Alcoholics call it a ‘moment of clarity’. In wind powered South Australia and Victoria, hitherto fans of renewables call it a ‘mass blackout’.
In 1919, after Engineer/Soldier, Sir John Monash returned to his home town of Melbourne from the Western Front, to a hero’s welcome, he set about establishing an electricity grid that would serve his home State, and the coal-fired power plants located in the Latrobe Valley that would power it.
Immediately after the Armistice was struck with the Germans on 11 November 1918, Monash sent officers to infiltrate German coalmines near Cologne and elsewhere to get an understanding of how the Germans managed to achieve the successful use of their brown coal reserves, similar to those found in the Latrobe Valley. Armed with knowledge of the German’s techniques and engineering, Monash drove the development of those reserves and their exploitation, and Melbourne and Victoria never looked back: the State Electricity Commission delivered reliable and affordable power for all Victorians, fuelling manufacturing, industry and the rapid growth in wealth and prosperity, almost unparalleled anywhere in the world.
That part of Monash’s extraordinary life appears in ‘Monash: The Soldier Who Shaped Australia’ (Grantlee Kieza, HarperCollins, 2015). It’s well worth a read, not just because Monash was a giant of a man, but because it paints a picture of a Country once driven by real endeavour, common sense and compassion; rather than narcissistic ideology.
Given what’s being done by Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews and his fellow eco-loon travellers to Victoria’s once cheap and wholly reliable power supply, Monash must be turning in his grave.
Monash, a maths genius with a head for figures, would have been gobsmacked if presented with the graphic above (depicting the output during January from every wind turbine connected to the Eastern Grid, with a notional capacity of 4,360 MW) and told that it represented a system of electricity generation.
Monash (indeed, anyone that’s reached the age of reason) would have spotted the problem in an instant: a generation system that throws 2,000 MW into the grid over the space of minutes, without warning, and collapses by the same margin over the same time-frame, again without warning, and irrespective of the demands of users, is not a system, at all. It’s chaos.
Now that that chaos is repaying wind and sun worshippers with mass blackouts and forced load shedding across two States, slowly but surely the proletariat is reaching the same conclusion.
And for that reason, The Australian’s Robert Gottliebsen is praying for more of the same.