News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

Threads relating to transport, water, etc. within the CBD and Metropolitan area.
SBD
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Smart meters controlling storage hot water can shift the load to whatever time suits, maybe different at different times of year, and can also collaborate to smooth the load. OpenNEM always shows a bump (~200MW) in demand when the J-tariff heaters kick in at 11pm.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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https://www.premier.sa.gov.au/news/medi ... paign=news

AGL is going to build a 'big battery' at Torrens Island.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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rev wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:39 pm
https://www.premier.sa.gov.au/news/medi ... ig-battery

AGL is going to build a 'big battery' at Torrens Island.
I wonder what the power grid effects are of having battery "firming" for intermittent renewable energy not being collocated with the generator. There is no good reason far AGL to be providing battery storage as backup for gas-powered steam generators (Torrens Island) nor for fast-start gas reciprocating engines (Barker Inlet). This battery will be located where AGL has access to land and grid connection, but it will act as firming for electricity generated by the Hallett wind farms. I assume that the battery will be closer to AGL's key customers than Hallett is. All of the state's other grid-connected batteries are connected to the same substation as a wind farm.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Sanjeev Gupta has received South Australian government approval to proceed with his large battery at Port Augusta.
From The Transcontinental
Port Augusta's big battery gains development approval

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SIMEC Energy Australia has secured development approval for the proposed Playford Utility Battery to be built just outside of Port Augusta.

The battery is tipped to be one the world's most powerful, equaling Elon Musk's Tesla battery in Hornsdale.

The new battery will be built by Whyalla steelworks owner Sanjeev Gupta, who secured a $10 million loan from the State Government through its Renewable Technology Fund.

Mr Gupta plans to invest about $1bn in renewable energy projects, including the Cultana solar farm at Whyalla where construction is due to begin in coming months.

SIMEC Energy Australia CEO, Mr Marc Barrington said securing development approval was an important milestone for the company.

"Delivering this important firming asset into the National Electricity Market, will provide greater stability and enable SIMEC Energy Australia to provide globally competitive energy to our customers," he said.

"The battery will provide significant benefits for the region and energy users who partner with SIMEC Energy Australia for their energy needs."

Image
Artist rendition of the battery site.

Not only will the Project provide direct and indirect employment opportunities in Port Augusta and surrounding areas, it will also assist in the transformation of the Whyalla Steelworks by enabling the supply of cheaper and cleaner energy.

The Playford Battery is forecast to create around 100 direct jobs during its construction phase, and the project team will look to recruit these positions from the local community.

Once the battery is energised, it is anticipated there will be approximately five ongoing operation and maintenance positions comprising skilled trades that will either be drawn from or added to the local community.

SIMEC Energy Australia will also establish a community benefit fund, which will deliver funding grants throughout the life of the project, through an independent committee.

Playford Battery has a nominal capacity of 100MW/100MWh, with the capability to provide a peak response of 135MW when demand is at its highest.

While development approval has been granted, funding is still in negotiation.

"This asset is also being considered under the ARENA Advancing Renewables Program," Mr Barrington said.

"This funding, if realised, will bring this project to life - enabling its delivery - as well as continuing to enhance retail electricity competition within South Australia."

The project site is located along Port Patterson road, almost smack in the middle of the new Port Playford and Sundrop Farms.

https://www.transcontinental.com.au/sto ... -approval/
And the electricity transmission line between Whyalla and Port Lincoln is being upgraded, bringing more reliable power supply to the area, and allowing future development of wind farms and mines.
From Whyalla News
Briefings for $290m transmission line

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CONNECTED: This map shows the path of the 260km Eyre Peninsula Link project from Cultana to Port Lincoln.
Online briefings for companies keen to get involved in building a proposed 270-kilometre, $290 million transmission line between Cultana and Port Lincoln will be held next week, with over 200 jobs during construction on offer.

Electranet's project, known as Eyre Peninsula Link, is still subject to receiving necessary approvals, including funding approval from the Australian Energy Regulator.

The online Local Industry Briefings will be hosted by ElectraNet and the project's early works contractor, Downer Infrastructure Projects, on August 25 and 27.

Early estimates for the project include the nee for 3000 days of crane hire and 10,000m3 of concrete.

Civil workers, riggers, lines workers, and related support teams across the Eyre Peninsula line will be required for over 18 months.

The teams will also need accommodation, transport and logistics across the 270km transmission line, providing a boost for economies across the Eyre Peninsula.

Downer Infrastructure Projects Manager Project Development Gabriel Cohen said the project would help 'keep the lights on' in the Eyre Peninsula in many ways.

"When businesses register for the online briefings, we get to learn more about who is interested and what is available locally," he said.

"This is considered when planning the work so that we can optimise opportunities for local businesses where possible. We want this project to be a positive legacy for the Eyre Peninsula, by the Eyre Peninsula."

ElectraNet Group Executive Network Services Simon Emms said businesses registering their interest online for the briefings will be put on the project database and provided to the successful contractor once they have been engaged by ElectraNet.

"From then on, the project contractor will engage with the businesses directly to procure the required goods and services to support the project," he said.

"We're encouraging suppliers, subcontractors, service providers, social enterprise and Aboriginal businesses to join us at the briefings to learn more about the tendering process, work packages and how they can set themselves up to get involved."

The online briefings will be held on Tuesday, August 25 at 3pm and on Thursday, August 27 at 5.30pm.

Businesses wanting to attend can register online at www.electranet.com.au and follow the links.

Registrations close on Monday, August 24.

https://www.whyallanewsonline.com.au/st ... sion-line/
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Solar Farm under construction at Happy Valley reservoir as part of SA Water's future self powered plans.
From PV Magazine
SA Water’s 12 MW solar install will have Happy Valley living up to its name

SA Water’s great solar splash of 2020 continues with the completion of one installation on Eyre Peninsula and the beginning of another, much larger installation, at the Happy Valley Reservoir.

Image

In January, when South Australia’s largest water and sewage service supplier announced its plan to invest more than $300 million in solar and energy storage in 2020, one could be forgiven for thinking the dream overly ambitious. But not only has SA Water’s investment plan remained undaunted through the economic impacts of Covid-19, but continues to successfully develop its projects.

This week, SA Water began on works to install around 30,000 solar panels at Happy Valley Reservoir as part of its Zero Cost Energy Future, and also announced the completed installation of approximately 1,300 solar panels to cleanly energise the utility’s drinking water operations on the Eyre Peninsula with 770 MWh of solar energy annually. The panels are part of 500,000 panels being installed at 35 locations throughout South Australia including Port Lincoln, Kimba, Lock, Arno Bay, and Caralue Bluff.

To provide some perspective, in a particularly dry 2018/2019 SA Water’s intensive drinking water and wastewater pumping and treatment operations cost the utility $83 million on its electricity bill. SA Water’s solar investment will make sure that figure is significantly reduced in future.

Unlike the characters in Patrick White’s first novel, Happy Valley, where there “never was co-operation,” the inhabitants of non-fictional Happy Valley in South Australia are a pretty happy and cooperative bunch. SA Water kept close engagement with local residents throughout the design process of the 30,000 panel solar array on Happy Valley Reservoir, ensuring the the visual beauty of the popular recreational area is not going to be disturbed.

“The solar array was reconfigured to fit in a smaller area and a 40-metre buffer of pine trees was retained between the panels…” said SA Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs. “This is a fantastic result which still enables SA Water to achieve its energy management target as well as preserve and enhance the surrounding natural environment.”

The 12 MW installation is expected to see completion early in 2021, at which point it will begin to supply clean solar electricity for the treatment and transportation of water from the Happy Valley Reservoir which provides more than 40% of metropolitan Adelaide’s drinking water.

White described Happy Valley as his “best forgotten novel,” but it cannot be said SA Water has forgotten the people of Happy Valley and South Australia.

Eyre Peninsula

The solar array is now catching the Eyre Peninsula’s winter sun and generating electricity for SA Water’s storage tanks, pump stations, and Port Lincoln depot. SA Water’s Senior Manager Zero Cost Energy Future, Nicola Murphy, said that despite Covid-19, “we’ve been able to complete our EP solar sites because we had the solar panels ready to go, and followed the guidelines for the delivery of construction programs.”

“It’s a great outcome,” continued Murphy, “which has kept our contracting partners and suppliers in jobs working on large-scale projects that have flow-on benefits to the South Australian economy while supporting local Eyre Peninsula businesses.”

Fortune Favours the Bold

Despite the unprecedented pressure from the pandemic on SA Water’s green development projects, the utility is already proposing seven more solar farms. The Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) has received two applications from SA Water to vary its electricity generation licence to authorise the operation of:

a 3.675MW solar generating plant at Glenelg
a 19.24MW solar generating plant at Bolivar
a 15.5MW solar generating plant at the Adelaide Desalination Plant
a 5.5MW solar generating plant at Morgan Whyalla 1
a 5.5MW solar generating plant at Morgan Whyalla 2
a 7.5MW solar generating plant at Morgan Whyalla 3, and
a 5.5MW solar generating plant at Morgan Whyalla 4.
Not only is SA Water undaunted by economic pressure, but clearly its solar developments have empowered the utility in the way only renewable energy can.

https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com/2 ... -its-name/
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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From today's online version of The Advertiser........

$3 billion Neoen Australia solar and wind project planned near Burra to power a million homes
A battery six times bigger than the record-setting one at Jamestown will be at the heart of a multibillion-dollar Mid North energy project powerful enough to run one million homes.

Michelle Etheridge, Regional Reporter, The Advertiser

August 19, 2020 4:57pm

Plans have been released for a $3 billion wind and solar farm development in the state’s Mid North, which proponents Neoen say will provide enough electricity to power a million homes.

It will feature 163 turbines, 3000ha of solar panels and a huge lithium-ion battery with a capacity six times the size of the world’s biggest battery at Hornsdale, near Jamestown.

The State Commission Assessment Panel has begun consultation on the project by French-founded renewables developer Neoen, for cropping and grazing land south of Burra and north of Robertstown.

Neoen Australia head of development Garth Heron said “Goyder South” would be built over three stages, with work to start on the first soon after approval was granted, and the next two stages due once the SA-NSW interconnector was built.

He said the overall project would create more than 100 permanent jobs and more than 1000 direct and indirect roles during construction, which would take 5-6 years.

“In terms of South Australia and the recovery from COVID, it’s really important to have some of these projects starting as soon as possible so you do have the economic growth and stimulus happening in the state,” Mr Heron said.

The company wants to build up to 163 turbines reaching 240m tall, generating 1200MW, a solar farm across two sites with capacity of up to 600MW and a battery storing up to 900MW of power.

The project would span the Worlds End Valley, with turbines on its western and eastern ridge lines, and extending south towards Robertstown.

A planned connection point near Robertstown means the battery will be ideally positioned to stabilise the grid by injecting emergency power and current into the system if there is a fault impacting the interconnector.

“It’s a combination of the best wind and solar in the country with enough space to build a really good-size project,” Mr Heron said.

“The beauty of this project is the wind, solar and battery storage are designed to provide around-the-clock power. We have a night-time wind that calms down during the day just as the peak of the solar production is on.”

Infrastructure would be 5.3km from the centre of Burra and turbines at least 2km from neighbouring homes.

In its submission to the planning panel, the company said it would contribute up to $600,000 a year to a community benefits scheme during the project’s lifespan – expected to be 25-30 years.

Neighbours within 6km will also receive payments under a separate scheme, in a bid to increase the project’s social licence and create more renewable energy supporters.

Neoen plans to buy private land for conservation, creating a 955ha ‘Worlds End Gorge Reserve’ alongside its project, opening the area up for public uses such as hiking, swimming and walk-in camping.

Works to rehabilitate and preserve the land would offset the vegetation clearance for the infrastructure. It will also negotiate with the Environment Department over re-routing the Heysen Trail, which passes through the area.

The development would span about 30,000ha, but have a footprint of about 10 per cent of that area.

Plans say the project would save 2.1 million tonnes of CO2 each year – the equivalent of taking 872,000 cars of the road or planting 39 million trees.

Neoen is also planning another renewables project, ‘Goyder North’, which would be north of Burra, but that project is yet to be finalised.

Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said Goyder South would be South Australia’s first gigawatt scale renewable energy project, delivering cheaper, cleaner energy and creating hundreds of new jobs.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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This is a re-hash of an already announced proposal.... dependent on the large interconnector to NSW going ahead.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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PeFe wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:50 pm
This is a re-hash of an already announced proposal.... dependent on the large interconnector to NSW going ahead.
New things seem to be that the plans are released, the SCAP is consulting, and stage 1 is not dependent on the interconnector. I had heard of Goyder South, but not this level of detail on exactly where it would be.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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SBD wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:17 pm
PeFe wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:50 pm
This is a re-hash of an already announced proposal.... dependent on the large interconnector to NSW going ahead.
New things seem to be that the plans are released, the SCAP is consulting, and stage 1 is not dependent on the interconnector. I had heard of Goyder South, but not this level of detail on exactly where it would be.
Yes, I didn't mean to come across as me being "negative" or "indifferent" to the proposal. These integrated solar/wind /battery proposals are the way forward to 100% renewable energy.

Stage 1 was always planned to go ahead regardless on the NSW interconnector being built, but we are getting more details on the battery proposal....very exciting stuff, 300mw/600mwh at stage 1, stage 3, 900mw/1800mwh !!!!

Here is Renew Economy's take on the proposal
Neoen files plans for $3bn wind and solar farm with battery 10 times bigger than Hornsdale

Image


French renewable energy developer Neoen has filed its development application for the huge $3 billion Goyder South wind, solar and storage project in South Australia which includes a proposed big battery than it nearly 10 times bigger than the expanded “Tesla big battery” at Hornsdale.

The plan proposes a total of 1,200MW of wind energy, 600MW of solar PV, and 900MW/1800MWh of battery storage, an “extremely large” battery as Neoen describes it that will dwarf the 150MW/194MWh “Tesla” battery known officially as the Hornsdale Power Reserve.

Each stage would be delivered in three equal tranches of 400MW wind, 200MW solar and 300MW/600MWh of battery storage. Combined, they would generate around 4.8 terawatt hours of zero emissions power each year, nearly doubling the current output of wind and solar in the state, and taking South Australia close to the Liberal government’s net 100 per cent renewables target just on its own.

Neoen insists that the first stage is likely to go ahead regardless of any significant grid upgrades, but admits that the second and third stages would be contingent on the new transmission line between South Australia and NSW, known as Project EnergyConnect, going ahead. It will be located south of Burra, and north of Robertstown, where the new transmission link is expected to link to the state grid.

Neoen says the wind facility will be made up of up to 163 turbines, suggesting a capacity of 7.3MW per turbine – by far the biggest announced in Australia to date. It says these machines will have a maximum hub height of 160m, a maximum blade length of 80m and an overall maximum height (tip height) of 240m.

The solar farm would be spread across 3,000 hectares, the lithium-ion batteries would deliver 900MW with two hours of storage, and associated infrastructure for connection to the electricity grid would include three substations, access tracks, underground connection cabling and transmission lines.

Neoen says the “extremely large battery” associated with the proposed project would be located on the South Australia end of the future EnergyConnect line and would, like the Hornsdale Power Reserve, provide crucial grid support functions to thestate􏳬s energy supply.

“It would be available to assist the grid in the event of major disruptions,” it says, noting the key role that Hornsdale and other big batteries played in keeping South Australia’􏳬s grid stable during the recent disruption to one of its major links to Victoria.

“The battery􏳬s key role, however, would be to allow Goyder South to provide 􏳮hedge􏳬 contracts to consumers such as industrial customers or electricity retailers,” it says.

“These contracts guarantee customers a fixed power price 24 hours a day, irrespective of regional spot price fluctuations. This reduces the risk of power price fluctuations to large, energy-intensive industries and businesses such as mines, smelters, manufacturers and retailers.

It says the hedge contract market has previously been occupied exclusively by fossil fuel generators. “Goyder South would be able to provide these contracts at a much lower cost, and without the emissions, environmental damage and exposure to international fuel prices associated with gas generators.

“By combining energy production and storage, Goyder South would overcome the conventional critique of renewables that they are 􏳮intermittent􏳬 and 􏳮unreliable􏳬. Hybrid projects such as this are the natural 􏳮next step􏳬 in the transition to a cleaner, cheaper, renewable economy.”

Image
Neoen says wind in this region tends to blow most strongly at night, while solar is, of course, present during the day. The resulting energy output, firmed and smoothed by battery storage, would be able to closely match South Australia􏳬s average consumption profile.

The battery would likely charge during the day, absorbing much of the solar output, and already during the early morning, powered by wind. It would discharge mostly in the late afternoon and evening.

Neoen says wholesale prices have fallen dramatically over the last year, but to keep them low, renewables and storage will need to replace gas generation, whose costs can be expected to rise again.

“In summary, Goyder South would be expected to produce up to 4,800,000 MWh per year of low-cost renewable generation, while also introducing battery storage that is able to replace the grid-support functions of gas generation,” it says.

“This would continue to put downward pressure on electricity pricing for all consumers in the state and provide opportunities to support new and existing businesses to remain competitive nationally.”

Given the scale of energy generation that would ultimately be achieved by development of the Goyder South project, it is proposed to be constructed in multiple stages, the company says.

“It is not yet possible to be certain about the size and composition of each stage as this depends on the size and type of the demand from electricity customers.”

Image
The Goyder South Plan. The yellow dots represent wind turbines, the yellow areas are solar, while red is for the transmission line and blue for the battery.

It would likely take three years from the date of approval for construction to commence, and another three years for the first stage to finish. Subsequent stages, depending on demand from customers, would likely only commence three years after the start of construction for the previous stage – meaning the whole project may not be complete until 2032.

The project area encompasses the ranges and plains between the Barrier Highway and the Goyder Highway, over approximately 30,000 hectares and various land parcels, spanning a distance of 27km from the south and south- west of Burra (starting 5km from the town centre) to north of Robertstown.

Submission on the project, which goes before the State Commission Assessment Panel, are due by September 18.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/neoen-files ... ale-67395/

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[Shuz]
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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240m tall wind turbines!? That's massive.
Any views and opinions expressed are of my own, and do not reflect the views or opinions of any organisation of which I have an affiliation with.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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[Shuz] wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:16 pm
240m tall wind turbines!? That's massive.
Even the hubs will be above any building in Adelaide by over 20 metres.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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SBD wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:38 pm
[Shuz] wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:16 pm
240m tall wind turbines!? That's massive.
Even the hubs will be above any building in Adelaide by over 20 metres.
Interestingly there are a number of structures here in SA that break the 200-250m mark, the Lofty comms towers and Torrens Island chimneys come to mind.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Patrick_27 wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 12:14 am
SBD wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:38 pm
[Shuz] wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:16 pm
240m tall wind turbines!? That's massive.
Even the hubs will be above any building in Adelaide by over 20 metres.
Interestingly there are a number of structures here in SA that break the 200-250m mark, the Lofty comms towers and Torrens Island chimneys come to mind.
Torrens Island chimneys are 160m. That's the hub height for these turbines. A 13-year-old forum post says that the tallest structure (then) was 205m at Port Pirie smelter.
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Gazumped ! The Tesla large battery at Jamestown is no longer the world's largest lithium-ion battery!
I thought it would happen in 2021 by a bigger battery being built in Florida but instead its an expanded battery in San Diego county.
From Renew Economy
Australia’s Tesla big battery is no longer biggest battery in the world

Image


The reign of the Tesla big battery in South Australia as the biggest grid-connected lithium-ion battery storage system in the world has come to an end.

LS Power said on Thursday (US time) that it had boosted the size of the Gateway project in the East Otay Mesa community in San Diego County in California to a capacity of 230MW – up from an initial 62.5MW/62.5MWh. It is expected to reach its full 250MW by the end of the month and next summer it will have three, and then four hours of storage.

This beats the Tesla big battery in Australia, officially known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve – and owned and operated by Neoen – which joined the grid in a blaze of publicity in late 2017 with the then world record installation of 100MW/129MWh. It is currently being upgraded to 150MW/194MWh with the final commissioning now taking place.

The biggest question for many in the industry is why it took so long for the Hornsdale battery to be overtaken, given its stunning success in lowering prices, making money for its owners, keeping the lights on, and changing the thinking about the shape of the future grid.

The world’s newest biggest big battery, was built over a year’s time, according to this cool time-lapse video by LS Power, and employed more than 100 workers on its peak construction days (remembering that the Hornsdale installation was built in less than 100 days).

As Greentech Media points outs, while the big battery’s unveiling marks a new milestone for the global battery industry, it also happens to coincide with California’s current energy crisis, as the state struggles to power through an historic heatwave.

As RenewEconomy reported here, over the past few days California’s grid operator (CAISO) has been forced to institute rolling outages across the state at a level not seen since the energy crisis of 2000-2001. The reasons for the outages are many and complex, but increase the pressure on a state that is setting a high bar for transitioning to renewables.

“Gateway and LS Power’s other California-based energy projects will support the state in its clean energy and storage goals,” said LS Power head of renewables John King, in comments on Thursday.

“By charging during solar production or off-peak hours and delivering energy to the grid during times of peak demand for power, our battery storage projects improve electric reliability, reduce costs and help our state meet its climate objectives.”

Elsewhere in California, LS Power has also installed the Vista Energy Storage system in the town of the same name, which has been operating since 2018 and was previously the largest battery storage project in the US at 40MW.

And there are more for the company in the pipeline, including Diablo Energy Storage (200MW) in Pittsburg, California; LeConte Energy Storage (125MW) in Calexico, California; and Ravenswood Energy Storage (316MW) in Queens, New York.

But batteries will get bigger and bigger. In the US, Vistra Energy is building the Moss Landing battery in Monterey Bay, California, which involves swapping an old gas-powered plant for 400 megawatts/1,600 megawatt-hours of batteries to support the Bay Area grid, which may be expanded to 1,500MW/6000MWh.

Florida Power & Light is working on a 409-megawatt/900-megawatt-hour battery to shift solar production into the evenings and displace decades-old gas plants.

In Australia, Neoen has proposed a 600MW big battery in Victoria, to help increase the capacity of the main transmission line to NSW, and has just unveiled a proposal for a big battery of up to 900MW/1800MWh as part of the Goyder South project. And then, of course, is the proposal for up to 30 gigawatt hours of battery storage as part of the proposed 10GW Sun Cable project, building the world’s biggest solar plant in the Northern Territory

https://reneweconomy.com.au/australias- ... rld-30125/
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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AMEO) has proposed changes to the way home solar panels are connected to the grid.

An essential read for anyone thinking of installing solar panels on their house in the near future.

From Renew Economy
“Chaos and confusion” as regulators fast-track rules to switch off solar PV

Image


The Clean Energy Council has warned of “chaos and confusion” in the rooftop solar industry, particularly in South Australia where authorities are scrambling to define and put in place new standards and protocols to help manage the growing share of rooftop PV.

The warning came as the solar industry braces for several significant changes affecting solar tariffs, and inverter and metering standards, and a push to ensure they have “ride through capabilities” to withstand major system faults, and are also able to be switched off en masse to help keep the grid secure.

South Australia finds itself at ground zero because no other state has such a large share of rooftop solar (12.3 per cent of generation over the last year, and up to two thirds in some instances), and is threatening to push minimum grid demand down to levels that the Australian Energy Market Operator says are difficult to control.

Within a couple of years, AEMO says, minimum demand at times could be pushed below zero. This creates issues, it says, because it means less space for other generators to provide traditional services essential to keeping the grid secure.

See: South Australia: The first big grid where rooftop solar could eliminate all demand

But the solar industry says it is being kept in the dark over the details of the regulations, which – to its surprise – are now supposed to come into force in South Australia in four weeks, by September 28, rather than the end of the year as previously thought. But the list of approved inverters, the rules around solar shedding, and new wiring codes have yet to be released.

“We still do not know the rules around switching customers’ systems on and off,” the CEC says in its email to members this week. “(We still don’t know) how SA Power Networks will be involved, what equipment can be used to do it, what customers will be expected to pay for this ‘service’ and what it might mean for warranties and consumer protection.

“To make matters worse, there are no inverters approved for connection to the SA Power Networks grid after September 28. Right now, the best advice we can give SA businesses is to manage their inverter inventory carefully to minimise the risk of being caught with redundant stock.”

The fast-tracking of new standards in South Australia follows the release in June of a new report by AEMO and the state government which flagged major risks in the state as the share of rooftop solar grows.

It is particularly concerned about what happens when the state is “islanded” by faults in the main transmission line, which happens often enough, and how it can control rooftop solar in those circumstances.

In a draft interim standard published this week that will eventually apply across all states, AEMO says that up to 40 per cent of rooftop solar systems can suddenly disconnect because the inverters are unable to ride through system faults. In South Australia, that amounts to 500MW of capacity that could suddenly be lost, a major threat to the system in such a small grid.

To address this, AEMO is seeking an update of standards AS4777, to ensure that testing occurs that confirms an inverter’s ability to ride through system shocks. It expects this to come into effect within six months.

The problem for South Australia, and its accelerated deadline, is that there are only two testing labs in Australia, and one is currently not operational due to equipment problems exacerbated by the Covid-19 impact.

In the past, AEMO could respond to the loss of a major generator by asking the local network to briefly black out a suburb or suburbs, so reducing load to help balance the loss of a generator.

But now the some areas are net producers because of the amount of rooftop PV, this could actually make things worse by eliminating a generator rather than load – which is why AEMO is pushing to have the power to disconnect rooftop solar PV rather than whole suburbs. It insists, however, that this will happen in the “very rare” event where it has no alternative.

It appears the state government is looking to do this through either inverters or new “dual element” smart meters. The problem in South Australia arises, the industry says, is that the wiring guidelines for the meters have not been released by the Office of the Technical Regulator. “We have been blindsided,” said on industry source.

There are also questions whether dual element meters are the right way to go, and the potential cost they might impose on re-wiring household circuits, and about who will be the “agent” of the instruction to disconnect, and on the protocols of how this will be put into place.

AEMO is becoming increasingly concerned about the growing share of rooftop solar. It says this creates opportunities for creative thinking and new technologies – in storage, demand management, software development and virtual power plants – but it is also worried about its impact on frequency control, inertia, and system strength.

This week it declared a shortfall of inertia in the state, and both AEMO and the state government are worried about the risks to grid security this spring – when rooftop PV output is high and demand can often be low – and should the main transmission link fail again, and before the planned new synchronous condensers are installed.

The South Australia government says it understands the industry’s concerns, and is working to address them as quickly as it can. It says the new measures must be introduced in September because if delayed to the end of the year that could add 100MW of new capacity that may not meet the standards. That could make the difference when the next major network fault appears.

South Australia’s energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has said tougher measures are preferable to putting a stop to new installations. The government says it believes it can double the amount of rooftop solar in the state if the new measures are introduced.

Government sources say a list of approved inverters will be made available as soon as possible. Inverter manufacturers will be asked to ‘certify” their product if testing cannot be completed on time, and will be asked to “make good” any issues that may arise. Existing contracts will be grandfathered.

There will also be guidelines around the ability to impose removed “shedding’. Households installing new systems will be asked to nominate an “agent” when signing the installation contract who will exercise that remote control on behalf of AEMO. That could be virtual power plant operators, metering companies or monitoring companies.
“There are lots of different views about whether it is done best through an inverter or a dual meter,” a government insider said. “You can use whichever technology, you just need an agent.”
Solar tariffs have also been changed and now require retailers to offer cheap power in daytime hours, an incentive to create a ‘solar sponge’ that might encourage more battery storage, and/or the shift of electric water heaters to the daylight hours rather than the middle of the night.
There is also a separate push in some sectors to impose an “export tariff”, the so-called “solar tax”, although this appears unrelated to the system security issues identified by AEMO and the state government.
Some consumer bodies have thrown their support behind these initiatives, as long as current and sometimes arbitrary limits on solar exports and solar installations are lifted, and any tariffs are moderate and imposed only on very large exports. They note the cost to networks to upgrade their systems to accommodate rooftop solar is relatively small, about one per cent of total network costs.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/chaos-and-c ... -pv-94306/
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