Australian news, and some related international items

Port Augusta Mayor speaks at Parliament house rally for solar thermal power

Demonstrators rally for Port Augusta solar thermal power plant   April 30, 2017  MORE than 200 people turned out on the steps of Parliament House on Sunday, with their own makeshift solar panels, urging the State Government to back a solar thermal power plant at Port Augusta.

Decked with mirror panels to mimic solar panels, the demonstrators were led by Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson and former coal power station worker Gary Rowbottom.

The Federal Government has committed $110 million in funding through a loan for the project, but the State Government is yet to commit any money.

Mr Johnson said a power purchase plan from the government would make it viable and secure jobs for the Far North city. “Our community has pushed for solar thermal for years,” he said. “Now, it’s time for action from the State Government. Federal funding is now locked in for solar thermal in Port Augusta so it’s time for the Premier to make solar thermal a reality.

“Building solar thermal won’t just help Port Augusta, it will create manufacturing jobs for SA, regional jobs and balance our electricity grid with big storage.”

Mr Rowbottom said the project would provide much-needed stimulus for Port Augusta.  “This is Jay Weatherill and the SA Government’s chance to support our community for the long term, helping us build a new future and becoming the clean energy powerhouse of SA now the coal station has closed,” he said.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said solar thermal power was “absolutely in the mix” for the State Government going forward.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian suburb Baldivis tops nation for solar rooftops

Baldivis tops nation for power from sun, 1 May 2017 The southern Perth postcode of Baldivis is Australia’s solar capital, with more than two-thirds of houses in the suburb generating their own power from the sun.

With electricity prices spiralling and a rush towards green energy, fresh figures show the rate of solar panel installations across Australia led by WA is gathering pace.

There are almost 230,000 households and small businesses with solar panels across WA after a massive 71 per cent increase in installations in past 10 months alone.

More than a quarter of WA homes have solar panels. But the figures show the rate of solar uptake in some suburbs is sky-high, with a staggering 69 per cent of households in Baldivis having a system.

According to the figures, from the Australia Photovoltaic Institute, there are 5765 “dwellings” in Baldivis and 3951 of them have solar panels — the highest rate of penetration in Australia.

It was a similar story in Byford, where 56 per cent of 3326 households had rooftop PV, as well as Rockingham, where uptake was 53 per cent.

The figures also show Mandurah, while having a lower penetration rate, had the second highest number of solar panel installations of any suburb in the country.

Of the 28,428 households in the southern centre, almost 10,000 had photovoltaic cells, behind only Bundaberg in Queensland, which had 10,529 systems. Australian Photovoltaic Institute chairman Renate Egan said it was remarkable that solar was so popular that in some suburbs the households without solar panels were outnumbered by those which did have them.

Warwick Johnston, an analyst with consultancy SunWiz, said WA trailed Queensland and NSW on installations.

“The biggest change has been WA leapfrogging Victoria into third place when it comes to the number of new solar installations,” Mr Johnston said.

The latest figures came as Energy Networks Australia — which represents grid operators such as Western Power — released a report showing the amount of solar power in WA was set to triple in the next 13 years.

It said using battery storage systems, electric cars and “smart homes” would also rise.

ENA boss John Bradley said more than 40 per cent of WA’s electricity was predicted to come from renewable sources by 2030 amid moves to de-carbonise the economy.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Farmers want the Australian government to embrace solar energy

Farmers urge government to embrace solar for the future 30 Apr 2017, A year ago, my family acquired solar panels in a very unusual way. Our farm is located in Quirindi, northern NSW, in the heart of Australia’s food bowl.

We’ve never before experienced a run of 40-degree days like we had last summer. Being farmers we are at the mercy of the seasons, and in recent years we have experienced extremes in our weather – extended hot summer periods and increasingly variable rainfall.  It’s hard on our cows, it dries out the soil, stresses pastures and impacts the number of animals we can stock on the farm.

A few years back a concerned group of Christians called Common Grace crowdfunded enough money to buy solar panels for the then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.  It was an attempt to raise awareness of the value and importance of sustainable energy.

But when this gift was rejected, Common Grace turned to the front lines of climate change in Australia and offered the panels to farmers, like me. My parents taught me the value of caring for the land, and so, I appreciate the clean energy from solar which allows me to use appliances during the day knowing I am having minimal impact on the environment.

My family spends less on electricity now and with the price of solar storage falling, we’ve got plans to go completely off the grid.

It’s frustrating that our government is failing to transition Australia to sustainable energy when we are out in the paddock already trying to adapt to the impacts of worsening droughts and heatwaves.

We must tackle climate change so we can pass on healthy farmlands to our children, and so farmers can continue to produce food and clothes for generations to come.

Being given the opportunity to go solar has been great. I just wish our government will now give it a go. Kirrily Blomfield was 2014 NSW farmer of the year.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, personal stories, solar | Leave a comment

AEMO chief says its mandate remains reliability and “solar penetration will increase”

Reform not an ‘either or’: AEMO
The electricity operator’s new chief says its mandate remains reliability and “solar penetration will increase”. Mandate remains reliability in time of change: AEMO chief The Australian, ,Andrerw White, April 28, 2017 The new chief executive of the Australian Energy Market Operator Audrey Zibelman says reform of the electricity market is not “either or” choice between fossil fuels and renewable power and needs to focus on restoring the confidence of consumers amid a series of rolling crisis in the market.

Ms Zibelman said the market operator had to get “ahead of the game’” to ensure the energy networks were reliable at a time of technological change and consumer choice that was driving increasing use of renewable energy.

“We understand that the degree of solar penetration is going to increase,’’ Ms Zibelman told ABC Radio this morning.

“We need to ensure that the networks to deal with these increases in a way to secure reliability and that we are essentially really ahead of the game rather than always catching up as an enabler to consumers and that we are an enabler of the better economic outcomes for consumers.’’

Ms Zibelman, a New Yorker who replaced the late Matt Zema as AEMO chief executive last month, said policy questions such as calls for an emissions intensity scheme were the responsibility of politicians, rather than the market operator. But she said AEMO had to respond to technological changes and consumer choices that were taking place regardless of policy and ensure the reliability of the networks.

“The issue is not the either or — one is good and one is bad. The fact is that it (renewable energy) operates in a very different way and so we need to be moving towards how do we optimise the system around the resources that we are going to use so that we optimise the value of everything … and take advantage of low costs and the resources they need to be secure. That has been the focus.”

AEMO has come under increasing scrutiny after a series of power outages in South Australia — where its failure to order extra gas-fired power forced blackouts for 90,000 homes — since September and a scare in NSW in February…….

Ms Zibelman said gas exports had contributed to higher prices and that AEMO had previously warned about the scarcity of gas for te local market.

“That is not different to what has happened before this year with AEMO’s report … there was a recognition about scarcity and it is something frankly that has been talked about for a couple of years.

“ I think there is real attention to it this year and a recognition that has created a lot of uncertainty and been disconcerting for customers and that we need to take action to really regain the confidence of consumers in the market place.”

May 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Electricity network transformation roadmap: final report

Energy Networks AustraliaCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 27 April 2017 Source: Energy Networks Australia Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and the peak national body representing gas distribution and electricity transmission and distribution businesses in Australia, Energy Networks Australia, have partnered to develop an Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap (the Roadmap).

The Roadmap Final Report is the product of more than two years of collaborative work carried out by Energy Networks Australia and CSIRO. More than 200 different industry representatives contributed at over 14 workshops and webinars held as part of the public consultation process. Information on the Roadmap has been viewed more than 30,000 times during the development process.

The Roadmap Final Report identifies integrated measures which can achieve a positive energy future for Australian energy customers – enabling choice, lower emissions, lower costs and high security and reliability.

May 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Households and small businesses will be at the centre of Australia’s dramatic energy transition

Households will be at centre of Australia’s transition to 100% renewables, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 28 April 2017 Australia’s households and small businesses will be at the centre of the dramatic energy transition occurring around us, and will play a critical role in the switch to 100 per cent renewable energy, and saving around $100 billion in costs from the business-as-usual fossil fuel scenario.

That dramatic outline is the key takeaway from the final draft of the report of the Electricity Network Transformation Roadmap that has been painstakingly put together over the last three years by the government’s premier research body, the CSIRO, and Energy Networks Australia, which represents the grid owners across the country.

The key conclusion is that Australia can and should reach 100 per cent renewable energy for its electricity by 2050, and therefor zero emissions. It can, because the technology is there to do it. It should, because of climate change and the economics.

As it concluded in its earlier report in December, this consumer led transition to a grid centred around distributed generation, solar and storage, will save a heap of money in network investment ($16 billion), and network costs to consumers ($100 billion) by 2050.

Consumers will play a critical role and lead this transition. The report suggests that by 2050, households and businesses will have installed a phenomenal 80GW of rooftop solar, accompanied by some 97GWh of battery storage.

The 10 million households who have distributed energy resources like solar, storage, smart homes and electric vehicles by 2050 will play a critical role in how Australia manages its grid, which will no longer be based around a scenario of centralised baseload and peaking plants.

Instead,it will be based around wind, solar, storage and other flexible generation. And the key to providing that flexibility lies in the distributed nature of the grid, and taking advantage of the consumer investment in solar and storage, which will provide half of all the power needed and much of the storage.

But the stunning falls in the cost of renewable energy technologies, solar in particular, and of battery storage, means that Australia not only needs to get its transition policies and roadmaps into place, it is running out of time to do so.

The risks, the report says, is that without significant market reform and long term climate policy, the transition will be uncontrolled.

“We thought we had about 10 years to change pricing incentives,” CSIRO chief energy economist Paul Graham says. “We don’t, and if we leave it too late, we will  get more customers buying distributed energy systems in places where isn’t such a need, or they are calibrated wrongly.”

That, he says, is about ensuring that consumers are reacting to signals of not just how much electricity they are using, but when they are using it. And ensuring that their assets – solar and storage – can be accessed to help manage the entire grid.

The big risk, the networks say, is that without the right pricing signals, many customers (at least 10 per cent will simply leave the grid.

The key measures, the report says, are having a stable, bipartisan, and ambitious climate policy (40 per cent reduction in 2005 emissions by 2030), cost reflective network pricing (to ensure that peak demand is addressed) and clear transition plans at state level for the local networks.

These need to be in place by 2020 or 2021. The CSIRO and ENA are hopeful that the Finkel Review will lay much of the groundwork, although it is fairly obvious to RenewEconomy that if these policies are to be delivered it is going to require a complete change in the nature of political rhetoric around energy policy and energy supply.

That means a change in the politics as well as the policy. There is not a snowflake’s chance of hell of setting the path towards a 100 per cent renewable energy grid if politicians are still saying stupid things about wind and solar.

Interestingly, the network transformation report goes into details about the 100 per cent renewable energy grid would work, and its implications for individual states.

It notes that each state grid can comfortably reach around 40 per cent penetration of variable wind and solar without much problem: from that point on, battery storage and technologies such as synchronous condensers need to be considered.

But it is only in the latter stages of the transition that new wind and solar has to be backed up like for like with storage. And that is based on assumptions that each state grid is distinct from the others.

In reality, the variability of supply will mean less back-up is needed, and the greatest need for backup will not come from those hot summer peaks, because there will be plenty of solar and storage to address that – but in the mild winters after days of cloudy weather.

But that also means that the back-up simply need not be as great, and will likely come from gas peakers that transition to biogas or a similar technology. We go into those assumptions in a separate story…….

This is what Audrey Zibelman of the Australian Energy Market Operator describes as the “consumer-led” transition, that will result in a grid that is cheaper, cleaner, faster and more reliable than the current one.

AEMO understands this, the networks understand this, most other energy insiders understand this too. Bradley says in the consultations held since the last version of the report was released in December has been positive.

“There has been a surprising strong level of support for the et of measures for roadmap,” he said. “The need for a clear transition plan seems to be widely endorsed.”

So, what’s the delay?

May 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Not all that much back-up is actually needed for high renewable grids

How much storage and back-up do high renewable grids need? REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 28 April 2017  Exactly how much storage and back-up does renewable energy need? It’s a question at the heart of electricity planning and the subject of many of the myths peddled by vested interests in the fossil fuel lobby and the gullible media. The answer is: not nearly as much as the naysayers would have you think.

According to the CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia, which own the local and interstate grids, a level of between 30 and 50 per cent share of variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar can be easily accommodated without any further back-up.

That’s because there is so much back-up built into the system already to support coal and gas-fired generation, either to meet peaks in demand, or to fill in gaps when coal and gas plants fail, as they do quite regularly, particularly in hot weather.

The estimate also reflects the changing view of technologies and how grids are managed. It was not so long ago that most engineers would have thought 10 per cent was the absolute maximum. The Murdoch media has been misquoting an old report saying that 20 per cent is the level at which problems occur. Some network operators think 60 per cent is the level.

The CSIRO and ENA says the amount of storage needed beyond that 30 to 50 per cent continues to be minimal until much greater levels of renewable energy are introduced, and then the extent of that back-up is largely dependent on local weather and climate, and their natural renewable energy sources.

The roadmap released by CSIRO and ENA on Friday, following nearly three years of work, includes an appendix on the levels of storage and/or peaking plant back-up needed, and how this might affect individual states.

By their own admission, the estimates are on the conservative side – because they have not allowed for greater network links between the states, and because some of the estimates do not include a mix of options. …….

May 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

Australia’s solar rooftop hotspot – South Australia

South Australian households and businesses are installing solar panels as rising electricity prices and blackouts take their toll Gailberger, The Advertiser, 26 Apr 17

SOLAR uptake has reached new records across the nation, as South Australian households and businesses put in solar installations at almost double the rate of last year.

Solar analysts say the industry has experienced one of its strongest quarters, driven by increased knowledge, high electricity prices, and fear the Federal Government will cut incentives in the future.There is now six gigawatts of solar power installed across Australia — enough to meet the needs of 1.3 million average households — figures released today by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute show.“Solar power now makes up 11 per cent of our country’s total electricity generation capacity,” Australian Photovoltaic Institute chair Dr Renate Egan said.

South Australia has the highest penetration among dwellings at 32 per cent, with Aberfoyle Park identified as the state’s “solar rooftop hotspot”. More than 22,618 new solar installations have been made in SA as of April — 7000 more than the same time last year.

SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston said small-scale residential and commercial solar installations will continue to grow because of an increased awareness of renewable energy.

“Particularly in SA given the context of all the blackouts that happened … people are moving towards being independent of the grid.”

He expects another 800MW will be installed across Australia this year, and said a boost from solar farm projects will equate to another gigawatt added to the grid. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

New South Wales wind farm to power 49,000 ACT homes

NSW’s Sapphire Wind Farm to power 49,000 ACT homes, Canberra Times, Georgina Connery, 27 Apr 17, It is a regional NSW project closer to the Queensland border than to Canberra, but within months the Sapphire Wind Farm will generate power for around 49,000 ACT homes. After a flight to Armidale and long car ride west of Glen Innes, climate change minster Shane Rattenbury toured the facility on Thursday.

The wind farm will be NSW’s largest once it is completed.

It is owned by CWP Renewables, a joint venture between two European renewable energy companies, and was one of two successful projects in the ACT’s 2015 second wind auction.

The farm entered into a 20 year contract to supply 100 megawatts of its 270 megawatt output to the ACT government and by mid next year 32 wind turbines will come online to supply energy for the territory.

“Construction commenced in January 2017 on the 100 megawatt Sapphire 1 wind farm, which is another significant step in progress towards the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 target,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The ACT supported part of the wind farm will generate 349,703 megawatt-hours per year.”

The ACT government’s reverse auctions have secured generating capacities of 40 megawatts from large-scale solar and 600 megawatts from wind farms over the past few years……

April 28, 2017 Posted by | ACT, New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

Dennis Mattews reviews Senate Committee report on Electricity Stability and Affordability

 Dennis Matthews April 2017 Comments on The Senate Select Committee into the Resilience of Electricity Infrastructure in a Warming World. Stability and Affordability: Forging a path to Australia’s renewable energy future.Senator Sarah Hanson-Young April 2017

The report by Sarah Hanson-Young is understandably critical of Liberal-National Coalition policy. It is no surprise that the committee’s Coalition Senators issued a dissenting report. It is also no surprise that the committee’s One Nation Senator, who has publically claimed that there is no evidence for global climate change, rejected the Hanson-Young report.

Both the Committee’s ALP Senators and Senator Xenophon issued dissenting reports, which however add very little to the Hanson-Young report.

The following comments will therefore concentrate on the Committee report by Senator Hanson-Young. Headings used are the same as those in the Committee report.

Executive summary   In the last two decades, natural gas was widely accepted as the obvious substitute for coal during the transition from fossil to renewable energy. In 2017 the validity of this assumption has been cast into doubt by the sudden increase in price of natural gas in Australia and “there are serious questions about whether gas can adequately fill this transitional role.”

In the sense that this problem has been induced by unregulated market forces dominated by the private, rather than the public, interest then the problem is in principle solvable. So far, however Federal Governments have shown very little appetite for regulating markets and it is therefore wise to assume that the gas shortage and resulting exorbitant prices will be a permanent fixture of energy supply and demand.

As with many energy issues, decades of inaction may well mean that we have missed the chance of a smooth transition from fossil to renewable energy and that a more abrupt transition is unavoidable. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Australia’s rapidly increasing solar energy capacity

Australian solar capacity now 6GW, to double again by 2020, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 27 April 2017  Australia’s total solar power capacity has reached 6GW and is expected to double over the next few years as Australian households continue to invest in rooftop panels to reduce electricity bills, and the large-scale solar sector takes off after years of promise.

The latest industry analysis on installed capacity – released by the Australian Photovoltaic Institute – shows that rooftop solar capacity has now reached 5.6GW and large-scale solar capacity is now at 496MW, and growing fast.

The leading state in rooftop solar remains Queensland, with 1.72GW of rooftop solar – that makes it, as we reported here, bigger than the state’s largest coal generator. NSW and Victoria also have more than 1GW of rooftop solar capacity, with South Australia having the highest penetration (32 per cent) among residential dwellings.

As of April 2017, there was a total of 1.67 million PV installations in Australia, covering 21 per cent of suitable rooftops, which is the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world. In total, these solar installations collectively generate 8,400 gigawatt hours of electricity each year, which meets approximately 3.3 per cent of Australian demand.

The data suggests that the rate of installation of rooftop solar is also accelerating. After establishing a record March quarter, the rate of installations for the year to date is up significantly in all the major states.

Interestingly, the biggest growth is coming from Western Australia, which has installed 43MW so far this year, outstripping Victoria, as locals prepare for the likely imminent removal of the state-based subsidy that has hidden the true cost of electricity from consumers……..

by 2040 the nature of the grid will have changed dramatically, and will have become more “distributed” – as predicted by the new head of the Australian Energy Market Operator Audrey Zibelman.

The key features will be localised and flexible generation. Batteries – and BNEF predicts there will be at least 15GW of them – will provide a large amount of flexibility, but so too will other forms of flexible generation, including demand response………

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Obvious to all, except the Australian govt, that the nation needs a clear energy market policy

A string of peak bodies have used the review to call for the adoption of a market mechanism, including the National Farmers’ Federationthe Investor Group on Climate Change and the Business Council of Australia, which explicitly called for an emissions intensity scheme.

Three years ago some of the same groups urged the parliament to get out of the way so that Tony Abbott could repeal the Gillard government’s “carbon tax”.

Australians could save $100bn on electricity ‘if government had clear policy’ Energy transmission industry ramps up call for market mechanism and says clear regulation could lead to zero net emissions by 2050, Guardian, Katharine Murphy, Australia’s electricity and gas transmission industry has intensified a call for a market mechanism to drive orderly transformation in the energy sector, warning a lack of clear regulation will result in higher prices for consumers and a less secure grid.

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) says clear policy settings could ultimately save Australian energy customers $100bn, and allow a smooth transition, where large-scale variable renewable energy can be integrated securely, creating the prospect of Australia’s electricity sector achieving zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

A new roadmap from the ENA to be released on Friday says the energy market is in the middle of a profound transformation that will only intensify over the next two decades.

Modelling produced for the report suggests that by 2050, up to 45% of Australia’s electricity supply could be provided by millions of distributed, privately owned generators, in homes and businesses.

The report notes the trend towards decentralisation of power generation creates “profound adaptation challenges for the system’s architecture, stability and efficiency given it was originally designed for almost 100% of generation at the transmission end of the system”.

The report’s estimated $100bn in cost savings is a function of governments rolling out nationally consistent policies that would encourage the two parts of the system to work harmoniously together – the current poles and wires of the national market, and the virtual grids in homes and businesses.

Allowing efficient co-optimisation would prevent overinvestment in poles and wires. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Victoria aims for two 20MW large scale batteries to be installed by January,

Victoria seeks two 20MW large scale batteries to be installed by January, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 27 April 2017  Victoria has announced that it is seeking two 20MW battery storage installations – with a total of 100MWH of storage – to be located in the western part of the state where network strength is low.

The announcement came following an exceptionally strong market response to its call for expressions of interest – that attracted more than 100 enquiries – and as it prepares to ramp up its state-based target of reaching 40 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

Earlier this year the Andrews Labor Government announced $25 million to support large-scale energy storage, and a total of 100MW of battery storage, to enhance the reliability of its grid and unlock economic growth in areas experiencing network constraints.

It ran two expressions of interest processes – one specifically for a 20MW/80MWh facility in western Victoria and another more general one for up to 100MW of energy storage.

It has now refined its needs and is now formally looking for two large scale battery storage installations – both of 20MW, with a total of 100MWh – to be in place by January next year, when the summer peak is expected……..

Acting minister for energy, environment and climate change Lisa Neville said the government was looking to support projects that integrated both existing and new renewable energy generation, with storage, distribution and management technologies.

“Large scale energy battery storage will improve the reliability of Victoria’s energy grid and enhance energy security. We are encouraging significant local and international investment opportunities for businesses to work together in modernising our energy system.”

Full guidelines for applicants will be available on 1 May 2017 here.

April 28, 2017 Posted by | storage, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australia’s Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, backs Port Augusta solar thermal plan

Frydenberg backs Negev-style solar thermal plant for Port Augusta AFR 27 Apr 17

……..Mr Frydenberg, who is on a trip to Israel and visited the 121 megawatt Ashalim solar thermal power project in the Negev desert, said Australia could learn from the collaboration between the Californian-based BrightSource Energy, General Electric and NOY Infrastructure and Energy Investment Fund.

“The Ashalim solar plant is impressive in scope and scale. When it is operational it will be the tallest and fifth largest solar thermal plant in the world,” Mr Frydenberg said from Israel.

“With the solar potential of Port Augusta being similar to that of the Negev Desert, this project can provide a number of valuable lessons for ARENA as they consider proposals for Australia’s first solar thermal plant.” ARENA is evaluating a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta in SA to replace the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years……….

April 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, South Australia | Leave a comment

Gas generators ordered on as South Australia’s wind production peaked

SA power: Gas generators ordered on as South Australia’s wind production peaked By political reporter Nick Harmsen The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) was forced to intervene in South Australia’s electricity market on Anzac Day to guarantee security of the grid as the state recorded record levels of wind energy production.

Wind power peaked at a new high of 1,540 megawatts close to midnight on Tuesday, more than meeting the state’s public holiday electricity demand.

The wind production was so high that earlier in the day AEMO took steps to ensure two gas generators remained on.

“A combination of high wind generation and low demand had resulted in the de-commitment of synchronous plants below the required levels,” an AEMO spokeswoman said.

AEMO would not confirm which gas generators were subject to AEMO’s directions, but the ABC understands they were AGL’s Hallett Power Station and one unit at Torrens Island.

A requirement for two large synchronous power stations to remain online at all times was put in place in the aftermath of the September 28 statewide blackout.

In that instance, when South Australia unexpectedly separated from the rest of the National Electricity Market, there were too few synchronous generators operating to keep the grid frequency in balance, forcing lights out across the state.

Synchronous generation is typically provided by gas, coal and hydro power plants. None of the wind farms currently operating in South Australia provide synchronous characteristics.

AEMO’s decision to order on two gas generators means their owners will be compensated under special rules, as opposed to taking the prevailing wholesale price for the electricity produced.

The direction for one of the generators remained in place until midday today.

The decision meant AEMO was also forced to constrain the output of two other generators to keep supply and demand in balance. The market operator would not reveal whether those constrained generators were wind farms.

April 28, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment