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South Australia hits 100% renewables – for a whole working day

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There have been several instances in recent months when wind energy has accounted for all, or nearly all, electricity demand in South Australia. Last Tuesday, however, set a new benchmark – the combination of wind energy and rooftop solar provided more than 100 per cent of the state’s electricity needs, for a whole working day between 9.30am and 6pm.

The data comes from Hugh Saddler, at consultants Pitt & Sherry, and is part of his monthly overview of electricity market, emissions and pricing trends in Australia.

Saddler notes there were several periods in South Australia from Saturday September 27, and over the following days, when wind generation was greater than total state NEM demand. (South Australia has nearly half the country’s wind capacity with around 1.5GW of wind energy).

It occurred briefly on Saturday afternoon, for much of Sunday, and again, most strikingly, between about 9.30am and 6.00pm on Tuesday, September 30, a normal working day.

In reality, renewables contributed well over 100 per cent because they were generating and consuming their own electricity from rooftop solar – the state has 550MW of rooftop solar, with nearly one in four houses with rooftop modules.

That meant that “true” demand by consumers on that day, i.e. the amount of electricity being used by consumers, including rooftop solar, was in fact considerably higher than NEM demand — up to 20 per cent according to the Australian Photovoltaic Institute — because of the contribution of rooftop PV to total electricity supply.

Here are the two key graphs. The first shows wind generation (blueish line) exceeds total demand (green line) at several points, but particularly for large periods on September 30, the Tuesday.

a windy

 

The second graph (below) shows the contribution of rooftop solar, peaking at just over 20 per cent near noon. As we have reported, in previous weeks, the contribution of rooftop solar has been as much as 25 per cent for large parts of the working day.

sa solar

The impact on the rest of the generation fleet was considerable. Saddler notes that during this period all of the thermal power stations in SA were shut down, with the exception of the two units at the coal fired Northern Power station, each of which ran at about 60 per cent of full load, and one of the four units at the gas fired Torrens Island B station, which was running at about 25 per cent of full load.

Interestingly, the South Australia government has already exceeded its target of generating 33 per cent of the state’s electricity needs from renewables (over a full year), and has now set a 50 per cent target by 2025. In reality, it will likely reach that mark well before that, particularly if the Ceres wind farm and the Hornsdale wind farm are built. It could even be the first mainland state towards 100 per cent renewables over the whole year.

Considerable volumes of electricity were exported to Victoria. “In simple arithmetic terms, though not of course in how the grid actually operated, the state’s electricity supply was 100 per cent renewable while coal and gas fired electricity was exported,” he says.

Those two graphs show the wind generation and its impact on pool prices in SA and Victoria from the Saturday to the Wednesday. Saddler writes: “The inverse relationship between wind generation and pool prices is very clear — the more wind generation, the lower the price, on average.”

 

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  • Sir-Rene Baur

    Wow… I’m so impressed! Congratulations South Oz.

  • Rob G

    This is a living nightmare for Abbott and his coal buddies. There’s going to be many more nights of sleep lost as these stories continue to grow. Victoria, will shortly join the renewable onslaught.

    • SA Kiteman

      Actually, the coal buddies love it. The unreliables will assure that no viable base-load alternative is ever used. And just so you know, having the unreliables swing so much just makes sure that the coal that backs the unreliables up is used in the LEAST efficient manner. Thus MORE is burned per unit energy produced. You really need to find out how much coal is ACTUALLY saved by these unreliables before you crow so loudly.

      • Rob G

        What mine are you working at?

        • SA Kiteman

          I’m neither stupid enough to work at a coal mine not stupid enough to support the unreliables.

          At what institution are you an environ-mental-patient?

          • Rob G

            We’ll if you come onto this site to proclaim, to this educated audience, that renewable energy is unreliable then that sounds pretty stupid to me. Clearly you are out of your depth on this topic. You might be advised to hang out with less educated types that might actually believe you (like the Liberal party or the coal lobby).

          • SA Kiteman

            Not ALL renewable energy sources, just the unreliable ones; wind, solar, and on the longer term, hydro.

            I wonder if you can actually read that graph in the article that shows that wind power dropped of to near ZERO several times during that short stint. THAT is unreliability in all its shamefulness.

          • Rob G

            Sun keeps shinning, wind keeps blowing sounds pretty reliable to me. What you seem unable to understand here is that there are already a number of ways these energies can be stored. In fact 100MW storage is already possible with Lithium Ion batteries. What also seems to have slipped you by is that peak energy use happens in the middle of the day when the sun shines most. Oh, and then we have smart grids on the horizon, making energy ‘sharing’ possible. There really is no way other energy can compete with this. Remember sunlight and wind are free so other energies cannot compete with cost in the long run. Coal (unlike gas) needs to run 24/7 whatever the demand may be – this is like burning money up for nothing (and wrecking the climate). Humble rooftop solar is destroying coal fire power – especially in Queensland. The reliable sunshine state sun doesn’t let’s residents down.

            My advise to you is stop listening to Abbott. And start looking at solar and wind more closely, as I said before your knowledge on these energies comes across a poor when you dismiss them. The IEA which typically favour fossil fuels over renewables believe in the coming years that solar will be the leading source of energy.

          • SA Kiteman

            “Sun keeps shining” except when this pesky planet (and its moon) get in the way. Or when those pesky clouds block it. Or when dust dims it or hail or diving ducks crack it… Sorry, sound too UNreliable to me.
            “wind keeps blowing”… HAAWW haw ha ha ha, HEE haw ha ha ha. HO haw ha he haw. Gasp. Chortle. Good one!

            As Bill Gates pointed out, ALL the batteries in the world today can store maybe 5 minutes of the world demand. So we would need maybe 2000 times as much to cover current demand while keeping the third world in abject poverty. That is not very nice, RobG.

            The fuel for the intermittant wind and solar are “free” but the collectors and procesors are far from free. And I would bet they only seem like a good idea because you are grid tied and can steal from your neighbors.

            Who is “Abbot”? Any relation to Costello?

          • Rob G

            Feeble. The kind of argument I expect from someone with very little knowledge on the topic. I’ve said it before you’re out of your depth here. Your whole argument resembles that of the coal lobby.

            As for the Bill Gates quote (if it is that at all) it is just funny. I wonder what Elon Musk would think, he have a good laugh at that no doubt. If you believe that supposed Gates line then you are even more out of your depth than i first thought. And yes, sure enough here comes the rant about world poverty, my, my you true colours are clear now. Are you sure you don’t work in a mine?

            As for your maths and reading comprehension, it needs some work. Wind & sunlight are free, I said nothing of the turbines and panels being free. But since you are struggling I’ll lay it out for you. Coal costs money to extract, to transport and to burn. It uses vast amounts of water to cool it’s turbines and pollutes sky and water. Coal is also very low in efficiency per weight – so you need a whole lot of the stuff to get not much.
            Any of this sinking in? Coal also requires a lot of expensive infrastructure, various diggers, trains/ships to transport and then a whopping big power station that must run 24/7 irrelevant of demand. A reliable disaster.

            Now back to solar and wind. Here in Australia, the sun shines for at least 10 hours everyday (winter and summer), clouds in the centre of Australia are rare (but even with clouds solar works a treat as it’s both light and heat that make power). Dust and hail? what nonsense! The coast line is constantly windy, its what happens near the sea and it happens almost everyday – they’re called trade winds.
            Now the cost of solar and wind – well that’s a no brainer. Already, here in Australia rooftop solar is cheaper than retail coal fire power (and that’s including the fact that coal doesn’t need to be imported and is heavily subsidised). Utility solar is even cheaper, it can be built next to towns, on buildings in deserts, wherever – and doesn’t require resources like transported fuel (the sunlight comes from above). It can be built faster than any fossil fuel power station.
            Now onto wind power, well if you bother reading the reports you’ll know that this year wind will overtake nuclear in global power generation (currently it just below, but nuclear had a 40+ year head start) Wind turbines and infrastructure is regarded as the cheapest of all the renewable options and is already on par with subsided EU coal (the cheapest power source in Europe). Again, like solar, once it is built it is near free to run (except for a few maintenance costs). An average wind turbine will power about 2,000 homes.

            On storage, your understanding of this is quite remarkable, clearly this is way over your head. I’d suggest you take a look at a nissan leaf, charge it up (with solar) and enjoy the 250km drive that your roof made for far less than any oils or gas could do. In fact the cost will be about 1/10 of what you’d pay for fossil fuel power. That’s a lightweight battery. Now think Tesla S and think 500km on 1 charge and they are closing in on 700km on a single charge. Battery technology is advancing quicker that MB computer storage did.

            I hope you have enjoyed the lesson (you certainly needed it) and in future think before you write, because such ranting attempts to belittle renewables have no place around a renewable knowledgable audience, you just come across as an ignorant troll.

            Lastly, Abbott is the prime minister of Australia. He is a right winger who struggles with climate change science and is a supporter big coal. But I DO like your reference to Costello and to that I’d say it is something we can agree on.

          • SA Kiteman

            “Feeble” is all that is needed when the rational look on the data. The data on the unreliables is so obviously bad that is all it takes.

            The Bill Gates paraphrase is what it is. Elon Musk may try to change it, but his efforts are pointed mainly toward his cars. But evn so, I hope he does start making a dent on the storage issue. Storage helps nuclear most. It turns AALL loads into base loads and NOTHING does baseload better than nuclear.

            Only a complete moron thinks “wind and solar” are free. The “fuel” for wind and solar are “free”, but the machinery to collect and convert that “fuel” is bloody expensive. AND, even if it becomes cheap, the machanisms to back it up so that it is actually useful are also blood expensive. In the mean while, the fuel for nuclear plants is also effectively “free”. But the machinery to collect and convert it into reliable energy is also fairly cheap. So as baseload energy, it is the cheapest scaleable energy around.

            So you demand that people be able to afford a large roof, a solar panel to put on said roof AND a Nissan Leaf to be able to enjoy electricity? Rather elitist of you. I prefer to provide clean, safe, scaleable, sustainable, RELIABLE electricity via a source that anyone can afford. Nuclear fits that description. Nothing else does.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The best way to take in all costs is to look at the selling price. The selling price covers overnight, financing, fuel and other operating costs

            In the US:

            New wind, without subsidies, is selling for just under $0.04/kWh.

            New solar, without subsidies, is selling for $0.07 to $0.09/kWh, depending on where it is located.

            New nuclear, when/if it comes on line will sell, with some subsidies, for at least $0.11/kWh.

            Wind and solar will become even cheaper with solar likely to beat out wind. Very bright people have been working for half a century or more to make nuclear cheap and have failed.

            Nuclear fails the “safe” test. Need I point out examples?

            You can rail all you wish about “unreliables” but let’s face it. Nuclear is a dead man walking. The future grid doesn’t need “always on” generation. The future grid will use inexpensive wind and solar, then fill in around them with storage, dispatchable generation, and load shifting.

          • SA Kiteman

            New wind and new solar HAVE subsidies, significant tax subsidies as well as significant purchase mandate subsidies and then there are the direct subsidies. They also shead the costs for reliable service onto other sources. Wind and solar would not survive without the direct and indirect subsidies and ability to externalize massive costs. The fact that nuclear power, with 100% internalized costs and effectively no subsidies can be that low is quite astounding. But the fact that it isn’t down in the 5¢ range is due to needless over-regulation by beFUDdled politicians.

          • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

            You’re joking Kiteman. Quite the nuclear shill aren’t we. You say: “The fact that nuclear power, with 100% internalized costs and effectively no subsidies can be that low is quite astounding.” Nuclear is the most heavily subsidised energy source of any – no investor, insurer, constructor, producer will put money in without a government guarantee. The 3.3GW Hinckley plant is going to cost $45 billion, with most of this coming from subsidies, not including the $12 billion needed to provide back up power specifically for this plant. The French government has decided that investing in renewables is cheaper than just maintaining its current nuclear fleet, let alone building new ones to replace these ageing assets,

          • SA Kiteman

            I don’t know. Are you a nuclear shill? I am not, so “we” aren’t.

            Oh good, a parrot of anti-nuclear lies. The US Energy Information Agency has published a report that shows that “renewables” get about 4 times the subsidies for about 1/2 the energy produced as nuclear. And the nuclear subsidies are almost all for research on reactors no-one uses. So CURRENT nuclear power receives almost NO subsidies.

            Your statement about no investor … is just plain wrong. Vogtle 3 & 4 and Summer 2 & 3 both went to production without loan guarentees using only investor / utility money. So that was a lie.

            The French failed at their attempt to make the EU government see reason and change their 20-2020 policy to say “zero-carbon” rather than “renewables”. As a result, the will have to reduce their current ~80% nuclear (zero carbon) in order to intall 20% “renewables” with abut 30% carbon fueled back-up. That is par for the idiotic “green” course.

          • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

            Say what? Vogtle is costing $16 billion and is receiving half of that through a DoE loan guarantee. Here it is on the nuclear industry’s website. http://www.nei.org/News-Media/News/News-Archives/DOE-Finalizes-Vogtle-Loan-Guarantees.
            The rest of the money comes from a tariff imposed on consumers – which they are paying now. Neither Southern Power, nor any other private investors, put in a single dollar. The French are very happy with the EU target, it was written under their watch – they now have a 30% renewable target, over and above the EU requirements.

          • SA Kiteman

            Actually, the unit went into production (i.e., the unit was being built) without any loan guarantees. Only after a smll partner had to pull out for other reasons did Vogtle accept any loan guarantees. But loan guarentees only compensate for federal policy uncertinty, not for tehnical or business uncertainty.

            A “tariff”, i.e., a “price for product”, i.e., profits they make. How is this different from Walmart building a new store from profits on sales from existing stores? How is this “subsidy”?

            The French attempted to get the 20-2020 follow on policy to include the term “zero carbon” (IIRC) in stead of the current “renewables”. The technical working group made that recommendation. The politicians didn’t di it, so the French (and others) failed. As a result, the CIPK of the EU will go UP, not down. You heard it here first.

          • Bob_Wallace

            First you tell us that Vogtle didn’t use federal loan guarantees and then you say they did.

            You try to tell us that the loan guarantees cover only changes in federal regulation and not build failure, which is a pile of bull. The loan guarantee protects lenders against non-completion on the part of builders.

            Walmart pays tax on their profits. They do not get tax credits for selling product.

            We’ve heard a lot from you. Pretty much all inaccurate.

          • SA Kiteman

            Bob_W: Are you really that incapable of reading simple English? The Southern Company and their partners started construction of Vogtle 3 & 4 without any load guarentees. Only after several years of construction, when one of the partners had to withdraw for other reasons did the Southern Company avail themselves of a loan guarentee.

            Of course, the Southern Company is a VERY substantial company with negligible probability of defaulting on the loan, so the guarentee is at little risk. This is quite different from the NUMEROUS defaultings of loan guarentees by wind, solar, and other “alternative” energy companies. The taxpayer paid out the nose for all those failures. They will not pay anything on a default by the Southern Company on Vogtle 3 & 4.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Southern Company applied for federal loan guarantees in 2008 but balked at the terms offered by the DOE. They spent the next five years lobbying about $13 million) to get more favorable terms. In all, they extended their loan guarantee request five times. When they were able to arrive at a deal that minimized risk to their company capital they went forward with the guarantee.

            Southern Company received its federal loan guarantee earlier this year. Construction was started less than a year earlier on March 12, 2013. There have been no “several years of construction.

            Wind and solar are not offered government loan guarantees

            BTW, there has already been one meeting to discuss abandoning the Vogtle reactors as their output is not needed, Georgia is over supplied with electricity. They were planned with the expectation that demand would continue to grow but that is not happening. Demand is shrinking thanks to efficiency and end-user solar.

          • SA Kiteman

            Yes they did, BUT they went ahead without it. That PROVES that they can go without it. It also shows that they aren’t crazy and will benefit from it if they can.

            Nuclear power has some interesting terms. They can’t ACTUALLY begin “construction” until certain paperwork is signed, sealed, and delivered. But they can do one heck of a lot of PRE-Construction, which looks like construction, sounds like construction, pays like construction, and COSTS like construction. To actually believe that it is not construction is really just a white lie amongst reguators (read “politicians”).

            “Not offered loan guarentees”. Tell that to Solyndra and some dozens of other alternative energy companies that bit the dust taking their loan guarentees with them. Besides, wind and solar are provided with a number of DIRECT and INDIRECT subsidies and purchase mandates that are costing US Taxpayers some $14B for 3% of the nation’s electricity while nuclear loan guarentees might cost as much as $0.2B.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Nuclear builds can get a pre-construction permit to do site preparation. That’s grading, installing temporary roads and power lines. Nothing major. Southern Company can do that sort of stuff out of their coffee fund.

            Solyndra is a unique case. No other solar or wind manufacturer has received loan guarantees. No wind or solar farms receive loan guarantees.

            You cherry-pick your subsidy data. Over the lifetimes of the various industries nuclear has received many multiples of what wind and solar have received.

            Over the first 15 years of these energy sources’ subsidies, oil and gas got 5 times what renewables got (in 2010 dollars) and nuclear energy got 10 times as much. (Most of the renewable subsidies went to corn farms for ethanol, not wind, solar and other renewable electricity technologies.)

            Between 1918 and 2009 oil and gas received average annual subsidies of $4.86 billion. (92 x $4.86 billion = $447 billion)

            Between 1947 and 1999 nuclear received average annual subsidies of $3.50 billion. (53 x $3.50 billion = $185.6 billion)

            Between 1980 and 2009 biofuel received average annual subsidies of $1.08 billion. (29 x $1.08 billion = $31 billion)

            Between 1994 and 2009 renewables received average annual subsidies of $0.37 billion. (15 x $0.37 = $5.6 billion)

            http://www.dblinvestors.com/documents/What-Would-Jefferson-Do-Final-Version.pdf

            Wind and solar received 92% less per year than oil and gas, 89% less than nuclear and 76% less than biofuels. And for many fewer years.

            How have those subsidies paid off? In the last 30 or so years the cost of wind-electricity has dropped from $0.38/kWh to $0.04/kWh. More than a 6x drop. The price of solar panels has fallen from around $100/watt to just above $0.50/watt. Almost a 200x drop.

            As we all know the price of fossil fuels and nuclear just keeps going up. (Aside from a short term drop in the price of natural gas.)

            I really wish you wouldn’t try to mislead people. Please just go off by yourself, wallow in your love of nuclear energy and leave reasonable people alone.

          • Clee

            “Solyndra is a unique case. No other solar or wind manufacturer has received loan guarantees. No wind or solar farms receive loan guarantees.”

            Then what is this list of solar and wind in the 1705 loan guarantee program? Of the 15 solar and wind farms listed, all but two are currently generating electricity.
            http://energy.gov/lpo/projects

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’re right. I wasn’t thinking hard about what had happened with the stimulus money. I was thinking about ongoing DOE subsidy programs. The 1705 program ended three years ago.

            Nuclear receives loan guarantees under ongoing DOE programs, wind and solar do not.

            And I was not including solar thermal when talking about solar, rather intending PV solar.

          • SA Kiteman

            “Solyndra is a unique case…” REALLY? Do tell. So that $1.6billion loan guarantee for Ivanpah doesn’t count? How bout Evergreen Solar. A123 batteries. etc. Ad nauseum.

            Bob, you don’t bother to cherry pick. You just lie outright. Shame on you.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Currently US wind and solar are receiving more subsidy money than is nuclear, for one very good reason.

            New wind, solar and nuclear are eligible for tax credits (reduced taxes) when they produce electricity. Wind and solar have new capacity on line. Nuclear does not. That is why wind and solar are receiving tax credits and nuclear is not.

            Now let’s look at another subsidy, taxpayer provided liability insurance. Even 45 year old US nuclear plants don’t have to pay for full liability coverage. They have to cover what would be only an insignificant amount of the cost were there to be a major meltdown. Taxpayers are on the hook for most of the cost

            Wind and solar do not get taxpayer provided liabiity coverage. They have to pay the full price of their insurance from their selling price.

            Now, let’s look at history.

            Over its first 15 years of development nuclear received 10x as much public assistance as did wind and solar over their first 15 years.

            Between 1947 and 1999 nuclear received average annual subsidies of $3.50 billion. (53 x $3.50 billion = $185.6 billion)

            Between 1994 and 2009 renewables received average annual subsidies of $0.37 billion. (15 x $0.37 = $5.6 billion)

            What isn’t counted in the above numbers are the billions and billions of dollars which were spent by the military in nuclear research, some of which was fed back into the public nuclear program, thus forming another subsidy.

            And we’ve never seen an accounting for the money spent on securing reactors from terrorist attacks, including having fighters on standby in the event a large airplane heads toward one.

            If one cherry picks data and take it out of context, as you have done, the story told is what we generously call a falsehood.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” Vogtle 3 & 4 and Summer 2 & 3 both went to production without loan guarentees using only investor / utility money. So that was a lie.”

            What?!?!?

            Vogtle 3&4 are still under construction. They have not gone to production.

            The V 3&4 reactors received a zero interest loan from the DOE for their first year while the federal loan guarantee application was being finished and reviewed.

            France is reducing their nuclear fleet simply because nuclear has become too expensive for them. The French government recently reported that the cost of operating their paid off reactors was running

            It’s currently costing France EUR 59.8/MWh, about $0.08/kWh to produce electricity from their reactors.

            http://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2014/05/27/france-s-state-auditor-says-edf-s-nuclear-costs-are-increasing

            France has looked at the cost of renovating their aging out reactors in order to get another 20 years out of them and has determined that it makes more economic sense to install renewables.

            Don’t know where you get your information, but were I you I’d abandon those sources. They’re feeding your BS.

          • Harry Verberne

            Giles, I would not tolerate those who engage in personal attacks;there are those who cannot be reasonable and refuse to engage in reasoned argument without abuse, nasty sarcasm and denigration.
            They do not deserve the privilege of commenting on this very good and informative site.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We need the regulations that are in place in order to minimize the numbers of TMIs, Chernobyls, and Fukushimas that we have to endure.

            Nuclear, even with fewer regulations, was too expensive. The US nuclear industry died due to high costs before Three Mild Island melted down.

            Thankfully we now have safe and much cheaper ways to generate the electricity we need. We no longer need to endue to risk of nuclear energy.

          • SA Kiteman

            Well, since the “endurance” required is predominantly to survive the fear, not the radiation, the regulation might want to include making fear-mongers liable for their lies.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s a wonderful piece of word salad.

            Nuclear energy is dangerous. Only an idiot would claim else wise. One would have to totally ignore Chernobyl, Fukushima and all the other meltdowns in order claim nuclear energy safe.

            It takes regulations, enforced regulations, to help keep us safe from the Homers who build and run reactors.

            TMI melted because the operators weren’t adequately trained. Training regulations had to be installed.

            Humboldt Bay was build on an active earthquake fault and in a tsunami zone. Siting regulations had to be created.

            I would imagine more regulations were put in place after the doofus crawled through Browns Ferry with a lit candle and set it on fire. And after Davis Bessie’s reactor was almost eaten through by a corrosive leak that went on for years.

            Now, after Fukushima melted, we have new regs that require backup generators be located in safe areas. And we’ll likely have some new regs concerning hydrogen explosions after watching some of their buildings go pow!

          • Harry Verberne

            There are those willing and able to engage in civil debate and then there are the trolls who only aim is to disrupt, divert discussion and provoke an emotional and angry response.

            They are impervious to reason and facts.

          • Harry Verberne

            I have notices increased denier and trolling activity on this site of late. Must be that renewables are a threat.

          • Rob G

            I agree, I’m guessing the main troll here is an Australian politician who is actively roadblocking the renewable march forward.

          • SA Kiteman

            My guess is that the true enemies of reaching your goal are those who reject the marvelous solution that is nuclear power in general and Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors in specific.

          • SA Kiteman

            Thisis SSOOO typical of the watermelons. They never attack the message, they attack the messanger. “Denier”… “troll”… how about you are just wrong heade in your solutions and they want to actually REACH the goal of no more CO2 emissions and realize that your stated path WON’T GET THERE!
            Dude, you are walking towrds a cliff. AND, you are dragging me with you! If telling you that you should turn makes me a “troll” then please, tell me how I can be a more effective troll!

          • SA Kiteman

            So, does that mean the “one who disagrees with you” = “troll”? Then I hope you get a lot of such trolls since the general tenor of the posts around here need people to bring the corrected information.

          • SA Kiteman

            Nuclear power is LESS dangerous that any other power source. It COULD be dangerous, but is well enough treated that it is the LEAST dangerous. Thems the data. Only a maroon would claim otherwise.
            I suspect that B.W. has no real idea what happened at any of those places but is ready, willing and able to parrot the anti-nuke lies.
            Add up ALL the deaths from ALL nuclear power plant accidents, incidents, operations, and issues and you will have about TWO days of the deaths from coal. Somehow, 2 major accidents in 60 years vs two days of normal operation… I choose life. I choose nuclear!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Nuclear is safer than coal. What a great argument.

            I’m sure that will carry nuclear a long way in the future.

            Face facts, SA. The price of renewables has dropped so low that it is simply foolish to build nuclear (or coal) plants.

          • SA Kiteman

            Wow, BobW, you really can’t read worth darn, can you. Nuclear is safer than EVERYTHING else, wind (~4x), solar PV (~11x), hydro (~150X), petrothane (~400X) and ridiculously safer than its only realistic alternative, coal. It is also way cheaper than whatever reliable system you can put together with scaleable unreliables. So, yes, that will carry it a long way.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We don’t have a database that tells us how many people were killed constructing nuclear reactors over the year. I’m not sure why nuclear construction would be safer than any other large construction.

            If you’re limiting nuclear deaths to fatalities caused by radiation, the energy source, then you need to compare that to the number of wind and solar workers who have been killed by the wind and sunshine.

            New nuclear in the US would be more than 11 cents per kWh. (Citigroup’s LCOE calculation for the Vogtle reactors.)

            New non-subsidized wind is now under 4 cents. New non-subsidized solar is now 6.5 to 8.5 cents and will be close to the cost of wind by the time new nuclear plants could be constructed.

            40% wind directly used + 30% solar directly used + 30% stored wind/solar, stored at 10 cents per kWh would cost 7 cents per kWh. (0.4 * 4 + 0.3 * 5 + 0.3 * 14 = 7.5)

            The cost of storing using pump-up hydro is around 5 cents. It’s looking like we’ll have battery storage for considerably less.

            At 5 cents for storage the renewable package drops to 6 cents, less than half the cost of new nuclear.

          • SA Kiteman

            Apples vs aardvarks? LCOE by Citibank vs “non-subsidized”… I will continue to look to those companies that use both and know what they cost the company, apples to apples. So far, there is little competition.

          • Clee

            There is an Energy Related Severe Accident Database (ENSAD) though it doesn’t count all fatalities. That may skew the data. I don’t know that it deals well with low-frequency accidents with extreme consequences and latent deaths that occur years later.

            This paper curiously shows fatalities/kWh for EPR reactors that haven’t yet been commissioned.
            Figure 4 of http://psam12.org/proceedings/paper/paper_546_1.pdf

            It shows current nuclear reactors as having higher Fatalities/kWh than Si-PV, Solar Thermal, Geothermal, or Onshore Wind (Germany). I can’t say I’ve read the whole paper to see exactly how they reached those numbers.

            Figure 6 is also interesting since it includes latent deaths from Chernobyl.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I honestly don’t know if building a nuclear reactor today would result in more or fewer worker injuries than building a new wind or solar farm. I don’t know if operating a reactor is more or less dangerous than operating wind and solar farms.

            What bothers me is that anti-renewable/pro-nuclear people often talk about the safety of reactors compared to wind and solar. Every statement I’ve seen compares radiation caused deaths with construction/operation deaths for the wind and solar industries. There will be claims that nuclear has killed no one.

            That can quickly be rolled back to no one in the US. And further back to no one since the early research days. And further back to radiation caused deaths as we’ve had workers scaled to death, and workers killed by falls. Then we hit the ‘no data’ wall for construction/operation deaths for the nuclear industry. (I’ll take a look at your paper and see what might be there.)

            Then there’s the wind database that is generally used to talk about wind-related deaths. The threshold for counting a fatality as related to the wind and solar industries is amazingly low.

            A snowmobiller ran into a wind farm fence. Someone trespassed on a wind farm and committed suicide. A couple of people died in auto accidents near wind farms – they must have been distracted by looking at the turbines and crashed. Some Chinese bigwigs were killed when part of a prop for a wind presentation fell on them. A novice skydiver flew into a turbine. A three year old playing on her father’s tower which was laying on the ground when it rolled over on her.

            Should we count homeowners installing their own roofs and falling off in the process against commercial solar?

            Should we include the deaths from the first years of wind turbine experimentation when we leave out the same sort of deaths for nuclear?

            Those like the wind-related deaths above (and that’s only part of the low-threshold deaths in the database) lead to claims such as “Nuclear is safer than EVERYTHING else, wind (~4x), solar PV (~11x)”.

            If one is going to count homeowners falling off their own roofs why are all the Soviet submariners killed in nuclear accidents excluded? What about the man killed recently in an explosion at the French nuclear waste plant?

            I bristle at the dishonesty.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s the mortality chart from the Hirschberg, et al. paper.

            Clearly fossil fuels are responsible for more deaths per kWh. And while Chinese PV solar deaths are somewhat higher than Chinese nuclear deaths, the extreme claims of some cannot be supported. There’s no “11x” in those numbers.

          • Clee

            Huh. Apparently there have been 3 deaths so far during the construction of Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477202/Deaths-chilling-safety-lapses-lawsuits-huge-cost-runs-delays-Why-trust-French-Britains-nuclear-future.html

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t know what you mean by “Huh”.

            But you support the point that there are deaths involved with nuclear plant construction and operation. We simply do not have adequate data to tell us if nuclear or renewables are significantly more risky per MWh aside from fuel/waste differences.

            That said, nuclear energy is dangerous. Anyone who argues otherwise is being dishonest. A large portion of the cost of nuclear energy is keeping the energy source contained both during extraction (mining), use, and disposal. And we are not always successful in our efforts.

            A disastrous spill of sunshine, however ….

          • Clee

            The “Huh” expresses my surprise that there have been that many deaths during the construction of Flamanville-3. Being an American reading mostly US-centric news, I was totally unaware of even one death during the construction of Gen III nuclear reactors in Europe until you mentioned one here. None of those would show up in the ENSAD database though. I wonder why they put the minimum at 5 deaths per incident.

            But I had been wondering how they could have fatality/kWh for a plant not yet in operation. Consider the Flamanville reactor has a net output of 1,650 MW or 1,650,000 kW. If it operates for 40 years that’s 578 billion kWh. Three fatalities per 578 billion kWh is 5 x 10^-12 fatalities/kWh. That’s higher than all the renewables in Figure 4 of http://psam12.org/proceedings/paper/paper_546_1.pdf

            I don’t know how many fatalities there have been at Olkiluto-3, but if there were none, that would cut the fatality rate for the two reactors combined down to 2.5 x 10-12 fatalilties/kWh, which is still higher than shown for all the renewables in Figure 4.

          • Rob G

            I’m sure you’ve turned your brain on. Did you even bother to read my response or is the endless rant of idiocracy your purpose in life. Wind and sunlight are free, why is that so hard to understand for you. At no point have I said anything about converting them being free. Try reading my previous response and start you learning today!

            An please stop beating the nuclear drum. That is one industry that gets more expensive by the year. You nuclear knowledge is also quite poor as many of the bloggers here have pointed out. You really are the kitten amongst the tigers. Let’s make it simple, if the world switched to nuclear (I shutter at this horrible thought) we’d us up all uranium within 30 years. It’s not like coal, that’s abundant, and most of the worlds uranium is in Canada and Australia – so it’s rare or non-existent anywhere else in the world.

            Now go home and do some more research, lightweight! Your endless rambling is wasting everybody’s time. Apparently, despite my efforts to help you I think it’s best to leave you wallowing in your empty thoughts. Got luck with you solar installation.

          • SA Kiteman

            Rob G: Did you read my response? Are you truly so stupid as to think “wind and solar are free”? What, does the solar stork and wind fairy bring them? Then why are they the most subsidized energy around?

            Whoever told you that there was only 30 years of uranium available to the US filled your head full of shite. Even with no more mining, there are several hundred years worth sitting in tanks and on dry-cask pads around the nation. And with a very small increase in final electrical cost we have tens on thousands of years worth available in the oceans. And that doesn’t even BEGIN to mention thorium which is so common we would NEVER have to mine it since it is a waste product from pretty much every other mining operation in the nation. Heck, the ASH from coal has about 3 times the energy content in uranium and 11 times the energy content in thorium as it did in carbon. So, just in coal you have 14 times the energy content with nuclear power. Jeez, dude, LEARN something!

          • Harry Verberne

            Here’s a comment for free: stop ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with you. You have a perfect right to your views as do I but personal attacks do you no credit. On other sites moderators are active and will ban you.

          • Cocopahf

            Price of the input is irrelevant, the total cost is what matters. Wind and Solar are indeed intrinsically unreliable and that can’t be fixed as the level of sun and wind can’t be controlled. Geothermal however is truly inexhaustible, it is cost effective in many applications and it is constant. For that reason Geothermal makes sense at the household level, and the next generation breeder reactors for the national level.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “the total cost is what matters.”

            Correct. Wind and solar are “unreliable”, as you put it, but they are cheap. Building a grid around cheap wind and solar with appropriate fill-in power is cheaper than building a grid around expensive coal or nuclear with appropriate fill-in.

            Geothermal is, site specific, exhaustible. Over time geothermal sites tend to lose their oomph. It is more cost effective than coal and nuclear, but it’s site limited.

            Nexgen nuclear. The dream never dies….

          • Cocopahf

            As I showed in my references, the cheapness is offset by the unreliability and

            http://www.nuclearbanks.org/#/nuclear%20banks

            I would point out that banks LOVE to finance nuclear, do you imagine this to be because they are stupid? I would note that they love it to the tune of nearly 217 BILLION dollars per YEAR. This trumps investment in solar/wind by far. In fact it trumps the entire investment in renewable energy on a yearly basis.

            http://fs-unep-centre.org/publications/gtr-2014

            Also note, the amount invested is falling as returns are not being met and that 43.6% of this amount is invested in Hydro electric not the “greener” alternatives.

            IN the end, the idea that sporadic infusions of solar and wind can meet the demands of a 24/7 grid is silly, the excess can’t be stored and the “fill-in” is more polluting than continuous operation.

            Additionally, “next generation” reactors such as Generation 3 have existed for quite sometime, they are being approved in the US as we speak, 5 already with 5 more pending. The generation AFTER that would be Gen 4 which is in the experimental phase, which will mean it could only be implemented by an increasingly desperate nation like China in the 10+ year range.

          • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

            Ah, a favoured tactic of nuclear shills. Provide some links, and then on the assumption that people too busy to check, make up numbers. So the conclusion of the first link says total financing is $200 billion SINCE 2000. The conclusion of the second is that ANNUAL financing for renewables is more than $200 billion. With solar at over $100 billion. And that is down, the report makes very clear, because the cost of solar is falling so quickly.
            Keep trying.

          • Cocopahf

            The second is also written in favor of renewables. I simply looked at their data points as I felt it would reflect the least bias.

            You should note that the “fall in prices” is largely attributable to the switching of manufacturing from the west to the east.

            http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/solar-energy-isnt-always-as-green-as-you-think

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/08/AR2008030802595.html?referrer=emailarticle

            And although the tech is advancing – the cheapest cells are not progressing in efficiency as quickly.

            http://pureenergies.com/us/how-solar-works/solar-panel-efficiency/

            —-In regards to your first point.

            you should note the previous discussion was on wind and solar rather than renewables in general. As well as that, hydro accounts for over 43% of renewables. When this is discounted you should also subtract subsidies. After which the picture is hardly the same. If we consider Nuclear vs. Wind and Solar (hydro is clearly cost effective, though I shudder at the environmental costs).

            I would also point out that there are more sources of financing than banks namely the current oil companies-

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorensteffy/2013/06/28/alternative-energy-and-big-oil-poor-returns-versus-lies/

            Who are curtailing investment in renewables (or at least only in it because their own stock is doing poorly).

            http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Nuclear-Power-More-Cost-Effective-Than-Wind-Energy.html

            I should also point out that economic evidence concurs with the statement that when subsidies are excluded (and the costs of nuclear decommissioning and fuel storage are accounted for) nuclear is the way to go. You are right in pointing out that I incorrectly skimmed the data, however I fail to see where my conclusions fall apart.

          • Bob_Wallace

            One of the least expensive suppliers of solar panels is First Solar. A US company.

            The price decrease of solar has been unlike anything we’ve witnessed before.

            Investment in wind and solar fell somewhat. One reason is because Congress is jerking the wind industry around. The other is that it costs less to install wind and solar these days so we are getting more installation while spending less money.

            Even subsidized, new nuclear is more expensive than non-subsidized new wind and non-subsidized new solar.

          • Cocopahf

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-28/eu-says-probe-finds-chinese-solar-panel-makers-got-subsidies.html

            This graph fails to note the lying and duplicity of the Chinese gov’t as they give both direct and indirect subsidies through preferential lending, tax rebates, regulatory impunity, and lying to foreign customers. This enables below bottom prices which you note are “unlike” anything including reality.

            http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27676365

            As you can see the surges do not reflect economic reality and the regulatory impositions will harm the overall market as the price stays high due to gov’t intervention. If renewables like solar were truly the cheapest then businesses would be switching to it NOW rather than waiting for the tariffs to kick in. This failure shows that the technology is, for whatever reason, not economically viable. I would expect US Solar to benefit from the price floors which might be imposed, and the prices will begin to rise – further reducing the competitiveness of it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the Chinese government has helped their solar industry take over a large portion of the market. Governments do this sort of thing all the time.

            Now, since some of our cheapest solar panels are manufactured in the US and Malaysia I’m going to put aside your attempt to say that in some fashion the price of installed solar is not a “real” price.

            In the US wind farms and solar installations are built by private money. Almost all the new capacity recently has been solar, wind and natural gas. Private money has brought no nuclear on line nor has private money begun construction of new coal plants.

          • Cocopahf

            The sources I pointed to both showed Chinese domination of the market as do these:

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2012/10/16/report-180-solar-panel-makers-will-disappear-by-2015/

            Which is why I had been led to understand China was growing as the West died in this industry. These predictions are confirmed by this:

            http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/02/u_s_china_solar_trade_war_solarworld_case_is_bad_for_green_jobs.html

            However, there is NO government tariff or punitive scheme which can solve this problem. It was long ago proven that protective tariffs reciprocate as the cost is imposed upon the buyers in the country imposing the tariffs. The economic aspect is clear, subsidies are harmful just as tariffs are the solution is to let high-cost domestic industry die off while foreign industry springs up. In the end solar and hopefully wind become price competitive as a result of third world labor and ignoring environmental concerns. Ironically however, solar may not eliminate environmental problems but add to them.

          • Bob_Wallace

            China took a lot of our manufacturing. That’s done. China did not always play fair. Neither has the US.

            A lot of the “dumping” came, not so much from China subsidizing their solar companies, but from there simply being too many players in the game.

            Most industries go through the process where margins are high in the beginning, lots of people are attracted to the business and get in, then supply exceeds demand.

            When manufacturing capacity gets higher than what the markets will support then there’s a shakeout. The less efficient manufacturers get forced out.

            This happened during the “dumping” period. Failing manufacturers dropped their prices as a way to recover some of their sunk costs. Other manufacturers sold at a loss in order to maintain market share and keep their plants in operation.

            That’s behind us now. Now while most panel manufacturing is done in China there are also significant amounts in other countries. The largest solar array in the world was recently built using US manufactured solar panels.

          • Cocopahf

            I happen to know a bit about how a market develops. However, I see no data suggesting that “that” is behind anything. I also fail how to understand how your single example contradicts the market analysis being carried out by CFA’s.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s fine.

            Now if you are interested in reviewing the history of the shakeout in solar panel manufacturing I’m sure you can find that on the web. I stayed current as it happened, I have no interest in going back and rereading what was published.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m sure the nuclear industry can be trusted to give us an objective analysis of the cost of renewables.

            Here’s some real world numbers.

            Wind, without subsidies, is now selling for 4 cents per kWh in the US. NG produced electricity is selling for about 6. A mix of wind and NG would cost between 4 and 6 cents per kWh.

            New nuclear, with subsidies, would cost more than 12 cents per kWh in the US.

            That is why nuclear is failing. Nuclear is simply too expensive.

            BTW, private money will in no way finance new nuclear construction unless governments accept all the risk. Banks won’t touch it unless a government agrees to pay them back if the plant is never completed and brought on line.

            Then there’s the GenNext fantasy. I suppose that stuff won’t die out for several more years….

          • Cocopahf

            The information was ANTI-nuclear. LOL how are you so blinded NEXT GEN is being brought online NOW as in RIGHT NOW TODAY and has been brought online. I show objective analysis you restate your opinions.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What information was anti-nuclear? DOE summaries of wind and solar PPAs? A LCOE run using cost data from the companies building the Vogtle reactors?

            Facts are anti-nuclear?

            Please list the Gen III and Gen III+ reactors which are now on line and producing electricity.

          • Cocopahf

            Also note, this is my overall source.

            http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/08/cost-renewable-energy

            And from it I have drawn my conclusions. You should also note that subsidies are unsustainable for renewables and bad from an economic and research perspective.

            http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/project_syndicate/2013/08/green_energy_subsidies_for_solar_and_wind_power_aren_t_helping_let_s_invest.html

            As the economic incentives (which the fossil fuel lobby enjoy) ensure renewables are perpetually underdeveloped.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We don’t need to worry about subsidies for renewables not being unsustainable. Wind is now our cheapest way to bring new electricity on line. Without subsidies.

            Solar will soon be our second cheapest source of new electricity. It’s almost tying natural gas right now.

            Nuclear energy in the US has received over 7x as much in subsidies as have wind and solar combined. And the cost of nuclear keeps on going up.

          • Cocopahf

            http://www.economist.com/news/business/21635013-japan-has-failed-learn-germanys-renewable-energy-mess-solar-shambles

            Actual, data and actual events conflict with that assumption. The market is springing up as unviable startups leap at government subsidies.

            The cost of solar is NOT falling quickly enough.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2013/02/14/government-subsidies-silent-killer-of-renewable-energy/

            Basic economic theory tells us that subsidizing an industry makes it LESS competitive- I understand this isn’t your forte but that means the subsidies are HARMING the technology.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I was speaking about wind and solar in the US. Countries which have yet to build their wind and solar industries may need to use subsidies to get their installation companies on sound footing. They will not need to use subsidies to lower the price of hardware, other countries have taken care of that task.

            I agree that there is a point at which subsidies slow price decreases. That’s commonly discussed in the solar and wind industries. And both industries see the need for subsidies to be about over. It’s unlikely either wind or solar will be subsidized in the US after 2018.

            Now, may I ask you, where is your outrage at the subsidies given to the nuclear industry? Why are we subsidizing a 60+ year old industry?

            Furthermore, why are we subsidizing oil and coal which are > 100 year old industries?

            Why are you not jumping up and down furious over those subsidies which distort the free market?

          • Cocopahf

            I dislike all subsidies however the impediment to technological development in Nuclear is regulatory as well and unlikely to be aided by the withdrawing of subsidies. Oil and Coal are subsidized for political reasons and are as likely to lose their subsidies as Warren Buffet will buy Tesla stock.
            I would say that the greatest way to make renewables more cost effective is to increase their profitability independent of government subsidies.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Nuclear regulations are in place in order to protect ourselves from a nuclear disaster. If there were truly any unnecessary regulations then the industry would have almost certainly been able to get them removed. The nuclear industry has been very successful at getting the permitting process streamlined in order to cut costs.

            There are zero nuclear reactors built by only private money. They all require government funds and/or government acceptance of risk.

            You show no displeasure at oil, nuclear and coal subsidies yet are upset with the relatively small amount of assistance that wind and solar have received. This speaks to your objectivity.

            The greatest way to make renewables more cost effective would be to remove their subsidies when the time is right. But why does that not also apply to oil, nuclear and coal? Why do you give them preferential treatment?

          • Cocopahf

            No actually the greatest way to make anything more cost effective is by removing all subsidies immediately. This requires increased innovation and streamlining.

            I previously mentioned that all subsidies harm the economy, and the relatively small solar/wind subsidies are still detrimental to the economy as a whole. I am more optimistic at ridding them as they are newer and their subsidies fail to form a multiplier which offsets the deadweight loss.

            I am rather realistic in that I bear no attraction to any form of energy generation, my only concern is in maximizing economic growth which I don’t think the current system does. I know of no technologies in nuclear, coal, or oil which are being slowed down because their subsidies are slowing down technological progress.

            If I am wrong please post a link.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, that’s incorrect. Let’s review…

            Thirty years back wind and solar were too expensive to consider. Wind-produced electricity cost around 38 cents per kWh an solar panels cost more than $50 per watt. No one was going to build a wind or solar farm and go into competition with coal.

            We looked ahead and saw that we would need carbon-free electricity so we invested a rather small amount of money into wind and solar to see if we could bring their prices down. We artificially built a market so that economies of scale would kick in and innovation encouraged.

            Some 30 years earlier we had done the same for nuclear. We pumped in rather large amounts of money with the hope that the price would become affordable.

            Neither nuclear nor wind nor solar stood a chance of success in an open market head-to-head competition with established coal.

            Our investment in nuclear hasn’t paid off. Our investment in wind has created a 10x price drop. Our investment in solar has created a 100x price drop.

            Are subsidies slowing the development of wind and solar? Perhaps a little. Prices are dropping at at pretty sweet rate. Perhaps without subsidies they’d drop a bit faster. There’s no way to know for sure.

            It’s fairly certain that neither wind or solar will maintain their subsidies much longer. The exact time they are stopped will either be a bit early or a bit late.

            What makes sense to me is a multi-year subsidy program that fades out in an orderly fashion. Give both industries a clear and binding route from subsidies to no subsidies over three to five years.

            But that’s too much to expect out of our Congress.

            “. I know of no technologies in nuclear, coal, or oil which are being slowed down because their subsidies are slowing down technological progress.”

            Then why are we subsidizing nuclear, coal and oil?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now I’m going to make an argument for long term wind and solar subsidies.

            Subsidies serve at least a couple of purposes. They can help bring a new technology, product or service to the market. And they can increase use/consumption of an already mature product/service.

            We subsidize nutritious food for infants and children, not because nutritious food is an emerging product. But because we believe that good nutrition leads to better citizens.

            We’re facing the need to cut our fossil fuel generation quickly. The cost of not doing so would be immense. Economy wrecking, nation destroying immense.

            Why not subsidize ‘mature’ wind and solar to the tune of a few billion dollars each year until coal is totally dead and NG pushed into a small corner? That could save us trillions and trillions of dollars down the road.

            Heck, taxpayers pay out between $140 billion and $242 billion per year just to cover the health care costs caused by coal. Give wind and solar the equivalent of one or two months of that lost money for a few years. In ten years or so we could be done with coal in the US and would be saving trillions of dollars going forward.

          • Cocopahf

            http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21576680-new-book-lays-out-scale-chinas-industrial-subsidies-perverse-advantage

            This book describes how chinese subsidies are affecting markets world-wide, particularly the developing ones. It also makes the case that prices are being driven BELOW the equilibrium in many markets, meaning that the price declines WOULD be unnatural and independent of tech. improvement. THIS means that the price, in the absence of these subsidies, would return to the market rate which is higher if there is no reason to keep them this low.

            *Note: just because a few American firms have developed cheaper production methods doesn’t mean that their competitors could as well. The R&D costs could rise up so high that in the absence of Chinese subsidies and the presence of high startup costs preclude small ventures and raise prices even higher than the equilibrium with very long periods (monopolistic, remember) before reverting to the long term equilibrium.

            My point is that the current prices are absolute bottom with current tech. the subsidies are causing development to slow and the industry is in an unfavorable place because of that.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2013/02/14/government-subsidies-silent-killer-of-renewable-energy/

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s fine. If you have a desire to talk about how subsidies and government support programs have moved manufacturing and trade around the world over the centuries then I’ll bet you can find one or more sites where people with similar interests gather.

            China grabbed a lot of markets. It took, for example, the lithium and rare earth markets due to their lower costs. Fair or not fair? I’m not terribly interested.

            But now that demand is up we’re seeing lithium and rare earth mineral mining/refining starting up again in other countries. We’re starting to see manufacturing grow outside of China as China loses it’s low cost labor edge.

            Are subsidies slowing the price drops in solar and wind? Perhaps.

            Do some people attack subsidies for wind and solar while ignoring subsidies for oil, nuclear and coal? Absolutely.

            Are some people pushing an agenda by attacking wind/solar subsidies while not complaining about the much, much larger subsidies for coal, nuclear and oil? I’ve seen people suspect that to be the case.

          • Cocopahf

            I am not in favor of any subsidies, in an ideal word they would never have been invented. However, it is harder to undue the subsidies in a new industry than for an old one. The goal is that higher competition forces increased technological change which makes the subsidized alternatives obsolete. I think that ideally there should be solar cells on every place that has already been developed such as roofs and vehicle hoods. This won’t happen until the technology becomes more durable and cheaper to produce.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Without governments helping new industries pull on their boots, so that later they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, we’d see technology proceed at a very slow rate.

            I kind of like the idea of us pooling a little money from each of us and moving things along faster than glacial speeds.

            So far we’ve spent about $75 dollars each in the US to bring wind down 10x and solar down 100x. $75 total. Over all years.

            As soon as we get rid of coal using wind and solar we’ll be saving about $580 each. Per year.

            That’s an amazing return on investment.

          • Cocopahf

            However that is not showing causation. It is asserted by economists that it is mere correlation and even impedes growth.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Subsidies have worked famously to bring down the cost of wind and solar to where they are what we will use for our future grids.

            In the case of nuclear we subsidized it far too long. We should have pulled the plug after the first 30 or 40 years of watching price climb upwards.

            The problem is, it’s hard to predict the future. Sometimes subsidies obviously work and sometimes they obviously fail. It’s like doing research, you don’t know the outcome until you spend the money and run the study….

          • Steve159

            Dear SA Kitemna

            Might I inquire as to the amount of RAM in your tablet/laptop/desktop computer?

            It is irrelevant as to what existing battery technology can do at present (insofar as providing base-load power), in a similar manner as to say 640kbytes (the RAM in early IBM PCs) won’t be sufficient to power computers into the future.

            A fully renewable-energy powered future is possible. We don’t need nuclear, end of story.

          • Thomas Bowe

            Oh so how long to build a power plant , best estimate in Australia is 10 years… cost $10-15 Billion…. wow cheap power? not sure with our small dispersed population.

          • ghl

            Miriam, is that you?

          • Rob G

            No

          • patb2009

            Who would ever need more then 640K of Memory- Bill Gates.

            Not all Billionaires are great at prediction, even in their own industries…

          • Thomas Bowe

            Your theory then is dont adapt but continue with current methods as change is more difficult?

          • patb2009

            smoothing via demand control and fast response supply are the future.

          • SA Kiteman

            Oh, I see your vision… s¢r€w what the customer wants. No electricity out of those wind whippers? Too bad! Do your laundry at 2AM. You don’t need sleep. Hey, no solar to run your factory? Send the workers off on a three day unpaid release. Who cares if you can’t pay your rent of bills. I know, go live under all those panels!

            “Fast response supply”. Gee, sounds like petro-carbon fuels to me. I thought the whole idea was the ELIMINATE CO2 footprint, not boost it like Germany has.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, Kiteman. You continue to not get it. You’ve not been getting it for a long, long time.

            Look, Kiteman, you’re in love with a failed technology. Nuclear is simply too expensive to consider. No nuclear is built without being propped up with taxpayer dollars.

            Nuclear needs backup same as wind and solar and everything else. If nuclear is more than a small percentage of a grid then nuclear needs storage as well. Nuclear reactors go off line and leave grids scrambling for supply.

            If you’re worried about your electricity bill, then pray some knucklehead in your state government doesn’t join you in your love for nuclear and saddle you with a new expensive reactor. Citizens of South Carolina have now had their electricity rates increased six (SIX !!) times in order to provide money for their new reactors which aren’t scheduled to produce a kWh for years.

            Get over your necrophilia, SA.

          • SA Kiteman

            Dear Reader, It is Bob who continues not to get it.

            Nuclear power is alive, very well, and growing at an accelerating clip. It is folks like Bob who have been beFUDdled with the continuous lying of the anti-nuke shills for Big Petro-Carbon. In the US, 4 units are being built, two of which have received ZERO taxpayer money and the other two have only received a promise of taxparey money if something totally improbably happens. In the mean time, not a shread of the unreliable technology called wind and solar are being installed without HUGE direct, indirect, and mandated purchase support from government. This is like the castiron soup kettle hanging over the wood fire calling the stainless steel spatula “black” He is ABSURD.

            If Bob ACTUALLY believes that nuclear needs back-up “the same as” wind and solar, he is certifiably insane. The two technologies are totally different. Nuclear has a Capacity Credit near 100%. Wind and solar have Capacity Credits near 1%. Bonkers. He is just bonkers.

            Bob says the rates have increased six times, but from what to what? And where will it be for the next 30 years? The regulatory agency in SC will allow a number of spread out small increases where it is more beneficial to the customers than one large one.

            As a counter to Bob’s fearmongery, significant parts of New England just got a SINGLE increase, a _40%_ increase, in their rates and the rates are expected to increase by double or even triple because they have eliminated a reliable source of energy (Vermont Yankee) and decided to rely on unreliables and petro-methane. They are nuts!

            Is there a word for the love of unreliability? That is Bob. Meanwhile, since nuclear is alive and well, the fact that Bob knows a big word doesn’t make it apply.

          • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

            Kiteman, you are an idiot or a liar, or both. The reactors in the US are being backed by taxpayer money, via loan guarantees. It is the project developers that are not putting in a cent.
            The grid operator in the UK said that to support Hinkley C, new back-up would have to be built that would cost consumers Stg160 million a year, that’s an extra $12 billion over life of plant.
            Actually, big carbon likes nuclear cos it perpetuates centralised business model. They just want someone else to pay for it because the economics don’t make sense and they won’t accept the risk.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let’s visit reality land.

            First, how is the world doing in terms of adding reactors?

            First graph. Nuclear basically plateaued out a few years back, well, 25 years back and the count is slumping.

            There are now more reactors scheduled to close than are “under construction”.

            Second, how is nuclear doing in terms of maintaining world market share?

            Second graph. 16% down to 11%. Slip slipping away.

            Where is this “growing at an accelerating clip” to be found? Perhaps it’s in the alternate reality of SA?

            ” In the US, 4 units are being built, two of which have received ZERO taxpayer money and the other two have only received a promise of taxparey money if something totally improbably happens.”

            Four reactors are being built. Four reactors have been closed with another shutting down this month. And a couple dozen more are in deep financial trouble. Exelon has six reactors which have been losing money for over
            five years and these are paid off reactors. Reactors with no “mortgages” but still can’t compete in the open market.

            BTW, if any of these new reactors come on line they will receive PTC subsidies like wind and solar farms receive when they come on line. Weep not for poor neglected nuclear, it will get its share and some extra (free liability insurance.)

            “If Bob ACTUALLY believes that nuclear needs back-up “the same as” wind and solar, he is certifiably insane.”

            Some of us recall how southern California had to scramble for electricity when the two SONGs reactors. Then there’s Japan. They still haven’t found enough backup for their lost reactors.

            ” SC will allow a number of spread out small increases where it is more beneficial to the customers than one large one.”

            And this is exactly the strategy the nuclear industry discussed a few years back. Before a new reactor comes on line institute a number of smaller rate increases. That way it won’t be necessary to hit people with a huge increase when the reactor does come on line and end up with people in the streets expressing their anger. Turn the heat under the pot up slowly.

            “significant parts of New England just got a SINGLE increase, a _40%_ increase, in their rates and the rates are expected to increase by double or even triple because they have eliminated a reliable source of energy (Vermont Yankee) and decided to rely on unreliables and petro-methane.”

            SA actually got a bit right in this one, a tiny bit. The high cost of electricity in New England is due to the cost of methane.

            But it’s not because NG is expensive. It’s because NE doesn’t have adequate pipeline capacity to get enough NG to the demand during cold winters. Low supply at the NE end means high prices.

            Here’s the fun part of the claim. SA is blaming the recent high cost of electricity on the closing of Vermont Yankee and Yankee has not yet been shut down. Closing Yankee at the end of 2014 had nothing to do with the 40% increase in electricity prices in 2013. That’s Alice in Wonderland attribution.

          • patb2009

            by your standard coal and nuclear are unreliable too.

            a nuke will SCRAM at the least warning..Coal plants fail due to river issues

          • sageling

            THIS IS AN EXERCIZ IN THE PROPERGATION OF THE WORD ( CONSEPT ) “unreliables” ….the little micro meam for SA kiteman and his first paragafe hear is leading to nuclear …. drol retard …. not all Aust. r stuped … straiten up ur tinfoil hat ur subturainiun reptilian overlordes are calling u .go sell ur bullshit some wear els , ur a cultural contaminent from the 50’s.

      • Clee

        A coal plant at 100% load is about 37.4% efficient, while at 60% load, they drop to 35.7% efficiency.
        http://www.thermoflow.com/samples/stm/STMsample1.html
        That’s a drop of a mere 1.7 percentage points. Those backup coal plants weren’t burning much more coal per kWh than if they were at full load.

        • SA Kiteman

          But, if it needs to be able to swing back and forth to compensate for chaning supplies from the unreliables, they will typically choose a unit with a lower capital cost which mean a lower efficiency. So baseload coal may be 45%+ efficient while a simple steam turbine plant may be 35%. Thus the “cheaper plant” burns about 30% more coal per unit energy.

          • Clee

            There are only two coal power stations in South Australia, Northern and Playford. They came online in 1985 and 1963 respectively. Plants that old do not have 45%+ efficiency, so your hypothetical case doesn’t reflect reality and this “30% more per unit energy” is a figment of your imagination.

            Also, Playford was completely shut down when South Australia hit 100% renewables and was thus not burning any coal.

          • SA Kiteman

            Unit they had to restart it and burn all that coal just to heat it back up to operating temperatures. Coal plants reach their peak efficienies when they are running full bore. They do less well when running at a constant LOWER power. They do LEAST well when they are changing their power level rapidly. The unreliables drive that third state.

            Of course, if the coal plants were replaced with Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, the efficiency of the LFTR would be immaterial because the fuel for LFTRs is waste from a dozen other mining activities.

            PS: It can be the unspent fuel part of PUFF (previously used fission fuel) too.

            PPS: It can be leached from COAL ash too!

          • Guest

            Even if Northern coal plant is slightly less efficient, South Australia is burning less coal now that wind lets them keep the Playford coal plant completely shut down since 2012.

            A study was done using data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

            http://www.windlab.com/sites/default/files/South_Australian_Wind_Power_Study_2014_Windlab.pdf

            “Summary Wind power generation has increased substantially in South Australia in the last eight years, from supplying 6% of the state’s needs in 2005/06 to 25% in 2012/13.

            This increase in wind generation has been the primary reason for a 34% reduction in CO2-e emissions due to electricity generation. The electricity network has managed to accommodate this increase in wind power without increasing the amount of electricity required from peaking power plants.

            Energy produced from these peaking plants has actually reduced during this same period, which has helped further reduce CO2-e emissions.”

          • Clee

            Even if Northern coal plant is running slightly less efficiently than it were at constant full-power, South Australia is still burning less coal now that wind lets them keep the Playford coal plant completely shut down since 2012.

            A study was done using data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

            http://www.windlab.com/sites/default/files/South_Australian_Wind_Power_Study_2014_Windlab.pdf

            “Summary Wind power generation has increased substantially in South Australia in the last eight years, from supplying 6% of the state’s needs in 2005/06 to 25% in 2012/13.

            This increase in wind generation has been the primary reason for a 34% reduction in CO2-e emissions due to electricity generation. The electricity network has managed to accommodate this increase in wind power without increasing the amount of electricity required from peaking power plants.

            Energy produced from these peaking plants has actually reduced during this same period, which has helped further reduce CO2-e emissions.”

          • SA Kiteman

            Since your wind power supply shifts from ~100% down to ~0% in a few hours, if it allows you to keep one plant permanently closed it is because of one of three likely scenarios.
            • You had two units of about the same power rating that had been running at ~ 1/2 power, and they decided to consolidate.
            • The closed plant had been of very low power and they decided to consolidate.
            • There is an alternative reliable source you are hiding in the discussion.

            Well, actually, there is a fourth, but if this one is true, you deserve what wind is doing to you. You may actually have to shut LOADS down when the wind drops. In which case, welcome to the third world.

          • Clee

            South Australia had 3359 MW of available capacity this summer including Playford coal, and only 3179 MW of reliable capacity not including Playford. That was not enough to meet the 3280 MW peak demand this summer’s heatwave, and yet third world conditions have not happened, because there was wind power. Because of wind, they did not have to turn Playford back on and there was no load shedding even when Torrens Island gas plant had to shut down 200 MW because of a boiler issue.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The problem with using LFTR or other nuclear reactors in load-following mode is that the electricity they produce becomes even more expensive.

            Fuel is not a major cost component for nuclear, unlike natural gas plants. The cost of nuclear-produced electricity comes from the cost of bringing a new reactor on line. And those costs have to be paid annually regardless of how much power the plant produces.

            Reduce the number of MWh produced by half and the cost of each MWh sold must roughly double. The mortgage must be paid.

          • SA Kiteman

            Bob, you have a bit of a good point there, but only if you presume that all we will ever build is old GEN II+ style plants. But even GEN III LWRs can load follow when beneficial, and the only thing that prevents it from being beneficial now is the extreme, needless cost added to the build cost due to fear-mongered regulations. That is beginning to change with GEN III+ reactors, and will be quite different with GEN IV reactors. For example, Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors are expected to be about the same capital cost as coal plants but they will have much lower O&M costs and will be naturally load following.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Again, it’s plant and financing costs that drive the cost of nuclear electricity so high that it can’t compete on the market. It is not operating expenses. (And fuel costs, be the fuel uranium or thorium, are included in operating costs.)

            Nuclear and coal plants are very expensive to build compared to other alternatives. And they take a number of years to construct which means a lot of accumulated interest. This construction and financing cost is what kills nuclear.

            Let me list installed costs (capex plus finex) for the US.

            Wind Onshore
            $1.63 Installed Cost/Watt
            DOE 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report

            PV Solar
            $1.81 Installed Cost/Watt
            Greentech Media 2nd Qtr 2014 Executive Summary

            CCNG
            $1.09 Installed Cost/Watt
            Open EI DOE Database Median Overnight Cost

            Nuclear
            $6.94 Installed Cost/Watt
            Vogtle current cost estimate $15.5 billion for 2,234 MW

            Every year until the plant/farm has been paid off there will be a “mortgage” payment that will have to be made. Nuclear enters the game with a mortgage payment more than 3x higher than the next highest alternative.

            And while the opex for a new reactor is low, it is still higher than the opex for a wind or solar farm.

            It’s just economics. You can’t spend more to build a plant and then spend more to run the plant and compete with lower cost providers.

            Then, if you load-follow, you really shoot yourself in the foot. You have fewer MWh to sell over the year so you must sell for a higher price. And there are other suppliers (NG plants and stored wind/solar) that can beat your load-following price.

          • SA Kiteman

            About every third time I try to post to this site, it freezes up on me. I am tired of losing my writings to a non-resonsive site. Taa.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Perhaps the server is choking on the size of the “fabrications” you are trying to post? You might be overloading its “I can’t believe he’s trying to get away with that one” filter.

          • Harry Verberne

            Where are all those thorium nuclear plants? How many are actually in operation, earning revenue from electricity generation?

          • Bob_Wallace

            This is the telling question.

            The idea of thorium as fuel is an old one and has been tried a couple of times. Some of the CANDU plants can operate using thorium.

            The YouTube video where most people get their ideas of the wonders of Gen-whatever thorium reactors has been up a long time.

            Once has to ask, if these Gen-whatever reactors are “The Answer” then why are they not being build in Georgia, South Carolina, the UK and other places building old skool uranium reactors? Apparently the nuclear industry isn’t as strong a believer as are a few individuals.

          • Harry Verberne

            Thorium MAY one day be viable but it could be a bit like fusion: always just around the corner, just 20-30 years away.

            My view is that renewables will gradually displace coal and gas, storage will be among the suite of technologies to stabilise the grid and overcome the variability of wind and solar (unless we have large-scale solar with molten salt storage)

            You can be sure the fossil fuel industry are worried by the penetration of renewables as evidences by the increasing activity of FF shills and spin doctors on this site

          • Clee

            I was too generous with estimating 37.4% efficiency. Northern coal plant has a thermal efficiency of 34.9%. The Playford coal plant, which was off line, has an even lower efficiency of 21.9%. Thus the higher efficiency plant was left on. Table 14 http://www.aemo.com.au/~/media/Files/Other/planning/419-0035%20pdf.pdf

      • Ken Fabian

        Yes, too much of the existing coal technology is obsolete and the costs of running like that, when wind and solar are taking their market, will contribute to their cost based demise. The temporary advantage to be had from friends in politics enabling refusal of renewables because renewables periodically and intermittently outcompete them on price – hurting their bottom line – won’t last and being forced into intermittency will be the defacto carbon price that replaces the carbon tax. Fossil fuel plant does have to shift into the role of interim backup to renewables until storage technologies catch up, which gas will grab ahead of coal.

        Nuclear is going nowhere – but that’s what happens when it’s best political ‘friends’ have been much more interested in opposing and obstructing action on emissions than promoting the need for nuclear on the basis that a shift to low emissions is essential.

        • SA Kiteman

          Nuclear is being installed at ever increasing amounts. It new installations are growing at about 19% per year since Fukushima. Thats a pretty good “nowhere”!

          • Ken Fabian

            Nuclear is going nowhere in Australia and as long as nuclear ‘supporting’ Conservatives are pulling out all stops to prevent a commitment to low emissions, there never will be; with friends like that nuclear hardly needs enemies. If you want your preferred solution to the climate/emissions/energy conundrum I suggest your focus should be on ensuring cross partisan mainstream political support for action rather than your excessive focus on attacking renewables. If it’s a transition to low emissions over high emissions fossil fuels you want then renewables are not the enemy and their successes – which have so far exceeded all expectations – should be celebrated. If you think that it’s renewables that are the ‘enemy’ then you are not paying attention. More new generation capacity has been added in recent years by been adding more capacity globally than nuclear, whilst continuing to come down in cost. Storage is the new frontier and presumptions that it must fail are as baseless as the presumptions that solar and wind could never be cheap enough to contribute any significant amount of energy.

          • SA Kiteman

            Nuclear is going nowhere because Big Petro-Carbon pays anti-nukes to spread fear nd misinformation while supporting unworkable alternatives like the unreliables instead.

            Look at the graph in the aricle. Yes, the unreliables covered ALMOST all of one day’s worth of demand (though it dipped below during the day by about 25%) but then it provided almost NOTHING during TWO long periods, the next day and the third.

            And as you point out, using wind forces the prices for other sources up. Just a hint. That is NOT a good thing when you rely on those other sources.

          • Ken Fabian

            I seek to encourage future that doesn’t rely on those other fossil fuel sources and sending their prices up by the simple expediency of renewables being cheaper when available will ultimately be a good thing, especially in the absence of genuine commitment and planning of a transition to low emissions future; it’s becoming a de facto carbon price. and forces fossil fuels into the role of backup, where they belong while the storage industry finds it’s feet.Long term planning and commitment are the essential ingredients nuclear has always lacked.

            Anyway, it’s not so much that big carbon supports fringe anti nuclear activism as that they support mainstream conservative politics, who, in turn, use the (unchallenged) unpopularity of nuclear as one of the excuses to justify not doing what they and their big carbon backers don’t want to – ie commit to a low emissions transition. That’s instead of using the seriousness of the climate problem as reason to cultivate support for nuclear.

            Weak and unreliable support without genuine commitment from it’s mainstream and powerful ‘friends’ in Conservative politics – now there are some real ‘unreliables’ – not strength of opposition from protest politics from the fringe was, until recently, the ball and chain holding nuclear back. Now it’s open energy markets and change in energy economics. Without energy infrastructure by interventionist government decree, nuclear is going nowhere.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Unless someone can figure out a way to cut the cost of nuclear by 50% then nuclear is going nowhere.

            It’s not the “fringe” that’s killed nuclear. It’s the price of nuclear that has dealt it a fatal blow.

          • SA Kiteman

            Ken, I also seek a petro-carbon-less energy future. That is one reason that I am as vocally opposed to the unreliables as I am. The unreliable sources NEED a reliable back-up source, and today that means petro-carbon. The unreliables DEMAND what they claim to oppose.

            Nuclear power, on the other hand, provides clean, green, reliable, carbon-free power by itself, and when built to the extent that it is needed, will be able to produce load-following power as well; no need for petro-carbon at all.

            At this point, the only thing nuclear needs is for the environmentalists to realize that they have become their own worst enemy by being anti-nuke, and let the nuclear industry build well regulated reactors without Big Petro-Carbon bought interence.

          • Ken Fabian

            As Bob above points out – too expensive. Nuclear’s big opportunity was before wind and solar got intermittently – and for total kWhr – cheap. It wasn’t the opposition of environmentalists that stopped nuclear in places like Australia – mainstream politics went AWOL on the issue and wind and solar were offered up in the absence of any commitment to nuclear from mainstream politics, perhaps in the mistaken belief that it would be a complete failure, leaving us with the fossil fueled status quo.

            Not ‘greenies’ but mainstream climate science denial and obstructionism killed nuclear in Australia, by diverting influential pro nuclear voices – commerce and industry – into the cheaper and easier option of denying, delaying and obstructing. Big electricity and mainstream politics doesn’t want nuclear, it wants coal – and if pushed, gas made in the ground from coal, as old coal plant passes it’s use by date – and uses existing anti-nuclear sentiment as a convenient excuse to not do what they don’t want to and blame ‘greenies’ for their own, freely made choices.

            Big electricity and big mining and allegedly pro-nuclear conservatives won’t fight for nuclear, and as long as they don’t any expressions of support for nuclear from them – curiously that’s usually from pollies who deny there is a climate problem – is just intended as one plank in a broader anti-environmentalist anti-regulation policy direction that has prevention, delay and compromising of climate action as it’s highest priority. You really think a bunch of fringe greenies are really deciding the energy policies of Australian conservatives? If the Right really wanted to fix the climate problem using nuclear they would fight for it; instead they fold at the least bit of anti-nuclear noise.

            Of course they could also have concluded that nuclear is not as good or as safe as the anti-environmentalist pro-nuclear advocates insist it is and just isn’t worth it; they certainly seem very reluctant to spend political capital fighting for it. But it’s not greenies you need to convince, it’s the climate action obstructors in mainstream politics.

            And, in reality, nuclear not all that reliable, with big amounts gone offline in France during heatwaves, Britain currently, due to cracks in containment vessels.

            You are working off assumptions about energy production and use that are way outdated. And nuclear is in so deep a hole, unable even to muster it’s best political friends to act, that it has become obsessed with ‘greenies’, as if Environmentalists changing their minds about nuclear is the only thing that can restart it after it’s control rods got stuck. Nuclear will have it’s place, mostly where it’s already in place, but new capacity and replacing of fossil fuels belongs to renewables.

          • SA Kiteman

            KenF, that “shaky ground” is due to the instability of the grid that comes about by reliance on too much intermittant power.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Best to check in with reality. Reactors are closing faster than reactors are being built. Nuclear’s age ended years ago and its market share is dropping.

          • SA Kiteman

            The “drop” in nuclear plants were due to a reaction to Chernobyl and a reaction to Fukushima. But it seems that Fukushima has actually caused some folks to rethink their panic reaction to Chernobyl. If three large reactors with NONE of the safety features that are mandatory today, can go kerfuffle like Fukushima and only do that amount of REAL damage (as opposed to the silliness at Fukushima Prefecture) then perhaps nuclear isn’t as scary as previously thought. Indded, a number of previously closed plants are being groomed for reopening.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Will Japan restart a few of their reactors? Possibly, two just received permission to restart.

            Is there some great groundswell to build more reactors? I haven’t seen any. In fact, India has recently walked back their interest in nuclear. And a few other builds have been “postponed”. If you’re dreaming of a great and glorious future for nuclear energy I suspect you are going to be badly disappointed.

          • SA Kiteman

            True, India has decided to be more selective with which reactors they will install. They seem to be shifting to a more “in house” effort. But, many countries are working on either installing their first reactors or looking to greatly increase their fleet.

            It is true, I may be badly disappointed, but then so will the rest of theworld when it becomes apparent that the watermelon path of unreliables backed up be petro carbon fuels will make electrcity so expensive that it will be the tool of the rich to maintain control over the poor.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The cost of renewables keeps dropping.

            The cost of storage keeps dropping.

            As long as you continue to deny the facts staring you in the face you will continue to be operating in a reality which you have created.

          • Harry Verberne

            Facts please to back up your claims. Please show your sources.

      • Harry

        “You really need to find out how much coal is ACTUALLY saved by these unreliables before you crow so loudly”.

        Well, how about enlightening us with facts including your source(s).

        In fact I would think the coal buddies do not love it as coal sales are less when coal stations run below capacity, despite some increase in coal used per dirty, polluting MW.

        • SA Kiteman

          Except that if the coal buddies can fool people into believing they are doing something valuable for the ecology, they are not as likely to bite the bullet and build the TRUE green power plants, nuclear. Coal LOVES the unreliables for helping keep out the real competition, nuclear.

          • Harry Verberne

            No one is likely to build NP in this country as it is way too expensive to build. Who will finance it when you have declining demand for electricity?

          • SA Kiteman

            Presuming that by “this country” you mean Australia, there are a number of companies that would be tickeled pink to build nuclear power plants, if it weren’t illegal.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Many companies will do all sorts of things if someone else accepts the risk.

            Look around the world and see how many nuclear reactors you see being built with private/corporate money. I don’t know of a single reactor which is not being built without taxpayer/government money or where the deal isn’t rigged so that any losses revert to the government/taxpayer.

            Look at the HInkley Point deal where ratepayers will be vastly overcharged for the cost of electricity for the next 35 years and have to accept all the risk if the reactors never come on line or fail during service.

            In the US state governments have allowed utilities to overcharge rate payers for years and then use that “seized” money to help offset the cost of building reactors. The impact has been that nuclear has caused rates to rise long before it comes on line and rate payers should expect other rate increases if the reactors are started up.

            Ratepayers in South Carolina have experienced six rate increases to date which occurred in order to help fund the Summer reactors.

            This strategy of overcharging early so that money could be taken from customers and used for corporate gain and raising rates early so that subsequent rate increases would look less extreme was devised several years ago by the nuclear industry. It was even discussed publicly.

          • Harry Verberne

            You are dodging my question: who would build NP when (a) electricity demand is declining and (b) when NP is so much more expensive than new wind for example?

          • SA Kiteman

            Anyone who acknowledges that more power is needed to provide wter and other such services, and who understand that electricity, when all costs are included is NOT cheap. When all sytem and intermitancy costs are included, wind greatly increases to overall cost of electricity.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The US states that get at least 7% of their electricity from wind have seen their cost of electricity fall while the other states have experienced rising electricity costs.

            Real world data catches you out in another dishonesty.

          • SA Kiteman

            Hmm, that is diametrically opposed to the data I just read that shows that the states with the largest amounts of wind energy also have the highest electricity costs.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Oklahoma, Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa have the highest percentage of wind on their grids.

            Here are the electricity prices for each of the 50 states. If you check you will see that your source has lied to you.

            http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a

          • SA Kiteman

            For some inexplicable reason, I m unable to cut and paste the section I wanted you to see. But basically it says that 9 of the 10 highest wind energy states had very high INCREASES in electricity prices, averaging ~5 times the national average increase. So is seems that wind is making things worse, no matter where the prices started.

          • Clee

            A little cherry picking by AWEA. Take the 10 states with the highest percentage wind and you get SA Kiteman’s results. Add in the 11th state, Texas, and you get the results in the graph Bob Wallace gave, except that it should be labelled 2007-2012.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What’s your source?

            Clearly one of the two sources is badly wrong. You can’t have the top seven states enjoying lower prices and 9 out of 10 highest wind states suffering increased prices.

            In your earlier post you stated ” the states with the largest amounts of wind energy also have the highest electricity costs”. That is clearly wrong. Here, I think, are the states with the highest percentage of electricity from wind.

            The US average is 13.01c/kWh

            Texas = 12.01
            Wyoming = 11.13
            Oregon = 10.75
            Oklahoma = 10.13
            Idaho = 10.54
            Colorado = 12.83
            Kansas = 12.74
            Minnesota = 12.85
            North Dakota = 10.94
            South Dakota = 11.42
            Iowa = 13.42

            Only Iowa has higher than average electricity prices.

            Of course a state with very high electricity prices could see its electricity cost drop with the addition of wind generation. The important thing to look for is whether wind increased or decreased costs. What we are seeing is that wind is decreasing costs. (As will solar.)

          • Clee

            The top 10 wind states started out with low electricity prices, but 9 of those had prices increase over 5 years. Source of the starting prices. Table 5.6.A or B
            http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/archive/pdf/02260903.pdf

          • Bob_Wallace

            Comparing ‘all sectors’ December 2008 with ‘all sectors’ December 2013 I find that 9 of the 11 states with more than 7% wind had price increases.

            Average cost increased from 7.56c/kWh to 8.40c/kWh for those 11 states.

            This does not agree with the AWEA white paper.

            I’ll contact the AWEA and see if they can explain how they arrived at their summary statistic.
            —-

            Dec 2008
            http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/archive/pdf/02260903.pdf

            Dec 2013
            http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/current_year/february2014.pdf

          • Clee

            Well Texas generates about the same amount of electricity as the other 10 states put together, so it singlehandedly pulls the kWh-weighted average of the 11 states down.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ve been working with those numbers for the last half hour or so. While Texas does generate more electricity than the other individual states it generates only 26% as much electricity as the other ten combined.

            2012
            Texas 95,135,048 MWh
            Other ten states combined 364,301,922 MWh

            I’m finding the weighted kWh price for all 11 states increased from 2008 to 2013 by 3 cents per kWh. I could have made a math/spreadsheet/logic error. I’m waiting for the AWEA’s response. (I have an indirect link – the response may be delayed – my contact is on the other side of the globe and it’s sleepy-time there.)

            Here’s my numbers – see if you find an error.

          • Clee

            For the 2012 Generation column I used “All Sectors” not just “Electric Utilities”. With utility deregulation in Texas, it doesn’t make sense to leave out the Independent Power Producers.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t follow you.

            I used state generation numbers from the EIA. Electric Generators, Electric Utilities. Total.

            Net Generation by State by Type of Producer by Energy Source (EIA-906, EIA-920, and EIA-923)1

            Are you saying there is a significant amount of generation outside of that data? And, if so, where is it?

          • Clee

            I used table 1.6.B of http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/current_year/february2014.pdf

            For December YTD 2012 (i.e. all of 2012) For Texas,
            All Sectors 429,813 thousand megawatt hours
            That’s broken down into
            Electric Utilities 95,135 thousand megawatt hours
            Independent Power Producers 292,756 thousand megawatt hours.

            In the xls file I think you are looking at, it shows up as
            2012 TX Total Electric Power Industry Total 429,812,510

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, here’s a new version of the spreadsheet which includes independent power producers.

            A weighted average shows a drop in electricity cost. I can’t say that I’m thrilled at the way the AWEA describes the data. I’d say that the two states that produce the most wind show a drop in electricity price.

          • Clee

            The two states that produce the most wind? While Texas may have generated the most MWh of wind power, I suspect California is 2nd, not Iowa or Oklahoma. The retail price of electricity has gone up in California over the past 5 years.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yeah, what was I thinking? (Obviously not paying close attention.) Texas is number one, followed by CA and Iowa. OK is about #6 in terms of amount produced by wind.

      • brian whittle

        once coal starts paying the hidden costs of extra health problems and environmental damage you can call the filthy fuel reliable.

        • SA Kiteman

          I didn’t call it clean, safe, OR desireable, merely reliable.

  • John Knox

    In the first graph, I think it makes more sense if the Wind Generation is actually the red line and the Pool Price the purple line…

    • Steve159

      @John

      The graph makes sense to me — when (purple line) windpower is strong (high), Pool Price drops considerably, and vice versa.

      Also, if I’m understanding the graph correctly, when there’s plenty of windpower (and low demand), the Pool Price drops to around -5c/kWh; when high, with high demand, is around 12c/kWh, but when low (with high demand), climbs to nearly 45c/kWh (presumably due to the need for gas fired generators?)

      • http://www.ridethetalk.com.au/ John Knox

        My error appears to be that I imagined the date markers were midday of the day involved – if they are the start of the day then the graphs match the words in the text. Sorry, my bad…

      • Ronald Brakels

        The prices were actually one tenth that per kilowatt-hour. A minimum of about negative half a cent and a maximum of about four and a half cents a kilowatt-hour. These days I don’t think 4.5 cents a kilowatt-hour is enough to pay for gas, so on a day like today when the wholesale price is about 2.3 cents a kilowatt-hour around noon one can be pretty sure the only gas being used is for spinning reserve and most electricity is coming from wind, solar, coal, and since the Victorian wholesale price is lower than the South Australian price, imported power from Mordor – I mean Victoria.

  • Jon

    So what do consumers pay per kwh in SA compared to other States? The electricity produced by wind and solar is ‘free’ but the capital cost has to be paid for. When the debt is gone will SA have cheap electricity? Also what does the NEM pay for the exported electricity from SA? Could you run an article on these topics please, Giles.

    • Ian Franklin

      What is the point of these questions; they are irrelevant to topic discussed here. Or, are you simply trolling?

      • Craig Allen

        Ease up Ian. Jon has asked interesting questions in a respectful way. I don’t get the sense that he is a renewables skeptic. But even if so such questions should be welcomed.

        • Ian Franklin

          Sorry, perhaps I over-reacted. It is not uncommon for anti-renewable campaigners to argue that since SA has high electricity prices, and leads the nation in renewable power, renewables drive up prices. This, of course, does not follow.

      • Jon

        Thanks Craig, I’m definitely not trolling. I live in NSW and have no idea what prices are paid in South Australia. Is that right, SA has high prices, what higher than in Sydney? Ian, the article is about SA leading the way which is great but is there a downside. Abbott and Co will never be convinced if they think renewables are uneconomic as they ignore any climate change arguments.

        • Roger Brown

          S.A is also Private/ Corporate owned and prices have gone one way and that’s UP .

          • Charles

            I think the question was, is power in SA more expensive than the East Coast?

          • Owen Griffiths

            That’s not really the question. The subsidies for these schemes are national (i.e. RET). Everyone in the country is chipping in for these wind farms, not just others in South Australia.

          • Charles

            SA power is the most expensive, but the relatively small cost is justifiable.
            http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/06/how-electricity-prices-vary-between-states/

        • Ronald Brakels

          Jon, South Australia’s wholesale electricity prices were the highest in Australia on account of the lack of cheap and convenient coal deposits. In addition, the lack of heavy industry and hot summers made South Australia’s grid perhaps the peakiest in the world with a lot of variation between highest and lowest electricity demand, further increasing costs. This has changed thanks to wind and solar and now South Australia’s wholesale electricity prices are comparable to other states. Because South Australia had high electricity prices new renewable capacity was built here. After all, from an accounting point of view, it’s only sensible to build the country’s first wind farm in the state with the highest electricity prices.

          • Jon

            Ronald, thanks for that. Since my original comment I have checked retail electricity prices in Adelaide and find my current Sydney bill has much the same rates. The NEM must be working but when South Aust had higher wholesale electricity prices the grid connection from the Eastern States must have been insufficient to supply a shortfall presumably. The provision of extra supply presumably favoured new local renewable sources rather than increasing grid transmission capacity from Victoria. That choice however would have been partially decided by the RET requirement, wouldn’t it? This brings me to the background of my original question, is wind economically the cheapest solution only under special circumstances like the South Aust wholesale prices. Can it only prosper with the RET? I hope not.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Jon, the big states in the NEM – New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland all have massive existing coal infrastructure and a huge oversupply of both coal and gas generating capacity as a result of declining grid electricity demand and this has resulted in very low wholesale electricity prices. In addition, rooftop solar is also pushing down prices by providing electricity during the day when it’s most needed. New wind power cannot currently compete with existing paid off coal plants. However, new wind is cheaper than building new coal plants, so in the long term coal is dead, but existing coal plants can do a lot of damage before they are shut down. This is why a RET and/or carbon price is required to protect human lives as existing coal plants will keep on chugging away without it. On the bright side, point of use solar is competitive with coal and provides electricity to consumers at a lower cost than any utility scale generation, so that will continue to expand, with or without the RET, but if the RET is suddenly removed a lot of jobs in the solar industry will be lost and lives ruined for no gain and more lives will be lost due to climate change. So jerking the RET away would damage the economy for the advantage of killing people, mostly in other countries, whom we’ve never met. Sounds kind of similar to another of our government’s policies now that I think about it.

          • Jon

            I agree. Somehow the old coal plants need to be shut down. President Obama is hoping to do it through pollution regulation. Unlike our wonderful Prime Minister he understands CO2 is a pollutant. I have to mention I am guilty of keeping a couple of old tungsten filament globes going in my house – they rarely get turned on. They’re powered by coal too!!!

          • Ronald Brakels

            Don’t panic! You can go online and order LED bulbs for about a third of the price they are in the supermarkets. And if you haven’t already, whack as many solar panels as you can on your roof. It makes Tony Abbot cry.

          • Jon

            I would have gone for solar panels years ago but unfortunately I have an old corrugated asbestos roof and no installer will go near it. I have picked up bargain LEDs from Aldi so most lights are efficient now – most!

    • Bob_Wallace

      ” When the debt is gone will SA have cheap electricity?”

      Yes. That’s what’s coming down the road. Electricity will get cheaper and cheaper as we install and pay off fuel-free generation.

      Take wind for example. Right now wind is selling, long term contracts, for $0.04/kWh in the US. That’s the non-subsidized price. After the 20 year contract is up and the capital investment is paid off the wind farm owner is going to be free to go back into the market and sell for well under four cents while still making a sweet profit.

      Even better for solar farms. Our oldest solar array is now 40 years old. At age 35 the panels were taken down and tested. The array had lost less than 0.1% per year output. In the most stressful places (high wind/snow loads and lots of UV) panels should lose no more than 0.4% per year.

      After the 20 year PPA is over the farm owner is going to be sitting high with an asset that costs almost nothing to run and should be producing electricity for decades to come. Assuming there’s no “shelf life” or “performance cliff” for solar panels a 100 year old farm could be producing 60% to 90% of when it was new.

      We’ll end up with a mix of paid off generation and replacement generation and lower priced electricity.

      • michael

        the most optimistic view on power prices i’ve every read, hope you’re right Bob!! by the extension of most of that logic, power is going to approach ‘free’ status mid this century, with fully written off capital projects producing electricity at next to zero opex/maintenance for decades

        • nakedChimp

          thats the problem for capitalism which is about scarcity and how to make a profit from it. Expect much resitance from all angles and positions.

  • http://savetheworldfree.ning.com/page/frequent-asked-questions savenaturefree google-me

    Need help with power bills?. see my present to the world http://savetheworldfree.ning.com

  • Cheryl

    Wow! Congratulations South Australia! I am proud to have contributed to this effort. :)

  • Roger Brown

    Looks like Gas and Coal don’t like a part-time jobs or under-employment , when Wind and solar power under cut them on price and crash the Pool price . Evolve or go broke .OK Gas , you can go home early , Wind will cover for you and do your job cheaper and cleaner . Will ring when I need you .

    • Owen Griffiths

      “Will ring when I need you”

      Yes, exactly. You will ring often, and expect the fossil fuel power to be ready and waiting, because most of the time wind will be well short of demand.

  • Not A real Name

    Notice how the parts with the lowest wind generation have the highest electricity usage – Air conditioners are likely big contributors to power drain.

  • Matthew Bowden

    Why is this not on the front page of newspapers? This is amazing and surely world leading!!!

    • Bob_Wallace

      Murdoch?

      • Owen Griffiths

        Yes, that’s right. Murdoch told all his papers not to report this, as well as all those he doesn’t own, and the ABC too. Wow – the power of the man!

        • Bob_Wallace

          He’s pretty powerful here in the States.

          He causes a lot of people to misunderstand renewable energy along the lines of your misunderstanding.

  • Anders Jenson

    I am both an undergraduate engineering student and a fan of ethically minded, both socially and environmentally, energy. I am devoting much time in my life to research involving analysis of prices, technology and engineering design solutions, as of such I thank you for this article, Giles Parkinson, but I wish for some more information if you would oblige me, in order to construct a sound report on the comparison of the cost benefits of renewables ( solar and wind) vs fossil fuels (coal and others):

    Question #1: Where did you find/ how did you collate the graph displaying wind generation, total demand and pool price

    #2 What is the average cost per watt ( over a year ) of solar, wind and coal/ where can I find this info

    #3, Do you get payed for these articles or are you simply interested in disseminating information? Quite a blunt questioned but I simply have no understanding of the answer until I ask.

    #4. How can we as a populace share this information through media ?

    Any hints or views are welcomed,

  • witheo

    Umm … not wanting to rain on anybody’s parade here. But, these are daylight hours. In September. What about winter? What about when it’s raining? Does the wind always blow, when the sun don’t shine? What heavy industry will SA and Victoria have left after Ford and Holden have abandoned a sinking ship? (Obviously the renewables did not improve their production cost bottom line.)

    There’s really little point in discussing renewables occasionally covering low demand periods. What is too often conveniently overlooked is that all renewables are notoriously inconsistent and unreliable over the long term. Your computer cannot cope with an erratic power supply. Essential industries absolutely depend on continuous supply.

    Which means, no matter how efficient and cost effective renewable power generation gets, you will always need conventional (coal fired) power generation on continuous stand-by. By that I mean, the grid must be able to respond, within a split second, to any spike in demand. Your conventional power plant simply cannot quickly power up whenever the wind dies. It must be running all the time, boiling water and running the turbines, even when there is no load. That means you will still need fossil fuel, nuclear or water-driven turbines on dependable stand-by.

    People don’t realise how much we depend on permanent electricity supply. Most of the epidemics of the not so distant past have only diminished because of adequate sewers, clean water supply and constant food refrigeration. That all depends on an absolutely certain power supply.

    Here’s an interesting excerpt from a May 2014 SA Government report.

    “During 2012/13, rooftop solar PV systems generated approximately 3.7% of South Australia’s energy demand with this amount expected to reach 8.9% by 2022/23. South Australia has the highest per capita solar PV penetration in the nation, largely as a result of generous State Government subsidies introduced in 2008, which are now closed to new entrants. Furthermore, Adelaide benefits from high average sunlight intensity compared to other capital cities.”

    “However like wind power, solar PV generation is not consistent and when the summer peak demand typically occurs in the late afternoon, rooftop PV generation is declining from its midday peak and is operating at an estimated 28%– 38% of capacity. Where that story is beginning to change though is through developments in battery storage technology enabling solar energy to be stored during peak production periods for off-peak production periods. While this technology is still largely uneconomical for most households and small businesses, it is expected that prices will gradually decline as the market matures.”

    Business SA. Renewable Energy Target Submission. May 2014.

    http://business-sa.com/assets/PDF.

    • Darius

      You have been misled by the base-load lobby. No-one actually wants base load power but the industry have managed to make lots of people think they do.

      Base load power stations (coal or nuclear) take a long time to start up – as much as 24 hours for brown coal. Once they are going they have to run at close to 100% power. If they are run at low loads the combustion process in coal power plants can become unstable and damage the boiler. The consequences of trying to run a nuclear power station at low load can be even worse. The chernobyl accident was caused by the operators trying to run the plant at low power. The chain reaction process became unstable and caused a steam explosion that blew the lid of the reactor off. What base load power stations provide is essentially the same amount of power 24/7.

      No one wants this sort of power. No one leaves their electric jug boiling 24/7. No one leaves their lights on 24/7. What everyone wants is power on demand. To be able to flick a switch and know that there is power to run what they want. To have a reliable grid that can supply power on demand with baseload power stations you have to take steps both on the demand side and supply side. On the supply side you need power stations that can respond rapidly to demand changes – traditionally these were hydro, gas or diesel. The largest and most expensive power station in the Snowy Mountains Scheme (T3) is pump storage. When no one wants power but the coal power stations in NSW and Victoria have to keep chugging away T3 pumps water up the hill. When people actually want power and the coal power stations can’t provide it T3 runs to water back down the hill and generates power.

      On the demand side you give consumers cheaper power if they use power in low demand times like off peak hot water heaters. Most aluminium smelters have supply agreements were they shut down part of the plant in peak periods.

      To make a reliable on demand grid based on variable renewables rather than base load coal you essentially just do the same things i.e. you give consumers incentives to shut down power usage when there is not enough supply and increase usuage when there is plenty of supply. On the supply side you ensure you have sufficient rapid reponse supply which could be pump storage hydro, battery storage or landfill gas etc.

      There seem to me some good pump storage hydro sites on the St Vincents gulf where sea water could be used rather than fresh water.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Let me describe a different grid than the one you imagine. I’m going to do it based on how my house operates. I’ve been off the grid for over 25 years, all the electricity I use is generated at my house, so what I have is a “tiny utility company”.

      My solar panels provide more than 90% of my electricity. I store energy in batteries for when the Sun isn’t shining. And sometimes I have to use a generator to provide extra power when the Sun has let me down.

      I don’t need to run my generator 24/365. I turn it on when the batteries are starting to get low and I’m not expecting any help from the Sun. It’s never a “turn it on right now!” situation. It’s always a “should turn it on in the next few hours” thing.

      That’s how our future grids will likely work. We won’t keep spinning reserve. We’ll use storage for when a cloud passes over or the Sun sets. Then if we start running short we’ll fire up our deep backup generation.

      And our future grids will have more inputs than I’ve got. Wind will be very common on grids. That means that there will be less need for storage and less use of deep backup generation.

      We’ll end up with a more reliable, more stable grid. Batteries respond much faster than ‘spinning reserve’. And we won’t have the problems we now have when a large thermal plant suddenly cuts out.

      • RobS

        Throw a small wind turbine into that mix and instance of generator use will drop dramatically, then add a micro hydro turbine and even more so. These three complement each other perfectly because solar works best in spring, summer and early autumn, wind in autumn and winter and hydro in winter and spring. This is the benefit of diversified distributed generation. I have spent extended periods on a cruising yacht run in its early days on solar alone and that necessitated a generator being run not infrequently, after adding a wind generator and LED lighting into the mix I could count on less than one hand the number of times the generator was run. I could easily envision a situation where batteries provide the instantaneous load leveling and hydro is all that is needed for deep backup.

        • Bob_Wallace

          If I had a good wind source (I’m surrounded by very tall trees) or a hydro source (I’ve got a slight bit of potential but it’s a half mile away on the bottom of my property). But your point is entirely right for large grids. The more varied the inputs, the less we’ll need storage and dispatchable backup.

          My boat experience was quite different. Perhaps I was in a sunnier part of the world (Mexico and Central America). I did very well with solar alone, never had to run the generator except sometimes while underway at night when the autopilot and radar were sucking power.

          Hydro could be the deep backup we would need. But not every grid is going to have an adequate resource.

    • Owen Griffiths

      You don’t even need to consider other seasons. Just look even at this range of days, carefully selected to make wind power look as good as possible. There are large periods of time when the wind contribution is tiny, including around peak demand times.

      Meaning, to get a reliable grid you need pretty much the whole wind capacity spare to handle times of low wind.

    • nakedChimp

      Read some German papers on the stuff.. no one over there is painting a rosy picture of the grid of the future, but they don’t scream doom either and already have a higher renewables penetration.

  • Brett Simcock

    And yet we still pay an arm and a leg for electricity here… :-/

    • Owen Griffiths

      Yes, and renewable energy is why electricity costs so much. It would be much cheaper to generate electricity from coal.

      • Tom

        False. The reason all the wind farms were built there was because the wholesale price was higher. Now that the wholesale price has been driven down people are looking to build in NSW and VIC. Retail cost mainly went up because of distribution costs.

      • Ken Fabian

        Only if externalised costs like climate consequences continue being dismissed and ignored. Actually, depending on location, wind is periodically and intermittently and even in terms of overall costs per kWhr produced, cheaper than coal, even without including the climate impacts.

      • Harry Verberne

        Network cost are the single largest factor in driving up prices, not renewables.

        • Owen Griffiths

          Network costs and renewable costs are completely separate issues – you still need the same network whether coal or windmills are the original source.

          Also note the extra costs of the 10% new renewable energy are spread over the other 90% of energy bills.

          • Harry Verberne

            Network costs have grown the fastest and dwarf the costs of renewable energy.

  • Rose

    How much are we coal fossil fuels extracted per day/month/year?

  • disqus_3PLIicDhUu

    What we need in SA is an interconnector to WA, to bring WA into the national grid, which in itself would create a large energy saving due to pooling and time differences.
    Introduce an mandated reduction in emmissions, similar to EU (40% by 2030), forcing energy management and renewables.
    Along the Bight, the roaring forties, fill the places up with turbines, with more than enough output to run close to the equivalent of baseload and export the rest to the other states.

  • Le Clair

    What a discussion.

    Here’s a thought. I am an importer and installer of solar PV, all balance of system components and battery storage solutions.

    In Australia RIGHT NOW, today, using rooftop grade components, I can import, deliver, build, commission and grid connect basically any size solar hybrid system for $1.55 per watt WITHOUT ANY assistance from the RET, no subsidy or incentive payment at all. If I factor in the RET, that price reduces to 77c per watt!
    Let me say that again, 77c per watt at 1:1 Solar PV to Battery storage. That is 40kW of solar PV plus 40kWh of storage. If I assume 50% generated will be consumed as it is generated and 50% will be stored, thus providing complete reliability, then the price comes in at $1.12 per watt.
    I would suggest that at industrial scale those rooftop prices could be significantly reduced.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we are there now.

  • Steve159

    As I’ve explained in other posts at this site, those who are pro-nuclear are missing the main point.

    Do we WANT a nuclear-powered future, with all the attendant risks and problems?

    Statements about safety fly in the face of past and present mishaps that reveal safety, or lack of, is an ongoing problem (e.g. http://www.dcbureau.org/201406059835/natural-resources-news-service/breaking-bad-nuclear-waste-disaster.html

    from the article “On Valentines night, one of the now suspect 500 waste drums from DOE’s
    Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) blast open inside DOE’s Waste
    Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Casks filled with 3.2 million cubic feet
    of deadly radioactive wastes remain buried at the crippled plant. That
    huge facility was rendered useless.”

    It seems to me that those who are pro-nuclear are either lazy — too lazy to help fund, imagine and create a fully renewable-energy powered future, OR, politically motivated for financial gain.

    To suggest we absolutely cannot use human ingenuity to create a renewable-energy powered future, is either dreadfully poor vision, or greed (to financially benefit from nuclear, and a fossil-fuel powered future).

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think there is at least on other reason why some are pro-nuke aside from lazy or being bought.

      Some haven’t understood that renewables are a cheaper, faster, safer way to get rid of fossil fuels. And that group breaks down into two subgroups. There are those who simply haven’t seen and considered the available data and there are some who operate from belief rather than facts.

      The members of this latter group have taken a position and now (I’m guessing) find it necessary to defend their position in any way possible. Very much like climate change deniers, vaccine opponents and other belief-based individuals they will cherry-pick data, discard inconvenient facts, and refuse to work through a logical analysis. They joined the “the only answer is nuclear, renewables can’t work” team they are loyal.

      • Steve159

        Bob

        I agree, although one could argue that those who haven’t seen or considered the available data are still lazy, for not having availed themselves of the facts.

        That said, we perhaps shouldn’t be too hard on them.

        Consider your inclusion of ‘vaccine opponents’ in that group.

        I’ve availed myself of some interesting data via a book that reviewed publicly available data – medical journals, government reports etc. – dating back a few hundred years.

        It seems to me, going by the data, the vast majority of the populace have been ‘lazy’ as well.

        In “Dissolving Illusions Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History” Dr Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk point out that:

        “England began keeping mortality statistics on a national level in 1838. Although these national statistics were not started in the United States until the year 1900, they also show dramatic declines in deaths from infectious diseases. For example, deaths from whooping cough had declined by more than 90 percent prior to the introduction of a vaccine in the mid-1940s (Graph 11.5). Deaths from measles had declined by more than 98 percent before the introduction of a vaccine in 1963 (Graph 11.6). The statistics show sharp downward trends at year 1900, but it is highly probable that, just like in the United Kingdom, an even earlier decline had already begun before the United States began to chart its national statistics.”

        The substantial amount of data (all sourced) reveals that vaccines are largely a placebo – they allow us to feel safe, which is an important element in wellness and immunity. At least until one is informed of the illusion, then … well, one is warranted with finding other means to ensure wellness. That’s when research by Sir Prof. Michael Marmot and others becomes highly pertinent … in that 30+ years of research reveals poor psycho-social factors are by far the dominant factor in disease and early mortality. Which of course explains the data, spanning a couple of hundred years (and more).

        • Steve159

          Which also explains the last great pandemic that killed 50+ million, that occurred immediately after the devastation and shock of “the First World War” or “the Great War.”

          I would expect that war provided significant immunity to the second, hence no pandemics following it. Instead of the retribution, crippling war reparations following WWI, we saw the Marshall Plan, and similar (Berlin airlift) to support and rebuild the poor ‘psycho-social’ circumstances of the populace.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “The substantial amount of data (all sourced) reveals that vaccines are largely a placebo”

          Right. We “wished” smallpox and polio away.

          Now, in the US, we aren’t wishing hard enough and are seeing a resurgence in measles and whooping cough. Funny how that happened a few years after the anti-vaccine movement appeared.

          What’s your explanation for that? Coincidence? Someone release an evil djinni? Perhaps one of the stars wandered into a misalignment and threw the universe out of harmony.

          • Steve159

            Bob
            It is disingenuous to quote “wish” when I did not.

            Read the facts. That’s all.

            This issue is off-topic — happy to continue on another forum, or via email, etc.

          • Steve159

            Bob

            Hopefully you will receive email of this, before it is deleted by Giles.

            “Because whooping cough was once a devastating disease in a large proportion of children, a campaign to develop a vaccine was undertaken, but not until after deaths had already fallen to historic lows in the 1940s.From its peak in the 1800s, whooping cough deaths had declined by more than 99 percent before a vaccine was in widespread use.”

            Why don’t you ask the question: What was the cause of a near 100% drop in whooping cough mortality PRIOR to vaccines?

            chance, God, what?

      • Sparafucile

        Is it a “truth sandwich” if your truth (faster) is placed in between two lies?

        Nah — it’s just an out-and-out lie, since even the “faster” advantage doesn’t account for scale.

  • Sam Gilman

    If renewable capacity is such that South Australia can on occasion now meet all of its demand with intermittent renewables, what does that mean for the electricity return on intermittent investment here on in? Beyond this point, it will start to diminish, surely? (It can’t all be exported all of the time).

    • Ike Bottema

      Sam you might then be interested in the following report: http://www.theenergycollective.com/jessejenkins/2233311/look-wind-and-solar-part-2-there-upper-limit-intermittent-renewables It’s an interesting and possibly ground-breaking assessment of the upper limits to renewables.

      • Bob_Wallace

        One needs to be very careful with articles on The Energy Collective. The site has a very heavy pro-nuclear and anti-renewable bias.

        Sort of the Fox News of renewable energy….

        The cited article is an excellent example of misinformation. The author states that large amounts of wind and solar on grids depress the cost of electricity below what wind and solar need to receive in order to become profitable.

        No, what happens is that since coal and nuclear plants can’t effectively shut down for a few hours when there’s a lot of wind and solar generation those thermal plants sell at a deep loss in order to continue running. That loss is what causes prices to fall below the normal price of wind and solar.

        As thermal plants disappear so will the pricing problem.

        (The author has also worked at the Breakthrough Institute. Another pro-nuclear organization which publishes anti-renewable articles.)

        • Ike Bottema

          Really? I regularly read all articles published there and think it’s safe to say that 80% are articles favorable to renewables. The Jesse Jenkins article I referenced points out that when wind or solar delivery is deployed to the point that delivery reaches 100% (on the days that the sun shines brightly and/or the wind blows strongly), marginal value approaches zero. So in effect, as he says “wind and solar eat their own lunch” when those energy sources approach their capacity factors. Follow the economics and it demonstrates that deployment of wind and solar above their respective capacity factors is not economical. This newly developed “capacity factor threshold” rule of thumb succinctly captures the penetration dilemma of undispatchable power. Forget such power sources ever being able to approach the 100% penetration envisioned in the Jacobson utopian future .

          • Sparafucile

            He’s lying, as usual.

          • Ike Bottema

            “He’s lying, as usual.”
            I assume you’re referring to Bob’s take? Perhaps. I’ll give him the benefit of doubt and put it down to being misguided.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” “wind and solar eat their own lunch” when those energy sources approach their capacity factors”

            That holds for any generation. As we fill the last few percent of demand the cost goes up. What you’re looking at is installing capacity or storage that will be rarely used so their capital/financing costs and fixed operating costs are spread over many fewer MWh. The cost of NG peaking for the hottest summer afternoons is enormous.

            And it’s not “their capacity factors”. It’s approach full demand.

      • Sam Gilman

        Thanks for that – I had seen a post at Bravenewclimate but not read the original pieces.

        The limits to integration caused by intermittent capacity factors seem obvious to me, and I know Robert Wilson has been blogging about this issue for some time. It’s frustrating that such an obvious problem simply gets ignored by all-renewables people. It’s almost as if they have an ulterior purpose for insisting that 100 per cent renewables systems are feasible other than decarbonisation.

        • Bob_Wallace

          ” It’s frustrating that such an obvious problem simply gets ignored by all-renewables people.”

          That’s so incorrect that it’s laughable. Can’t you come up with a better fairy tale than that?

          • Sam Gilman

            Perhaps if you could give an example it would be more productive than trying to sneer.

          • Bob_Wallace

            An example of “all-renewables people” talking about storage?

            About them recognizing that it will take storage and dispatchable generation to create an all-renewable grid? Is that what you want to see?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m going to assume that you want to see an example of an all-renewable article that acknowledges the need for storage. How about we go back a few years to the seminal article?

            A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables

            Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi

            http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/sad1109Jaco5p.indd.pdf

            If you’d like a piece of research that deals with wind, solar and storage in building a 100% renewable grid which uses four years of minute by minute demand from the US’s largest wholesale grid and hourly wind/solar data from NOAA you could take a look at the Budischak, et al. paper.

            https://docs.google.com/file/d/1NrBZJejkUTRYJv5YE__kBFuecdDL2pDTvKLyBjfCPr_8yR7eCTDhLGm8oEPo/edit

            If you’d like some current discussion about storage then you could head over to GMT and read some articles like this one…

            http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Largest-Capacity-Flow-Battery-in-North-America-and-EU-is-Online-and-Commiss

          • Sam Gilman

            I think you need to read the Jenkins article before you critique it. That’s how it usually works.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sam, I’ve read parts 1 and 2 of the Jenkins article and commented on them on a different site.

            Perhaps you need to ask if someone has read an article before assuming they haven’t.

            You might even need to look back through the discussion to see if I critiqued the Jenkins article or responded to a statement you made.

            You want a critique of the Jenkins articles from me? They are a flawed piece of reasoning which put a thumb on the scale for nuclear energy. Jenkins either does not understand why the price of electricity can go below the production cost of wind and solar or he understands and misrepresents.

            BTW, I wrote a reply to your “give an example” comment but it seems to not be displaying.

            I gave you the Jacobson and Delucchi (2009) article as an example of people discussion 100% renewable grids including storage. I gave you the link to the Budischak, et al. (2013) paper which models a 100% renewable grid based on four years of real time data from the largest wholesale grid in the US – using only wind, solar and storage to meet demand. And I gave you the link to a piece published today on GMT discussing renewables and storage.

            If you’ve read anything at all that talks objectively about renewable energy then you would know that storage is an important topic. Just as it is for large scale nuclear penetration.

            Perhaps my comment is locked up in moderation due to three links. I’ll leave the links out of this one.

          • Sam Gilman

            If you think Budischak and Jacobson are suitable ripostes to what Jesse Jenkins wrote, then you didn’t understand the argument.

            They don’t outline the market or other economic mechanisms by which intermittent renewables expand beyond their capacity factor penetration rates. It’s the issues around extending intermittents beyond the point where the return on investment declines rapidly that needs to be addressed.

            Try read it again. As for you dismissal elsewhere of the Energy Collective as anti-renewables, that’s a patently ridiculous charge as a simple browse of the site will show. Your dismissal actually gives fuel to the proposition that the all-renewables movement of which you are a very vocal part is actually the anti-nuclear movement in disguise rather than a serious thought out position; a cuckoo in the nest of climate change action.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sam, I thought you were talking about those who talk about a 100% renewable grid not acknowledging the need for storage.

            I based my assumption on your statement “The limits to integration caused by intermittent capacity factors seem obvious to me…”. When people talk about intermittent generation by wind and solar they are generally talking about the need for storage.

            That is why I gave you those sources.

            Were you instead talking about how wholesale prices sometimes drop when there is a lot of wind or solar on the grid?

          • Sam Gilman

            The problem is that once you reach certain levels of capacity, the return on investment in intermittents starts to fall away in two ways: first of all, in a market, the revenue drops. The supply is inelastic and the marginal cost is zero. If you are producing more than demand, the price drops to zero or even below. Secondly, the energy return drops. Either you curtail or you store, and storage solutions on a grid scale are not abundant (the NREL study puts a lot into compressed air in aquifers, but these are not working out last I heard). The EROI, which is not great for wind and solar in the first place, drops further.

            As far as I understand thinking about zero marginal cost markets, one would either need to have huge increasing subsidies or an enforced government monopoly. As far as I understand EROI, overbuild and storage, the system would reach unsustainability fairly rapidly as penetration rates rise.

            I’m for renewables that are low CO2 (I have my doubts about biomass) but that’s because low CO2 energy is the goal. If they can only do part of the job, we need to understand that. Let them do that part to the fullest they can. But when I look at the numbers from so, so many different angles, the idea that aiming right now for 100% renewables as the fixed path to tackle the extremely pressing issue of climate change would be a collective insanity – by which I mean it takes turning a blind eye to so many issues to believe in the 100% renewable scenario as an immediate prospect.

          • Bob_Wallace

            1. The market will pay for capacity or capacity will not be built.

            2. The reason that grid prices sometimes drop so low that wind and solar are only marginally profitable is that thermal plants do not want to shut down and bid in at a loss in order to keep “hot”. Sometimes coal and nuclear sell at such a large loss that wind and solar are simply curtailed.

            3. Grid storage is not abundant simply because we are decades away from needing massive amounts of new storage. A few years back the DOE studied potential wind and solar penetration and found that US grids could incorporate 30% to 45% wind and solar without making any appreciable changes. We’re now below 6%. Hopefully we’ll reach a point at which we’re replacing 3% capacity with wind and solar each year, so you should be able to see that the need for storage is in the future.

            Since those studies we have converted a lot of coal generation to natural gas. Since NG is highly dispatchable that will allow even more wind/solar penetration without storage.

            EVs are starting to come online. EVs can serve as dispatchable loads which will further raise penetration levels. As well, other dispatchable loads are being created – market driven.

            We may not need additional storage until wind and solar are far above the 50% level. Some predictions are that the level might be in the 80% area. Going from 6% to 80% at about 3% a year will take years.

            4. ” The EROI, which is not great for wind and solar in the first place, drops further.”

            I fear you might have been mislead by the POS Weisbach paper. Let’s do some simple ERoEI math.

            Wind turbines pay back all their embedded energy between 3 and 8 months, depending on wind resources where they are installed. Our first generation turbines are now coming down after 30 years of operation. Newer turbines are being designed for 40 to 50 years operation.

            OK, worst case. 30 years operation, 8 months to pay off embedded energy. 360 / 8 = 45.

            Now, best case. 50 years operation, 3 months to pay off embedded energy. 600 / 3 = 200.

            ERoEIs for wind between 45 and 200.

            Thin film solar panels repay their embedded energy in less than one year. Silicon panels in less than two years. Panels are often warranted for 25 years. We have many panels that have been in operation for over 30 years and our oldest installed array is now about 40 years old and going strong.

            Solar worst case – 25 year performance, <2 year payback. 25 / 12.5.

            Solar best case – 40+ year performance, <1 year payback. 40+ / 40.

            Weisbach does not calculate the ERoEI for wind and solar. He calculates the ERoEI of a grid run on only wind or only solar. Then he compares that number to the ERoEI of a free standing nuclear or coal plant, not a grid run on only nuclear or coal power. It is a totally failed argument.

            He also uses output data from discontinued wind turbines rather than what was being installed when he wrote the paper and used data for low efficiency solar panels.

            5. Oh, wait. You wrote EROI. But since I wrote all that I’m going to leave it.

            ERoI always drops as we reach market saturation. We have peaker plants which run only “one afternoon a year”. US CF for NG is less than 30% which tells us that a lot of our investment in gas plants is not producing a lot of energy. That’s a terribly small amount of energy produced for the dollars invested. But that’s the price we have to pay to keep the lights (and AC) on during the very hottest afternoon of the year.

            The same will hold for renewables. As we reach market saturation we’ll have to decide whether it will be cheaper to use wind/solar and curtail a lot or to use storage which sits idle 364 days and 23 hours a year or to install dispatcable generation.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I wrote a long reply which isn’t being displayed. I emailed Giles about it and the previous post which disappeared.

            I’ll try to remember to check back later to see if they have surfaced.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Giles checked and somehow Disqus ate two comments I made. I’ll try to cover your points but I don’t feel like putting much energy into it if comments aren’t sticking.

            As you reach grid saturation all added capacity becomes very expensive. In the US the CF for NG plants is under 30%. Some of our peakers run only on “the hottest afternoon of the year”. The same will hold with wind, solar and storage. The last added will get used the least and command a very high return when they are called on.

          • Bob_Wallace

            CAES is not likely to be our storage of choice. Too much heat loss during compression. Pump-up hydro and flow batteries are looking to be the most affordable for long term storage as water/chemical can be stored for modest costs compared to charged batteries or synthetic fuels.

            Biomass is another possible deep backup for those few really hot afternoons. But we’re decades away from needing that problem solved.

            “As far as I understand thinking about zero marginal cost markets, one would either need to have huge increasing subsidies or an enforced government monopoly”

            Look up the prices paid by utilities during high demand hours. It can be astronomical. A huge premium to a gas peaker that hardly ever gets called on.

            ” the idea that aiming right now for 100% renewables as the fixed path to tackle the extremely pressing issue of climate change would be a collective insanity”

            Hard to see how. Renewables (especially wind and solar) are 1) the least expensive way to bring new capacity on line and 2) the fastest ways to bring new capacity on line.

            We would court disaster by picking expensive capacity which would be slow to build due to a lack of capital or by picking slow to install capacity which could lead to decades of unnecessary fossil fuel consumption.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m chopping this up to see if shorter comments stick.

            ” As far as I understand EROI, overbuild and storage, the system would reach unsustainability fairly rapidly as penetration rates rise.”

            As I’ve said, the last MWh needed is really expensive to supply regardless of the supplying technology. That last peaker will not fire up unless they get paid a premium price that makes it profitable for the year even though it sits idle 364.5 days a year.

            The last MWh is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought. It’s not a problem we need to solve for a long time. The short term solution is what we’re doing now – fire up a gas peaker. But long term we don’t want to use fossil fuels.

            I can see two possible solutions. Run the peaker on biogas or a electricity based synthetic fuel (ammonia, for example).

            Or use biomass in converted coal plants.

            Both avoid burning fossil fuels. The CO2 produced was already in the above-surface carbon cycle. Both use paid off, converted plants left over from fossil fuel days.

            Either way the trick may be to start up the ‘deep backup’ generator at the beginning of a high demand period. Let it run 24 hours a day rather than just during the highest demand hours. During evenings and mornings when demand is lower its output can recharge storage and that storage can then help get through the ‘hot afternoon’.

            Do that and we would need much less “last MWh” generation and keep capital costs lower.

          • Sam Gilman

            I can still see your replies; I think Disqus can be glitchy like this.

            I’ll reply to the other ones later, but as for this one: the determinants of capacity factor for gas and intermittents are fundamentally different. Gas is demand-led (and so the CF could be much higher if we choose), whereas as for intermittents it’s determined by the weather and time of day. This is the effective inelasticity of supply I mentioned.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Storage is dispatcable. That makes wind and solar dispatchable. Just adds to their cost.

            Look, we can build a 100% renewable grid. Do you question that?

            Take a solar panel or wind turbine and some pump-up hydro storage and you can have power 24/365. Want more power? Make the system larger.

            The question is “What is the least expensive, fastest and least problematic way to move to a very low carbon energy future?”.

            (Giles located one of my missing posts. I’ll repost it later if he doesn’t.)

          • Ike Bottema

            I can’t see 100% renewables-based power generation ever becoming realistic — even if the huge storage dilemma is solved some day. It simply is way too disperse.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What does “too disperse” mean?

          • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

            Not in the pockets of big coal?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m guessing he’s thinking dense energy thoughts.

          • Ike Bottema

            dis·perse
            dəˈspərs/
            verb
            1.
            distribute or spread over a wide area.

            Perhaps a better term to use would be “too diffuse”.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I know the meaning of disperse and diffuse.

            What I don’t know is your point.

            Wind and solar are spread over very, very wide areas. Which is great. Unlike hydro, tidal and geothermal which are more site limited.

          • Brian Donovan

            Solar and wind are the fastest cheapest way to solve the energy and climate problems. It’s nuclear that is insane. 5% maximum contribution to our world energy problems and 3 year of fuel for the total world energy demands.

            and it’s the most expensive power there is.

        • Brian Donovan

          Hilarious from a pro nuclear proponent that could care less hoe expensive, slow, deadly and limited nuclear is as long as we buy it.

    • Brian Donovan

      Gee,m how did they handle demand changes with baseload plants before?

      They used peak and reserve generators, and they pay to have them sit idle and ready.

      it’s been part of the grid since it’s inception, but you would think it was a revolutionary idea by the way the nuclear and coal folks harp about predicable intermittent.

    • Brian Donovan

      Gee, just like nuclear investment, already the most expensive electricity, becomes more marginal as all the energy demand is satisfied.

      wow, you are a genius.

      of cruse nuclear can’t shut down every day, so it can only handle about 20% of a given electricity market

  • Sparafucile

    How does wind cost negative money? (see the graph)

    • Brian Donovan

      It never does. It’s nuclear and coal that actually pay folks to use their energy because they cant afford to shut down.

      • Sparafucile

        Thanks for the lesson in economic illiteracy.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You don’t know how market prices are set?

          • Sparafucile

            We all know that you & Brian don’t.

  • Jon Albiez

    Currently when there’s a sudden drop in intermittent generation the OCGT plant at Dry Creek and Mintaro pick up the slack and control frequency. Now capital wise they’re cheap to build, but extremely expensive to operate and nowhere near as environmentally sound as CCGT plant such as Pelican Point.

    The largest asset SA has is actually the extension cords (Murraylink and the Hayward) plugged into Victoria. Without those export of surplus energy and frequency control would be much more difficult. Not to mention SA is a net importer of electricity, predominately lignite fired from the Latrobe Valley.

    • Brian Donovan

      When baseload nuclear and fossil plants can’t handle a change in demand, they have to use THE VERY SAME GENERATORS.

      Fact is they are only a couple times more expensive to operate and only run for 3% of the time typically.

      • Jon Albiez

        Incorrect. Prior to large amounts of intermittent generation (wind) they were typically only used during extreme heatwaves (Torrens River temperature reduces efficiency at TPSA and TPSB) or for frequency response after a large unit or interconnector tripped.

        Spinning reserve is usually sufficient in SA, but even with state of the art wind forecasting a sudden drop in wind generation catches operators off guard. The fact is that in the absence of fast start hydro OCGTs offer the cheapest FCAS bids.

        • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

          South Australia is using a lot less peaking plant than it did before it introduced wind and solar.

          • Jon Albiez

            According to the capacity factor data I have it’s not the case. QPS used OCGTs in intermediate mode and have dramatically reduced use. I’m talking true peaking.

          • Brian Donovan
          • Brian Donovan

            What’s the variation in power output and the frequency at which it occurs for large wind farms? minutes? Diesel and arrays of diesel can adapt and run at high efficiny with second to second response times. They are cheap, cheaper than turbines. They can run on gas as well. Same for solar pv.

        • Brian Donovan

          Wrong, peaking generators are used every day, reserve generators used an average of 3%.

          http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/tribalenergy/pdfs/course_wind_milligan1.pdf agree no new generators needed because of wind

          Denmark didn’t collapse when they from wind, which proves you wrong.

          • Jon Albiez

            The link you provided has no relevance to the NEM. Peaking generators are not used every day in SA and I have a wealth of SCADA data confirming this.

            Denmark is heavily interconnected with both continental Europe and Scandinavia. Norway especially has a stupendous amount of fast start hydro providing FCAS, and Germany is such a large consumer that large changes of generation in DK have negligible impact.

            I understand that you’re trying to push a particular agenda, and I have no objections to intermittent generation forming a significant part of our generation. On the same note it’s not all rainbows, Sunshine and kittens. There are significant issues to be addressed.

          • Brian Donovan
    • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

      SA imports a lot less electricity from Victoria than it did before it began building wind and solar.

  • Brian Donovan

    It’s amazing how disingenuous the baseload folks are about solar and wind intermittent, given they need the same reserve generator for load following.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/21/intermittency-of-renewable-energy/