Wind Power Generation Intermittency – It’s Worse Than You Think It Is – Introduction

Posted on Mon 11/30/2020 by TonyfromOz


By Anton Lang ~


We have all heard that wind power generation is intermittent, that it goes up and down on a daily basis. However, is that really all that much of a problem, and if so, how big a problem is it? We have also heard that constructing more wind plants will go towards alleviating this problem. Is that correct? Or will that only make the problem worse?

Well, it is in fact quite a large problem, and constructing more of those wind plants is making the problem worse.

Macarthur Wind Plant In Victoria Australia

For many years now, I have been looking at wind power generation here in Australia, and in fact recording and keeping wind generation data on a daily basis now for more than four years. After looking at this data on a daily basis for so long, I could see that it went up and down on that irregular basis, but what I was not seeing was long term trends of the scale of that intermittency, how big it was, how suddenly it would fall, how sustained it could be, and the quite large sizes of the falls, both sudden and long term.

So, six Months back now, in a task which took three Months, I went back over that daily data, back for a little more than two years, and collated all the falls for wind generation to see if it was just a matter of general ups and downs, or if those falls were large in scale. After the first session of this task, the problem started to show itself. There were a lot of sudden falls, and there were a lot of sustained falls over longer time frames. So here, what I needed to do was to set some parameters, based on the sizes of the loss of power generation, and the time basis for those falls in power generation. Even then, the problem was so large that I needed to have a basis of more than one time frame for sudden falls, and more than one for the long term falls.

The first thing I had to do was to set a base size for these power losses. Here, I selected 500MW, and you may think of that as an arbitrary amount, but I selected that for two distinct purposes. 500MW is around the average for a SINGLE large scale coal fired Unit. Here in Australia, we have 16 coal fired power plants, and there are 48 separate Units at all of those plants. The total Nameplate is 23000MW, so the average size of those Units is 480MW, so here I just rounded it up to that total of 500MW. So, the loss of 500MW of power in a short space of time is the equivalent of one of those large scale coal fired Units going off line, something that renewable power supporters tell us is proof somehow that coal fired power is unreliable. Secondly, and of far more importance, is that figure of 500MW equates to around four or more wind plants, not just the towers, but whole wind plants with many towers. The total Nameplate for wind power is currently 7728MW and there are 64 wind plants, so here, the average is 120MW, so the 500MW I have selected equates to around four wind plants, so those power losses are not just a few towers here and there, or just one wind plant going off line, as this 500MW is around 250 to 270 of those individual wind towers, so that is in fact a significant amount of wind generation failures across those time frames.

So I ended up with three time frames for sudden losses and two time frames for sustained losses of power generation, and I have listed those below, and after each time frame I have added the number of times this happened and also the range of the power losses. This is taken across the last two Years and two Months, so around 800 days.

1. Power loss in less than one hour – 53 times, between 500MW and 1340MW

2. Power loss in One Hour -54 times, between 500MW and 980MW

3. Power loss between one and three hours – 52 times between 630MW and 1570MW

4. Power loss between three and eight and a half hours – 42 times between 1240MW and 2490MW

5. Power loss over sustained long period of time – 64 times between 1500MW and 3670MW. (with 10 times over 3000MW)

As each of the time frames increased, then I also increased that starting base for power loss, because as many as I have included over that 500MW start base for those three lower time frames, there were many more in the power loss range of 250MW to 400MW, and in those two higher time frame ranges, there were also as many lower power loss totals as the ones I have included.

Now, as to the scale of this ‘problem’, and if it is even a problem at all, keep in mind here that this is just over the last two Years and two Months, so this is data covering just 800 days, and here we have 265 occasions where the power loss exceeds 500MW.

Again, I have looked at this data over the last four years, and now collected this data for the last 800 days, and, as often as I look at all this data, something that I did not see earlier has became more obvious now that I am doing this specific task, the fact that nearly all of those losses in the short time frames were when power generation was already quite high, and again, this is a further reason I have split all of this into those two areas, the three short time frame ones, and the two long time frame ones.

With all the images on this page, if you click on the image, it will open on a new page and at a much larger size, so you can better see the detail.

Wind Generation Sustained Power Loss

The thing which I was already aware of was that over the last two years, that when it comes to those long time frame power losses, it was apparent it was related to the weather. Every time one of those large High pressure weather systems came into an area in the South of the Country, then wind generation would fall away by a large amount. An example of that is shown in the image at the right, and here, you can see that power generation fell away from the high of 4500MW just after Midnight to that indicated low around 850MW, a loss of 3650MW across that time frame of 20 hours. So, what we have here is that the greatest percentage of all the data that I was recording was coming from that same area where those High pressure systems would pass over. This was the South Eastern area of South Australia, and the Central West area of Victoria. Now, that particular area is where the largest number of those wind plants are located. Australia has (now) got a total Nameplate for wind power of 7728MW. However, in that area I have mentioned here there is now a total Nameplate of 4916MW, and that is 64% of ALL the total wind plant Nameplate in the Country, two thirds of it all, just in those two States alone.

Now, here’s the thing I found recently with those short time frame power losses, and that was that this is also related to the weather as well.

We have been told often enough that these wind towers only operate between specific wind ranges. When the wind gets too high, then the wind towers automatically turn off, and the same happens when the wind is too low, they also turn off automatically.

Wind Generation Short Term Large Power Loss

So, what is happening here for those short time frame power losses is that between the occurrence of those large High pressure weather systems over that area, moving as they do from West to East, the isobars are closer together, and because of that, the wind is high, and so, there is high wind power generation. However if the wind gets too high, then the turbines turn off, and we have that loss of power when they turn off. An example of this is shown in the image at right, where power was already relatively high at the indicated high of 3558MW, and it quite suddenly fell 1340MW in 45 minutes. On that same image, you can also see that this happened earlier in the day twice, just after 2AM, and again just before 6AM, where, both times, it fell by more than 400MW, and then fell around 1500MW in a sustained period of more than seven hours. Now, selecting the base of 500MW as I did, it shows that a large number of towers turn off in high wind situations, and they do that in a short space of time as well, as will be shown in the tables for those short time frame losses. Now, yet again, that problem we have with the intermittency being supposedly resolved by constructing more of them, has in this case, also been made worse, as now there are more wind towers in that area, as more plants are constructed in that area, and now they are more susceptible to large scale losses in shorter time frames when the wind gets too high.

I mentioned that I used a start date of May in 2018, hence the 800 days ago I mentioned, and at that time, the total Nameplate for Wind Power was below 5000MW. So, in those 26 Months since the start of this task, the Nameplate for wind power has increased by almost 3000MW, probably around 20 or more new wind plants, and most of that increase in the number of those wind plants has been in that direct area I have mentioned, those two States of South Australia and Victoria.

This data I have collected here shows that the intermittency problem is getting worse, as there are more occurrences of power losses, and those losses in power generation are becoming larger.

In effect what has happened here is that by constructing MORE wind plants in that area, it has not been part of the solution of this perceived problem of intermittency. They have in fact made the problem WORSE.

Having now set the scene, in the next two Posts I will detail those losses, show you the tables of the scale of those losses, and explain them with respect to using three images for each time frame period across the 800 days of this data gathering task.

Link to Part Two – Wind Power Generation Intermittency – It’s Worse Than You Think It Is – Part Two

Link to Part Three – Wind Power Generation Intermittency – It’s Worse Than You Think It Is – Part Three


Anton Lang uses the screen name of TonyfromOz, and he writes at this site, PA Pundits International on topics related to electrical power generation, from all sources, concentrating mainly on Renewable Power, and how the two most favoured methods of renewable power generation, Wind Power and all versions of Solar Power, fail comprehensively to deliver levels of power required to replace traditional power generation. His Bio is at this link.



Thylacine extinct

Once upon a time packs of Thylacine roamed the Central Highlands of Tasmania. The Thylacine roams no more. Many relate this extinction with the dreaded climate change. This essay explores the validity of this concern. Many scientists blame climate change, but there are a growing number that blame the Bunyip.


A 21st century Thylacine siting.

In order to explore this dichotomy, I propose that there are many things about climate change that the general public, journalists, academics, environmentalists and politicians may think they ‘know’ to certainly be true that are actually, at the least, highly equivocal (or demonstrably false) and that once these misconceptions are corrected perceptions of the issue are (or, at least, should be) transformed.

If we shall converse reasonably, Voltaire said, we must define our terms.
Let us use the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) definition of ‘climate change’: ‘a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer)’. By ‘global warming’ I mean a rise in the Global Average Surface Temperature of the Earth.

The Bunyip, on the other hand, is a large mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology, said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes.

The origin of the word bunyip has been traced to the Wemba-Wemba or Wergaia language of Aboriginal people of Victoria, in South-Eastern Australia. But the figure of the Bunyip was part of traditional Aboriginal beliefs and stories throughout Australia, while its name varied according to tribal nomenclature.

Bunyip II

The Bunyip seems to be similar to Nessy, Ogopogo, and many more imaginary demons.

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My General Election forecast made less than 12 hours before the polls opened yesterday morning was rubbish. I forecast a comfortable majority of 76 for the Conservatives, when it now looks like there will be a hung Parliament. That my central estimate was the same as both Lord Ashcroft‘s and Cerburus at Conservative Women is no excuse. In fact it is precisely not following general opinion, but understanding the real world, that I write this blog. What I have learnt is that the social media was driving a totally different campaign that was being reported in the other media. The opinion polls started to pick this up, and all sensible people did not believe it. Personally I was partly blind to the reality, as I cannot understand why large numbers of people should vote in numbers for an extreme left political activist who has over many years has sided…

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Superb analysis of the insanity instilled in governments of all descriptions whose only objective is to destroy Western Civilisation.

Skating Under The Ice

The unscientific enterprise called the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is a thinly disguised political attempt to justify some kind of a “carbon tax”. Of course calling it a “carbon tax” or the “social cost of carbon” is doublespeak, or perhaps triplespeak. It is doublespeak because the issue is carbon dioxide, not carbon. What they are talking about taxing is not carbon but CO2. (In passing, the irony of a carbon-based life form studying the “social cost of carbon” is worth noting …)

It is triplespeak because in the real world what this so-called “carbon tax” means is a tax on energy, since the world runs on carbon-based fossil fuel energy and will for the forseeable future.

This energy tax has been imposed in different jurisdictions in a variety of forms—a direct carbon tax, a “cap-and-trade” system, a “renewable mandate”, they come in many disguises but they are all taxes on…

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The Most Comprehensive Assault On ‘Global Warming’ Ever


It made sense.  Knowing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that our industrialized world is adding a large amount of it to the atmosphere on a yearly basis, I accepted the premise that this would cause global temperatures to rise.  But one day about 7 years ago, I looked at the ubiquitous graph showing the “global” temperature of the last 150 years and noticed something odd.  It was subtle, and as I found out later, disguised so that it would be overlooked.  There appeared to be a period of about 40 years between 1940 and 1980 where the global temperatures actually declined a bit.  As a data analysis expert, I could not ignore that subtle hint and began to look into it a little more.  Forty years is a long time, and while carbon dioxide concentrations were increasing exponentially over the same period, I could not overlook that this showed an unexpected shift in the correlation between global temperatures and CO2concentrations. Thus I began to look into it a little further and here are some of the results 7 years later.

Before we begin, let’s establish what we know to be correct.  The global average temperature has increased since the 1980’s.  Since the 1980’s glaciers around the world are receding and the ice cap of the Arctic Ocean has lost ice since the 1980’s, especially during the summer months.  The average global temperature for the last 10 years is approximately 0.35 degrees centigrade higher than it was during the 1980’s. The global warming community has exploited these facts to “prove” that human activity (aka burning of fossil fuels) is the cause of these increasing temperatures.  But no direct scientific proof or data has been shown that link the current observations to human activity.  The link is assumed to be simply a fact, with no need to investigate or discuss any scientific data.

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The extreme weather hoax is just another hoax.

Tallbloke's Talkshop

From the dept of unsexy climate headlines we get news that there’s no news so far as precipitation is concerned. A new paper which examines a HUUUUGE number of records worldwide finds that there’s no trends anywhere of any significance from 1850. So much for dire warnings of increased droughts and floods due to extra CO2 which DO grab the headlines.

Changes in annual precipitation over the Earth’s land mass excluding Antarctica from the 18th century to 2013


Over 1½ million monthly precipitation totals observed at 1000 stations in 114 countries analysed.

Data record much longer than 3 recent conflicting studies that analysed a few decades of data.

No substantial difference found for stations located at northern, tropical and southern latitudes.

No substantial difference found for stations experiencing dry, moderate and wet climates.

No significant global…

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Following the unfortunate outcome of a recent election, the Province of Alberta is now governed by a mob which seems to be intent on the destruction of Western Civilisation in general and Alberta economic well-being in particular.

Warm monger Rachel Notley is the new Premier, and she appears to have assembled a team of Ministers and other cheerleaders drawn directly from the ranks of the Arts and Fine Arts community in academe.

It is apparent that to them logic, reason, evidence, and prudence are foreign notions at best, and at worst ideas that never entered their minds. Unfortunately they all relate to the Marxist drama teacher queen who is now the Canadian Prime Minster.

This is my submission to that request.

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Understanding Green Ideology

As a country becomes more industrialised and wealthy , its people enjoy longer is the life expectancy. Financial poverty and energy poverty yields short life expectancy and the Greens deliver both kinds of poverty deliberately.
Like the Islamists, they hate the West. They don’t care about your lungs and they don’t care whether you freeze either. The only interest that they feign regarding particles in the air  is in how they can use them to political advantage. They are actually more concerned about the feelings of the IS head hackers than our well-being. That is, unless you are one of them . . . and even then you are only a useful idiot.

Consider the top 10 Countries with the longest life expectancy. Do you want to live to a ripe old age? By far the most important factor in life expectancy is wealth.
Wealth provides more than the fundamentals of life. Energy is as essential for longevity as is food, clothing and shelter.


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Reblogged from Quadrant August 15th 2014


The statistic is shocking: some 70% of Danish youths in detention are Muslim. As psychologist Nicolae Sennels (left) learned when he set out to discover why, the reasons have much to do with an insular community’s disdain for what, other than welfare payments, a modern and liberal Western nation represents

sennelsAs a regular visitor to Europe I have long pondered the delicate question of Muslim immigrants’ ability to integrate in the West, particularly in France the Netherlands, Great Britain and Scandinavia. In preparing for a planned trip to Denmark last year, I came across the outstanding work of Nicolai Sennels  (left), a clinical psychologist working in youth prisons in Copenhagen, and his recent, thought-provoking book, Among Criminal Muslims. A Psychologist’s Experiences from Copenhagen Municipality.

Not yet published in English, the book is based on ten years’ intensive clinical work with around 150 Muslim and 100 non-Muslim Danish youths. It provides a unique understanding of the culture and minds of young Muslim offenders, their often violent behaviour and the high crime rates that characterise their communities.

The highly controversial publication by Jyllands-Posten of satirical cartoons of Mohamed put Denmark on the world stage overnight, but that occurred nearly a decade ago, so I went to Copenhagen to get a closer look at how things have developed since then. I was able to speak briefly with Sennels by phone, following up that encounter with emailed questions. After our brief discussion and subsequent exchange of emails, I find it hard not to think of Shakespeare’s Marcellus and his observation that there are indeed some things rotting in the state of Denmark.

Sennels set himself the mission of learning why violence and criminality figure so prominently in the Muslim community, and further, why Muslims appear to have difficulty integrating into Western society generally. According to Denmark’s Bureau of Statistics, some 70% of inmates in Danish youth prisons come from immigrant backgrounds, and almost all of those were raised in Muslim families. In terms of numbers, the top seven nationalities listed for criminal behaviour come from Muslim countries.

Through hundreds of hours in a clinical setting, Sennels came to realise that he had to understand the psychological differences between Muslims and Westerners in order to understand such disproportionate statistics. He sets out his analysis of the behavioural problems under four headings:

  • anger versus weakness
  • honour versus security
  • victim-hood versus self-responsibility
  • Muslims versus non Muslims

Sennels explained that in these four areas Westerners and Muslim are quite different — even diametrically opposed in their attitudes.

With the first area, concerning anger, we in the West see threatening expressions of anger as the quickest way to lose face, perceiving it as a sign of weakness. However, among Muslims, Sennels found that anger is not only accepted, it is seen as a sign of strength; indeed, anger in itself is regarded as an argument. In his anger-management classes he observed his Muslim clients believed, just as they had been taught, that “aggression is an accepted and often-expected behaviour in conflicts.” In addition to his own observations, he drew upon a recent study conducted by the Criminal Research Institute of Lower Saxony in Germany, where 45,000 teenagers of both Muslim and non-Muslim origin were interviewed. “Boys growing up in religious Muslim families are more likely to be violent,” Sennels said.

The second area for Sennels’ attention concerned self-confidence. He points out that Westerners mostly regard criticism as, while perhaps unpleasant, an honourable thing when offered honestly andon its merits. Accepting valid criticism is, in other words, a sign of trust in oneself and what one stands for. Westerners thus manage to handle criticism in a relatively unemotional fashion — perhaps even with an expression of gratitude if the critic’s observation is right, or a shrug on the shoulders if not.

By contrast, in Islam and Muslim culture generally, criticism is seen as an attack on one’s honour, with the lack of a aggressive response considered dishonourable. In the West, what we would regard as an insecure and childish response to criticism is seen by Muslims as fair. Sennels’ professional experience led him to understand that demands for integration by the wider society fuel many resident Muslims’ feeling of being criticised, leading them to develop an enmity towards the non-Islamic society that surrounds them.

The third psychological difference that Sennels talks about concerns self-responsibility and what, in psychological terms, is called “locus of control”. Inner Locus of Control is fostered in Western societies, where most people see their lives as the result of their own choices. In the West we have a whole industry, of which he is very much a part, which sees people pay good money to therapists for advice on how best to solve problems and attain goals. Within Islam all of life is ins’Allah — ordained not by individual choice but the will of Allah. Meanwhile, the daily lives of the Muslim delinquents he counselled  were primarily governed by sharia, cultural traditions and male family members. The experience is of being controlled. Personal wishes, democratic impulses and individual choices are disregarded, even punished.

To ask a Muslim about his own choices has little relevance, Sennels told me, as his clients do not see it as their responsibility to integrate into Danish society. Somehow, they expect the the state to make that happen, changing its ways to match their own. In relation to the crimes with which the young men he studied were charged, they tended to view the victim as being at fault for “provoking” their response.  Sennels is alive to the argument within many professional circles as to whether Muslim culture — by creating an outer locus of control in the individual — creates psychopathic tendencies, or if the lack of empathy for outsiders and abrogation of personal responsibility is simply a superficial phenomenon.

Finally, there is the matter of Muslim identity versus the non-Muslim — the issue at the centre of the fourth point, concerning tolerance. Westerners are taught that tolerance is both good in itself and a defining characteristic of a decent citizen. Within Islam, intolerance of non-Muslims, members of sexual minorities, women, non-Islamic authorities and secular laws is expected. This spawns parallel societies, along with alarming crime statistics, terrorist activity, and the all-pervading suppression and oppression of women.

As many before Sennels have pointed out, including the Australian writer Mark Durie, Islamic scriptures underline the concept of the “infidel”. Among his Muslim clients a mere handful thought of themselves as Danish. Most saw themselves as Moroccans, Somalis and Pakistanis, etc., who happened to be living in another country. Almost all felt alienated towards Danes and said they were in opposition to Danish society. This shocked Sennels, as many of these clients were from second- or third-generation immigrants families.

Statistics bare this out. In Denmark, only 14% of resident Muslims identify with the organisation Democratic Muslims, whose charter avows that Muslims can be both democratic and Danish. Sennels notes that this strong experience of “us” and “them” has very concrete consequences, most of all to non-Muslims who are the victims of violence, robbery and attempted murder are non-Muslims. The exceptions were violent acts directed at rival Muslim gangs or so-called honour-related violence.

Sennels amasses some convincing confirmatory data. Whilst he acknowledges a nexus between anti-social behaviour and poverty, he is emphatic that crime and anti-social behaviour lead to poverty, not the other way around. Research by the Danish Centre for Knowledge about Integration (Randers,Youth, education and integration”, May 2005) shows that 64% of all schoolchildren with Arabic backgrounds are so poor in reading and writing after 10 years in the Danish school system that they are not able to succeed with further education — double the rate of Danish students from other backgrounds. In addition, Muslims’ failure to reach IQ levels acceptable for recruitment into the Danish military is three time higher than among native Danish applicants.

Sennels discusses other cultural factors, notably that their countries of origin place less emphasis on knowledge and education. According to 2003 article in Nature, the world average for production of published articles per million inhabitants was 137, whereas in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference countries the number was just 13. According to a large survey in Turkey, “70% of Turkish citizens never read a book”. Research published by the UN’s Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR) points out that “the cumulative total of translated books since the Caliph Maa’moun’s time (the ninth century) is about 100,000, almost the average that Spain translates in one year.”

Sennels makes the obvious deduction that not being able to read and write, dropping out of education and coming from a culture that, in general, has very little interest in science and knowledge severely minimise one’s chances of getting a well paid job — or any job at all. This leads to anti-social and criminal behaviour, and ultimately to poverty and welfare dependence.

Immigrants need three things in order to integrate, Sennels notes. They must want to be part of the host society, they must be allowed to join that society, and they need to have the capacity do so. Very few Muslim immigrants meet all three criteria.

The Danish government has not been completely idle in addressing the problems of an unassimilated and crime-prone minority. Without fanfare it introduced two basic policies: individual repatriation and reduction in child support. The repatriation policy targets unintegrated immigrants and pays them 1,000 euros, a one-way ticket to their homelands, free medicine for a year and extra money if they intend to start a business. This expense is reckoned to be cheaper than paying the 300,000-plus euros a non-Western immigrant is estimated to cost the state over his lifetime. The policy is administered through local municipalities and sees hundreds returning every year to their countries of origin.

The second policy, limiting child support to no more than two children per family — the average of all Danish families — was introduced to discourage both immigration and welfare dependency. However, the policy was scrapped the day the new Social Democrat Government assumed power in a minority coalition in 2011.

While other Western countries face similar difficulties to those afflicting Europe, it would appear that the problems are less acute in the United States, Australia and other migrant destinations. Nevertheless, with news report of Muslim-Australian jihadis lopping heads in Syria and Iraq and drive-by shootings increasingly common in Sydney’s West, Sennels’ insights would seem to have a definite Australian relevance, most particularly to any debate about the wisdom of ongoing Muslim immigration.

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The dilemma we face is not the budget, but something very much deeper.

As Treasurer, Joe Hockey has selected the correct strategy. Why aren’t people buying it? Perhaps it is because the tactical approach has been lacking.

The reason is that less than half of the populace can recognise that there are problems. Fewer than that agree on the nature of the problems. Only excellent leadership can overcome these two issues, and it takes time and communication.

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