South Australia Blackout: What does the future hold for South Australia?
by Terence Cardwell
7 October 2016
It has become clear now that the failure of the South Australian Grid system was caused by the erratic behavior, and then the sudden auto-shutdown, of the wind generators. This substantially increased the load on the Victoria-to-South Australia interconnector, which exceeded the maximum allowable load and tripped the overload system.
The badly-built towers that fell over would have been isolated in just one-tenth of a second by the system protection mechanism, and if the grid system had sufficient stable base-load power you would have seen just a ‘bump’ on the system voltage and frequency graphs, but this would have been nothing that it couldn’t handle under normal circumstances.
The New South Wales system could lose two 660 MW units and still recover stability after the spinning reserve and the unit’s load maximum rate pickups came into action, all within a matter of seconds. But South Australia has a very under-protected and unstable grid system, with many little gas-fire powered stations trying to hang on to an insane setup.
There is no doubt it will happen again and again; this was not a once off.
It seems that the ‘Greens’ who brought this about are very slow to learn, and this will have to happen many times before they get the message! Ideology would seem to triumph over common sense and practicality.
But then it would seem that because of that environmental ideology that they couldn’t care less — they would seem to be hell-bent on destroying our industries, our agriculture, and our way of life. Regrettably, ignorance combined with ideology represents a great curse on our country.
What now for the future of South Australia?
Any businesses, especially in manufacturing and mining, whether large or small, will tell you that one of the most important factors is the reliability of supply of electricity, and its cost. The bigger the enterprise, the more important it is.
Now that South Australia has shown itself to be completely unreliable in this regard, and very expensive — just to pander to the ‘Green’ fruitcakes — companies will be making every effort to leave it in droves. And anyone planning to go there now would be having very serious doubts about whether they should do so!
Any business in South Australia right now would be very nervous. BHP-Billiton had to pay some $2,400,000 for the essential power it had to have: power that would have cost only $500,000 normally purchased from the S.A. grid. (The South Australian price is a staggering $300 a Megawatt; any other state would be much cheaper.)
The irony is that in all probability the power being used presently comes through the Victorian interconnector, and is supplied from brown-coal power stations. ‘Brown coal’! What a bunch of hypocrites are both the ‘Greens’ and the South Australian government that they’ve been using ‘brown coal’!
The even bigger hypocrisy is that the ‘Greens’ want to close down the very power stations that are supplying power to South Australia.
But to show their real colours they had the temerity to blame Malcolm Turnbull and coal-fired power stations. I think I know what the Chinese Government would do with them!
So what can S.A. do to fix this major dilemma?
There is no short term solution. The South Australian Government has created a monster. The whole world is laughing at them, and the contempt for the ‘Greens’ is becoming greater throughout the bulk of the community.
People are slowly starting to realise that they have been lied to and deceived over the ‘anthropogenic global warming/climate change’ scam. Meanwhile, and as a direct result, the United Nations is raking in billions of dollars from so many stupid politicians and governments who have swallowed this nonsense.
Hopefully the people of the world will come to their senses before it is too late.
There is only one way solve the problem: stable power supplies are essential, whether generated by thermal or nuclear power stations. Little power stations are expensive, and a waste of taxpayers’ money. Not to build large and efficient units would be like a return to the 1950s as it was in New South Wales.
The federal government should NOT in any way assist the South Australian government. It wasted its’ taxpayers’ money on these crazy ‘green’ schemes and so the unfortunate people in South Australia must pay to fix it. The sad part of this is that many South Australians who did not support the ‘green’ madness will have to suffer also.
Those who voted for this disaster deserve to have to pay. Those who did not will be caught up in the consequences.
“You reap what you sow!”
About the Author
Terence Cardwell worked for 25 years for the Electricity Commission of NSW, commissioning and operating the various power units. His last commission was at the Munmorah Power Station near Newcastle, with four (very large!) 350 MW power generating units.
Also by the Same Author
The South Australian Blackout, by Terence Cardwell, 30 September 2016.
- I predicted this would happen back in 2009/10 in my first article, On Coal-fired & Other Power Electricity Generation. This is NOT a once-off event — it will happen again in the not too distant future and continue to do so. Why? Because of the continual instability created in the grid system by the constantly changing wind generators producing insufficient stable and reliable power, and the reliance on power from Victoria, in order to continually get South Australia out of its insane situation.
- Any change in power generation from the wind generators has to be compensated by thermal power generation units trying to “chase” and maintain a stable supply. This decreases their efficiency substantially, more than obviating any gain from wind generators! These severe load changes can create a power wave within the grid system that can create instability as the thermal units chase the wind generators’ severe load changes.
- Because the winds were so severe on this occasion, the wind generators would have been non-operative and locked. So 40% of the power was already out of service before the blackout. So YES the wind generators DID cause the blackout by increasing the load substantially on the Victoria to S.A. inter-connector.
- If the wind generators were allowed to operate in such severe winds they would have torn themselves apart.
- I have since learned that the wind generators were supposedly operating, in which case the storm was NOT that severe or anything like ‘a once in 50 year’ storm. From Bureau of Meteorology records the wind was gusting to 87 kilometres per hour and, in some places, 115 kilometres per hour. (In Queensland, with our cyclones, we would refer to that as ‘a steady sea breeze’! So which lie are they choosing to tell? Either the wind generators’ erratic behaviour could not be controlled, thus causing instability in the grid, or they were not operating because of the severity of the wind. You can’t have it both ways!)
- It is the first time ever in the history of power generation in Australia that transmission towers have fallen over; yet we have seen far more severe weather elsewhere than that occurring recently in South Australia. I have personally operated units in such weather with no blackouts or instability in the grid system, even though we lost two units, one of them being mine. (The unit transformer was hit by a 20ft sheet of roofing aluminium torn off in the storm.)
- Even though the towers had collapsed the grid system would not have gone out because the line protections covering those towers would have tripped within 6 cycles, i.e. one tenth of a second, isolating them from the grid and protecting the rest of the grid system.
- The total hypocrisy and stupidity of the South Australian Government is unbelievable. After they blindly and stupidly knocked down the black bituminous coal-fired thermal power stations, they had insufficient power. So they have to import it from Victoria through the state inter-connector, which was never intended for that purpose. So when it exceeded its maximum load capacity it tripped, as it was supposed to do.
- Guess where the power imported from is generated. Yes, Victoria! The Victorian brown coal-fired thermal power stations have a thermal efficiency half of that of the black coal-fired power stations that the idiots in South Australia knocked down. Just to pander to loony Greens.
- The average price for electricity in South Australia with its ‘40%’ renewable energy is over $300 per megawatt hour. The average cost of electricity in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania is around the $75 to $80.
- To those gullible people who are so ‘passionate’ about so called ‘clean energy’: you can expect, without doubt, the same if the other states ever got near S.A. insane renewable energy program.
The coal used by the South Australian coal-fired power stations, although described as “brown” coal in some places, is from the Telford Cut Mine and is “low-grade, sub-bituminous black coal” — which is apparently called also”hard brown coal” or just “brown coal”, but is definitely not lignite.
In case you missed it, the South Australian Government blew up their last coal station three weeks before the state-wide blackout: