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South Australia: Famine one day, feast the next (but one)

South Australia: Famine one day, feast the next (but one)

South Australia could borrow a slogan from another state based on recent vagaries and challenges thrown up by its energy grid. One day it experienced spot prices exceeding $5000/MWh six times between 6pm and midnight and two days later it was reporting near-record minimum demand, which required the step of curtailing rooftop solar to ensure grid stability.

BY Carl Kitchen May 20 2021
A fresh challenge: How to account for zero or negative demand?

A fresh challenge: How to account for zero or negative demand?

The continued fall in minimum demand levels to new record lows in South Australia is raising a new challenge for the market.

BY Carl Kitchen Dec 03 2020
California dreaming of secure supplies

California dreaming of secure supplies

California has been grappling with a challenge familiar to parts of Australia’s energy market – how to make a seamless transition to a lower carbon grid. In California, as with South Australia in 2016, the transition was put to a stress test by a weather event. In the case of the US state it was a heatwave described as one of the worst in years leading to rolling blackouts.

BY Carl Kitchen Aug 27 2020
South Australia faces solar trade off

South Australia faces solar trade off

The latest assessment of the implications of South Australia’s successful uptake of renewables, and rooftop solar PV in particular, reads like a thriller with plenty of twists.

BY Carl Kitchen Jun 25 2020
SA EnergyConnect: RiverLink with rigour

SA EnergyConnect: RiverLink with rigour

Last week ElectraNet issued its SA Energy Transformation RIT-T Project Assessment Conclusions Report, which proposes a $1.5 billion 800MW 330kV 920km interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales. We take a look at that the report found.

BY Duncan MacKinnon Mar 20 2019
SA’s big battery: A look at its performance

SA’s big battery: A look at its performance

South Australia’s “big” battery, the 100MW 130MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve, has attracted significant attention as one of the largest installed globally to date. It offers useful insights on the capabilities of the technology to support the grid. Independent energy consultant Allan O’Neil has looked at the contribution of the battery to grid security when a large generating unit tripped[i], and how the system overall responded to this event.

The votes are in: Where to next for SA energy plans?

The votes are in: Where to next for SA energy plans?

In the lead up to the South Australian election the former Premier Jay Weatherill declared that it would be a referendum on renewables[i]. That may have been an over statement, but there was no doubt that energy policy was a significant issue in the state’s election.

BY Carl Kitchen Mar 29 2018
Down, down, are SA Prices down?

Down, down, are SA Prices down?

There have been reports that over the past few months that South Australia’s wholesale electricity prices have been below those in Victoria and NSW, a consequence of “steps taken by the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Weatherill government to ease the state’s energy reliability problems”.

BY Duncan MacKinnon Nov 17 2017
SA energy plans: Ebony and Ivory

SA energy plans: Ebony and Ivory

South Australia has become the “ground zero” of energy policy debate in Australia. It has a partially interconnected grid with the highest penetration of intermittent renewables in the world. South Australian consumers have experienced rising prices and increased blackouts over the past two years, most infamously the system black on 28 September last year. It’s unsurprising that energy policy has become a hot political battleground in the lead up to the state election next March.

BY Matthew Warren Oct 13 2017
SA's renewables "challenge": The role of demand management, batteries & storage

SA's renewables "challenge": The role of demand management, batteries & storage

The first part of this analysis drew on recent South Australian electricity data to examine some of the impacts arising from the transition to higher penetration of large and small scale renewables, particularly the changing requirements on dispatchable generation and other resources as the residual demand curve evolves.

BY Allan O'Neil for AEC Sep 22 2017
SA's renewables “experiment”: Implications for the NEM

SA's renewables “experiment”: Implications for the NEM

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill’s renewables “experiment” – with penetration of more than 40 per cent – has given us a chance to assess some of the impacts and implications that are likely to arise more broadly in the National Electricity Market (NEM) as we continue to transition our energy system.

BY Allan O'Neil for AEC Sep 15 2017
SA's "Courageous" CSP Project

SA's "Courageous" CSP Project

"A courageous decision, minister" - Sir Humphrey Appleby (Yes Minister). This was the phrase Sir Humphrey, the consummate senior public servant, would use to put off his Minister, Jim Hacker. For courageous, read risky. Sir Humphrey’s eyebrows might have been raised by the Weatherill Government in SA announcing that it would procure its own energy needs from a relatively cutting edge technology, concentrated solar power and storage. The 150MW facility will be built be SolarReserve at Port Augusta, previously home to the Northern and Playford brown coal power stations.

BY Kieran Donoghue Aug 25 2017
A Battery for SA: Durable or barely energised?

A Battery for SA: Durable or barely energised?

Last week the South Australian Government announced that Tesla Inc. had won the tender to build utility-scale battery storage in time for the coming summer. We take a look at how valuable this will be for South Australia.

BY Duncan MacKinnon Jul 14 2017
Time to consider what battery means for SA

Time to consider what battery means for SA

Tesla is coming to South Australia. The global clean tech icon has been awarded the Weatherill Government tender to build a 100 megawatt battery. It has promised to do it in 100 days. The hype has been literally electrifying. Now how about we calm down and take a good hard look at the Tesla deal and what it means for South Australian consumers, electricity prices and reliability.

BY Matthew Warren Jul 14 2017
2018: The summer of demand response

2018: The summer of demand response

The closure of Hazelwood Power station in March and Northern Power station in May last year has significantly reduced reserve margins for electricity in those two states. This is most acute during the summer months, when demand in these regions is traditionally at its peak for the year.

BY Matthew Warren Jun 01 2017
South Australia's blackouts: It's not black or white

South Australia's blackouts: It's not black or white

This week the ABC news program Four Corners investigated the origins of Australia’s current energy crisis. As part of its report, the program raised the relationship between high levels of intermittent generation in South Australia and the extent to which this has impacted on the reliability of supply. Like many before it, the question of South Australia’s high levels of intermittent generation and increased blackouts was cast in a binary fashion: either renewables caused the blackouts, or they didn’t.

BY Matthew Warren May 11 2017
SA takes its energy experiment back to the lab

SA takes its energy experiment back to the lab

This week the South Australian Government announced a radical plan to improve the reliability of the state’s electricity grid. This follows blackouts in the state on 8 February (90,000 households), 20 January (55,000 households), 28 December 2016 (155,000 households), 30 November (200,000 households), a system black event in September 2016 (whole state), an electricity price spike event in July 2016 and a blackout in November 2015 (110,000 households).

BY Matthew Warren Mar 16 2017
Heat wave ahead: Life after coal

Heat wave ahead: Life after coal

Today is the official start of South Australia’s first summer without coal fired power. The 544MW Northern Power station, the state’s last remaining coal generator, closed in May. In states like South Australia and Victoria, summertime heatwaves produce maximum electricity demand events. So how will the system cope with life after coal?

BY Matthew Warren Dec 01 2016
SA pioneering Australia’s energy transformation

SA pioneering Australia’s energy transformation

The operation of a relatively isolated, high intermittent generation grid in South Australia is revealing new challenges about how we will need to manage these systems in the future.

BY Kieran Donoghue Nov 24 2016
SA forecast: Warmer with higher prices

SA forecast: Warmer with higher prices

Financial markets offer derivatives (or hedge contracts) to help electricity market participants to manage their exposure to jurisdictional spot prices. Derivatives come in two forms - over-the-counter contracts (OTC) and exchange traded futures.

BY Nick Cannard Nov 17 2016
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