Power generation issues in South Australia

 
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

People who want 100% reliable power should always install generators.

No distribution or transmission system is 100% reliable but failures are infrequent enough for consumes to become complacent. This is that state of play in SA.

There are generation problems mostly caused by economic and political factors. When it is available cheap wind produced energy swamps the market causing generators capable of supplying constant power to drop out of the market or sell much below real cost. The reliable generators have to recoup their cost by charging higher prices when the renewable sourced energy is not available.

SA power prices are high because we are in effect paying for two lots of generation.

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  rhino Chief Commissioner

Location: Oakbonk SA
That's a theory, but I don't think it's based on fact. Everyone knew, during the last heatwave, that the price offered by the generators was going to spike. The retailers knew they were going to be hit with an $85million bill that they would have to wear. I call price-gouging by the electricity generators, not because they have to, but because they can, because of weak legislation that allows them to.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Petrol generators have been selling out across SA in the last few weeks - seems many people don't want to be caught short again. It's not acceptable that the grid isn't reliable, these are issues from 10-20 years ago not the 21st century.
Edited for accuracy.
bingley hall
Actually it goes back a lot further than 10-20 years try 40 odd years or more. You would still get small blackouts though due to a tree branch or car crash taking out the power pole or wires  in a local blackout but large blackouts like of recent years where not the norm and certainly not blacking out the whole state either.

I thought the days of blackouts were a thing from my childhood I am 62 and back then we did get blackouts but the infrastructure back then did actually stay put and not collapse even in high winds and torrential rain etc. Yes we had one in one hundred year weather extremes even back then. These days it seems a slight breeze or a couple of drops of rain and something fails!
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
Petrol generators have been selling out across SA in the last few weeks - seems many people don't want to be caught short again. It's not acceptable that the grid isn't reliable, these are issues from 10-20 years ago not the 21st century.
Edited for accuracy.
Actually it goes back a lot further than 10-20 years try 40 odd years or more. You would still get small blackouts though due to a tree branch or car crash taking out the power pole or wires  in a local blackout but large blackouts like of recent years where not the norm and certainly not blacking out the whole state either.

I thought the days of blackouts were a thing from my childhood I am 62 and back then we did get blackouts but the infrastructure back then did actually stay put and not collapse even in high winds and torrential rain etc. Yes we had one in one hundred year weather extremes even back then. These days it seems a slight breeze or a couple of drops of rain and something fails!
David Peters

There was a state wide blackout way in the early 1980s when a couple of Pipelines Authority workers accidentally cut the gas supply to Torrens Island which then had to be cold started taking the best part of the afternoon.   The gas was off for less than a minute.   This event was always referred to in hushed tones at the Pipelines Authority as "the 30th June Affair".

Blackouts due to weather events are common where there is vegetation overhanging power lines (which tends not to be in the metropolitan area).

Kangaroo Island has also had blackouts through some clown or clowns shooting out insulators somewhere south of Yankalilla.   I imagine this is not restricted to Kangaroo Island either.

When I was in Ontario for Christmas in 2013 an ice storm went through a path roughly along the Great Lakes from Chicago to Quebec City and beyond.    It knocked out 300,000 connections in the area served by Toronto Hydro alone, so we are not alone in dramatic weather outages.    Toronto Hydro had all but 30,000 reconnected by Christmas 4 days later.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Oh dear: SA urged to conserve electricity as units at power station go offline http://ab.co/2mMU6CT - via @abcnews
  62430 Chief Train Controller

Location: Metro Adelaide
Oh dear: SA urged to conserve electricity as units at power station go offline http://ab.co/2mMU6CT - via @abcnews
Carnot
Only unit B1 at Torrens is currently generating (at full output 200MW). Pelican Pt offline.  At 1855 Adelaide time demand 1945 MW, thermal 888 MW, wind 555 MW, import 502 MW.   Lack of Reserve 2 has now been cancelled.

AEMO has cancelled planned work on Heywood - Mortlake line over weekend to avoid risk of SA islanding.

Update at 1915: PPt is now ramping up.

Alex C
  Heath Loxton Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, SA
Meanwhile the SA Government is going to build Australias largest battery and a new power station, so hopefully these should help ease our power woes. Razz
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Meanwhile the SA Government is going to build Australias largest battery and a new power station, so hopefully these should help ease our power woes. Razz
Heath Loxton
And you believe that Heath, there is an election coming up and they will promise anything to get re-elected, never believe what pollies say before an election as the promise's are usually forgotten very quickly if they are put back into power. It has been like that for ages now.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Meanwhile the SA Government is going to build Australias largest battery and a new power station, so hopefully these should help ease our power woes. Razz
And you believe that Heath, there is an election coming up and they will promise anything to get re-elected, never believe what pollies say before an election as the promise's are usually forgotten very quickly if they are put back into power. It has been like that for ages now.
David Peters
Just think of what this state would have if all the political promises were fulfilled!
Decaying freeways everywhere in need of urgent replacement!
The cleanest drinking water in the world!

Electric suburban trains older than the Red Hens!
Heavy Rail to the North East suburbs (and NO O'Bahn)

Then all the rail would have been converted to busways (if a certain party had gained power)!
and God knows what else!

And by the way the battery power will most likely be built and owned by Tesla with the state paying for it (through the nose)
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: Rubber Tyred Vehicle track design office
Meanwhile the SA Government is going to build Australias largest battery and a new power station, so hopefully these should help ease our power woes. Razz
"Heath Loxton"

Politicians are like nappies- Both should be changed regularly and for the same reason. - Attributed to Mark Twain, José Maria de Eça de Queiroz and "Unknown, originated around 1992"
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
If they're Tesla batteries I'd be a bit concerned, actually I am it concerned regardless of the battery storage suppler.

When we gave some Tesla batteries a test we got some pretty disappointing numbers out of them. We had an inverter with a not too shabby 95% efficiency measured on it - the manufacturer quoted better, but hell, we think the marketing wanks got a hold of the specs.

We found the total efficiency of energy in - energy out was only about 86%, that was a little disappointing - Tesla told us DC-DC 92%, but unless we are running the grid on 48VDC there are other numbers at play.

We are told 100MW of storage, more interesting I think is the discharge rate, the batteries are only rated to 0.2C continuous and 0.33C peak, we gave them a piping hot supper, pulled 0.4C but delta T got to the point that we became concerned for the overall safety of the test.

On the basis of what we saw, the claim that 100MW (actually 87MW) is 'enough for one suburb for an hour' actually means 'we can supply two dozen streets for half a working day' - very different to what is claimed. 1C discharge is a dream claim that just doesn't exist.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Oh I forgot, Tesla also state their batteries could be discharged to near 0%, but in doing so shortens the life to 500 cycles, discharging to 75% allows ~2000 cycles - that's about 5 years, and the batteries will be U/S.
  Heath Loxton Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, SA
Meanwhile 9 news reported the other night that there was another 2 hour blackout in the glenelg area... when is this going to end?
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: On a freight train to crazy town
Meanwhile 9 news reported the other night that there was another 2 hour blackout in the glenelg area... when is this going to end?
Heath Loxton

It's an Outage!
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Meanwhile 9 news reported the other night that there was another 2 hour blackout in the glenelg area... when is this going to end?
Heath Loxton
When will it end?
When idiot drivers stop trying to knock down stobie poles with their cars?
When mother nature stops trying to blown over trees?

Or maybe young Mr. Loxton can campaign to have all the Norfolk Pines along Tapleys Hill Road at Glenelg cut down?
  allan Chief Commissioner

When will it end?
When idiot drivers stop trying to knock down stobie poles with their cars?
When mother nature stops trying to blown over trees?
Pressma
Or when the State is again in charge of resources that ought properly be the responsibilty of the state...
  Heath Loxton Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, SA
Well what was the power situation like in SA when the government owned the generation facilities, the electricity grid and printed the bills too? It seems now that there are separate owners for the generation, infrastructure and billing sectors of the electricity industry.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Well what was the power situation like in SA when the government owned the generation facilities, the electricity grid and printed the bills too? It seems now that there are separate owners for the generation, infrastructure and billing sectors of the electricity industry.
Heath Loxton

Is the supply of power too important to be provided privately and therefore should always remain in Government hands?

Imagine the amount of private investment slated for SA which is being delayed or lost due to power reliability issues.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: On a freight train to crazy town
Well what was the power situation like in SA when the government owned the generation facilities, the electricity grid and printed the bills too? It seems now that there are separate owners for the generation, infrastructure and billing sectors of the electricity industry.

Is the supply of power too important to be provided privately and therefore should always remain in Government hands?

Imagine the amount of private investment slated for SA which is being delayed or lost due to power reliability issues.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
x31

Why imagine?

You sure it's not just the voices in your head?
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: Rubber Tyred Vehicle track design office
Well what was the power situation like in SA when the government owned the generation facilities, the electricity grid and printed the bills too? It seems now that there are separate owners for the generation, infrastructure and billing sectors of the electricity industry.
Heath Loxton

Is the supply of power too important to be provided privately and therefore should always remain in Government hands?

Imagine the amount of private investment slated for SA which is being delayed or lost due to power reliability issues.  Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
"x31"

Some people believe everything should be privatised because it means competition will make it cheaper. Other people believe every public utility should be in the hands of Government in a socialist manner because who else could you trust? Right at the moment we have virtually all public utility services privatised and it doesn't to my own personal feeling feel very secure and also seems to be very expensive. A mix of public and private ownership seems to work better but the inevitability of such a combination straying toward total privatisation  means that you end up with what we have now.
  1771D Junior Train Controller

It's also easier for politicians to accept bribes (and jobs) from private corporates than it is to steal the money from within.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Well what was the power situation like in SA when the government owned the generation facilities, the electricity grid and printed the bills too?
Heath Loxton
There were blackouts back then too.

In fact, they were actually much more regular! I was living in a newer area with 100% underground lines in the 1990s, and we had many more blackouts then than I do now living in an area with the lines on stobie poles. Everyone in the family knew where the torches were and the ETSA phone number was on the fridge.

By the time it got to the 1990s, most of the Playford era infrastructure was creaking and groaning as it was overdue for replacement and struggling to keep up with the growing demand as the state government was not investing directly or allowing ETSA to set prices high enough to support a rolling renewal program.

100% government ownership only seems good because we don't have it now, aka the grass is always greener on the other side.

For this reason, I favour public ownership with the operations put out to competitive tender at regular intervals, like we have with Adelaide Metro buses.

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