Seisimic changes may be advanced to deal with the so-called transition to RE while we get rid of the “ageing coal stations” that generate noxious fumes of CO2. See the Post 2025 Markt Design Consultation Paper produced by the Energy Security Board under the imprint of the COAG Energy Council.
Kerry Schott is the Chair of the ESB and her partners in the lead with this project are David Swift of the ESB, Claire Savage (Chair of the Australian Energy Regulator), Merryn York of the Australian Energy Market Commission and Audrey Zibelman (CEO and Managing Director of the Australian Energy Market Operator).
Merry Kerry Schott has provided a convenient introduction to the issues. Merry was a typo at first but it can stand because I have the impression the she is a jolly soul. The most striking feature of this dramatic presentation, from the point of view of dedicated wind-watchers, is the neglect of the principal agent, like a production of Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark.
The basic premise of the exercise is that wind power can replace most of the 35GW of current installed “fossil power”, or at least the 20GW of black and brown coal power.
And looking ahead Australia will replace most of its current generation stock by 2040. Transforming from a system dominated by centralised, synchronous generators to a system which is showing every sign of becoming one of the most decentralised power systems in the world – with consequential impacts on the security and reliability we tend to take for granted.
Given the well documented facts on the frequent and prolonged wind droughts, the need for continuous input to the grid (the choke point factor), our island status and the lack of grid-scale storage that ambition is not realistic in the near or even medium term. The chief scientist warned us to wait for two or three decades for bigger batteries (hopefully). The “Hamlet” who appears to be missing from the play is a serious engagement with those four factors that can be described as “icebergs” that will sink the RE Titanic.
Many of the issues are highly technical and the good news is that a number of very competent people have turned up in the course of recruiting letter-writers for the wind power project. These are men (so far no women) with experience and expertise in the power industry. They will write most of the briefing papers on the list that will follow the first two that have circulated. This is the list of work to be done.
So we have the resources to make an informed contribution to the debate. Among the people involved there are veteran wind-watchers, people with insights into the mysteries of grid instability and people who can engage with the misleading cost estimates circulated by RE enthusiasts who neglect most of the costs of RE.