Thursday, 26 June 2014

Some charts I made whilst drinking a beer in Singapore

Right now, I'm sitting inside Changi airport. It's humid, I'm tired, I ate a weird burger that had some sauce in it that I did't know what it was, and I'm about to board a 13.5 hour flight. There's a pool of koi gazing curiously at the grey sheen of my equally-exhausted laptop.

Basically, I should have other stuff on my mind, but I can't stop thinking about the electrical output of a certain set of machines in a certain state, on a certain continent. 

Australia's Eastern seaboard has an interconnected electricity market, that's sort-of segregated into states. The states are interconnected, but each has its own price, generation, demand and forecasts, from the perspective of the market operator. 

The National Electricity Market, as illustrated by the market operator
This week, in the South Australian region, wind power has supplied a fairly large percentage of the total generation in the state. I won't pre-empt any post-week calculations by declaring what that percentage is, but it's going to be freaking huge, I bet. 

For now, just revel in a couple of charts comparing the output of wind farms to other generators in SA. 

It's not a big state, and, yes, it can draw power from Victoria during a shortfall of supply, or during network congestion. That doesn't take away from the significance of a chunk of our electricity network managing to actually capture the available wind resource, and offset a huge quantity of emissions (given that we'd otherwise have had to source the power from fossil fuels). 

Here's the generation for the month, showing average daily generation (in megawatts). I think this neatly illustrates that, most of the time, wind power contributes to SA's mix, but sometimes it really dominates, and that's what's happened this week:
It's pretty clear from that chart that the presence of wind seems to correlate with lower output from the fossil fuel generators in SA - coal and gas. At one point this week, the coal-fired power station, Port Augusta, shut off. My bet is that it had something to do with the high levels of wind penetration in the state. It might not be, but that's my suspicion. Wind outdid fossil fuels for most of the week, so far:

At the time of writing this blog post (23:05 26/06/2014 AEST), the percentage of wind power in SA is at 69% of total South Australian generation.

The friendly bartender here at Changi airport told me, as he handed me my refreshing and very-welcome beer, that Singapore's current percentage of wind power is precisely zero. It's nice to know we're ahead of the curve. A little patriotic pride on my global trawl. Here's SA's history, since 2005:

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