Monday, 5 November 2018

Scott Morrison doesn't know watt's watt

This was the ‘interim’ Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on ABC TV The Drum, 23 September 2018:

SCOTT MORRISON: I want more dispatchable power in the system.
ALAN JONES: Could you stop using the word dispatchable? Out there they don’t understand that.
SCOTT MORRISON: Well, real power, OK?
ALAN JONES: Real power.
SCOTT MORRISON: Well, fair dinkum power.

So what exactly is this “dispatchable power” the Prime Minister is talking about whenever he cites “fair dinkum power” that “works when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing”.

This is what Energy Education:has to say on the subject:

Dispatchable source of electricity

A dispatchable source of electricity refers to an electrical power system, such as a power plant, that can be turned on or off; in other words they can adjust their power output supplied to the electrical grid on demand.[2] Most conventional power sources such as coal or natural gas power plants are dispatchable in order to meet the always changing electricity demands of the population. In contrast, many renewable energysources are intermittent and non-dispatchable, such as wind power or solar power which can only generate electricity while their energy flow is input on them.

Dispatch times
Dispatchable sources must be able to ramp up or shut down relatively quickly in time intervals within a few seconds even up to a couple of hours, depending on the need for electricity. Different types of power plants have different dispatch times:[3]

Fast (seconds)
Capacitors are able to dispatch within milliseconds if they need to, due to the energy stored in them already being electrical, whereas in other types of power storage such as chemical batteries the power must be converted into electrical energy.
Hydroelectric facilities are also able to dispatch extremely quickly; for instance the Dinorwig hydro power station can reach its maximum generation in less than 16 seconds.[4]

Medium (minutes)
Natural gas turbines are a very common dispatchable source, and they can generally be ramped up in minutes.
Solar thermal power plants can utilize systems of efficient thermal energy storage. It is possible to design these systems to be dispatchable on roughly equivalent timeframes to natural gas turbines.

Slow (hours)
While these systems are typically regarded as only providing baseload power, they often have some flexibility.
Many coal and biomass plants can be fired up from cold within a few hours. Although nuclear power plants may take a while to get going, they must be able to shut down in seconds to ensure safety in the case of a meltdown.

What this tells us is that renewable energy can and is used as “dispatchable power” and often responds faster than coal-fired power.

Battery storage by way of home battery installations and mega battery installations such as the Tesla system in South Australia are just two successful examples of storing renewable power for later use – making it dispatchable power.

According to the Melbourne Energy Institute, South Australia’s new mix of renewables and traditional source of energy is working well.

What has become increasingly obvious over the years is that once renewable energy via wind and solar reaches a reasonable scale it becomes cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels. That is where Australia is now.

Yet Scott Morrison apparently doesn’t understand how electricity generation and the national power grid work – it’s a though he has been asleep for the last decade. Because he appears to believe that renewable energy systems have not evolved to meet market demands.

Which in his mind means more coal-fired power.

Expensive, polluting, coal-fired power supplying electricity to Australian homes at maximum cost to ordinary consumers.

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