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Feb 19 2016

New report confirms growing risk of integrating renewables

A new report released today has highlighted the growing challenge of providing a reliable and affordable electricity system in Australia as we continue to increase supply from renewable sources.

The report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and ElectraNet found there was increased risk of reliability issues in South Australia as a result of its high levels of wind and solar energy, potentially requiring further investment in the future to ensure adequate supply.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, said, “places like South Australia are at the leading edge globally in managing the integration of high levels of intermittent renewable generation like wind and solar.”

“These are new technical challenges that we are solving in real time.  It is critical we get this right to ensure continued confidence in the transformation to a decarbonised energy system.

“Consumers reasonably expect a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy system.  Today’s report underlines the significant challenges we face in delivering this as we transition to a low greenhouse future.”

A report by Deloitte Access Economics last year warned South Australia faced higher electricity prices and also highlighted the increased reliability risk from being at the leading edge of integrating intermittent renewable energy into the grid.

South Australia is now sourcing around 41 per cent of its electricity from intermittent sources, like wind and solar.

“South Australia has become an accidental experiment in integrating wind and solar at scale,” Mr Warren said.

“Wind and solar are reducing the State’s greenhouse emissions by pushing conventional power stations out of the market.  By 2017 four of South Australia’s largest power stations will have been either partially or fully withdrawn.

“As a result, South Australians are increasingly reliant on a narrower range of generation sources to meet their needs when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.  We can manage this in a number of ways, but it will require significant extra investment and careful consideration.”

About the Australian Energy Council

The Council represents 22 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses operating in competitive wholesale and retail energy markets. These businesses collectively generate the overwhelming majority of electricity in Australia and sell gas and electricity to over 10 million homes and businesses.

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