Danger signs have been showing up lately and this piece joins the dots. Cardimona has been doing his bit to help by prodding local journalists to ask AEMO some direct questions about curtailment from solar and wind farms in the Deep North and there have been warning signals about connections in Western Victoria for a long time.
AEMO has introduced new rules about grid access for intermittent wind and solar and, much to the horror of the wind and solar industries, is actually enforcing them.
Dozens of proposed wind farms and large-scale solar projects have been shelved, simply because they can’t be guaranteed of ever being able to deliver a single watt into the grid.
Their grid troubles also coincide with the fact that the Federal government’s principal RE subsidy scam – the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target – tops out this year at its ultimate annual target of 33,000 GWh. And, given what’s already in the system, will be comfortably satisfied. That means there is no opportunity for new players, absent an extension of or increase in the LRET, which is something the Federal Energy Minister, Angus Taylor has suggested will happen over his dead body.
One outfit in serious trouble is Tilt Renewables – a wind power outfit backed by the New Zealand Government.
Kiwi wind farm developer Tilt Renewables has advised shareholders not to expect any go-aheads on new projects in Australia for the foreseeable future as it struggles with grid issues that are severely curtailing output at its new $650 million wind farm in Victoria.
Tilt had to slash earnings guidance last month after Dundonnell was unexpectedly hit by a curtailment order by the Australian Energy Market Operator, even after the project had previously secured full certification and the wind farm was operating exactly as expected.
The setback is only one among several impacting new wind and solar farms across the National Electricity Market as AEMO grapples with multiple technical issues arising from the rapid increase on the grid of variable renewable energy generation.
Kerry Schott, chair of the Energy Security Board, said earlier this week investors were seeing their revenues “really being bashed around” because of the transmission problems. Grid issues are a key reason cited by the Clean Energy Council in a steep plunge in investment in large-scale renewable energy projects in the June quarter to the lowest for more than three years.
Amusing to see that NSW led by Matt Kean is about to embark on multi-billion dollar schemes in Renewable Energy Zones to revitalize the state.