Australian news, and some related international items

Drop in peak energy demand, as Western Australia goes for rooftop PV solar

Boom in rooftop PV shifting peaks, and taking market operator by surprise, [good graphs] By Giles Parkinson on 16 June 2017 The growth of rooftop solar PV in Western Australia has taken the market operator by surprise, but has resulted in a dramatic reduction in both the scale and the timing of peak demand in the state.

According to the latest statement of energy market opportunities for WA, the Australian Energy Market Operator says that rooftop solar PV – now on one in four homes and businesses in the state – reduced peak demand by 265MW, or 7.2 per cent in the last summer.

It says the uptake of rooftop solar in WA, which has been double expectations over the last two years – driven by falling costs of rooftop solar PV and the rise in grid prices – is “accelerating a paradigm shift” for the energy industry.

The biggest impact is on peak demand. The biggest peak in the state occurred on March 1, reaching 3,670MW in the 1700-1730 trading interval – the lowest since 2009.

 This was helped by the contribution of rooftop solar (265MW in that peak interval), and from demand response (124MW), a technology that AEMO wants to deploy more in the eastern states for the same reason.

“The rapid adoption of rooftop solar is not only slowing annual operational consumption growth but also eroding the mid-day grid demand and shifting peak demand to later in the day,” said AEMO’s Executive General Manager – Western Australia, Cameron Parrotte.

“With the strong growth in rooftop solar installations anticipated, AEMO expects demand in the middle of the day to shrink further, resulting in a rapid increase in demand in the lead up to the evening peak once the sun sets.” Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | storage, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s energy problems – solved by battery storage?

Battery storage: How it could solve our energy problems   7.30  By Matt Peacock If chief scientist Alan Finkel gets his way, battery energy storage will be central to Australia’s energy future.

The move to battery technology is a worldwide trend and three state governments — South Australia, Victoria and Queensland — are already going it alone, commissioning their own battery storage to ensure energy security.

So how does it work?

Batteries are used to store energy from renewable sources like solar and wind. Dr Finkel recommends all large scale wind and solar generators in Australia should have energy storage capacity.

The batteries will be particularly helpful on days when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

“It can be used alongside a solar farm to help smooth the output and make any disruptions less likely and much more manageable,” said Kobad Bhavnagri, head of Asia Pacific economics and policy at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“Storage is also very likely to go in at your local substation. Your suburb is probably going to have a lot of storage in it because it adds a lot of resilience to the system. It makes operating the network better, stronger and also cheaper.”

growing number of Australian homeowners are installing their own energy storage batteries for personal use.

The most common technology being used is lithium ion batteries.

“[It’s] the same battery that sits on your mobile phone and it’s actually the exact same battery pack that is being put into all these electric vehicles that are now coming to market,” Mr Bhavnagri said.

“So it’s a huge new industry that’s been created to manufacture large-scale battery packs for electric vehicles and for energy storage.”

Mr Bhavnagri predicts solar-plus-batteries will carve out a major slice of the Australian grid.

“We forecast that by 2040 almost half of [all] buildings in Australia, be that a factory or a household, will have a solar system. And a quarter of all those buildings will have a storage system as well,” he said.

“So when you add all of that together, we see distributed energy supplying about a quarter of Australia’s national energy needs in 2040.”

In South Australia, after a string of damaging blackouts Premier Jay Wetherill announced a major grid-scale battery storage facility to be completed this year.

Not to be outdone, the Prime Minister is investigating another form of stored energy, with a study into expanding the Snowy Mountains Scheme, where at the touch of a switch water can be released to drive the turbines.

Now both Victoria and Queensland have also commissioned huge battery storage units to be up and running within three years.

“All of those governments now are turning to storage as a way to bolster the system and the beauty of storage is that you can get that built in six months,” Mr Bhavnagri said.

“And you can also build a new solar farm in under 12 months, whereas it would take three or four years to build a new gas-fired power station or a coal-fired power station.”

Which other countries are doing it? Ike Hong represents the massive South Korean battery manufacturer Kokam, which is bidding for the power storage contracts in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.

South Korea has already adopted battery technology, even though almost a third of its power is generated by nuclear reactors. Last year when a nuclear reactor tripped the batteries saved the day.

As battery prices continue to fall other countries are getting on board.

“In the United States, UK, Asia, and everywhere globally, the utilities start picking up the storage system. They understand the need of the storage system,” Mr Hong said.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

Finkel Review not much help for solar and storage home customers

Finkel Review: What’s in it for solar and storage customers like Jenny? REneweconomy By Dominic Adams on 14 June 2017 The focus of this piece is about what the Finkel Review delivers for a Mojo customer, Jenny. Jenny has solar on her roof and a smart battery in her garage.

Having your attention though (and also my cake and eating it) I’d like to start by noting that we should think carefully before opposing the Clean Energy Target (CET), the big ticket item in the Finkel Review designed to reduce emissions in the power sector.

It’s become more important to put the carbon wars behind us for a time than to find the perfect policy.

The CET is far from perfect. It’s all carrot and no stick. It’s a political and environmental compromise. But it’s our last best hope of ending the lost years of uncertainty in the generation sector that are now leading to wholesale electricity price rises that will start flowing through to customers like Jenny in a few weeks.

 The CET can also form the bones of a scheme that can evolve over time to sweeten the carrot for renewables or add a cane for fossil fuels, when the political will returns.

Mojo’s mission is to drive down the costs of energy for its customers (including Jenny), and we think that ending the uncertainty in the policy environment is an essential step in that direction.

The CET however makes up just a fraction of the 212 page report. It’s a few paragraphs out of the 7 pages packed with recommendations 1.1 through 7.14. It’s fair enough to ask the question, what’s in all those recommendations for Jenny?

The answer is somewhat unclear at this stage, but the signs aren’t great for Jenny in the short to medium term.

The big problem that the Finkel Review is charged with solving is how to decarbonise the energy sector while keeping the system secure and inexpensive for consumers.

A key focus however is on the security of the system in the wake of a particular storm in South Australia (plus more than a few in teacups in Canberra). The security issue is summed up well in the Review:

“Because [system security services such as inertia, system strength and voltage control] were historically plentiful, as essentially a by-product of power supply from synchronous generators, they were not explicitly valued in the [National Electricity Market (NEM)]. With their growing scarcity, the hidden value of these services has emerged. New mechanisms will be needed to source these services, or appropriate alternatives, from synchronous machines and a range of other technologies.”

As more renewable energy pushes into the NEM, driven initially by policy, but increasingly by sheer economics, system security services are in decline. The same process contributes to reliability issues, where the lights go out because available supply can’t meet demand in the NEM.

People with batteries and controllable devices behind their meters (the so called prosumers, or Jenny) can provide system security services to the market as well as help supply meet demand in the NEM.

The key issue in the Finkel Review for Jenny is what the mechanisms for sourcing these services will be, and whether she will be able to benefit from the value that her assets provide……..

What it ultimately means for Jenny is that her solar system and battery are less valuable. Her assets can’t access all the value in providing security and reliability services because initially the markets don’t exist for those services.

In the longer run, when the markets may exist after the long process of review and policy development, the value may not be there anymore. The lions share of the value could be taken by the grid scale batteries and other devices that were required to be built in the non-market phase.

We think a better approach is to fast-track the development of market based solutions to these issues. Doing so will not just increase the benefits for Jenny, but also reduce costs for other consumers not fortunate enough to afford solar and a battery.

At Mojo we will keep up the fight for Jenny and our other customers, because they have better things to do than read the Finkel Review.

Dominic Adams is Regulatory Strategy Manager for energy retailer Mojo Power

June 16, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, storage | 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

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

Communities of battery users could create a virtual power plant.

New power generation: Home battery sharing could build virtual public utilities, The Age, Brian Robins, 23 Apr 17  It was one of the disasters of recent energy policy: the boom in sales of air conditioners without taking into account the impact their mass sale would have in forcing up power prices for all.

Those without air conditioners have had thousands of dollars added to their electricity bill to pay for the network upgrades to cope with air conditioners, since much of the extra “poles and wires” are used only a few hours a year, when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Now, mass adoption of battery storage systems poses the same risk for those who don’t install them. Their adoption will allow households to slash their use of the grid which will leave fewer users faced with higher bills to maintain the network.

Communities of battery users But for German battery challenger Sonnen, batteries are only part of the energy equation. More fundamental is creating “communities” of connected battery users to create virtual power plant. Continue reading

April 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | 1 Comment

Tasmania, with wind and hydro can be “energy battery” for Australia – says Turnbull

Turnbull says Tasmania wind, hydro can become “energy battery” for Australia, Reneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 20 April 2017 Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has extended his vision of large-scale pumped hydro and storage to Tasmania, outlining plans to expand the island’s existing hydropower system, and possibly add 2,500MW in pumped hydro, and describing the possibility that the state could become the “renewable energy battery” for Australia. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | storage, Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Huge 300MW solar farm begins construction near Port Augusta,

Isn’t this a brilliant outcome?   For the last few years, the nuclear lobby has been touting Port Augista as the place for a nuclear power station. Following the absolute defeat of the shonky South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, and thanks to all those who fought against it, so brilliantly –  South Australia now could become a world leader in modern clean energy.

REneweconomy, By  on 11 April 2017  The first two stage of a 300MW solar farm – Australia’s biggest – has begun construction near Port Augusta in South Australia after its developers last Friday reached financial close on the project, and agreed to sell it to two of Europe’s biggest investors in renewables, Italy’s Enel Green Energy and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

The first two stages, totalling 220MW, of the Bungala project is being built around 12kms from Port Augusta, where the state’s last coal fired generator closed last May. Ironically, project developer Reach Energy is headed by Tony Concannon, the former head of the owners of the Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria which closed late last month.

The two first stages of Bungala will be completed late in 2018, and will be built by Spanish company Elecnor, which recently completed the 57MW Moree project in NSW and the smaller 21MW Barcaldine project in Queensland.

Bungala will be built “battery storage ready”, and will also likely be the first major solar farm to participate in Australia’s FCAS market (frequency control and ancillary services), using SMA inverter technology to provide voltage control for the grid.

Concannon says the remaining 80MW of capacity could be built – along with battery storage – should the company win a South Australian government tender for 25 per cent of its electricity needs with “dispatchable” renewables.

Reach has submitted proposals for both 20MWh of battery storage and 100MWh, although it did not participate in the other tender for a separate 100MWh battery unit. If the tender is not successful, there are also discussions with other potential off-takers in train…….

The new plant, he says, will be designed to provide FCAS – even at night, after the sun has gone down. “What a number of people don’t realise is that you can design ancillary services for solar plants to operate at night time.

“We can draw in power from the grid at night, and use the inverter technologies to regulate voltage, and that helps stabilise the system, even when the sun is not shining.”

Unlike battery storage in households, which he describes as mostly “passive” and focused on converting the output of solar panels from DC power to AC power so it can be put into the grid, utility-scale inverter technologies are able to shape voltage and current very quickly and in a very flexible manner. Modern wind farms are also using the same technologies.

“The inverter changes phase between the voltage and current … inverters can pull the current in, and change the phase to what grid wants.”

Concannon, a power engineer, says it is a tricky subject to try and explain, but says a lot of the articles he has read in the media – about wind and solar not being able to provide grid services – are wrong……..

April 12, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel scare campaign backfires – renewed boom in solar rooftops

February recorded more capacity than November. And now March capacity has shot 16 per cent higher than December.

This has got us thinking at Green Energy Markets that more fundamental and longer term drivers are potentially supporting this increased capacity.

it doesn’t quite work out the way the fossil fuel industry that dreamed up the PR campaign intended.  Households and businesses start worrying and think I need to take things into my own hands – and that happens to mean a solar system.

Rooftop solar enjoys second boom as fossil fuel scare campaign backfires, REneweconomy By  on 7 April 2017 It appears the fossil fuel industry’s scare campaign over renewable energy driving up the price of electricity is having the same desired effect that it had back in 2011, when they campaigned against placing a penalty on polluting the atmosphere with global warming gases.

Yep you guessed it – households and businesses are flocking to install solar on their rooftops.

Green Energy Markets’ Solar Report assessment of STC creation data shows that March hit levels of capacity not seen since the days of 45c to 60c premium feed-in tariffs in 201, when there was also an STC rebate that was twice to five times its current level.

All up, we estimate almost 92MW (92,000 kilowatts) of rooftop solar PV capacity created certificates in March………. Continue reading

April 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, storage | Leave a comment

New Queensland homes can have Solar + Tesla battery storage

Solar + Tesla battery storage offered in new-build Queensland homes  By  on 5 April 2017 One Step Off The Grid

Another of Australia’s major housing developers, the Melbourne-Based group Metricon, will offer rooftop solar and storage as an optional extra in a range of its new-build homes in Queensland, via a new partnership with local installer and Tesla battery reseller CSR Bradford.

CSR Bradford – whose NSW-based company started in insulation more than 80 years ago, and has since expanded into energy efficiency and solar and storage through Bradford Solar – is an accredited Tesla Powerwall reseller, and has been watching the growth of the battery storage market closely over the past few years.

The deal with Metricon, announced this week, takes the company one step closer to its vision of solar and battery storage being included as a standard feature in all newly built houses in Australia – something the company’s managing director, Anthony Tannous has predicted will be the norm in just a few years’ time.

According to the Metricon website, Queensland customers who upgrade to the builder’s “luxury living” offer will get CSR Bradford’s a 5-6kW Solar ChargePack, which includes solar panels, a SolarEdge inverter and Tesla’s 14kWh Powerall 2 lihtiu-ion battery pack.

As Tesla has itself claimed, the Metricon 5kW offer promise to give the average house of four up to 90 per cent electricity self sufficiency on an average day, while the 6kW solar offer is said to give the average Australian family “little or no reliance on the grid.”

In financial terms, households choosing the Luxury Living” upgrade – which costs $1,999 for a single story home and $4,999 for a double story home – is expected to save the Metricon households $2,100 a year on energy costs.

CSR Bradford has similar packages being offered in Victoria, through Arden Homes, and in New South Wales with Mojo Homes.

“I have a vision that every house built in a few years time will have a battery installed, it just makes so much sense,” Tannous told One Step Off The Grid in an interview last month. “We’ve been working with most of the major builders across Australia and a lot of them are starting to include storage as standard… while others offer it as an upgrade,” he said. “And that will just gain more momentum.”

April 7, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar, storage | Leave a comment

Port Augusta ‘buzzing’ over deal for solar power plant

Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson ‘absolutely ecstatic’ solar power plant will be finally funded Adam Langenberg, Political reporter, Sunday Mail (SA) April 2, 2017 THE city at the centre of South Australia’s power crisis is “buzzing” after a highly anticipated plan to build a 100MW solar thermal plant took one huge leap closer to reality.
Pressure is set to mount on Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey after Senator Nick Xenophon stepped in to secure the project, originally promised by the Federal Government prior to last year’s election.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Australian govt commits $110m for Port Augusta solar towers

Last year, Australia’s clean energy movement had a major victory, with South Australia’s resounding rejection of the plan for nuclear waste importation, (and later for, nuclear power).  Some nuclear proponents also looked to Port August as the place for a nuclear power station.

The Liberal Coalition government now supports a solar power station instead. Of course, they were dragged kicking and screaming, into this, by a piece of deft politicking from Senator Nick Xenophon. But – so keen was PM Turnbull, to get new legislation on tax passed, that he had to swallow his aversion to non fossil-fuel energy. We wait to see how well the govt carries out this commitment

Coalition commits $110m for Port Augusta solar towers By  on 31 March 2017 The federal Coalition government has announced that it will provide $110 million in concessional loans to a solar tower and molten salt storage project in Port Augusta, as part of last minute negotiations with the Nick Xenophon Party to pass major tax cuts.

The commitment was announced by finance minister Mathias Cormann as part of a deal with the NXT to approve tax cuts for businesses with revenue of less than $50 million.

Senator Cormann says the Coalition will provide a confessional loan  of $110 million in 3 per cent interest rate to an unspecified solar thermal project. He said the government will call for formal proposals via the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corp.

The front runner for the deal is the 110MW solar tower and molten salt storage project proposed by the US company SolarReserve. Other proposals are likely to come from Vast Solar and others.

“We welcome the announcement today from the Senate, and it is critical step in progressing the project – but the key outcome is to obtain a long term power purchase agreement,” said Daniel Thompson, the Australian development manager for SolarReserve.

Earlier, the energy minister Josh Frydenberg announced that the CEFC would invest $80 million in the 113MW Bodangora wind farm near Wellington in NSW.

“This investment in large-scale renewable energy projects such as Bodangora, is part of the Turnbull Government’s technology neutral, non-ideological approach to provide affordable, reliable electricity as we transition to a lower emission future,” he said in a statement.

The $236 million Bodangora wind farm is expected to be operational in the latter half of 2018.

April 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Solar-storage hub proposed for Adelaide

Carnegie teams with Samsung, Lend Lease for battery storage hub By  on 31 March 2017

Perth-based Carnegie Clean Energy is proposing to set up a solar-storage energy hub in South Australia as part of its pitch for the state government’s ground-breaking battery storage tender.

In a joint announcement with energy minister Tom Koutsantonis and premier Jay Weatherill in Adelaide on Friday morning, Carnegie CEO Michael Ottaviano said the company has teamed up with Lend Lease Services and South Korea’s Samsung for the proposal.

It proposes to build a 100MW/100MWh lithium-ion battery, using Samsung technology, and wants to do this in Adelaide in a centre that will evolve into a “battery storage” hub, building new battery systems and doing R&D and integration work.

“This is an opportunity to build an industry for the future,” Ottaviano told journalists in Adelaide. “This will be the first 100MW battery, not the last.”

Carnegie’s is just one of a number of proposals for the state government tender, which closed at 12 noon local time on Friday. Others include the $1 billion solar and battery storage project unveiled by Lyon Solar on Thursday, and rival offers from Zen Energy/Greensmith, Tesla, LG Chem, Adelaide-based silicon storage developer 1414 and many more.

Koutsantonis said the tender had elicited an “unprecedented” response with more than 200 downloads from nine different countries. Final numbers will be revealed on Monday. “It has captured international attention for people to see opportunities with our remarkable renewable energy power,” Koutsantonis said. “You can hand around lumps of coal, or you can move forward with new technologies. Storage will become the norm and we will be at the forefront of that.”

Ottaviano says the battery storage hub would be powered by a “multi-megawatt” rooftop solar system – and could employ 300 people to deliver the project, including electricians and engineers from sunset manufacturing industries in South Australia.

He said Carnegie would own the battery storage unit, and use it to trade energy, arbitraging opportunities in the market, and also playing in the FCAS (frequency and ancillary services) market when not being called upon by the government to provide grid support.

But he said such installations would rely on government support until market rules were changed that would level the playing field for battery storage.

“As renewable energy penetration inevitably increases across the country, the need for utility-scale energy storage will grow in lockstep,” Ottaviano said in a later statement.

“The deployment of utility-scale battery systems creates an opportunity for South Australia and Australia to develop a new local industry and export this capability throughout our region.”

Weatherill told journalists that battery storage was exciting because it sourced “free energy” from the wind and the sun, and would create the jobs of the future.


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

$1billion battery and solar farm for South Australia’s Riverland

Lyon Group announces $1b battery and solar farm for South Australia’s Riverland, ABC News, By political reporter Nick Harmsen, 30 Mar 17 A $1 billion battery and solar farm will be built at Morgan in South Australia’s Riverland by year’s end in a project the proponents describe as “the world’s biggest”.

The builder, Lyon Group, has already proposed a smaller solar farm and battery storage facility, named Kingfisher, in the state’s north.

Lyon partner David Green said the project was 100 per cent equity financed and construction would begin within months, employing 270 workers.

“Riverland Solar Storage’s 330-megawatt solar generation and 100-megawatt battery storage system will be Australia’s biggest solar farm with 3.4 million solar panels and will also include 1.1 million batteries,” he said.

Mr Green said land had already been secured and grid connection was already well advanced.

Work on Lyon’s 120 megawatt Kingfisher project is slated to begin in September next year……

Lyon to bid for SA battery tender

The Lyon Group has already signalled its intention to bid for a SA Government tender to build a battery storage system with 100-megawatt output. The tender arrangement would give the Government the right to tap the battery storage at times of peak demand, but allow the project owner to sell energy and stability into the market at other times.

An expressions of interest process closes on Friday.

Other companies, including Carnegie, Zen Energy and Tesla, have all suggested they could be interested in bidding…….

March 31, 2017 Posted by | solar, South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

With “too much” solar, Norfolk Island needs energy storage

Norfolk Island has “too much” solar, now it wants storage,REneweconomy, By  on 30 March 2017 Norfolk Island, the former penal colony and now tourist destination located nearly 1,500km off the east coast of Australia, is calling for proposals for energy storage to maximise its use of solar PV, minimise a growing “solar debt,” and cut its crippling electricity costs.

The island, with a population of around 1750, and a floating tourist population of 300-600 people, has one of the highest penetrations of rooftop PV, with 1.4MW of solar that produces more than its daytime demand.

This is despite the fact that the Norfolk Island regional council actually brought the installation of solar PV to a halt in 2013 with a moratorium designed to stop the “ad hoc” installations, and because it had no other means of controlling and managing the output.

Now, things have changed.

The cash-strapped administration wants to try and store the excess output of solar so it can reduce its reliance on diesel, cut its hefty electricity charge of 62c/kWh (unlike other islands, like King Island, it gets no subsidies), address the growing bank of “grid credits” given to those who produce excess power from their PV and perhaps allow more people who don’t have solar PV to add it to their rooftops.

Back in 1997, the council bought the last of its six second hand 1MW diesel generators, partly on the assumption that demand would grow. Instead it has fallen around 20 per cent, and it only ever uses two of the units at most, and outside peak times it uses only one.

The council says the oversupply of solar is occurring each day “at all times of the year and not only in summer” when the sun is out.

Because the diesel generator needs to operate at a minimum 30 per cent capacity, excess solar output is shed via a 400kW load bank. Excess solar did not get a cash tariff, but grid credits that are now amassing into a considerable continent liability.

“The fuel savings from less usage of diesel in the daytime have not been matched by actual savings as, effectively, those PV consumers (generating more than they or their fellow consumers are using during daylight hours) are resulting in the need for Norfolk Island Electricity (NIE) to shed the excess in daylight whilst then burning diesel at night time to supply both PV and non-PV connected households at no/limited cost to the PV consumer.”

So, now it is is looking for battery storage as part of a wholesale review of its pricing structures, and as the administration comes under pressure from households that have not been allowed to install solar PV, but can clearly see it as a cheaper option than the current grid prices…….

March 31, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, storage | Leave a comment