About two months ago the wind turbines across South Australia were spinning almost as fast as the politicians, who back then in those early days of the campaign were still fresh-faced and bushy-tailed.
On this one particular day, as alarm clocks were going off in Adelaide, the turbines were generating as much as 1000MW of power. That was more than 50 per cent of their rated capacity and almost all the electricity that the whole of SA needed.
Nine or so hours later, as schoolkids were heading home, the turbines were down to producing less than 100MW. They were losing their spin faster than an average pollie.
Around 6.30pm, when hotplates and ovens were cooking dinner, all the turbines in all of SA were down to just 30 or so MW hours in total.
Then for an entire hour mid-evening, all the turbines in South Australia – the ‘wind capital’ of not just Australia but indeed the entire southern hemisphere – produced less than a single MW of power.
From producing enough electricity to power 500,000 homes – as the shysters of the wind industry like to put it – to not being able to power even 500,000 low energy light bulbs in the course of a single day. At least that meant that for a few hours the turbines weren’t slaughtering birds.
That is the story of wind. Everywhere. Every week and every month. When the wind don’t blow the power don’t flow.
Yes, I’ve taken one extreme day. But it’s a rare day when you don’t get dramatic variation in wind – if you’ll excuse the expression – power supply.
The industry likes to sell the claim that the variation is modest and manageable. That the most output has dropped in SA in any five-minute period (five minutes, think about it!) is ‘just’ 200 or so MW. And even in any hour that the maximum recorded drop has been ‘just’ 400MW.
What it doesn’t highlight is the example of dropping 400 or so MW in one hour – and then a similar further drop in the next hour or two. So you can go from powering what’s left of industry in SA in the morning to not even producing enough for Adelaide’s light bulbs in the evening.
And what tends not to be understood is that the more of your power generation you ‘build’ on wind, even a ‘relatively’ small percentage variation in output translates to a big and punishing absolute variation.
You would have to be literally – and I do not mean figuratively – insane to think you could run an electricity grid on that basis. Step up Jay Weatherill, the Premier of SA.
And giving new meaning to the (probably apocryphal) quote attributed to Einstein – “that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” – step forward Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria.
For with Andrews, it’s a case of “I’ll do what he’s doing and expect a different result”. With SA’s devastating example of the insanity of putting too many of your electricity eggs in the wind basket before him, absolutely, undeniably, crystal clear, Andrews wants to take Victoria down the same path.
The only reason that Weatherill and SA – partially – get away with their, again to stress, quite literal wind insanity, is that SA has a long extension cord into Victoria. And what exactly is that cord ‘plugged into’? Why, Victoria’s brown coal power stations in the Latrobe Valley.
Although just now Weatherill has managed to get the operator of a mothballed gas-fired plant to fire up. And as I write this, according to SA’s real-time website, the state was getting almost all its electricity from gas, tiny amounts from liquid fuel and small solar and, wait for it, a big zero from wind. Wind capital? I’d say verbal flatulence central would be more accurate.
COULD somebody ask Andrews what Victoria’s ‘extension cord’ will be plugged into, if he succeeds in closing down those brown coal stations.
Now I wrote that SA partially gets away with its wind insanity because of the extension cord to Victoria. But at a cost, a quite literally huge cost.
For as our colleague Michael Owen detailed in our sister paper The Australian yesterday, on another day earlier this month when ‘the wind didn’t blow in SA’, NEM (National Electricity Prices) for SA reached almost $14,000 per MWh.
Does that sound, well, expensive? Well, in the rest of Australia – where they still have coal-fired power stations – the prices were running around $40 per MWh. The Australian Industry group estimates that the surge in SA electricity prices has cost the state $155 million.
And it hasn’t done anything for ‘climate change’.
Because the other thing these basically very stupid people from Weatherill and Andrews down are completely incapable of understanding, is that when the wind don‘t blow, it’s not only that the power don’t flow; it means the CO2 emissions are pumped out by the replacement power generated.
In the world of reality, as the Minerals Council pointed out yesterday, 92 per cent of total power generation early Wednesday morning in Queensland and NSW came from black coal, virtually zero from wind.
In Victoria 98 per cent came from brown coal, virtually zero from wind. In SA it was 96 per cent from gas, some 3 per cent or so from wind. Add it up and across the four states it was 98 per cent from fossil fuels.
If a premier sets out to destroy his state’s energy base, he is either very stupid or criminally irresponsible and probably both. It will start by hurting people financially and go on to hurt them physically, when the lights literally start going out.
MEDIA WATCH SLIME TIME
BUNCH of people say some very stupid things and Paul Barry and his ABC Media Watch team are outraged that it’s not reported as the gospel truth.
Barry devoted most of Monday’s program to sliming The Australian’s Graham Lloyd for daring to deviate from the official ABC Global Warming line, for failing to report a warning from “2500 of the world’s coral reef experts”.
The warning – a letter to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – was a concoction of hysterical assertions and sheer nonsense. The letter writers were lucky The Australian did not report it.
The core of the letter was a demand that Australia ban the export of coal to save the world’s coral reefs.
The so-called experts – and Barry – clearly are incapable of understanding that Australia could close down all its coal mines not just those exporting coal and it would make not the slightest difference to the world’s coral reefs, because it would make not the slightest difference to the world’s emissions of CO2.
Anyone reading the letter who is not totally signed on to global warming hysteria like Barry would actually be ‘backing away slowly’ – figuratively speaking – from two obvious loons, the signers of the letter, the way you do their raving equivalent in the street.
Their hysteria reached its peak with the assertion that the mere “shipping of fossil fuels across the Great Barrier Reef” breached our stewardship responsibilities of the reef. Indeed, how can we despoil its sanctity by allowing fossil-fuelled boats to go anywhere near it!
Barry’s outrage was delicious and instructive. He and Media Watch never fail to pounce on those who are not ‘right-thinkers’ – in the process, utterly failing their ‘media watch’ remit.
In the first clear week after the election, a Media Watch that took its job description seriously would have analysed the media coverage – the press gallery specifically – of the campaign in the context of the outcome.
On that, absolute zero.
Media Watch is, in two words, a total disgrace.
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