The Energy Crisis in Australia gets deeper

Shh. The Renewable Crash Test Dummy is at work

Another coal fired turbine blew this weekend and will be out for a month, adding to the problems facing the Australian grid, where gas was the main  filler-of-gaps in the forced transition but gas now costs a fortune, and we don’t have much else to fall back on. If only we had vast reserves of brown coal that was close to power stations?

If only we looked after those power stations and treated them like our lifestyle depended on them instead of like they were evil Storm Machines Mogambo!

The warnings are growing louder — our aluminium smelters are already going on standby to save us from rolling blackouts and it’s only the first week of winter. Retailers are going broke, asking customers to leave. The market system rides on long term futures contracts which hold the monster prices at bay, and everyone prays a storm doesn’t break an interconnector…

Perry Williams, The Australian

Delta Electricity, which operates NSW’s Vales Point station, said it was concerned by the precarious situation, with fuel costs rising and tight supplies of coal. “There will be consequences of this. There are commercial and industrial customers who just won’t be able to keep going,” Delta chief executive Greg Everett said.

A third of coal units are unavailable in NSW, 27 per cent are out in Queensland and 23 per cent shut in Victoria, according to consultancy WattClarity.

Gas prices are 80 times normal levels:

A rare cap on gas markets of $40 a gigajoule – five times higher than a year earlier – remains in place for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane after wholesale prices soared to 80 times normal levels following a cold snap and the demise of Weston.

Not another Government committee solution to a government committee problem…

After spending ten years trying to force old coal plants out of business, now they tell us they need a whole new market system to create incentives to keep the coal plants? These are the same coal plants that are so cheap they outcompeted every other kind of generator for fifty years?

The Energy Security Board, a body created by the nation’s energy ministers to remodel the power system, said it was working on options for a payment mechanism to introduce incentives to stop the early closure of power plants and create long-term signals for investment in dispatchable generation. “We think what we’re seeing with ongoing instances of closing power stations early, it’s critical that we have a market mechanism to get new supply in place when we need it – and to make sure we get the right mix of supply,” the board’s chairman, Anna Collyer, said.

“We can see the economics driving and environmental objectives driving that exit of coal, which just makes it more critical that we’re getting these new investments coming in.

It always fails when someone in the government thinks they know more than “the market” does.

It will take six months until some extra gas arrives:

Santos and its joint venture partner Beach Energy will bring a fifth drilling rig into the gas-rich Cooper Basin to boost supplies, with an extra 15 terajoules a day to flow by the end of 2022. Beach chief executive Morne Engelbrecht said producers increasing volumes was the best industry response.

“Coal shortages and the inability of sufficient renewables to reliably deliver energy security is the main factor driving current higher energy prices,” Mr Engelbrecht will tell a Credit Suisse energy conference on Tuesday.

The turbine that broke is at Liddell:

AGL confirmed on Friday one of three 500 megawatt units at Liddell has been taken out of service for at least a month, with the company blaming a malfunction with a generator transformer.

Can we start up the turbine they shut down at Liddell three months ago?

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June 5, 2022 at 01:34PM

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