Timing is Everything
Renewable energy didn’t cause the South Australian black system.
…Did it? Either way, it’s devolved into a pretty distracting meme.
If you’re on twitter, and you have an opinion on this, and you’re not already following a guy called @yestiseye, you should be. An internationally experienced engineer, he remains anonymous not least so as to protect himself from the sort of reactions which unpopular energy analysis can unfortunately provoke in Australia these days.
Of course, one engineer can’t reach the truth on their own. The Australian Energy Market Operator released their investigation into the event some time back — everyone who read it raise your transmission towers please?
What follows is the interpretation of AEMO’s findings revealed by suspending the popular article of faith that renewable energy is forever faultless.
OK, so it happened too fast. But it was caused by the collapsed transmission lines, right?
Not everyone is unreceptive to @yestiseye speaking truth to power:
Do we “blame renewables”? No. But wind is now an integral part of South Australia’s system. It was the system which went black on September 28th, 2016. Reducing our understanding of the system and the event to a snarky meme won’t actually get us anywhere, and may end up setting unrealistic expectations for renewable sources as more are built. In that regard, it’s still slow going, with limitations still in place upon the existing interconnector (the key to geographical diversity in renewable generation) even as further infrastructure is planned and costed.
Oscar Archer holds a PhD in chemistry and has been analysing energy issues for over 13 years, focusing on nuclear technology for 4, with a background in manufacturing and QA. By day he works in energy efficiency research & development. He helps out at Adelaide-based Bright New World as Senior Advisor and writes for The Fourth Generation. Find him @OskaArcher on Twitter.