Firming the New England Renewable Energy Zone with Batteries
As intermittent generators continue to penetrate the electricity system, firming capacity is required to stabilize the system to compensate for sudden reductions in intermittent, weather dependent electrical energy.
The NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap (the Roadmap) is promoting the establishment of 3 Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) in regional NSW. The New England REZ is planned to have the largest capacity of 8GW. The REZ will need firming.
Conclusion of the analysis of the comparative cost of RE and coal power
The capital cost to build and firm wind generation in the New England REZ with batteries is nearly $132 billion.
Four High Efficiency Low Emission (HELE) coal stations will cost $11 billion.
With HELE coal power there is no requirement for FCAS and a correctly maintained plant can be expected to operate with a minimum of 95% operational availability.
The technical life of a HELE USC coal fired power station is 50 years, while the technical life of a wind farm is about 25 years.
The technical life of a large battery is about 15 years, based on the warranty period for the SA Hornsdale battery.
Hence the life cycle capital cost of wind farms firmed with batteries is significantly amplified by their constrained technical lives.
For the New England REZ to match the power and energy output of 4 1000 MW HELE USC coal-fired power stations with an operating life of 50 years, the capital cost would be in excess of $263 billion ($131.64*2) compared with $11 billion for coal.