Another widespread power outage in SA

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stumpjumper
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Another widespread power outage in SA

#1 Post by stumpjumper » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:38 am

Tonight, just after 1am, power failed across metropolitan Adelaide with domestic and commercial users, and street lights out of power in widespread locations across the suburbs and possibly the state.

SA Power Networks says the cause of the blackout has not been determined. There is almost no wind tonight, and SA is 40% reliant on wind generation with little backup capacity.

I predict the pathetic Liberal Opposition will again fail to lay a glove on the government over this. After the last blackout, the child services stuff-up and the looming disaster of the new RAH, it shouldn't be hard to score a point or two off the silken-voiced Weatherill, whose government's policies have been directly responsible for each of the ballsups mentioned. However, it's unlikely to happen. Expect a gentle 'The Goverment must do better' from the feeble Liberals.

SA does not have reliable, or affordable, power. Who would start a business here? If I were starting again, I would go elsewhere. Why put yourself behind the eight ball from day one? And until we get an effective Opposition in this state, there won't be any improvement, just a government increasingly desperate for money. What a recipe for stagnation and failure.

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Last edited by stumpjumper on Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#2 Post by Llessur2002 » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:30 am

How do you know this had anything to do with wind energy? We've had plenty of low wind days before without a blackout being caused so I find it difficult to believe that this would have had anything to do with it on this occasion.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#3 Post by Vee » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:30 am

Blackout affects thousands in SA, blamed on supply loss in Victoria
About 200,000 South Australian homes and businesses lost power overnight due to an outage affecting the interconnector from Victoria.

Just after ‪1:00am‬, a problem with the Victorian transmission network during scheduled maintenance cut the electricity supply from the Heywood interconnector, leaving South Australia to manage on its own.
Authorities said load shedding was needed to balance the network and about 220 megawatts of supply was lost.

Power was restored for SA properties before ‪2:30am‬ and the South Australian network reconnected to the national grid just after ‪5:00am‬.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said Victorian authorities would investigate what went wrong during the maintenance work.
"The interconnector that was operating shut down to protect SA and we load shed here in SA to protect the system, to bring it into balance," he said.
Mr Koutsantonis said there was no way renewable energy generation in SA could be blamed for the loss of power.

Andrew Dillon from AusNet said the overnight outage had no link to factors that caused a recent state-wide blackout in SA, and this time was hindered by the timing of the maintenance work.

"There were some assets out of service for maintenance at that stage so unfortunately the fault couldn't have come at a worse time," he said.
Olympic Dam smelter at risk of cooling
BHP Billiton, which operates Olympic Dam in the state's north, was without power for four hours.

The mine's smelter was at risk of cooling, a scenario that would cause significant damage.

Chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie said Australia's attractiveness as a place to invest was in peril.
He said the country's leaders were failing to develop policies to reduce emissions and secure affordable, uninterrupted power.

Mr Mackenzie said the latest blackout was a wake-up call ahead of the next COAG meeting and wanted power supply and security at the top of the agenda.

Victoria's outage put the Alcoa smelter near Portland offline for just over three hours, authorities said.
ABC News:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-01/s ... ed/8082108

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#4 Post by mshagg » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:44 pm

stumpjumper wrote: SA Power Networks says the cause of the blackout has not been determined. There is almost no wind tonight, and SA is 40% reliant on wind generation with little backup capacity.
No. We are reliant on the national energy market. Whether you import 1% or 10% is irrelevant - when fall short of demand, you shed load. This was the case long before the renewal energy targets.

I'm not sure what people are implying when they decry the lack of "reliable or affordable" power in South Australia. I assume they mean we should start building more fossil fuel generators? The reality of the energy markets is that we're better off importing the stuff from the proceeds of the brown sludge they're burning over in Victoria. If that weren't the case they wouldn't have mothballed the generator up north would they? Shunning imported power for our own is basically protectionism applied to generation, which hardly seems consistent with the spirit of the free market.

If people are going to complain about the price of energy I'd love to know what they nominate as a fair price. 20c kw/h? 10c kw/h? Free?

What I truly want to know why they cant seem to undertake maintenance on Heywood or Murraylink without shitting the bed and disconnecting us from the NEM. I think our efforts would be better spent improving the resilience of the interconnectors rather than complaining about "jays mates" and their wind farms.
Last edited by mshagg on Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#5 Post by rev » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:21 pm

Blaming renewables isn't far off the mark, but it's only part of the problem.
South Australia is heavily reliant on energy generated from all those wind farms that have gone up. We are the "test case" for the world basically, or so I heard mentioned a few times.

Fact is we don't generate enough power of our own, we are part of the national network or grid and rely on power coming in from Victoria, which it self is interconnected with NSW and so on.

During the massive storm the other month we saw what happens in a natural disaster. The turbines I heard reportedly shut down because of the excessive wind, something to do with protecting them from damage, sounds reasonable. Tornadoes took out two dozen transmission towers, which caused a sudden loss which triggered the protective mechanisms in the system to shut us off from the rest of the national network hence the state wide black out.

Last night we saw what happens when there's a fault interstate, we again got cut off and 200,000 people were without power for a few hours. Thankfully though it was in the early hours of the morning and not during peak hour afternoon traffic this time around so the chaos was avoided.


We need more power generated in this state. We've had power stations shut down. We have the gas fired station at outer harbor that apparently was sitting idle during the big storm we had that had to be fired up to help restore power. Why is it sitting idle? Why isn't it at least operating at some diminished capacity and then generation increased when there's the demand for it? It took hours for it to be fired up..while the state was in darkness..

Everyone involved is to blame. From now to the past when they privatized everything.
Of course the highest electricity prices in the nation and world doesn't really have any effect on politicians and company executives who are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year...sorry did I say our politicians are earning that? I meant leaching off the tax payer.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#6 Post by bits » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:59 pm

The state does not have a power generation capacity issue.
It has a unreliable cheap supply known as the interconnect, so is in use when available but likes to fault all the time. If any major power source drops offline you will get load shedding like last night until remaining stations can ramp up to meet the demand.

The unreliable major power supply known as the interconnect maybe should not be used until it's reliability improves.
With the interconnect offline and wind/solar only covering a portion of the demand the remaining demand will be met via higher prices giving incentive to stations such as Pelican Point, Torrens Island or previously Port Augusta to ramp up their supply. They have plenty of supply to give, we just keep choosing to not use them because we have cheaper options.

Wind/solar/interconnect combine to meet demand at the cheapest price. Gas and coal stations find themselves outbid so just sit at heavily reduced output.

Wind and solar output predictions ahead of time are easy enough and their variable output isn't causing outages.

Building another 6 large gas or coal stations will not improve things, you will still buy power from the cheap wind/solar/interconnect and have the 6 new stations sit idle with the existing stations we sit idle already.

We do not have a generation capacity issue. We have more generators than we need, hence many are closing.
We have a supply reliability issue. That is not because wind and solar are unreliable, they are not unreliable at all. The reliability problem is caused by transmission systems failing.

The sa-vic interconnect is mostly coal power from Vic selling to sa. That coal power is proving unreliable. But to stop buying that unreliable coal power will cause prices to increase dramatically.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#7 Post by rev » Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:43 pm

Really, no issue with inadequate power generation?
So when the interconnector with Victoria went out last night, why were 200,000 South Australians blacked out?

Are we producing enough power in this state to cover our needs, or are we reliant on an interconnector with Victoria to keep the lights on in South Australia?


So the power plant in regional SA that was shut down recently, what, was that excess power production that we didn't need?
Was there an oversupply of power in South Australia when that power station was operational?


Bull fucking shit we don't have an issue with power generation in this state.
Even industry is warning and has been for many months that we are on the verge of a crisis, and that was before the storm knocked out power to the whole state.


How much of our power do we receive from the wind turbines? Was it 30-40%?
That's a hell of a lot of dependency on infrastructure that requires certain weather conditions to actually operate and generate electricity.


Keep burying your heads in the sand South Australians. Some will play petty state politics between Liberal and Labor, and miss the issue as well.
But when even BHP starts winding down operations(you can forget any expansion as long as our power supply isn't secure), you might wake up and clear the sand out of your heads.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#8 Post by Goodsy » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:39 pm

Time to re-rebuy all the assets and switch to nuclear. The private sector has proven they are incapable of providing the basic needs of this state

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#9 Post by bits » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:01 pm

rev wrote:Really, no issue with inadequate power generation?
So when the interconnector with Victoria went out last night, why were 200,000 South Australians blacked out?

Are we producing enough power in this state to cover our needs, or are we reliant on an interconnector with Victoria to keep the lights on in South Australia?
They were blacked out because much of the local gas/coal power stations were at reduced load or offline as they were not required.
Power stations can not instantly meet unexpected demand hence the delayed reconnection of homes. The larger the stations the longer the lead in time to get generation up.

We are not reliant on the interconnect we chose to use power from the interconnector instead of power sourced locally.
That is because it was being offered for cheaper than the local producers were willing to generate their power for.

Power was restored when the local generators came on line or ramped up their output.
SA had power fully restored by 2am but the interconnector did not come back online till 5:11am.
We do not need the interconnector to have power, we chose to use the interconnector.

The power blacked out because a major power supplier(the interconnector which mostly represents Vic coal power) unexpectedly withdrew a very large amount of power from the network.
The same power shedding would have happened if the Torrens Island gas power station went offline unexpectedly while producing a large amount of power. (this actually might cause a state wide black out because of the massive loss of power supply being unmanageable.)
The same power shedding would have happened if a large wind power station went offline unexpectedly while producing a large amount of power. (this does not happened any more often than Torrens Island going offline etc).

Last night we could have been running on 100% SA produced power, by 2am that is exactly what we were doing.
Is it by economical choice we do not use 100% SA produced power 24/7 but instead to use a mix of everything to get the cheapest price.
rev wrote: So the power plant in regional SA that was shut down recently, what, was that excess power production that we didn't need?
Was there an oversupply of power in South Australia when that power station was operational?
Yes. Port Augusta Northern and Playford for years have either been offline for the entire year or only run during peak load in summer(I believe only Northern ran in summer, Playford has simply not been on for years).
We did not need them so they ran rarely, ran at low output or did not run at all. Whats the point of maintaining the infrastructure if it is simply not used?
Torrens Island power station had planned to decommission half of the turbines at the plant prior to Port Augusta announcing they would close both their stations. One of the large gas/coal producers was redundant, the oversupply of capacity was too great to be economical for everyone to remain.
rev wrote: Bull fucking shit we don't have an issue with power generation in this state.
Even industry is warning and has been for many months that we are on the verge of a crisis, and that was before the storm knocked out power to the whole state.
That is not an issue with generation capacity.

rev wrote: How much of our power do we receive from the wind turbines? Was it 30-40%?
That's a hell of a lot of dependency on infrastructure that requires certain weather conditions to actually operate and generate electricity.
We still have huge amounts of power generation available. We do not depend on wind and solar beyond what they can supply.
We do not have black outs because wind or solar is generating too little.
Last edited by bits on Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:33 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#10 Post by bits » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:59 pm

Actual numbers:

Leading up to the power outage generators were being paid $60-300/MW
SA demand at midnight was 1400-1500MW which is typical for the forecast, day of week and time of night. It typically drops to 1100-1200 by 1am and further by 2am.
Source: http://www.aemo.com.au/

Power station capacity (MW):
Torrens Island 1,280
Pelican Point 487
Quarantine 210
Hallett 180
Osbourne 180
Dry Creek 156
Heywood Interconnector 650
Murraylink Interconnector 220
Numerous others under 100

Port Augusta (closed) 760

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... _Australia

So at the time of the outage Torrens Island and the next door Quarantine could have handled the demand by themselves.

At the point of the Interconnector removing 220MW supply the price paid to generators shot up to $14,000/MW



South Australia in 2015 had 1,580MW of Wind power capacity split up in to numerous roughly 100-200MW or many smaller farms.
I cant find a number for solar but the entire country has 5,440MW installed capacity.


Right now SA demand is 1441MW and we are producing:
904MW Gas
159MW Wind
75MW Solar
Which I assume leaves 303MW coming from the 2 interconnectors, but could come from Torrens Island, Pelican Point, Quarantine or others if we desired.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/nem-watch/

That demand could be met by Torrens Island and Quarantine alone.
While leaving countless other stations 100% offline.
Last edited by bits on Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#11 Post by mshagg » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:20 pm

Precisely. It takes time for the generators to step in and for the grid to come back on line when you get a sudden loss like an unplanned outage on an interconnector. The laws of physics dictate that you cant have torrens sitting there producing full tilt if it's not being used and it's retarded to think we're going to pay AGL above market price for gas fueled energy from there when the brown sludge burners in Victoria are bidding lower into the NEM.

AFAIK the only time you can have all generators in SA at full tilt AND be drawing across heywood/murraylink is 5:30pm in the middle of a heatwave when south Australians collectively get home from work and fire up their air conditioners. It would be borderline irresponsible to have idle generation sitting around to meet that kind of peak demand.

If you want an iron clad guarantee of no blackouts (which cant be guaranteed so let's assume people actually want 100% self sufficiency from fossil fuel generation when they say that) then be prepared to pay a lot more than 30.75c/kWh.

The NEM isnt perfect by any means but it's far superior to most alternatives peddled by people looking to land blows on the SA govt.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#12 Post by bits » Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:04 pm

mshagg wrote: AFAIK the only time you can have all generators in SA at full tilt AND be drawing across heywood/murraylink is 5:30pm in the middle of a heatwave when south Australians collectively get home from work and fire up their air conditioners.

SA summer max peak demand 3397MW 31/01/2011. It had a high of 42.8C at Parafield Airport and was during a very long heat wave.
https://www.aer.gov.au/wholesale-market ... nce-region

We have about ~3000MW capacity from the local gas/coal/diesel power stations.
The remaining 400MW needs to be picked up between the 1,580MW wind, the SA portion of 5,440MW solar and 870MW interconnectors.

Looks like SA produces:
200-400MW Solar 11-4pm during a hot summer day of 36C like November 20th 2016.

http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#13 Post by stumpjumper » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:25 am

It's splitting hairs to say we don't have a generation capacity issue, or that the outage had nothing to do with wind generation.

The blunt fact is that we no longer have a robust power supply. We may have plenty of capacity; it wasn't available. Wind generation may have been functioning perfectly; it wasn't sufficient to cover what was required. We are reliant on feed from the national grid whose operation is beyond our control. We are no longer independent for our power supply, despite having plenty of coal, gas (and uranium). A 40% reliance on wind generation means that our supply is unstable, on top of our reliance on a national grid over which we have no control.

Heavy subsidies for wind (cost around 10c/kWh) have made fossil fuel generation (cost around 4c/kWh) uneconomic. It's a minor irony that the fossil fuel generation we now use is from Yallourn whose coal is dirtier than the Leigh Creek fossil fuel we used to use. We've increased our carbon footprint by switching to Yallourn coal. No-one seems to be saying what the reliability of our supply will be when Hazelwood - which the Andrews government in Victoria has taxed into early closure - shuts down.

The simple fact is that after 15 years of Labor in SA, we no longer have a reliable or economical power supply. Surely maintaining a reliable power supply, however it is done, is one of the basic roles of government. The government has failed to achieve that, no matter how it tries to spin it. Call it a failure to plan properly, or a failure to achieve a stable mix of generation sources, or a failure of the national grid on which we rely - it's still a failure, and puts the state at a significant disadvantage.

The most practical response, whether you're a business or a private consumer, to ensure a reliable, economical power supply in the short term is to go somewhere else. Most places in the developed world have cheaper, more reliable power than SA. That's the real problem. The Liberals have no answer either, by the way.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#14 Post by bits » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:00 am

We are not reliant on the interconnectors or wind or solar, they are just the cheapest option so are chosen.
If we like we can just not use them and instead buy from the more expensive generators. If a major power generator faults we will get power shedding.

Coal is subsidized $4billion a year.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-11/c ... ie/5881814

Hazelwood is closing so your comments about irony regarding Port Augusta coal just moving to Hazelwood seems lost.

With Hazelwood offline it may lead to more South Australia generators running at higher capacity, reducing our use of the interconnectors.

What is this talk about "no longer have a reliable or economical power supply"?
Was our power prefect before wind and solar? I remember in the 90's load shedding in SA was common, due to faults, gas shortages and lack of gas/coal generator capacity. Is everyone forgetting that black outs are not a new invention?


Power supply should be reliable. Every major outage for years has been directly related to one or the other interconnector disconnecting.


If we want to fix our reliability it seems easy:

Stop using the interconnectors and instead pay more to the local generators like Pelican Point (or previously Port Augusta). We likely would not have closed Port Augusta had the unreliable interconnectors not existed but keep in mind Leigh Creek was running out of decent grade coal anyway.
OR
Invest in upgrading the interconnectors to make them more reliable.
OR
Invest in a new low cost base load power station that can supply large amounts of energy for cheaper than the current generators. So the interconnectors are not used.

What isn't the fix is pretending that coal power stations built many decades ago are capable of cheap supply for decades more, eg Port Augusta.
When their supply runs out or their infrastructure so old and tired it becomes cheaper to replace; it is cheaper to replace with none coal generators.

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Re: Another widespread power outage in SA

#15 Post by Vee » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:37 am

Victorian network fault causes (Dec 1) outage in SA
Update on recent SA power outage, blame game, some perspectives re network and energy security.
A major fault on the Victorian transmission network overnight caused power outages in SA for up to an hour, and forced the Portland smelter in Victoria to also go offline.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said that at 01:33 AEDT on December 1, the South Australian power system separated from Victoria, due to an unknown issue on the Victorian transmission network.
....“it is important to note that this event was not related to the Black System event in SA on September 28.”

It is believed that the fault lay in an Ausnet feeder line to the Heywood Interconnector in Western Victoria, when a transmission line conductor “hit the ground.”

It was a case of bad timing, as network repairs elsewhere had put constraints on the grid and that left it exposed to unexpected incidents. If this had happened in a normal time, no one would have noticed.

That didn’t stop conservative politicians and commentators from blaming wind and solar. Murdoch’s Andrew Bolt declared it to be more proof that renewable energy cases blackouts, and state Liberal leader Steven Marshall followed suit.

That earned a sharp rebuke from state energy minister Tom Koutsantonis, who said that SA had operated effectively as an island, even though some customers lost power as the local network adjusted its frequency and had to shed some load.
“Once again, Mr Marshall has ignored the facts and jumped at an opportunity to blame renewables for the outages." ....

AEMO said approximately 220MW was lost in SA (equating to approximately 200,000 customers) due to the need to balance the frequency of the network.

South Australian customers had power restored at 02:45 AEDT. The Portland smelter in Victoria was also disconnected from electricity supply for three hours and reports said that BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in SA also lost power for several hours.

At 05:41 AEDT, the SA power network had been reconnected to the national grid. Prices during the event jumped as high as $14,000/MWh, as gas-fired power stations fired up.
Sept outage
AEMO said it is working closely with Victorian transmission network service provider AusNet Services to identify the cause of the fault. "....however ... this event was not related to the Black System event in SA on 28 September 2016.”

That blackout was also blamed on renewable energy, even though three main transmission lines were blown down .... and the local grid owner and main generation company said no generators would have withstood the impact of the storms on the network.
Qs
However, questions have been raised about the decisions by the market operator, which chose to take no preventative measures, and for many underlined the fragility of a centralised grid, and the risks of storms, bushfires and other outages on an elongated network.

It has led to calls for a think about the design of electricity markets, and a push to localised grid and local renewable generation. AGL CEO Andrew Vesey, and many others, said the best security could be offered by more localised generation, and that meant renewable energy, and more storage.
New technologies, renewables, storage
Environmental groups said the latest outage underlined the need for new technologies such as solar towers with molten salt storage and battery storage.

“A cleaner and more resilient electricity system underpinned by renewable energy and storage is something all South Australian politicians can support,” said Friends of the Earth’s Leigh Ewbank.

He noted Bruce Mountain’s analysis on RenewEconomy that solar and battery storage already offered cheaper electricity to households than the main grid, and this could add to network security.

“The economics of renewables and batteries has profound implications for consumers, solar and battery producers and installers, electricity retailers, centrally dispatched generators, network service providers, market operators, regulators and governments."
Renew Economy:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/vic-network- ... les-84808/

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