Downunder wind and solar power increasingly unreliable

• Guest post •

— by Bryan Leyland
Consulting Engineer • Member, NZ Climate Science Coalition

Once upon a time New Zealand and Australia had some of the lowest electricity prices in the world. Unfortunately, imposing ill-conceived electricity “markets”, combined with the modern mania for renewable energy, has greatly increased prices in both countries. Newspaper stories on the steadily deteriorating situation in Australia abound.

As recent experience in the UK shows, when there is too much wind and solar power, the system inertia (a flywheel effect) declines to a level where a minor disturbance of the system is all it takes to cause a massive frequency drop and major blackouts.

The people running these systems refuse to confront the problem of unreliable, undespatchable generation, apparently living in hope that some magical cure will be found to cover the sudden, unpredictable loss of wind power and the overshadowing of the sun.

In my opinion, the real cause of these difficulties is a serious shortage of engineers who understand power systems and are in a position of some influence.

I was amazed to learn that generators carry hedges, so negative prices are not a problem. They seem to believe that the other party will carry on with a loss-making agreement into the future.

The large and growing proportion of wind and solar generation is based on the blind belief that man-made greenhouse gases cause dangerous global warming—a belief that has no evidence to support it, not even the IPCC who, in the fine print, point out major uncertainties in key factors.

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