Troubles Escalate For Renewables Ventures.

6th February, 2020

by Angela Macdonald-Smith, Senior Resources Writer- The Australian Financial Review

Production stoppages at wind farms with a collective capacity of more than 900 megawatts have added to problems plaguing renewable energy ventures in the National Electricity Market, due to grid bottlenecks and instability.

The latest interruptions, caused by a transmission line outage in western Victoria, affect the state’s giant Macarthur wind farm – owned by AMP Capital and Morrison and operated by AGL Energy – and Pacific Hydro’s Portland wind farm. Also temporarily out of action are Engie’s Canunda venture in South Australia and Infigen Energy’s Lake Bonney wind farm nearby.

They are expected to be required for about two weeks as Victoria’s transmission grid owner, AusNet Services, puts in place a temporary link around the six damaged transmission towers, which would allow the Heywood interconnector between Victoria and South Australia to resume operation.

A spokesman for Pacific Hydro said the company was “disappointed” with the situation.

“It serves as a reminder that a strong and secure power system is really critical to driving Australia’s transition to renewable energy,” he said.

Engie said it supported the Australian Energy Market Operator’s approach to maintaining a stable energy network, noting its other generators in South Australia, gas power plants at Pelican Point and Synergen, are available to supply if required.

The curtailments come as five other solar ventures in north-west Victoria and south-west NSW are entering their fifth month of output restrictions, after AEMO had to step in to keep the power system secure.

The market operator has been working with the solar power generators, equipment suppliers and network service providers Powercor and TransGrid to develop a technical solution that would allow the plants to resume full output. But in the meantime, other project developers in the renewables-rich area are queuing up to also connect into the grid.

AGL confirmed its 52MW Broken Hill solar farm was operating at half-capacity. Others affected include Wirsol’s Gannawarra plants, BayWa r.e.’s Karadoc venture and Foresight Solar’s Bannerton project.

Rob Grant, at the Clean Energy Investor Group, which represents investors including Macquarie and BlackRock, said it was “pretty unfortunate” AEMO had to restrict generation at a time when demand is high and supply is needed.

He said investors were frustrated, given all the five projects had individually secured regulatory approvals and operating licences, only to find that further technical issues had to be resolved once AEMO considered the combined impact of all the projects on the grid.

“It all goes to [the need for] better system planning and more investment in transmission backbones, but it impacts the projects and the consumers,” he said.

“We’re just hoping the fix will be as quick as possible.”

An AEMO spokesman said the scale and pace of solar and wind generation connected in electrically remote areas of the National Energy Market was presenting “unprecedented” technical issues that were affecting grid performance and operational stability.

He said the process to assess the technical changes required was inevitably slow, causing frustration as the energy sector transitioned towards greater reliance on renewables.

The spokesman noted the West Murray area continues to attract major investment despite the weakness of the grid there, with about 1200 megawatts of committed wind and solar in the pre-start-up phase, and about another 3000 megawatts still seeking approvals.

“Thermal and stability limits mean it will not be possible for many of these projects to connect or generate at full output ahead of significant investment in network infrastructure,” it said, pointing to work to advance the South Australia-NSW interconnector and the Keranglink project between Victoria and NSW, now renamed VNI West.

Source:  Angela Macdonald-Smith, Senior Resources Writer | The Australian Financial Review | Feb 6, 2020 |

One thought on “Troubles Escalate For Renewables Ventures.

  1. I cannot believe what is happening in SA, well maybe I can our power system has been hijacked by the Renewable’s industry and their handout mentality.

    Articles in the Adelaide Advertiser/Sunday Mail this week provide an insight into the absolute fascicle state the SA Energy Grid is in as well as having information as to what SA citizens can and are paying for.

    First there were a number of articles in the Advertiser on the 19th dealing 1 Wholesale cost of electricity has fallen Yes, really, it’s a power price cut
    2 Green light shining for new hybrid plant
    3 Making Solar stable and affordable
    4 Plan to switch off rooftop solar to stabilise power grid

    SA Government – Liberal – given go ahead for Solar panel input from panels on peoples rooftops to be shut off if the Grid becomes unstable (laughable really as its always unstable). This on advice from AEMO the most unstable and only reliable if you are a member of the BIG Renewable Energy gangs government funded body.

    Then the article stating the Government has given the go ahead for another hybrid Solar, gas, battery project – to add to all the other Solar, wind and battery projects they have either OK’d or will be doing shortly. Only this week another one has been approved, and there is a massive solar/Wind one OK’d for the outskirts of Port Augusta just to name couple.

    That’s right they are giving the go ahead to more of what they call unstable solar plants and at the same time shutting off citizens solar input when things get dicey – which will mean those people will not get paid for the energy they would have put into the grid.
    I note that the Government has said this will be done during the day – just when those at home like pensioners have been told to do their washing and any other power hungry jobs so they get it free!!!!! What now, will they be paid compensation for the period they have been turned off – NO MENTION OF THAT of course?

    Also there are a number of businesses that installed Solar to help keep their costs down – they will now have to pay the higher price charged for using power during the peak periods, but not know they have been cut off from adding to the Grid until the Bill comes in.

    Sunday Mail 21.6.2020

    Big tick for big battery as it passes technical watchdog. This being the

    BIG waste of time Musk battery, which is to be enlarged with the help of Government funding – yet more good money after bad – we were told this battery would do the job of ‘smoothing’ the energy system to prevent blackouts – which of course it hasn’t because now AEMO has said solar power generated by individual home owners is causing the possibility of blackouts!!!!

    Mind you when SA went black we were told it was nothing to do with the Energy Grid or the intermittency of wind, it was an act of nature in the manner of ‘tornadoes’ or such bringing down cable towers – go figure what that has to do with rooftop solar.

    Battery’s and Solar are going down the line as Wind Turbines did – promise everything and then seek more when the inevitable failings start to become more pronounced.

    When will the Politicians of all parties and Governments start to see what is plainly before them – THESE SYSTEMS OFFER NOTHING MORE THAN BOTTOMLESS PITS, CONTROLLED BY COMPANIES MANY OF WHICH ARE BASED OVERSEAS, TO BE FILLED BY OUR MONEY. They Promise a lot and get more when they wiggle their fingers and we get nothing but empty pockets.


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