Wind Power. It’s big news. Lots of big things being trucked north on big trucks. Big Aussie-made transformers coming all the way from Victoria. And with them of course, jobs for 18 months and community help from corporations – both very welcome.
Much is made of the of the number of homes these installations will power. Same for the reduced CO2 emissions they bring about. Rarely mentioned are the words “best-case scenario” or “optimal conditions”.
These conditions are more difficult to predict and manage than for solar PV installations, which are much “softer” on the grid in terms of managing output, but of course they shut down during darkness.
But behind the scenes, chuffing away, are the stable, controllable “backup” generators such as gas, coal and hydro-electric plants. But because none of them can be “revved up” in a matter of minutes, they are required to churn away in the background, even if not needed, to ensure they can be drawn on immediately to ensure system stability. So the “reduced CO2” claimed is a smokescreen – pardon the pun. Any environmental argument touted for wind farms does not include the actual mW/hrs and CO2 emissions necessary for back-up to ensure continuous, stable electricity supply.
Australia’s electricity costs are the world’s highest, followed closely by the global wind-power leader, Denmark, which has for years imported coal/gas/nuclear generated energy from Europe (at high prices) to manage the intermittency of wind. Conversely, its excess wind power is sold back to Europe at low prices. Not much of a business case, is it?
We now learn that South Australia, lured into leading the way with” renewable” energy, is rushing to commission 9 large “portable” hybrid generators at two Adelaide sites. They will run on diesel – for pity’s sake – for at least 2 years before they are relocated and switched to gas. Forget the spin, just look at the outcome. Sheer stupidity.
While Elon Musk’s much awaited mega battery could buffer the intermittency some of SA’s wind power, it’s yet to prove itself in operation. And it will provide only a proportion of SA’s total energy needs and only for a short period, before needing recharge. Recharge by what means, I wonder? For if the wind still isn’t blowing or blowing too hard, perhaps the diesel units?. Clean. Green.
Yes, we’re being conned. Conned by politicians, activists, and a troupe of rent-seekers whose business model articulates primarily on pursuit of taxpayer subsidy, based on suspect, two-dimensional business cases.
One day perhaps, energy storage may strengthen the real viability of wind power, but big trucks, road escorts, tall towers and “Australia’s largest” mask what, in 20 years’ time is likely to look like a massive, debt funded overreaction to two facts. One; -that our coal powered thermal plants are at or near the end of their designed lifespan, and, Two;- that Australia generates around 1.5% (and shrinking) of global CO2 emissions so any actual reduction in emissions is of almost negligible effect.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding