15.03.21. “When I wrote last week about our utterly unworkable — if entirely woke — future, I most certainly did not anticipate we would in the coming week rush to get there some four years earlier. That is the simple bottom line of Energy Australia’s decision to close one of Australia’s biggest and most reliable power stations, Yallourn, in 2028 instead of the previously planned 2032. In a few words, goodbye Yallourn, hello brownouts and blackouts, at least for Victoria and South Australia. It’s certainly posing the question for NSW and Queensland, and, in a dry year, Tasmania as well. Ah, Tasmania, we on the mainland tend to forget about the Apple Isle — but not our Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, I might add, who wants to flood Devonport, Launceston and even Burnie with “northern foreigners”.
Source: Terry McCrann, News Corp
As I’ve been writing for about 15 or 20 years now, “when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine, the power don’t flow”; let me now add: “and when the rain don’t fall, the hydro don’t spin”.
Now, I’ve used the word “reliable” in the old-fashioned meaning of the word; that you can rely on it to do what power stations are supposed to do but these days is considered at least quaint if not positively gauche — you know, generate electricity.
Let me hasten to say I cannot in the least fault the logic and indeed the imperative of the EA decision. Indeed, if it was me, I’d probably be closing Yallourn in 2023 — to make it a grand two-fer with Liddell in NSW.
If it’s such a “great future” why not get there soonest?
In closing Yallourn — and, more pointedly, ceasing to spend the $300m-plus a year, or well over $1bn over those extra four years, to keep it “reliable” — EA is only doing what the “woke elites” and more potently the policy framework is instructing it to do. I even admire the honesty, so to speak, in its statement.
It’s closing Yallourn, which can generate 1500MW of electricity, pretty much 24/7 year-in and year-out — programmed time-outs and the odd mishap aside, not only when the wind ain’t blowing and the sun ain’t shining, even when it ain’t raining and even when it is — and replacing it with … the world’s biggest battery: all of 350MW of storage. Wouldn’t you like that in your smartphone! That was it; that’s what we’ll get to keep the lights on.
All those quaintly named “turbines” that pollute the landscape and slaughter birds will give you the rest.
Hmm? 1500MW hour-in, hour-out, 24/7 365 days a year, versus a 350MW battery that’s gone flat in four hours and looking for a real power source to recharge from?
The EA statement made an interesting contrast to what AGL came out with, back in 2017, when it announced the closure of Liddell.
AGL felt the obligation to at least pretend it could replace the power that Liddell had generated every year for 50 years.
And I quote from the AGL statement: “a mix of high-efficiency gas peakers, renewables, battery storage and demand response”.
Let me translate:
“Demand response” — you turn on that light switch, you get no light.
“Battery storage” — when the battery goes flat, you turn on that light switch, you get no light.
The only credible part of generation to replace 2000MW when Liddell closed was a 500MW gas plant. The “major” generation replacement was a joke — so-called 1600MW of renewables — which from day to day can be exactly zero at the whim of the wind and clouds.
In contrast, EA didn’t even bother with the pseudo-nonsense. We are turning off 24/7 1500MW and we are — very partially — replacing it with a big battery. When it goes flat, you better hope that the wind is blowing. Straight, simple, honest.
As I detailed last week, the central problem with wind (and solar) — problem? Like rendering them utterly and irredeemably useless, whether you’ve got 100 “turbines” or 10,000 or even 100,000 — is that they simply do not work.
On paper, Britain has wind-generating “capacity” to supply all its power at periods of off-peak national demand — some 26,000MW — and indeed, even close to two-thirds of the 40,000MW or so demanded at peak.
It of course never gets close — the most wind generates is around 13,000MW. But as I detailed, for two whole days the previous week wind was generating just 500MW to 800MW.
There is no way even 100 of EA’s big batteries could make up the difference for two days.
The lights in Britain would literally have gone off but for burning a lot of gas andtwo Yallourns of the phony renewable woodchips and nuclear and power cords into Europe and firing up an old coal-fired power station bigger than Yallourn.
That’s the central problem of an all-renewable future. You better have expensive alternatives on standby or prepare to turn the lights off.
The problem identified by EA, forcing it to close Yallourn, is the more insidious corrosion of when the wind does blow.
All that literally free — zero marginal cost — power comes flooding into the grid,temporarily forcing prices down, and driving out coal-fired power.
That would be fine, we would be into a Dark Green free lunch future, if it could be sustained. It can’t.
You cannot build enough batteries. Do we really want to have a whole shadow power generation industry which gets turned on when and only when the wind ain’t blowing?
It would be insane. But it’s even more insane to keep lurching into the future identified by EA — closing all the coal-fired power stations, with our ability to keep the lights on left blowing in the wind.
The very minimum that must be required of anyone wanting to feed wind or solar power into the grid is that they guarantee a minimum level of despatchable power 24/7 365 days a year.
Then you get closer to the true cost of “free” wind and solar.