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Tesla big battery outsmarts lumbering coal units after Loy Yang trips

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HPR frequency fig copy

(Note: See update on second trip and intervention below).

The Tesla big battery is having a big impact on Australia’s electricity market, far beyond the South Australia grid where it was expected to time shift a small amount of wind energy and provide network services and emergency back-up in case of a major problem.

Last Thursday, one of the biggest coal units in Australia, Loy Yang A 3, tripped without warning at 1.59am, with the sudden loss of 560MW and causing a slump in frequency on the network.

What happened next has stunned electricity industry insiders and given food for thought over the near to medium term future of the grid, such was the rapid response of the Tesla big battery to an event that happened nearly 1,000km away.

Even before the Loy Yang A unit had finished tripping, the 100MW/129MWh had responded, injecting 7.3MW into the network to help arrest a slump in frequency that had fallen below 49.80Hertz.

Data from AEMO (and gathered above by Dylan McConnell from the Climate and Energy College) shows that the Tesla big battery responded four seconds ahead of the generator contracted at that time to provide FCAS (frequency control and ancillary services), the Gladstone coal generator in Queensland.

HPR frequeny fig 2 copy

But in reality, the response from the Tesla big battery was even quicker than that – in milliseconds – but too fast for the AEMO data to record.

Importantly, by the time that the contracted Gladstone coal unit had gotten out of bed and put its socks on so it can inject more into the grid – it is paid to respond in six seconds – the fall in frequency had already been arrested and was being reversed.

Gladstone injected more than Tesla did back into the grid, and took the frequency back up to its normal levels of 50Hz, but by then Tesla had already put its gun back in its holster and had wandered into the bar for a glass of milk.

So why did the Tesla big battery respond when not contracted?

One reason is because it can, and so it did.

The other reason is less clear, but more intriguing. It is contracted to provide such grid services by the South Australia government.

The details of that contract are not released, but it wouldn’t surprise if that contract allowed, or even encouraged, such intervention – just to rub in the message about a cleaner, faster, smarter grid to the technology dinosaurs in the eastern states.

Marvellous stuff.

This is just the latest in a series of interventions since the Tesla big battery was officially opened in early December.

hornsdale power reserve copy

It has provided, at the request of AEMO, 70MW of back-up to help meet a critical peak in the day before its opening, entered into the FCAS market, as we highlight here, and discharged at full capacity.

Over the weekend was again illustrating its rapid fire charging and discharging. (See graph above). The rapid re-bidding is likely to change the market forever, particularly when the 5-minute settlement rule finally comes into effect in 2021.

It should be an interesting 2018.

Note: The Tesla big battery is known to the grid as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, as it is located near the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia, also owned and operated by Neoen. Hence the acronym HPR in such tables.

Update: We just realised that a paragraph explaining the timings of the Tesla intervention went missing in the transfer from one document to another.

To be clear, on the timing of the response of this generators, some did some minor adjustments (1MW) as part of regulation FCAS, the moment they dropped below 50Hz.

The interesting thing here is the speed with which Tesla responded to the contingency FCAS market, which is triggered after frequency gets to 49.8Hz. That was pretty much instantaneous. And they did it from a standing start, unlike the other generators.

Tesla weren’t officially playing in that market, but just wanted to show what they could do. And they did. That’s what’s impressive, and what’s game changing.

As for timing, Loy Yang A started to lose it at 1.58:59 (NEM time). Its biggest drop, from 364MW to 176MW, was at 1.59:19, which is where frequency hit 49.8Hz, and which is where Tesla came in a matter of milliseconds (but recorded in the 1.59:23 time frame).

Gladstone 1, a contingency FCAS supplier, hopped in at 1.59:27. Loy Yang was down to 44MW by then and completely gone in the next 4 second period.

And no, we never suggested this averted a blackout. The point of the story was what Tesla could do. Now, imagine if there was actually a proper market (fast frequency control) for this stuff.

Latest update:  Oops, it happened again! The Loy Yang A number 1 unit, which had been out for maintenance and repairs since tripping in early November, returned to service on Friday morning, and then tripped two and a half hours later.

Again, the Tesla big battery repeated its dose of last week, hopping in with a milli-second respond to help arrest the fall in frequency caused by the sudden loss of 353MW of capacity.

This time, the battery injected 16MW for frequency control before returning to take advantage of the price spike caused by the sudden loss of capacity (prices jumped 50 per cent to $119/MWh).

Again, as we wrote on Thursday, it’s time for the regulators to catch up and actually create a market for Tesla big battery and others like it. That’s the fifth trip of a major coal unit in the past week!.

(Sorry, no new graphs. I’m supposed to be on holidays.

 

 

   

  • Mike Dill

    Great so far. Let’s see what happens in the wholesale market as that extra 100MW gets bid.

    • Ren Stimpy

      I thought the battery-supplied FCAS being described isn’t bid but instead contracted by the SA govt for just such purposes?

      • John Herbst

        I understand it to be a little of both. What surplus capacity it has after meeting its contract can be bid in other markets, including AEMO’s FCAS. Perhaps the contract ate up most of the capacity leaving only the 7MW remaining at the moment for FCAS? I don’t know whether AEMO payment structures can handle interstate FCAS, or whether it at all matters that the source of the voltage drop was in another state.

        • Alastair Leith

          Possibly the “battery” is many batteries grouped into two functional units, one for short term FFR and the other for dispatch power. I think Dylan McConnell wrote something along those lines on here or on The Conversation recently.

          • neroden

            Yes, that’s almost certainly correct.

    • falstaff77

      $500/kWh installed cost for that battery farm, that backs up a middling wind farm for 90 mins. What’s great about it?

      • Mike Westerman

        That response just soooo misunderstands the significance of a 100MW fast response FCAS element.

      • Mike Dill

        While the price is high, and probably will never be directly recovered, the battery will be able to add to the grid supply when charged, putting downward pressure on the wholesale electric price during times of peak demand. That will create lower retail electric rates eventually, and the value will then flow to the consumer, which happens to be the populous and voters of South Australia.

        • falstaff77

          That would be true … If no other far cheaper sources of power existed to put downward pressure on peak demand. There are cheaper sources.

  • trackdaze

    Need more of these at the ends and in the middle of the grid.

    • ben

      It would be very interesting to see the market impacts of another three or four of them in SA near the wind and solar farms. Not just power but grid stability and the ability to island for short periods

      • Andy Saunders

        Not too sure it’s useful to island a wind-farm/battery! Might be more useful near a load centre…

        • ben

          Maybe I should have said “help micro grids island” 🙂 Far flung parts of the grid, near generators and demand. Country towns and regional areas.

          • fehowarth

            Seems to work a 1000 kilometers away.

        • trackdaze

          Usefull to a renewable generator store some when its cheap sell some when its expensive.

          • Alastair Leith

            When new battery chemistries see big reductions in storage capacity costs suitable for wind and solar farms it will become a no brainer.

          • Mark Potochnik

            Batteries are already past the tipping point.

          • Alastair Leith

            not quite, otherwise every wind and solarPV farm in the world would be ordering 2-10 hours of storage to do price arbitrage and value add to their RoI. In the domestic market (home storage) $100/kWh is seen as the threshold for decent payback in a period folks can get their heads and balance sheets around. PHES already can deliver at that price (not that $/kWh is the only metric going for storage and in itself is a big oversimplification)

            http://theconversation.com/despite-the-hype-batteries-arent-the-cheapest-way-to-store-energy-on-the-grid-68417

          • Mark Potochnik

            It may be time for batteries on everything! Almost unlimited potential.

          • Alastair Leith

            Also I’m talking about a tipping point where FF are effectively dead in ALL industries. Think about that. 🙂

          • Bobby

            Already past that point Alastair… 🙂

          • Alastair Leith

            Nope, think bigger.

      • itdoesntaddup

        I’ve already seen a number of events while testing that very likely show market response to the battery’s operations. You also have to bear in mind that when the battery is being tested at full output/maximum ramp rate or a high charge rate, AEMO needs to be advised so that they can arrange for compensating levels of generation or cutback from other sources, otherwise the battery could upset grid frequency unnecessarily.

        The interesting thing will be to observe what happens when the testing phase is over, and the battery is operating in a competitive environment.

  • Ren Stimpy

    Perhaps with this (brilliantly described above) system now testing so well in the early stages, the “NEG” should be adjusted to ‘guarantee’ more grid batteries on the network via a SET (Storage Energy Target). Or to guarantee the Guarantee, so to speak.

    • Hettie

      Oi! Enough with the ageism already!
      If I can get my 72 yo brain around this stuff, there is no excuse for Waffles.
      Well, there’s no excuse for him anyway, but that’s another argument.
      The NEG, in my not so humble opinion, is not fit to be used for toilet paper. And is rapidly disintegrating, despite all attempts to talk it up.
      Renewables 100; Gov’t 0.

      • Ren Stimpy

        Sorry Hettie I was aiming that at those who pretend to be smart i.e Malcolm; and not those like you who really are smart.

      • Ren Stimpy

        All reference to Mal’s age removed. You’re right age is irrelevant.

        • Hettie

          I suppose then I must delete my response. Shame. I rather liked it.

          • Ren Stimpy

            Nah you should’ve left it there – it was a good reply and I’m happy to own my mistakes (even though I edit them out when I see the light).

          • Hettie

            I edited it, as without your comment it didn’t make much sense.
            Appreciate the good nature of your response to the rebuke.

    • Joe

      Ren…it is ‘Agile Malcolm’s’ son that is in the know on RE matters.

  • Ray Miller

    Welcome to the future boys and girls. Giles I love the analogy, as I’ve been speaking to anyone I can, MW’s in ms is got to be worth significantly more than the massive inefficient machines waiting (and being paid) to do something they are incapable of.
    So you almost need a special market for fast ms response devices and then the seconds/minute devices.
    With the prospects of the many vintage plants with decreasing reliability causing more system disruptions maybe the AEMC budget should be used for something productive and buy more battery installations.

    • Scotty

      Powering these batteries from where…? oh yes, GENERATORS…. we actually need investment in more generators….

      • solarguy

        Yep RE generators sweet heart!

        • neroden

          Yep — wind and solar generators!

      • Mike Westerman

        Yep, but not lignite fired ones that fall over in big lumps.

      • Slaven

        to charge these batteries you don’t need that many new power plants because you’re charging them at off peak hours from existing ones.

        that way power plants can function continuously at high efficiency rates of over 65%

        it beats peaker plants in price and efficiency

        • Eric Williams

          Pundits don’t take off peak hours into consideration because it makes them look stupid.

        • Mark Potochnik

          And battery systems install much faster than gas peaker systems…

      • Parax

        The clue is in the name; the Hornsdale Power Reserve stores energy from the Hornsdale Wind Farm.. So yes the GENERATORS used were wind turbines.. and yes you need more.

      • mostlyharmless42

        The whole point of this is that the battery farm was able to immediately step in to fill the power shortfall. A generator system takes time to spin up and come on line.

        Battery farms like this are like the big tanks in a town’s water system. They fill up during times of low demand, then can supply sufficient water pressure during times of high demand, when the utilities can’t possibly keep up.

        They correct the biggest shortfall that renewables like wind and solar have against them — by providing a means of pushing power to the grid when wind or sun are not available, and storing it when it is.

    • solarguy

      Hell, who could disagree with that spot on statement Ray. Oh, sorry there are morons that would!

      • mostlyharmless42

        I suspect that you might find it easier to persuade skeptics if you didn’t first call them morons.

        Insulting people as an opening argument is a rather poor debate tactic — it tends to put them on the defensive, and makes them less likely to accede to any of your follow-on arguments.

        • heinbloed

          There is nothing to be debated.
          Not with morons, not with the clowns.

          • mostlyharmless42

            And that’s why nobody listens to you. Who wants to stick around and be insulted? If your opening salvo is insults, you can’t possibly have anything valid to say… otherwise, you’d start off with that.

            Do you really want to convince people that you’re right, or do you just want to score insult points to make yourself feel superior?

          • Kate

            @mostlyharmless42:disqus Oh, the irony. As if coal lovers haven’t been denigrating their renewable competitors for years.

          • mostlyharmless42

            And did they convince you with their insults?

            You have a perfect opportunity to show just how effective renewables can be with the right mix of components and new technologies. But you waste it by insulting and alienating those you might otherwise sway.

            The deliberate abandonment of civil discourse will not lead to more civil politicians in public office.

          • mostlyharmless42

            The “they did it first” defense didn’t justify my bad behavior when I was a little boy — it certainly shouldn’t work for an adult.

          • anteater

            Have you ever tried to discuss with those ‘skeptics’? They (at least most of them, haven’t come across one who would act differently, but there might be some) wouldn’t listen anyway, even to the most factual reasoning backed by scientific evidence. No wonder then that some are not willing to handle these people with kid gloves as it usually is a total waste of time.

          • mostlyharmless42

            Quite often, in fact… Being a skeptic myself, I know what it takes to convince me — and it ain’t insults.

            You say it’s a waste of time to “handle these people with kid gloves….” How is it a better use of your time to hurl insults at them? Do you think that is a more effective means to convince them?

            In general, I am pushing for more civil behavior in our public discourse. I am sick to death of the nasty vileness that I see between people with opposing points of view.

          • anteater

            As a scientist I am a sceptic, too, but if there is evidence, then I believe it, if it is plausible (at least until better/other evidence is available).

            I don’t think that it is a good idea to hurl insults at people in general, but I can to some extend understand people who do so, because they are so fed up by those (some) so-called sceptics. May I give you an example? I came across one guy who said that climate change is in no way caused by human action, because there is a whole industry behind those who profit from climate change (such as wind turbine manufacturers). Now, guess what. There is a whole industry that profits a lot more from people not believing that human action has a huge part to play in climate change, but this is what this alleged sceptic wouldn’t comprehend. There is nothing that convince people like him.

            ‘In general, I am pushing for more civil behaviour in our public discourse.’

            I am absolutely with you on this one.

            Having said this, what would you do, if you study a subject (at uni) for years, know a lot of papers, laws of nature, facts and so on and then someone who went to the YouTube Academy tells you this is all wrong, they only teach bull at uni and so on. I for one find this extremely insulting. Usually I simply think to myself that the other person is an idiot, but I have some understanding for those who, after countless of these encounters, are fed up and lose their countenance. Imagine you are a doctor of medicine and come across quite a number of patients who know it all better, because they read it on the internet. These doctors surely, too, think to themselves that the person is an idiot. Some may even say it.

          • mostlyharmless42

            It goes both ways. I’m a degreed meteorologist (BS and MS) with 35 years in the field (including numerical modeling, solar-terrestrial interaction, and satellite data processing). I am one of those who don’t think that the observed temperature changes are due entirely to human causes. In fact, much of the observed temperature changes in the last 150 years or so seem consistent with a recovery from the Little Ice Age. And temperatures are on par with what we saw during the medieval warm period*.

            I am certain that we are seeing increases in average temps. And that it is likely that there is an anthropogenic component. However, we don’t know nearly enough to know how much of each there is — and the topic has become too politically polarized to be sure of anything, anymore. We DO need to do more research and try to understand both the natural and anthropogenic changes we are seeing. But basing all future actions on the results of unproven/unverified numerical models (that have yet to produce accurate predictions) is unwise.

            And I do think it is wise to develop cleaner energy sources, with a goal of weaning us off hydrocarbons. But we have to do this in an orderly, phased manner — we just can’t drop fossil fuels without having something ready to take their place. I think companies like Tesla are at the brink of making renewables feasible, and watch their progress with great interest.

            However, I once tried to point out some of the climate change shortfalls to a group of liberal arts types, but was dismissed as not knowing anything, and that they knew better. Seriously, not one of them had an iota of science background or education, and they were dismissing all of my points (backed up with references to various published studies) as being uneducated and science-denying.

            However, I didn’t storm off in a huff and call them morons, idiots, etc. Because I know for sure THAT technique will never convince anyone. Plus, I don’t like to alienate people… it’s not in my DNA. So, I changed the topic and we drank more beer (a much better use of time and a more enjoyable activity than hurling insults).

            *Yes, I know there are studies showing that current temps are warmer, but I haven’t dug deep enough to have faith in their data analysis techniques. Mann, et al., as well as the CRU, didn’t do folks any favors with the sloppy/biased techniques for skewing data analysis in their desired directions.

          • Mike Westerman

            Interesting point of view but from my reading not consistent with the majority. I wouldn’t imagine that anything in a system as complex as the weather would have a single cause, but there’s no doubting the steep rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is anthropogenic. Or that the uncontrolled release of plastic into the oceans is anything other than anthropogenic. Basically humans are making a big mess but socially seem inept at solving the problems they are causing. RE is just one of the avenues where this is apparent. An elite seems to gain control of a particular technology and rent seek it to the brink, very reluctant to give up their position. China and India have responded to the West’s control of capital by sacrificing the health of their citizens in a desperate attempt to gain some economic balance. There is no doubt to them that RE offers a way out – air that won’t kill their people but cheap power at the same time. The intransigence of the West means they may well find them outplayed.

          • anteater

            I am a degreed (MS) geoecologist. And I wouldn’t claim that “the observed temperature changes are due entirely to human causes”. Actually, I haven’t come across one scientist who claims that.

            “And that it is likely that there is an anthropogenic component.”

            I think almost all relevant scientists agree on that. Most even agree that not only it is likely, but as close to certain as can get with current methods. What I also know is that so much is at stake, that I for one would rather not wait for another 100 years to take measures, just to be 100% sure that mankind has enough of an impact to destroy humanity. You surely know that the planet will survive anyway and nature in itself, too, but mankind rather not.

            “and the topic has become too politically polarized to be sure of anything, anymore”

            That is why I studied this stuff. Not to convince others, but to know for myself. Seeing what goes on regarding lobbying in politics, what goes on currently is quite alarming. That is where much of the polarization is coming from.

            “(that have yet to produce accurate predictions)”

            As far as I know, the IPCC publishes one rather prudent extrapolation/model and a worst-case on. Guess which one was closest to the actual temperature rises up to now. Hint: It wasn’t the prudent estimate.

            “But we have to do this in an orderly, phased manner”

            But what do we actually do? We build bigger, heavier cars that use up more fuel and consume more energy for production. It is not as if we are moving into the direction of actually saving oil. This brings me to another point. We (you and I) may or may not see the end of oil production, but it surely will end some time soon, say in the next 100 years or so. What I am talking about is mass production of oil. Now, a lot of medicines require oil to be produced. I’d rather save some for coming generations instead of using it all up, but what do I know, I am only a humanist.

            “we just can’t drop fossil fuels without having something ready to take their place”

            We are pretty close, I think. It may not be enough for people to fly over the Atlantic for a weekend to go shopping in some fancy place or to have three long-distance travels a year, but we won’t have to return up on the trees, if we significantly reduce our use of oil.

            “However, I didn’t storm off in a huff and call them morons, idiots”

            Maybe you would, if this happened to you all of the time, including the cleaner and janitor letting you know that they know more than you. At least those who you came across were arts types (who are not exactly my cup of tea).

          • Wallace

            “I am one of those who don’t think that the observed temperature changes are due entirely to human causes. In fact,”

            If you will take a look at global temperature records over time you’ll see that the planet was on a slow path to the next ice age prior to humans warming things up. Not only are humans entirely responsible for observed global warming. Without human produced GHG we would still be on a long term temperature decline.

            Why don’t you take your beliefs to Skeptical Science and see whether research backs them up or proves them wrong? Read up on the Little Ice Age and medieval warming period. Real or not? Global or localized? Do we understand why they might have happened?

            “we just can’t drop fossil fuels without having something ready to take their place”

            We can’t and we aren’t. We are progressively replacing fossil fuels with renewables. Only slowly at this point, we’re just warming up. Renewables only recently became cheap.

            Here’s how the US is doing…

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/353e6ae0c6701e44af8b79d3c26ea01380f477b81c040e9a9805b45ec42aef1a.png

            Wind and solar replaced 6% of fossil fuel generation at the end of last year. It looks like we might be up to 8% at the end of this year.

            And here’s why things are starting to take off…

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ff4b7461ec9a9e5c3f118c2b3cab29342b5d87d68fc80b174e5648c04b7b1413.png

            Look back at 2010. Wind was in the same price range as nuclear and coal. Solar was a lot more expensive.

            Now look at 2017. Wind and solar are the least expensive. And their costs will continue to fall.

            Those price changes will drive the switch from fossil fuels to renewables faster and faster. We won’t shut down coal and gas plants until they are no longer needed, we’ll keep the grid alive. But we’ll replace coal and gas plants each year at an accelerating pace.

          • Dave Scothern

            I wish I had faith that renewable energy would continue to take off in the US. However, he-who-must-not-be-named judges that a resurgence in coal power will bring a resurgence in votes. I think you’re about to see some market distortion. I do hope that your renewables industry continues to thrive and prosper in spite of this.

            Ah well. At worst, we’re one-eighth of the way through this retrogressive adminstration.

          • Wallace

            The price of wind and solar are now low enough that the market is taking over. Only some sort of anti-wind/solar legislation could stop their progress (as far as I can figure things out). And it is extremely unlikely that we’d see anti-RE legislation passed in Congress.

            There’s no future for coal. We’ve closed a large number of coal plants so there’s many fewer places to burn coal. HWMNBN can order more coal to be used but how?

            And, frankly, I think any royal dictate would be largely ignored. Utilities have to attend to what states and consumers want. Especially in deregulated areas where consumers could simply start moving in large numbers to suppliers who sell only or most green electricity.

            Congress just allowed the wind and solar subsidy programs continue on their schedule fade outs (2018 for wind, 2022 for solar – IIRC). Congress isn’t likely to mess with W/S subsidy programs as a standalone piece of legislation.

            And they didn’t go after the EV subsidy program.

            HWMNBN is doing massive damage in other areas and it looks like we’re about to get shafted more via social support programs like Social Security and Medicare. But I think RE and EVs have a life of their own and will be OK.

          • Dave Scothern

            I really hope you’re right. The world needs energy security but it needs green power too. A “bring back the 1980s” drive to subsidise coal back into competition would be a short-sighted way to achieve only one of those goals.

          • Wallace

            Here’s where the US was getting coal in 2014. Things have changed in the last three years but I can’t find any more recent data.

            1. Wyoming 395.7 millions of short tons
            2. West Virginia 112.2
            3. Kentucky 77.3
            4. Pennsylvania 60.9
            5. Illinois 58.0
            6. Montana 44.6
            7. Texas 43.7
            8. Indiana 39.3
            9. North Dakota 29.2
            10 Colorado 24.0
            11. Ohio 22.3
            12. New Mexico 22.0
            13. Utah 17.9
            14. Alabama 16.4
            15. Virginia 15.1
            16. Arizona 8.1
            17. Mississippi 3.7
            18. Louisiana 2.6
            19. Maryland 2.0
            20. Alaska 1.5
            21. Oklahoma 0.9
            22. Tennessee 0.8
            23. Missouri 0.4
            24. Arkansas 0.1
            25. Kansas 0.1

            I think production is down considerably in Appalachia (#2 through 5).

            Coal production in states other than Wyoming just aren’t large parts of the state’s economy. Wind has become a major contributor in several of the listed states (Texas, Colorado, etc.) Political power is shifting.

          • Mike Westerman

            Sad. So Sad. Wyoming could be exporting about a third of the energy of its coal exports as wind power, with an economic and environmental benefit. Wonderful wind. The best wind.

          • Wallace

            Wyoming has awakened to the potential with wind. Right now plans are being made for a massive wind farm in the SE corner of WY and for transmission lines to the Pacific Coast.

            There’s are two existing HVDC transmission lines not too far from WY and the plan is to hook up to them.

          • Ian

            It’s probably an old argument but the amount of money spent on defending oil supplies could more than pay for battery manufacturing equipment and all the wind and solar you could ever possibly need.

          • Ian

            At present oil is a far more useful resource than coal or gas yet it is being wasted like kid’s chocolates at Easter. Aimless driving from home to work and back again. This is what our generation will be remembered for. We have choked our atmosphere with one of the best gifts we have been given, oil, just for the sake of boring, self-important jobs. At least the possibility of EV and other technologies will help to right this wrong. This is where our efforts should be channeled. Wind and solar electricity technologies have just about grown up, now is the time to nurture batteries and EV. The cost of lithium battery factories is not that great. Taking Tesla’s ground breaking effort as a template $5 billion per 35 GWH factory capacity: $140 million per GWh . Considering whole sale costs for lithium batteries is approaching $100/kWh or $100million/GWh , the build-out of battery factory capacity is not that expensive.

            The greatness of America is to a large measure the control of the oil market, and now there is a potential paradigm shift. Poor Trump, he will be remembered as the president that looked back and turned his country into a pillar of salt.

          • iowavette

            I wasn’t a skeptic until learning of the hockey stick debacle, the research paper suppression and the ongoing adjustments being made to climate data to better fit the models. If anyone would take a look at the condition of weather stations in the developed world and the lack of weather stations around the world, they might take a step back (wattsupwiththat.com). Let the technology develop normally, and we’ll waste much less hard earned taxpayer treasure on one world socialists. The end game for the climate industry has little to do with warming temperatures and a whole lot to do with global socialism.

          • Mike Westerman

            Ah yes, global socialism…that success story! I’m sure they’re so organised and co-ordinated they dwiddle with all our knobs! Funny how the guys with all the money and power seem to be the global capitalists, including those in so called “communist” countries (well, the concede now they may be “mixed economies”!).

          • fehowarth

            Read that neoliberalism is an ideology masquerading as economics. Can’t help but think the pro-coal, fossil fuels come under same umbrella. All to do with ideology, but not socialism.

          • Mike Westerman

            The magic of neo-lib capitalism – by and large owing its success to extractive processes, whether of partaking of the commonwealth of forests or minerals and extracting enormous rents, or using the environment as a cost free sewer, or extracting debt rents for worthless fiat currencies. Most so called capital creation is really debt fuelled asset inflation.

          • DoRightThing

            Global warming has nothing to with socialism, but has everything to do with the physics of greenhouse gases that humanity is pumping into the wafer thin atmosphere as if it were an open sewer.
            The solutions require global change and global cooperation in order to produce energy without fossil fuels, and devise technologies to scrub the atmosphere and draw down CO₂ as quick as possible to reduce the already baked-in consequences.
            You are free to suggest a solution, but the problem is real.

          • Mike Westerman

            Just as 8Mt of plastic in the ocean per year has nothing to do with socialism, and everything to do with human nature exacerbated by the consumerist model.

            Leadership in the West would help.

          • fehowarth

            I can’t see many wars being fought over sun, tides or wind as we have seen for the last century or so over oil.

          • Ian

            Have you been to the beach over Christmas?

          • Wallace

            The ‘hockey stick’ is real. It’s been confirmed in multiple ways.

            https://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm

            The location of weather stations is a bogus argument. Yes, some are located over asphalt and some over grass. But the temperature record does not take the temperature from one station and average it with the temperatures of others.

            What happens is that the change in temperature for each individual gauge is used. That corrects for “urban hot spots”.

            ” The end game for the climate industry has little to do with warming temperatures and a whole lot to do with global socialism.”

            Two wrongs. The end game for the climate “industry” is to keep us from turning planet Earth into a place where humans would have a hard time surviving.

            As for global socialism, we have to protect the entire planet. It’s not possible to protect only one country or a small number of countries. We’re all in the same boat.

            Protecting ourselves from extreme climate change is no more socialistic than if we we all got together to fight off a killer disease that could possibly kill us all. It’s self defense.

            And the solution turns out to be capitalism.

            Capitalism.

            Look at the growth of the solar and wind industries. Companies are making profits replacing fossil fuel generation with renewables.

            Our traditional car companies are starting to produce EVs because they can see that the market for ICEVs is almost certain to dry up and future profits will be made only by manufacturing EVs.

            Same is starting to happen with storage. Battery manufacturers are building enormous new battery plants because they see an opportunity to earn more money.

            Capitalism.

          • Ian

            Who gives a Toss for the old dichotomy of socialism and capitalism, those are social relics from a different time just like fossil fuels.

          • DoRightThing

            Huber and Knutti (2011) quantified that human attribution as being 74% and 122% due to humans (with a best estimate of around 100% human attribution). In other words, natural variability is not responsible for the observed warming trend.
            http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v5/n1/abs/ngeo1327.html

            Since then, Gillett et al (2012) also examined the human attribution of the warming trend observed. They found that humans are responsible for 102% of observed warming from 1851 to 2010 and 113% of the observed warming from 1951 to 2000 and 1961 to 2010 (averaged together).
            http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2011GL050226.shtml

          • Dave Scothern

            I recognise your conundrum. I’d go with lining up a great litany of facts, and leave it to the reader to decide whether the other party is an idiot or not. In other words, set up the punchline but let it be delivered, or not, based on its merits.

          • anteater

            Might work online, doesn’t work in real life. All you can do is walk away. That, indeed, is sad, if you have to walk away as a scientist, because the non-scientist will present an alternative ‘fact’ published by the academy of youtube. Generally I am with you anyway. I don’t really like to haul insults at others, but at times I find it very, very hard not to. Have a pleasant festive season.

          • Dave Scothern

            In real life, agreed. It occurs to me that I’m privileged to live and work among, for the most part, intelligent and courteous people. I work for a major engineering company and most people there are willing to consider logical argument and debate. You’ve helped me realise that I’ve been taking that for granted when I should be grateful for it. Thanks – I’ve learned something today! Best wishes for the Christmas season too.

          • Mike Westerman

            I believe lack of civility comes from lack of accountability – significantly promoted by use of pseudonyms

          • Ian

            Mike I can tell you are a Civil Engineer!

          • Dave Scothern

            I believe in this sort of tech and am glad to see it progressing.

            Separately, I couldn’t agree more – civil debate is so much more pleasant. My employer set up an internal social media page which has generally worked well enough, but now and then people throw insults that they surely wouldn’t say face to face. At that point you think, “wait a minute, I could find myself in a meeting with him next week,” and while it hasn’t happened yet, I think it could make for quite an uncomfortable session.

            If it’s not OK when I might see the guy in the near future, I don’t think it should be OK when I won’t see the poster in the near future either.

            Quite happy to accept that my view and someone else’s are different, and to attempt to persuade with facts and argument. At the end of it all, if you don’t buy my point of view, well, OK – it’s probably my tea time, or bedtime, or whatever. Life goes on.

          • sjalan

            Ah Yes, Trump and his showboat of clowns. YEP. Can’t fix stupid.

          • Bob Talbot

            haha , that bloke in the bar with the big mouth who knows all to well he is not going to win his argument goes directly to the insults before he hits the floor out cold as he knew that was his only chance to express his worthless opinion to the masses that really dont give a fuck

          • Jason

            The purpose of public debate isn’t to change the mind of your opponent. It’s to convince the undecided or uninformed in the audience. And to get them onside, tone matters; people like to listen to people they believe they’d like to hang around with.

        • sjalan

          Okie Dokie. An opening salvo in a debate is best served as a knife to the heart of the matter. When simple blunt head in the sand stupidity is the cause of the problem which is generating the debate, call it like it is and then back it up with fact, after fact after fact etc. Back in the early 60’s a California State Senator introduced a bill which said after 1980(?) I think it was, the internal combustion engine would be outlawed in California. Pretty ballsey. BUT the State Senator was correct. It MUST happen and happen sooner than later. Same applies to Coal Power generation. HAS TO STOP. There is no such thing as clean coal.

          • Ian

            A smart politician would read the times and then claim credit for anything good that happens during their tenure. Poor guy way back in the 60’s thinking he could outlaw the ICE. Actually now would be a good time to do this considering the momentum of EV that is already gaining. The EV ball is rolling, it just needs a little kick along. Various European countries are already doing this.

          • Wallace

            Now is a great time to say that a city will ban ICEVs at some date a few years from now. That costs nothing (and can be reversed if necessary). But it puts manufacturers on notice that if they don’t offer EVs that people want to drive then they may suffer many fewer sales as we approach that date.

          • sjalan

            I agree. President Obama saw this and KNEW even with failures along the way EV and the demise of coal and petrol power plants the future will be wind, solar and as much as possible hydroelectric as well. Yes, Solar and Wind are subject to damage but so are all other forms of power generation. In AZ USA we have several megawatt solar plants which are not backed up by battery systems but with this as an example we could easily install multiple megawatt batter systems to carry over solar and wind generation into the night and be ready to recharge the next morning. Add to that individual solar systems on the roofs of home and office buildings, schools and government etc. solar and wind WILL be the major supplier of electricity by say 2050.
            Oh a perfect example of industrial building is the Amazon distribution center in “Amazon Fulfillment Center, Patterson, CA” do a Google Earth view of the facility and you’ll see 2/3 of the roof is covered with solar panels. These companies KNOW it is the future.

    • Trent

      The article states the power station dropped 560MW and the battery injected 7MW. While it responed very quickly the rest of the network needed to find the other 553MW from other generators or shedding load. 7MW would not have been enough to arrest this drop on its own.

      • We”re talking about the FCAS market here, not the energy market.

        • rob

          Giles…..this convo is way over my head!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          But I am so glad that my tiny State of S.A. is once again the centre of attention! It has taken me hours to read ALL THE COMMENTS! All I can say if puff along little engine……..we here in S.A are causing the other States and the Feds grief……..And I love it!!!!!!!!!!

        • HenkPoley

          FCAS := Frequency Control Ancillary Services

        • Chris Morley

          No one mentioned energy, Giles – it’s a simple equation involving MW. And yes – FCAS is dispatched in MW, just like generation.

      • Ray Miller

        Yes I appreciate that 560MW was dropped suddenly, but I strongly suggest that AEMO have a monitoring and sampling rate issue at ms time scales which failed to show the true picture.
        For example take my humble fridge with it’s 115W compressor but when starting draws a handful of 20ms cycles at 12A or almost 3kW! Only equipment with the right sampling speed can this be measured.
        So I’m sure all the large rotating machines (and new Tesla battery) all took a collective groan, during the trip event.
        What is clear is that grid battery technology is capable of delivering the first ms to minutes of FCAS and as quick at the energy available in expensive spinning reserve machines, but more efficiently, remotely and unmanned.
        Also as more than one engineer has pointed out, the design of our frequency specifications of the NEM is also likely to be a built in problem.

        With having modular fast ms response, power and energy capability that can be designed to be located in the most advantageous locations not tied to coal mines, gas pipes, water resources etc and could even be moved in months if a short-term need was required.
        My intuition is that using substation distributed battery storage may also offer very tidy efficient solutions to give many times the capital investment in value.

        • Chris

          It makes you wonder, if still in the age of limited battery storage, we wont see hybrid gas powerstations with their own battery storage to computer unused energy and ensure quick deliver when responding to these requests.

          Kinda like how the HDD industry has reinvented the cheaper but slowed disk market by building a hybrid devise with a small amount of SSD. Not the best analogy I know, but you get the idea.

          Might be one of the first steps in replacing the network, as renewable generators come online, the gas stations just convert totally over to battery.

          • Kate

            I think there might be a problem with your ‘post’ button there, Chris.

          • blackpaw

            It makes you wonder doesn’t it?

          • Chris

            Thank-you Kate. It was saying some kind of message that the API service was down, so I just waited a few times trying it. Eventually it posted. Clearly it thought it would then catch-up!

          • Wallace

            Gave me a sort of short cycle Groundhog Day experience….

          • Chris
          • Ray Miller

            Chris that is one possibility and understand what you are saying, but the fundamental issue is the reward penalty equation.
            Everyone needs to make changes work for them and have long term investment/returns. As the NEM was setup last century for 50 year lived plants moving the goal posts is a serious problem and has/will lead to stranded assets. But the investors did know about climate change when the NEM was set up.

            Yes we could bolt on fast response equipment, batteries, flywheels etc to the generators, but things have moved on I expect and now what we know is the distributed energy model is the winner.
            The other leaning from Elon Musk and the solar industry is: make your unit small, efficient and cheap so it can be scaled up and all of a sudden you get 100MW of PV per month installed across Australia “at the load”. Batteries are likely to follow as they are using the same model.
            So it would make more sense in many ways to argue the ideal place would be closer to the loads, design well and duplicate, this is the winning model. It is scale-able, fast, flexible etc. and cheapest option. The NEM location closest to the load is at a substation.

          • Chris

            That’s an interesting comment – small PV generators and battery can replace all of our baseload power, and that we know this model is the winner.

            This is exactly the kind of thinking that politicians have. That one technology has ‘won’, and we should just do this.

        • Chris

          It makes you wonder, if still in the age of limited battery storage, we wont see hybrid gas powerstations with their own battery storage to computer unused energy and ensure quick deliver when responding to these requests.

          Kinda like how the HDD industry has reinvented the cheaper but slowed disk market by building a hybrid devise with a small amount of SSD. Not the best analogy I know, but you get the idea.

          Might be one of the first steps in replacing the network, as renewable generators come online, the gas stations just convert totally over to battery.

        • Chris

          It makes you wonder, if still in the age of limited battery storage, we wont see hybrid gas powerstations with their own battery storage to computer unused energy and ensure quick deliver when responding to these requests.

          Kinda like how the HDD industry has reinvented the cheaper but slowed disk market by building a hybrid devise with a small amount of SSD. Not the best analogy I know, but you get the idea.

          Might be one of the first steps in replacing the network, as renewable generators come online, the gas stations just convert totally over to battery.

        • Chris

          It makes you wonder, if still in the age of limited battery storage, we wont see hybrid gas powerstations with their own battery storage to store unused energy and ensure quick deliver when responding to these requests.

          Kinda like how the HDD industry has reinvented the cheaper but slowed disk market by building a hybrid devise with a small amount of SSD. Not the best analogy I know, but you get the idea.

          Might be one of the first steps in replacing the network, as renewable generators come online, the gas stations just convert totally over to battery.

        • Chris

          It makes you wonder, if still in the age of limited battery storage, we wont see hybrid gas powerstations with their own battery storage to store unused energy and ensure quick deliver when responding to these requests.

          Kinda like how the HDD industry has reinvented the cheaper but slowed disk market by building a hybrid devise with a small amount of SSD. Not the best analogy I know, but you get the idea.

          Might be one of the first steps in replacing the network, as renewable generators come online, the gas stations just convert totally over to battery.

        • Chris

          It makes you wonder, if while still in the age of limited battery storage, we wont see hybrid gas powerstations with their own battery storage to store unused energy and ensure quick deliver when responding to these requests.

          Kinda like how the HDD industry has reinvented the cheaper but slowed disk market by building a hybrid devise with a small amount of SSD. Not the best analogy I know, but you get the idea.

          Might be one of the first steps in replacing the network, as renewable generators come online, the gas stations just convert totally over to battery.

        • Chris

          It makes you wonder, if while still in the age of limited battery storage, we wont see hybrid gas powerstations with their own battery storage to store unused energy and ensure quick deliver when responding to these requests.

          Kinda like how the HDD industry has reinvented the cheaper but slowed disk market by building a hybrid devise with a small amount of SSD. Not the best analogy I know, but you get the idea.

          Might be one of the first steps in replacing the network, as renewable generators come online, the gas stations just convert totally over to battery.

        • Chris

          It makes you wonder, if while still in the age of limited battery storage, we wont see hybrid gas powerstations with their own battery storage to store unused energy and ensure quick deliver when responding to these requests.

          Kinda like how the HDD industry has reinvented the cheaper but slowed disk market by building a hybrid devise with a small amount of SSD. Not the best analogy I know, but you get the idea.

          Might be one of the first steps in replacing the network, as renewable generators come online, the gas stations just convert totally over to battery.

        • Chris Morley

          Ray, don’t be fooled by the notion that AEMO has only a 4-second monitoring resolution. One of their older SCADA (or telemetry) systems had a 4-second refresh time. Today, grid performance equipment monitors frequency at a millisecond timescale and many control systems automatically act on a millisecond timescale.

          • Ray Miller

            Thanks Chris, ALL monitoring systems are challenging and with many accumulated delays in all electronics and telecommunications systems. I have 5ms latency on an optic fibre to the node system, it must be a nightmare for AEMO to operate a real-time complex system with sensor response times, communications and processing delays etc.
            So to assemble and analyze data from a geographic diverse network remotely which contains anything meaningful on sub-cycle samples of the 50hz system would need to be carefully engineered. Every time you have an analogue to digital conversion, you have a sample period, settling period and processing time, you end up with an unavoidable delay.
            We even have energy meters with timing/accuracy issues because they do not sample Voltage at the same ‘instant’ as current.

      • Discus

        in reverse..100 7kw powerwalls filled with thousands of @d size cells regulators thought about it, as it looks they take 10 mins for all 1200 powerwalls to reach full 100mw output from graphs. back to your gridless solar farms everyone!

      • Chris Morley

        Trent – you are perfectly correct. If there is a generation shortfall of 560 MW, then there needs to be either 560 MW of alternative generation found, or the load reduced to match the remaining generation. The frequency will recover progressively as the shortfall of generation is regained.

        • Ian

          That is a curious thing. In a small electrical circuit, load must balance power source. But in a massive one like the NEM, is that strictly true? There are many loads and many generators all contributing. Intuitively you could say the grid could not handle a difference between load and generation of 50%. What about a difference of 10% or a difference of 1% or factors smaller than that. We know a household or even a suburb of households can pump rooftop solar into the grid at will without any apparent ill-effects. So, how much tolerance does a big grid actually have? Would a 25GW grid even feel the loss of 560MW of generation? Just posing the question.

          • Mike Westerman

            I think someone posted a reply somewhere on this: generators on the network will have somewhere around 3.5MWs/MVA of inertia, plus the grid itself will typically have at least 1MWs/MVA, so at 25GW, you have something like112.5GWs. A persistent deficit of 560MW is 0.5% so will pull the frequency down by about that amount per second if not replaced or about 0.25HZ/s in the first few seconds, so a lot more impact than you would perhaps imagine.

          • Wallace

            Whenever I’ve seen the actual waveform data from a grid it’s been pretty messy.

            This is a recent hour’s data from the UK grid. Variation around a nominal 50 Hz.

            https://dropsafe.crypticide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Screen-Shot-2013-01-15-at-08.28.36.png

          • Chris Morley

            Ian – some good questions, and your intuition is basically correct. A 25 GW grid certainly does feel the loss of a large generator (and small ones too). If one looks at system frequency, it appears (usually) as quite a noisy trace, with each rise or fall representing a change in the generation / load balance. If the system load suddenly increases, the frequency immediately falls as rotating inertia is given up as MW. And vice versa if load suddenly decreases. So, system frequency is varying all the time, usually within the normal operating band of 50 +/- 0.15 Hz. Machine governors and those units dispatched for regulation duty (not nearly as much as there used to be pre-National Electricity Market!) see that the frequency is brought back towards 50 Hz when there is an imbalance. Have a think about this: There will be a bigger bump (frequency change) on the system when a 500 MW generator suddenly trips on a day with lots of PV and wind generation, compared to a day with not much PV or wind. So the bump size is not just a function of the proportion of MW tripped. It also depends on how much inertia the system has at the time.

    • Mike Westerman

      I’m happy to be a moron that disagrees – ms response is only useful if a clean driving signal is available in milliseconds. Too many cats on a tin roof is havoc. Yes – one day we will have enough intelligent loads and devices to orchestrate an appropriate stabilising response in ms, but by then we will have very few 560MW generators tripping off. The strength of distributed generation is in having millions of small generators close to loads. And thousands of microgrids interconnected by DC links would overcome many of our current problems. But they’ll be with us until we move from centralised generation to distributed.

      • mostlyharmless42

        Hardly a moronic point. Here in the US, we have similar discussions. Supporters of renewables think that putting up more wind or solar farms will solve all their problems. I try to point out that it’s far more complex because our grid is similarly developed over a century based on centralized production of electricity.

        And because this grid has been optimized over a century of centralized energy production, it is NOT a simple matter to suddenly throw hundreds (if not thousands) of new power generation systems on to widely distributed parts of the grid and expect them to work together in harmony.

        Ultimately, I think we’ll see the grid evolve to be able to handle distributed generation, but it won’t (and can’t) happen overnight. Who knows, with systems like the Tesla Powerwall and some alternate means of generation (solar or wind), perhaps a grid won’t be needed for rural and suburban residential use (that would be my dream).

        But say what you want, there is no way solar and wind can currently meet the power needs of cities and industrial centers. Not when current solar panels have an efficiency of ~20% and cost ~1 US dollar per watt (and 2-3 USD per watt installed with supporting infrastructure). New York City, for example, consumes 11,000,000,000 watts on a typical summer day. It’s tough to see that need being met by wind and solar, alone.

        The theoretical max efficiency seems to be ~80%, but if we could get solar panels above 50% efficiency at << $1 (US) per watt, we can talk. (If we could make fusion generation work, it'd be a whole new ballgame).

        • Mike Westerman

          On your figures NY demand on a summer’s day is half the nameplate rating of the Texas windfarms. And $2/W is 11c/kWh levelised cost of energy so probably already in the money in many places – think of all those Walmart roofs or car parking needing shades. It will take time but the technology and prices are enough to make it happen.

          • mostlyharmless42

            I think we’re nearly there… certainly much closer than 10 years ago. The costs are still prohibitive, however.

            A 4.7 kW grid-tie system to meet my modest energy requirements at home is still so expensive that it has a 15 year payback period. And I still can’t use it as a backup power source if the grid fails (not uncommon in my area). If I added a battery backup system, the payback time would exceed the life of the system. (Things like the Powerwall might change that calculus a bit.)

            As I said, the costs need to come down significantly in order to motivate more people to jump into the market. And a less costly option for backup power needs to be available. Oh, and while we’re at it, change the net metering laws so I can sell back ALL excess power I generate; not just limit me to what I use.

          • Mike Westerman

            Count your blessings then that power is so cheap where you are. I put in a 6.5kW system for my daughter for AUD3.2k after subsidies (about AUD6k without) which is saving her $120/month ie payback of just over 2y. So in 18mths I’ll look at batteries if they’ve come down – at the moment they’re AUD750/kWh which gives well over a 10y payback but AUD500/kWh is about 7y so worth it.

        • Wallace

          Obviously more efficient panels would be great but let’s make sure we are using current prices in our discussions. Here’s 2017 unsubsidized costs for new generation in the US.

          Cheapest on top and most expensive on the bottom.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dde009c4041c88f357933de593c04a85f0a398a3cafa3f45e5458330c838c6c4.png

          “there is no way solar and wind can currently meet the power needs of cities and industrial centers”

          Depending on how one reads that it could be true or false.

          If you’re saying that we don’t yet have enough solar and wind online to power our cities, you’re right.

          If you’re saying that we can’t install enough solar and wind to power our cities, you’re wrong.

        • Ian

          how much would you think should be the maximum spent per person in NY to provide a renewables grid?

          • Wallace

            We know that climate change, let run wild, would be a bill we couldn’t pay. Based on avoiding extreme climate change there’s no practical limit. We could gold plate the system and still be ahead.

            On a more ‘acceptable’ level we probably don’t have to spend anything. Other than what we would otherwise spend.

            Our coal and nuclear plants are aging out. The average lifespan of a US coal plant is 40 years. We’ve got almost no coal plants that won’t be over 40 by 2050. We’re going to spend money to replace those plants.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fa19985e35aa6188bd1e6f504aabe7a6c4a96f5e067359af0e101ee8e6bab365.png

            Our nuclear plants are also getting long in the tooth. Even if we take the chance and push them to age 60 (20 years past their design life) they won’t make it to 2050.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9d5c9eba3c41a0d16aef1742795965fe6daecb5af040635b69101f73ebb2943e.png

            But here’s the great thing. Compare the cost of new nuclear, coal, wind and solar based on MWh generated and it costs about half as much to install wind and solar as coal and nuclear.

            Moving to a renewable grid actually saves us money. We spend less to get there. We spend less to operate the wind and solar plants. And we spend less on coal health damage and long term radioactive waste storage.

      • Chris Morley

        Mike, the driving signal is system frequency (which is available everywhere). Some simple smarts can then calculate the rate of change of frequency and act accordingly. This is basically how the existing Under Frequency Auto Load Shedding Scheme (UFALSS) works. Some load is dropped purely on a sufficiently low frequency being reached, whilst other load blocks can be shed (disconnected) based on how quickly the frequency is falling. Immediately prior to the SA blackout (28 Sept 2016), the lack of inertia in SA meant that the frequency fell faster than the UFALSS could react. It fell at about 7 Hz/sec whereas the UFALSS was designed for a maximum fall of about 3 Hz/sec.

        • Mike Westerman

          Sure but in a system with an incredible diversity of response time across the whole network, and very little inertia how do you stop the whole system from chasing its tail. Generally in systems that are distributed you set a hierarchy dictating who does what. It’s fine when you have a few very fast acting devices with limited capacity – they will throw everything they’ve got at the falling frequency and stay on unless the frequency collapses or recovers. If the UFALSS decides to slice off significant load and the low inertia system then goes to overfrequency, all those fast response devices quickly get off. The noise I refer to is not the frequency but devices understanding what the rate of change means: does it mean too many fast devices acted too quickly or that a chuck of load was disconnected. Control theory would tell you that reacting only to an error on frequency will lead to endless oscillation.

  • Ren Stimpy

    It really does bode well for a transition to a five minute settlement period years sooner than prescribed by the old fossils.

  • Kevfromspace

    It’s time for a faster inertia market. Bring on Fast Frequency Response across the grid. The AEMC needs to get up to scratch with modern technology!

    • Geoff Roberts

      The Hornsdale Power Reserve is not able to provide inertia.

      The term “synthetic inertia” is confusing to a lot of people and is best abandoned. Fast frequency response is what was delivered and it seems unclear whethe this was in violation of the connection agreement. Everything is shrouded in secrecy lest the ongoing cool vibe developed between Elon and Jay be disrupted.

      Inertia is the key property of synchronous machines that the grid presently relies on to clear faults. The fault current limit of an inverter connected source, like a battery, is the same as its full load rating. This by definition is insufficient to provide the current rise needed to be detected by protection relays which protect life and property especially so on days like today with high winds liable to initiate short circuits on Overhead lines.

      Mechanical inertia is delivered in virtually zero time lag coupling the mechanical energy of the spinning rotor, into electrical energy instantaneously and us certainly not dependent on the non-zero scan time of the control processor running an inverter.

      Some key questions remain as to life of the batteries, under various discharge rate and depth scenario’s.

      Neither good Enginerring nor serious R&D is usually done in front of TV cameras. That is more and more the place where Politics is conducted.

      • itdoesntaddup

        From what I have seen so far, the battery has performed well up to expectations in several dimensions. However, I think there are still some teething problems to be ironed out with excessive losses – or the storage is much bigger than claimed. They appear to have charged up over 160MWh at 75MW the other day over about 2 hours 10 minutes. Where did they put the extra 31 MWh, even if they started from empty (which they didn’t)?

        • BetelgeuseOrion

          charging batteries (or anything for that matter) is not 100% efficient but you knew that right?

          • itdoesntaddup

            Of course I know that. But 129/162 represents just 80% efficiency on charging alone, with a further loss to come on discharge. That is very poor if indeed the battery’s maximum storage is as claimed 129MWh. There is a possibility that the true capacity is somewhat larger, which would account for the discrepancy – I do not know, nor do I claim to know, but the data point clearly to either extra capacity or a problem. I’d be expecting a one way efficiency of 95%+, or 90%+ round trip as a minimum. What do you expect? Did you even think to check?

        • solarguy

          Ah, another f#$king troll.

          • Frank Underboob

            Yep.

      • Hettie

        Have you ever been satisfied with anything?
        It seems to me that a high speed short term response to events like the recent Loy Yang failure will prevent a growing number of system failures for long enough to allow more cumbersome entities to kick in. That’s what happened. The battery is a sprinter, not a marathon runner. It sprinted. The lights stayed on.
        Next thing you’ll be complaining because your bicycle can’t tow a caravan.

        • Mike Westerman

          Hettie – in truth the event was not more than a ripple – depending on the scale on the graph, at most 0.73Hz/s – with frequency decay rate limited by system inertia and mostly recovered by generation other than the battery. The speed of response seems to have been limited for the battery and everything else, consistent with AEMO studies of the time needed to detect and decipher events of about 250ms.

          But it is exciting to see it’s capability – even if tamed for the moment (limit of 7MW?).

          • solarguy

            But that’s all it needed to do though Mike, so it’s been a success. It’s just showing off it’s strengths, isn’t it?

          • Mike Westerman

            I think it’s great that even at this very limited output it cut in like it was meant to and behaved itself. I’m not sure that then concluding that it saved the grid from a thermal unit trip is a good idea: it primes critics for when the NSW or Vic systems pull SA over in the summer in concluding the battery is useless. And I think there is a good chance of NSW or Vic doing just that. If that results in SA and Qld disconnecting, but with SA blacking out while Qld stays alive, consumers will blame Weatherall as they did stupidly last time, with some help from the lies from MT and JF.

          • Alastair Leith

            Xenophon spouting lies on 730 (spurred on by the host, ABC’s resident energy expert Chris Ulhmann) about how wind stops generating when the wind picks up and that’s what happened did not help. Nor did Josh and Malcolm repeating this rubbish in spite of AEMO preliminary advise to the contrary.

          • Mike Westerman

            One of the singularly most disgraceful moments of that duo’s disgraceful occupation of the roles of PM and Energy Minister. Turnbull will go down in history as the most disappointing PM we’ve had, easily beating McMahon to that title, while Freydenberg competes with Canavan in mendaciousness.

          • Alastair Leith

            I really wanted to believe in Josh’s honest smile. But the more the right wing of his party force his hand, the more lying and denigration for the people actually trying to save civilization from catastrophic CC (which I think is at least 50% probably ATM) that passes his lips. Talk about disappointing. And apparently he fancy’s himself a contented for the top job one day… may the gods of mercy save us.

          • Cooma Doug

            Some numbers for you. There is a response factor based on frequency in all of the control options that is important to understand. If 3% was the norm.
            What that means is that 100% of the load will change the frequency 1.5 cps. Ie 3% of 50.

            Lets stretch that out to 10% and tune the fcas response to acheive that outcome. That means on a grid of 20gw a 500mw gen failure would cause a frequency excursion of
            5 x 500/20000.
            The frequency would fall to 49.5 hz if there was no response. The frequency would fall at the rate of change which speefs up as each symchronous machine leaves the grid.
            But this example is not a big deal on a 20gw grid load. With modern technology rapid liad shift and battery tesponses across the grid ot would not need a generatoon response.

          • Alastair Leith

            I was going to reply yesterday to Mike that Machine Learning may come to the fore in this space. If AI can fly a helicopter with one main rotor blade removed 20 years ago (when I first started reading about AI and becoming convinced we really are on the cusp of something big) then responding to frequency shifts that may or may not be trip related could be doable within months not years.

            And if anybody is in doubt that they’re here, those cyborgs promised to us in SciFi/dystopian literature with almost prescient ability for calculation and deduction, check out this Google machine learning algorithm that was not optimized for chess but taught itself and in one hour was at GM level and in four hours able to take on the best dedicated chess software on a mainframe in the world, and never lose to it.

          • Wallace

            In a RE grid would we see frequency shifts? We see drops in frequency now because spinning mass gets overloaded by the magnetic field around it (caused by sudden demand increase) and the ‘machine’ can’t pump enough energy into the mass fast enough to keep it speed-locked.

            The future grid will be controlled by inverters. Solar farms shifting from DC to grid AC. Wind farms will likely use battery smoothing in order to keep output frequency controlled. Battery storage will have to do the DC/AC dance.

            All those inverters can be synced. Can they not? Don’t even sync off grid frequency but use a common time signal.

            Let batteries deal with keeping voltage levels steady.

            (Or am I offbase?)

          • Hettie

            I must admit that inertia, frequency and such are way above my pay grade.
            I shall retire, baffled, from this discussion.

          • Mark Potochnik

            It’s really not too hard…
            Frequency. Power goes in alternating current back and firth 50 times a second.

            A generator runs constantly at a steady speed because of the weight it keeps on moving (inertia).
            But when the generator loses power the generator keeps on going using the weight. But slowing down means that the frequency is lower.
            The battery supplied power at the right frequency constantly.
            Because the battery doesn’t use mechanical motion it doesn’t need time to start up as a backup. Power and frequency are constant.
            Did I say that right? For a high school graduate and lousy skills… LOL!

          • Hettie

            Thank you Mark. That’s great. I understand the concept of inertia, just not the way it is important in power generation. More in the ships at sea context, and how hard it can be to get out of bed.
            The dicussions made it sound like inertia is highly desirable . From what you say, I think, it’s not so much desirable, as a feature of mechanical generation that has always been there, because moving objects don’t stop instantly when motive power (such as steam or falling water or wind ) stops. They slow down gradually, at a rate reflective of the fate at which they gather speed when motive power is applied. That ameliorates the damage to the overall system if a boiler bursts, but not if a turbine seizes in excessive heat, because then it does stop suddenly. Too bad about the boiler but the overall system keeps going. What I didn’t realise is that other generators slow down to stay in synchrony with the one that has lost its motive force.

          • Frank Underboob

            That’s not a bad way of putting it. The people arguing the importance of mechanical inertia here are refusing to acknowledge that modern electronics don’t need it to do the same job. It’s the same reason that all the people who complain that the Tesla battery can’t run the entire state for a day don’t know what they’re talking about – it’s primary value is in being able to kick in almost instantly to cover the gap until a slower, higher capacity generator (eg; gas turbine) can take over the load. The Tesla battery has just proved that it does the job it was built for, & done it well.

          • Hettie

            Thank you Frank.
            I am no engineer, just an interested lay person. Until now, the objections of certain commenters made no sense to me at a gut level.
            I am now comfortable that is because they made no sense.
            If your sailing boat is demasted, and the mast and sails fall into the sea (Loy Yang fails) but are still attached to the boat by the rigging, that will slow you right down (synchrony). Bring out the axes to cut it free. That takes time. A magic (electronic) cutter lets the repair team get to work and save the boat from being swamped while it still has some way on.

          • So, here’s another way to think about. If you are riding a bike and you start to wobble a rapid kick on the peddles gets you stable again. It’s less about the size of the kick and more about the rapid response. If you wait for someone else to see you have had a wobble and shout “peddle” you probably would have fallen off by the time you hear them.

          • Hettie

            All becoming clearer by the moment.
            Thanks guys. Love the way you help me out.

          • Frank Underboob

            Nicely put, Giles.

          • Callum

            Well said! lol

        • fehowarth

          Not hearing much in MSM. PM still sounding off. Time for him to shut up.

          • Hettie

            He has no off switch. Just keeps waffling.

      • Frank Underboob

        You literally don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • JonathanMaddox

          Actually he does, but he isn’t doing a good job of explaining it to the partisan crowd here.

          • Alastair Leith

            Coming across as partisan didn’t help him. Certainly knows more than me about energy engineering, but I disagree with his characterization of the importance of inertia.

          • Mike Westerman

            Inertia will remain a must until and unless every load and generator on the network can be directly controlled and listened to. Otherwise we need time to detect events and decide what they are, and in that time system frequency will rise or fall depending on system inertia. Just physics, but unfortunately mindbogglingly complex physics.

          • Alastair Leith

            Wind power can provide primary FR and inertia. Loads of engineering papers on it.

          • Mike Westerman

            They can and do on systems with limited RoCoF ie those with inertia.

      • JonathanMaddox

        This mechanical inertia is what caused the grid frequency to diverge from optimum in the first place! A single large “synchronous” unit ceased, instantaneously, to provide any services or power to the grid whatsoever, forcing other large “synchronous” units to slow down. They did not provide some massive surge up to “fault current”. They slowed down merely in proportion to the additional power required to meet connected instantaneous demand, until their mechanical governor units (with the assistance of the Hornsdale Power Reserve) were able to bring their mechanical parts back up to speed.

        While it’s true that much short circuit detection equipment currently relies on fault current surges, that’s not the only way to do it, and it’s far from the only reason for the desirability of what is described in the literature as a high “short circuit ratio”: the SCR is used as a proxy measure for a system’s tolerance to frequency excursions, voltage instability, voltage collapse and impedance issues. Even without providing short circuit surges, inverter-based infrastructure with fast response *does* address all those issues. The importance of surge current is reduced to a single dimension in the presence of better, quicker-responding stability services.

        In the long run, short circuit detection too can be done in other ways than by forcing massive excess current, far above normal operating limits, through damaged network infrastructure. I’d say it’s arguable that changing the way we do that would improve system safety somewhat.

        • Geoff Roberts

          I agree there was no short circuit/fault clearance issue in this instance. That was not the purpose of my comment.

          The real point is that there has to be a catch-up mechanism to provide (pay for design, and install) a means to adjust the protection strategies of the network and connected legacy synchronous generation equipment to work safely in the environment of a higher proportion of inverter connected sources.

          http://www.aemc.gov.au/getattachment/5776e240-cdee-4c95-a334-86f297aa1706/Infographic-1.aspx

          My comment about Jay and Elon was a misplaced attempt at humour. I actually respect what SA Government is doing. Some one had to start on the transition somewhere.

          • Alastair Leith

            Further to your Jay and Elon comment, “commercial in-confidence” cover for politicians is a scourge across every govt in Australia and a large part of why PPPs (private/govt partnerships) still get signed.

          • JonathanMaddox

            Unfortunately the linked infographic (like almost all the literature, and like your own comment above) effectively equates “system strength” and “inertia”. The infographic doesn’t mention short circuit currents or ratios, which are implicit in the very definitions of “system strength” up to this point. Much of that really needs to be reconsidered in the face of technical achievements in power electronics (not limited to, but including, solid state inverters) in recent years.

          • Mike Westerman

            Jonathan we are sadly a long way away from having enough information on loads and generators for enough of them to communicate other than by proxies like fault currents and frequency excursions. Even on microgrids it is fiendishly difficult to control a mix of high inertia/highly inductive loads on an inertia-less almost instantaneous response inverter system (ie large solar installation). I am sure engineers will get there, first on microgrids, then progressively on larger separable segments of the grid, leading to a cheaper, more reliable and robust network, somewhat akin to the very fault tolerant internet of today. In the meantime, we rely on something as ancient as the halteres on a blowfly (see http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/11/99/20140573).

          • JonathanMaddox

            I’m not at all worried about the ability to cope with frequency and induction issues using solid-state equipment, with greater responsiveness than traditional mechanical inertia, *as demonstrated today*. Likewise, we are developing strong abilities in coping with rapid changes in power and energy demand and supply.

            It’s the actual short circuits (and the ability to deliver enough current through them to melt things and kill people) which Geoff, above, was concerned about. He wants generators that can reliably deliver tens of times their rated current when the streams are crossed, just so that they can be reliably disconnected.

            I’m not sure that “communicating” between loads and generators is sufficient to cope with felled transmission towers, or substations hit by trucks or lightning. We need a reliable way to detect and isolate actual damage, so that people don’t get zapped and so that old-school equipment doesn’t melt trying to continue delivering “fault current” beyond a fraction of a second. (Millisecond and microsecond response times of solid-state equipment are going to be a boon here, I can tell).

          • Mike Westerman

            I agree re faults – we demonstrated that using vector disturbance relays on an embedded genset some time ago – it was more reliable (fewer false trips) and safer because of its fast response than other traditional fault detection methods. But this article is overblowing network frequency control capabilities of inertia-less devices, conflating response with control. We are a long way from that.

          • JonathanMaddox

            We have just *one* “big” battery contracted for frequency response, with a 100MW power capacity and which delivered just 7MW towards FCAS on Monday. So yes, we’re a long way from full control using batteries alone — of a grid with over 30GW of generation capacity. But then, each 500MW steam turbine driven generator itself can only contribute a few MW worth of FCAS; less than a 100MW battery can.

            Install a few more batteries and we’ll be a lot closer. They are coming.

          • Mike Westerman

            I agree more batteries will improve things. The difference between a switched power supply operating in very defined circumstances and high speed controllers operating in the mess that is the NEM is chalk and cheese. No doubt having more intelligent devices on the grid will help but we are a long way from determinant control. Likewise more localised microgrids and HVDC links instead of AC.

      • Alastair Leith

        With respect “Inertia” is not the end-goal. Frequency and voltage stability is the end-goal. Inertia came for free with coal and gas, other ways will be found, true inertia (gas turbines running at idle as synchronous condensers), and frequency stabilization through FFR and other methods. Inertia also has a down side, you can’t just turn it off in 10 millseconds when frequency and voltage have returned to the point or range the grid operator sets as the optimum.

        • solarguy

          Bloody good point, Alastair!

        • John Herbst

          An engineering lecturer described inertia using the metaphor of trying to balance a stick or pole on the palm of your hand. The longer the stick, the more inertia in the system, and the easier it is to keep the stick balanced. FCAS is like the movements of your hand, and inertia is like the length of the stick.

          After a moment it occurred to me that batteries can perform FCAS so fast that they can metaphorically balance a much shorter stick than we can, due to their sensitivity, speed and precision of response being far superior to our abilities. I picture them working so fast that it looks like they are doing nothing at all.

          • Alastair Leith

            Halting frequency decline sooner seems to be the name of the game. The longer frequency declines, the lower the nadir will be (which is a problem for energy users) and more intervention required to bring it back (which is a problem for the grid operator).

          • Frank Underboob

            It’s like the difference between old-school aeroplanes, which were inherently stable, & could be flown manually, vs modern fighter jets which aren’t, & require computer-control. The latter are scary for older pilots, but have dramatically better performance.
            An even better analogy for those who know electronics is the industry transition from linear power supplies to switch-mode supplies that took place between the early 80s & the 90s. Switchers were both scary & puzzling for those of us who grew up with linears, but the performance & cost benefits were staggering. Now, I can’t even remember the last time I ran into a mains powered device with a linear PSU, & I think coal-fired power stations will be just as rare in a few decades.

          • itdoesntaddup

            An ant can easily lift a multiple of its body weight. It doesn’t make it able to lift a 1 kilo weight, or even 50 grams.

          • Frank Underboob

            Shoo, troll.

    • Alastair Leith

      Maybe that way they could beat the 5-minute rule change by 2020 to the punch.

  • Tim Buckley

    Brilliant illustration of how technology will always beat coal as a solution for grid stability. Diversity of supply across multiple technologies is the answer, not more coal. Maybe Josh will wake up and realise how badly outdated his MCA advisors are in their thinking now that BHP has told the MCA to stop lobbying contrary to what their funder’s position is.

    • trackdaze

      Given BHP membership fees exceeding 10% of MCA member funding should have wrought more influence to this point.

      Big move by BHP but perhaps suggest complicity in the past.

  • itdoesntaddup

    Reality check here, but there is no way that 7.3MW from the Hornsdale Battery is going to have any measurable effect on the grid frequency following a 560MW trip. It may have responded to the frequency drop very promptly, but it was as effective as a gnat peeing on a fire. 7.3MW is a rounding error in the second to second normal variation in demand across the grid.

    Now if the unit had pumped out 100MW, it would have made a rather more material difference. The data I’ve seen show that they slewed from charging at 80MW to discharging at 100MW in 10 mins or less in testing – and I suspect there was a limitation on the speed they were allowed to ramp precisely to avoid causing unnecessary frequency drifts. Someone with access to second by second data may know more.

    It might make more sense to show that they are capable of extremely rapid response to a full 100 MW by pointing to second by second test data if it can be made available, rather than making this claim. After all, if the Heywood connector trips out, SA will need it.

    • You may wish to think that, but the AEMO data is unequivocal. The frequency drop hit its nadir after Tesla response and before Gladstone got out of bed.

      • And while you may think 7MW is a “rounding error”, I should point out that when AEMO puts in contingency plans in south australia for network outages, it seeks only a total of 35MW of FCAS. You don’t actually need a whole lot. But i suspect you know that, just preferred that others don’t.

        • itdoesntaddup

          So long as there is plenty of natural grid inertia from rotating generators and motors you don’t need much of a supplement. But then I expect you know that, and just preferred that others didn’t.

          • Ren Stimpy

            Stored energy’s electrical release substitutes for that. But then I expect you know that….

          • itdoesntaddup

            Grid inertia is stored energy.

          • Peter Campbell

            Just because a heavy rotating mass is one way of doing it, doesn’t mean it’s the only way of doing it.

          • itdoesntaddup

            I didn’t say it was. I said that if you already have plenty of inertia, you don’t need to add more capability. Your point is?

          • Peter Campbell

            ” I said that if you already have plenty of inertia, you don’t need to add more capability. Your point is?”
            As you well know, many of those rotating masses must retire soon. Denying the facts of climate change and equipment reaching retirement age will not change that. So, we will need more capability. But you knew that already.
            Perhaps some can stop burning fossil fuel but still help a bit as synchronous condensers.

          • Alastair Leith

            The sooner a frequency drop is halted, the less severe the shift in frequency becomes, thereby limiting the amount of power required to reverse it.

          • Mike Westerman

            Very true – but what do you respond to – respond to the absolute value of frequency and you’ll be too slow. Respond to the rate of change of frequency too vigorously and you will drive to instability. Inertia allows a fudge in the real world. We can’t signal faster than the speed of light, and electrons move at close to that.

          • nakedChimp

            That kind of problem has been solved ages ago.. check out control engineering and a PID controller for a start.

            Nothing is going to get out of control by using tech like that.

          • Mike Westerman

            By solved you mean if you have a system with inertia and set relaxed governor settings things stay stable. Very different with multiple rapidly changing sources of supply, little inertia and rapidly changing demand. PID has no hope.

          • nakedChimp

            I don’t know what kind of PID you have in mind, but I think along the lines of MHz cycles in the controller here, 100 nanoseconds or less per ‘decision’.

            50Hz is childs play compared to that (20 milli seconds).
            And changes in the network, where you actually NOTICE something is going on are EVEN SLOWER, we’re talking 200-400 milli seconds here.

            A CPU coupled with power electronics doing PID control will run 10.000 circles around you in that time-frame EASILY.

          • Mike Westerman

            All you see in microseconds is noise, even at milliseconds mostly all you see is noise, with the “normal” changes in millions of load elements on thousands of lines of different impedances and L/C characteristics, with hundreds of supply sources with hundreds of difference transient and subtransient behaviours on hundreds of different lines of different impedances and L/C characteristics. So until something significant happens all controls are set with a deadband in Hz and in delay time before they act, otherwise everything chases its tail. That’s the problem with AC – events don’t happen everywhere on the network at the same time. A very fast PID may not get the signal till the event has already passed, and respond to the ripple long after it’s too late to respond.

          • Frank Underboob

            That’s not actually how a smart power controller does this kind of job. I don’t think you’re appreciating just how fast & smart modern electronic control systems are. Traditional power systems relied solely on physical inertia because that was the only option available to engineers. That is no longer the case. As I said in another comment on this page, it’s like the difference between a traditional linear power supply – which relies on the ‘inertia’ of bulky capacitors & transformers, & a modern switch-mode power supply, which relies on a very fast electronic controller, which commonly adjust things around 10,000 times a second.

          • nakedChimp

            Naturally, if you put in a delay (long supply lines) into your feedback loop, the reaction of a controller will be delayed – who would have thought.
            But why would power electronics, inclusive fast PID controllers, have a problem with that scenario, if they are distributed and way closer to the loads with battery buffers, especially if they would be set to care about downstream networks?
            Not to forget that adding ‘ride-through’ capability is no problem, as it’s mostly just software.

            Has anyone actually ever thought about decoupling loads with buffers from the supply grid, like some UPS do, that offer power quality for anything downstream of it?
            So no matter how crappy or what state the grid is in, the power after it is clean and ‘rock solid’?
            This would distribute the problem (many smaller reactors vs. few big ones) and give a better outcome for everybody, with less control needed at the distribution level and smaller more capable controls at the consumption end.

          • itdoesntaddup

            If you do not control reactive power on your major grid links you end up with failed links and failed power transmission, however beautiful is your local substation. Transmission lines are themselves active components, and they need to be matched to their inputs and outputs.

            http://www.egr.unlv.edu/~eebag/TRANSMISSION%20LINES.pdf

          • itdoesntaddup

            I agree: those who have no idea of the practicalities of the harmonic and transient disturbances on a real grid need too be very cautious about assuming that they can determine the right course of action in microsecond timescales: take the wrong action, and it can make things worse.

          • itdoesntaddup

            If you can handle a small amount of maths, this explanation from NZ is useful in helping to understand the relationship between frequency and inertia:

            http://www.kiwithinker.com/2017/05/frequency-stability-and-energy-balance-a-description-of-the-interaction-between-frequency-and-grid-energy-flow/

        • Frank Underboob

          @itdoesntaddup:disqus seems to be some kind of anti-renewables troll. Check their posting history: https://disqus.com/by/itdoesntaddup/

          • Ren Stimpy

            Let me defend these guys in the name of free speech and everyone else’s right to have a say on the issue if they do indeed manage to keep it to the issue.

          • Frank Underboob

            He’s literally making shit up. He either has no idea what he’s talking about, or is deliberately spreading disinformation. I don’t consider that acceptable on a topic this important.

        • Mike Westerman

          That is where the battery will make a big difference

        • Random Internet Dude

          7 MW for 3 Min is roughly equivalent to 100 MWH discharge rate. So about the batteries rated max.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Ummm… no. 7MW is 7MW, and for 3 min is is 7/20ths of a MWh, or 0.35MWh (3 min being 1/20th of 60 minutes).

      • itdoesntaddup

        Basic physics, my friend. I’m quite sure the battery responded very rapidly, but the level of response was frankly irrelevant to resolving the frequency drop.

        • Ren Stimpy

          No the data says otherwise. You might be some political gobshite from another country trying to influence ours, but you need to respect the data. It seems clear that you don’t. Stump up some data dickhead, to back your claims, or just fuck off for good back to the completely boring place in which you live from which you feel the need to intrude on our fucking lifestyles!

          • Frank Underboob

            He/She is an anti-renewables troll. Check their posting history: https://disqus.com/by/itdoesntaddup/

          • itdoesntaddup

            No, the data do not say otherwise. Before the event, the grid frequency was oscillating within +/-0.05Hz of 50Hz before a brief slight over-frequency that appears to have immediately preceded the trip. The precise timing of the arrest of frequency fall is hard to detect on the presented data when there is an overlay of natural frequency variation. The chart does not show when the Queensland generator responded – that would require a chart of its actual output, not just the grid frequency.

          • Random Internet Dude

            If you read the article before commenting you would know:

            Data from AEMO (and gathered above by Dylan McConnell from the Climate and Energy College) shows that the Tesla big battery responded four seconds ahead of the generator contracted at that time to provide FCAS (frequency control and ancillary services), the Gladstone coal generator in Queensland.

            Your trolling comments just don’t add up.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Maybe you are seeing a different page to me, but what I see

            is one chart showing grid frequency and the output from the battery, and another chart showing the falloff in output from the Loy Yang unit with the battery output overlaid on a secondary scale (that gives the false visual impression that the battery replaced the Loy Yang unit’s output, which is of course completely untrue – naughty naughty). I see no data supporting the timing of the actual intervention from Queensland, only a claim that on the face appears to be based on the first chart, and perhaps on the fact that the second chart shows the battery starting up just as the last sighs come from Loy Yang.

            But perhaps you can point to DATA that shows otherwise. A chart of the timing of the output from Queensland would be a good place to start.

      • JonathanMaddox

        Bear in mind that all the other closer synchronous generators have governors and would also automatically be responding to the frequency drop without being instructed to do so from several thousand kilometres away.

        • yep, but the governors are pretty relaxed. not many responding so quickly. that is what is the issue here, speed. one battery doesn’t make a huge difference. but imagine a dozen more! or two dozen. etc etc

          • JonathanMaddox

            Bring ’em on!

          • Mike Westerman

            Nothing seems to have responded till 49.78Hz, tho more likely that is a delayed response to hitting 49.85, the AEMO control point. Within the following 10s between 49.85 and 49.78 during which the frequency continued to fall, hydro, GT and steam sets would have wound up, with the steam sets then falling away until their burners wound up. Switching in and out of the battery produced no obvious blib on the curve. I also don’t understand why it only ramped to 7MW or so.

          • BushAxe

            You’re correct in that the battery is only trying to restore frequency back too the 0.15% bandwidth, the battery would be responding to the frequency disturbance it sees at Hornsdale as the disturbance ripples across the network. Unfortunately the data resolution needs to be improved to see the speed of the actions.

          • solarguy

            You have hit the nail right on the head there Giles. My thoughts exactly.

      • itdoesntaddup

        Look, the typical parameters for a grid battery’s use for rapid frequency support run something like this:

        So long as grid frequency remains within +/-0.1 or more usually +/-0.05Hz of standard, the battery is free to charge/discharge as desired, up to a maximum of about 10% of rated power/charging capacity, and provided it does not ramp too rapidly within that envelope. Because the battery must respond to both over and under frequency events, the target charge level will typically be a little over 50% of storage capacity, and it may need to use the flexibility this offers depending on how the grid corrects the average frequency following an event.

        When the grid frequency diverges outside the very narrow tolerance band, the battery is expected to charge/discharge at a rate that is proportional to the over/under-frequency (with a narrow tolerance around target output), reaching 100% charge or discharge rate at +/-0.5Hz, with a maximum response time of 1 second. It is expected to maintain 100% charge or discharge while the frequency divergence is above 0.5Hz for up to 15 minutes – hence why many of these batteries are sized with 30 minute durations.

        So how did the battery do against those criteria? Grid frequency broke down below 49.95Hz right on the dot of 1:59 a.m. Looking at the chart you have provided, it appears that the battery didn’t respond at all for about 15 seconds. When it did, the grid frequency was about 0.23Hz under frequency, which would call for a response of 23/50ths, or 46% of battery power capacity, or 32.2MW from the 70MW dedicated to grid support, and maintained 25-30MW for at least the next couple of minutes, and lesser support until about 5 minutes after the event started until it ended after 2:04:30 whe the frequency returned about 49.95Hz.

        In short, it was a long way short of what other existing grid batteries are supposed to be doing. Now, the battery is still very much in the testing and commissioning phase, so we shouldn’t expect it to be set up to achieve that sort of performance just now in response to live events. Equally, you shouldn’t pretend that it is providing a proper FCAS service already when it plainly isn’t.

    • Ren Stimpy

      You obviously didn’t bother to read the article. Reaction time is tantamount in such events. Just a small amount of fast-reaction battery from the Tesla installation at Hornsdale was able to pinch-hit while slower-reaction FCAS began to (far) more slowly react.

      • itdoesntaddup

        I read the article very carefully. But I suggest you read up on how grid frequency excursions are limited to a significant degree by grid inertia, and restored by making up the lost power or demand as the case may be.

        • Ren Stimpy

          I suggest you modernise your reading material.

          • Frank Underboob

            Yes. The troll seems to be drawing their bizarre arguments from 1940s era electrical engineering textbooks.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Surely there is an advance on Victorian values at this website?

          • Ren Stimpy

            as in the state of Victoria?

        • Mike Westerman

          Nameless, inertia doesn’t have a reaction time by definition, so your attempt at an answer falls flat – the frequency fell for 30s to about 49.78Hz – inertia would have determined this rate of fall but can’t “limit” the quantum of the fall. The frequency then slowly starts to rise as all unblocked plants ramp up a short time after the FOS reaches the -0.15Hz limit. Steam sets react almost immediately their governors detect a frequency change but run out of puff quickly until they overcome thermal inertia, GTs and diesels slower but able to sustain increased output below their ratings. As the AEMO report on FFR indicated, all units including the battery would normally be constrained from reacting in the first 100-250ms of a fault so as to discern between persistent and cleared faults during rapid (3Hz/s) frequency collapses but that doesn’t seem to have been an issue here, with all plants, the battery included, reacting to a 0.15Hz raise signal.

          • itdoesntaddup

            I am sorry that I did not make it sufficiently clear that inertia lowers RoCoF, giving breathing space for replacement power to be injected into the grid, rather than allowing frequency to fall below the point at which trips expand to a system black. Of course, the energy stored in mechanical inertia is limited – at the grid level it is usually measured in GW seconds, or just seconds at grid demand level: I would guess that for the NEM it is of the order of 10-15 seconds. For those less familiar with the physics, it is useful to think of the duration of grid inertia as being the time that the grid could theoretically keep going without any fuel input before coming to a dead halt by using up the flywheel energy stored in the rotating devices if it could simply switch over. For the grid the key is how long it can keep going before it hits frequencies at which trips result in system blackout. That defines the time in which replacement generation must power up.

        • BushAxe

          You are quite dismissive of the battery, this is all uncharted territory as to how a grid scale battery will react in a large transmission system. Unless there’s a precedent case to reference I’d suggest watching what happens rather than assuming what we already know applies.

          • itdoesntaddup

            I do not dismiss the battery. I dismiss the extravagant claims being made for its operation in this instance. It is hardly the first grid battery, even if temporarily it is the largest by storage capacity. There is already accumulated experience with operating grid batteries in this kind of scenario in several US states and European countries, and the kind of contracts they have for frequency support I have outlined. There are good reasons to suppose that once commissioning is complete, this battery should be able to meet those standards: Tesla are one of several companies that have installed such batteries already, but it was a long way short of them on this occasion, which is hardly surprising given that we are still in testing and commissioning.

        • Ren Stimpy

          The following article contends that there are options for grid inertia if other adjustments are made, and a grid could be evolved to the point of not needing inertia…

          http://reneweconomy.com.au/inertia-power-system-dont-actually-need-much-65691/

          I won’t pretend to understand the maths in great detail, but what I can get my head around is that large inertia has a lower ramping gradient than smaller inertia. In other words a larger inertia has a slower reaction time than a smaller inertia. Which brings us back to this article, which is mainly about reaction time.

          • Wallace

            Big flywheel vs. small flywheel.

            Big flywheel slows less because it has more stored energy. But it also takes longer to bring back to full speed.

            (That’s my take.)

          • Ren Stimpy

            Yep. And obviously it’s going to be a significant cost to have big flywheel B generating the same inertia as big flywheel A (when B is mostly not needed) just in case A trips for some reason. Surely it’s much cheaper to deploy fast reacting FCAS services like this battery (and wind turbines) to give B a chance to start up on its lower gradient but only when needed.

          • Mike Westerman

            There’s no additional cost in having inertia – a considerable amount is contributed by the loads: every motor on the grid contributes, plus effectively the energy stored in the network contributes. All turbines/generators using rotating parts contribute. For non-inertia generators to contribute to grid stability requires not only that the react at the appropriate rate but also they get the appropriate signal as to what to do. Nothing happen in this event till the frequency dropped by 0.2Hz because that is the set point for contingency response. If in the future we have lots of batteries and little inertia the challenge will not be in how fast they react but making sure they react to contingency events not to each other’s reaction otherwise the whole merry-go-round crawls up its own orifice.

          • Ren Stimpy

            Does every motor on the grid contribute? I have read that some gas plants don’t participate in FCAS because it would be uneconomical.

            Whether it is for load or FCAS, this grid requires a lot of ‘spinning reserve’, and that costs – probably unnecessarily. There’s apparently a means here to reduce the cost associated with large fueled spinning wheels that are powered up to speed but unused for long periods i.e. for reserve purposes only.

          • Mike Westerman

            The network has what is described as “self regulation” – all the forms of stored energy, quite apart from whether you have the capacity to schedule it or sell it (as FCAS). Yes spinning reserve can be significantly reduced by batteries, but it also can be reduced by load shedding. In Australia load management has had a death wish for ever, as tho it was evil to volunteer to turn your lights off for a fee. But pumps are often marketed as curtailable load – they can be readily tripped with little consequence. Our obsession with centralised power stations with ever larger units has led us to carry enormous environmental costs, reserve being one.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Thank you for pointing me to the article. I think the real discussion is in the comments, where there are several well informed commenters. The real points are

            1) You need to replace the generation supply that is lost (or shed load =impose power cuts to match) – something that wind turbines and solar PV are not set up to do currently – there is no reserve capacity unless you are in a curtailment regime, only what is being produced from moment to moment. The speed with which you need to do that is related to how much inertia there is in the system.
            2) The capacity you need to replace can be quite large if you lose an important transmission line – e.g. the Heywood connector can be 600MW in normal operation, but in extremis it might be cooking at over 800MW before it trips (implication you might need a lot of expensive battery capacity that you are only going to use very rarely, since it has to be available to switch whenever there is a problem, and it would need to have long duration – perhaps days or weeks until a transmission line or transformer is repaired – as well as power capacity, or other backup):
            3) Very rapid response to a major event in a low inertia system has to be coordinated to avoid uncoordinated responses acting to destabilise the system and that is a communications challenge, particularly if generation is highly distributed: each generator must be told how much extra to provide almost instantaneously. In contrast, the slower response needed in a high inertia system is automatic in the first instance, and only instruction to the spinning reserve needs to be made – plenty of time is bought by the automatic reaction to achieve that. Think of it as the truck rides over a bump in the road that would be enough to throw a motorcycle into the ditch.

            Unmentioned, but also true, is that you need a much more robust grid to handle alternative power routings when you have low inertia.

            There was no discussion of economics, but there are good reasons why grids are not falling over themselves to provide sophisticated systems that no-one has yet produced and tested in large scale environments (i.e. attempting to provide stability for the entire grid rather than a small contribution) in preference to something that is known to work, and is much lower cost as things stand at present.

            That grid battery systems are being tested in quite a few countries shows that there is some thought being given to the future, but the reality is that these systems are still largely experimental while operational experience and design refinement takes place.

            Incidentally, I don’t think the battery reacted fast at all – at least 15 seconds after Loy Yang tripped, while all the automatic response around the grid was already cranking itself up. That is not to say that the battery could not have responded sooner and harder had it been set up to do so. Of course it should be able to do that once commissioning is complete.

          • Mike Westerman

            Replacement of load in a contingency event is usually covered by reserve, and if FFR can reduce this then the benefits to generators should be shared to the provider of FFR. 800MW in 38GW across the NEM is only 2% and well within even a reasonable minimum reserve.

            Heywood running at 800MW and causing chaos in SA when it trips is precisely why this model is dumb: if SA doesn’t have enough solar and wind at a particular moment (say at night on a calm summer night), then supply of the 1,500MW that would be likely should be from 1GW of local supply (ie local PHES plus behind the meter batteries) leaving a Heywood trip unlikely but in any case able to be covered by load shedding in the first instance followed by standby generation shortly thereafter (biodiesel fired OCGT). The idea of smartmeters providing FC is not dissimilar to what the Paladin device or the Fronius solar inverter do with load management – it just needs to be included in the software. I am currently building a Raspberry Pi version of the same thing for solar load management but once I have batteries and if the incentive is there, I could just as easily use the same devices (CTs, power controller and RPi) to do FC.

            But on the broader front, as one of the posters commented, STATCOM with storage is already being deployed as an upgrade of SVCs – I would have to research how many installations are deployed in Australia but there was an IE Aust workshop on them a few years ago. ABB is pushing their version pretty hard. These systems respond in ms after reaching their set point in pf or frequency deviation, with those using superconducting magnetic energy storage being incredibly fast (again not sure how many of those are out there in the real world) – how fast HPR responded and what it exported would be in the settings.

          • Ren Stimpy

            The nuclear fanboys got a hold of that article’s comments section, so enough said about that. Probably the most certain thing here in Australia regarding our electricity system is that no nuclear power will ever be introduced. The second most certain thing is that no new coal burners will ever be built. Both of those certainties are based on the economics and to a lesser extent the politics.

            So as we begin a period where our existing coal burners are one-by-one dying a natural death from old age, we do have to transition to a system with less inertia … less of the big (and wasteful) spinning reserve and more other reserve that is also dispatchable (pumped hydro, batteries, and possibly hydrogen fueled power plants and biomass power plants) and yes better demand side response and better energy efficiency. Our system does need to get more sophisticated there’s no doubt about it, but it will be cheaper in the long run to use modern tech (for which the costs are plummeting) than to replace our old coal burners with new coal burners. And the time to start planning and deploying this more sophisticated system is now.

          • itdoesntaddup

            I dug out this PhD I looked at a while ago that may be of interest: much of the discussion is quite easy to follow for non-technical people, (just skip over the few bits of maths), and it covers many details and explanations and gives examples from around the world. It is promoting a different solution in the form of automated demand side response in household appliances, but along the way it explains some of the communication issues, as well as scoping out many aspects of frequency response. We’re talking about adding some quite sophisticated electronics that would raise costs for consumers (including replacing most of the smart meters that have already been installed that lack key capabilities), and it would take a long time to achieve a high level of domestic penetration.

            http://orca.cf.ac.uk/35740/1/2012SamarakoonKPhD.pdf

            The system is not designed to cope with a zero inertia grid – just one where inertia might be down to about 3 seconds.

    • Hettie

      And do you expect a race horse to pull a heavy cart?

      • itdoesntaddup

        No, but I don’t claim that it could.

        • Hettie

          Oh. You don’t understand metaphor either.

    • AllanO

      You’re copping a bit of flak here for pointing out the bleeding obvious @itdoesntaddup:disqus !

      The response of the battery is certainly fascinating in showing how this could all work when there is a lot more fast frequency response capability on the grid.

      But you’re completely right in pointing out that an injection of 7-odd MW by itself would have minimal effect in limiting system frequency decline when 500-odd MW drops off. It’s the combined effect of everything on the grid responding to the imbalance (load relief, inertia, governor response, fast raise service etc etc) that determines the rate of frequency decline and nadir, not a single piece of equipment in South Australia!

      • Michael Murray

        So the test would be has someone got a similar graph for a similar event from before the battery was installed ?

    • manicdee

      “The data I’ve seen show that they slewed from charging at 80MW to discharging at 100MW in 10 mins or less in testing”

      What’s the resolution of that data? Given a five minute bidding period, it wouldn’t surprise me to find that the battery was switching from full output to zero entirely within one bidding period (as you said, gnat pissing on a fire), then switching to full charge rate and back to zero inside one bidding period, just to demonstrate the capability of the battery to respond instantly to changes in demand.

      Make no mistake, 100MW / 100MWh output capacity is going to skim the cream off the wholesale peaks, regardless of how gnat-like that capacity may be.

      • itdoesntaddup

        The resolution of the data I can see is 5 minutes. I agree it is possible that the ramp rates tested are very likely faster, but I have no way of knowing just how fast for the (almost – can the battery charge at 100MW?) full range swings. I suspect that they will have been asked to constrain themselves to what e.g. Pelican Point can manage as offsetting ramp rates for these larger scale tests. There is also a question of switching transients that can have undesirable effects – a softly softly approach to testing out the system’s susceptibility to producing these, and the effect on the grid will doubtless be built into the test regime.

    • Mike Westerman

      Nameless I agree with you that the impact of 7MW is undetectable – the curves of frequency show no “blibs” when the battery switched on or off. But it also shows that the battery didn’t apparently respond any sooner that other plant, even if it did respond faster – everything seems to have responded to a 0.15Hz set point, as per AEMO operating controls. If Heywood trips, there will be load shedding, in which case the regulatory capability of extremely fast voltage and frequency responses of the battery will be crucial – but this trip was not illustrative of that.

      • Tom

        Contingency services kick in at a deviation of +/- 0.2 Hz

  • Grpfast

    And it begins! All who refuse to accept change will be looking to hobble battery response. Bring back 19th century where we were safe in the dark..

    • Joe

      Standards Australia might take up the ‘hobble battery’ idea and…Bring Back The Bunker ?

      • Alastair Leith

        Don’t joke about it, exactly this, seems to be on their to-do list!

        • solarguy

          Sadly, yes, but they will lose.

          • Alastair Leith

            Over we become a banana republic. Mind you, there’s new battery chemistry just around that corner that doesn’t have the thermal issues that LithIon has.

          • solarguy

            Thank fuck for that! But then there are the flow batteries that are here now.

          • Alastair Leith

            Yes, flow battery wholesalers might need to loss lead to get their deployment levels up and help them alone the learning curve to be cost competitive.

          • neroden

            Actually, all energy storage methods have thermal issues. If you put high amounts of potential energy into a small space, it will ALWAYS have an issue where if you overheat it it will burn/explode. This is inherent to storing large amounts of potential energy in a small space.

            Of course, with coal we consider this tendency to burn to be a virtue. :sigh:

          • Alastair Leith

            I’m suggesting there are battery chemistries that don’t have the thermal management issue requiring limits on power and energy performance characteristics that are anywhere as limiting on theoretical performance of lithium ion batteries. Whether they can also perform on costs and energy density remains the only obstacle to commercialization. With some many battery chemistries in R&D and some even in a commercialization phase across the valley of death, “watch this space”!

  • Hettie

    Shared to Facebook, with this preamble

    All you who scoffed at the SA Big Battery, read this and weep.
    Those who had high hopes of the battery, rejoice. It is far exceeding expectations.
    Renewables with battery rule, OK!

    • Free from the sun. We want to disintermediate the fossil fuel suppliers. After disintermediation comes detachment (2030). Debasement (2040) follows detachment and then disestablishment (2050) is the final step in the process to end coal.

      • Hettie

        Your lexis has a certain alliterative charm, but is somewhat clunky.
        Your timeline is way too slow.
        At that rate, by 2050 we’ll all be fried.
        The new AEMO statement gives a far more optimistic, though still conservative, timetable.
        With AGL rejecting the rehabilitation of Liddell in favour of renewables on purely economic grounds, and BHP putting the Minerals Council on notice regarding coal for the same reason, it becomes very clear that coal is moribund. The tipping point appears to be imminent.
        But yes. Those who can are investing in solar at accelerating rates. Some can afford batteries and will leave the grid. Others, like me, invest in oversized systems to cover the standing charge and overnight, bad weather use.
        Installing more panels costs way less than big batteries, and for careful users, with halfway decent FIT, can completely eliminate power bills. As well as prop up the grid at times of peak demand.
        Market forces, the darling of the Coalition in all matters but this, will see coal off. Soon.

        • I have made a correction. Coal out by 2030, oil out by 2040 and natural gas burning ceased by 2050.

          • Hettie

            Do you not think that the price of gas will see it retire from the field far sooner?
            There are those who see zero emissions by 2030.

          • Alastair Leith

            I’d suggest fossil gas burning needs to be out way before 2050 if we’re to peak at or below 2.0 ºC above pre-industrial levels (currently at 1.2 ºC above pre-industrial and 1.0 ºC above IPCC’s 1850-1900 benchmark, add to that ~0.25º of climate lag and removal of ~0.25º of cooling particulates emitted from coal smoke stacks and jet turbines, and the remaining carbon budget is wafer thin and eroding fast — seeing as humans decided to listen to the soothing messages around economic growth and FF funded denialism).

            Burning unconventional fossil gas and LNG can be worse than burning coal in terms of GHG emissions per unit of energy dispatched (Howarth et al Cornell Letter etc etc).

            Sure, gas has a role as fast peakers and gap filler in the winter wind droughts for a transition, but the actual quantities can be far less than current consumption.

            SEN’s modelling for 85% RE on the SWIS grid shows a third of the current gas use in a role for peaking, gap filling and covering winter wind drought outages in wind and solar, even with demand growth in line with BREE forecasts (historically way optimistic for generators).

            Power2Gas via H2 electrolysis with otherwise spilled generation and plantation biomass processed into biofuels under (biochar) pyrolysis (mallee crops have co-benefits of reducing dry land salinity and wet season water logging) may well be more economical in some places than fossil gas at some point and more economical than overbuilding solar, wind and storage (and tidal/wave if they get into the real money) to cover two weeks at a time of winter demand (wind drought and overcast weather which we get on the island SWIS grid).

            By 2040 the installed capacity (overbuild) of PV is likely to be massive due to behind-the-meter savings bonus and also peer2peer trading which will also generate export income higher than whatever FiTs are available at the time. Or at least allow people to provide energy to relatives who can’t install PV for whatever reason at low or zero cost. I just can’t see fossil gas having a role by 2040 even at fire sale prices, the infrastructure to extract fossil gas is currently already hideously expensive and that upstream investment will become more and more risky as cheaper RE paired with cheap storage become the norm. And cheaper storage is something I think is a certainty with so many new chemistries being in R&D and even being commercialized as we speak.

          • RobertPPruitt

            Batteries have their place TBS, but for massive energy storage they suck. They’re expensive, they wear out, and you make lots of pollution and hazardous waste in the mining and refining of rare earth minrtals.

            For places that have the right geologic shape (hills and mountains) train car energy storage is MUCH cheaper and basically lasts forever with pretty low maintaince.

            I’m also curious what the energy storage capacity of a system using a frame attached to the outside (or inside in new construction) of tall buildings and having a motor/generator lift a heavy weight with extra power and lower it when the generator is needed.

            Same principal as train car energy storage.

  • Diego Fuentes

    So not only is it not as useless as the LNP says, its even more useful than its proponents anticipated.

    • Alastair Leith

      Meanwhile Snowy 2.0 was winding the flood gate open, let alone waiting for the water to hit the turbine 30 seconds later…

      • Mike Westerman

        I’m quite sure Snowy 2 will use Francis machines so they will be suitably submerged at all times! But they won’t have fast inertia. Other pumped hydro slated for SA will however be capable of ramping up several 100MW in 5-10s, plus providing considerable inertia to reduce the RoCoF.

        • Alastair Leith

          The “moving water” to hit the turbine I guess is what I should have said. 30 seconds was possibly an exaggeration if Tumult 3 ever passes the economic feasibility thresholds and gets built, but obviously it’s role is to time shift generation from Hunter valley coal — I mean renewables — not FFR.

          My point was Turnbull announcing Snowy 2.0 and denigrating the Hornsdale (Tesla) battery, i.e. trying to have a pissing contest with Weatherill rather than constructively contribute towards the necessary goal of a 100% RE system.

          • solarguy

            I under stand what you saying. It has become quite clear to me batteries coupled with PHES will have the fast response in the first instance, then the turbines carry on the load response, for a longer amount of time.

          • Robin_Harrison

            Until the turbines in turn are replaced by batteries. Have you seen how many battery factories are planned. Renewables plus storage is already at cost parity with FFs so It wouldn’t surprise me if growth in that money tree exploded next year. That’s going to bring EV parity a lot faster and another explosion of growth.
            This is getting very exciting.

          • remoteone

            Agreed, I would not be surprised if half a dozen more batteries were not either installed or on order within Aus’ by this time next year.

          • Alastair Leith

            Agree, and we’re still on Lithium Ion batteries, wait until the new chemistries with cheaper inputs kick in 😉

          • Robin_Harrison

            It’s worth remembering there’s also exponential growth in battery tech R&D, so the new chemistries are probably closer than we think.

          • Wallace

            Pump up can store days of energy simply by making the reservoir larger. It’s going to be hard to beat PuHS for deep storage.

          • Robin_Harrison

            We can have it all and we need it all. PuHS will need help during drought.

          • Wallace

            Build the storage reservoir large enough to withstand a few years of drought.

            And, even better, cover the reservoirs to mostly eliminate evaporation. A great place to put a floating solar farm.

            Batteries will like be cheaper for short cycling. Storing electricity for up to 2 or 3 days. But out past that point it’s probably going to be cheaper to use PuHS, flow batteries, hydrogen storage or biofuel plants.

  • networthless

    Great!

    Let’s decommission every coal or fossil fueled plant worldwide. While the stationary batteries shoot their wad in an hour or two, we can find our candles and light them. The sun will come up in the morning.

    • Ren Stimpy

      No one is suggesting that you dimwit!

      • Joe

        Ren…just another Trollee getting you all excited

    • My_Oath

      Show me on the doll where the big bad battery hurt you.

    • Barri Mundee

      You or the FF company that pays you to spout non sequeturds like yours are showing your fear that coal and other FF’s are on the way out and BAU will be dead.

    • Please.

  • Joe

    Tomorrows newsrag headline…Big Banana, Big Prawn lover, ‘lump of coal Scotty’ is now in love with SA’s Big Battery.

  • Robert Westinghouse

    Perhaps time for Trumbil to eat humble pie. But he and his mates are too arrogant. But the news is postiive, for us not Trumbil.

  • Fred Nerk

    What were the implications if the battery wasn’t there?

    • Frank Underboob

      A huge price spike on the market, resulting in higher bills, & possibly brown-outs.

      • Stephen Barrington

        Hmm, without sounding like a smart arse can I ask for any proof of this ? when they lost 560 MW of generation I don’t think the 7.3MW the battery put in would have made much difference

        • Frank Underboob

          It ate the very short spike in demand that otherwise would have had to have been filled by the super expensive vulture suppliers on the AEMO spot market until the cheaper suppliers came online. This is literally the exact scenario the battery was created to deal with.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Not in this instance. It was the middle of the night, and there was plenty of reserve power available: prices didn’t even flicker.

            Now there are other instances that you could have pointed to , starting with the 70MW discharge on November 30th, where there is a very clear apparent smackdown of high and volatile prices.

          • Frank Underboob

            Prices didn’t flicker because the battery kicked in & did its job. Duh.

          • itdoesntaddup

            The grid did its job while the battery turned on a glowlamp to see what was happening.

          • Frank Underboob

            Oh please. Go cook yourself a delicious coal casserole, troll. The days of coal fired generators are well & truly over – get used to it.

          • itdoesntaddup

            Someone who has looked at some of the other generators suggests it was hydro that bore the brunt of sorting out the problem. Meanwhile, it will take quite some years to replace the many GW of coal generation in the NEM, unless you want to move to rotating blackouts (sorry, extended periods of demand response) while you wait for other generation to replace it.

          • Frank Underboob

            Oh, I think it’ll work out just fine. Not as soon as it would’ve if the LNP weren’t dancing like monkeys for Gina, et al, & nobbling renewables here, but now that even billion dollar taxpayer subsidies aren’t enough to make coal power stations profitable here, even Barnyard & his mates in Sydney are going to have to wake up to themselves.

    • itdoesntaddup

      In this instance, none.

  • Peter Signorini

    I love the ‘wild West’ imagery, hahaha!

    Hello Mr Turnbull….. Mr Morrison….. something, something, batteries and renewables won’t…. something.. (mumble)…. SA has it all wrong….. somehow 😜🤢

    • Coal the destroyer. 👿 👿 👿

      • Mark Potochnik

        Solar the coal destroyer.

        • Yes, all those coal miners will get new jobs. The don’t “own those jobs” anyway and there is growing employment in renewables. The end of the coal industry is Australia is nothing, nothing at all but a blessing.

  • Glenne Drover

    Why did the frequency go down instead of up?

  • Chris

    lol a cute 7 megawatts it added to the network? these massive coal generation machines are just like anything else out there, prone to failure. Eventually this little battery system in SA will start showing issues, especially when it reaches its much more limited life span in comparison to large scale generation units.

    • mick

      in that time coal and gas might be dead batteries may be 1/100th the size and weight built from materials not yet thought of nano tech power generation from any exposed surface and hopefully a 30′ statue of elon musk standing out side canavans office while a heap of this generation of rwrnj pollies standing in dock of the hague

      • itdoesntaddup

        I think you mean some sort of nuclear powered device. A bit like the batteries they deployed on the deep space satellites like Voyager decades ago, only much more powerful.

        • mick

          i mean no such thing however the space analogy could have merit given mining companies will exploit off planet minerals as soon as it gets cheap enough to do so

      • Hettie

        I know that conversation has no punctuation, but it has inflection, pauses and other means of clarifying meaning.
        To post without punctuation is not only lazy, it is a form of bullying. You are demanding that your reader make a huge effort to understand what you can’t be bothered to make clear.

        • mick

          mea maxima culpa

        • mick

          i attempt no recantation but observe that modern speech being so influenced by media is adjusted to sound byte therefore indeed has punctuation 🙂

          • Hettie

            That’s bullshit and you know it.

          • Mike Westerman

            I think there should be a comma after “bullshit” Hettie 😆

          • Hettie

            Nup. A single thought, fully formed.

          • mick

            🙂

  • petergoggin

    If we ignore the childish “Tesla big battery outsmarts lumbering coal units after Loy Yang trips” hype and look at the actual data, the frequency dropped to 49.77 Hz and while its true that the 7.3MW supplied by the battery helped, it is really small bikkies in the scheme of things where all other generators need to supply the 560MW.
    Be nice if the author could concentrate on the facts and the engineering aspects, rather than his obvious advocacy for the battery.

    • Ren Stimpy

      But you don’t have the data petergoggin to say it is or it isn’t, you simply don’t have the data.

      The Tesla battery did act in millisecond timing to help prevent the trip of that network, but you simply don’t have the data because old you and your favourite old grid managers don’t want to record this kind of data in sufficient detail! If it was up to you we would never know – in this the most rich data era in history. Do you ever feel you are too old now petergoggin and perhaps it’s time for you and your cronies to step aside and retire? I think it’s time we read and interpret far more data than your old generation was even prepared to collect, let alone analyse.

      • John Herbst

        Come mothers and fathers
        Throughout the land
        And don’t criticize
        What you can’t understand
        Your sons and your daughters
        Are beyond your command
        Your old road is rapidly aging
        Please get outta’ the new one if you can’t lend your hand
        For the times they are a-changin’

        • solarguy

          Ditto, gotta love Bob’s song! Too true.

          • Michael Murray

            Yes but a bit biased to Blowin’ in the Wind. Not much of a solar PV guy as far as I can seen. You’d be better with The Beatles “Here comes the sun …. “

        • Mark Potochnik

          WOW! Love it! I will save that one!

    • solarguy

      I think your missing the point completely!

    • petergoggin

      You people just love this propaganda! You are not interested in the engineering facts or the data, all you want is that the battery will “save the planet”.
      That’s not science, it’s faith,

      • solarguy

        Not the battery my dear moron, but many batteries and they, will help to save the planet. Not you!

      • Mike Westerman

        Less faith based than believing pouring shit into the atmosphere and oceans can go on forever with no impact. Most people have a lot of faith in their leaders to lead them to a better place, and that is the faith most dashed in Oz at the moment.

  • solarguy

    Wandered into the bar for a glass of milk! Giles, no mate, surely that was for a Wild Turkey Honey & Coke. The only beverage that was fitting for this occasion.

    Milk be damned!

  • This just makes me incredibly happy!

    • solarguy

      Your not alone Adel!

  • epicycler

    early days, but the fast 6 seconds, slow 60 seconds, and delayed 5 minutes, up/down frequency control contracts will eventually be recognised as redundant technical requirements based on how rapidly older technology can react rather than what frequency stability is really required. Contracting independently with SA Government “behind the meter” is probably designed to avoid the constraints of an AEMO battery prison.

    Separately, to add to the fun, the FCAS contracts are written around the 5 minute bid periods. Its the only place I know of where $ / MW / hour is a valid unit. But fortunately its then divided by 12 to get back to $ / MWh. Massive paradigm shifts required in the network and how the management systems are developed and function.

  • Gareth Smith

    You should have seen some of the dumb-arse comments in The Australian a few weeks ago about all these people saying it was a huge waste of money and a white elephant because it could only power the state for 6 minutes etc etc etc.

    I tried to point out the benefits of stabilising the grid but I guess most people just don’t understand how complex it is to maintain grid stability.

    • Stephen Pace

      Yep. I tried to counter some of the arguments, but some people don’t want to be educated.

      • remoteone

        Persist. I had a conversation with a relative of mine who had swallowed the 6 minutes line, hook line and sinker. He had never heard of frequency stabilisation but once explained it, a kind of dumbfounded look came across his face and he mumbled the word … logical.

        • Ros Marsh

          Are you 2 having Xmas dinner together, should be a blast.

          • remoteone

            Ha! Well, as it happened, it WAS our pre-Christmas get together and it was fine. It just demonstrated to me how damaging the typical media language around the use of the battery has been.

          • facepalm

            Happy it wasn’t your pre-Christmas-row…. 🙂

    • Pete Austin

      This battery stabilised the grid 6 seconds faster than it would have been stabilised anyway. Very Cool. But if this is your answer to people saying it’s a huge waste of money, you’re gonna have to prove this extra speed is worth spending the huge cost.

      • DooMMasteR

        so, next time, we will simply not have the battery react, and then see if the grid fails?
        not a good idea 😛
        at 49.9 GW a lot of non essential consumer start flicking off anyway (larger ACs and stuff that has frequency guard), so the network also gets stabilized by the lower consumption, which also happens faster than any other power plant could react.

        • Chris Morley

          Interestingly, most solar panel inverters will automatically disconnect from the grid when the system frequency falls to a low enough value. IIRC, the majority of them don’t disconnect until 47 Hz, but some disconnect much earlier at around 49 Hz. Of course, this is a very undesirable trait when the grid needs every other bit of generation to hang on and to ride through the disturbance.

          • Wallace

            They disconnect to protect line workers. It’s a necessary safety feature.

          • Mike Westerman

            I would think it safer to protect workers thru dead bus relays or loss of frequency which no doubt they already have. As long as it doesn’t overload the inverter I can’t see why they shouldn’t ride thru big swings.

          • Wallace

            Can’t tell you the best way to do it. I suspect that the decision to disconnect and island the system was made in the very early days of end-user solar and that’s how it’s been done since.

            I know there was a lot of concern when the first grid attached systems started being cobbled together. That concern may no longer be valid seeing how many people go to the hardware, but a generator, and start running their house on in. You know some people fail to throw their main breaker so lines end up hot.

          • Chris Morley

            That’s right Wallace – for safety reasons they are obligated to disconnect on loss of grid. The point I made is that they also have an under-frequency trip, which is not useful when there is a shortfall of generation. Some trip much earlier than others.

          • DooMMasteR

            That is needed for safety when the grid is turned off by will.
            Yeah it is a bit tight, but usually the power grid is rock solid in frequency.
            since most huge consumer will disconnect before the generators will step out, the issue is more or less hard to trigger.

          • Wallace

            “but usually the power grid is rock solid in frequency”

            There’s a graph of that rock solid stuff at the top of the page. Look at the first three minutes.

          • DooMMasteR

            here 0,150 Hz is the outer limit and @0,200 Hz ragulation starts… (additional plants + knock-off of larger power consumers)

      • mostlyharmless42

        This wasn’t the intended use of this system (which is meant to store power generated by the wind farm for times when wind is less than cooperative).

        But it does demonstrate its utility. If the power on the grid was left to drop for the 6 seconds it took for the other power sources to spin up, there could have been cascading, wide-spread failures. Most large grid failures start with something small, the spread as other parts of the grid are not able to fill in the sudden shortfall.

        • Chris Morley

          The other power sources don’t have to ‘spin up’. They are already spinning at synchronous speed. All they have to do is open the throttle (eg. a steam valve; or a guide vane on a hydro set) a bit more to get an immediate increase in output.

      • Pete Austin

        This sort of incident has happened regularly over tens of years so it’s clear that the grid operators knew what they were doing and had arranged to handle it. Citation needed if you’re going to claim that coincidently, exactly when the Tesla battery goes live, the existing backup strategy stops working and risks cascading failures.

      • Chris Morley

        Pete, there is a lot of misinformation circulating about what the battery did (including in the original article here). The battery contributed only about 7 MW for about 3 minutes (according to the graph above). Whilst the battery seems to have provided its burst of power almost instantaneously, be assured that many other high inertia generators (coal and gas), whether enabled for 6 sec raise FCAS duty or not, will have provided a very fast inertial response within a fraction of a second. Following that, automatic governor action of many machines, plus responses from those on 60 sec raise FCAS would have made up the majority of the 560 MW shortfall. Battery installations will have their place, but we might need a large number of them distributed around the grid.

  • Daniel Francis

    I highly doubt that putting 8MW into the whole NEM on the loss of a 500MW machine could make any measurable difference. Dont get me wrong I am for batteries for this purpose but a lot more would have been needed to make a difference. What do you think would have happened a couple of weeks ago before the battery on this event, 49hz, 48hz? System black? My estimate is the result would have almost exactly the same.

    • Ren Stimpy

      About ten times that was available from the battery but then the
      (thousand times slower reacting i.e seconds) generators kicked in.

    • Hmmm. so you say that a machine built in less than 100 days cannot do the job of a fleet of generators built over decades. I think you are missing the point. Cast your mind back to the photo of 5th Avenue with a single motor car in a sea of horses and carriages. That’ll never work they said. 10 years later and cars were dominant and there was a single horse and carriage.
      This story simply illustrates how quickly the tesla battery reacted,. Imagine now there are more, and then more, and then more: the result, a smarter, cleaner, cheaper and more reliable grid.

      • Daniel Francis

        Giles, you are right I have missed the point. I thought you made the claim the battery arrested the frequency but you haven’t. Its just the language of the article was quite strong. Anyway I do apologise I’ve gone back and read the article again.

      • Geoff Roberts

        Giles, I have seen said photograph pair and it is impressive, but misleading. The transition to motorised transport took much longer than 10 years.

        In rural areas where food and fibre is produced to keep the sophisticates on 5th avenue fed and clothed, horses, which could be bred on the farm, and fueled with hay grown on the farm, made an elegant solution which persisted for many years after 1911. Some neighbours of mine used horse teams to farm right into the 1960’s. They had a car which they literally used once a week.

        Alastair mentioned using Gas Turbines at idle to provide mechanical inertia. A typical heavy duty single shaft gas turbine, uses 70% of the full load fuel rate just to maintain synchronous speed. (Most of the fuel fed into a GT is used to run the air compressor. Usually the controls need to be set to trip below about 20% power. I have seen a client running a 120MW GT continuously at this low output limit (“idle” as Alastair called it) to firm the output of a similarly sized wind farm. Costs them quite a bit to be seen to be green.

        Yes an important objective is to keep the frequency and voltage constant, but as the families ~130 Victims of the Black Saturday fires which a Royal Commission attributed in large part to Power lines) would attest, fault clearance is also an important function.

        The aerospace analogy was somewhat apt. Yes a modern fighter jet depends entirely on fast acting controls to fly.

        Another analogy may help. A double brick home with small windows provides thermal inertia making it quite comfortable to live in during extreme temperatures. On the other hand a modern lightweight building even with insulation, requires heating and cooling, with associated controls to maintain comfort. Isn’t that a form of synthetic inertia?

        As the AEMC infographic explained rather clearly, I thought, (but it is in the eye of the beholder) provision of inertia has been put under responsibility of the Network companies, but that means it just goes onto the consumers bills, rather than being paid for by the Invertor-connected power source proponents.

        I have no issue with this, provided it is transparent to the public who pay for it.

        Giles is free to choose whatever headline he chooses to promote readership of his worthwhile publication.

        I (still) think this can be a useful forum, more so if participants would respect the views of other contributors, and not label them as trolls if they proffer a different view than ones own.

        • Wallace

          I suspect a lot of the delay to motorize farming was created first by the Great Depression during which few farmers would have had the money to purchase a tractor. And then by World War II when domestic production basically stopped so factories could turn out war materials.

          On our family farms we had three 1949 tractors, a 1949 pickup and a 1949 2 ton stake bed truck. I think that was the year in which my uncles felt that the economy was solid enough for them to risk going into debt for equipment.

          My grandfather continued to farm well into the 1950s with horses, until he was no longer capable. He’s said that horses didn’t make economic sense. He could have put his hay and pasture land used for his team into supporting more cattle and selling more milk, steers and heifers. But he couldn’t deal with sending his beloved team off to become dog food.

  • Sconi grower

    I too love renewables and massive batteries, but that graph for the power supply is horrendous. Stretching the y-axis for the power output of the battery by 6,600%? Lining up the peak outputs of the battery and the gas power plant? I’m disappointed. Should have just stuck with the graph showing power output and frequency.

  • Flyingfish42

    Very cool piece of tech. Fast response power buffer. Now break that up, spread it around the country, tack even more solar and wind on it, and then you will be cooking with propane. Fossil fired power gen will have its place for the next 50-100 years, but as the batteries last longer, get a deeper capacity, and cost less that place is going to get smaller and smaller.

    • No. End coal 2030.

      • Flyingfish42

        Good luck with that. We have several hundred years worth of easy to reach coal and less than 20-30 for oil and natural gas. Coal isn’t going anywhere without an order of magnitude change or two in price or output of alt power.

        • Wallace

          Man will never fly.

        • fehowarth

          Saying same about horse a century ago. #auspol

        • Thanks. Many reserves have to stay underground. It is required to prevent dangerous global heating. More coal or planet to live on; the choices are stark. I think I know what will happen.

  • Reminds me of anti-slip technology in my Model S.

    Anti slip is just the rapid response of potential energy (petrol, battery, etc.) into kinetic energy or torque at the tire. In petrol cars, when a tire slips, there is a significant lag from when fuel flow is reduced to the engine, the engine combustion forces are reduced, and heavy-weighted crankshafts slow, and that reduced torque is translated to the tire. So much that automakers kludge it by applying ABS brakes at the slipping tire to reduce torque faster, which also has some of the delays of a mechanical process.

    Meanwhile, my Tesla can measure and react to slippage about 1000 times per second. The delay between detection of slippage and torque reduction is measured in low milliseconds. Thus the car has better traction.

    Both this and the Hornsdale case show us that a fully electric, digitally controlled process is going to respond much faster than a mechanical process. The results might be a slight help, or might prevent a catastrophic accident.

    Lastly, Ozzies, I hope this warm Xmas season, all your babies remain safe from dingos.

    • Frank Underboob

      Bush fires are a much bigger issue here than dingoes, but thanks anyway. 😉

  • Đenan Hajrović
  • Chris Baker

    I’m really curious about what is going here and I’m a bit put off by how partisan the discussion has become.

    I think there is some overly zealous wording in the article such is the excitement this battery seems to have engendered.

    For example this statement

    “Importantly, by the time that the contracted Gladstone coal unit had gotten out of bed and put its socks on so it can inject more into the grid – it is paid to respond in six seconds – the fall in frequency had already been arrested and was being reversed.”

    gives the impression that it was the Tesla battery that arrested the fall in frequency. I know it doesn’t actually make this claim, but as the only two generators discussed are Gladstone and Tesla, it gives the impression these are the only two generators doing any work on picking up the frequency.

    To continue the analogy, Tesla wasn’t the only gunslinger to fire some shots. For the frequency fall to have been arrested so clearly, there must have been another 550 MW or thereabouts of power injected by other prime movers in the system, or by some load shedding. Because it happened at 1:59 am I’m guessing there would have been a few steamers running at part load and readily able to inject some extra power into the system.

    I’d like to make the observation that correlation isn’t causation. The text suggests that there is a causal relationship between the Tesla battery injecting 7MW of power into the grid, and the frequency excursion being arrested.

    I’m suggesting that it could be just correlation between the two, and only just a wee bit of causation. (maybe about 7/560ths worth of causation)

    That the Tesla battery responded even though its 1000 km away shows how marvellous it is that the frequency of the grid itself is such a good mechanism for signalling when a response is needed. And any generator watching this change in frequency would also have responded.

    We also know that there are (luckily) still some synchronous generators in the system that haven’t turned their governors off, and would respond to frequency excursions such as this, even though they are not being paid to do so. Maybe there’s some hydro available, and perhaps even spinning to be able to quickly pickup some load. Chances are these generators are the other guns in the ok corral that opened fire when Loy Yang dropped its bundle.

    I’m a bit confused about the time scale of the charts in this article. As Mike Westerman says, is it really 1:59am that is shown in the timescale, or is it xx:x1:59 am.

    Anyway, if the scale is in hours and minutes (that is, 01:59 really does represent 1:59 am) then we can see that the frequency collapsed over about 20 seconds and the output of Loy Yang 3 collapsed over about 30 seconds. Somewhere towards the end of the collapse of output from Loy Yang 3 the battery injected its 7MW into the system. The timescale of this chart is not fine enough to really see how quickly the battery is reacting, and we don’t see the output of Gladstone, or indeed any other generator to be able to compare it too.

    When I look at the Aneroid site I see that hydro stations Murray and Tumut 3 showed an increase in generation at a time matching the Loy Yang trip. Murray increased from zero to 250 MW and Tumut from zero to 110 MW. This is a meaningful contribution to making up the lost 560 MW. I can also see that that some of the other Loy Yang units and various other Victorian steamers increased their output by about 10 to 30 MW each around this time. Oddly enough I don’t any serious increase in Gladstone output at this time, but various Qld steamers show a blip of increased output. Perhaps I don’t understand the system well enough but it sure looks to me like it was the hydro that did the heavy lifting in this event.

    The time scale of the Aneroid site is too coarse (5min data) to be really helpful in comparing the response of these units to the response time of Tesla and I would find it interesting if we could see the output of these units compared on a second by second basis.

    By the way, I’m a supporter of the use of batteries in the system and I’m sure the battery will make a useful contribution but I am yet to be convinced this incident is an example of it making a difference.

    It would be great to see a followup article showing how some of the other generating units in the system responded to this event.

    • So, i have ordered a graph which shows the time response of the various generators.
      GE did a very interesting report for AEMO earlier this year, and included this graph which shows the various phases of fast frequency response – arresting, rebound and recovery period. No doubt the big generators did the rebound and recovery, that’s what they paid to do. But there a pretty clear case that the FFR of tesla did much or even all the arresting.
      page 16. https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/Files/Electricity/NEM/Security_and_Reliability/Reports/2017-03-10-GE-FFR-Advisory-Report-Final—2017-3-9.pdf

    • So, i have ordered a graph which shows the time response of the various generators.
      GE did a very interesting report for AEMO earlier this year, and included this graph which shows the various phases of fast frequency response – arresting, rebound and recovery period. No doubt the big generators did the rebound and recovery, that’s what they paid to do. But there a pretty clear case that the FFR of tesla did much or even all the arresting.
      https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/Files/Electricity/NEM/Security_and_Reliability/Reports/2017-03-10-GE-FFR-Advisory-Report-Final—2017-3-9.pdf (page 16)

      • Chris Baker

        Thanks Giles. That’s an interesting report and I’ll take some time later to read it rather than just a quick skim. From a pure physics point of view I don’t understand how the arresting phase can be achieved by other than injecting an amount of energy similar in magnitude to what has been lost. Of course that may just be my poor understanding of the process. Anyway it will be interesting to see some graphs of other generator responses. Cheers, Chris

      • itdoesntaddup

        I’m glad you have done that: perhaps with good data we can clear up how the problem was really dealt with.

        Not so sure about your last claim though. Try looking at Figure 1 in your reference (top of page 8). It suggests that for a contingency of 560MW you would need 400MW+ of FFR in a separated SA grid with still a good amount of inertia available (9GWsec). Of course, the whole NEM has much more inertia, so that buys a slightly lower response requirement – but 7MW just won’t cut it. Besides, the battery didn’t respond at all for quite some seconds according to your chart, while the traditional response was in fact probably already cranking up (read the description of this on p 15, and note the almost vertical drop on going through 49.96Hz is followed by a slightly less vertiginous decline to the bottom on your chart).

  • Peter Richardson

    AEMO doesn’t record in milliseconds, why, because it doesn’t need to! The frequency drop as occurred was not critical, most people want have even noticed it. The battery response was extremely quick which is fantastic, did it save the grid? No, the grid would’ve survived the same as any other time an old and outdated generating unit tripped. One 100mw battery can not replace 560mws

    Perhaps if the other states all had the same battery bank as South Australia, then, between them all we could cover one single generator unit tripping for a relatively short period of time, hopefully long enough for that unit to come back online to recharge the battery banks before they too are exhausted.

    I hope this battery continues to impress, I hope it is the first of numerous such initiatives.

    Clearly the day of coal powered stations are numbered, but we can not just keep closing them, they need to be replaced with more modern technologies like Solar. Australia has now got itself into a ridiculous position, we are burning gas and diesel for electricity at unsustainable rates, just look at the 100 plus diesel generators currently being installed in Victoria.

    Yes, bring on the modern renewable energies, please, but we need to do it in a manner where we can replace our outdated technology without just shifting to gas and diesel as is currently the situation.

  • Terry Naputo

    Elon Musk’s AI has responded!

  • Reinhart Hansen

    A good hype article and plug for renewal energy, but something doesn’t compute here!
    560MW lost from Loy Yan and only 7.3MW injected by the Telstra Big Battery to stabilize the grid frequency? I’m no mathematician but but even running at maximum output for 1hr the Telstra Battery could only supply less than one fifth of what was lost by Loy Yang dropping its output by 560MW. That’s like saying I’m thirsty but accidentally knocked over my full glass of water, but its ok because I was able to re-fill it with 1 drop of water in a few milliseconds. How does that help my thirst?

    • remoteone

      I think a closer analogy would be that you are getting a flow of water through a narrow funnel and have a shaky hand. Absentmindedly you let the funnel drift a bit far from the flow, fortunately your helper robot notices very quickly and nudges your hand ever so slightly to maintain the flow.

  • Jim Schwarzbach

    “Hence the acronym HPR in such tables.”

    Can we just call it BFB?

  • Hyperspherical_Cow

    So basically, all the “oh boy golly gee” stuff you went on and on about is that batteries, with no moving parts, can respond instantenously, whereas generators take a few seconds. That is the jist of this entire Tesla tongue bath article.

    Also talking about the battery like it’s a living thing. It responded because if felt like it. Because that’s what good neighbours do. Batteries have feelings too after all. Yea that’s it. Not something more mundane like the fact everything is interconnected on the same power grid.

    I’m a Tesla fan but when people start treating the company like it’s a cult then I push back and call BS when necessary. Also, they are not the only ones doing this. It’s not rocket science. Hyundai is about to build a battery that is much larger than this one.

  • TW

    Hate to tell you this, but unless you are aware of detail technical requirements, you can’t accurately make statements such as have been made in the original article. And, with respect, to make these comments without knowledge and comment on VAR generation ( voltage support) will inevitably result in incorrect conclusions.
    the most important question is of course – did the battery do what it is supposed to do.
    When a unit trips, the following things happen.
    1. The turbine / boiler unit trips. The generator stays connected to the grid and generating until the steam trapped in the turbine is dissipated. That is why output ramps down over about 40 seconds in this case.
    2. As a result, the system voltage and frequency fall.
    3. the reduction on voltage causes the excitation systems on all in service generators to ramp up. Typically this will take about 60 milli-seconds( ms). Yes, the big steam units would have al responded to the voltage dip and most in that sort of time frame.
    4. As the frequency falls, the governors on all the steam units would have opened fully. This can happen in less than 100ms and stored steam from the boiler increases power output. Yes this would have happened on all steam units.
    5. Batteries and wind turbines can be programmed to respond to voltage support and power support.
    6. If a 560MW units trips, you need 560 MW to replace it. You can’t claim that the 10 MW the battery did “saved the day”. It was a contribution and as I said at the beginning – did it do what it was supposed to do? The battery control systems are programed to respond with a certain characteristic. Analysis of the response is highly technical and specialised. Undoubtedly the technical people are doing this analysis. In the mean time, note the response and smile. But know that you are not in a position to know if the response was correct. Also know, that all the units connected to the grid also responded and, unless you also look at the VAR generation and the required response, you can not make any judgement.
    tw
    7. The

    • rob

      DO YOU WORK FOR RUPERT?

      • TW

        I am a long time supporter of renewables and I also have enough technical understanding to know when claims are made that are incorrect.
        These pages are full of outrage when the conservatives make unjustified claims. What I am pointing out is that unjustifiable claims were made in the article. These need to be and should be challenged.
        The Tesla battery is a good thing. It responded to a Loy Yang unit trip for the reasons that I stated, along with all the other units on the system. That is great, but don’t claim it saved the world.
        tw

        • rob

          You definitely work for the LNP, RUPERT, THE RIGHT WING SHOCK JOCKS AND THE RIGHT WING OF THE lNP…..ESP MY MATE COREY BERNADI! What vile company you keep!

  • Chris

    I feel like this guy works for Tesla. There is so much Tesla branding in here its crazy.

    You don’t by chance had any alignment with Tesla, Giles Parkinson?

    • rob

      DICKHEAD!

    • No. Tesla don’t pay for marketing, they don’t need to. Sorry, I mentioned Tesla 10 times in the story, but it is a story about Tesla. I’d do the same for Sonnen or any other brand if they did something as interesting. Which I have.

      • Chris

        I looked at your coverage, and there is a lot of Tesla (you have a handy page where it categorises it). Are you able to cover Australian renewable more?

        We have the skills and ability to produce the same things here, yet one tweet is all an American company needed to get the gig. It would be really great to see us showcasing out own stuff.

        • That’s called a tag, and it exists for every company we mention. We’ve written more about Australian renewables, and storage projects in general, than anyone else. That’s why we have 15,000 people getting our daily newsletter, and about 2 million others who have visited the site this year. You should subscribe. It’s free!

          • Chris

            Here is your page of tags relating to renewable organisations.

            “Companies involved in Automation & Renewables
            Tesla
            Google
            Apple

            Are there no Australian companies you could mention?

            I also note that Tesla is at the top of every list you have it in.

          • Chris Fraser

            Relax I reckon. The Australians will make themselves obvious for their proximity and technical merits soon enough.

          • Chris

            The ‘Australians’ already have technical merit.

            But far be it for me call out a site who only lists Tesla, Google, and Apple under the banner of Renewable companies.

            Going by the deleted comments (thank-you mod – though they still hit my email inbox), there seems to be a disdain for anyone to speak out on it.

          • Chris Fraser

            I’m hoping for good news from Redflow, an example of Australian participation and often mentioned here. Will their manufacturing arm return from Thailand and be 100% Australian ? We’ll just have to wait and see.

          • RobertO

            Hi Chris Fraser, Redflow will never return to Australia. There is a “Free Trade Agreement” with Thailand. Australia imported some 2 million cars from Thailand and Australia exported some 100 cars to Thailand. This “Free Trade Agreement” works really well for Australian manufacturing.

          • Chris Fraser

            Ha ha … maybe Aussie will manufacture bigger ships to bring all the stuff down.

          • Oh really? send them through? I’m the only moderator on this site and i did not delete any of them. Typical troll allegation. Can’t find a conspiracy, create one. As for the tags you refer to, that is just a google search mechanism. I think you are the only person to go to that particular box. The tags i was referring to are the ones that sit at the bottom of all stories and allow for easy access to stories of the same subject.

          • Chris

            Ahem – https://imgur.com/a/a2OKt

            I’m not trolling, everything I have said is true.

          • Wallace

            Someone can make a post and then delete it. You’ll see the email but the post won’t be found on the site.

          • This is a screen shot of the deleted comments on Disqus. As you can see, only one by me, for foul language, and the others from yesterday by the users themselves. So, either you are making stuff up, or you never posted them. I suspect you made it up, given you went to the extent of saying the comments arrived in your inbox. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78c9cf47e1e585773a002077e7b7e7a268213a6b749c441112bfe4c0701b9405.png

          • Chris

            I don’t quite get it – You are looking right at it. Are you saying that you moderated it, but that doesn’t prove that it was moderated?

            My goodness.

          • Ren Stimpy

            Haha yeah I do remember deleting that one when I finally sobered up.

            Every comment I make on this site – because IMO this is one of the best/most interesting sites on the web thingy – is made in good faith but sometimes in a not-so-good state (glug glug). I regularly review my comments and delete or edit anything that was snarky, off topic, illogical, irrational, ranty, overly political, or just a stupid attempt at humour that belly flopped.

            Looky here it’s 6:30pm on Xmas eve and I’m completely sober – I might have to delete this very comment tomorrow because that is so irrational.

          • ah, i misunderstood you. thought you were accusing me of deleting your comments. No, just others.

        • Alastair Leith

          You don’t realise that some 70 companies (including many Australian companies) tendered for the Hornsdale Battery project? I’m sure the 100 day or it’s free condition played to Tesla’s favor, and their (well maybe we should say Panasonic’s) production line capacity, it had to be ready for summer, an election result could be hanging on it.

          • Chris

            Yeah sure, the whole mess was created by politics – ie, we closed down base load plants and introduced renewables without doing the kind of architecture and testing that is essential for what is critical infrastructure – then look like desperate idiots as we jump onto twitter to make it happen before an election. Really great planning…

            Its not just state, its also federal and the energy regulators that need to share that blame as they should of swung a stick at the state and knocked the idea on the head before it happened, and ensure a better planned integration – it tarnished the renewable brand and gave those extreme right wing elements fuel to smack down renewables.

            I don’t know if Tesla was the only ones that could of delivered, I don’t like the contract being closed, I don’t like that ‘part’ ownership of the energy it has either (in fact I dislike all private ownership in energy) – and worse I don’t like that we built our largest renewable infrastructure without making Australian jobs or supporting the Australian industry.

          • Mike Westerman

            But what is politics? The word derives from “citizen” but thru poor leadership, we have let decision making fall into the hands of the few. As we saw with the SSM process, Australians are not ill-informed, conservative or disengaged when leadership is shown. We have allowed taxation and power sharing between Fed and states to distort all semblance of sanity and good governance. I think Giles is doing a great job at trying to shift the popular debate, even tho’ of some things I strongly disagree with him or think he gets carried away.

  • George Rechnitzer

    As a professional engineer involved in the Loy Yang power station design for the SEC at the time, it is appalling to see this heavily exaggerated and propaganda laden article, particularly with the heading “Tesla big battery outsmarts lumbering coal units…”.

    The fundamental inanity of this article is that coal power stations are well known to be BASELOAD with no intention of performing as equivalent to a battery which is inherently designed for immediate response!

    The comparison is absurd – a reminder that electricity flows at near the speed of light so why wouldnt a battery based system be expected to respond rapidly and why would a distance of 1000km matter at all??

    The article is full of disingenous puffery and does its best to glowingly embellish the utility of the battery system. Clearly the battery would be drained in short order were it to provide anywhere near the capacity of the Loy Yang unit!

    Such articles are a tragic example of the dumbing down seen in the energy and climate change debate where meaningless tangential “victories” are trumped up as heralding a glorious new era of virtuous clean energy! From the comments this is clearly how many readers have interpreted it.

    Im all for intelligent energy efficiency and technological advancement but articles like this do not progress improvements to smart energy efficiency and prudent environmental programs.

    • Chris Fraser

      I agree the article talked up new technologies, and now the public sees their utility. But I don’t think the battery is any the lesser for not having huge storage capacity like you wish. The article also appears to show that spinning generators are prone to simply ejecting out of their desired frequency range, simply because they spin and so much can go wrong with that. It’s not such a great edification of ‘synchronous’.

      • itdoesntaddup

        A thought experiment for you: what happens when you don’t have spinning generators and there is a loss of supply because of damage to a key transmission line?

        No need for thought, really – the experiment has already been carried out, and it led to a system black in South Australia. The Hornsdale battery has been sized on the assumption of there continuing to be a significant amount of rotating grid inertia.

        A second thought experiment: what do you do at night when there is little wind and you have no rotating generators? What does it cost?

        • Chris Fraser

          Wind can’t produce synchronous generation, or at least not be very good at it. The rotation speed of the wind turbine nacelle is multifactorial but is dependent on wind speed, feathering of turbine blades, and load. Inverters attached to these generators just follow some other ‘synchronous’ generator already on line.There may come day when rotating generators simply leave the grid, because they found an energy source which reacts more quickly. If you think it through there’ll be benefits. Such as less need for FCAS. How then, would you add a generator, synchronise, and have so little time to do it ? Technology will eventually provide an answer.Transmission lines should be so much more capable than simply transmitting electrons. They can also transmit data, like remote-read smart meters. The standard setter for frequency and phase angle could be via data transmission, produced artificially, on any part of a grid left standing after a storm, for all inverters that wish to join. There’s no longer any need to wait for those big, slow, (dare we say lumbering) generators. No more systems black. Thought exercise complete.

          • Alastair Leith

            or go nuclear — with atomic clocks for syncing 🙂

        • Mike Westerman

          As I’ve put to you before, the most obvious partner for the significant overbuild of solar that will occur because the incentive is there for households, is pumped hydro. Local pumped hydro in the Flinders Ranges would very likely have prevented the blackout, taking some of the reliability pressures off both Heywood and increasingly unreliable Vic lignite plants. The levelised cost of supply from the projects I am currently looking at will be well below gas, including the purchase of power and round trip losses.

          There is also obvious scope for disconnecting older turbines locally in SA and using their generators as synchronous condensers, if lack of inertia becomes an issue.

          I agree with George tho’ and your own comments re this article: it doesn’t make sense to me to conflate frequency regulation services and post fault contingency services: batteries and other non-mechanical devices may well cost effectively cover the first, but the second requires large amounts of power (which could be distributed) at least until we have fewer very large generators on the network (which seems unlikely until Kogan Ck is retired in 20y+ time.

          • itdoesntaddup

            I suspect we’re in far more agreement than you might like to admit. The only real energy store that is likely to be economically competitive at the scale required to attempt to turn intermittent renewables into dispatchable power for quite some time to come is hydro – providing the sites and the water resource can be procured. The scale of what is required is very substantial, and it would take a good deal of time to build it all.

            I’ve looked at the AEMO 2012 100% renewables study, and some of Andrew Blakers’ more recent work (which relies at least to some extent on the AEMO 2012 data). I’m not convinced that either really evaluates the storage requirement properly: there is a lot of wishful thinking hidden in the data assumptions when you start digging into them in some detail. I suspect a real answer would look more like 20-30GW of generation and pumping and 5-10TWh (perhaps more) of storage. You might end up with something that works, but it would produce quite expensive power that would not be competitive with costs in China. You can lower the cost substantially and reduce the storage requirement by having 100% backup in diesel generation/OCGT, but you still end up with more expensive power than in China.

          • Alastair Leith

            You seem to know the future cost of power in China. Earth to George, most things in China cost less, including the valuation on a human life. So what? The important thing is to optomise decarbonisation, energy prices, reliablilty and security in Australia. That means loads more renewables and way less fossil generation, except for gap filling and backup, so large peaking plants may need to be paid capacity payments or exploit a high market (kind of like the one the game for themselves atm in SA and elsewhere).

            Or perhaps averting catastrophic climate change (which we’re well on the track to ensuring within a decade or less) and cheaper power than coal and gas can provide isn’t something you care about?

          • itdoesntaddup

            If you believe the catastrophic version of climate change projections then you should be primarily concerned with what China does – at 27%+ share by far the world’s largest CO2 emitter and about 20 times the emissions of Australia, with no commitment to reduce or even stop increasing emissions until at least 2030. Still, by then they will probably have taken most of your children’s jobs. Australia could shut down completely and it would make no substantive difference at all to the global climate.

          • Peter Campbell

            China’s emissions: This is the ‘drug dealer’s defence’. Why should I not sell drugs? There are all these others who sell more drugs than me. If I didn’t sell the drugs, there would still be drugs on the street.
            I don’t recall the numbers exactly but a substantial proportion (a third?) of the world’s emissions are from countries that each produce only a percent or two of the total. What if we all use the ‘drug dealer’s excuse’?

          • itdoesntaddup

            That is the defence of those who refuse to recognise that without persuading China, India and other fast growing emitters who have no commitments to reduce them – unlike those who have committed to reduce emissions through laws they have enacted as well as treaty commitments – the efforts of those who have bound themselves to make reductions are quite futile. It ignores that fact that the “rich West” are effectively the only countries to have made real commitments, which I am not suggesting should be abandoned.

          • Wallace

            If you believe China and India have no commitment to lowering their CO2 emissions you are simply out of touch with what has already happened.

            Both countries have aggressive renewable energy installation programs. Both are planning to replace ICEVs with EVs over the next few years.

          • itdoesntaddup

            I have read the Paris agreement. Have you? Meanwhile, China’s per capita emissions are higher than Australia’s and most EU countries, and their total production of renewable energy is a tiny 2.8% of primary energy consumption, while India’s is just 2.3%. Wind and solar capacity “installed” in China is often not even grid connected – it is just a way of moving surplus production from their oversized production industries that were hoping for larger export markets than have materialised.

            There has been a belated recognition that they have severe pollution problems particularly in larger cities, but they are showing no signs of doing much other than manipulating statistics by revising them. Let’s wait until we see some real progress.

          • Wallace

            First, let’s be honest with ourselves. Some of us are responsible for huge carbon emissions and some aren’t. Those of us living in the highest per capita CO2 levels have no business throwing rocks at countries with low per capita CO2 levels.

            CO2 emissions per capita 2014 – metric tons per person.

            US … 16.4
            AU … 15.4
            China ;;; 7.5
            India … 1.7

            24% of China’s electricity comes from renewables. And that percentage is growing. China seems to have passed peak coal consumption and is now heading downwards.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/980737729482d4df0f863dcf11066dc087ec09e7b771ee73d20c87fba7ed073c.png

            Here’s China’s record of installing renewables post 2000.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/499911e841168a3e5873d78e0c583b26eee0ff5cf62d1afad43fbaeeab59019d.png

            India has started later but they are also installing a lot of renewables. And, remember, their per capita CO2 is tiny compared to us.

          • itdoesntaddup

            If you had examined the history of Chinese coal consumption statistics by comparing them with earlier years as reported by BP (who merely reflect official Chinese numbers), you would have found that there has been some large scale manipulation of data, with hundred of millions of tonnes now going AWOL in ways that don’t stack up for implied trends in calorific value. Chinese statistics are whatever they want the world to see, and are untrustworthy. Welcome to the world of tractor statistics.

          • Mike Westerman

            What you say may be true but a few things are indisputable: that China’s pollution levels from coal generation have reached catastrophic levels in recent years, that this is no longer tolerated quietly by the population, that peeble bed reactors are much more expensive than solar, that the hideous lack of safety in their very gassy coal mines is no tolerated and their change in direction is more likely to be driven by these domestic issues.

          • Mike Westerman

            Fortunately there are a handful of multi GW PHES sites along the east coast that will firm up solar for <$80. There are also numerous smaller site that are quick to build (4-5y incl permitting). Australia has plentiful and excellent solar resources reasonably close to loads. That means our average power costs could be as low $60 mostly RE. China's coal, wind and solar resources are very distant from loads and they increasingly have major transmission constraints. On that basis our costs may well be competitive with China, especially when they factor in the health costs of their current power system.

          • itdoesntaddup

            I’m not sure a handful of multi GWh sites are going to cut it (although the idea that they might cost <$80/MWh of storage sounds about right, depending on the generating capacity attached and the local topography i.e. dam costs, head etc.), with Australia consuming around 200TWh a year and considerably more if there is a serious move to electrify transport. The real problem with storage is that you need a lot of it to guarantee against relatively rare events (ask the Tasmanians) and it must be full when called on, yet the extra storage only gets used equally rarely, meaning that it adds massively to costs – if you use it one year in ten, it is ten times as costly as storage you use annually, and 3,650 times as expensive as storage you use daily – figures made worse by the fact you will tend to develop the most economic sites first. You're still not covered for a 1 in 20 year. Of course, you could always agree to shut down the economy every time there is a particular widespread cloudy spell for a week or two instead, and another one the next month – conditions in which building far more solar capacity than you need in ordinary circumstances are still not going to solve the problem. It's these economics that act as a very strong drive towards a non-storage backup solution, and which mean that batteries stand no chance in this role unless they are virtually free.

            I admire your optimism, if I can put it like that.

          • Wallace

            “The real problem with storage is that you need a lot of it to guarantee against relatively rare events”

            We’re years away from the need to cover those rare events with low carbon sources. We’ve got a lot low hanging fruit to pick first. But thinking about what we might do makes sense. We can be thinking of more options. Let me list some solutions we have right now.

            1) Keep some natural gas plants operational. If they run only a few hours a year we could probably offset that amount of CO2.

            2) Keep some gas plants operation but fuel them with methane from sewage and compost.

            3) Keep some coal plants operational but fuel them with wood pellets made from lumber and ag waste.

            4) Use electrolysis and renewable electricity to generate hydrogen and use that for generation.

            5) Make our pump-up hydro storage upper reservoirs large enough to cover the needed periods.

            6) Use flow batteries with large storage tanks.

            Don’t forget that we now pay dearly for electricity a few times a year. In the US we use our gas peakers only 5% of the time and pay them a lot for their output when we do need them.

          • itdoesntaddup

            If you want to keep the lights on you would need to keep almost 100% dispatchable capacity in reserve, not just a few stations here and there. If you don’t storage requirements escalate rapidly.

            I’m unconvinced by your choices of fuel sourcing: biomethane produces lots of fugitive methane with high GWP; the wood pellet industry results in much higher emissions than burning coal (partly because it actually chops down trees to feed it)

            https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/14/eu-must-not-burn-the-worlds-forests-for-renewable-energy

            Electrolysis is a very inefficient way to make hydrogen (the most energy efficient is steam cracking methane) and the overall round trip if you use it to generate electricity is about 30% of the original energy back. There are much better things to do.

            PHES is precisely what we have been discussing, and making them “large enough” requires a very substantial increase in capacity.

            Flow batteries are not practicable or economic for the scale of storage required.

          • Wallace

            Yes, we would need enough storage and dispatchable generation available to fill in when wind and solar are not producing. That’s obvious.

            ” biomethane produces lots of fugitive methane with high GWP; the wood pellet industry results in much higher emissions than burning coal”

            That methane is being produced now. Is it wiser to use it or to let it escape, unused, into the atmosphere?

            We can scrub power plant emissions if it’s particle emissions that worry you. If it’s CO2, worry not. That carbon is already above surface. Worst case we are taking it out of ‘storage’ a year or two early compared to letting it rot.

            We probably do not need to chop down trees. We have lots of timber mill and ag waste to burn. And the energy needed to harvest them has already been spent. Plus over time that energy will become low carbon.

            “Electrolysis is a very inefficient way to make hydrogen (the most energy efficient is steam cracking methane)”

            Yes. But we’re not talking about using H2 daily. Only a few days a year when we have to reach for deep backup. It will take about 3x as much electricity going in as we get out (plus infrastructure costs). Two cent wind/solar in the front end is six cent (plus infrastructure costs) out the back end. In the US we pay 15 to 25 cents per kWh for gas peaker electricity. Peakers run about 5% of the time. That’s probably the amount of deep storage we’d need.

            And we must quit reforming methane – it’s that un-sequestered carbon problem.

            “PHES is precisely what we have been discussing, and making them “large enough” requires a very substantial increase in capacity.”

            An increase in energy stored. Not an increase in power. Pair large reservoir pump-up with enough batteries to cover a 24 cycle on normal wind/solar days. When wind and solar don’t show up for work then run the PuHS 24 hours per day.

            Stored energy in the batteries plus PuHS generation will cover peaks and the batteries can be recharged during lower demand hours. Same strategy for incorporating bio or sync fuels.

            China is right now installing a massive flow battery. 200 MW/800 MWh. Compare to Tesla’s 100 MW/120 MWh. They must have figured out how to make the cost reasonable.

          • Mike Westerman

            Building Rome in a day is certainly not in my agenda. SA needs a solution yesterday, so its 5-6 PHES projects to deliver 1GW/6GWh is urgent but achievable within 4y. In that same period the 250,000 homes with rooftop solar could be incentivised by a time of day FIT to put in batteries – with power prices of 35c/kWh that FIT would not have to be too much higher than the present 6c, and you may even drop. If 150,000 responded, you have 750MW/2GWh behind the meter but traded into the market. That makes SA close to 100% RE along with Tas, and both should then focus on their transport market as a way of more efficiently using energy but also to improve their balance of payments (both import 100% of their transport fuel). The handful of multi GW sites along the east coast would provide around 6GW/40GWh plus a reasonable Snowy development outside the park
            could provide 1GW/6GWh. These will take probably till 2024.

            Time of day FIT for solar would quickly incentivise 5-7GW/12-15GWh of storage within the same time period, totalling around 16GW/70GWh, apart from the existing 4GW of existing hydro by 2024, in a system that may have reached 40GW MD by that time, and will most likely still have 20GW of coal not past its use by date.

            If decarbonisation of transport starts in earnest by that time, with a significant phase out (ie 50% by 2030), then in the 6y following you have time, and most likely the technology/cost right for large scale reorganisation of the network to incorporate 20GW/100GWh of flow batteries across the NEM, HVDC links between separate sub-NEMs suppied from very large scale solar over the Great Dividing Range in Qld, NSW and northern Victoria, plus offshore wind in Bass Strait (where capacity factors >50% are likely). I would still expect 10-15% of contingent capacity – the lowest cost would probably be biodiesel fired OCGT.

            In todays prices, solar by then will be 1c/kWh so if storage is 8c and represents 1/3 of the energy supplied, we have power at just over 3c/kWh or about half to a third of our current wholesale – should be competitive!

            From both an engineering and economic POV it doesn’t seem a fantasy – just a solid investment plan that protects Australia, the 2nd biggest coal exporter, from a major economic shock 10-15y down the road.

        • Alastair Leith

          Those wind turbines were spinnig at near max power rating during the cyclone that brought 22 transmission towers down. The tripping of certain generators was to do with their settings, not a lack of generation capacity. AEMO has belatedly requested changes to those wind farm trip settings to ride through any voltage loss or frequency disturbance. They ahve also insisted (belatedly) that all new wind farms offer FCAS by way of rotor inertia controls, engineering models written up in freely available papers online have shown that this kind of technology can actually make the largest grids in USA more resilient that their currently fossil dominated generation.

          If you have no wind and no solarPV you dispatch from storage, batteries, solarCST like Aurora (under construction) or PHES (not under construction in SA or anyhwere else but envisaged for a QLD retired gold mine). If you’ve run out of stored energy, you burn fuel, preferably plantation biomass dervived biofuel. Wasn’t too hard to think through now was it? On costs you ask? SEN’s modelling for the island SWIS grid shows 85% RE by 2030 with a mix of solarPV and wind to be same cost as BAU replacing old coal and gas with new — and that’s useing today’s wind and solar prices, not the projected cost decline we all know will continue.

    • Alastair Leith

      You don’t find renewable clean energy virtuous, George? There’s a fair bit of invective in your words too. Not very calm engineer with all the facts at hand of you.

      • George Rechnitzer

        Good points Alastair, thankyou: No I don’t consider so called “clean energy” virtuous, and that’s the problem with this whole area – instead of our energy systems being looked at on a technical, scientific and economic basis, its has been transformed into an emotion-based and moral campaign. This means that judgements are made on the so-called basis of “virtue” (which is totally subjective, and useful for propaganda and manipulation) rather than on a sound, rational scientific basis.

        The use of the word “clean energy” is also highly misleading as it is largely based on defining Co2 as “dirty” “pollutant”, of which it is neither – being colorless, odorless, tasteless gas and one of the most essential ingredients for life on this planet… (The other is carbon – see Organic Chemistry, hence the absurdity around reducing one’s “carbon footprint” and the low carbon economy!)

        My language was not intended as invective, but rather born of the frustration of seeing decades of misinformation, real junk science, and the politicisation of energy policy which has resulted in not tackling more serious environmental issues but rather tackling the false demon god of Co2 emissions. That is the real tragedy.

        If you haven’t, I suggest reading “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist” by Patrick Moore. This outlines a true environmentalist’s perspective, as opposed to our Co2 obsessions and the adverse consequences that go with that.

        • DevMac

          So your fundamental point is that CO2 is getting a bad rap and we should be focusing on other factors that have resulted in humanity’s effect on the global climate.

          What are these real demons? I know methane is one of them, so a vast reduction in methane-generating agricultural activities is required to curb that.

          From what I’ve read, however, CO2 does seem to be one of the real demons.

          Also, using the old “colorless, odorless, tasteless” argument makes you sound less than trustworthy. Bacteria are too small to see, but can be fatal. Acid can be mistaken for water. These kind of properties hold no value to the argument. What matters is the effect.

          • George Rechnitzer

            No methane is not the real demon either. The very idea that life itself, which produces Co2, and methane, and they must somehow be curtailed as if its a major problem for the Earth, is obscene unscientific folly.

            In your words “using ‘the old “colorless, odorless, tasteless’ argument’ making me “less than trustworthy” – is sheer nonsense as these are simply indisputable facts of chemistry! The effects of Co2 that you are alluding to has no comparison with toxic bacteria or corrosive acids etc.

            The claimed adverse effect of Co2 is regarding climate change and increased temperatures is solely why its being called a pollutant. However, this effect is greatly in dispute, contrary to what you may think, and the science is not “settled”. You may benefit from a study into the role of carbon and Co2 regarding organic chemistry and all of life on earth.

          • DevMac

            Describing the properties of CO2 has nothing to do with the effects. You’re misguiding the discussion; hopefully not intentionally, but at least recklessly. That’s the basis of your sounding “less than trustworthy” to me. The same goes for your “one of the most essential ingredients for life on this planet” argument for CO2. Yes, that’s all well and good, but it’s still not the point. The EFFECTS of unprecendented levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is the point.

            Alcohol in moderation is OK. Alcohol in too high a concentration is fatal.

            If neither CO2 not Methane are the real demons, please summarise what they are. I’ll look into that book, but I’ve got a long list to read before I’ll get to it.

            Is it overpopulation? If so, then CO2 and Methane increases are as a direct result of the rampant consumerism inherent in the ever increasing human population.

            Do you dispute the connection between CO2 and climate change? If so, have you seen the 800,000 year graphs? If not, this is a great, easy-to-understand version:

            https://xkcd.com/1732/

            I’m not trying to score points. I’m trying to educate myself on the matter, but the arguments you’re making (outside of reference to a single book) sound like the same strawman / misdirection / appeals to authority / etc. that have been roundly debunked a number of times.

            Patrick Moore:
            “has a much better correlation with changes in solar activity than CO2 levels”

            My response to that: in which case the unprecedented increase in CO2 levels must be a coincidence.

            “Moore has stated that global climate change and the melting of glaciers is not necessarily a negative event because it creates more arable land and the use of forest products drives up demand for wood and spurs the planting of more trees.[47] Rather than climate change mitigation, Moore advocates adaptation to global warming”

            Pretty much everything I’ve read mentions that great reduction in arable land due to climate change. We might gain land in some places, but some traditional farmlands have become much less productive – although this is still somewhat anecdotal.

            Finally, adaptation is pretty much the only option we have left. Duh!

        • Wallace

          “A pollutant is a substance or energy introduced into the environment that has undesired effects, or adversely affects the usefulness of a resource.”

          CO2 is clearly a pollutant.

          • George Rechnitzer

            Its clearly pointless continuing this debate which is why I rarely bother in such forums. I strongly suggest reading “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout:
            The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist” by Patrick Moore as I mentioned above. You will then find why Co2 is NOT a “pollutant” and simply labelling it as such is quite unscientific. This isnt about point scoring, which is what this exercise has become. Perhaps after reading it, a more fruitful discussion could be had. We would all like better environmental outcomes, but were not going to get them with this blinkered and misguided Co2 obsession.

          • Wallace

            George, I have no idea why a few people like you intentionally ignore clearly established facts but there you are….

          • Mike Westerman

            Wallace I find a similar thing with very religious people: they can’t see that most other people find their ideas hard to swallow, as their religion has become such an integral part of their persona. George has spent his life pumping carbon dioxide, NOx, particulates etc into the atmosphere and now you want him to admit that that was a crappy thing to do? Not going to happen.

          • Peter Campbell

            Of course it’s pointless to assert an opinion which is supported only by arguments that have been considered, refuted and dismissed through cogent argument and evidence by every respectable scientific institution in the world.

        • Mike Westerman

          George water is a colourless, odourless, tasteless liquid essential to life on this planet, but try breathing under water. It’s a lame argument, and not one that a professional engineer would run. A professional engineer would accept majority scientific views, albeit while retaining healthy scepticism ie that more evidence may overturn the accepted theory. However, the notion of greenhouse gases (including water vapour, one of the most efficacious absorbers of IR) and our contribution to them in the atmosphere is well established. To take a political stance on scientific evidence and models, as your book reference implies, is unprofessional.

          • Wallace

            An engineer would be totally familiar with filters and could quickly look up the supporting research which demonstrates that CO2 operates as a filter, allowing some wavelengths through while blocking others.

            Then they could grab the basic data on what makes the Earth livable – our atmosphere which traps enough but not too much heat keeping us from being a ball of ice.

            Then they could simply observe that when they pile too many blankets on their bed they can get too hot.

          • Mike Westerman

            And they could note that they use models as second nature as professional engineers, and these models are what stops dams failing and airplanes crashing…to cherry pick science usually ends up badly

  • RealUlli

    Guys, I see lots of comments belittling the 7.x MW that the HPR contributed. Isn’t it possible that that was the average output during one measuring period (of several seconds), with peaks reaching the rated 70 – 100 MW, but being too short to get measured?

    I think the measuring period is 4s, the HPR plant has already shown it can go from zero to full power charging to full power discharging several times in that time…

    • itdoesntaddup

      HPR plant has already shown it can go from zero to full power charging to full power discharging several times in that time

      Has it? It would be fascinating to see what happened when it did that, so if you can point up some evidence that would be great.

    • Alastair Leith

      Possibly, but also the ‘big battery’ comes in two parts according to a Dylan McConnell article on The Conversation:

      The battery complex can be thought of as two systems. First there is a component with 70MW of output capacity that has been contracted to the SA government. This is reported to provide grid stability and system security, and designed only to have about 10 minutes of storage.

      The second part could be thought of as having 30MW of output
      capacity, but 3-4 hours of storage. Even though this component has a
      smaller capacity (MW), it has much more storage (MWh) and can provide
      energy for much longer. This component will participate in the
      competitive part of the market, and should firm up the wind power
      produced by the wind farm.

  • James Zhao

    So The Australian released this article I’ll post it below since its behind a paywall:
    South Australia’s giant battery is already showing its worth, state Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says.

    The world’s largest lithium-ion battery, built by tech billionaire Elon Musk, responded quickly last week when the coal-fired Loy Yang power plant tripped and went offline.

    The battery delivered 100 megawatts into the national electricity grid in 140 milliseconds.

    “That’s a record and the national operators were shocked at how quickly and efficiently the battery was able to deliver this type of energy into the market,” Mr Koutsantonis told 5AA radio on Wednesday.

    The minister said that the battery’s quick response time showed its worth over other forms of power generation.
    “Now if we got a call to turn on our emergency generators it would take us 10 to 15 minutes to get them fired up and operating which is a record time compared to other generators,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

    “Torrens Island power station would take half an hour to an hour to energise and synchronise into the market; the battery can do it in milliseconds.” The battery, in the state’s mid-north, was switched on early this month after being built by Mr Musk’s company Tesla in under 100 days.

    It is paired to the neighbouring Hornsdale Wind Farm, owned by French company Neoen, to bring added reliability and stability to the state’s electricity grid.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/south-australias-musk-battery-responds-to-power-failure/news-story/46b660effde93757555dcf3cf4b186e6?nk=6a407c37d144ddf4dcfac31998681457-1513778671

  • heinbloed

    Top news!

  • The Tesla battery would have kicked-in because the frequency dropped. That’s how Grid load-sharing works. As for fast switching, well, it’s a battery, so.. what?

    The real lowdown is that it tried to contribute but actually achieved next to nothing. 7.3MW actual as compared to 560MW required.

    Even if it had done the job of supplying 560MW (Which it can’t, 100MW max) it could only have done so for 13.8 minutes before the battery was flat. Which might have been enough time to get a gas turbine or two running, but not a coal plant.

  • Timo Witte

    However if the whole grid was made out of battery packs, the drops would be more instant if something happens..
    Big turbines have a lot of kinetic energy in the rotating steal, which keeps the frequency of the net stable! The inverters would have to have a response time < 1-2ms (1/10 of 20ms which is one full cycle in 50Hz) to archive the same effect.. This is certainly possible but more complicated! Furthermore with so many fast acting elements in the net, you could have some sort of oscillation between them, where both detect a "missing power" condition and supply power, then they both detect a "too much power" situation and both draw power, leading to the "missing power"..

    All of this can be solved and a battery pack is certainly a good idea to store power, if no other options are availiable.

    • Mike Westerman

      Looks like our IT guy has disappeared! I wish IT people would stop confusing their relatively “simple” digital world with the complex analog world of networks which is the mesh of inductive and capacitive phase shifting elements, whose behaviour changes with load, age, temperature and people’s tantrums. Our best network models are only estimates because it is simply impossible to characterise all the unknowns. So yes, IT has been handling fault tolerant systems with millions of nodes for a while, but for network regulation it’s still a work in progress.

  • tit7

    There is no wonder that Tesla’s batteries responded so fast. This a typical STATCOM operation with enabled Power Oscillation Damping and/or Frequency Control.
    Frequency in the network is everywhere the same, so any grid-connected inverter can react to it’s change in range of milliseconds.
    I just wonder why there are rumours about speed of response – any system of high power usually has GPS-clock synchronized event and transient fault recording, so it’s easily possible to measure trip-to-reaction time with up to µs accuracy.

    • Mike Westerman

      I understand the argument is largely because of a lack of data at that sort of accuracy and that Giles is trying to get better and less ambiguous data. There is also argument about the impact of the very limited response (for whatever reason) in terms of output of the HPR. I have no idea of whether the batteries are hooked up as STATCOM with energy storage but since they were mooted as being for the purpose of FCAS it would seem plausible from my meagre understanding of frequency control.

      You note that the frequency is the same everywhere but I wouldn’t have thought the responsiveness of every inverter is the same everywhere – in your opinion is it possible at this point in time to control an entire grid dynamically but stably in this way?

  • Billy T Thornley

    All this talk about tesla battery still not available in other country’s

  • Chris Morley

    Yes – a battery can provide energy almost instantaneously, but the article write either doesn’t fully understand – or has chosen not to explain, how the power grid really works in the situation of sudden imbalance between demand and generation. Firstly, during a sudden shortfall, the large generators with high inertia have been providing almost instantaneous response for years. It’s called inertial response, and has nothing to do with FCAS or dispatch. As the frequency falls, a turbo-generator slows down (frequency is directly proportional to machine speed) and the resultant drop in kinetic energy of the spinning mass is instantaneously converted to increased MW output. Inertial response will continue to be provided while the frequency is falling. Machine governor response is another matter and the main contributor to frequency stability. The units that are dispatched for 6 second raise FCAS are only part of the picture. Many other units will automatically respond within a second or so to help arrest the frequency fall. And by the way, 6 sec FCAS does not mean that a response is required IN 6 seconds. It means that a response is required FOR 6 seconds, and for verification purposes, the response is measured for 60 seconds. To imply that the 7 MW supplied by the Tesla battery arrested the fall is preposterous.

  • Question: In the second graph, why does the LYA3 output scale go from 0 to 600 MW while the HPR output scale goes from 0 to 9 MW?

    • Mike Westerman

      Obviously so you can read the HPR output, or it would be a little squiggle on the horizontal axis! But Giles makes two observations, one which seems right (but better data would help) and one which I think it wrong: he’s says the battery reacted well before contracted FCAS generation did, which is no doubt true given the nature of the device. But he well and truly overstates the impact and understates the natural contributions of all the other generation online, which would have started reacting once the frequency dropped to the relevant set point.

      Two scales on a graph is IMO not unusual, over-egging results is something best left to the tabloids.

      • Walt Heenan

        I can see the use of two scales if it is important to see the fluctuations. But a more relevant point would be shown in this case by using the same scale, which would indicate the true contribution of HPR.

      • I can see the use of two scales if it is important to see the fluctuations. But a more relevant point would be shown in this case by using the same scale, which would indicate the true contribution of HPR.

        • Mike Westerman

          Walt I would encourage all net users to read critically, not just look at the pictures – we might then better filter out real “fake news” rather than being misled by loud ignorant voices.

  • Phillip2

    There’s nothing like a deceptive graph that has two different scales. Unacceptable behaviour, so the rest is just propaganda and so not worth reading.

    • Mike Westerman

      Nothing like a trite remark to set off your troll alarm! Graphs with multiple scales are as common as sunrises, and just mean it’s easier to read them. Quite unremarkable. So the rest of your comments just reveal a superficial inability to discern, rather than a useful contribution to the debate.

  • Just a simple Battery nothing intresting about that news. You should take a look at the allready installed fallback systems – that are quite mor complicated to handle, than a simple battery

    • Mike Westerman

      A “simple” battery is low voltage DC, not really a candidate for FCAS or power control as illustrated, so as one poster suggested, set up as STATCOM/ES with power, voltage and frequency controls ie probably not that “much” different to other STATCOM installations.

      • Than call it USV … we’ve got same Technique installed @ our Serverrooms. USV that could provide 120 MW for 5 Minutes. So the Diesel got enough time to power up a bring the Power back to the net.

        • Mike Westerman

          A USV (English – UPS) is a different animal designed to do nothing until the power trips. The Big Battery is designed for when the grid is there to respond to power, voltage and frequency perturbations. If the grid dropped out, it would be required to trip off the grid and stay off till power was restored. It most likely has a UPS for behind the meter but that would be ancillary.

  • sjalan

    This kind of response in ms, is simply NOT available from ANY auxiliary power generation system. The sooner the entire grid in AU is stabilized by going full solar/wind the better off they will be. Kudo’s to Tesla.

  • Darius Troy

    If the author seriously believes that providing 7.5MW contributed in any significant fashion to the containment, stabilization and recovery of the network after losing 560MW…well it’s just not true. The odd 20,000 MW of rotating machinery – tens of thousands of tons of steel with hundreds of MWs of spinning reserve is what achieved this.

    We should remember that our grid has dealt with the tripping of large units since the beginning; the governor response times of large spinning machines are exceptionally fast – even in older stem turbines due to the direct responsiveness of fly-ball governors.
    The wording in this article is shamelessly biased – leading us to believe that ‘lumbering’ coal units will take seconds to respond. The fact is that as machines slow down the fuel/steam valves open proportionally via mechanical/mechatronic/hydraulic linkages, the response times are in the ms.

    AEMO has designed the FCAS market with three main objectives in mind ; containment, stabilization, and recovery of and from frequency disturbances. To achieve these, there are speed bands (fast – 6 sec, slow – 60 sec, and delayed – 5mins) into which generators bid some of their capacity. AEMO, inline with international standards, has decided how much capacity is required in each band based upon the contingency risk and load relief – and have also concluded that these response times are enough. The ongoing operation of our grid attests to how well this works.

    I think only one thing is clear at the moment; our grid in the future will incorporate a very high penetration of solar and wind. What we use to help stabilize the frequency for either generation of system events, and what we use in times of reduced output from the solar and wind stations is less clear. What we do not need is zealotry from anybody, approach the problem scientifically and don’t always believe what you read.

    • Wallace

      The electricity coming from wind and solar farms won’t be ‘mass spinning at a determined rate’ but turned into grid AC by inverters. If you want 60 Hz then the inverter will produce 60 Hz. If you want 50 Hz then the inverter will produce 50 Hz. All these inverters can be phase locked and the days of frequency variation should be behind us.

      When a large load is suddenly added or removed from the grid storage/batteries will almost-instantly adjust the grid voltage to the ideal level.

      (At least that’s how I think it will work. ;o)

  • Pat Lenihan

    Oh please, the big great Tesla battery 1000km comes to the rescue whilst the vastly more complex and older Gladstone Coal Fired Power Station which has no single interconnector to Victoria/South Australia plus has 1000 extra kilometres to travel and has to produce power not just store it. This is what is wrong with Australia, we care too much about big foreign so called ‘clean and green schemes’ that are costly, only work for a short time and force us away from reality. Renewable energy is a good idea in places, Tasmania and New South Wales have a lot of large rivers so hydroelectricity makes sense. Fossil Fuel makes sense in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, as these states have an abundance of readily available coal resources. I support things like this, they employ lots of hardworking Australian people, with a large variety of skills and experience.

    What I do not support is that we are constantly being led to believe that there must only be renewable energy in Australia, we must avoid large scale Nuclear Energy at all costs (despite being the third largest uranium producer, already having numerous nuclear research reactors and a large expanse of land unsuitable for any other purposes eg Woomera Testing Range) and that coal, oil and gas is a horrific set of industries that is killing our planet. And we all need to hate our politicians, as they are all burdening us with their ‘disgusting, unreliable and expensive’ coal and gas subsidies. We would likely have High Efficiency Low Emmission power plants with Carbon Capture and Storage on a commercial, economic scale if we put some real effort in.

    I am only a teenager living in Queensland, one of the so-called the dirty coal powered state but I actually care about my country’s future. I cringe every time I witness an advertisement promoting solar or wind power as if it was the magic silver bullet for every energy situation, as I am not ignorant enough to be spoon fed emotional, soppy ‘good for our kids’ future’ propaganda. I know that our country is descending into a pit that it will soon never be able to dig itself out of. We are building hundreds of solar and farms that intermittently spew energy into the grid when the weather is suitable. And now I see $50 million being spent on a battery that can produce a 16th of the power (for a few hours at best) of one of my home state’s coal plants. I truly believe that we are screwed as a nation, we fail to have a nationalised energy plan, we have redicoulous power prices, despite having billions of tonnes of natural fossil fuel, we have absolutely no real, economic idea how to make solar and wind both reliable and cheap, we have destroyed any glimpse of a cleaner coal and gas industry, we care more about making a minority of people happy than real energy policy, we refuse to build brand new hydroelectricity plants, have very few base load biofuel power plants and we are brutally neglecting our heavy industry, essentially depriving it of any sound policy and changes until it must immigrate overseas or die out completely. Our great great grandfathers would be ashamed to see the death of the Australian car industry, steel industry and the end of the so many good paying hardworking Australian jobs. And I am ashamed, as anybody like myself that questions the merits of renewable energy will be shamelessly brushed aside by the big solar and wind supporters, as most of them have cushy and stable jobs (or dole payments) and have never had to face the real consequences of the death of Australian industries. So before you continue to support stupid mega lithium batteries that can power essentially nothing, think about what this is really doing to Australia, the proud nation it once was.

  • Sir John Maga

    Good job. The big battery was installed to back up the windmills, but it is proving
    useful at frequency stabilization too. Does anybody know the source of the failure at
    Loy Yang A 3 coal unit?

  • Michael Gray

    How can it inject 16MW? That is power, not energy! Get your units correct and consistent, or I shall not not trust anything technical that you present.

  • Michael Gray

    It is just a largish AC capacitor. Doing what it does.

  • Peter Sheppard

    Its a bit far fetched to claim a ‘big impact’, at no time during the Loy Yang or the Gladstone ~500MW trips did the frequency drop below the NEM frequency operating standard of 49.75Hz.
    I don’t see anything indicating of where the frequency was measured. Its important to remember that FCAS is not normally needed to be procured in SA as it can be obtained from the extension lead from VIC. This means there will be greater frequency drop in SA in the event of an unscheduled reduction in power flow from VIC to SA when a loss of generation occurs in the east, with worst case during high flow (worst case it triggers under frequency load shedding).

    The standard allows for the frequency to drop to 49.5Hz for a generation event. Sure, the battery kicked in quick but it only made a 1.4% contribution so even without the battery its unlikely the frequency would have dropped below the 49.75Hz let alone the 49.5Hz generation event standard (remembering that the NEM reserves require contingency generation to cover the loss of the biggest generator).
    I’m sure if you looked at the reactive power on the synchronous generators you would see similar speed of reaction to the increase in load following the generator trip, potentially before even the battery kicked in due to the remoteness of the battery from the tripped generator. One only has to look at reports from the various big SA power system events to see the lag between the Heywood substation and South Para or Davenport substations. (part the reason SA frequency standards are even more loose in times of limited supply).
    Standard here for those interested. http://www.aemc.gov.au/getattachment/53cd4c96-68ad-45ab-b8ce-644fc40eacea/Frequency-Operating-Standards-(Mainland).aspx

  • shiner2348

    Why after all these years as a discussion on the Tesla batteries ,suddenly turned into a discussion on politeness.Climate change is happening and in most part caused by humans.

  • Ike_Kiefer

    Couple of points:
    1. SA grid has been destabilized by govt policy that eliminated much rotating synchronous generation from coal and gas plants that responds much faster than batteries to frequency deviation (flywheel interial EMF is instantaneous).
    2. The magnitude of that increased instability is seen in the graphs provided by how the loss of one generating unit dropped the grid 0.2 Hz, which is a huge deviation by international standards.
    3. Tesla battery response was average of 5 MW which replaced less than 1% of the 560 MW loss.
    4. Tesla battery was apparently out of power after 2 mins and ramped down its output even though the grid was still unrecovered at 0.15 Hz underfrequency.
    5. Article and graphs neglect to say what other frequency regulation and generation assets were doing to restore grid frequency.
    6. Although it performed as designed, Tesla battery had almost no effect on the grid during the outage.
    7. The battery system would have to be 100 times larger in power capacity (100 times the undisclosed cost) to stand in for a single smallish coal generating unit.