The AEMO masterplan: what about the choke-point in unreliable energy?

The AEMO masterplan sees coal reduced from almost three quarters of the power supply to less than a third to be replaced by renewables, extra transmission lines and fast-start power, presumably gas. The possibility of extending the life of the existing coal plants is off the table.

“Essentially we’re having to rebuild the market because of the amount of ageing coal infrastructure that needs to be replaced,” AEMO chief executive Audrey Zibelman told The Australian.

Two thirds (15GW) of the coal fired capacity will go by 2040 to be replaced by more than 30 GW of new large-scale renewable. According to the report in The Australian yesterday that intermittent capacity will be backed up by some 21 GW of hydro, batteries and “ demand response”.

The problem is that no amount of the kind of  backup that is planned will be enough to replace intermittent supplies that amount to about half of the baseload requirement.

I suspect that backup from hydro, batteries and demand response is a fantasy. It is generally accepted in capable engineering circles that unreliable energy has to have 100% backup from some reliable source. That is due to the choke point when the sun is off duty and the wind fleet is delivering as little as 2% of plated capacity.

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7 Responses to The AEMO masterplan: what about the choke-point in unreliable energy?

  1. Karabar

    Who was the fool that brought Zibelman to this country?

  2. Mark M

    “The problem is that no amount of intermittent backup will be enough to replace intermittent supplies that amount to about half of the baseload requirement.”

    The problem is no amount of renewable energy with intermittent backup will stop a CO2 induced drought, heatwave or bushfire. Ever.

  3. Goanna

    Audrey’s no engineer, she’s a lawyer.

  4. poorly chosen

    Where are Mr Rouke and Tattoo.
    Welcome to Fantasy Island

  5. RobK

    “The Draft 2020 ISP sets out how to build a least-cost system for Australia, but for consumers to receive the full benefit of the plan, important additional work on market design and infrastructure funding options needs to be undertaken,” Zibelman said in a statement accompanying the report.

    “At the direction of state and federal ministers, the Energy Security Board is undertaking this work and AEMO looks forward to supporting it.”

    The Group 1, or priority projects, are considered critical to address cost, security and reliability issues and should be either underway or commencing soon. They are also key to ensuring that the areas with the lowest cost wind and solar resources are accessed.

    They include: a new interconnector from South Australia to Wagga Wagga in NSW, an upgrade to the links from Queensland to NSW, and from Victoria, and a new interconnection from Tumut to Bannaby to reinforce the southern NSW grid.

    In addition, AEMO is recommending planning and approvals work be commenced now for a new transmission link from Tasmania to Victoria (Marinus Link for the so-called “battery of the nation”), to ensure it could commence construction by 2023 should that be required, most likely if there is a delay to Snowy 2.0 or a Victoria coal generator closes earlier than anticipated.

    The draft ISP warns, however, that the transition, at whichever speed, will not be without issues, and needs to be both flexible and transparent.

    “The complexities include the rapid introduction of increasing levels of consumer-driven DER, satisfying the critical operational needs for the power system, arrangements to replace exiting generators and deploy replacement resources ahead of, or in alignment with, those exits, low-cost but variable resources, storage, transmission investments, climate change impacts, and increasingly scarce system services.”

    There’s a massive investment required in transmission which like the backup and RE generators will be largely redundant, hideously subsidised and uneconomical. It’s a disaster unfolding.

  6. Mundi

    A trend has happened over the mar year or so: all major factory plant business have installed diesel generators. Basic corp risk management is slowing adelaide black out style event is almost certain, this time for Vic.

    We now have all of our facilities on diesel, not only that but, we have almost already recouped there cost just by running then back to the grid at favourable times. A decade ago this was during and after storms, not its starting to happen more frequently.

    I am starting to look at generator for my own house. There are so big advances being made in this area. It would be feasible to run a house/factory from diesel once the price of power reaches about 66c/kwhour.

    The real test will come when they got to tax fuel…..

  7. MikeO

    What does it take to produce a 1 GW baseload power station using wind and gas?

    The first question is what plate capacity do we need for the wind? The capacity factor for wind in 2018 was 31%. That is whatever plate capacity you use you will get on average 31% of that. That means to get 1 GW on average 3.225 GW is needed. You would have to spread 1100 turbines over 1500 km².

    Then you need a battery for transition to gas. The gas will take five minutes to kick in even for OCGT (Open Cycle Gas Turbine). So, a battery that will produce 1 GW for five minutes. That is the battery capacity must be 83 megawatt hours.

    Finally a 1 GW OCGT natural gas power station.

    It does not look cheaper to me in any respect.

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