Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia in position to be renewable leader, stabilise Australia’s energy system with supergrid

electricity-interconnectorSA in ‘pivotal position’ to harness sun and wind to stabilise our energy system, says expert. Tory Shepherd, Political Editor, The Advertiser,February 2, 2017 A SUPERGRID connecting South Australia to the west and the east to harness and transport sun and wind could stabilise our energy system, one of the nation’s top experts says.

And because the sun is shining in Western Australia after it has gone dark in SA, and its rays hit SA when it is still dark in WA, supply and demand would be evened out.

Professor Andrew Blakers from the Australian National University is working on supergrids and ideas for energy storage in SA. He said there were no financial figures yet, but that SA was in a “pivotal position”.

“An HVDC (high-voltage, direct-current) cable across the desert west to Perth would stabilise the SA system and allow time-shifting … WA is two or three hours behind,” he said. “That would reduce the storage.

“The idea would be you run west. There’s great sun and wind all the way from the head of (Spencer) Gulf to Perth. You’d pick up wind and solar farms along the way.”

The interconnector could then be connected to a new interconnector to the east coast, an option currently under discussion.

Prof Blakers, a professor of engineering, is also talking to the State Government about energy storage through pumped hydro. He says the technology – where water is pumped up to a small reservoir when energy is cheap then released when demand is high – could see SA powered by renewables alone.

Federal opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler has described pumped hydro as one of a number of “exciting” technologies that could transform the market.  “There’s a really exciting race on between different technologies that are all being supported at different stages here in Australia and all around the world,” he said.

State Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said any extra interconnector would need approval, but that the Government was in favour of the east coast leg.

“The State Government believes a new interconnector to New South Wales would put downward pressure on prices and improve grid security, while at the same time allowing more renewables to be exported to the east coast,” he said……..

February 3, 2017 - Posted by | energy, South Australia

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