South Australia Solar Fiasco Suggests What’s Ahead for New York

Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

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If you’re looking to see into New York State’s energy future, look no further than South Australia where green political correctness has turned dark.

South Australia has a huge energy problem. It has heavily subsidized solar energy, just like New York State. It is now producing so much solar electricity when it isn’t needed, in fact, that it has to be effectively turned off, but South Australia is nonetheless threatened with electric blackouts. Why? Because the fundamental problems with renewables are that they don’t make any economic sense whatsoever and they are intermittent. That is to say they produce energy at the wrong time and, therefore, it is very costly and does more harm than good. Welcome to New York’s future.

south australia

JoNova.com is one of my favorite websites. Jo Nova is an Australian scientist who is willing to be politically incorrect if that’s what it takes to tell the truth. Today, she has an excellent article about the solar fiasco in South Australia that foreshadows New York State’s future as Andrew Cuomo commits it to absurd renewables objectives, with plans to seemingly convert Upstate New York to one gigantic subsidized industrial solar facility. Here is some of what she points out in commenting about an article in the West Australian regarding 278,000 solar panels on homes that threaten to dump too much electricity on the South Australia grid:

Having got too much intermittent, unreliable electricity, the [South Australia] is still in danger of another statewide blackout. One third of the solar panels on homes are being switched off automatically because the electricity they provide is not just useless, but dangerous. What the state needs is baseload power but the solution we’re told is to spend another incredible $1.5 billion dollars on an interconnector with NSW…

As more unreliable generation and random green electrons infect the [New South Wales] and [[Queensland] grids, their cheap baseload providers will also find it harder to compete. The increased downtime will chew out some of their profit margins, but their costs will be almost the same. So, as sure as the sun rises, they will have to raise their charges during the shorter profitable time they operate. Thus costs for electricity per kilowatt hour will rise in NSW and QLD thanks to the increase in useless electricity coming from SA.

The subsidized interconnectors [at a cost $1.5 billion] will make property developers and renewables investors happy though. They will profit from the giant transmission lines, paid for by hapless consumers. The new lines will open up vast arid zones where land is cheaper and investors can now afford to build a few more solar and wind plants that were otherwise uneconomic.

Instead of spending $1.5b to subsidize renewables, SA could afford 5 new gas power plants… which would make industry and manufacturing affordable again in the post covid world…

Solar home owners have no idea what a burden their panels are on other electricity consumers. Until the media, or some politicians start to discuss that awkward fact, solar panels owners will remain in the dark and continue to insist on more subsidies and bigger handouts.

Jo Nova is exactly correct; solar energy can produce tremendous amounts of electricity at the wrong time, which means it becomes a cost to the system. Why, because it forces baseload gas fueled power, that can’t be eliminated, to operate at much lower efficiency. Therefore, ratepayers and taxpayers are hit up twice for subsidies; directly in the case of money funneled to uneconomic solar projects and indirectly in higher electricity rates to cover the new efficiencies created with respect to gas fueled power plant operation. And, when industrial solar facilities are producing more power than needed they threaten the very survival of the gas plants, which increases the likelihood of blackouts.

This is pretty basic stuff for anyone operating on the basis of facts and logic, but it doesn’t cut it with those infected with green religiosity who supposed it’s all a matter of faith in a utopian green heaven here on Earth. Politicians such as Andrew Cuomo don’y pay any mind either, which is exactly what happened in South Australia, now paying the exorbitant price of Green political correctness. New Yorkers face the same future as South Australians; much higher electricity prices with much more frequent blackouts.

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8 thoughts on “South Australia Solar Fiasco Suggests What’s Ahead for New York

  1. Pingback: South Australia Solar Fiasco Suggests What's Ahead for New York - EnerCom Inc. - Solar Panels News

  2. Pingback: » South Australia Solar Fiasco Suggests What’s Ahead for New York – EnerCom Inc.solarequipmentinstaller.com

  3. I believe that Australia has a considerable portion of its land mass in the tropics or near tropics, which has massive amounts of sunshine all year long. New York State on the other hand lies mostly north of the 44th parallel. Where they have raining seasons we have freezing snow bound winters.
    They have year round solar production, while we have production only from mid March to November 1st if we are lucky. All this means that we produce no solar in the night and none in the late Fall and none in Winter at all. And from this we expect to stay warm in the Winter and power our industries, our water heaters, our stoves, and our cars?

    Until upstate unites as a single political force, this nonsense will continue.

  4. And yet … and yet … South Australia is home to the wildly successful, innovative Musk battery back up system (maximum sarcasm here).
    At least that is the current pap being sincerely regurgitated by the profoundly ignorant-in-all-things economic/engineering Renewable Energy cadres.

    Yes, when one pays $14,000/Megawatt hour for emergency electricity – as is the case when the Wind Don’t Blow and the Sun Don’t Glow – it is easy to economically justify that system as a ridiculous back up.
    In fact, the previous SA government spent somehthing like $500 million on both the Musk battery and a half dozen diesel-burning gas turbines simply to prevent more blackouts when Ra and Zephyr were not contributing.

    (For tragic contrast, the owners of the coal plant at Port Augusta magnanimously offered to continue operating their plant as back up supply for an additional 2 years for a paltry $20 subsidy. Government refused and quickly demolished the plant).

    South Australia provides an excellent case study for Renewable Energy as it is much farther along this ruinous path than most every place else on the planet.
    Its 50 cent/kwh retail electricity costs – highest in the developed world – is a big reason why virtually all industry has fled the area.

    Welcome to your future, New York.

  5. Being Australian I must say this article is absolute rubbish.
    For example what blackouts?

    There was a blackout in 2016 that was caused by a huge storm taking down a major power line. More gas or coal or nuclear or anything would not have stopped that.
    And there have being some very minor blackouts, only one due to lack of power ( which would have been fixed if the power authority had switched on an unused gas generator during a heatwave)

    So basically there have been no power supply issues for 4 years and the amount of renewable power keeps increasing…..

    There is just so many inaccuracies in the article…
    ie “One third of the solar panels on homes are being switched off automatically because the electricity they provide is not just useless, but dangerous.”

    There is no mechanism in South Australia to turn off power from solar homes….none….it has never happened. There is talk this may be needed in the future because of the uptake of solar panels on homes and very low demand on Sundays (this is the only time demand is so low)

    This is the latest wholesale power prices for new power stations in 2020.

    Solar Farm $A50 per mwh wholesale price
    Onshore Wind $A50
    Offshore Wind $A100
    Coal Power $A125
    Gas $A150
    Nuclear Power A$190

    South Australia has a right-of-centre government…..they are not pushing for a return to fossil fuels. The renewable transition there is unstoppable.

    South Australia’s elecricity costs are coming down, in other states where coal still rules power only costs 2-3% less and these are the states where coal plants are coming to the end of their lives and must be replaced with new generation.

    https://www.canstarblue.com.au/electricity/wholesale-price-drop/

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-01/electricity-prices-tumbling-for-generators-what-about-consumers/11912620

    These sort of blogs should really be avoided in the future. I have found they are always totally inaccurate describing the power situation in South Australia.

    • Now, tell us what the costs are with subsidies included.

      It’s also obvious you didn’t grasp what is really happening with respect to baseload generation, oversupply, intermittency, etc.

  6. All my quoted prices are without subsidies….the Federal government subsidies for large renewable projects end either 2020 or 2022 I can not remember. State government subsidies for home solar etc are still going, they vary from state to state.

    Oversupply? What oversupply? Large gas/wind/solar farms all have the ability to disconnect from power production should they choose.
    Home rooftop solar may (possibly) overwhelm the grid in the next 5 years if…..and only if……demand on Sundays in autumn and spring remains extremely small. if demand on Sundays increases this will not happen for 10 years (if it happens at all) The Australian Energy Market Operator has asked that future home solar installs include an inverter that may be remotely turned off. I dont think that will be necessary as as well as take-up of home solar power South Australia has strong up-take of home batteries. There are 5 Virtual Power Plants in the state so if you have a home battery you join a VPP so you can sell the electricity when needed by the grid, otherwise the electricity stays in your home battery for your personal use. Intermittency…..South Australia has had 50% renewable energy for the last 4 years….not an issue the latest gas plant can turn up and turn off power very quickly so it fits in with a renewable energy grid. Also there are 4 big batteries in that state that can instantly add power when needed (the big Tesla battery you would no doubt have heard of….being the world’s largest lithium-ion battery)

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