The South Australian Blackout

by Terence Cardwell

This is NOT a once off event- it will happen again in the not too distant future and continue to do so.

Why? Because of the continual instability created in the grid system by the constantly changing wind generators and the reliance of power from Victoria, who have to continually get them out of their insane situation.

Any change in power generation from the wind generators has to be compensated for and chased by thermal power generation units which decreases their efficiency substantially and more than obviates any gain from wind generators. These severe load changes can create a power wave within the grid system that causes instability as the thermal units try to match the wind generators’ severe load changes.

Because the winds were so severe the wind generators would already have been non-operative and locked. So that 40% of the power was already out of service before the blackout. If the wind generators were allowed to operate in such severe winds they would have torn themselves apart.

So YES the wind generators DID cause the blackout by increasing the load substantially on the Victoria to S.A. interconnector.

It is the first time in the history of power generation in Australia that transmission towers have fallen over and we have seen far more severe weather than the S.A. storm. (I have personally operated units in such weather with no blackouts or instability in the grid system even though we lost two units. One of them being mine. The unit transformer was hit by a 20ft sheet of roofing aluminium torn of in the storm.)

Even though the towers had collapsed the grid system should not have gone out because the line protections covering those towers would have tripped within 6 cycles i.e. one tenth of a second, isolating them from the grid and protecting the rest of the grid system.

The hypocrisy of the South Australian Government is unbelievable. Because they had knocked down their black bituminous coal fired thermal power stations they had insufficient power. So then they had to import it from Victoria through the state interconnector which was never intended for that purpose. When the interconnector exceeded its maximum load capacity, it tripped, as it was supposed to do.

Guess where the imported power is generated? Yes Victoria—but where? The brown coal fired thermal power stations that have a thermal efficiency half of that of the black coal fired power stations that South Australia decommissioned to pander to the Greens.

The average price for electricity in South Australia with its 40% renewable energy is over $300 per megawatt hour. The average cost of electricity in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania is around $80.00 per megawatt hour.

To those gullible people who are so passionate about ‘clean energy’ you can expect similar prices in the other states should they adopt South Australia’s renewable energy program.

Terry Cardwell worked for 25 years for the Electricity Commission of NSW working, commissioning and operating the various power units. His last commission was at the Munmorah Power Station near Newcastle, with four, very large, 350 MW power generating units. He blogs at

3 thoughts on “The South Australian Blackout”

  1. Arctic ice is measured on Sept 10, each year by NSIDC, nat. snow&ice data center. Here are the recent findings..Sept. 2012 2.2 million sq. miles of ice. 2016 2.9,Oct.8 2016 3.3, yikes! 4 million sq. miles of ice in 18 days. Is this the start of another ice age?

  2. Crap.
    The wind blew pylons over, the inter-connector from Victoria failed and the backup GAS generator was simply not turned on.
    Get your facts straight.
    You look as if you are biased otherwise.

  3. If we just stick to the facts …. that would be better for everyone. These exagerations dont help the cause. Random stories like this mean nothing.
    We need facts from both sides of the argument , no models , just current data last 5 years.

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