Guest Post by Rafe Champion
On Wednesday morning, before breakfast, South Australia and Victoria demonstrated why the net zero dream is actually a nightmare.
The logic of the Iron Triangle of Power Supply signals that there must be a continuous delivery of power to the grid to meet demand.
Ignore the peaks of wind and solar supply, they are not the critical metric for success of the system. The critical indicator is the lowest level of supply. The weakest link in the chain, the low point of the flood levee. The gap in the fence.
Between sunset and sunrise, all the responsibility for “renewable energy” falls on the wind supply (and storage you might say.)
Before breakfast this morning (Wed 15 March) wind was delivering practically nothing in South Australia (SA) (5% of demand at 1.4% Capacity Factor) and Victoria (VIC) (0.4% of demand at 0.7% Capacity Factor).
Across the National Electricity Market (NEM) wind was delivering 2% of demand at 4.7% of capacity. It went lower as the day went on while the combined efforts of wind, sun and hydro peaked at 50% in the mid-afternoon
Before breakfast SA, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) were in deficit and the grid was bookended by power exported from Queensland and Tasmania. But Tasmania (the battery of the nation) was burning gas in order to have power to spare. The island state has been mostly importing lately to protect the water level in the dams.
So much for the aspiration to replace coal power with intermittent inputs from sun and wind, plus a bit of hydro. Forget about gas in the quantity required to replace coal.
PICTURES TO TELL THE STORY
The NEM Widget at 7am, Wind is the green parts of the bars.
The NEM, dominated by coal(72%). Wind 2%. Gas 10%, Hydro 15%.
Below is South Australia (SA) with local generation dominated by Gas and almost 50 % of demand was imported indirectly from Queensland (QLD) and Tasmania (TAS), through NSW and Victoria.
Below is Victoria, dominated by Brown Coal.
BELOW, wind in Victoria 14-15th, less than average (29%) for 24 hours and less than 10% (severe drought) for most of the time.
Tasmania, dominated by Hydro and burning gas this morning to prop up SA because there was no power to spare in Victoria or NSW.
Originally posted by New Catallaxy, republished with permission.