Archive for the ‘Victoria’ Category

Critique of Preliminary Report SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SEPARATION EVENT, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

December 19, 2016


Dennis Matthews, 18 Dec 16 , 1 DECEMBER 2016. 

The “separation event” was the disconnection of the Heywood interconnector into South Australia.

The following uses the same headings as the AEMO preliminary report.

1. Overview

A short-circuit in a Victorian 500 kV (kilovolt), alternating current (AC) transmission line connected to the Heywood Victorian-SA interconnector resulted in the SA electricity network being disconnected from the Heywood interconnector.

At the time of the “incident” the Victorian electricity network was highly vulnerable to disruption. One of the two circuits served by the Heywood interconnector had been taken out of operation for maintenance. To make matters worse, one of the circuits supplying the Alcoa aluminium smelter at Portland was also out of service. Like all aluminium smelters, the Portland smelter had a very heavy electricity demand (about 480 MW).

The vulnerability of the Victorian electricity network meant that the SA network was also vulnerable to an abrupt loss of 230 MW. Nevertheless, no measures had been put in place to immediately replace power supply from Victoria in the event of disconnection from the Haywood interconnector. As with the SA state-wide blackout two months earlier, there was more than sufficient generating capacity available in SA but it was not on standby.

A short circuit in the remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector resulted in SA and the Portland smelter being disconnected and the shutdown of two wind farms in Victoria.

The “incident” in Victoria, together with inadequate contingency plans resulted in the loss of 230 MW to SA, BHP’s Olympic Dam project losing 100 of its 170 MW for 3 hours, Portland smelter being disconnected for 4½ hours and disconnection of two wind farms (Portland generating 3MW, and Macarthur generating 4MW) in Victoria.

2. Pre-event Conditions

“Immediately prior to the incident there were two planned outages.”

Use of terms such as “incident” and “event” is reminiscent of the nuclear industry’s avoidance of terms such as “failure” , “accident”, and “meltdown”.

“Planned outage” refers to deliberate disconnection of parts of the system for maintenance or repairs. Such deliberate disconnections should be permitted only if they do not expose the system to serious disruption and only if there is sufficient backup in case of a fault developing in the remaining parts of the system. For SA no backup was put on standby in the case of SA being disconnected to the Heywood interconnector.

One of the “outages” referred to was that one half of the Heywood supply to SA (a 500 kV busbar) was out of service. This left SA and Victoria vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood supply. The other “outage” was the Heywood to Portland 500 kV transmission line servicing the Alcoa aluminium smelter.

Both outages were given permission by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

These two decisions left the aluminium smelter vulnerable to a fault developing in the remaining half of the Heywood transmission line in Victoria. There was no backup plan for maintaining supply to the smelter in this contingency.

At the time, SA was importing about 240 MW from Heywood in Victoria.

3. Event

“A single phase to earth fault occurred on the Morabool-Tarrone 500 kV transmission line causing the line to trip out of service.” In other words, there was a short circuit in the only remaining transmission line in Victoria to the Heywood interconnector.

“It is believed that the line tripped as a normal response to this type of fault”. The short circuit caused the transmission line to Heywood to be disconnected (trip).

The short circuit was caused by the breaking of an electrical cable. The reason for the cable breaking was not known to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

The “trip” of the transmission line left the Portland smelter still connected to SA, the power flow reversed so that instead of 240 MW into SA from Victoria there was 480 MW from SA to Victoria to supply the Portland smelter. A control scheme then disconnected the smelter from SA.

5 Operation of SA when Islanded

Islanded means that SA was on its own as far as power supply was concerned, in particular, it means that it was not receiving power from Victoria. In fact, SA was still receiving about 220 MW through the high voltage, direct current (DC), Victoria-SA, Murraylink interconnector.


Solar farm in Victoria – independent of any tax-payer funding

March 26, 2015

what makes the Mildura plant so special is that it was built without a cent of government grants being tipped in.

helps illustrate how solar’s smaller, highly modular scale and fast construction time could allow it to play a far greater role in ensuring the target for the large-scale RET is met

Belectric have a developed a standardised 3MW solar power installation system they call the 3.0 MegaWattBlock (pictured below) which they roll-out across the globe.


Australia’s biggest solar farm powers-up but solar’s potential shines elsewhere, Business Spectator, TRISTAN EDIS  23 MAR 

Australia’s largest ever solar power plant, AGL’s 102 megawatt Nyngan – has begun feeding power into the grid. But there’s a far more interesting solar power plant no one is talking about in Mildura.

The Nyngan plant in Western NSW now has its first 25MW of capacity, involving 350,000 solar modules made by First Solar, generating power that is exporting power to the grid. Further generation will progressively be brought online over the next three months as the remaining three sections of the plant are individually commissioned.

It’s unambiguously good news, yet I’m far more excited about the solar power plant in Mildura even though it’s substantially smaller – 3MW of capacity versus Nyngan’s 102MW. In fact it’s quite astounding that the completion of the Mildura plant has received no press whatsoever, because when it started feeding power to the grid in April last year it was the second largest operational solar power plant in the country at the time, and remains comfortably the largest in Victoria.

Of course 3MW is nothing special; in the overall scheme of things it’s actually tiny. Over the last few years we’ve averaged over 800MW of solar installations per annum (mainly household installations of 5 kilowatts or smaller). Indeed the average coal power station is typically 200 times the size of the 3MW plant in Mildura.

But what makes the Mildura plant so special is that it was built without a cent of government grants being tipped in. Meanwhile AGL will receive $166.7 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and a further  $64.9 million from the NSW Government to build Nyngan and its associated 53MW plant in Broken Hill. In addition, other large-scale solar plants like FRV’s 56MW plant in Moree, the 10MW plant in Carnarvon and the 6.7MW Rio Tinto plant in Weipa are all recipients of significant government grants covering around half the capital cost. Other solar projects in the ACT benefit from government feed-in tariffs which pay a significant premium over the market price of the electricity and renewable energy certificates the projects create.

Yet the Mildura solar farm will operate based solely on the revenue it earns from the large-scale Renewable Energy Target and the electricity it produces, via a long-term power purchase agreement with Diamond Energy – an upstart power retailer focussed on renewable energy.

In this respect the Mildura project provides a vastly more convincing case that solar PV could be a significant player in not just competing at the retail level on rooftops, but also the wholesale electricity market. The project also helps illustrate how solar’s smaller, highly modular scale and fast construction time could allow it to play a far greater role in ensuring the target for the large-scale RET is met than many currently expect…..

Essentially, they [The Germany company that built the project – Belectric –] approach it as a simple electrical installation rather than a large customised construction project. Belectric have a developed a standardised 3MW solar power installation system they call the 3.0 MegaWattBlock (pictured above) which they roll-out across the globe.

By keeping projects at a moderate size and employing simple, standardised equipment and framing, the project becomes a cookie-cutter exercise – not unlike like a household solar installation – just repeated over and over again. This enables them to employ local, small electrical contractors, keeping competition high and pricing sharp, avoiding the union-dominated, high-cost labour typically involved in large-scale construction projects in Australia. It also means they’ve become very quick at rolling these projects out because they’ve done them several times before. It’s utility scale power as mass production rather than one-off construction project……..

Premier Napthine of Victoria- not only anti-wind energy, but wants gas to be counted as “renewable” energy

June 4, 2014

hypocrisy-scaleNapthine government wants gas included in renewable energy target June 3, 201  Environment editor, The Age Australia’s renewable energy target would include gas-fired power – derived from fossil fuels – under a controversial proposal by the Victorian government.

The state also suggests the target should also be scaled back to reflect falling demand for power……….

Greens Leader Greg Barber said including gas in the target would be “a huge hit to the earth …….”If Premier Denis Napthine has convinced himself that gas is a renewable energy source, then he is confused,” he said. “Adding gas to the renewable energy target means it is no longer about renewable energy.”

The Victorian opposition said the government should be fighting to maintain the target in current form.

Labor energy spokeswoman Lily D’Ambrosio said: “As it stands, the [target] provides investment in new industries and will create thousands of jobs for Victorians. We wholeheartedly support that – Denis Napthine should too.”……..

The Victorian submission puts it at odds with renewable energy firms and NSW, which supports the target as it stands but wants the timeframe to achieve it pushed out…….

Environment Victoria campaigner Nick Aberle said keeping the target would allow Victoria to tap into billions of dollars of clean energy investment, creating skilled jobs in regional areas. “There is also good evidence that keeping the target will ultimately lead to lower electricity prices for consumers,” Dr Aberle said.

In a separate submission, the City of Melbourne strongly backs the retention of the target as it stands. It says the policy is pushing down wholesale electricity prices, benefiting consumers including manufacturers in the city.

The Melbourne City Council submission also says the advent of renewable energy technology, such as rooftop solar panels, has strengthened the resilience of the energy grid and both put curbs on demand and lowered prices during extreme heatwaves.

Two 30MW solar farms up and running in Victoria in 2014

December 27, 2012

Another 30 MW Solar Farm For Victoria, 27 Dec 12Gannawarra Shire Council last week approved plans for another 30MW solar farm to be constructed near Kerang, Victoria. The latest 30MW PV solar project will be situated on 36 hectares south of the town and is expected to produce 52 gigawatt hours of clean electricity annually; enough to power 14,300 homes and avoid 62,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

“Construction of the $38 million solar farm is expected to commence in mid 2013, with an expected construction timeframe of around 14 months. The project is likely to provide significant employment and service opportunities for Kerang,” Manager Economic Development Roger Griffiths said.

Gannawarra Shire Council Mayor Cr Neville Goulding said Council is actively encouraging utility scale renewables in the area.
“The development follows strategic work by Council’s Economic Development unit to facilitate and promote the option of large scale solar projects within the Shire, to Australian and overseas companies seeking to invest in the Australian green energy market. Council looks forward to further developments in the renewable energy sector.”

Albury based ECO for LIFE will be developing the project.

Another 30MW solar farm is already under construction in the Kerang region after being approved in August. The facility is being developed by AKK Consulting Group and is located off the Loddon Valley Highway, 4 kilometres south of the town centre.

Kerang is situated 279 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. In addition to substantial solar radiation resources, the town has access to a large capacity sub-station, a 220kV transmission line that runs from Bendigo to Broken Hill in NSW, two 66kV sub transmission lines running directly to Swan Hill and one 66kV sub transmission line to Cohuna.

Latrobe Valley coal power plants interested in plan to close down

October 27, 2011

Latrobe Valley plants’ carbon tax interest The Age, October 22, 2011  The owners of the Latrobe Valley’s Hazelwood and Yallourn power plants have registered their interest for a federal government scheme to pay generators to close under the carbon tax.

The government called for expressions of interest to close down 2000-megawatts of the nation’s dirtiest power generation by 2020.

The removal of the dirtiest power generation in the country is part of the government’s Clean Energy Future plan, which also includes a $23-a-tonne price on carbon from July next year, household assistance and funding for renewable energy projects.

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Expressions of interest were due by October 21 and contracts are expected to be finalised by June 30, 2012.

The owners of Hazelwood and Yallourn as well as HRL, the owner of smaller generator Energy Brix, have applied, Fairfax newspapers report.

There have also been applications by the owners of South Australia’s Playford and Queensland’s Collinsville plants…..

Renewable energy takes a step forward in Victoria

October 8, 2011
CBD buys Victorian retailer, SMH. Brian Robins, October 8, 2011 Gerry McGowan’s company, CBD Energy, has taken its first step into retailing by acquiring Victoria-based Neighbourhood Energy, from Alinta Energy.

With 65,000 customers, CBD Energy is paying $24.9 million, or $383 a customer, funded by borrowings and an improving cash flow, following the start of its wholesale solar projects in Italy.

The purchase will make CBD Energy a vertically integrated retailer and generator of renewable energy, it said….

The acquisition follows the purchase of land and development approvals for a 100 megawatt wind farm near Goulburn, south-west of Sydney, which will cost $220 million to develop, although the capital commitment of CBD Energy, if any, to this venture has yet to be determined.

This purchase was through a recently launched joint venture with two Chinese renewable energy companies, Datang and Tianwei, which is targeting a third of Australia’s wind energy market over the next eight years.

Mr McGowan said CBD Energy’s revenues ”will grow aggressively again this year” after a fourfold increase to $160 million in the year to June.

Read more:

Smart grid for Australia – a world first

October 23, 2009

SP AusNet Selects GE for World`s First 4G Communications Smart Grid Solution, Delivering Revolutionary Security and Reliability Benefits

Oct 22, 2009 GE Brings Together Ecosystem of Companies to Deliver a Smart Grid Solution for
Today and Tomorrow
ATLANTA–(Business Wire)–

GE Energy Services announced today that SP AusNet, one of Australia`s largest
utilities, will be the first in the world to implement GE`s WiMAX
fourth-generation (4G) smart grid solution. (more…)

Spain to assist Australian state in renewable energy

October 10, 2009

Spanish Firms Look at Investments in Australia’s Victoria State Latin American Herald Tribune 10 Oct 09 MELBOURNE, Australia – Representatives of Spain’s Acciona, Abengoa Solar and Tecnicas Reunidas, which have operations in Australia, met here Thursday with Victoria state officials to discuss possible renewable energy and infrastructure projects. (more…)

Natural gas best transitional energy for fighting global warming

October 2, 2009

Push for shift to natural gas The Age MATHEW MURPHY

October 2, 2009

A SWITCH from coal to gas could cut Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent, says Australia’s peak gas transmission body, which has warned that governments will fall short of emission reduction targets unless the deployment of gas is accelerated. (more…)

Arrests as protesters demand shutdown of coal plant

September 13, 2009

22 arrested at power station protest
ABC News 13 Sept 09

Victorian police arrested 22 climate change protesters at a Latrobe Valley power station on Sunday. (more…)