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 SA 2016: failed wind farm operators taken to court

12.08.19.  It has taken about four years for the damage caused by the failed South Australian wind farm operators to be hauled off to court where culpability and damages will be decided. Last week on the other side of the globe Britain also suffered a catastrophic power failure. The cause has been apportioned to two systems, a gas fired steam generator and, you might have guessed it, a wind farm. A frequent occurrence in other countries and growing.
At the end of may 2019 it was estimated that Britain had nearly 10,000 wind turbines that produce about 25% of Britain’s overall power. The culprit wind farm which in league with the gas fired system which cause the breakdown was Hornsea Wind Farm in the North Sea with 174 turbines.
Which system failed first and or if the failure was at the distribution controls or at the generating source is yet to be determined which will be the plugin for legal action to commence. Nevertheless, in SA as in the UK wind farms are  expensive and unreliable and will now be subject to many expensive failsafe conditions of operations that promises to push power costs to the consumer over the moon. That will prod politicians the world over to the table about nuclear.
Australia’s energy regulator has launched court action against four windfarm operators, alleging they failed to meet performance requirements during 2016’s statewide South Australian blackout.Source: The Guardian

Windfarm operators taken to court over South Australian blackout

Australian Energy Regulator alleges operators failed to ensure continuity of supply
About 850,000 homes lost power on 28 September that year, when severe weather conditions led to significant damage to SA transmission lines, causing voltage disturbances. The event heightened a fractious national debate about energy policy.
The Australian Energy Regulator has said a loss of wind generation after the voltage disturbances contributed to the the blackout.
It alleges subsidiaries of the four companies – AGL Energy, Neoen SA, Pacific Hydro and Tilt Renewables – failed to ensure their windfarms complied with a generator performance standard requirement and had automatic protection systems to ensure continuity of supply.
The regulator’s chair, Paula Conboy, said the alleged failures meant the Australian Energy Market Operator was not fully informed when responding to the system-wide failure.
“The [regulator] has brought these proceedings to send a strong signal to all energy businesses about the importance of compliance with performance standards to promote system security and reliability,” she said.
In an investigation published in December, the regulator said it did not intend to take formal enforcement action over the incident as it believed it would be more effective to focus on “remedial recommendations for improved processes”. It noted the unprecedented circumstances of the blackout.
A fact sheet released by the regulator at the time said the investigation found some instances in which companies did not comply with obligations but they “did not contribute to the state going black” and all key obligations had been met.
In a note attached to its statement on Wednesday, the regulator said that report applied to events leading up to the blackout and the subsequent system restoration and market suspension only. It said the charges related to the blackout itself, which was not the focus of that investigation.
AGL said it did not accept the the regulator’s conclusions, that it had complied with national electricity rules and would “strongly contest” the charges. It said the weather event was a once in 50-year storm and AGL had worked with the SA government and regulators to identify what could be learned from it.
“We are committed to working with the regulator and stakeholders to ensure the integrity of the energy market and the ongoing stability of South Australia’s electricity system,” an AGL spokesperson said.
Tilt Renewables said it believed it had acted in good faith and in accordance with the national electricity rules. Pacific Hydro declined to comment.
A market operator report in 2017 found the blackout had been caused by extreme weather, including two tornadoes with wind speeds of between 190km/h and 260km/h. It said windfarms rode out the grid disturbances prompted by the loss of a transmission line, but a protection mechanism in the turbines had triggered a sustained reduction in power in the state. About 450MW capacity was lost within seven seconds.
The sudden reduction in wind power prompted a significant increase in imported power through the Heywood interconnector, which links SA with Victoria. The surge tripped the whole system, resulting in the blackout.
The energy minister, Angus Taylor, said it was important that the regulator enforce market rules. “Our job is to make sure that we do everything we can as a commonwealth government to keep the lights on, and we expect the states to do that as well,” he said.
Conboy said the regulator would seek declarations, penalties, compliance program orders and costs.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Thunder 12/08/2019, 6:47 am

    We spend part of every year on our farms in France or a shared Vineyard in Germany.
    We see the wrecked and broken down Wind Turbines all over the place. The Media are gagged and rarely say a word….unless it falls on someone!!
    The Regimes subsidise the building of the farms and the massive Generators only to the point of their Start Up…….once they are running….they are on their own……….
    The Greens in Germany, sadly there are Millions of the FW’s , inare really
    The NEW NAZI Party !!
    In Germany if we want to cross the road between the Vines, that is a local council road, and it has been raining then the tractor drivers have to clean all the mud and dirt off before they cross the road !!
    Across the Border in France our Tractor Drivers just cross the roads or drive down them saying FU to the EU !!
    In fact most country French say FU to the EU……in Paris they sold out to the EU long ago.

  • DT 12/08/2019, 8:23 am

    Beware of wind and solar farm claimed contributions to the electricity grid, most often quoted is “installed capacity” or “nameplate capacity” which is the design performance under perfect conditions, theoretically.

    AEMO uses “capacity factor” which for wind turbines is 30 to 35 per cent of installed capacity, on average.

    What is also mostly ignored is what they now call “firming”, the feeder transmission line from wind-solar farm to main grid, back up generators and maybe storage, battery bank or pumped inefficient hydro.

    HELE technology power stations are more efficient by a wide margin, and less expensive.

  • JK. 12/08/2019, 8:44 am

    It’s all about the money and who gets it and who pays for it, and guess who pays for it?? The good old suckers out here in tax payer land.

  • DT 12/08/2019, 9:03 am

    ….. and just when more energy was needed the wind dropped.

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