 80 litres of sulphuric acid.

The toxic accident in a power generator room inside the hospital, which opened in September after delays and legal disputes over building defects, saw one person exposed and decontaminated at the scene by firefighters.

The batteries won’t be replaced til people know what went wrong:

Central Adelaide Health Network chief executive Jenny Richter said replacement batteries had been ordered but would […]

South Australia blows up cheap electricity, jobs, wealth, in ideological anti-coal quest

Today the South Australian government destroyed the smoke stack of the Playford B Plant, one more part of what’s left of the cheapest base-load electricity generators in the state.

For about $8 million a year over three years, they could have kept some coal power going and wouldn’t have needed to spend $400 million on emergency diesel generators they don’t want to use, and over $100 million on a battery that can supply 4% of the state for one hour. They also would’ve paid less than $120 million for two days of electricity last week.

On the upside, they can feel good and pretend to be “world leaders”. Virtue signalling is expensive, eh?

….

The plant employed 185 people, the coal mine 200. Other businesses in the town, who knows? People are leaving.

SA, a star in the race away from being a competitive, powerhouse rich state. Creating wealth and jobs in China.

Last South Australian coal-fired power station demolition nears completion

The Australian, Luke Griffiths:

The concrete and brick structure at the 240MW Playford B power station, named after long-serving South Australian premier Sir Thomas Playford and mothballed in 2012, leaves only […]