Are we completely insane? Well, almost our entire political class and the overwhelming majority of – self-believing – “clever people” seemingly certainly are.
As I write this Wednesday evening, all those wonderful “clean” wind turbines across Victoria and South Australia are pumping out all of 30MW of electricity.
They are supposed to have the capacity to produce more than 3400MW – that’s 1½ Hazelwoods. They were operating at less than 1 per cent of capacity.
How many times do you have to say and write “when the wind don’t blow (and the sun don’t shine) the power don’t flow” to break through the thick skulls of “clever people” from PMs and premiers, through company chairman and CEOs being paid salaries in the millions and all the way down to academics and media idiots?
If the wind doesn’t blow then no power is generated.
Oh wait, sorry; all those turbines across SA and Victoria have now kicked up to producing 74MW. That’s a much more impressive 2 per cent of capacity.
Supply – more accurately, non supply – of electricity is one aspect of the insanity. The other is price. The wholesale price in SA was running at over $130 a MW hour. Victorians were doing a little better at around $108 a MW hour.
As the wind picked up, the SA price plummeted to $126 a MWh and Victoria’s to $106.
In the “bad old days” – all the way back to around 2000 – when we had wicked old, coal-fired power stations chugging away reliably pumping out electricity, irrespective of wind and sun, we paid $20-$30 a MWh, day in and day out.
It was so terribly boring – there’s so much more excitement, indeed real frisson, when prices can change by as much as that in a matter of minutes, as the wind chooses to blow or not.
And of course back then Gaia was crying tears of blood.
Never mind, as the AFR’s renewables (and Tesla) fanboy Ben Potter breathlessly informed us this week, a mammoth 9691 megawatts of new wind and solar capacity would be added to the national energy market by the early 2020s.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is mathematically challenged, writes Terry McCrann.
One can assume that Potter is as mathematically challenged as energy minister Josh Frydenberg; that like most of our 2018 “clever people” they’ve never had explained to them that any number multiplying zero still gives you zero.
We now have 3400MW of installed – OK, I’ll go along with the joke and call it – “capacity” – wind in Victoria and SA. As I wrote, that was producing all of 30MW, according to the market operator AEMO.
You can add that mammoth 9691MW, but if the wind is blowing as the same gentle zephyr, you’ll kick the relative output up to all of 115 MW.
Pity, that Victoria and SA alone need around 7500MW pretty much every hour, all day. Although, true, presumably the two states will need less by the early 2020s as more and more factories are shuttered as a consequence of crippling power prices.
To emphasise for Josh and Ben and all the others “clever people”/idiots: if you’ve got 3400MW of wind “capacity” and the wind don’t blow you will get zero or close to zero electricity.
You can have 13,000 MW of wind “capacity” and if the wind don’t blow you will still get zero or close to zero electricity.
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