Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia’s electricity blackout was caused by extreme weather, not by renewables – energy experts

Map-South-Australia-windSA weather: No link between blackout and renewable energy, experts say, ABC News, 29 Sep 16 By political reporter Matthew Doran  Linking the statewide blackout in South Australia with the state’s heavy reliance on renewable energy is unfounded, energy industry experts say.

Key points:

  • South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in Australia
  • The ‘one in a 50 year’ weather event ‘couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen’
  • SA to be an example for other states and territories when planning for significant weather events

severe storm caused the entire state to go dark yesterday afternoon, following serious damage to more than 20 transmission lines.

That infrastructure failure put extra strain on the interconnector system that links the South Australian electricity grid with the east coast — and tripped safeguards which shut down the power supply to the state………

Mr Frydenberg highlighted the underlying cause of the blackout was the weather.

South Australia has the highest rate of renewable energy in the country, with a fraction over 40 per cent of the state’s power supply generated from sources such as wind and solar farms.

Earlier this week, the Grattan Institute released a report detailing the pressure high uptake in renewables had put on the state’s wholesale power prices, and how it was being viewed as a test case for the rest of the nation.  But the report’s author, Tony Wood, said the blackout was as a result of a particularly violent storm and it was usual for a system to shut down to protect itself from further damage.  “My understanding, at least at the moment, is there’s no evidence to suggest these two issues are related,” Mr Wood said.

“There’s no evidence to suggest this was caused by too much wind power, or the dependence on wind power, or anything else, or would’ve been any different if any of the power stations that had been shut down earlier this year had still been operating.

“If you’ve got a wind farm or a coal-fired power station at the end of a transmission line, and that system either is taken out by a storm or is forced to shut down to protect itself from a storm, it doesn’t matter what the energy source is.”

There are two interconnector power lines between South Australia and the eastern states, but Mr Wood said there was no indication having more links would have prevented the issue.

“When this event has occurred, it’s created a fault in the system which has caused the generation to trip offline,” the Clean Energy Council’s Tom Butler said.

“It’s separate to the interconnector entirely.

“This is a one-in-a-50 year, almost-unprecedented event for the state that couldn’t have been prevented or foreseen.”

Mr Butler said the Snowtown wind farm, north of Adelaide, was actually helping to prop up the state’s power supply ahead of gas power stations as the network was gradually brought back online.

Labor’s assistant spokesman for climate change, Pat Conroy, told AM it was premature to link the blackout to renewables.

“The South Australian Government has made the point that even if the coal-fired power station that was recently closed down was still operating, it would not have been able to supply power to the state,” he said.This was a failure of the transmission network, and it didn’t matter what sort of fuel was feeding into the grid, power was not able to flow……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-29/sa-weather:-no-link-between-blackout-and-renewables-expert-says/7887052

September 30, 2016 - Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy, South Australia, wind

1 Comment »

  1. I think we should avoid phrases like “once in 50 year event”. What is meant is that it has been 50 years since such an event. If we had data over, say, 500 years then the phrase may be justified, but given the likely hood that such events will/are getting more frequent then we need to see the trend,

    While I’m on the topic of accurate language, I’ve heard a number of commentators saying that this storm was the worst in living memory, or words to that effect. What they mean is that this is worst since colonialism/invasion and doesn’t cover the preceding 30,000 or so years of people living in this country. “Terra nullius” is alive and well.

    Comment by Dennis Matthews | September 30, 2016 | Reply


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