Fear and loathing about renewable grid in Coober Pedy

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The town of Coober Pedy is in uproar. What should have been a positive plan to shift to a renewable-focused mini-grid based around wind and solar and storage is causing outrage in the community, and embarrassment to the developer, and the federal agency that backed it.

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coober pedy

There is uproar in Coober Pedy, the iconic mining town deep in the South Australian desert that is known as the Opal Capital of the world.

What should have been a positive story about a project to shift the town from diesel to a renewable-focused mini-grid based around wind and solar and storage is causing outrage among consumers and councillors, and embarrassment to the developer and the federal agency that backed it.

Last year, as we reported at the time, the final plan for the Coober Pedy Renewable Diesel Hybrid project was unveiled, featuring 4MW of wind, 1MW of solar and a 1MW/250kWh battery to provide up to 70 per cent of the power needs of Coober Pedy.

The idea was that it would dramatically reduce the amount of diesel consumed from the existing 3.9MW diesel power station, reduce costs, and provide a possible blueprint for the rest of Australia to follow.

But what should have been a flagship project for the country – as ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht touted it at the time – looks like turning into a disaster for the town and an embarrassment for the renewable energy industry; and a legal dispute between the council and the developers.

It has now emerged that the cost that will be charged to the council, which owns the local grid, and which will subsidised by the government, will be more than double other alternatives.

Graham Davies, from Adelaide-based Resonant Solutions, who completed an assessment on behalf of council last year, says that the average cost of generating electricity, not including distribution but including rebates, will be 48c/kWh.

The deal signed by council will translate to total cost of $192 million over 20 years, a saving of a dismal $5 million over the diesel only grid staying as is for 20 years – which would simply not happen.

The company’s own presentation on the project, made last May, appears to confirm that there is little difference between the ongoing cost of diesel and the solar, wind and storage grid. (see graph below). Renewable energy experts say that is absurd.

EDL diesel

Davies says the PPA is more than twice the average price (23c/kWh) suggested by three rival quotes that he sought from other developers. In 20 years, the price to council will be more than $1/kWh. Solar and wind costs by that stage are expected to be just a few cents per kilowatt-hour.

And he wonders why a tender was not sought. “We agree with  …. that hybrid renewable energy is the most affordable and reliable way to produce electricity in Coober Pedy over the long term, however the issue is that with a tender we believe prices could have been roughly half,” Davies said.

It has led to the extraordinary situation where some homes and some the big business in a population of 3,500 are threatening to go “off grid” – in a town that is already off the grid – because they reason, quite rightly, that they can use their own solar and storage to provide electricity at a fraction of the cost.

Indeed, the independent assessment from Resonant Solutions suggests that 40 to 80 per cent of the town’s customers would quit the local grid if the contract continues as is – leading to a death spiral because the council is lumbered with a fixed cost, no matter how much is used.

Resonant Solutions questions the technology choices made by EDL, the costings, and some of the contract details, such as a limit on rooftop solar in the town, effectively removing competition from the “centralised” generation.

There are certainly big questions to be asked about how EDL – in its first significant push into wind and solar technologies – got its numbers and its technology calculations so wrong. It has been the supplier of the diesel generators to the Coober Pedy grid since 2004.

And there are also questions about why the Australian Renewable Energy Agency agreed to fund it – to the tune of $18.4 million – and why the South Australian government agreed on the power purchase agreement with EDL.

But it also highlights what can go wrong when decisions are made on the basis of questionable modelling.

In many ways, it serves as a proxy of what is happening now in the broader National Energy Market, where most of the modelling provided to policy makers gets cost of technologies – particularly wind and solar and storage – hopelessly wrong. And bad decisions are made because of it – mostly propping up incumbent and increasingly expensive fossil fuel technologies.

wind turbine coober pedy

Coober Pedy councillors describe the situation as a shame, even if there appears to be little they can do about it, seeing that the PPA has been signed, the two wind turbines have already been installed, and the solar farm is also in place, and only the “enabling” technologies – battery storage and smart controls – wait to be connected.

“If this was done properly, there is a good chance that we wouldn’t need the state subsidy,” says councillor Justin Freytag, who was elected to council last year, three months after the contract was signed.

“And that would have been fantastic. But now we are lumbered with this. We’re trying to get state government, and ARENA and EDL to the table, but it’s like herding cats.”

In its damming report, Resonant Solutions says the deal is significantly more expensive than other available commercial options, and – even with a government subsidy that guarantees locals don’t pay more than people in Adelaide – could lead to grid defection within 5-10 years and a doubling of the kWh rate.

“Resonant considers the proposal to be exceedingly expensive, highly risky to (the Coober Pedy Council) and damaging to the renewable energy reputation,” the consultant said in a report completed early last year for the council.

The report by Resonant suggests that poor decisions have been made about technologies, particularly the various “smarts” used to integrate wind, solar, storage and diesel. It also suggests EDL will be getting an “excessive” internal rate of return.

It also questions why the developers would put a limit (100kW) on the total amount of rooftop solar within the grid, when it would make better sense to encourage it.

It says up to 400kW would directly displace diesel, and the payback on that extra rooftop solar investment is estimated at 1.5 years.

So what happens now? Two major businesses, including the Desert Cave Hotel and the Opal Inn, and the operator of the local IGA supermarket, have told local news website InDaily that they are looking to manage their own electricity needs.

“I think they walked in there with their eyes shut and their arse exposed,” Desert Cave Hotel owner Robert Coro told the InDaily website, regarding the decision to sign the PPA.

“It’s going to hurt our town,” councillor Freytag told RenewEconomy. “It’s an opportunity missed to get cost competitive renewables.”

Note: ARENA said it had no comment on the Coober Pedy project. We also sought comment from EDL, but did not receive a reply before publication. EDL’s presentation last May to the local community is here. Interestingly, among the benefits cited by the company, lower electricity costs is not one of them.

On its website, it does say, however, that “this project is expected to provide a lower and more stable cost of electricity over the project life for the District Council of Coober Pedy and the South Australian Government.”

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214 Comments
  1. john 2 years ago

    There is something really wrong with the outcome.
    It seems very hard to come to the understanding that PV during the day for most days and wind when available is not cheaper than diesel gen sets.
    Just what was the cost of the PV, storage and the Wind Generators?
    The 192 million over 20 years does not explain the capex of this project.
    From the link it turns out this cost $192 million seems a lot of money for 1 MW solar
    4 MW wind and 1 MW 250 kWh system.
    I would have thought the Capex would be in the sub 10 million area correct me please if wrong.
    Turns out it is something like $19 million Dollars.

  2. solarguy 2 years ago

    What a cock up by the council and ARENA. The contractor has a hell of a lot to answer for as well. Even though a PPA has been signed, they should be getting some legal advice in the hope of reducing the 48 cents/kwh figure. Shame EDL!

    • john 2 years ago

      I totally agree get a lawyer does not have to be a good one I feel.

      • Connor James 2 years ago

        Proper commercial and legal advice is what was needed in the first place.

        Connor J

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    • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

      Unless you know the PPA terms and modeling figures used in Resonant Solutions report, it’s all just speculation on your behalf, show me how that 48 cents/kwh figure was reached.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        The figure was from the article, not me. If you want to find out how it was reached, then ask the CP council.

        • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

          Understood. note the figure/s didn’t come from the council, and any that have been mentioned in articles relating to this project all stem – as far as I can tell from an “”Independent report””, of which is not available to the general public, ragnor lothbrook who is active in this discussion apparently has seen this, so until that document is available it’s just speculation.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Do you have any reason to doubt Ragnor?

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Well I suppose if Ragnor could post a copy of a current power bill and the independent report I wouldn’t,

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Well why don’t you talk to him, don’t ask me for Christ sake. I get the strong feeling you can’t be told.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            In my defence any posts that I have made suggest that I fully understand what i’m being told, and yet still, even on request have not seen any evidence such as the PPA or the “Independent Report” to properly assess the economics of a very important project for the renewables industry.

  3. john 2 years ago

    $19 million for the project.
    What is the amount of power used?
    Something is very wrong here.

    • juxx0r 2 years ago

      I know right, Commenters on this site pointed that out years ago when it was first announced. Nobody in their right mind could justify $19M for solar which is cheaper than diesel and wind which is cheaper than diesel. To replace diesel and you throw in a 250kWh battery which cost maybe $250,000.

      Someone was clearly on crack, not least of all ARENA, who should have known better. Maybe there was hookers and blow when they arranged all this.

      One good thing to come out of this though is that some manager from EDL got a hell of a nice yacht out of it. Or a holiday home in the Bahamas or an island somewhere.

  4. humanitarian solar 2 years ago

    Why would anyone get a company with experience in supplying diesel power to design and implement a renewable energy microgrid? What this demonstrates is ARENA really do not appreciate technical qualifications and experience. I think it’s time to do an inventory of ARENA staff to determine if people with technical qualifications are included in their decision making. In my mind a team needs to be truly interdisciplinary, with people specialising in all the different fields required, including assessing tender processes, market analysis, costings, technical design – all combining into a comprehensive team making an assessment of each project.

    • Andrew Woodroffe 2 years ago

      It really does not look good for ARENA. 4MW of wind and 1MW of solar? In the middle of SA? Not the other way round? 1MW of wind and 4MW of solar?

      $8m for 3 x E53 800kW on 73m towers producing 5000MWh/year (the AEP is rough, would be nice to have the data from the poor old 150kW Nordex wind turbine – but am fairly confident about the capex, see our project in Mt Barker, WA, http://www.mtbarkerpower.com.au/)
      $8m of single axis tracking 4MWac of solar, 9000MWh/year
      $1m for 2MWh of lithium ion battery
      Not even $20m.

      Not even considering the STCs available for rooftop solar (they have rooftops in Coober Pedy?

      And ARENA signs off on a $192million. Out by a factor of 10. This utterly undermines the credibility of the organisation.

      • solarguy 2 years ago

        The wind resource at CP, going by the info I have from this forum, is totally inadequate and should never have been considered for the project.
        As max demand is 3.5MW and the solar resource is 3.5 PSH in winter, I would have designed the PV to be oversized to 5.6MW Array fixed, in order to reduce install cost and maintenance. It would also make it more reliable.This would also give a decent output in overcast conditions, assuming the PSH dipped down to 1. This would greatly reduce diesel use.
        This is all rule of thumb stuff as I don’t know the load profile. By any account, EDL got this project wrong, very, very wrong!

        • Andrew Woodroffe 2 years ago

          Given that the sun does not shine overnight and that this is offgrid, some wind would be good, but I agree it should be mostly solar, and single axis tracking, as again, it is off grid.

          That Mt Barker project is also low wind, got a grant, makes it’s investors happy but gets nothing, nothing like 48c/kWh.

          Another major point, with LGCs running so high at the moment, where oh where is the justification of 48c/KWh?

          Finally, with PV and battery prices set to keep getting cheaper, there ought to be plans to stage more pv and battery later.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            I agree 48c/kwh is a rip off big time. The problem with single axis tracking is cost and reliability, there is a lot of dust out there that could cause problems with the mechanisms, which will increase maintenance costs.
            You say Mt Barker is low wind what are the max, median and lowest wind speeds there?

          • Andrew Woodroffe 2 years ago

            Lowest wind speeds? You are solarguy. Zero m/s, a few percent of the time at less than startup. But the real question is the average, which at hub height is less than 6.5m/s as measured by the turbine anemometers (not quite the same accuracy as met mast anemometers free of the slowing down effect of passing blades or speedup effect of the nacelle).

            Most of the new solarfarms going in are single tracking, it is not like the old days. Also, cost of piles is a big compared to sticking them on roofs. If you are going to have ground mount, might as well go tracking – cannot do that with rooftop.

            Plus the extra solar MWh occurs earlier in the morning, later in the afternoon. Save on battery cost.

            Seriously, what a fantastic project. EDL deserve to go bust for stuffing it up. I am hoping an Adelaide based PV installer chases up the Desert Cave Hotel, the Opal Inn, and the local IGA supermarket. Battery suppliers would also be keen to be involved.

            Maybe also the local council? What? no, wait. . . .

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Ok, averages are the median and by the lowest I didn’t mean zero, I should have asked the start up speed of the turbines. Maximums are interesting too, because if they occur even 20% of the year and say in winter and at night, that’s very useful to know and to have.

            Tracking PV is desirable, I agree, but the cost can make it not worth it. I have been informed from the ASC that tracking arrays aren’t that common, but I will have to do some more research as whether they have increased in reliability and reduced in cost.

          • Andrew Woodroffe 2 years ago

            Depending on your class of turbine and the wind regime, expect to be at full output 5 to 15% of the time, with upto 5% you have nothing and at all other times, output fluctuates between the two. For the season and for the time of day, probabilities of exceedance can be calculated but your system will need to cope with full wind at lowest loads and no wind at peaks. (Excellent data ought to be available from the massive anemometer that is the Nordex machine – though the hub height will be much lower than the new machines).Unlike solar, which you know will never generate at night but will during peak times, though not usually at full rating. Roughly expect half your wind generation at night when you know your solar is not generating – the major reason for wind on an offgrid system. As you are competing with diesel rather than coal, and still getting LGCs, with wind class III machines, the average wind speed could be very low and you would still get very nice economics.

            I am presuming the existing diesel still exists and the only cost there is running. A modest amount of battery will allow the diesels to only ever run at full load under low wind, low/no sun, high load and low charge level battery conditions.

            In five or ten years time, when second EV batteries hit the market, it may be possible to get entirely off diesel.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            “I should have asked the start up speed of the turbines.”

            It varies a little but is generally around four meters per second or 14.5 KMH.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            “Finally, with PV and battery prices set to keep getting cheaper, there ought to be plans to stage more pv and battery later.”

            This especially.

      • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

        So in the Mt Barker at $8m for 2.7MW is $3.3m per MW, x 4MW = $13.2m, also $2m per MW for solar + power line = $2.3, turnkey at those prices is reasonable but then for Coober Pedy you have 2x 850kW DUPS, the 3MW of Dynamic Resistors, the 1MW Battery, and the other integrating infrastructure: HV/LV Cables, Switchboards, PLC, protection relays etc, all which need somebody to install the additional infrastructure, on site. So if you did try to work out a per MW rate i.e $39mil divided by the 10MW of equipment, its $3.9 a MW, which is 3 times the cost of a traditional power station (gas/diesel) and twice a renewable. So not to extreme for an emerging tech – zero diesel base load capable station, but note the aforementioned is not a very good method to determine economics because of the unknown technical aspects of the project

    • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

      But Hydro Tasmania with plenty of experience in renewable technology and has provided the enabling technology and the design for the hybrid system. EDL is actually the owner and operator, so between them I’m pretty sure they have the right team executing the job on site, but if the project is delayed and over the planned budget obviously I would be happy to retract this statement.

  5. tom laux 2 years ago

    How can there be no enquiry into this seedy council that didn’t put this rather large but very important project to tender! The results stink to high heaven. why would the council make a deal for 20 years, when renewable tech is rapidly getting cheaper?

    • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

      ARENA are 1000 times more responsible because they have prior experience is funding these projects. They’re meant to be experts in the whole process. ARENA should have mentored the local council through the process, like Australian Ethical Investment visit and help mentor some of the boards of companies they invest in.

      • juxx0r 2 years ago

        Lol, arena have been subsidising $4/W solar for ages whilst those that just get on with it and build it for $1/W can’t even be bothered with the ARENA paperwork. Maybe the paperwork is what takes the price from $1/W to $4/W.

  6. john 2 years ago

    Ok look at pvwatts and see what a 1 mw solar should put out.
    The same for wind.
    My rough in my head figures if the system does 70% of the energy and storage is used for FCAS the figure i get is 4.9MWh power per year and the total usage is 7MWh per year.
    Cost on Capex of 19 million cost of power per kWh is $3.89 kWh for the first year, now divide that by 10 years that is 38.9 cents per kWh.
    Something is terribly wrong with the figures.

    • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

      Why would a company design a renewable microgrid for 70% of the electricity, unless it were a vested interest by historically supplying that same towns diesel power since 2004?

      • john 2 years ago

        I guess not having looked at the percentage of power output for solar and wind for the site they have figured it as a 30% coverage needed.

        • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

          well with solar panels at least, they are so cheap, the rule of thumb is oversize for summer, so the battery still fills in most good days in winter. It’s not like off grid setups install panels for summer and just accept running diesel in winter.

          • john 2 years ago

            use this site to check figures.
            http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/
            yes just put in cooper pedy South Australia it will find the nearest BOM site and do the calculations.
            I used 1 kW for cooper pedy south australia here is the figures for a year
            Annual 1,759 kWh

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            The book I work on has a map and Coober Pedy isn’t plotted on it though looks like it gets about 8 Peak Sun Hours in january and about 3.5 Peak Sun Hours in july. That means that every 1kW of PV = 8kWh into the battery in january and 3.5kWh in july. So they get less than half the sunshine in winter.

          • john 2 years ago

            yes true less in winter.
            The link i gave above is accurate IMO as it uses 30 years of figures from the nearest available weather site to compile its findings.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            What I think is central is security of supply and diesel is expensive, so if it were me I would have looked at what is the most critical time of energy shortfall in the year, when the combined solar and wind is lowest, then plan for a system as close as possible to that.

          • john 2 years ago

            Very true as I have advised however I have found that it is very difficult to explain in simple terms the amount of solar sunshine changes as does the amount of energy used per day.
            However as you said match up the worse case where solar is low and usage is high, it depends on the latitude in Cooper Pedy they need heat in winter however they use a lot of power for mining which is a day time usage.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            In my minuscule experience with a house, air con in summer is a low concern because when it’s needed most the sun is beating down. Ditto as you noted, mining is daytime. So without overlapping graphs of wind and sun harvest throughout the year, I guess winter is likely to be the time to plan around. Even though usage might be overall higher in summer, winter probably has overall less power to work with. Next I’d look at costings for what is cheapest for getting the wind and sun to add up to enough power in winter, then see if those same MW cover summer (or the easier seasons). Though I’m fairly conservative and plan around the worst. That would produce a system for the worst month of the year. That just leaves the diesel to fill gaps in extraordinary bad days in that month and a few elsewhere. That’s my guesstimating rationale!!! Be interesting to hear EDL’s! There must be people who specialise in these co-generation projects.

          • john 2 years ago

            True in everything you said.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Edited my last post, looks like EDL may have installed enough power for the mid-season and decided to just use diesel in the worst season. That’s my guess.

          • john 2 years ago

            I have just checked the wind information for CP it seems it varies from about 5.75 down to 4.6 Meters per Second which is not exactly good however it does not vary much during the year

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            When is it worst?

          • john 2 years ago

            actually winter which is not a good outcome as solar also is down then

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Calamity_Jean highlights if the panels are tilted to 65 degrees for winter harvest, about 3/4 of the harvest can be achieved for winter compared to summer. In the absence of alternative generators, perhaps thats what is needed.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            That’s bad, turbines normally need about 4 meters per second to produce any power at all, so low averages like that tell me that there are many hours of no wind power output at all. Unless it’s quite windy at night and becalmed during the day, I can’t see why there were any wind turbines called for at all.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Correct Jean. It clear EDL are incompetent, same for ARENA.
            EDL will be battling to get any work in this industry again.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            Incompetence or subtle sabotage? If EDL is making good money running a diesel generator system they have motive to screw up a replacement renewable system. Now if any other town they run diesel generators in wants renewables they can say “See, it didn’t work in Coober Pedy!”

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            I also had thoughts along those lines. I’m going to read the submission and get back to you, as to what I think.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Ragnor pointed out they sold quickly. Maybe that’s why. Sooner or later, the community would have discovered the install is a suboptimal design with price gouging. They created a flawed asset for the community, though the project would have increased in value enormously because of the PPA the council had signed.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            The wind resource isn’t to good there going by your information. They should have opted for more PV and storage and canned the wind turbine.
            That’s how I would have designed it.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            “They should have … canned the wind turbine.”

            I agree, unless it’s seriously windier at night than during the day.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Thanks Jean, Bet ya socks it isn’t better at night and if so, not often enough. More PV and storage I believe would have been a better design. Best bang for the buck.

          • john 2 years ago

            Output for a fixed array 1 kW Cooper Pedy South Australia
            1759 kWh of power per year.
            That is at 20 degrees north which it chooses.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            See how that site calculator with averages works well for most of us with a grid on hand, though doesn’t reveal the disparities in seasons, and we really need to plan for the worst, because at least for PV/batteries, the PV is so much cheaper, so it works much better to go big on PV to make sure the battery is filled, than to start thinking of batteries supplying a number of days of power.
            1759 kWh a year is 4.8 kWh a day, though based upon the book I have they only get 3.5 Peak Sun Hours in winter, so only have 3.5kWh a day from each 1kW of PV. And guess what!!! 3.5 is about 70% of 4.8kWh so bet that is what EDL did – used calculations based upon the mid-season!!!

          • john 2 years ago

            It looks at 30 years of information to give an average.
            You can then discount the figures to your own preference to allow for that one rotten week to oversize the system which would be prudent.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            The monthly averages for each day are in kWh / m2 / day. Never seen it done that way. My panels are about 1M x 2M I think. The panels can be different sizes so as far as I know installers just calculate using kW and the Peak Sun Hour (PSH) diagram, although this website gives a more accurate method. Thanks.

          • john 2 years ago

            Yes it definitely does and correlates very closely with the outcomes i have used for years

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Now I’ve worked it out, look to the AC column and it calculates out similar to the old method I was using, although a little less. Thanks.

          • john 2 years ago

            That would not surprise me

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            “See how that site calculator with averages works well for most of us with a grid on hand, though doesn’t reveal the disparities in seasons….”

            What site calculator? PVWatts? It gives estimates for each month individually.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Yes I didn’t look at it long enough like ARENA with this project above.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            Nobody’s perfect. Look at me, I’m living proof.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            We have a category 4 (out of 5) cyclone in Queensland at present with up to 270km/h winds and 50k properties without power presently. Hit the coast at 2pm. The army is being called in. They’ve lost landline, mobile phone towers and they’re back to AM and FM radio. But we’ll rehash the same debates like we did with when South Australia had the state go down. Everybody will say, what should we do differently if anything…

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            From where I am, half the world away, all I can say is I hope not too much permanent damage is done.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            Could the array be tilted to a steeper angle to optimize winter production?

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Absolutely although with our houses at least, allot of them in Aus aren’t very steep, tilt frames are fairly expensive and a bit ungainly looking, so a general consensus in installers I’ve spoken to is not to worry about them and where possible just add more panels to compensate if the rooftop real estate is there. This makes the panels hug the roofline and looks much better for resale value. The other thing that happened historically that was a trend with grid-tie inverters and FIT’s, nobody really worried about getting little winter harvest and lots of summer harvest, because the grid has dramas with air con and peak demand in summer, so most people were okay to have a system tuned to summer. Of course it’s okay if there’s always a grid there connected when needed, though far from ideal for the off grid setup, because draining old generation batteries below 40%-50% tends to give them a heart attack, shortening their lifespan dramatically. So for off grid setups a steep roof helps them allot, reducing their generator run time, and of course people find out they are noisy, annoying, troublesome, dirty and smelly, including the neighbours.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            I was under the impression that the main solar array in Coober Pedy was ground-mounted and that the company managing the system (more like mis-managing IMO) was discouraging people from installing rooftop solar. If the ground-mounted PV was re-oriented to improve winter energy production then the company wouldn’t need be able to use their existing diesel generators as much.

            It seems to me from where I am (USA) that the company planned the system to waste as much money on equipment as possible and to maximize the use of diesel to the extent they thought they could get away with it. I feel like they designed the renewable system in bad faith. If I were a Coober Pedian (What do you call a resident of Coober Pedy?) I would be mad as hell.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            I guess its ground mounted and I think I’ve read on this site that some large scale ground mounted PV systems use single axis tracking, which I’ve never seen though suppose is a tilt adjustment. Interestingly I’ve seen a tilt adjustment on a roof mounted solar hot water system. I didn’t know what to say about the limits imposed on residents with rooftop solar because I found this para didn’t go into enough depth:

            “Resonant Solutions questions the technology choices made by EDL, the costings, and some of the contract details, such as a limit on rooftop solar in the town, effectively removing competition from the “centralised” generation.”

            From my limited experience, I agree the system looks extremely poorly designed from the information you raised on the cost effectiveness of wind turbines due to lowish wind speed and the percentage installed, and that the amount of PV installed may not be designed to be adequate for winter harvest and offset the majority of the diesel. PV is the cheapest part of the system and over the duration of the project, diesel is the most expensive cost of the system. In terms of if EDL acted in bad faith, if I were a resident or their representative, I would argued they acted in bad faith by evidently designing a system badly based upon their choice of system components. To support that, I would have a system designed and scaled by a microgrid and co-generation specialist – in terms of the % of wind and % of solar with costings for the year it was designed. I would ask who EDL had design the system and ask for their previous portfolio of projects, given this project is a sizeable $192 million project. If the system designer had not designed comparable sized systems with similar technology, I would argue EDL acted in bad faith based upon a haphazard or reckless design process, lumbering Coober Pedy citizens with excessive costs for energy. Additionally, even if EDL didn’t have experience in co-generation microgrid projects, they would have had experience in project design and therefore would have had the experience to know they were out of their depth. If there is a large discrepancy in EDL’s experience and qualifications to undertake such a renewable energy project, ARENA should also have picked that up along with the price gouging with the costings.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            “…some large scale ground mounted PV systems use single axis tracking, which I’ve never seen though suppose is a tilt adjustment.”

            Single axis tracking rotates the panels on a daily basis to follow the sun’s apparent east-to-west motion. I had assumed that the array at Coober Pedy didn’t move. The panels are mounted tilted north to catch the sun, but they can be tilted less steeply to optimize catching the higher summer sun, or tilted more steeply to optimize catching the winter sun, or at an compromise tilt that isn’t best for either season but is “good enough” for both.

            “Additionally, even if EDL didn’t have experience in co-generation microgrid projects, they would have had experience in project design and therefore would have had the experience to know they were out of their depth.”

            Yes, this. If they were willing to do an honest job, they should have told the town to get someone else.

          • john 2 years ago

            Yes single axle or double axis tracking wold increase the output.
            Use the link to PVWatts and put in single or double to see the difference.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            Tracking increases the cost and complexity of the system. Assuming a fixed array, changing the tilt changes the proportion of energy produced in winter compared to summer.

            For example, according to PVWatts, at my location a nominal 4 kW system with premium modules, a fixed open rack array at 15 degrees tilt gives 203 kWh in the lowest winter month and 635 kWh in the highest summer month. A 65 degree tilt for a system that is otherwise identical gives 308 kWh in the lowest winter month and 432 kWh in the highest summer month.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            I think the issue comes down to having enough power to heat in winter, without homesteads turning to gas or wood or diesel generators on remote grids.

          • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

            Yes, if they are short of power in the wintertime, the PV array should be set up to optimize winter collection.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Maybe that’s what needs to be done. For areas with little wind to help in winter, accept PV needs to pull more weight and tilt the panels to accomodate.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            But don’t forget charging efficiency of the batteries and other losses HS.

          • solarguy 2 years ago

            Best to match PV for the max average load in winter, then summer performance should be more than adequate, as a rule of thumb. Diesel use, will then be minimized.

  7. Rod 2 years ago

    “I think they walked in there with their eyes shut and their arse exposed” LOL

    Coober Pedy, a special place. That’s what you get from living in caves.

    I’m wondering if the diesel and the transport of it is subsidised.

    • john 2 years ago

      My thoughts are they did not get any help from anyone who actually understood Solar Wind or Storage which i think is used for FCAS

  8. Eb 2 years ago

    I like how the savings chart has no y-axis!
    To assist any future comments, the annual diesel generation in 2012-13 was 13.35 GWh and in 13-14 it was 12.1GWh.
    http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/pages/searchcenter.aspx?k=Coober%20pedy
    The existing 150kW Nordex wind turbine would increase this by around 0.3GWh if it was operational.
    Hydro Tas was involved in the design of the solution, and before July 2014, the Capex was estimated to be $39m, possibly to obtain ~50% funding from ARENA.
    https://arena.gov.au/project/coober-pedy-renewable-diesel-hybrid/

    The $192m PPA figure is over 20 years, so care needs to be taken on whether it is real or nominal and what load growth is assumed.

  9. juxx0r 2 years ago

    Cannot believe that Giles couldn’t see this coming as easily as the rest of us. $19M for 4MW of wind at $2/W, 1MW of solar at $1/W, which makes a 250kWh battery about $10M or $40,000 per watt. Sounds plausible.

    All for only 70%. Comedy gold.

  10. Miles Harding 2 years ago

    After my initial thought “how did they stuff that up??”, almost immediately “Unconscionable conduct” popped up as the most likely answer. The developer really took the council to the cleaners on this one.

    This probably has an analog in the suburbs; there are still plenty of dodgy solar+battery installers, only too willing to fleece any dumb bunny that hops in their shop door.

    We’ve seen this with Tesla batteries – they’re very easy to direct order form Tesla, but there are solar installers out there selling rip-off solar packages at a 50% premium over the reasonable installed cost of the battery and solar individually.

  11. Ian 2 years ago

    Giles, well done for not hiding this cautionary tale. It’s the biggest gem to come out of Coober Pedi. The frontier character of the town is paralleled by the frontier nature of their renewables transformation. The hardy, hardworking stoic energy homesteaders are shafted by the big branded diesel energy ranch. The big city law representative (sheriff) ( played by Arena) is both in cohoots with the greedy energy landowner and ignorant of its evil intentions. Matters come to a head and a show-down is eminent . Which financial coffins will be filled? Those of the homesteaders or those of the energy ranch?

    Jokes aside, their experience is a valuable one , pointing to the pitfalls, and worthy of study, like any train-smash, to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated on a more macroscopic scale.

  12. James Ray 2 years ago

    I’ve been skeptical about ARENA seeming to place undue bias on ground mounted, utility scale solutions rather than rooftop solar. I reckon that the cost to the consumer would be lower with rooftop solar, storage, local electricity trading and grid services, rather than utility scale solutions. RFQ/T/Ps are always a good idea vs only going with one contractor, that smacks of corruption.
    Have a look at this petition:
    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_AEMC_Reconsider_the_change_request_for_local_electricity_trading

    • OnionMan77 2 years ago

      In Coober Pedy, roof top IS ground mounted as everyone lives underground.

      • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

        Would they have above-ground sheds for cars and other large things used outdoors? They could mount PV panels on those roofs.

  13. Malcolm M 2 years ago

    Surely the local Council has a procurement policy, which states that above a threshold multiple quotes must be sought unless a strong case is made for exemption. In the Victorian public sector, for example, anything over $100,000 has to go to an accredited purchasing panel. One possible reason for exemption could be that EDL were a co-applicant on the ARENA contract. ARENA would be a grant-funding organisation that would rely on the applicant to have internal good governance policies, with payments made upon completing certain milestones. In this case, ARENA should share responsibility for the stuff-up be accepting above-market costs. If it wasn’t a joint contract, responsibility would rest entirely with the Council.

    • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

      Council does have a policy that they did not enforce for reasons only known by them. And yes this whole fiasco rests financially on the council and especially the ratepayer’s of Coober Pedy.

      • neroden 2 years ago

        It should be possible to sue in court to void the contract because the Council violated the “multiple quotes” (open tender, bidding) policy. This is a standard procedure in the US. I don’t now about Australia. But I’d get a lawyer who knows about suing over government issuing no-bid contracts, and I’d sue. The Council might be willing to back the lawsuit at this point. EDL would come to the table to renegotiate, rather than losing a *corruption* suit.

        • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

          Council was involved and have gone onto a coverup and are blaming everyone else now that they have been exposed. Funds for a legal challenge from council I find highly unlikely as it would bring them undone. Information recieved by me indicates it has been tried to implement what you have suggested and have hit a brick wall the whole way. I’ll refer you to one part of the above article where Councillor Freytag states that there is really nothing that can be done know the contracts have been signed. Why would he say that? Freytag is also on the council Audit commitee where there was evidence of council complicity in this fiasco and yet still makes statements in the media such as he has done. He is there to protect his buddies in council and all evidence points toward this. A person on a Resident’s group who tried to expose this had false POLICE reports made against them by FREYTAG and I believe that the writer of this article Giles Parkinson should try and get in touch with that group to hear their side of the story.

  14. ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

    Two councillors that moved and seconded this lunacy also run a gem trade show in Coober Pedy that the Department of State Development (DSD) are also a gold sponsor of. The Mayor promised extensive community consultation on this issue. NONE of that happened. All of this went under a section 90 meeting.(SECRET) WHY? I disagree with the 3500 population as well.More likely half.The district council had plenty of time to walk away from this deal and chose not too. As soon as they were exposed they started crying foul. If this story is going to be out there get all the facts right council were totally involved in this deal. I know for fact Mayors were spoken too. Ministers (FEDERAL) were contacted over this issue and could not get a straight answer out of any of them. Some didn’t even reply. There are questions still being asked by a residents group in Coober Pedy and can’t get a reply from anybody. As I have previously stated on comments on the INDAILY website there is a digital recording verifying a lot of what has been posted here and yet no one wants it. I WONDER WHY? Its okay to attack companies and attack governments what about the councillors that agreed to this deal. The whole town ship of Coober Pedy could have been put on solar power for the price of this facility.There are around 1200 rateable residential properties in Coober Pedy and that would roughly equate to 30K a property. Could have been easily been done. In a Town of 330 day’s of sunshine the only beneficiary out of this is an energy company and the retailer THE COUNCIL. I am a Coober Pedy local so I would believe I know what I am talking about. I know that local’s in Coober Pedy spoke to Graeham Davies of resonant solutions who advised that council should not be put into administration over this issue as the “GOVERMENT” then would not answer for what they have done. If the Council want’s to play the victim here why was this put under a section 90 meeting.

    • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

      If EDL or the system designer didn’t have experience with a portfolio of similar previous co-generation (wind and solar) microgrid systems, then I think there’s grounds to argue EDL acted in bad faith by being out of their depth to undertake such a project. If there is a large discrepancy in EDL’s previous experience and the project undertaken, ARENA should have picked that up along with the price gouging. To highlight this, I would have an experienced designer give a design and costs for the year the project was planned.

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        As soon as this contract was signed EDL was taken over by another Company DUET that is about to be taken over by another Company a HONG KONG based consortium. Is there anything now that can legally be done? If so who’s footing the bill? I don’t believe federal or state government will do that. Comes back to the Coober Pedy ratepayer. Still boils down to the fact that this project should never have been signed off.

        • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

          I’m not aware of what happens if there is mismanagement of community money with local councils although there must be people who understand that. ARENA would also have policy processes it has to follow.

        • Calamity_Jean 2 years ago

          All of you in Coober Pedy must be hopping mad about this mess.

        • neroden 2 years ago

          Legally, sue to void the contract on the grounds that it was procured corruptly with backroom “side deals” and without an real, open-market procurement process.

          I don’t know exactly how this is done in Australia but it’s done in both the UK and the US so there’s got to be an Australian procedure for it.

    • solarguy 2 years ago

      I’m sure all of you in CP would be feeling rather ropeable over this. A secret meeting means some one was complicit in this rip off. The councillors?

  15. humanitarian solar 2 years ago

    ARENA’s funding processes should be investigated and their board held accountable. ARENA have taken taxpayer money and paid it to a private company, who in turn have exploited a local community for profit. That burden currently rests with that community for 20 years and could act as a great economic deadweight.

  16. Andrew Woodroffe 2 years ago

    Are there any SA PV installers talking to Desert Cave Hotel, the Opal Inn, and the operator of the local IGA supermarket? The publicity from providing these guys with off grid systems (and you get STCs) and some storage could very well be worth the trips up there.

    • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

      then everyone elses electricity goes up.

      • Andrew Woodroffe 2 years ago

        unless they also go off grid . . . 48c/kWh makes going off grid very attractive . . . this PPA is a monumental stuffup

        • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

          The deal is at fixed rate of supply for 20 years more people that go off grid council has to get money from somewhere else.Coober pedy is made up mostly of the aged and lower socio economic that going off grid is realy not an option. Maybe some PV installers should be up ther talking to the residents to see what deals they can work out. They might get more advertising that way BUT If the council does not retail electricity debt will skyrocket in no time. Monumental stuff up only starts to describe this.

          • Andrew Woodroffe 2 years ago

            Most installers these days can usually provide finance.

            The more expensive the tariff for those remaining, the ever more financially attractive it will be to go off grid.

            This will be a real world example of the death spiral. Bring it on. Show the world, a warning to utilities everywhere to improve their behaviour.

            How else will you be able to bring EDL to the table to renegotiate the PPA? Buried deep within the terms and conditions will be an out for EDL but not, probably, for the council. Declining customer numbers may be the only stick available.

            As you know, there are people out there who would have been able to install sufficient wind and solar and batteries to the size of the ARENA grant alone, so in fact the generation price should really be running costs. Wait a second, LGCs will be available, say 8c/kWh next 3 years at least, so really, the cost of generation, given the grant from ARENA and the LGCs could be zero. At least for the first 3 years.

            Not 48c/kWh.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Now you’re talking sense, if the price residents were actually paying was that high and they were planning to be in Coober Pedy for 8+ years then any system with LGCs for 3 years and some finance terms attached could be a good deal, but In my opinion we are only getting half the story.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            What halfof the story is that

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Well if you assume that you will be facing high power prices for the next 20 years, and were to buy an off grid system and spread that cost (+ finance) over 20 years, you would have paid off the system and be independent.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            AS has already been stated the more people who go off grid the more the rest of the resident’s have to pay.

  17. ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

    The town ship of Coober Pedy could have bought out EDL for around 800k and and got the Arena funding for a renewable project.Community consultation could have brought that to fruition but then there would be no take over bids from rival companies where I believe the real money is.

    • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

      Didn’t EDL just supply the diesel generators? Why buy the diesel generators at all? Who owns Coober Pedy’s grid? It sounds from comments below, if the renewable energy had been done well, more centred around solar and less on wind, it could have supplied the vast majority of the towns power. Solar panels are cheap and they could have been planned more for winter.

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        Two years remain on the contract with EDL. 800k to pay them out and they were gone. Community then could have negotiated with funding bodies for a solar plant. I agree with you panels are the way to go. There is an existing wind turbine in Coober Pedy that hardly worked this was managed by EDL. The grid I’m told is owned by the town. There was a meeting held with the MAYOR and the then CEO with a community group on 2nd DEC. 2015 at that stage there was still three years left on the contract with EDL. That meeting was recorded. On that recording The MAYOR and CEO clearly state that council would not be ready for another two years to sign any deals. A copy of that recording has been supplied to me. It was then moved at a section 90 meeting (secret) on the 19th Jan.2016 to sign off on a deal with EDL.6 weeks later. The mover and seconder are both connected with a gem trade show that is sponsored by the Department of State Development.(DSD) a gold sponsor of that gem trade show. Council is now trying to blame (DSD) for pressuring them into signing the deal. A GOLD sponsorship is 5k and over. How much over is anyone’s guess. Part of the deal that was agreed to is that EDL would sponsor gem trade show and an opal festival with 10k per annum divided between them. The seconder for the motion was on the committee for the gem trade show and wrote a letter to EDL some 6 months before the 19th JAN.meeting thanking them for the monies. So the question is why was it so urgent to sign this deal. It does appear that the more questions that were asked the quicker council wanted to sign off. I am not against renewable energy but I am certainly questioning this deal. I don’t mean any offense to any commentators on this site but this is not just about a project but also the way it came about. The article printed is right about onre thing the community is in an uproar.

        • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

          Oh I think I see. So Coober Pedy was stuck on some sort of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with EDL to supply a diesel power station service for another two years, so wasn’t in a position to put out tenders or do a reverse auction involving other renewable energy installers. So instead what the Coober Pedy Councillors did (led by the two connected with the gem trade show) is somehow secure $10k+ pa of sponsorship from the Department of State Development and EDL to be gold sponsors of the local gem trade show and opal festival, and then in return EDL got the go ahead to develop its existing diesel power station into a potentially comprehensive renewable energy solution by augmenting it with wind, solar and battery. So the Council mixed up two different contexts by securing sponsorship for the opal industry ($10k+ pa), while having a secret meeting to sign off on EDL’s new project, which this article describes has a “total cost of $192 million over 20 years”. It’s become complex. The town is getting some annual opal event sponsorship, in return for an expensive power supply. I’m uncertain this process is ethical because it doesn’t seem to have been a fully open transparent public process, involving community consultation on what appears to be a relatively large “deal” or “deals”. By cutting corners and enabling EDL to move ahead to augment it’s diesel power station, the renewable energy contract wasn’t properly herded through the gateposts of a legit procurement process, and instead EDL got extremely special consideration in a process that only involved EDL and was subsequently signed off on very quickly. ARENA had to have been involved there at some point. I don’t know why ARENA didn’t identify there was no legit procurement process, in a project they part funded. I thought that was the idea of ARENA’s existence, to use taxpayer money to leverage low prices in the renewable energy sector, by using specialised procurement processes like reverse auctions.

        • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

          heh ragnor, I imagine your not enjoying yourself, though this is a very interesting and entertaining case study for the rest of us. I’d say this is an extremely delicate issue to us because we all want renewable energy to go ahead and most of the people on this site have either done it on their properties (me), are installers or are market analysts etc. We know it can work well and the numbers can stack up better than a state grid, especially medium and larger systems. The problem is this implicates our renewable energy agency ARENA, and yet we don’t want anyone else to suffer, or any community to suffer, based upon such a bad process and outcome as Coober Pedy has experienced. I’m an electronics technician and a social worker, and I think the technology is sound though the process you’ve experienced has become bitter or twisted, or in this instance it appears to have become twisted first, then bitter later. I’m not sure what to do though whatever you decide to do, can you please frame it up that renewable energy is good, though it has to be done right. Sounds like Councils all over the country can be warned and benefit from this.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            Please help us everyone. This should be a great project but it has turned into this. Write to who you can. The more pressure the better. We don’t want to see a BAD DEAL ruin the future. Like I have already stated 330 day’s of sunshine and we are forbidden to use it. Again this is not about renewables but a BAD buisiness deal that we don’t want to see happen again. This deal shuts down competition. Residents can’t afford power. Installers get no work this whole thing is just crazy. Renewables are the way of the future no doubt but big buisines must adapt as well. Councils and other bodies who ever that maybe will have to be dragged by the looks of it kicking and screaming to keep up their policies to match with the rapidly accelarating technologies of the future energy markets. For the sake of that future don’t let this situation be a precedent.

  18. Mike Shackleton 2 years ago

    At those sorts of prices the council is going to white elephant their own project. Why wouldn’t residents just put their own solar and battery arrays in? Given that little AC is needed because the houses are underground, it would be pretty easy to go off grid.

    • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

      Deal is that the town has only an allocated 400kw of roof top solar 250 kw for buisiness 150 for residential. Go it alone systems for most of the community is not affordable. Residents are basically held to ransome on this issue. No offense to you but most people live above ground. there are a lot of underground dwellings but not everyone lives in one. Dugouts are also very expensive to build. More houses are being built now day’s.

      • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

        Heh Ragnor I’ve come across this issue of grids limiting PV being fed into the grid. I think you’ll find the 200kW business and 150KW residential PV limit can really only to apply to what is connected to the Council’s grid. This means people could either go off-grid entirely or have a small system connected to the grid and another “off-grid” system not connected to the grid. It’s a bit of extra carefully choosing components, though no big deal. It would be as simple as having one roof connected to the grid and another going into a battery. With the bigger issue of redressing this, I think this could be “HUGE” and I don’t think the Coober Pedy people will have any trouble getting support from the larger community. Just post a new comment at the top, so Giles and others see it, appealing for help with a referral to reporters interested in working to run the ball up to the media. From there I think you’ll find all the doors will pop open.

        • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

          THANKYOU.

  19. ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

    Please help us everyone. This should be a great project but it has turned into this. Write to who you can. The more pressure the better. We don’t want to see a BAD DEAL ruin the future. Like I have already stated 330 day’s of sunshine and we are forbidden to use it. Again this is not about renewables but a BAD buisiness deal that we don’t want to see happen again. This deal shuts down competition. Residents can’t afford power. Installers get no work this whole thing is just crazy. Renewables are the way of the future no doubt but big buisines must adapt as well. Councils and other bodies who ever that maybe will have to be dragged by the looks of it kicking and screaming to keep up their policies to match with the rapidly accelarating technologies of the future energy markets. For the sake of that future don’t let this situation be a precedent.

    • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

      Ragnor I think people will be reluctant to approach in the public eye, so I think you’ll need to contact the community action group, find out if they have a contact person or contact details, or the group nominate some, then post those details here in the article. Otherwise, I guess you would have to get representatives of the community action group to go knocking on doors, or phoning individual agencies. I personally think your community is best served by knowledgable people in this field, who know the technology, can detail why the install is not great, why the procurement process went wrong etc. It’s in people in this field’s interest to help you, or it could get ugly.

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        Ugly in what way?

        • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

          Well there’s allot of heat around the renewable industry anyway, with allot of smear campaigns against the technology because big business generators and retailers often want renewable energy to look bad, because it makes their old clunker generators look better. Also the procurement process looks a bit bodgy and ARENA has been involved. So it’s likely to generate a huge conflict, of the country arguing about if renewable energy has a place and if so, how should it be done. The other big issue is allot of mainstream people think renewable energy can’t power an off-grid setup like Coober Pedy, so you’ll see from the article ARENA thought it was going to showcase the technology and show what its capable of. If a system worked in a remote setting, it proves it will work anywhere. We know it works because many of us have done it on our properties, but for some bizarre reason people usually think of a grid differently than a property or the microgrids that have gone into developing countries. So the national discussion is still fairly unformed and relatively uninformed, with allot of fear of if renewable energy can provide reliability and security.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            I think we can see this is not working. There is still subsidised electricity. Just as expensive as ever. The subsidy under the RAES programme if the HONG KONG consortium takes over will NOW go of shore. Tax Payer will be realy impressed.
            Again no one has a problem with the project it’s the buisiness side that needs looking at. If ARENA wanted something to showcase build it for free and why are we paying so much for power. WE have people in our community with 8 and 10k outstanding power bills now so realy can’t see anything that these idiots have done that helped that situation. Contact CEO of council to verify that as fact. As far as the rest of the country arguing about the validity of renewables unfortanately is a problem Coober Pedy can’t resolve All we know is we got a raw deal out of this and are trying to do something about it. I will make contact with the community group that took on this issue and see if they will post their details. Again Under this deal if the buisnesses go of grid which they can afford the residents will have to pay more for electricity. So more power that definitely can’t be paid for. ARENA could have put Solar on everyone’s home if they wanted a showcase. I’ve been told that Alice Springs had something of that description done. I don’t know exactly what but will find out. I do know it was paid for by federal government. Was that ARENA also? I know without question the people of Coober Pedy want green energy. The way it was obtained here is wrong. Maybe we should wait and see what other outback town ARENA want’s to showcase and see what the ramifications for that town are because I can assure you that we sure copped it in Coober Pedyfrom every tier of government.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            My computer has crashed again. It’s a new mac. Bodgy stuff everywhere. Still under warranty. Just had it fixed last week. With EDL i think you’ll find they didn’t really apply themselves with doing the job properly, would have thought the town is isolated and didn’t bother being diligent. See how quickly they got out after it was done. ARENA would likely have been guilible and didn’t delve deeply enough, costing taxpayers and especially your community. ARENA would likely have been mainly concerned to clock up another project and get you off diesel ASAP.

          • Mark Roest 2 years ago

            I get a pretty clear picture of this as a case of the owners of EDL doing the classic fossil-fuel-oriented, elitist manipulation to make sure that their profit flow keeps going as is — or if they are angry at being in a position to have to change their business model from complete control to sharing power — increases (as in, ‘that’ll show’em!’).
            As you read this quote, just think of what the companies that have been creating gas spikes think of the rest of the population (hint: cows to be milked): “It has been the
            supplier of the diesel generators to the Coober Pedy grid since 2004.” It has been in control of a cash cow, with no competitors.
            I think there is another way to take this situation: as heightening the contradictions, between the community service ethic and the widespread pattern of exploitation and abuse by energy providers. You could turn this into an apocryphal story of elitists who want to leave nothing on the table in a negotiation, and who represent the status quo in fossil fuel, nuclear, and other centralized energy generation. It is, quite frankly, the old colonialist model, with the dominant society itself being colonized by those with the opportunity to do so.
            Communities are, in common law, able to regulate in the interests of the health and well-being of their people. It’s time to get the public interest lawyers together and see what can be done, both in the legal system and in the court of public opinion, and to take control of the story in such a way that the coal-and-oil-supporting media can’t control it effectively.
            See what the political balance of power is at the local, state and federal level, and chart a course of action, which could include organizing someone to come in with cheap batteries and smart microgrids to trigger that death spiral, if the deal cannot be overturned or overhauled so there is no longer central control and exploitation by EDL.
            One other point — look for other situations where EDL has attempted to exploit the market — for instance, weren’t they the ones who provided an inflated bid to Hawaii? If not, what have they done that does show a pattern of selfish and greedy exploitation of markets?

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Yes although see the comment by Andrew Woodroffe, as in the mean time the people will have to suffer the death spiral because the council signed an agreement for power for 20 years, lumbering rate payers with the project costs anyway, as well as the cost of maintaining the council owned grid.

          • Andrew Woodroffe 2 years ago

            Yes, individual properties have been on 100% or near 100% for years now. Why is a bigger system such a big deal (and you still have the old diesel gensets when the batteries are empty)? As you said, bizarre. And, given the township of Denham, north of Geraldton on the coast of Western Australia has been operating offgrid at high levels of wind penetration (100% at times) since 2007, also a tad ignorant.

            My fundamental issue, just looking at the middle of SA, and without proper data, is the specification of 4MW of wind and 1MW of solar ,not the other way around. Wind at over $3m/MW (wind class III machines, tall towers) delivering, annually, very roughly, 2500MWh/MW and ground mounted solar at less than $2m/MW delivering, roughly 2000MWh/yr (should be single axis tracking). In other words, $6m will get you less than 5000MWh a year from wind but more than 6000MWh from solar. Surely, it ought to be 4MW of solar and 1 MW of wind?

            As for running costs, as mentioned before, LGCs are running at over $80/MWh, well in excess of operational costs of wind or solar.

            Maybe EDL should be paying the council . . . instead.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Weapon Sixtyfour was quoting specific wind speeds and I think their site assessment modeling.

    • neroden 2 years ago

      Can the deal be voided based on failure to do a competitive tender? That’s a legal procedure in the US: sue in a court alleging bad faith “backroom deals” and you can kill a no-bid government contract.

    • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

      Isn’t there is an allocation under the PPA of 250kW of Managed solar PV if so have you been denied a grid tied system by the Council or EDL??

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        400kw in total we were told at the last meeting with EDL Department of State Development (DSD) and District council of Coober Pedy 250kw for buisimess 150kw residential. When member’s of the community complained about that situation Nick Smith of DSD asked if we want our cake and eat it too. WE must be one of very few communities tthat have been denied the use of home owned rooftop solar. I think you are missing the point of what I am trying to point out. WE WANT THE RIGHT TO PUT ON OUR OWN SOLAR SYSTEMS AND NOT BE HELD TO RANSOM FROM EDL TOWN COUNCIL OR ANYONE ELSE. As I have pointed out to you in answer above the deputy mayor has solar on his roof why can’t we?

        • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

          So how could you show the public that you or someone else in Coober Pedy has been declined an application for grid tied solar?

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            it was clearly stated at a meeting with EDL and the DISTRICT COUNCIL that according to them there is a deficiency of some description in their system that would not allow home solar connection. seems to me you are here trying to pick holes in what people are trying to achieve here.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            No way I’m just trying to get some real figures on the table. So the 350kW figure is ~10% of max demand, so if you add more than that to any system with low intertia capability (and cannot control it) it has the potential to cause instability i.e outages, which is why I asked if anybody had been declined a grid-tie system.

        • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

          Does that Deputy Mayor have off-grid or grid tied?

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            tied grid

  20. hydrophilia 2 years ago

    One aspect of renewables this cluster&*^% casts a little light upon is the problem of the fast deflation in costs. In a financially deflationary environment, one puts off purchases, knowing that things will be cheaper tomorrow. In just this way, we know that renewables will be cheaper next year…. not to mention the fact that other folks will have made the bleeding edge errors.

    Anyone who buys now, without incentives (like the nice FIT) or long-term contracts, is going to get stuck with an expensive asset competing against newer, cheaper assets. As an example, I have a friend who ordered a shipping container of solar panels, thinking to make a killing: his cost was about $2/watt… The folks who own or think of investing in generation are faced with the near certainty that waiting for a year or ten often makes financial sense.

    While I’d love to rip out the FF generators and replace with renweables right now, it seems to me that new investment in renewables only makes financial sense when new/better generation/service is needed…. or if renewables become enough cheaper than alternatives to make it worthwhile to buy now and shut down a FF plant sooner.

    This, of course, ignores externalities like pollution…

    • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

      It’s worthwhile now because of the cost of the diesel. The problem is the technology selection, which was probably never highlighted because only one company with experience in diesel submitted a project design. Commenters have suggested the proportion of wind and solar is suboptimal, given the average wind speeds in Coober Pedy. Commenters have questioned if the solar and wind should have been sized the opposite way around, and yet two wind turbines have been installed in Coober Pedy. There are also questions if there should have been more focus on the configuration of the solar panels to achieve a greater winter harvest. The company who did the design, got a generous PPA then got out.

      • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

        As far as tender processes go I couldn’t comment, but to my knowledge this is a hybrid system – which I’m assuming is capable of zero diesel operation, and this wouldn’t be possible without enablers: dynamic resistors, fast response diesels/flywheel, a battery system, and probably some very advanced control coding, so all these components- including wind and solar, need to be balanced to get the best return, and I’m assuming it’s why the Hydro Tas system doesn’t use batteries for storage i.e more cost / less return, so as the technology selection is all based on economics and performance, I would say from a competitive point of view the builder/owner/operator of the diesel station would have the best knowledge of the characteristics of the town’s demand profile and thus economics and the designer/engineer would have the best knowledge of a hybrid-zero diesel station thus any given equipments performance.

        • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

          In my experience, most fields are like a bell curve of results in a university, with most people scoring a pass or a credit. Then there’s those needing remedial attention and the other end of the spectrum. This is why previous projects are so important, to see where we’re all up to with it. We don’t want to judge EDL by unrealistic standards and neither would we want anything significantly less than has been done in years past.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            I agree, lets not judge but let’s look at the facts;
            1. We can estimate a rough over the fence cost of power
            2. We can see what the current actual (variable) tariff is to the end user
            3. We can almost identify essentially what any subsidies might be
            4. We have an idea of the modeling data used in equipment selection
            5. We know the performance of the individual components
            6. We have some evidence that the project (Schedule) is on track
            7. We know the developers have the expertise in power generation
            8. We don’t know the performance of the entire system
            9. We don’t know if the project (budget) is on track
            10. We don’t know the full contents of the independent report that tells us any of the above “facts” are incorrect or otherwise.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Sounds like a great summary of the facts although I’m not a project manager. I can only give an uninformed personal position, if the modelling was for my property or my town, I wouldn’t be happy with the amount of diesel. I’m not saying I have the answers to address this concern just saying I’d be looking for projects further towards reducing diesel and questioning if it can be done cheaper with less diesel.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            At point 1 your rough estimate is way out of the ballpark and at point 3 almost being able to identify anything is a crock. Again the prices are through the proverbial roof and the subsidy paid will now go ofshore. It seems to me you want to promote this project at all costs and want to bend facts to suit your argument.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Firstly what prices are you talking about? the Capex cost of the hybrid station? or the tariffs the council is billing?, Secondly the subsidy is paid to the council who pays the power station owner, who pays off the asset which makes a profit, which only then could go offshore. Thirdly the ARENA funding is what promotes these projects to acquire the knowledge, so if you have any information that proves the project performance has been misrepresented I’ll gladly join your cause because it’s bad for the industry if people blame the technology.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            And wouldn’t all or at least some of that money be the subsidy?

    • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

      First paragragh exactly right. 20 year contract is ridiculous. Politicians and wannabe Poiliticians should have stayed out of this and the one expert involved Graeham Davies of Resonant Solutions gets sacked by the council because all of a sudden they know more. WHAT? The word around Coober Pedy is the councillor who moved the motion to sign that contract is a Bosnian electrician who is allegedly some relative of Nicola Tesla.

      • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

        It’s going to be a great community interest story. The action group needs to keep chronicling the story so it gets increasing public support for the best possible resolutions to come out of this.

    • neroden 2 years ago

      With home solar or going off-grid, it can often make sense to “bite the bullet” and pay today’s costs just to avoid the *transmission* costs of the grid, which are going up. But with utility-scale… tricky, very tricky!

  21. ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

    In the part of the article that states a subsidy will keep power prices level with the capitol cities is not exactly correct. A letter of comfort has been given by the current state government to the Coober Pedy Council but with an election in 12 months who knows after that.State Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has already stated that he can’t guarentee what future goverments will do. Council still went ahead and signed the 20 year contract anyway.

  22. Ian Porter 2 years ago

    There could be legal ramifications for EDL if their website statement can be proven to be misleading. This could be an interesting class-action suit once the council get into trouble and the off-grid brigade drive the spear in and create the proverbial death spiral.

  23. ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

    Anybody who may be interested go to https://cooberpedyregionaltimes.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/coober-pedy-regional-times-23-03-2017.pdf.
    This will explain some of the ridiculous buisiness aspect of this fiasco. First time the local paper has asked any questions and really is about time that it did. Maybe beause of articles by good men like Giles on this site and Washington of INDAILY we might get to expose what’s realy gone on here. If green energy is to be promoted we don’t the likes of this to happen again.

    • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

      So have you personally seen the modelling / report from Resonant Solutions?

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        yes

        • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

          So where in the analysis I provided reaching ~$0.25kWhr am I going wrong?

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            Thanks for your input. If what you’re saying is correct the subsidy that is paid to the district council for the electricity supply would not be needed. So where is that money going. I will forward this on to the community group.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            What I am saying is: until the report from the “Independent Consultant” is publicised- the numbers don’t stack up- also by the way –> there will always be some additional costs incurred by the network operator that are needed to pay for the upkeep of your distribution network, and ensure its safe operation; this can be funded by subsidy or fixed fees in your bill, I expect the age of the CP network, its remoteness, environmental conditions etc, this wouldn’t be insignificant.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            Mate I can tell by now you don’t have a clue of what your’e talking about. Do you know anything of Coober Pedy and it’s resident’s.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Yea, so in the time I have spent commenting I have learned; as a resident can go off-grid but you’re worried about the “community” paying more, the council is getting subsidies but you’re not sure where they are going and you have an independent report that the general public hasn’t seen.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            Why wouln’t I be worried about the community paying more?
            There was also a flier distributed by the district council which I have tried to paste here will get to it later but it clearly states in the second paragraph of councils concerns and I’ll quote “forecast to commence at approx. 50cents kw/h and escalate to 115cents kw/h over the 20 year life of the contract” I will attempt to post that flier later. I can assure you that flier exists and was distributed by council. And as stated a lot of residents in Coober Pedy couldn’t afford to go off grid and there are member’s of the community with 8k and 10k power bills they can’t pay now. Contact CEO of council for verification of that fact. It is not up to me to know where council money is going it is up to council to do the right thing. As far as the report goes there was a redacted report released to the community and that can be verified by going to council minute’s of the 14th dec. 2016 motion no. sc20161209. So as you can now see the report IS in the public domain and that is what I was refering to when I said I had seen that report.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            You asked me what I knew, but I certainly wasn’t ridiculing your personal position. note: I personally have not been able to find a public copy of the redacted report, so this action may not have been completed yet.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            I can assure you that report has been in the community since December 2016 and the full report as well.You have made statements that the report was not out there and I believe you were having a real good go. Next time get your facts right.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Ok well where can I find it? If can you send me a link to the Resonant Solutions report, or even though I’m interested in the figures, how about a photo of the front cover? and I will gladly retract any statement that it’s not in the public domain, as I personally haven’t seen if or found it.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            Contact the council

  24. david_fta 2 years ago

    Meanwhile, over at ‘The Conversation’ there’s an article about an algorithm that has been developed to design optimal renewable energy systems (https://theconversation.com/an-algorithm-to-improve-the-renewable-energy-production-75325).

    Hopefully, use of such an algorithm would produce better outcomes than seems to have occurred in Coober Pdey.

  25. Ronno 2 years ago

    the person at fault here is the consultant for allowing it to happen, maybe going on holidays during a contractural negotiation was a bad idea!

    • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

      Are you saying that the consultant went on holidays and if so where did you get that information from as I don’t remember it being mentioned in the above article.

  26. ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

    The Coober Pedy Council was involved and have gone onto a coverup and are blaming everyone else now that they have been exposed. Funds for a legal challenge from council I find highly unlikely as it would bring them undone. Information recieved by me indicates it has been tried to implement what you have suggested and have hit a brick wall the whole way. I’ll refer you to one part of the above article where Councillor Freytag states that there is really nothing that can be done know the contracts have been signed. Why would he say that? It is quite clear and with evidence to support allegations of a meeting where two councillors who moved and seconded the motion to sign this deal should not have been in the room because of conflicts and contract should be void because of it. Freytag is also on the council Audit commitee where there was evidence of council complicity in this fiasco and yet still makes statements in the media such as he has done. He is there to protect his buddies in council and all evidence points toward this. A person on a Resident’s group who tried to expose this had false POLICE reports made against them by FREYTAG and I believe that the writer of this article Giles Parkinson should try and get in touch with that group to hear their side of the story. Like I’ve been commenting already on this site which I do respect is for people to promote green energy there is another side to this story that should also be told.

    • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

      I agree if the actions of the councillors are under scrutiny, then ethically the councillors should stay out of the process and allow any “conflicts of interest” to be investigated. The extent councillors attempt to cover up or prevent such a process happening, tends to suggest fear and corruption on their part, otherwise they would welcome shining a light on the whole learning process instead of being dismissive “nothing can be done”. Making an assessment also gives the public a chance to see if those councillors have done the best for the community they can (or set the town up for poverty) and hence if the town wishes to elect those councillors again.

  27. Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

    None of the contributors seem to have a grasp of the math. If you did you could determine that 48 cents/kwh figure doesn’t sound correct. In my observation basically divide the EDL/ARENA:Capex+roe ($39mil+$6.57mil) by the 20 year PPA and then by the kWhrs per annum (14,016,000 kWhrs=(max-demand:3,200kW*diversity-factor:0.5)*24*365days) = 16 cents per kWhr. add 5 cents for fuel (after 70% renewable input) and 4 cents for Opex. = $0.25 per kWhr so unless EDL and ARENA are forecasting returns of greater the 21% and 12% respectively, the Resonant Solutions data is suspect.

    • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

      Note: 0.22L kWhr heat rate and an 80 cents per litre for diesel was used.

      • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

        I can’t comment on the costings, though I read most of the comments and people have suggested the wind speed is too low to warrant the 2x wind turbines and proportions of the different generators should have been switched or wind eliminated altogether. Also the solar could have focused on winter harvest more because of the low wind in winter. The main thing is there was an absent procurement process, seemingly because EDL was still under contract for supplying power with their diesel generators… as I remember the discussion.

        • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

          So the 20 year modeling data suggests 8-10hrs of wind speeds greater than 8m/s (mean), also this is between 6pm and 6am.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Sounds like your suggesting the proportions of wind and solar are correct or defensible. I think the community group needs to see the project rationale in order to evaluate if they are happy with what they’ve got, because presently they don’t seem happy. Unhappy communities often come from lack of open transparent processes where communities feel consulted with regards spending their money. In your view, why would the project have only aimed for 70% renewables when diesel is so expensive?

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Well if you look at https://www.slideshare.net/informaoz/simon-gamble-hydro-tasmania-59848983; their system has >2,200 hours of zero diesel operation, so in my opinon it’s a fair target to aim for.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            Thanks WS this is really helpful information adding contextual background to the install. Sharing this sort of information gets everyone on the same page, potentially creates mutual understanding and can ease tensions all around.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            Is that 2200 hours or kw/h?

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Its says hours. so ~25% of the year- the system ran Zero-Diesel, overall they achieved ~55% diesel savings. refer page 11.

        • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

          Refer: africaaustraliaconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/EDL-Presentation.pdf

    • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

      I live in Coober Pedy where people were denied the use of rooftop solar on their own homes in a town with 330 day’s per annum of sunshine. So how cheap would that have been so for me I realy couldn’t care less what you think I’ve got a grasp of. I will tell you one thing the deputy Mayor of Coober Pedy who moved the motion on this lunacy has rooftop solar on his own home and is not shy of telling people how low his electricity bill is.

      • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

        Heh ragnor did you see this link WS posted. It appears to be some sort of project overview. The community group needs to chase up these kind of reports:
        http://africaaustraliaconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/EDL-Presentation.pdf

        • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

          Thanks for pointing that out they have that report and have someone going through it .As far as I know it’s a report from Keith Barker from EDL but will keep you informed, Again thanks.

          • humanitarian solar 2 years ago

            WS also posted this comment below, highlighting EDL owns Hydro Tasmania who potentially supplied expertise for the Coober Pedy project and also a link to other background information for Hydro Tasmania projects as well. This all gives comparisons to assess the Coober Pedy project, as well as what other companies are doing.

            “But Hydro Tasmania with plenty of experience in renewable technology and has provided the enabling technology and the design for the hybrid system. EDL is actually the owner and operator, so between them I’m pretty sure they have the right team executing the job on site, but if the project is delayed and over the planned budget obviously I would be happy to retract this statement.”

            https://www.slideshare.net/informaoz/simon-gamble-hydro-tasmania-59848983;

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Note: EDL is owner / operator of the power station not the owner of Hydro Tasmania.

    • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

      I’ll add that the domestic tariff advertised on the CP council website is 34.49 cents (for 201kWhr – 666kWhr), but a portion of this additional charge over my estimate should be going towards the upkeep of the network, but without knowing the maintenance cost it’s difficult to determine. So in my opinion until one can identify where revenue and subsidies are being spent, the PPA and project owner/s cannot be considered the root cause of this situation.

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        Is that with the (RAES) remote area electricity subsidy? I do believe that it is right correct me if i’m wrong. If it is with the subsidy it changes the equation. I agree the root cause is a lot more than the project owner’s. When I last checked that subsidy would be going overseas to a hong kong consortium. Can you confirm that? The district council would sell that electricity as the retailor at that price but would be after the subsidy kicked in. Again if I’m wrong correct me it as it would be good to know.

        • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

          I’ll also add this is from councils website.
          Electricity Supply
          Power for Coober Pedy
          Coober Pedy does not get its power from “The Grid”, as most people in Australia do.
          Coober Pedy creates it own power through the use of both Diesel Generators and a Wind Turbine.
          The generation of power is now performed by Energy Developments Ltd (based in Perth, WA).
          The distribution and retailing of power is performed by Council.
          If you require power to be connected to a property you need to contact the council office on (08) 8672 4600 or email [email protected].

          Power prices for Coober Pedy are subsidised by the State Government, DTEI Energy Division.
          The Tariff rates are as follows:
          Domestic from 1 September 2015
          Supply Charge $48.75
          The First 200 kWh bi-monthly 32.84
          The next 201 – 666 kWh bi- monthly 34.49
          The next 667 – 1666 kWh bi- monthly 37.96
          The next 1667 – 3333 kWh bi- monthly 38.74
          The next 3334 – 99999 kWh bi- monthly 38.74
          Domestic Accounts are sent out bi-monthly. These prices are after subsidy. What the power is being supplied at to the council is another question.It must be higher hence the “subsidy” It is starting look like weapon sixty four your numbers don’t add up. as you came up with .25cents without a subsidy
          So now let’s allow for the subsidy that we do know exists and assume that is .10cents kw/h that would put the power price in the region that resonant solutions and council have stated not the .25 cents you have quoted. So it could be probable that EDL were here for a killing going by the rest of your figure’s

  28. ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

    To weapon sixty four I posted the rest of the councils number’s from the site where you got the 34.49 cents from and for some reason it was deleted as a spam email. The bottom line is that you are quoting figure’s post subsidy with the highest tarriff being 38.74 cents. The site also states that Coober Pedy power prices are subsidised by the state government DTEI Energy Division as of 1st SEP 2015 So prices supplied to council by the owner’s of the facility are higher than council is selling as the retailer hence the “subsidy”. Now confirmation of a subsidy has been established for you. So let’s say the subsidy is .10cents kw/h that would put the supplier’s prices in the vicinity as quoted by resonant solutions and the district council not the .25 cents pre subsidy you quoted. If the rest of your figures you quoted are correct the 21% and 12% respectively it would appear that EDL was forcasting great returns on their investment. I will remind you that at last count this facility was about to have it’s third owner a hong kong consortium and I don’t believe one trickle of electricity has come from this facility yet. Now my question is why was it sold so many times and what happened to the original ARENA funding given to EDL?

    • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

      To answer your question, I can’t imagine the new ARENA funding going toward the project as a lump sum, and note that the reason I used 21% and 12% was because it’s a rough figure of what a private and public organisation might consider as the lowest acceptable return, so you’re right it could be higher. I still haven’t seen this independent report and I still think it’s unlikely the cents per kWhr is 44 to 48, it could be if you added some fixed tariffs into the equation, but without the PPA or the report you can’t tell.

      • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

        Also if you calculate back the “Independent reports” $192mil over 20 years, use the kWhr pa figure, and 38 cents per kWhr, it becomes a variable of ~$5.3mill and a remainder of ~$4.2 per annum which one could call a fixed component. Subtract the subsidies (5.3+4.2)-3.5= $6.0mil pa, divide 6.0 by 14.016 kWhrs pa, = ~$0.42 per kWhr, now include a renewable contribution of 50% reducing the variable, ((5.3 x 0.5)+4.2)-3.5 = $3.4mil, divide 3.4 by 14.016 = ~$0.25 cents per kWhr, so we could lower the subsidie because of network cost and apply the modeled 70% renewable target but whichever way you look at it, if the subsidies are used correctly and the system performs correctly, it indicates there is a savings.

        • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

          Of 5.4 million over 20years. woohoo!!!

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            In the example above approx $2.65mil per year. or $53mil over 20 years.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            It’s not supplied at 38cent’s “hence the subsidy” When are you going to get that. Again you are still bending facts to suit your argument

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            No the calculation shows that after “the subsidy” the over the fence power to be ~$0.42, if you increase the 38 cents to 40 or higher, you would need lower the fixed component to align with the “Independent Report” figure of $192mil..

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            What happened to 25 cents you first quoted? You are getting closer to doubling that and the figures closer to what every ons being trying to say.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            It’s still there, you might not be getting it but I’ve simply shown a couple of methods that could be used to understand how this business deal is arranged, I have no need to remove it, because it shows you don’t need blind faith in unpublished reports and anecdotal evidence.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            The reports as pointed out are in the public domain. Shadow Attorney generals of a government would surely had expert’s go through figure’s before they made a statement the only one blind here is you.It would also appear that your “couple of methods” don’t add up.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Nope you’re right, it doesn’t seem to be misquoted. Because if you take the additional ~2.4mil of subsidies the ~2.65mil in estimated savings you get ~250K.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            They are not the figures the shadow attorney general came up with who has passed this on to the auditor general. They came up with the 5.4 million over the 20 years Maybe you should take your argument up with her office. Again I.ve been trying to expose the buisiness side of this fiasco and you seem caught up on something no one else is talking about. Refer to articles printed in INDAILY and it might fill you in a bit. It also appears that your trying to defend a technology that I’m not questioning.

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        Council has already clearly stated publicly that power will start at 50 cents kw/h with a subsidy. What else do you need. Just because you find it unlikely doesn’t mean it’s not happening and believe me we couldn’t fathom what was going on either. Maybe your starting see how outrageous this whole thing is. The prices quoted ARE the prices whatever you might believe. The project is nearly completed and funding has been paid. ” I think it’s unlikely the cents per kw/hr is 44 to 48 cents” is only a statement of an opinion ufortunately and not based on fact.Why would the council say it will start at 50cents and escalate to 115 cents if it was not in the PPA> I think your argument’s now are becoming a bit ridiculous. No one has ever said anything about the project only the buisiness deal so what your on about is anyone’s guess. I realy don’t care about the technologies in this particular instance as the buisness side of things is just crazy Go to an article in today’s INDAILY and you will see what’s going on with electricity prices.If it is so much cheaper to produce why are we paying so much more for it. I can see you are all for these type of projects as am I but the public will not wear this sort of thing and if Coober Pedy is a litmus test as what’s to come then things dont look good. That’s the message I’ve been trying to get out there. The argument also that someone has to pay for the technology so that science can advance is also bullshit as the town is mostly made up of economically deprived who can’t afford now to keep themselves cool in the heat and have their children have a good night’s sleep so they can go to school in the morning. there’s a lot more to this story than some f3333n technology that somehow you seem to be blinded by.

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        ARENA funding has been paid you have seen the district council website by the 34.49 cents you posted. You have read the highest tarrif of 38.74 cent’s and it clearly states that the prices are subsidised and yet you still insist on posting false facts for some reason. Again the supply charge is alot more than what you’re calculating at but you don’t want to believe any other figure’s are correct. The council has clearly stated that prices will start at 50 cents kwh and escalate 115 cents kwh and yet none of that seems to be taken on board by you. Are you saying that council is misleading the public and the media? The current subsidy being paid is nearly twice the yearly savings you have quoted.

  29. ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

    To weapon sixty four Google justin freytag and go to the ABC story that he was interviewd in and the figure of 5.4 million comes up again. All you have done is wasted everyones time with your nonsense. It is also quoted in that story of 100 million dollars in subsidies that now will have to be paid that weren’t needed that wil now go over seas like I said.. That’s 5 million a year approx. what I have been saying. A department of state development(DSD) spokesman stated that a saving 5.4 million over the 20 year perod. Not the 53 million you are promoting. Like I said you don’t have clue of what you’re talking about. The worst part about this is me being a novice at this I was really hoping that you could be right. I don.t know if you realise how dissappointed I am.

    • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

      You’re right. Apparently a DSD spokesperson (speaking to InDaily?) said the project was forecast to save the (SA?) Government $5.4 million against diesel generation costs over a 20-year-period, there is no more supporting statements on what the means, it could be that they are saving $270k against the RAES that the state would have to pay, or it could be misquoted. So like I explained below- at a 50% renewable contribution there could be a saving of ~$2.65, its only Resonant’s analysis that finds that the current subsidy under RAES of around $3.5 million per year would increase by $2.4 million. I’m not promoting anything, I’m showing you different methods you can use to understand where you problem lies.

      • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

        Also some more aspects about this technology- apparently June 2013 to March 2016 was required for planning, design, approvals, modeling, consent, feasibility, contracts, etc, so 3 years!, and lets say there were 1 person from EDL, and 1 person from a Designer and 1 from Vendors/Consultants, all working full time, that’s ~6000 hrs: x 3 years x $160 hr = ~$2.8 million, so this plus site engineering and management, plus any additional costs required to connect it into an existing network needs to be considered, plus name another organisation selling a turnkey grid-baseload-capable zero-diesel-hybrid-wind-solar-battery power system.. thats utility scale.

        • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

          do you work for EDL and I’m sure the Taxpayer would be very happy to spend 100 million somewhere else. and zero diesel is bullshit

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Nope, but I’m quite happy for you to call me out for being defensive- if you can come up with points of your own. Simply my remarks suggest a link between a 3 year planning process, and costs that people don’t consider.

          • ragnor lothbrook 1 year ago

            June 2013 to march 2016 who really cares. The way things are shaping up it would appear to be a waste of money

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        the RAES subsidy is in the millions per annum. 100 million sounds exactly right. The buisiness deal whih is what I have been pointing out is the problem. Ths project is a TOTAL failure and dismally at best. Not a good look for the renewables industry which for some reason is all people seem to care about.

        • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

          No problem, i’m not considering remote communities negligible in anyway, but can you: for the benefit of anybody reading this saga, clarify what points I’m wrong on? Also the majority of all tangible reports go back to one source the DCCP and Resonant Solutions – with exception of a DSD statement and Deputy State Liberal leader; simply “saying” you’ve seen something doesn’t make it fact, for instance I’ve seen a wiki page that tells me Ragnar Lothbrok is a viking leader and hero of Old Norse poetry that doesn’t mean you’re him and he’s liberal with the letter “O” when he signs up to forums.

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            You’re wrong on the lot .Your equations start at 25cents a kwh and are then 42cents a kwh. An attorney general is wrong you are right. The ABC is wrong you are right INDAILEY is wrong you are right Resonant solutions is wrong you are right. Anybody that has got something to say about this project is wrong you are right. Starting to see a pattern here. And then as soon as it looks like you been shown to be wrong you get personal and nasty. Pointing out that you are wrong on something does not make that personal. I am not the only one who seems to believe that this project is a total failure it also would appear that alot of people agree with a lot of evidence to support it. The only one who doen’t agree is you becausr you are right.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            Hey Rag, how come you get to delete posts? and I don’t..

          • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

            I don’t know what you mean.

          • Weapon Sixtyfour 2 years ago

            That’s ok, I await your rebuttal. May I suggest you start with telling me how wrong I am, but please also may I ask you to be more specific.

          • ragnor lothbrook 1 year ago

            you want a copy of the consultants report go to the council or better still contact the guy that wrote it.as you know who it is. It seems to me you have taken a personal issue with me. Again I am protesting against the deal which I have made loud and clear. What you’re on about is anyones guess. I saw your post on the INDAILY website and if you think that anybody in their right mind is going to hand over documents to some idiot calling himself weapon sixty four on the internet you need to go get some help. So this is a polite way of telling you to FUCKOFF and let people do what they have to do.Like I said on the INDAILY post put up who you really are you gutless mutt.

          • ragnor lothbrook 1 year ago

            Sounds like a lot more than one source you are an idiot

      • ragnor lothbrook 2 years ago

        That statement is fairly self explanetary.

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