The Australian reports a dramatic and sudden loss of wind generation was the root cause of South Australia’s state-wide blackout. And the bulk of the damage to high voltage transmission lines was caused by high winds and paraded as evidence to defend renewable most likely took place after the power had been lost. This evidence is stated in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s preliminary report.
More work is needed to flesh out the forensic and the time sequence analysis that has already been conducted.
But there is enough in the interim report to rush to the defence of renewables since the lights went out. And most certainly, power would not have been lost were it not for the severe storm.
23 electrical pylons were damaged, leading to the blackout. But AEMO said the data currently available points out that the damage to the Davenport to Brinkworth 275kV line on which 14 towers were damaged happened following the South Australia Black system.
The storm resulted in a 123-megawatt reduction in output from North Brown Hill Wind farm, Bluff Wind Farm, Hallet Hill Wind farm and the Hallet Wind farm.
Seconds later, there was an 86-megawatt reduction in output from Hornsdale Wind farm and a 160-megawatt reduction in output from Snowtown Wind farms. There was no explanation given about the power reduction.
But the loss of wind farm production puts too much pressure on the electricity interconnector with Victoria which cut off the power supply. This resulted in a shut down at the Torrens Island power station, the Landbroke Grove power station and the Murraylink interconnector.
AEMO stated that a lot of work is needed to fully investigate what happened. Definitely, there are a lot of lessons here for putting high levels of intermittent renewable energy into the electricity system.
And the speed with which renewable energy believers rushed to argue otherwise is a measure of their ideological self-interest.
This is all according to Graham Lloyd, Environment Editor of The Australian.
Featured Image Credit: Peter Thoeny – Quality HDR Photography