Monthly Archives: April 2020

Gone by 2020: worse or better than thought?

This is part 8 in the series on the prediction that glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2020. You might want to see to part 1, part2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7 if you haven’t already.

Back to a previous series on the prediction when the glaciers in Glacier National Park would be gone. In hat series, I focused primarily on two specific predictions (with the end date of 2020 and 2030) and how these were presented to the public. I knew there were other predictions around, but at that time I was not particularly interested in them, so didn’t search for these specifically.

In the meanwhile, I came across the NationalReview article “Beware the Boogeyman Alarm” by Kyle Smith and that contains this interesting paragraph (my emphasis):

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Hornsdale Power Reserve: huffing and puffing old men coming to the aid of their colleague

Now it was established in previous two posts that the Hornsdale Power Reserve did surprisingly little to avert a frequency drop caused by a 560 MW capacity loss (contrary to what was suggested in the RenewEconomy article), the focus of this post will be on how the message was brought. Knowing how little the battery actually did, then how on earth could Giles Parkinson paint it as if something extraordinary had happened? This post will explain how this is done.

Let’s start with the title:

Tesla big battery outsmarts lumbering coal units after Loy Yang trips

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Hornsdale Power Reserve: the mouse that stopped the elephant from falling

After writing previous post, the RenewEconomy article kept going through my mind. The author of the article suggested that the response of the Hornsdale Power Reserve to a tripping coal fired power unit was extraordinary, when in reality it was insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I wondered why on earth the author was so lyrical about what was in fact a poor performance…

Then it suddenly struck me. It might well be a misinterpretation of how the event was represented.

Let me explain.

There were two graphs presented in the article. The first one is the frequency versus the response of the Hornsdale Power Unit and it stood central in previous post. There is however a second graph in the article and it is this graph that could easily lend itself to misinterpretation. It shows the sharp decline of the tripped coal unit combined with the response of the Hornsdale battery:

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Hornsdale Power Reserve: “outsmarting” lumbering coal units by four seconds?

This is an update on a previous post about the claim that the Hornsdale Power Reserve (in South Australia) is helping to prevent blackouts in Melbourne (in Victoria), roughly 1,000 km away from each other. In that post, I rejected that idea, saying that this was highly unlikely because the capacity of the Hornsdale battery is way too small to do so.

In the meanwhile, I got a link to an article that seems to describe such an event. At the end of 2017, just after the Hornsdale Power Reserve was put into use, a coal fired power plant unit in the state of Victoria tripped, causing a sharp drop in frequency and that triggered the Hornsdale battery to supply power to the grid. Its response was much quicker than that of a coal fired power plant commissioned to compensate for the loss.

Melbourne was not specifically named in the article, but the question doesn’t really change much: did the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia actually helps to prevent a blackout in the neighboring state of Victoria after a coal fired plant unit failed there in December 2017?

Did this article really provide some solid evidence that this happened? And if so, how did the battery manage to do so, considering its capacity is only 100 MW and can store 129 MWh?

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