Why are the claims that wind and solar power have put SA's power prices
- The high wholesale spot power prices have only been in or around July
The last significant wind farm to come online in SA was Snowtown Stage 2 back
in the middle of 2014.
Since then there's only been a half dozen more turbines that have come
on-stream (the first few of the Hornsdale Wind Farm).
People who don't care about rational argument often confuse association with
causality, but in this case the claimed effect came two years after the
cause – isn't that a bit much for any reasonable person to swallow?
- A quote from
Richard Denniss of The Australia Institute:
"The average annual wholesale price of electricity in South Australia has
fallen by 40% since 2007-08. Scary isn't it.
The same old bedwetters in the media and business community have been spooked
by some big spikes in the spot price of electricity in South Australia.
Cooler heads have highlighted that the vast majority of industrial and
domestic customers are on long run contracts, that renewables sometimes push
the electricity spot price below zero, and that there have been no blackouts.
But facts are no fun."
So, wholesale prices, apart from the recent anomaly of several weeks, have
fallen from where they were in 2007-08, in the same period when most of SA's
wind farms were built.
- The high spot prices in the SA Wholesale electricity market have more to
do with gas prices than with wind or solar.
Richard Denniss again:
"Spot wholesale prices of gas in the Adelaide market have risen from around
$3.50 to $7.50 per gigajoule in the last 18 months as a direct result of
government policy to link our formerly landlocked east coast gas pipeline to
the seaborne gas market."
- The biggest interstate electricity interconnector, which allows SA to
import or export power to the eastern states was undergoing upgrading and
that upgrading was held up by the wet and windy weather.
This decreased the flexibility that is normally in the market.
- The closing of the Northern (coal-fired) Power Station at Port Augusta
and limits on the interconnector reduced competition, making it easier for
those who ran the gas-fired power stations to 'play the system', push up
wholesale prices, and their profits.
- Australia's new federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg, a member of the
Liberal government, which has been
far from supportive of renewable
said (in late July 2016)
"People have to understand that this volatility is not a new thing.
It was back there in 2008... so to say that (this price spike) is the fault
of renewables is not an accurate assessment."
- Hugh Saddler wrote a
piece on The Conversation explaining that "South Australia's
electricity price woes are more due to gas than wind", 2016/07/25.
Spot electricity prices high in Queensland – not a wind turbine in
In at least the first half of January 2017 spot electricity prices in
Queensland (which has virtually no wind power) were about two and a half
times those of the other states on the eastern Australian grid.
RenewEconomy article by Rob Campbell, 2017/01/20.
It was all to do with gas.