Australian news, and some related international items

Queensland council saves $1.9m in grid costs from single Tesla Powerpack

A Queensland local government council has installed what is believed to be Australia’s first off-grid solar and battery storage system to use a Tesla Powerpack, to maintain local drinking water quality around the clock.


October 4, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, storage | Leave a comment

South Australia’s network of charging stations for electric cars

Tesla charging stations to link Adelaide with world’s largest battery By Andrew Spence on 28 September 2017, The Lead

A network of car charging stations is being developed in South Australia to allow Tesla drivers to visit the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery being built by Elon Musk in the state’s north.

Eight fast charging stations: four generic chargers for a range of electric vehicles, and four Tesla Superchargers, opened today in the capital city of Adelaide, completing an Australian Tesla charging network that stretches to Brisbane.

The fastest electric car charging units available in Australia, the Tesla Superchargers can charge Tesla Model S and X vehicles in 30 minutes, allowing a range of 270km.A Tesla charging station also opened today at the Clare Country Club to complement two existing chargers in the wine region about 140km north of Adelaide. From there, it is only about 90km further to the site of the world’s largest battery being installed by Tesla at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm north of Jamestown.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk flew into Adelaide, the South Australian capital, in July to announce his company would build the 100MW/129MWh lithium-ion battery in the state’s Mid-North.

The tech billionaire told reporters the Tesla Powerpack would be three times as powerful as the next largest lithium ion battery.

“I was made aware there was this opportunity to make this significant statement about renewable energy to the world,” Musk said in July.

“Coal does not have a long-term future.”

Musk will be back in Adelaide on Friday to update the International Astronautical Congress on plans by his company SpaceX to send humans to Mars in its Big Falcon Rocket.

It is not known if he will use the opportunity to make the trip north to Jamestown to check on the progress of the battery.

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said construction at the site was well underway and the batteries were on track to be operational by December 1, the start of the Australian summer.

Last month, Fluid Solar took its four-storey, renewable energy powered headquarters about 30km north of Adelaide off the main electricity grid.

Surplus electricity generated at the site will be used as part of Tesla’s car-charging network, with 11 electric vehicle bays that will be supplied completely by solar power harvested from a 98 kWp array of 378 PV solar panels on the building’s roof.

Eleven more electric vehicle charging points will be installed in the Adelaide Central Market car park in the centre of the city by the end of November and another 25 will be built around the city by mid next year.

South Australia leads the nation in the uptake of wind energy and roof-top solar with renewable sources accounting for almost 50 per cent of the electricity generated in the state.

However, the closure of two coal-fired power stations in recent years has increased South Australia’s reliance on energy supplies from the eastern Australian states, particularly in times of peak demand.

September 29, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Some recycling of lithium already going on in Australia

LITHIUM ION BATTERIES  ore The number of lithium-ion reaching end of life is expected to increase exponentially over the next 20 years. A report from Randell Environmental Consulting and Blue Environment can be downloaded here.

A report from Anna Boyden on the environmental impacts of lithium ion batteries provides useful background material and can be downloaded here.

Lithium-ion batteries (UN No. 3480) are classified as Dangerous Goods under the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code).

The ADG Code requires all dangerous goods, including lithium ion batteries, to be carried in a secure, safe and environmentally controlled manner. The carrier has the right to refuse carriage if dangerous goods are not packed in accordance with the regulations. There is a special provision (377) and packaging instruction (P909) for ‘lithium ion and lithium metal cells and batteries and equipment containing such cells and batteries transported for disposal or recycling, either packed together with or packed without non-lithium batteries…’

The following ABRI members provide a collection and recycling service for used lithium-ion batteries. Contact the company or check their web site for details. Continue reading

September 27, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths, storage | Leave a comment

Australians won over by cheapness and reliability of solar batteries, poll shows

Solar Batteries: Australians see energy storage as the future, poll finds, ABC By consumer affairs reporter Sarah Farnsworth and the National Reporting Team’s Rebecca Armitage, 22 Sept 17, As power prices continue to surge, Australians believe household solar storage batteries are the key to cheaper and more reliable energy, according to a new poll of 2,000 households.

Key points:

  • A survey found almost three-quarters of people believe solar batteries will become commonplace
  • 68 per cent of households with solar panels are considering purchasing a battery
  • The price of storage batteries in the first half of 2017 only dropped by 5 per cent

The Climate Council found nearly three-quarters of those surveyed believe batteries, coupled with solar systems, would become commonplace within 10 years.

Of those who already had solar systems, 68 per cent were considering adding a household storage battery.

Most said the primary motivation for buying a solar battery was to reduce power bills.

Only 6 per cent believed consumers were driven by the need to protect their homes from blackouts.

More than half said they expected large-scale batteries like the one being built by Elon Musk in South Australia would also become common in the next 10 years.

“It shows that Australians do understand that renewables — particularly solar and increasingly battery storage — provide a solution to high power prices,” the Climate Council’s Andrew Stock said.

“I think it’s very encouraging that Australians really do get the importance of new technology. There is very little appetite for keeping aging coal fire stations running in the Australian populace, frankly,” he said……..

Energy economist and director of Carbon and Energy Markets, Bruce Mountain, agreed South Australians would benefit from installing batteries sooner rather than later.

“That is simply because battery and solar prices have come down, and in South Australia energy prices have gone up so much,” Mr Mountain said.

Mr Mountain said he wanted the Federal Government to invest more in the local industry to bring down solar battery costs, instead of seeking to subsidise coal fire power generators like Liddell.

“They can accelerate the installation of these batteries, they can grow a local equipment suppliers and often than incentive creates new industry and scale economies,” Mr Mountain said.

“The household would benefit, but the system as a whole would benefit as well, because a household of battery and solar gives to the grid a far more stable demand,” he said.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Tesla big battery can stop the price gouging by Australia’s major energy players

How Tesla’s big battery can smash Australia’s energy cartel, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 4 September 2017  A series of reports from Australia’s Energy Regulator has illustrated how Australia’s big energy players have taken advantage of their market dominance to push up prices for critical grid services, and underline why South Australia was so keen to support the new Tesla big battery.

The Tesla battery, due to be installed by December 1, has been derided by the federal government as too small to do much and about as useful as a Big Banana or Big Pineapple.

But going by the AER reports, it could completely puncture the price gouging (which, we should point out, is perfectly legal according to the market rules) by major energy players that is costing consumers $60 million a year. Continue reading

September 6, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

30MW battery to create renewables-based mini grid in South Australia, By Giles Parkinson on 23 August 2017 The Australian Renewable Energy Agency says it is providing $12 million towards the $30 million cost of a major battery storage installation to be located on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia and close to the Wattle Point wind farm.

The 30MW/8MWh large scale battery will deliver both network services and market services, and is the result of a lengthy study begun in 2014 called ESCRI (Energy Storage for Commercial Renewable Integration) by local grid operator ElectraNet, Worley Parsons and AGL.

It is designed principally to provide fast frequency response and help balance the local network, but it will also help reduce congestion on the Heywood interconnector with Victoria, because its placement means more power can be transported over the line. This should relieve constraints imposed by the market operator.

It will also have the ability to “island” the local network – pairing with the local 90MW Wattle Point wind farm and local rooftop solar PV as a local micro-grid to ensure grid security and so keep the lights on in case the network failures elsewhere in the state.

 The battery is due to be in operation by February, 2018, adding to the Tesla big battery which is due to be in place by December 1, up to 100MW of demand response, and emergency back-up generators.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht says having a series of mini-grids across the state would help ensure grid security. If more were added, “it means over the longer term that state wide blackouts will be a think of the past,” he told Reneweconomy.

Indeed, AGL – which will operate the battery – said last year after the state-wide blackout that renewable-based micro-grids were the best way to ensure grid security. Continue reading

August 23, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Community energy in Canberra – backing a solar energy future

Investing in a brighter energy future for Australia, 20 Aug 2017, We’re backers, not bystanders. Like many, we’re concerned about climate change – and want to play our part. That’s why we’re among the 867 people who invested in what will be Australia’s largest, community-owned solar farm.

SolarShare is building its flagship project, a one-megawatt solar farm that shares land with a vineyard, in the Majura Valley in Canberra.

It’s the first of hopefully many solar farms and projects owned by the community.

SolarShare has been funded by people like us, who will receive a good return on our initial investment as the electricity it generates from the sun is sold. At the same time, the farm will power 260 homes, reducing our reliance on polluting fossil fuels.

While governments can be slow to act, individuals, communities and businesses across Australia are finding their own solutions.

The transition to renewable energy has started – and it’s exciting. But it needs to happen faster if we are to leave this place better, cleaner and safer for our grandchildren. None of us can do everything, but we can all do something.

As soon as we could, we put solar panels on our roof making our house somewhat of a novelty in the neighbourhood. These days, solar covers 21 per cent of Australia’s suitable rooftops.

A couple months ago we bought an electric car, which we fuel for free with the rooftop panels. We were amazed to see that India, Britain, France and Norway have announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.

Until governments pick up the pace, individuals will have to work together. Being part of a larger project, like a community solar farm, is a great way to be part of an exciting new vision.   David and Lainie Shorthouse are SolarShare investors, and Canberra residents.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | ACT, storage | Leave a comment

Standards Australia to ban home energy storage batteries!

Warnings of energy storage market chaos, as industry unites against home battery ban Sophie Vorrath on 17 August 2017 One Step Off The Grid

The potentially industry crippling home battery installation safety guideline proposed by Standards Australia has again been slammed by the industry, as fundamentally flawed and – if passed – certain to throw the energy storage industry into chaos, both in Australia and overseas.

In a newsletter to members on Tuesday, Australia’s Energy Storage Council said that the current Draft Battery Standard ASNZ5139 – which effectively bans the installation of lithium-ion battery storage systems inside homes and garages on the basis that they are a fire risk – needed to be completely re-written.

“The draft Standard is not evidence-based and has enormous implications for the Australian and global battery storage industry,” the ESC said. Continue reading

August 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

John Grimes – on South Australia’s energy storage revolution

SA’s energy revolution – what it means for Australia 23 Jul 2017 The energy storage revolution has arrived with a bang. The recent announcement by the South Australian government that it will partner with Elon Musk’s Tesla to build the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery was a lightning bolt moment with profound implications for regional communities. The 100MW battery will provide stability for a wind farm, and emergency backup power. It will also provide badly needed jobs for regional towns in construction, operation and maintenance, as well as tourism from those flocking to see this technological wonder.

This project marks just the beginning. Both Victoria and Queensland are planning similar large-scale battery projects, and storage is also being rolled out in homes, businesses and regional communities across the country.

Australia has the highest rate of household solar use in the world, so it makes sense that families would look to batteries to store excess electricity (created during the day) to be used when they need it most (when returning home from work or school).

Around 20,000 families have solar batteries now, but as prices keep plummeting it’s not unreasonable to expect 500,000 Australians will have them by 2020.

Many companies offer mouth-watering financial packages that combine solar and storage. German battery storage company Sonnen is offering Aussies free electricity – paying customers’ power bills in return for accessing the battery storage capacity to provide grid balancing services for network operators.

Storage has arrived and it will give you control of your energy use, and slash your power bills. With power prices set to rise by up to 20 per cent, now is the time to shop around and see how solar and storage can work for you.

John Grimes is the Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council and Australian Energy Storage Council.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Australian Energy Market Operator warns on over-loading storage on wind, solar

AEMO cautious about over-loading storage on wind, solar farms, By Sophie Vorrath & Giles Parkinson on 11 July 2017 The head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman, has expressed caution about suggestions that new wind and solar farms should have to match their entire capacity with an equivalent amount of battery storage.

The need for wind and solar farms to include battery storage was raised by chief scientist Alan Finkel in his recently released review, although it left such requirements at the discretion of the AEMO.

However, energy minister Josh Frydenberg has been arguing, in both the Coalition party room and in public lectures, that the ratio should approximate one megawatt hour for every megawatt of installed capacity.

Although many wind and solar farms, both new and existing, are considering adding storage to shift their load or provide network services, the requirement of matching each MW for MWh is seen as overkill, and an attempt to turn wind and solar into baseload generators, when flexibility and reliability is the key.

 “The idea that as you put in wind and solar (you need to have a certain amount of dispatchable power), the question becomes, to what level?” Zibelman said when asked by RenewEconomy.

“This is a dynamic issue. So having generators purchase a certain amount (of storage) and thinking (in terms of) once that is done, is probably not going to be the optimal way forward.

“Is that the optimal way to get resources in – in other words to have a static approach – or should we create a dynamic approach where AEMO identifies the amount of reliability that’s required; there’s a mechanism to procure it in the system; and we do it in the most economic way?” Zibelman said.

“We need to make sure the system remains reliable. …The concern I have… is that if you leave it and we set a static number, there’s only one thing that we can be clear about, and that is that it is probably going to be wrong. It’s either going to be too much or too little.

“So we’re going to want think about how do we approach this in a much more dynamic way, with changing the nature of the system.

”So, while I get the desire, I think we would like an opportunity to explore, is that the best result for consumers.”

The CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia have pointed out that most Australian grids will likely not need significant amounts of storage anytime soon because anything less than 30-50 per cent penetrations is “trivial”.

South Australia, however, is reaching saturation, which is why the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery storage project will be located there, followed by others which will allow more wind and solar farms.

Zibelman, speaking at a CEDA conference in Melbourne, said her organisation and others wanted to “get on with it” and implement some of the much needed reforms in the energy market, including some of those identified in the Finkel Review.

“100 per cent of people I have talked to across the industry are saying ‘we’ve got to get on with it,” she said.

 “We’re a Coalition of the willing (she said in reference to AEMO and the heads of other institutions such as the Australian Energy Regulator, headed up by Paula Conboy, and the Australian Energy Market Commission, led by John Pierce.

“Paula and John and I want to get on with it. … we’ve got to make these changes. We don’t want to waste this crisis.”

Zibelman said she was looking forward to the COAG meeting on Friday and wants them to endorse broad recommendations of Finkel.

“(We’re not only solving issues for Australia) …we’re solving issues for the rest of the world,” she said. “We have to remember that economics is driving all of this. It’s not just about policy.”

July 14, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

South Australia’s big energy storage battery

Tesla to supply world’s biggest battery for SA, but what is it and how will it work? ABC By political reporter Nick Harmsen and Alle McMahon, 7 July 17 The “world’s biggest” lithium ion battery is to be built in South Australia by Tesla and French company Neoen.

It is to be close to the French renewable energy company’s wind farm near Jamestown and ready by the start of summer.

What is it?

An array of lithium ion batteries will be connected to the Hornsdale wind farm, which is currently under construction in SA. It will look like a field of boxes, each housing Tesla commercial-scale Powerpack batteries.

The array will be capable of an output of 100 megawatts (MW) of power at a time and the huge battery will be able to store 129 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy so, if used at full capacity, it would be able to provide its maximum output for more than an hour.

It will be a modular network, with each Powerpack about the size of a large fridge at 2.1 metres tall, 1.3m long and 0.8m wide. They weigh in at 1,200 kilograms each.

How will it stack up against the next biggest?

It will have just slightly more storage than the next biggest lithium battery, built by AES this year in southern California. But Tesla’s 100 MW output would be more than three times larger than the AES battery and five times larger than anything Tesla has built previously.

The largest lithium ion battery storage system that Tesla has built to date sits on a 0.6-hectare site at Mira Loma in southern California.

American electricity company Southern California Edison was also involved. It has a storage capacity of 20 MW, or 80 MWh, and is said to be capable of powering 15,000 homes.

The California array took three months to build. Tesla says the lithium ion batteries in the Jamestown array will have a life of about 15 years, depending on their usage and how aggressively they are recharged.

The company says the battery components are replaceable and the circuitry should last 20 to 30 years……..

How will it be used?

Neoen said the battery would primarily provide stability for the power grid, something traditionally the domain of coal, gas and hydro, rather than wind or solar………

July 8, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

Elon Musk to build South Australia’s big storage battery, as he promised earlier thisyear

Billionaire Elon Musk to build SA battery, –  on July 7, 2017 Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk will build the world’s biggest battery in South Australia and if it’s not finished in 100 days, it’s free. Mr Musk first made the bold promise in a Twitter exchange earlier this year, as debate raged over South Australia’s energy woes.

On Friday he said he will stand by the pledge, which has been written into the contract to construct the 100 megawatt lithium ion battery. It will be more than three times larger than any storage station anywhere in the world. “That’s what we said publicly, that’s what we’re going to do,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

Mr Musk’s company Tesla will partner with French renewable energy group Neoen to build the battery near Jamestown in South Australia’s mid-north.

It will be paired with Neoen’s existing Hornsdale Wind Farm to store energy, stabilise and bring added security to SA’s electricity grid, and put downward pressure on prices.

It forms a key part of the state government’s $550 million energy plan which was developed in response to last year’s statewide blackout.

The clock will start ticking on Mr Musk’s 100-day commitment once regulators approve the project, clearing it for grid connection. He said he was confident he could deliver on his promise but admitted the project was not without risk.

“This is not like a minor foray into the frontier. This is going three times further than anyone has gone before,” he said. “The technical challenges are those that come with scale. When you make something three times as big, does it still work as well?” the Tesla boss said. “We think it will, but there is some risk in that.”

Mr Musk said a failure to deliver the project on time would cost his group about $50 million, though the details of the contract have not been revealed.

Premier Jay Weatherill said both Tesla and Neoen were experts in energy security and the project would place SA as a world leader in the integration of renewable energy.

He expects the battery to be up and running in time for next summer. “Battery storage is the future of our national energy market and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space,” he said.

Clean Energy Council spokeswoman Natalie Collard said the pioneering project would set a benchmark for the rest of Australia and the world to follow. “The South Australian government has again cemented its place as a world leader in renewable energy and we look forward to other states following their lead,” she said.”These kinds of projects have a huge role to play in modernising Australia’s energy system and enabling much higher levels of renewable energy.”

July 7, 2017 Posted by | South Australia, storage | Leave a comment

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 | 1 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