South Australian Madness

Anthony Cox

Northern Power Station demolished.
Power rich state creating Wealth and Jobs in China.

We all know SA Premier, Wetherill is an alarmist loon who has swallowed the crazy pill of alarmism and its equally crazy offspring, renewables with gusto. He has blown up cheap reliable coal plants, invested unknown amounts of money in Musk’s battery, installed diesel generators, the most (real) polluting of all energy sources, except wood, which is about the only fuel source he has not tried. All in SA with the largest deposit of uranium in the world and now the dearest electricity in the world.

Peter Rees has already done some good work in highlighting the SA insanity, with Wetherill spending over $2 billion of taxpayers’ money for some wind and solar power while AGL, also up to its neck in alarmist and renewable spiffery, is paying $295 million, with some subsidies thrown in, for a gas generator which will produce much more electricity in a reliable fashion than the $2 billion of renewables.

Peter has done some more calculations which add to the diagnosis of insanity in SA. This time to do with the capacity factor of renewables, which is unashameably listed in the SA official election information. Capacity factor is the actual energy an electricity installation produces. Capacity factor is expressed as a % of the power of the installed capacity. The power is the installed capacity. So for instance if a new wind farm has an installed capacity of 100MW the capacity factor will be a % of that and described in MWh.

We know from long experience that the capacity factor of wind and solar is much less that the installed capacity which is why the alarmist spivs and ratbags only ever talk about the installed capacity. But now they have become so lazy, so hysterical and desperate that they actually admit the capacity factor, or the actual energy the stupid wind and solar produce is much less than the installed capacity.

The SA renewable energy report for 2017 says this on page 1 in the executive summary:

Total installed rooftop PV generation capacity is estimated to have increased 95 MW in 2016–17, to 781 MW. Total rooftop PV generation5 in South Australia for the year was 1,016 GWh, 12% higher than in 2015–16.

Peter supplies the analysis of this incredible nonsense:

The installed capacity of SA rooftop solar systems (2016-17) is 781MW which produced 1016GWh for the year.  
The unit for electric power is called a Watt. 
1000W    = 1kW (KiloWatt) 
1000kW  =  1MW(MegaWatt) 
1000MW = 1 GW(GigaWatt) 

A household air conditioner is typically requires about 3-5kW 
Hazelwood Powerplant could produce 1600MW in it’s heyday. 
South Australian average demand is around 1420MW.  
If we have a 5kW solar system installed on a rooftop and conditions are optimal it will in, in theory, produce 5kWh of electricity in an hour.  
So if have a total of 781MW of rooftop solar systems they could, in theory, produce 781MW in an hour. But the sun doesn’t shine 24/7, clouds block sunshine, dirt reduces the absorption by the panels as does the angle of the sun so that installed capacity of 781MW is reduced. 

But how much is it reduced? Look back to the statement in black above from the report. It says 781MW of rooftop solar produces 1016GWh for the year. To find out how much would be produced in an hour we divide by 365 than divide by 24. 

1016 / 365 / 24 =   0.115GWh = 115MWh 

So our 781MW of rooftop solar averages 115MW 24/7. If the sun was always shining and there was no cloud etc, the capacity factor would be 100% but in reality the capacity factor is 115/781 * 100 = 14.7%!

A wind turbine in the southern states has a capacity factor of around 30% and a fossil fuel plant has a capacity factor of over 90%. 

Now we can work out what the average output of these 781MW of rooftop solar systems are…..781 x  (14.7/100) =  114MW!

How did the 781MW capacity solar system that can only produce 114MW cost?

 Let’s assume all the rooftop systems are 5kW so 781MW/5kW = 781,000kW/5kW = 156,000 systems. 

A 5kW system currently costs around $8000 so the total cost for these systems was around $1250 million dollars (156,000 x 8000)! But consumers all received a federal government subsidy of $3000 per system (approx.) = $468 million dollars. So consumers paid $782 million and the Australian taxpayer contributed $468 million. 

So $1250 million dollars was paid for a system that produces an average output of 114MW of intermittent junk electricity. The probable life of this system is 15-20 years with output decreasing every year because the ability of panels to absorb sunline deteriorates as they age. 

For $1250 million you could have bought three and a half  210MW gas plants equal to the one that AGL are now building in South Australia  that have a life of 40-50 years and produce high quality reliable despatchable electricity 24/7

So the capacity factor, the actual energy produced, by the panels is 14.7% at a vast expense.

But wait there is more: that 14.7% does not come in an even fashion, it comes in surges, just like wind power. That means for the grid to handle the panel and wind power enormous extra expense has to occur to add transformers and infrastructure to convert that surge power from the wind and panels into an even frequency. Modern grids work at a regular frequency because if homes and businesses receive variations in the frequency appliances and machinery literally blow up!

So we get 14.7% capacity factor from the panels (about the same or a bit more from wind), at enormous expense and in surges which are basically unusable in the grid without further vast expense.

The politicians responsible for this are destroying Australia. Voters who vote for people like Wetherill, Andrews and any green politician deserve everything they get which is to freeze and starve in the dark. It’s a pity the rest of us have to go down with them.