Dead Calm: Australia’s Wind ‘Industry’ Suffering From Prolonged Wind ‘Drought’

Australia’s wind industry has been suffering from the Big Calm – with dozens of occasions over the last month or so when the entire wind fleet’s battled to deliver more than a tiny fraction of its combined capacity.

Depicted above – courtesy of Aneroid Energy – is the output delivered by Australian wind power outfits to the Eastern Grid last month.

Spread from Far North Queensland, across the ranges of NSW, all over Victoria, Northern Tasmania and across South Australia its entire capacity routinely delivers just a trickle of its combined notional capacity of 7,728MW.

Collapses of over 3,000 MW or more that occur over the space of a couple of hours are routine, as are rapid surges of equal magnitude, which make the grid manager’s life a living hell, and provide the perfect set up for power market price gouging by the owners of conventional generators, who cash in on the chaos.

During June there were lengthy periods when the combined output of every wind turbine connected to the Eastern Grid struggled to top 400 MW (5.1% of total capacity). Such as: 11 June when output collapsed to a trifling 86 MW (1.1% of total notional capacity); 17 June when total output fell to 134 MW (1.7% of total notional capacity); 26 June when, after a 1,200 MW slide, output was between 300-400 MW (3.8% to 5.1% of total notional capacity); and 27 June when output dropped over 900 MW to bottom out at 96 MW (1.2% of total notional capacity) .

Rafe Champion delves into the consequences of Australia’s most recent Big Calm.

STOP THESE THINGS

Australia’s wind industry has been suffering from the Big Calm – with dozens of occasions over the last month or so when the entire wind fleet’s battled to deliver more than a tiny fraction of its combined capacity.

Depicted above – courtesy of Aneroid Energy – is the output delivered by Australian wind power outfits to the Eastern Grid last month.

Spread from Far North Queensland, across the ranges of NSW, all over Victoria, Northern Tasmania and across South Australia its entire capacity routinely delivers just a trickle of its combined notional capacity of 7,728MW.

Collapses of over 3,000 MW or more that occur over the space of a couple of hours are routine, as are rapid surges of equal magnitude, which make the grid manager’s life a living hell, and provide the perfect set up for power market price gouging by the owners of conventional generators, who cash in…

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