SA blackout perhaps caused by cheap shoddy Chinese steel, by the Australia First Party. Here is an interesting possibility. 23 transmission towers blew over, which has never happened in Australia in my recollection, let alone in a fairly mild storm as in South Australia (maximum wind gust 83 kph). They regularly withstand cyclone conditions in Queensland (300 kph, which has 13 times the energy of an 83 kph gust). I figured someone had ordered a cheapo low strength tower, incorrectly specified, but defective Chinese steel now seems a strong possibility.
Transmission tower in South Australia in the recent mild storm.
The SA Blackout was because the steel lattice towers buckled at just 83 kph. That’s 45 knots which on the Beaufort Wind Scale is rated at being a ‘strong gale’, not even a ‘storm’. They are supposed to have a wind design load of 193 kph or 104 knots. That is more than double the gusts that buckled them.
The author surmises that the towers were cheap Chinese ones, such as the one in this ad:
If the steel lattice towers had been fabricated properly to Australian standards and using quality Aussie steel, they would have withstood the gale and the electricity system could have been “rebooted” within hours. …
Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA) says 80% of fabricated steel from China is shoddy and not safe and fails Australian standards. …
Buckling of steel lattice towers happen all the time during typhoons in China. In 2007, many transmission lattice towers were buckled during strong wind excitation in Liaoning province, in 2010 five transmission lattice towers collapsed in strong wind in Guangdong province, then in 2013 several more were buckled during Typhoon Fitow in Zhejiang province …
The wider problem is a worldwide steel glut caused by massive Chinese over capacity.
It’s called ‘free trade’, and Third World waged China is having a lend of us in First World Australia. China keeps dumping its cheap steel and aluminium on our Australian market and we can’t compete with the $2 wages and communist party subsidies. A recent study by the McKell Institute says Australia’s decision in 2004 to award China ‘market economy status‘ has backfired and Australian companies are being hurt by the predatory dumping of products at below market cost.
Our big steel producers, Bluescope and Arrium, are struggling to complete in a world of too much cheap steel. In 2015 Australia’s steel industry employed nearly 90,000 locals and generated $11b in revenue from manufacturing world class steel. But it is in decline because of Chinese dumped shoddy steel.
China buys our iron ore, the Communist Party heavily subsidises the manufacturing so it can dump its cheap steel back on us and steal local markets from our own steel producers, forcing industrial ruination.
The problem isn’t so much that Chinese steel manufactures are allowed to compete in Australia, but that bureaucrats ordered their cheaper steel presumably without being aware that it could be defective.