March 3, 2017

Australia's Electricity Crisis Rapidly Worsening - Higher Aged Death Rates

Sources of energy in eastern Australia in 2015-2016. In South Australia the "gray" gas power stations have more recently been switched off, taking too long to restart. This has made South Australia dependent on unreliable wind and solar. When these renewable sources fail (causing major blackouts to heavy industry about once a month) South Australia is dependent on Victoria's increasingly high-in-demand/hence expensive, coal using base-load power stations.  (Graph above and Map below courtesy  Australian Energy Regulator/Operator via LCKE)

Submarine Matters is not completely tied to subs, surface ship ""skimmers" or even jets. Energy sources are worth commenting on.

THE ENERGY PROBLEM

Poor energy planning in the State of South Australia caused critical blackouts in that State during storms, heatwaves and other regular events in 2016/2017. These crises were caused by South Australia's closure of reliable base-load power stations and then over-reliance on massively subsidised  but unrealiable, renewable power stations (chiefly solar and wind).

Former Prime Minister Abbott's energy renewable comments (voiced 23 February 2017) are certainly justified by the facts [1]. Australia's pathetic "energy leadership" will cause hypothermia, increased respiratory diseases and higher death rates among the aged in southeastern Australia during the southern Winter (June to September this year).

The latest threat to southeastern Australia's electricity supplies is the closure soon of Victoria's Hazelwood Power Station [2]. Via major electricity cable extensions the renewable junky, South Australia, is also dependent on Hazelwood.

Hazelwood supplies up to 25% of Victoria's base load electricity and more than 5% of Australia's total energy demand [3].

Hazelwood is definitely closing by the end of THIS MONTH - 31 MARCH 2017. Multi-state blackouts won't be immediate but will impact 2 months later, in June 2017.

June will see very cold, still nights:

- with longer nights there is less solar generating daylight, and

- cold still air means windpower won't work

- dropping temperatures means more strain on the closure depleted base load power.

- prices for all baseload electricity as well as home oil and gase will jump by 30% over 18 months.

Under these conditions there will be greater "load shedding" ie. short term planned blackouts, especially during the coldest nights:

- starting with the renewable junkies of South Australia

- then the halfway coverted junkies of Victoria

- SA, Vic and Tasmania will need rely on the baseload power stations of Liberal NSW to feed them
  some power, but at unsustainably high prices.

As I've said after Hazelwood's closure there definitely won't be enough power to run heaters in the homes of poor, vulnerable and old. These people cannot afford sufficient insulation or afford sharply increasing energy prices.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE

Both sides of Australian politics have failed to take action to improve the energy situation. This situation might only be improved by building new coal power stations (like China and India) to operate in the next 5-10 years. Australia, for the first time should also build nuclear power stations (in the next 10-20 year time frame) following Japan's and Canada's long held strategy.

[1] http://tonyabbott.com.au/2017/02/transcript-hon-tony-abbott-mp-remarks-launch-making-australia-right-mlc-building-miller-street-sydney/


[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazelwood_Power_Station

I wonder if Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and the US suffer from similar renewable madness?


Pete

23 comments:

MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,

the ratio of renewable energies to conventional sources is rather low for Australia compared to Germany.
Last year over 30 % of electrical energy in Germany was produced by renewable sources.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/Stromerzeugung_2016.jpg

The number are even more different for installed generating capacity.
Installed generating power in Germany 204.1 GW (2016).
97.9 GW are from renewable power sources.
https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/DE/Dossier/strommarkt-der-zukunft.html

Required peak power is around 60 GW.
At some days renewable energy power was far more than sufficient and abundant power was exported.
Germany has the advantage to be in the center of Europe. So electricity can be easily distributed:
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regelleistung_(Stromnetz)

Also electricity consumption is shrinking in Germany due to more and more efficient devices.
http://www.science-skeptical.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2_abb_entw-stromverbrauch_2016-06-14.png

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...


Hi Pete

Germany abolished nuclear power plant and imports electricity from France. France generates this electricity in its nuclear plant remoted area, i.e., near border with Switzerland. This is an inconvenient truth or alternative facts of clean energy policy.

Regards

Anonymous said...

Daza here.

surelly distribution should be failsafe?
Why should a bird shutdown an entire state.
I have no understanding of he tech behind power
despite once being a greaser on a remote NT powerhouse.
I live in Kalgoorlie these days. We have a set of gas turbines.
I wonder if these modules could be backup for baseload.
Australia has lots of gas it seems. Why aren't we burning gas instead of coal?
Sorry, I have no answers.

daza gold Kal

Ztev Konrad said...

Germanys gross power consumption is around 600TWh and production was 646 ( IN 2014) leaving roughly 50 TWh for export
It was interesting to see the power consumption dip considerably in 2008 from 618 to 581- short working weeks etc.
www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/germanys-energy-consumption-and-power-mix-charts
The interesting data is that 'installed' power from renewables is growing but actual power produced by thermal is still 60%, with hard coal and lignite a big portion of that. Solar has only 6% of production
Nuclear power is still 13% of production so hasnt 'shut down' and of course neighbour Poland is growing its coal power, the largest coal power station in Europe , 5.4GW at Bełchatów has been expanded recently

Ztev Konrad said...

Excess Winter deaths has an interesting history, in the 19th century it used to occur in Summer. Thats because of teh decline in infectious deaths for things that increased in Summer such as s dysentery, gastroenteritis, tuberculosis etc and the shift to conditions that increased in Winter such as diseases of the circulatory system and respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and influenza.
The peak of winter excess deaths ocurred in the 1960s and has fallen since, but with yearly rises and falls.
http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442453159
Recent growth in the usage of vaccines for flu and pneumonia re likely to continue the decline in winter excess deaths and as Australia has a drift of population to warmer states, especially for higher income elderly, that reduce the effects of cold winters.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Solar cell is not as green as people think. Environmental impact of product should be assecced in its life cycle from design, production, installation and operation to disposal. In design, operation and opration stages, solar cell is clean. Problems are production and disposal stages. Solar cell is consisted of semiconductors (silicon, compound, etc). Dangerous gas is used for production of semicomductors, and compound semiconductors sometimes consists of heavy metal such cadmium. So, production stage is not green. Disposal method of waste solar cell is not established. Governmental bodys or industrial sectors emphasis cleaness in operation stage and neglect disposal stage, because issue in this stage is major obstruction against spread of solar cell.

Weak point of window power generation is its noise.

Regards

MHalblaub said...

Dear Anonymous,
There is an inconvenient truth about French nuclear power plants:
During hot summer France has to shot down sometimes several reactors due to low water in the rivers.

In the last years Germany exported far more electrical energy than it imported:
value about 2 Billion Euro!

http://phasenpruefer.info/deutschlands-stromexporte-bricht-rekorde/
https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/de/presse-und-medien/news/2016/deutsche-stromexporte-erloesten-im-saldo-rekordwert-von-ueber-2-milliarden-euro.html

Germany has to import electricity from France? Yes that happens but more is send in the other direction.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...


Hi,

Please do not make the same mistake as The Netherlands.
Coal power plants are obsolete, in the netherlands we got 2 brand new coal plants and we dont know what to do with them. At the moment they are heavily subsidised otherwise they will be pushed out of the market by the renewable energy sources, whits got almost no government backing. Because of this The Netherlands is in the EU after Malta the heaviest ejector of greenhouse gases.

We can't close them because of the billions of euros we have invested in them and we can not let them be open because it disrupt the market.

All the European power giants are now looking at renewal energie sourses or they will go bankrupt in the next 10 to 20 years. The Royal Dutch Shell one of the largest companies in the world is no exception.


Regarts,

Kevin

MHalblaub said...

Dear Anonymous (4/3/17 3:07 PM),

in case you fear silicon you should avoid sandy beaches.

Here an article in German about recycling of solar cell:
http://de.solarcontact.com/blog/2013/05/solarmodule-funktioniert-das-recycling/

You should look up what a coal energy plant is always blowing in the air: heavy metals like lead, cadmium and other very healthy things.

"Weak point of window power generation is its noise."
They are not as noisy as you may think. In case of heavy winds the noise is related to many other sources than the wind turbines.
1 km away from residential developments the noise is acceptable low.
Australia does not have the problem with populated areas like e.g. Germany has.

Regards,
MHalba

Ztev Konrad said...

Kevin, I dont know much about the energy distribution in the Netherlands, but it seems you have made a generic mistake. Wind power is the renewable source that is subsidised not coal, this happens everywhere by two means. Firstly carbon taxes obviously only apply to coal, a lesser extent to gas powered thermal ( or turbine) and not at all to wind. Secondly wind is given an operating subsidy or strike rate whether it produces power or not, as you would know the wind doesnt always blow or when it does blow the power required is much less ( wind turbines are braked).
However another reason why large thermal generators are required is that the electric grid is AC and requires to be run within narrow margins of voltage and even more narrowly frequency. That was South Australias problem as wind generators cant stabilise the frequency like large thermal generators , which are synchronous. Wind turbines are asynchronous and dont contribute to the stability of the grid. When the grid becomes unstable it will be shut down as a blackout is preferable to the damage that can cause.
Relying on importing power from neighbours to make up the power shortfall and stabilise your grid is foolish as they wont care about your problems when they have their own

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete & Mhalblaub (5/3/17 12:04 AM)

Thanks for interesting information on recycling of solar cell in Germany.

Environmental technology of coal-fired generation in Japan [1] is highest in the world, emissions on SOx and NOx are low. If Australia requests for building of coal-fired generation, Japan will gladly corporate with Australia.

Based on proof by expert [2] and scientific, comprehensive and authoritative research [3], we can not neglect noise issue in wind generation facility.

[1]http://www.jpower.co.jp/bs/karyoku/sekitan/sekitan_q02.html
Emissions on SOx and NOx per electric generation for thermal power generation in the world (form left to right: USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, J-POWER: J-POWER adopts coal-fired generation)
[2]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlQNPDV8pJQ
[3]http://www.env.go.jp/air/noise/wpg/01_161125_huusyasouon_report.pdf
Report by Investigative Commission on Evaluation Method of Noise from Wnd Power Generation Facility, Japanese Ministry of Environment, 2016. The investigationn was conducted for 29 wind farms in Japan from 2010 to 2012.
“Usually, noise from the wind power generation facility is not significantly high. But, as most of the facitities are built in originally quiet area, even relatively low level of noise may cause complaints. In quiet area, noise over 35-40dB causes increase in annoyance and risk of adverse effect on sleep.”

Reagards

Peter Coates said...

I think Australia should use the most advanced coal power station technology available including from Japan.

The realities of Australia's energy situation are:

- Australia has very long 500km distances between its largest cities, low population density and little hydo-water. These all reduce the efficiency of renewables compared to Europe.

- Australia is selling most of its gas at high prices overseas so gas for the Australian market is too expensive.

- Nuclear is too far in the future [20+ years] mainly due to deep public opposition to nuclear. Insurance cover-public liability and Decommissiong reactors are also largely hidden downstream costs that makes nuclear hugely expensive. Only if Australia had a military nuclear program would civilian nuclear be viable.

So modern coal power seems the most viable choice in a reasonable timeframe.

Pete

Anonymous said...

All intelligence is important. Subs, energy output, political,military,civilian life, etc. I am reading some James Church books about North Korea. I would fancy some intel sites that delve into the mysterious North of 38 .
Always enjoy your periscope depth .

MHalblaub said...

A new way to store energy:
http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/technik/bodensee-strom-laesst-sich-bei-test-in-betonkugel-speichern-a-1137243.html (German)

An inverse hydro plant.

Anonymous said...



Hi Ztev Konrad,

I don't know if it is a European thing, but at the moment we tax solar panels because we can import them dirt cheap from China and we can construct and place windmils without goverment aid. There are subsidies available for installing solar panels and to connect the windmills on the power grid, but that is a fraction what we pour now in the coal plants to keep them running. We (The Netherlands) dont have a Carbon tax at the moment.

Poland is the situation even worse. The polish government dont give any licenses for the construction of windparks anymore and it is increasing funding for its coal plants, or tens of thousands of people who are working in the coal power industry will be in a no time be out of work. Coal can't compete anymore without state intervention. You see the same now in the US.

In the EU we are now looking on ways to store the surplus of power produced during the day time for the night and bad weather. One of them were the Netherlands is now working on is to convert the surplus in to a fuel gas (hydrogen or Methane) with we can use in gas power plants when need it.

In the Netherlands we got a network of gas power plants as a backup if something is wrong with the coal plants. The nice thing about gas plant is that they are flexible, they can be adjusted to the current need to compensate for the unreliability of solar and wind.
A coal plant can only be turned on the first day and turns off on the last day of its operation, there is almost noting in between.

Another way to store the surplus of power is in electric cars. A Tesla battery can store enough power to power a normal household for days. A couple of European countries including the netherlands will place a ban on selling nieuw petrol cars in the 2020`s so they can be phased out. So a lot of battery storage will become available to use. in a city block where I live (Utrecht) they are already experimenting with this technology.

My message is when you are on a roll with new energy sources it will go very very fast and you don't want to be stuck with expensive coal power plants.


Regarts,

Kevin

Ps, don't look at China. They can break down power plants as fast they constructed them. They have the money to do that, we westerners don't.

MHalblaub said...

Dear Kevin,

I doubt that China has more money than the west but China can direct money more easily in certain direction without bothering about voters.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Ztev Konrad said...

Kevin, Netherlands certainly has taxes on cabon for fuel for power stations
' The Netherlands also first adopted a carbon tax in 1990, but replaced it with a 50/50 carbon/energy tax in 1992. This tax is called the Environmental Tax on Fuels. This mainly affected large energy users, so another carbon/energy tax, the Regulatory Tax on Energy, was introduced in 1996 to target small-scale energy consumer'
http://climateanswers.info/2010/07/carbon-and-energy-taxes-in-europe/

As for the subsidys paid for wind farms
" The Danish giant Dong Energy stunned the industry in July by clinching an offshore deal in the Netherlands at a strike price of €72.5 per megawatt hour (MWh), half the sorts of levels agreed less than five years ago."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/10/02/cut-throat-competition-is-slashing-offshore-wind-costs-to-unthin/
.
Thats a huge subsidy, even more so when you think the older wind farms have twice that ( long term contract)

As for coal fired power stations they start or increase output or stop completely like a gas plant- its called load following. Its a slower process than gas turbines. Some baseload power stations , often near large cities can be operated essentially at high or peak loads all the time.

Coal while no longer desirable is still the largest single source of power worldwide, for the reason its the cheapest. Netherlands cant change that unless for obvious reasons they subsidise renewable s to make the price of coal high and restrict its operating efficiency. But if you want to maintain grid stability its because there is a thermal or hydro powered generator doing it for you.

Peter Coates said...

Thanks Anonymous [at 6/3/17 3:00 AM]

I've just ordered James Church's first novel "A Corpse in the Koryo" for my (almost toppling) reading pile. Too many ex-spooks are good novelists.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Nathan Marcus https://plus.google.com/117637749080637307588 has left comment:

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) [1] has signed new works contracts with Japanese energy company Inpex for the $34bn Ichthys LNG project off the north-west coast of Australia and will support 2,000 Australian jobs Called EDSPDPA,the agreement will be valid until 2030.

[1] http://www.offshore-technology.com/news/newsmua-signs-work-arrangement-deal-with-inpex-to-create-2000-jobs-5755328

Anonymous said...

Hi Ztev Konrad,

No, the carbon tax for the power plants is abbolist in 2013 in the so caled 'energieakkoord'.
There is still tax on petrol, but that is more to fill the treasury than for the environment.

At the moment so far i quickly can find (i'm the bomb and guns guy, not the green guy) is the subsidies on coal power plants annually 4 billion euros for operations and 3.6 billon for fuel, this government has decided Last month to increase it with another 2,1 biljoen to co incinerate biomase.

I can give you letters from the minister if you like but they are in Dutch.

Coal power plants need to stay on temperature or the furnace will crack, you need to keep feeding them fuel. Gas power plants you can turn off and regulate your need in power demand far more easier than a coal plant, that make gas plants ideel to work in conjunction with sun and wind power. And as a bonus you can make methane from CO2 from your surplus.

Were also working on to make algae a carbon source what we can use beside oil for your heavy chemical industry. The university of Wageningen can do that now for 5e/L, if theycan get it to 2e/L it can compete with oil thats why exxonmobil and tthe government of Saudi Arabia are co-founding the reseachers.

Kevin

Anonymous said...

'Elon Musk Wants To Fix South Australia's Energy Crisis In Just 100 Days'

Can he do it?

http://www.iflscience.com/technology/elon-musk-fix-south-australia-energy-crisis-100-days/

Kevin

Peter Coates said...

Nope.

Mr Musk is too Ox[1]-Like

Even the greatest show on Earth, Elon, cannot organise 300+ MW to defeat a State-wide mentality that is an odd hybrid of aging Rust-belt and bright young thing Greens.

Sending "One Million People To Colonize Mars" is infinitly easier http://www.iflscience.com/space/elon-musk-reveals-plan-to-send-one-million-people-to-colonize-mars/all/

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muskox

Peter Coates said...

With further research I conclude Musk's mass storage battery technology is much more expensive than "off-river pumped hydro energy storage". http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-11/could-the-tesla-powerpack-really-solve-sas-energy-woes/8345864

"off-river pumped hydro energy storage"? PHES as it's known simply involves pushing water uphill. "When there is excess electricity, water is pumped through a pipe or tunnel, to the upper reservoir," ANU sustainable energy expert Andrew Blakers wrote...

"The energy is later recovered by letting the water flow back down again, through a turbine that converts it back into electricity. Efficiencies of 90 per cent in each direction are possible."

...Currently, this technology represents 97 per cent of electricity storage around the world. Professor Blakers says used in combination with wind and solar, PHES is cost-competitive with fossil fuel power stations.

Last month, EnergyAustralia chief executive Catherine Tanna said a desert site [see http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-22/pumped-hydro-power-in-spencer-gulf-energy-australia/8292596 ] in South Australia would be perfect for a proposed pumped hydro venture.

I wonder if the rust-belters and greenies of South Australia can avoid this logical pumped hydro energy storage solution?