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May 20 2016

Renewables roadmap an important development

The energy industry today welcomed the Federal Government’s increased focus on the technical challenges posed by the integration of renewable energy into Australian electricity grids.

The Australian Energy Council’s Chief Executive, Matthew Warren, said, “Australia is leading the world in the rate of intermittent renewable generation used in our grids. This poses new challenges to both capacity and power quality that require innovation and careful planning.

“The Federal Government’s plan to step up efforts to meet this considerable technical challenge is welcomed.  We cannot look to the rest of the world for answers.”

Mr Warren said that Australia’s energy industry is increasingly concerned about the risks which arise when simply displacing firm, high emissions generation with intermittent, low emissions technologies like solar and wind.

“It is not a like-for-like transformation,” Mr Warren said. “To retain confidence in the decarbonisation of the Australian grid we must retain high levels of reliability at the lowest possible cost.

“South Australia has around 41 per cent of its generation now coming from wind and solar.  The pace of this renewable generation was largely unplanned.

“Recently the last remaining brown coal generator in that State closed.  The risks emerging from this transformation are not just about having enough power during times of peak demand, but maintaining adequate power quality every second, every day.

“The technical requirements of a changing energy mix will only grow as we put more solar on rooftops and build more wind farms.  So we must solve them if we are to continue the decarbonisation of the sector.

“Unlocking the most efficient way to further decarbonise our energy systems, while maintaining supply stability and power quality requires careful consideration and today’s announcement by Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, is a step in the right direction.”

 

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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