Australia’s Energy Minister For Coal blackens the name of wind and solar power
Frydenberg on blackouts: No mention of failing network, gas, software, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 21 February 2017 Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has put the blame for recent blackouts in South Australia directly on the state’s high penetration of wind and solar, and attributed no blame to network faults, storms or failing gas plants.
In a speech on energy security to the right-leaning Sydney Institute on Monday night, Frydenberg listed four black-out events that had hit South Australia since and including the “unprecedented” state-wide outage on September 28.
He made no mention of the fierce storms, the falling power lines, the network faults that caused outages in December and February, or the role of gas plants that sat idle, or had to shed capacity because of the heat and other technical faults.
Nor did he mention the software glitch that meant 90,000 households, rather than 30,000, suffered power cuts in South Australia earlier this month when demand hit record highs.
Instead, Frydenberg pointed only to the roles of wind and solar, both of which he said were producing at a fraction of their capacity when the rolling blackouts were implemented.
“This means that the days of easily forecastable supply are over,” he said. “Nowhere was this more clear than during the last South Australian blackout, when 90,000 consumers lost power.”
An Australian Energy Market Operator report last week said the cause of the problem was bad forecasting, not just of supply, but of demand. It was caught short when demand spiked and could not wake a gas generator from its slumber.
Another 300MW of gas capacity was unavailable because it was broken – with half of it failing in the hours before the blackout. Wind energy was producing twice as much power as had been forecast a day earlier. Solar was the only local generation that produced exactly as predicted.
As AEMO told the Senate inquiry last week: “It is going back to the unforced and unplanned outages that eroded our reserves at that time in such a short period of time.
“Yes, we knew the wind would drop-off and we knew the solar would drop-off at a particular time, but our reserves were fine up until the point when we had forced outages.” i.e. the gas plants.
Frydenberg also spoke of South Australia’s price spikes, but made no mention of similar price spikes in Queensland and South Australia.
Indeed, average wholesale electricity prices in coal-dependent Queensland so far this month have average $301/MWh, nearly 50 per cent more than South Australia last July ($201/MWh), when network supplies from Victoria were restricted by an upgrade and which helped trigger the Coalition’s anti-renewable campaign.
In February this year, NSW has averaged $214/MWh while South Australia has averaged $210/MWh. In January, average wholesale prices in Queensland were at $197/MWh, while in South Australia they averaged just $84/MWh.
AEMO, in its report, has insisted that it is not the nature of wind energy or solar that have contributed to the various blackouts. Frydenberg, however, is having none of it….http://reneweconomy.com.au/frydenberg-on-blackouts-no-mention-of-failing-network-gas-software-19688/
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