This blog will mostly run links and commentary on energy related matters. I’ll try and remember to tag them properly to make this a bit of a repository of information as well.

Your host, Evcricket, is a mechanical engineer and professional energy nerd. I wrote my engineering thesis on how to operate a small electrical network entirely from renewables; I worked in energy management in the water sector for two years, and as senior advisor to the Dept of Energy etc on technical energy matters for three years and now I’m a consultant.
This blog will assume a small amount of basic energy knowledge; what’s a kWh, volts amps, that sort of thing. If this is a bit much for you, and frankly I understand, there are a few posts on the old evcricket blog to get you started:

Questions and comments happily accepted. My goal is a discussion and some information; democracy works best when everyone understands the problem.

Lastly, I realise my editing is a bit slack at times. That might just be the cost of production. It seems that I either get these posts out quickly, or not at all.



5 responses to “About

  • Hamish Cumming

    Are you still Blogging. Loy Yang annual reports from 2005 to 2015 show a steady increase in Carbon Intensity, burning 3 million tons of coal more today for the annual Mw sold even after upgrades over that time that should have saved 2,9Million tons of coal. AGL have decided to change the CI calculation now to bring the reported figure down compared to history. And this was just a small note on page 72 of an annual report.
    The increase of CI over 10 years correlates to additional wind farm capacity coming on line. Owners of Hazelwood and Yallourn also tell me the CI figures there have risen too, even though thermal efficiency changes should have reduced it.

    Also AEMO data showed a 450Mw wind farm failure picked up immediately by coal fired power stations in Qld and NSW. If they were not burning coal and wasting the energy as vented steam, they could not have picked up the load and could not have sustained the load.
    If you are still out there, in Sept 2012 you said my claims could only be proven with years of annual data.
    Three years on and I thing the rising CI must at least ring some alarm bells with you.

    Nearly 6 Million tons of wasted coal per year now Loy Yang alone…

  • Tony Morton

    Hamish, spinning reserve is required in order to deal with an unscheduled 600MW unit failure at Bayswater or a 500MW unit failure at Loy Yang. There is no single wind energy contingency event that can cause the sudden loss of 450MW of generation. The ‘450MW wind farm failure’ in AEMO reports is actually a forecast 450MW drop in wind energy generation over a period of a few hours, which is dealt with by dispatching other generation sources in the same way generation is dispatched to deal with the increase in system load from 6:00 every morning. This is not spinning reserve, just regular hour- or day-ahead scheduled capacity.

    Emissions intensity at coal-fired power stations is increasing because these plants are all decades old and wearing out. The imperative for the world is to reduce emissions, not emissions intensity per se. Emissions were on a declining trajectory when the carbon price was in place (despite continued economic growth) but have ticked up now the ‘carbon tax’ is abolished. To understand the history of rising and falling emissions we have only to look at some fairly obvious policy decisions.

    • Hamish cumming

      Sorry you are wrong, the AEMO told me the failure was interconnector related, that’s why it took out Portland, Macarthur and part of lake Bonney. If you look at the AEMO data the wind turbines were running at near full power and all dropped off in the same minute. After the repair was made they all came online at exactly the same minute as well. No slow down and build up that would be wind speed related.

      Other wind farms in the same general locations but not feeding through the failed system still generated. If it was wind dropping from 30 to 40km/h across 200km instantly at the same time, not only would such a miraculous act be reported widely in the meteorological world, the other turbines would have stopped generating as well that were only 50km away.

      The AEMO data also showed the load was mostly picked up instantaneously by power stations in NSW and QLD

      Please don’t confuse “what you think” with published facts. By the way I am also a Mechanical Engineer and have worked in the electrical energy field as well.

      • Tony Morton

        Yes Hamish, that sounds like what we call a ‘multiple contingency’, the kind of event that’s supposed to be designed out of the system. All large generator connections are designed to withstand a Vic-SA interconnector outage, but we know that power systems sometimes suffer larger failures due to maloperation of network equipment (see the 2003 north east USA outage for example). Something interfered with the correct operation of the system on this occasion, but that likely has nothing to do with whether these were wind generators or some other kind.

        So as multiple contingencies go, this was handled fairly well: the total lost generation was less than a single large coal unit, and was picked up with the same spinning reserve that’s already in place to handle unscheduled outages of coal units.

        Again, the relevance of this to the specific nature of wind generation is somewhat tenuous.

      • Hamish cumming

        My AEMO sources tell me that before wind farms were so prolific, the spinning reserve was just over half what it is today, and is closer to 1000.

        One of the reasons is losses over distance.

        For instance from Gippsland to Portland alone is currently 15% line losses due to age, required maintenance etc. (Figures from the Singaporean owners) So to backup SA wind farms from QLD (because SA is running off Vic Brown coal generators more often than not for the vast majority of its supply, and quite often are already at full generation capacity) requires an enormous amount more coal to be burnt and power to be generated. More in fact than would be burnt in a power station in SA that people were so ecstatic to close.

        And before you make comment or try to come up with some fanciful answer as to what you “think” is going on. Do what I did, buy the AEMO data for the past four years and run it through your computer doing generator and consumption comparisons. Facts speak louder than fantasy. But I am sure you won’t buy the data , because you would not want to see the reality of what’s going on. It would not match your mantra or ideology.

        Large scale thermal molten salt solar is the real answer, we have wasted so much money and time playing with wind farms.

        Or even fourth generation Nuclear, that uses lasers and water, not uranium, would have been a far better use of the Billions wasted on wind. But then the governments and others would not have their little monuments on the hills through the country side screaming “look at me I’m doing something”. Isn’t something better than nothing you ask, well in some cases no it’s not. Do the right thing the first time and not waste years and Billions playing politics.

        Please stop wasting my time.

        Go do the research using the facts.

        Then make educated comments.



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