Gas cartel threatens power grid collapse

Via the AFR:

Australia’s power grid is only coping with the rapid influx of intermittent wind and solar power with the help of costly daily intervention by the energy market operator to keep the lights on, an assessment of the electricity system has found, ramping up pressure for a long-term federal framework that integrates climate and energy policy.

The report on electricity system security by the Australian Energy Market Commission for 2017-18 pointed to a large number of directions needed by the Australian Energy Market Operator to maintain the strength of the power system that had been weakened by the fluctuating load on the grid.

For the first time ever AEMO also had to switch off high voltage transmission lines in Victoria to keep voltages stable, on several occasions. It also had to trigger the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) mechanism for the first time to bring on extra supply and prevent blackouts over the summer, an exercise that had to be repeated this past summer but still didn’t prevent thousands of households losing power on January 25 and January 31.

Once again, let’s recall how we got here. The original plan was to allow gas-fired power to substitute for coal as renewable plus storage caught down in price. This is how we planned to lower emissions (gas is cleaner than coal) while sustaining frequency in the grid as renewables plus storage was steadily rolled out.

Instead what we have done is subsidise renewables such that power frequency is threatened before there is anywhere near enough storage while letting a gas export cartel skyrocket prices, marginalising that fuel from use as coal shuts.

If we continue down this path then three things will happen:

  • the power grid will begin to disintegrate with ever wider blackouts;
  • renewables will be blamed and coal make a comeback, and
  • the Shorten Government will be stillborn into an energy crisis.

The answer is to address the problem at its source. The gas export cartel must be smashed permanently using draconian domestic reservation policies that guarantees local supply at reasonable prices ($5-6Gj). That will drop gas and power prices, slow the renewables roll out and boost gas power usage to cover the loss of coal, as storage is rolled out over a sustainable period.

There will be those that bleat about “sovereign risk” for the gas firms involved but the truth is the opposite. The east coast gas cartel is a clear and present danger to Australian sovereignty and national security.

Break it.

Comments

  1. Ummmm no. Gas prices are a second order factor when renewables have zero marginal cost they will run whatever the price of gas might be.

    This is a story about the problems created by too much renewable energy displacing traditional generation.

    • Know IdeaMEMBER

      Do you mean: it is not so much about expensive gas as it is about a lack of storage?

      • It is about neither. It is not about the supply of energy, it is about security and stability. the system has plenty of generating capacity (energy) but is becoming unstable. Do you remember what happened on SA when the whole state went black? The chances of that happening again are increasing as renewable penetrations increase.

      • H&H not directly it wasn’t.
        There were faults in the mid North of SA which caused >400MW of wind to trip. Heywood interconnected overloaded and South Australia separated from Victoria. Because of very low levels of synchronous generation on line in SA frequency fell faster than the emergency load shedding could cope with. The state went black.

        Lower gas prices would not have changed the outcome. Coal fired Northern Power station could have changed the equation but it had closed because of zero marginal cost renewable had made it uneconomic (and Leigh Creek had run out of coal).

        The security issue is that heavy, spinning generator turbines are being replaced by power electronics. That is the core of the issue at a physical level. Heavy spinning turbines stabilize the power system while power electronic inverters do not. End of story.

      • @Gramus . Heavy spinning turbines stabilize the power system while power electronic inverters do not. End of story.
        Yeah PV Inverters without any local storage do little to stabilize the Grid although they could be operated differently to provide grid Frequency stability if that were desired and there’s some talk about doing this…it’s a trivial change for the Inverter design but presents some problems wrt the implementation of Anti-Islanding circuits
        However PV backed with fast response storage can certainly be operated to provide synthetic Frequency stability it’s really just a matter of finding a way to properly compensate (or legislate) that the residential PV systems be operated (designed to operate in this manner).
        WRT large commercial grid connected PV /Wind power systems there are already requirements that they properly support Frequency Stabilization. Wind turbines inherently have spinning mass that’s not all that dissimilar to the spinning mass of a centralized steam turbine so it can be operated to provide power from this system inertia. The problem wrt SA is that that was not how the wind turbines in SA were designed to operate especially not in a crises …so the whole system went black….maybe there’s a better solution than System Black …we can’t turn the clock back so maybe we need to be looking for that better solution.

      • @ fishing
        Sorry fisho large wind provides very little if any inertia (it is still inverter connected), The sort of frequency response provided by batteries is not a substitute for spinning inertia, (synthetic inertia is not a real thing yet) and no inverter connected plant currently used provides meaningful fault level which helps stabilize voltages.
        It is an ugly reality….

      • I agree Traditional Inverter designs do absolutely nothing to support Grid stability if anything the specs that they’re designed too create Grid Instability, but that’s not an inherent problem with Inverters / Battery solutions rather it’s a system definition / Inverter Specification Implementation problem.
        We can’t turn the clock back so It’s time for innovative solutions to exactly these problems. If your generation of power engineers can’t imagine/implement the required solutions than well maybe it’s time to hand over the operations of the NEM to those that can see other ways to solve the problems that you solved with large spinning inertia.
        Don’t get me wrong it was a great solution but that game is over so it’s time for something new.

    • You’re stuck in the false binary.

      Renewables are cheap, sure, cheaper than coal. That was the whole point in getting them going. You know, decarbonisation and all that.

      But that’s not the issue with the transition unless you don’t want one at all.

      The issue is how to support a more intermittent power grid. It can be done with coal, gas, nuclear or storage. The first defeats the purpose. The third is political poison. The fourth will take time.

      The second was our chosen path. Until the cartel. It can be broken at the stroke of a pen.

      Or we can have this stupid conversation forever as the grid collapses.

      • I quite like the last option. …watching the grid collapse, that is.

        It carries with it the likelihood that the grid death spiral get accelerated and completes in 3-4 years as people abandon the grid and install excess rooftop solar capacity.

      • I know what you’re saying HnH but As an analogy it’s a bit like begging someone that has grabbed you by the nads to not squeeze too hard…and when the begging fails you resort to legislative measures…which only serves to strengthen the resolve (grip) of the guy doing the squeezing.
        The alternative is that you chop his hand off, yes that’s likely to hurt enormously as a sort of Mexican standoff develops but as long as you’re not afraid to carry out your threat and do indeed chop one hand off he’ll get the message and loosen his grip …lets he be left with no hands at all.

      • H&H I repeat. This is NOT a question of energy. It involves issues of voltage and frequency STABILITY. Spinning traditional generators regulate these things in a way that inverter connected renewable (including batteries, which are inverter connected) do not. It is the physical nature of an AC power system that is the question here not storage and gas prices.

      • Gramus,

        The Hornsdale power reserve has already proven that new tech can replace old fashioned inertia, and do it far better, i.e. cheaper. This issue is about a transition without a plan. First we decided to let gas handle the shortage, then had it sold from under our feet. Second the BCA and RWNJ’s and the half the MSM have slowed our usage of storage, both batteries and pumped hydro which again could provide the inertia but the market rules work against them. This issue is simple to resolve with a PLAN. Reminds me of the NBN ..

        https://reneweconomy.com.au/australia-100-renewables-could-be-cheaper-quicker-and-easier-than-thought-18462/

      • kannigetMEMBER

        @Gramas. Please explain something to me, How does this instability occur?

        My understanding is that the Grid Tie inverters match the frequency of the grid or they disconnect. You only need a single “Big Spinny generator” to set the frequency and the inverters will match. Sure, there will be a few delays when they all come on line as they try to match the grid frequency, but thats not how they actually work. They match the grid THEN start dumping power in. As they cant match the cycle itself they have to predict the wave, so if the frequency of the “big spinny thing” that sets the base frequency changes there is a period where you will have instability but your talking about 30 to 40 cycles ( or less than a minute ) this would not be an issue unless it was a fairly large frequency change. As the “Big Spinny thing” has a lot of mass it does not radically change frequency by any margin Unless there is a sudden extra draw of power.

        So is the instability triggered by someone suddenly drawing a lot of extra power, and if so why would a battery system not help with this?

        My Guess would be that the problem is triggered by a large draw event and then the inverters that cant match go offline, causing a large drop in available energy, triggering the “big spinny thing” to suddenly cope with all the load.

      • @ kanniget
        Instability occurs in response to a disturbance. Something goes wrong, can the system survive? That is the security question…
        batteries can help but they have their limits, particularly in the very short timescales (100ms or so) you have to save the system when something goes badly wrong. And you need a lot of batteries to make a difference.

        A single “Big Spinny generator” to set the frequency is not enough as there needs to be sufficient fault level and synchronizing torque for the inverters to follow. A single “Big Spinny generator” only provides enough for some inverter connected generators, not all inverter connected generators. There is a hosting capacity associated with the amount of synchronous generation (or synchronous condensers) in a part of the network.

      • this distributed sync of frequency issue sounds like a job for bitcoin! its a shame about the power requirements to make this happen..

      • @ kanniget
        If you’re asking about Residential level Grid Tied Inverters and why they can’t provide Grid Frequency stability.
        Well there are two reasons
        – One is that your typical Roof Top PV systems has absolutely no storage (not even one cycles worth 20msec) instead they basically dump power to the grid at any time except a small window around the 50Hz crossover. Recent changes to Inverter specs require a sort of Sine wave shaping of the provided power but most implementations aren’t great because the Inverter still has no power storage.
        The second reason is that Residential Grid tied Inverters actually try to pull the frequency away from 50Hz and if they succeed (in pulling the frequency) they conclude that there’s a break in the wire and go off line (or Anti-Island as it is known)
        Supporting Frequency stability at a Residential Inverter level requires fast response local storage AND an alternate way to detect Islanding AND a way to stop all these new distributed frequency setting sources from starting a sort of push/pull war against each other….also it’s not just Frequency stability but rather phase coherency that’s really important

      • Gramus,
        You have this the wrong way round. Inverters are incredibly good at the immediate quick response, far better than “big spinny things” as they have no inertia so can immediately dump x MW into the system at the appropriate phase to respond to the increase/decrease in supply or demand. Please read my link, we could live with a 100% renewable grid mainly provided by solar and wind, for half the price we pay today. With that modelling we do have an issue over winter, so effectively a 6% demand shortage. This could be resolved by the use of storage and hydro, and the avoidance of curtailment.

        The world does not need big spinning things anymore. Frequency control and power control can be far more efficiently managed with the firming resources already available to us. Batteries and Trad/Pumped Hydro. What we really need to do is change the market rules so that they provide a fair market for modern technology and stop allowing incumbent coal and gas peakers to dictate price.

      • @3ris
        I agree although Technically it’s a little more complicated than what you’re suggesting but therein lies the opportunity lets do it first, lets solve the issues and have world leading solutions that we can sell to the rest of the world.
        Turn Adversity into Advantage to use management speak.
        But having said that the real Residential problem starts with avoiding the grid instability by managing the distributed Generation / Load problem with local demand management methods.
        As an example I sampled a random selection of neighbors at a recent street-party about their current Hot water setups. Although at least half the house in the street have big PV arrays only two had done anything to change their Hot water systems away from Off-Peak electricity and use their excess PV to heat their own water.
        One guy was even running his pool pump at night (to save money) and dumping his PV electricity onto the grid for 1/3 what he receives as FIT.
        This is beyond absurd we need solutions that optimize the problem space without expecting people to change what they do or understand is optimal…it’s a classic managing change problem. Of course the Electricity retailers aren’t in a hurry to explain to households how they should optimize the value of their PV resources.

  2. The long term solution to Intermittent Power delivery from Renewables is not Gas but rather Residential Demand side Electricity management.
    In Australia we have had “Off-Peak-Electricity” for over 50 years this system was designed to allow Water Heaters to be automatically controlled from by the grid and turned on in the middle of the night to level out power demand so that a minimum “Base-Load” was maintained throughout the night. Today’s problem is not maintaining a minimum load for a centralized generator but rather managing a flexible load to match Renewable power generation on a city block by city block basis. That said the same approach to Demand-Side load control can be used to stabilize the Grid AND this can be done without any upgrades if were prepared to explore (aka develop) new solutions. This is an opportunity for Australian companies to create world leading edge systems for Residential Electricity demand, it’s a problem that we’re seeing before many others because we F’ed-up our transition from coal to renewables but that’s done, that’s history, what’s left is the opportunity to fix the problem and profit globally over the long term from our local fixes.
    Personally I hope other Australian’s can see this problem as the opportunity that it really is but I suspect instead we’ll see instead is some heavy handed supply side management that attempts to cripple Grid power injection from Residential PV.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      I 100% agree with you Pisces.
      We would be in a far better position if politicians stopped pretending be experts in this field and buggered off, leaving the Electrical Engineers to do what they are trained for.
      e.g.The NSW Government sold the Vales Point coal station in 2015 for $1 million and then just two years later the station was valued at $730 million, making the new owner, Trevor St Baker, millions [1].

      And now the Federal Government has included an upgrade of the Vales Point station on their shortlist of projects to underwrite.

      • When under State ownership just when corporatised, paying hefty dividends to the State and just before privatization we did leave the electrical engineers alone and what we got was gold plating of the transmission network.
        Mind you, the old school engineers working at the Electricity Commission of NSW would not have done the gold plating as what was done under the corporatised state owned utilities before they were privatised. I suspect management styles changed over time.

  3. Just another failure of a market based approach in this age of incompetence. Once upon a time, not so long ago a transformation like this would have been planned and implemented by a government agency with full powers to pursue research into what is needed and force such needs on to the power networks……..they would deny network access to anyone not accredited by them for the new order, but now because markets we go down the rabbit hole
    The main delineators of a modern world are a secure power grid for all and a safe and sufficient reticulated water supply……….maybe efficient transport networks as well…….we are slowly starting to muddle them all.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      This. Australia needs a real public sector and to cease passing the bucks to a ‘market’ when the only market is the fiction in peoples minds.

      The old SEC would have mapped the lot out and been telling us how the transition was going without the public being generally aware of the change. The system is being jerked around to maximise public fears to support the lining of pockets of ‘market’ participants.

      • Fortunately at a residential level you have a viable option.
        A typical minimum amount of local storage (to get you through the night or a grid crises) is about 5KWh of storage.
        This will be no where near enough to go stand alone and get you through a wet week or a hot summers day/ cold winters night BUT it will get you through a typical day with zero power supplied from the grid.
        The cost for this much battery storage is about $5K and it’ll need to be replaced every 5 to 8 years.
        What I find most interesting about this solution is that it actually works out cheaper overall for individuals to do this than it does for us collectively to modify the whole grid system so that renewables can be properly supported.
        One is the result you’d get from a centrally planned system the other is Mr Markets invisible hand at work, point is we need to let Mr Market do his work.

      • ChristopherJMEMBER

        Too right, Gunna. The problem is governments who are beholden to their donors, including the whole petro chem industry.

        In days past, market failure, which this is, would have seen the Feds intervene… We no longer live in a world where this could happen

      • At this time it’s interesting to review some of the archives from the 1980s and 90s when the privatisation agenda got going in Australia. It was primarily based upon the political ideology that flogging off public assets would lead to greater efficiency in gas, water and electricity supply. It told us that government and the public sector had to cede to the private sector and get out of the energy/utility business.

        By doing so government lost the ability to plan a national vision and deal with the consequence of climate change and the brutal reality of corporate governance that has no tangible ethic other than profit.

        The overriding spin was that state/publicly owned agencies were just not up to it. ‘The Market’ was going to open up a golden age of cheaper energy and more efficient utilities. Thus, government got out of the business of governing and handed their power to the free market.

        How’d that work out 3 decades later?

        There is a ton of this hubris writ-large in media that anyone can find in ‘Trove’ – the online archive:

        https://trove.nla.gov.au

        It is well worth seeing the level of arrogance and ideological capture of those who oversaw the dismantling of public assets that in turn led directly to the inability to plan nationally and invest in public good outcomes. The media went along for the ride – as it always does.

        There are literally thousands of articles like the following (I hope the links are active) that convict our politicians from both major parties as the Guilty Parties in the greatest scam and betrayal of the Australian people in our history. The Rum Corp were amateurs and Christopher Skase a bit player. For our governments gave our wealth and energy assets away to a carpetbagging elite as these were the interests they gained power to serve.

        Importantly, exactly the same hubris and betrayal is evident in the mass immigration scam that is presently playing out using a very familiar script of profiteering justified by bi-lateral ideology and spin.

        It’s a massive shame that the Australian public has the political recall of a goldfish. Because you just need to compare the promises and “expert” claims made about privatisation and energy “markets” with the reality of the present day cartels and transfer of wealth and monopoly from public to private hands that is now 100% apparent in the the energy case study.

        A relatively small club of elites managed the energy swindle. Many of them are the same players who got the great mass immigration Ponzi going – or at the very least they are the same institutions using the same game plan and the same media spin via the same lobby groups. It is a familiar PR campaign that is run by people like Innes Willox; failed journalists turned spin doctors for the big end of town who plot against the best interests of Australians and democratic processes. You can find the same ‘useful idiots’ and narratives used by vested interests.

        Wake up Australia – the energy Groundhog Day is being repeated as the Mass Immigration Ponzi scheme and it is ALL based upon the same neoliberal ideology that helps the same people keep their ‘snouts in the trough’. A few decades later you can compare the reality with the spin in an archive – and it is a horribly stark reality because it shows how easy people are to manipulate through the MS media. Our people keep voting for the same two major parties who have been equally culpable in the destruction of amenity, culture and national unity born of true community values, public good and a fair go.

        You just need some slight sense of history that can be gleaned from Trove to know that the major parties are the problem, not the solution. Not much will change if the ALP comes to power as the ALP are up to their necks in causing the disease they claim to have the cure for.

        https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/126951548?searchTerm=Jeff%20Kennett%20Privatisation%20of%20electricity&searchLimits=dateFrom=1985-01-01|||dateTo=2000-12-31|||l-australian=y

        https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/132461749?searchTerm=Jeff%20Kennett%20Privatisation%20of%20electricity&searchLimits=dateFrom=1985-01-01|||dateTo=2000-12-31|||l-australian=y

        https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/130570829?searchTerm=Jeff%20Kennett%20Privatisation%20of%20electricity&searchLimits=dateFrom=1985-01-01|||dateTo=2000-12-31|||l-australian=y

      • turncoatMEMBER

        The market has generally been a brutal thing with investors in generation seeing prices collapse upon its advent in the early 90s. The NSW Bulk supply regulated tariff in the early 90s had an embedded generation component of approx $45/MWh. When the market commenced you could by multi year contracts for approx $15/MWh. This was the way of things for most of the last 20 years with consumers being the major beneficiaries. When costs came they have resulted from government/regulator action, the most damaging being:

        a) setting reliability standards which gold plated the network at incredible cost
        b) subsidising renewables with the direct cost of the RET paid for by consumers and the less direct intermittent impacts on other generators also borne ultimately by consumers.
        c) panicking in the face of lock the gate extremists and failing to allow production of coal bed/ shale gas in NSW and Vic.
        d) encouraging the export of Queensland coal bed gas to Asia via the provision of export permits and reduced PRRT liabilities.

        In short the market has been pretty good. Government and regulators have failed us badly.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        The market has generally been a brutal thing with investors in generation seeing prices collapse upon its advent in the early 90s. The NSW Bulk supply regulated tariff in the early 90s had an embedded generation component of approx $45/MWh. When the market commenced you could by multi year contracts for approx $15/MWh. This was the way of things for most of the last 20 years with consumers being the major beneficiaries. When costs came they have resulted from government/regulator action, the most damaging being:

        So that’d be investors making a dud investment from the get go, maybe not doing due diligence, but more likely simply assuming they could run the network into the ground and continue to cream profits – as they have done for twenty years – leveraging public pain as a threat to politicians, especially in the face of the mounting concern about carbon.

        a)    setting reliability standards which gold plated the network at incredible cost

        These would be the reliability standards the people of Victoria (at least) accepted as the norm, with the gold playing providing a convenient basis for tax minimisation .

        b) subsidising renewables with the direct cost of the RET paid for by consumers and the less direct intermittent impacts on other generators also borne ultimately by consumers.

        That’s was the whole reason for e Renewable Energy Target – to encourage people to take up renewables – with the ‘less direct intermittent impacts’ being borne by other generators hardly unreasonable given the reaming of the public (consumers) and the reaming of the public (taxpayers) purse.

        c) panicking in the face of lock the gate extremists and failing to allow production of coal bed/ shale gas in NSW and Vic.

        That’d be the not unreasonable inclination of some people not to want carcinogens pumped into the ground by consumer gouging tax avoiding multinational corporates, not unreasonably figuring these may care to be specious and evasive in the handling of public opprobrium, and rightfully concerned in this day and age about the water usage involved and consequent impact on potable supply – which pretty much brings us back to why they would want to tone down the carbon to begin with.

        d) encouraging the export of Queensland coal bed gas to Asia via the provision of export permits and reduced PRRT liabilities.

        Yep, complete idiocy.  But it would be a corporate entity that came up with the idea – however harebrained it may have seemed – and presumably sold (and is selling it still) on the basis of jobs and exports (though the jobs have dwindled and now need to be counted against those being lost due to power costs) to politicians – one wonders if any board positions or grand final tickets were disbursed to further that end.

        In short the market has been pretty good. Government and regulators have failed us badly.

        In short the market has been good – at reaming Australian consumers, reaming Australian taxpayers, reaming the Australian environment and contributing to the reaming of Australian politics and decisionmaking processes, playing along with a reamed Australian media to get the message across.  Government and regulators have failed us badly.  Fixed that for you.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        I posted this above , but it is the essence of the problem.
        The NSW Government sold the Vales Point coal station in 2015 for $1 million and then just two years later the station was valued at $730 million, making the new owner, Trevor St Baker, millions [1].

        And now the Federal Government has included an upgrade of the Vales Point station on their shortlist of projects to underwrite.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        Thanks @Bolstrood exactly the point I was making

        That reminds us all that the ‘investment’ wasnt much to begin with, which is all we need to know if we think they (after having paid peanuts for assets) had no problems whatsoever gold plating the investment because their eyes were on the amortization offsets available from gouging the bejeesus out of the public and against a backdrop of paying sweet FA tax. The actual operation of the assets in the public interest providing electricity was purely afterthought, and part branding for bill differentiation purposes.

        Of course as turncoat notes, politicians aided and abetted the whole farago.

    • Starting to?

      We’ve broken them already through privatisation and immense profit taking, our pollies willingly enabling private taxation on public goods. Happened already on roads, utilities, superannuation, banking, media, health and more. That ship has sailed and nothing short of deprivatisation on a national scale can fix it – that’ll never happen while the private assets make a profit and the politicians remain spineless corrupt flunkies bought and paid for by big business. The aim of these parasites is to not kill the host, but as we approach our Argentinian debt to disaster moment, wages and GDP per capita smashed by immigration and relentless criminal gouging like this, we might just find any attempt to overhaul it creates the sovereign risk that brings us us our next Whitlam moment…

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        The education, energy, water and healthcare systems (and arguably public transport, telephony and internet) should be natural public services – run by public servants working in public service agencies, in the public interest.  This public interest should be clearly articulated within a delegated decisonmaking/responsibility balance with an automatic default to the public interest whenever anyone is in doubt (not to the dollars of ‘investors’).

        Half (if not all) of Australia’s major economic problems – from the gaming of immigrants to being students in order to come here, to the surety of energy, the provision of health services, national internet speeds, and the verifiable academic outcomes experienced by Australian kids – could be sorted out in pretty quick time just by affirming this, and getting rid of pseudo ‘market’ solutions which are in their essence nothing more than ‘market’ players or ‘investors’ pushing the costs to the public when they take profits.  The utter failure of energy, the complete tragedy of vocational education (without even going near the looming failure of a generations worth of tertiary education outcomes),  the joke of Australian private health insurance, and the impending failure of the NDIS is all the result of ‘bastardized’ public service delivery – embedding private sector into profit creating channels in service delivery, and then shaping the entire service to ensure the profits continue unquestioned.

        Sure the service would be slow moving, clunky and bureaucratic – and some weird decisions would no doubt unfold.  But for sure you would get with a public service run system certainty of outcomes and far greater responsiveness to social need.  

      • Food, too. Food is essential and should be provided by the government. And accommodation. And clothes.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        For anyone suffering false binary withdrawal symptoms the dealer has arrived……

      • Not to mention the greatest gouge of all – capital gains (ie private taxation) on the increase in value of land, the ultimate public good.

  4. If only the pollies could just agree on a transition policy that can’t be broken, and force the gas cartel to do as you say. I’m not sure though Bill is allowed to like gas. Why we’re not starting as a matter of urgency the pumped hydro storage is crazy. There are so many dams that could provide some stability. The fact is our politics is not for us, and it helps them fill their pockets. We all need to get an inverter gen set asap as this is never going to dealt with. How crazy is it that we’re in this situation.

    • Wrt additional Pumped Hydro: I agree completely, it’s the cheapest long term solution and we have plenty of places to build these Hydro storage facilities especially if we include the possibility of salt water pumping/ storage.
      That said it does nothing to reduce the instability that is developing in local residential grids.
      As an example the other day I walked along my street and tried to estimate the amount of PV installed. I came up with the figure of about 2 to 3KW per house. Now the problem is that peak Mid day generation is say 2KW (lots of west facing arrays) yet average Mid day electricity consumption is only 200W to 500W.
      The local grid was never designed to support this magnitude of reverse current and this is with only about half the houses having PV installed. I’d guess that within 3 years we’ll have 100% of houses in the street all with 5kW PV solar arrays but still with the same 500W midday usage.
      There’s noway current residential grid will support this: it’ll either fry itself OR sideline 3/4 of the installed capacity.
      Local Battery storage and local Demand management are the only viable solutions…so lets get on with it

      • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

        Perth has loads of residential solar PV but most of it is north facing which makes economic sense for those households as most of them get feed-in rebates for power exported to the grid. It would make more “grid” sense to be matching PV output with their own needs ie more east-west facing arrays which would help with the morning and evening peaks and reduce the demand on the grid for the duck peak. Perth has its highest electricity demand in summer so western facing arrays make a lot of “grid” sense.

      • I agree West facing arrays are part of the answer whenever possible but the system / rules / understanding / optimization rewards North facing PV arrays….What can you say!

      • There is very little PV in my burb due to trees. It’s either damage by falling branches or shading so not worth it really. A small system (micro inverters) makes sense with a battery for some homes. I can’t listen to any pollie now as they don’t even represent any sensible policy. I vote SAP and hope they, one day, will make a difference. On a different topic I heard today many of the Holden engineers are now working in China to help them build cars. What a joke we are. All the lithium and plants to build EV’s and we do the dumb thing yet again.

      • Interesting Holden Engineers working in China but what do you expect when you collapse their industry / livelihood and F’em in the a55 just for good measure. I’d be more surprised if they hung around what would they be waiting around for, an apology? But the neo-liberal agenda really hasn’t gone full circle yet so any apology is at least 10 years away by which time those worst affected will be retired anyway and certainly wouldn’t be signing up to re-grow the industry from scratch
        So F’it, go work in China, give them all your trade secrets and make some money while what you know is still valued somewhere.

  5. All it would take is ~$250m for either the State or Federal Governments to buy Leigh Creek Energy (ASX: LCK) which last week announced it had booked of 1,153 PJ 2P Gas Reserves.

    It is the 7th largest gas Reserves in the East Coast market held by any company, with all of the 6 larger 2P reserves contracted to LNG export. It is similar in size to the current 2P reserves in the Copper Basin and is larger than the Otway, Bass, Gunnedah, Clarence-Moreton, Sydney and Galilee Basins combined.

  6. If you download and install the Red Dolphin NEM app on iTunes you can see the market intervention live. I would like to point out that South Australia leads the price seemingly daily, followed by Victoria and Tasmania. NSW and QLD have the lowest prices. AEMO market intervention also seems to be directed at South Australia and Victoria. Download the app and see for yourself, check it at 9am, 12pm and say 7pm over a week and you will see the trend
    https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/pocketnem/id593878165?mt=8

  7. I heard the CEO of AGL (or some other energy firm) on ABC Lateline Business (or a weekend show) in about 2010.

    He said the carbon tax means burning black coal instead of brown coal (because the black stuff causes less global warming) and the carbon tax is not quite high enough to shut down the black coal power stations.

    Gas was meant to be the bridging fuel to allow AUS to go from very few renewables to a lot of renewables. But corrupt websites like RenewEconomy and The Guardian now demonise gas while Scummo was paid to brandish a lump of coal in parliament.

    The eastern states failed to have gas reservation – including the state that used to have “the smart state” on the number plates. WA was smart enough to have gas reservation. Hats off to that man! He even called the cartel’s bluff! The cartel threatened to not drill holes unless the gas reservation policy was repealed.

    I just searched for “WA gas reservation” and this came up:

    https://www.reserveourgas.com.au/gas_reservation_how_it_works_elsewhere

  8. I got approached to see if interested in pricing the marine works at Port Kembla for FMG’s LNG import terminal. How can government not see it’s crazy that FMG can make serious money diverting LNG tankers south from QLD to NSW instead of them going to Asia! How does government benefit from helping big oil take our gas – they pay zero tax in Australia and deferred tax loses banked up to last them a decade. If we had reservation they would still collect the royalty on that gas so what have they got to lose?

    • Which contractor contacted you? I have the Worley Parsons drawings if you want to see. Aside from dredging, bulk earthworks and concrete, not much at all for the local metal trades fabrication and engineering industry. 100% sure will fly in welders from the Philippines to weld up the pipeline.

  9. turncoatMEMBER

    Gas may not be the solution because the nature of the intermittent supply is that it reduces the duration of time available for other plants in which to operate and recover their capital costs. Coal is clearly first effected but combined cycle gas turbines comes next and combustion turbines are ultimately impacted as well. Even though they have lower $/kW cost, gas plant needs to be connected to gas and power connections, and effectively reserve capacity on them because they are likely to be called upon coincident with when energy of all forms is in great demand. This reservation of capacity comes at a large cost. Similarly there may be reservation costs for gas production infrastructure if it is to be scantily used or else the value of line-pack / gas storage allowed for. Even though batteries / pumped storage have seemingly higher $/kW costs they may prove the best options as the decline in wind and solar costs means the old days aren’t coming back.

  10. jkambahMEMBER

    I know what the funding solution is for this problem. Lets “re-cycle” more of our remaining public assets. After all they will revert to being public assets again in around 99 years time, or whatever the deal is that Goldman Sachs/UBS/Macquarie etc have financially engineered to stuff up Oz and extract maximum monopoly rents.