News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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

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South Australian Power Networks are trying to make people with rooftop solar PAY to export their energy.

This is an outrageous proposal considering SAPN already charge electrical retailers for using their power lines to access the power from rooftop solar.

From Renew Economy
SAPN flags potential to “ramp down” rooftop solar with new network upgrades

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South Australia electricity distribution company SA Power Networks has announced it is forging ahead with upgrades to voltage management systems at around 140 substations, as a first step to accommodate more rooftop PV onto the state’s grid.

SAPN said on Monday that it was moving quickly on the state government-backed upgrades to support both the state’s fast-growing number of rooftop solar customers and the Australian Energy Market Operator on broader security of supply issues.

Those broader network security issues have come under the spotlight in the past few weeks in South Australia, with the state government also fast-tracking – much to the solar industry’s consternation – new PV, battery storage and smart meter rules to manage the growing share of distributed energy.

As RenewEconomy reported late last week, there has been no shortage of criticism of the reforms, with questions around whether proposed new inverter standards and wiring codes are the right way to go, and concerns that the solar industry will be bear the brunt of poorly communicated changes.

For its part, SAPN says the rapid deployment of new voltage control measures in some of its larger substations will help to provide a more stable platform, by better regulating grid voltage levels throughout the day and year.

“During those periods of high solar export in the middle of the day, we can keep the volts down to ensure customers can continue to export their excess power to the grid,” said SAPN’s manager of corporate affairs, Paul Roberts, on Monday.

On top of that, Roberts said, the work would give SA Power Networks the ability to assist AEMO in managing supply/load issues on the broader national grid – in particular, to manage South Australia’s rooftop solar load in the event the interconnector to Victoria goes down.

“AEMO has said it may need us to help, as a last resort, in the unlikely scenario that the interconnector goes down on a few days of the year that we experience ‘minimum demand’,” said Roberts.

“We would do this by making small changes to voltage at targeted substations. Our trials have confirmed we can do this effectively and safely while maintaining ongoing electricity supply for customers.”

In separate emailed comments to RE on Monday, SAPN further stressed that AEMO had made it clear there had to be “a specific and rare set of circumstances” to trigger an instruction for the network operator to ramp down solar generation.

These included low demand, high solar generation and loss of the interconnector with Victoria – and only in the next couple of years prior to construction of the proposed SA-NSW interconnector.

As for how this would be done, Roberts explains: “We can implement this by lifting volts to the upper end of the allowed voltage range in local areas.

“This is something that can be experienced in some areas of our network already and it trips off inverters. We have conducted two trials that successfully tripped inverters without impacting customers’ electricity supply. It is a capability we have not previously had but will be able to implement with the support of the SA government.”

Meanwhile, on a completely separate issue, and for a separate set of planned and costed grid upgrades, SAPN has petitioned the AEMC to change national market rules to allow for solar households to be charged a fee to export their excess generation to the grid.

This, too, has generated controversy, with solar advocates arguing that this would become a disincentive for people to install solar in South Australia, while unfairly penalising those households that have already invested in rooftop PV.

But SAPN argues that what it is seeking is simply a clear framework that enables it to meet “clear customer demand” to install more and more solar systems and other forms of distributed resources.

“The first question is do you want additional solar to be added to the network, and we have trouble with the train of logic after that, that ends up with no-one pays,” said SAPN’s Mark Vincent in an interview with RenewEconomy earlier this month.

“The message from customers is loud and clear: we would like network investment to support more solar. So we think the rules should enable us to do that, clearly, and not have to hedge around to try and make that work,” said Vincent.

“Up until now, (the cost of upgrading networks to accommodate more solar) is spread across all customers, but that’s not what we would call cost-reflective.

“From our perspective, to the extent that it is solar customers that are driving those costs, and noting they get a significant benefit in terms of the bill savings or credits they get in selling that energy to the market, if they were to pay a small fee for that service then that would seem reasonable to us.”

Bryn William, SAPN’s future network strategy manager, said the perception that distribution companies were somehow at odds with accommodating more distributed solar was frustrating and inaccurate.

“It’s tremendously exciting as a distribution network,” he told RE in the same interview. “Australia is quite unique in the fact that this is really a distributed energy transition as well as a renewable energy transition, … the distribution network is becoming much more kind of the heart of the whole energy system.

“Most of the energy that’s flowing around from customers, from producers to consumers is increasingly coming from small-scale PV, it’s customers’ batteries participating in virtual power plants … It’s incredibly exciting and it’s unquestionably a good thing for networks.

“It tremendously increases utilisation of the network – we’ve got sections of our network that for the last 60 years or so would sit doing almost nothing during the middle of the day in residential areas when no one’s home that are now humming with energy that’s flowing off to businesses that can consume that energy.

“So it’s a very exciting future for us, in particular, for the role that we play in the energy system. I think that’s why … it’s a little bit concerning to us that the perception is that networks are somehow threatened by this transition when you look at what networks are doing, networks are making every effort to try and enable this transition, and this rule change is part of that.”

https://reneweconomy.com.au/sapn-flags- ... des-98258/
And I doubt whether the pumped hydro proposals for South Australia will ever receive funding.....batteries continue to fall in price undercutting the need for pumped hydro.

From Renew Economy
Pumped hydro projects left high and dry, still waiting for funding news

it’s been nearly three years since South Australia rolled out the first of its large scale pumped hydro project proposals, and more than 12 months since the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced it would fast-track the first of these projects. But still nothing has happened.

Around half a dozen different pumped hydro projects have been suggested by various parties for South Australia, where the need for added storage is considered greatest at it jumps from its already world leading share of 55 per cent wind and solar to the state Liberal government’s target of “net 100 per cent renewables” by 2030.

Last August, ARENA said it would allocate $40 million to fast-track the first of these pumped hydro storage proposals and drew up a short list of four candidates.

Those shortlisted projects were Sunset Power and Delta Energy’s 242MW/1,835MW Goat Hill project near Port Augusta, Rise Renewables and UPC’s 250MW/2,000MWh Baroota project, EnergyAustralia’s 225MW/1800MWh Cultana sea-water project north of Whyalla, and AGL’s 250MW, 2000MWh Kanmantoo project.

AGL then withdrew because its partner found more ore at the mine they were going to use, and decided against closing the mine and filling its pits with water. In February this year, ARENA said it had selected its preferred option, and would make an announcement before the middle of the year once funding discussions were complete. We’re still waiting for the news.

An ARENA spokesperson told RenewEconomy by email that the organisation continues to work with the sponsor of the preferred project.

Full story : https://reneweconomy.com.au/pumped-hydr ... ews-38500/
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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The Tesla VPP is expanding with Tesla actually investing money into this (as well as the SA government and the Clean Energy Investment Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency)

From One Step Off the Grid
Tesla to add batteries and solar to another 3,000 low income houses in world leading VPP

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South Australia has launched phase three of its Tesla home battery-based virtual power plant, extending the scheme to another 3,000 public housing properties and kicking off a “world-first” deal to procure a Big Battery’s worth of grid support services.

Energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said on Friday that the latest $60.6 million expansion of the Tesla VPP would take the scheme to 4,100 Housing SA properties across the state, and on track to reach the ultimate goal of 50,000 South Australian homes, both public and private.

For the Housing SA tenants, the scheme installs a 5kW rooftop solar and 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery system at no cost, and provides the household with a flat-rate electricity tariff priced 22% lower than the Default Market Offer, whether from the battery or the grid. It will be retailed through Energy Locals.

For the state, Phase 3 of the SA VPP will bring together roughly 20MW of rooftop solar energy and 54MWh of combined battery storage to act as a single “power plant,” that can send excess solar to the grid and offer voltage and frequency support, as well as synthetic inertia.

“In a world-first, home batteries will provide the grid stability services that South Australia has lacked since the closure of the Northern Power Station, to address the legacy of instability that we inherited,” said van Holst Pellekaan.

“This will deliver at a household level what we are also delivering through the 50% expansion of the big battery at Hornsdale Battery to address these legacy issues.”

This function comes at a critical time, as South Australia and the Australian Energy Market Operator struggle to address the increasingly urgent problem of integrating the state’s word-leading rooftop solar capacity.

As RenewEconomy has reported, South Australia is on track to become the first gigawatt-scale grid in the world where the growing amount of rooftop solar effectively eliminates grid demand – which sounds like a good thing, but has been a major cause for concern for AEMO.

The scramble to head off potential negative impacts from a solar-soaked grid has led to a number of proposed quick-fixes and market reforms, some of them – such as the proposal to charge solar households for exports to the grid – controversial.

On the less drastic and more consumer-inclusive front, the establishment of solar and battery-based virtual power plants is expected to play a key role in helping to manage the state’s huge solar resource in a way that can benefit all parties.

“Having rooftop PV and household batteries linked through a Virtual Power Plant creates the equivalent of a grid-scale battery in our suburbs and towns, which will complement the four other grid-scale batteries already operating in South Australia,” van Holst Pellekaan added.

“Tesla’s vision is to grow this VPP to include 50,000 homes across South Australia and has already started adding private households in addition to the Housing SA tenants participating in the project.”

In its own statement, Tesla said the SA VPP was the first virtual power plant in Australia to help stabilise frequency levels in the grid and, as of August 2020, was one of only two in Australia to do this.

For its part, Tesla is contributing $18 million to the expansion, alongside $10 from the state government, an $8.2 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and a $30 million loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth – perhaps grateful for the well-timed opportunity to demonstrate the mandated purpose of the green bank – said the CEFC was proud to be investing in Australia’s largest VPP.

“We expect to see decentralised battery fleet systems become an increasingly important feature of the grid of the future, drawing on fast ramping services, voltage management and synthetic inertia.”

Learmonth also took the opportunity to note the program’s benefits for households who would not otherwise be able to access solar or battery storage.

“Tenants are often locked out of the clean energy market because they are unable to install rooftop solar systems on rental properties,” he said.

“The SA VPP is delivering an innovative clean energy solution to Housing SA tenants, drawing on proven and cost-effective technologies.”

https://onestepoffthegrid.com.au/tesla- ... ate-homes/
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Neoen has just secured their first contract for power from the yet-to-be-built Goyder South power hub.

From Renew Economy
Australia’s biggest renewable energy hub lands first contract with ACT

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A $3 billion renewable energy hub in South Australia will begin construction within the next two years after French-based developer Neoen landed a contract for the first 100MW of wind capacity with the ACT government with a record low price for Australia.

The $3 billion Goyder project is one of the most ambitious in Australia, poposing to combine 1200MW of wind, 600MW of solar and 900MW/1800MWh of battery storage. Each component is the biggest of their kind in Australia, and together the hub is the biggest of its kind in the world.

Neoen announced on Tuesday morning that it has been awarded a 14-year contract to supply 100MW of wind energy from Stage 1 of its Goyder Renewables Zone as the result of the Australian Capital Territory government’s latest renewables auction, a win that will also see it build a 50MW big battery in Canberra, with locals offered the opportunity to co-invest.

The ACT said the contract was awarded at the price of $44.97/MWh, which is a record low for a publicly disclosed price for a wind auction or power purchase agreement in Australia. Given that this is a fixed and flat price for 14 years, the “real price” for when the contract starts in 2023 relates to $35/MWh to $37/MWh, depending on your assumed inflation rate.

Goyder is expected to be able to deliver this because it has a great wind resource and will have a healthy “net” capacity factor of around 45 per cent, and the certainty of a long term contract will allow it to secure finance for the first stage, and then be able to build upon that over time.

The Neoen battery in Canberra will in effect be a replica of the Hornsdale battery in South Australia and will deliver much the same services – frequency control, inertia, arbitrage and other grid services. There is no direct subsidy for the battery.

The ACT has already contracted enough wind and solar to meet the equivalent of all its annual electricity needs, but last year sought a minimum 200MW of wind, or 250MW of solar, plus battery storage, to take into account economic and population growth, and the electrification of transport and building energy use.

The second contract awarded on Tuesday by the ACT government is for a 100MW expansion of the Berrybank wind farm in Victoria, and developer GPG will also build a 10MW/20MWh battery. The 10 year contract is for $54.48 per MWh.

See full story: ACT secures two big batteries for Canberra and record low price for wind.

It is the fourth contract win with the ACT for Neoen, which built the first three stages of its Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia as a result of previous ACT auction wins. It then built the so-called Tesla big battery at Hornsdale and also recently won a Queensland tender with the 420MW Western Downs solar farm.

Neoen recently started the planning process for Goyder, where it hopes to leverage the exceptional wind and solar renewable resources of the area and deliver a significant economic boost to the local community. Construction is expected to start in 2022 for the first stage.

The location for the Canberra big battery is not yet decided, but the installation will be at leat 50MW, possibly bigger, and with one or two hours of storage. It is separate to the world-leading 900MW big battery with two hours storage planned for Goyder.

“The Goyder Renewables Zone that supports this contract is a landmark project that will not only provide a significant boost to the South Australian economy but will also allow all Canberrans to benefit from clean, reliable and affordable electricity,” Neoen’s Australia chief Louis de Sambucy said in a statement.

ACT climate change and sustainability minister Shane Rattenbury said the ACT has been an Australian leader in being powered by 100% renewable electricity and is using reverse auctions like this to make sure we continue this as our city expands and our power consumption increases.

“The batteries will also help support the territory’s own grid, particularly providing power to help avoidblackouts during periods of high demand and when large fossil fuel generators fail in heatwave conditions.”

The contract will extend a partnership between Neoen and the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Renewable Energy Skills Centre of Excellence, where Neoen will co-develop programs in cyber security for renewables, Indigenous land care and hydrogen.

Work will also commence with ANU (Australian National University) on an industry-leading research project focussed on grid-scale battery performance optimisation, as well as a feasibility study for a solar panel and/or battery recycling facility.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/australias- ... act-69264/
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Stage 2 of the Bungala Solar farm is finally getting up to production speed after some technical issues.
From Renew Economy
South Australia’s biggest solar farm finally moves to full production

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The biggest solar farm in South Australia, and what would have been the biggest solar complex in Australia had it been completed earlier, is finally moving towards full production – nearly two years after its original plans.

The Bungala solar complex near Port Augusta – one of a raft of new wind and solar and storage projects planned for the region following the closure of the city’s last coal fired generator in 2016 – is composed of two stages, both 100MW (ac).

The first stage connected and commissioned more or less on time, but the second stage – Bungala 2 – which began generating more or less on time in late 2018, ran into unspecified “technical issues” which prevented it from moving through the commissioning process. (See first graph below from the Climate and Energy College using data from OpenNEM).

Those technical issues – thought to be related to “harmonics” – look to have been finally resolved. in recent weeks, Bungala 2 has been matching the output of the first stage and has been producing up to around 100MW and more at times – indicating it is in the final stages of commissioning.

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This was confirmed by a spokesperson for joint owner Enel Green Power, who said in an emailed statement: “Bungala 2 Solar Farm is currently in the final stages of grid compliance testing. We are working with relevant stakeholders and agencies to complete the commissioning process.”

The output from Bungala is contracted to Origin Energy at a price that has not been revealed, although Enel recently announced a write down of the value of that export contract, presumably as a result of the delays.

This next graph shows the combined output of the two Bungala facilities, which at 220MW would have made it the biggest solar complex in the country, had it been delivered on time, but will be bested by both the Darlington and Limondale solar complexes in NSW, and the Kiamal solar farm in Victoria.

However, Bungala can still claim the biggest output of any solar farm in Australia given that the other three projects – which have also been delayed by local grid system strength issues – have been registered, but have barely started on their commissioning process.

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South Australia has one other large scale solar farm – the 95MW Tailem Bend facility – and numerous smaller facilities sized around 5MW. It also has a host of other large scale solar projects lining up for development, including Sanjeev Gupta’s Whyalla solar farm, the Iberdrola solar-wind hybrid plant near Port Augusta, and Solar River solar and battery project and the massive Goyder South renewable energy hub.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/south-austr ... ion-78096/


And the latest news regarding the Aurora Solar/1414 Farm proposal
Aurora project may still include solar thermal as 1414 signs with Vast Solar

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The once languishing Aurora Solar Energy Project has taken another important step forward this week after developer 1414 Degrees announced it may add modular concentrated solar power to the project’s current proposed mix of solar PV, battery storage and 1414’s proprietary thermal storage.

Aurora was supposed to be the location of Australia’s first large scale solar thermal and storage project until US project developer SolarReserve failed to get finance and ultimately went broke. South Australia’s 1414 then bought the rights to the undeveloped project and has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Australian concentrated solar power (CSP) technology company Vast Solar.

The MoU serves to formalise the two companies’ plans to investigate the commercial feasibility of incorporating Vast Solar’s modular CSP technology into the Aurora Solar Energy Project.

Aurora Solar Energy Project is now envisioned as a multi-stage renewable energy park which will start with a 70MW solar PV farm and battery energy storage. The second phase will add 1414’s large-scale, long-duration Thermal Energy Storage System (TESS) which is intended to provide over 1GWh of grid-scale storage.

The project has also included a vague third phase which would turn the project into a “hybrid power station” and include “other technologies such as CSP.” This third phase of the project appears to be the focus of this month’s MoU signed between 1414 Degrees and Vast Solar.

Vast Solar’s modular CSP technology – which has benefited from financial assistance from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – bills itself as “unlike chemical batteries” in that it is “scalable not stackable.”

The company’s scalable modular CSP arrays eliminate turbine sizing limitations of central tower pants and can be configured anywhere from 50MW to 500MW and boast anywhere from 4 hours of storage through to 16 hours. Further, with multiple smaller towers and receivers, there is no longer a single point of failure.

The newly signed MoU will further Aurora’s goal of becoming “a globally important showcase of world-leading technologies to deliver dispatchable renewable electricity” while providing secure and reliable renewable electricity at low cost.

Low costs and increased revenue is the priority for 1414, and in July a report showedthat adding battery storage to the 70MW solar plant would triple annual revenue – with revenues ranging from $44-$80 million, compared to $12.5-$28 million without batteries.

“Although based on historical data that may or may not be a guide to future conditions, these revenue simulations are very encouraging for the development of our Aurora Project,” said 1414 Degrees executive chairman Dr Kevin Moriarty.

“We are working to lock in PPA’s to secure cash flows for the first stage of PV generation to complement the BESS revenue streams.”

The collaboration between 1414 and Vast will first assess the mutual benefits of increased utilisation of the transmission assets, reduction of potential spilled energy, and maximisation of revenue stacks to demonstrate competitive levelised cost of energy (LCoE) and levelised cost of storage.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/aurora-proj ... lar-65004/
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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South Australian government investigates ways of using electric vehicles to soak up excess daytime solar.
From The Driven
South Australia wants to use EVs as mobile batteries and “solar sponge”

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The South Australia state government says it is working on an Electric Vehicle Action Plan that will look at how to make both electric vehicles and electricity more affordable, and find ways to use EV charging as a “solar sponge” to soak up excess solar production.

The state Liberal government announced on Sunday it will spend an initial $4.9 million on its EV Action Plan, which will be formally launched this year and will be designed to facilitate private investment in charging infrastructure, boost grid reliability and lower transport and energy costs.

“What’s clear is that as electric vehicles become more affordable, smart charging can reduce drivers’ fuel bills and reduce the cost of power for all South Australians,” energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said in a statement.

“Our analysis shows that if we put the foot down on electric vehicles and do it smartly, we’ll deliver lower power bills for consumers, less air and noise pollution.”

At the heart of the plan is the use of EVs as “mobile batteries” that could act as a “solar sponge” for charging during the day, when there is often excess solar, and then be used in the evening to supply homes – or the grid – with cheaper power.

“By charging at low demand and at sunny or windy times, electric vehicles will allow us drive down wholesale electricity prices, reducing the cost of a unit of power for all South Australians,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

“A key action in the plan will be to support electric vehicles being used as mobile batteries which can be filled at low electricity demand times of the day and discharged at peak times.

“Discharge can occur the car into the home or grid in the evening when electricity is expensive and then recharged overnight when electricity is cheap.

“With smart charging infrastructure, time of use tariffs and electric vehicles as “surplus solar sponges”, we can reward customers who charge their vehicle when excess energy is available and prices are low.”

South Australia already has the biggest share of wind and solar in the grid in the world, reaching more than 55 per cent in the past 12 months, and van Holst Pellekaan has set a goal of “net 100 per cent renewables” to be reached before 2030.

Key to this goal is the addition of storage. There are now three big batteries, including what was until recently the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery at the Hornsdale Power Reserve, and the most ambitious home battery plan with various schemes designed to install up to 90,000 household batteries, many of which will form “virtual power plants.”

Other forms of storage are also being proposed, including pumped hydro storage projects, and hydrogen and compressed air projects.

“Our EV Action Plan will outline how these can come together to deliver bigger electricity and fuel savings for households,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

“Electric Vehicles will form a key part of our economic recovery from COVID-19, to deliver lower cost of living and a cleaner environment for all South Australians.”

https://thedriven.io/2020/09/13/south-a ... ar-sponge/

And solar production reached its highest share ever of total electricity production on a low demand Sunday recently.
From Renew Economy
South Australia solar power reaches 94 pct of state demand on Sunday

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The share of solar power in South Australia’s electricity grid reached a new record high on Sunday, suppling up to 93.7 per cent of state demand and more than 70 per cent of total production.

The new milestone was reached at noon and the solar share was largely driven by the state’s rapidly growing rooftop solar resource, which accounted for 900MW at the time, or 70.4 per cent of local demand.

The influence of rooftop solar also meant that the state also set a new minimum low for scheduled demand (the part of demand that comes from large generators on the grid) to just 315MW, according to Paul McArdle at Watt Clarity. This occurred about 10 minutes before the solar peak.

However, on the more conventional “operational demand”, which includes smaller semi-scheduled wind and solar plants, the minimum fell to 367MW about an hour later, also a record low for the state.

Around that time, the state’s large scale and rooftop generators were producing just over 1,700MW, but around one quarter of that was being exported to Victoria – which also had relatively low demand. The surplus of supply over demand meant that prices in South Australia were negative, and only around 293MW of gas generation was being used, and wind output was also being squeezed out by rooftop solar.

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The rise of rooftop solar and its growing share of generation is forcing the state government to scramble to introduce new standards for inverters, and to introduce new protocols that can introduce dynamic controls on rooftop solar exports, and even disconnect large quantities of rooftop solar if needed.

The state government also announced to Sunday it was looking to introduce an Electric Vehicle Action Plan that would use EVs as mobile batteries and encourage daytime charging that could act as a “solar sponge”, mopping up excess solar production. The EV batteries could then be used to provide power to homes, or services to the grid, in the evening.

(See the story on our EV-focused sister site The Driven).

The South Australia state government wants to exercise more control over rooftop solar, now it is its biggest generation source during the day, and encourage demand to shift to daytime hours. This means more storate, demand management, and potentially the use of EVs.

Wholesale electricity prices were trading in negative territory for much of the day in South Australia, meaning that some solar and wind facilities switched off to avoid having to pay to produce. The state is usually able to export more capacity to Victoria, but there are currently limits on the main transmission link due to network equipment failures, and in any case demand and prices were low in Victoria.

Over the past week, the share of wind and solar in South Australia’s main grid has been high, accounting for more than 100 per cent of state demand on occasions, and 79 per cent of total production. That brought the average price for the week to just $4.37 a megawatt hour.

The state must run some gas generators to provide “synchronous power”, but that amount may reduce over the next 12-18 months as machines known as synchronous condensers (which do not burn fuel) are installed to provide that service.

McArdle from Watt Clarity said that when measured on the basis of ‘Scheduled Demand’ the 315MW minimum reached on Sunday appears to be, on quick scan, the lowest point experienced in the 22 years since the start of the NEM. Read more to find out the nuances between scheduled demand, operational demand and grid demand.

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https://reneweconomy.com.au/south-austr ... day-84513/
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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https://www.opb.org/article/2020/09/03/ ... r-reactor/

At least our federal government as useless as they are haven't entirely ruled out nuclear as an option.
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Energy firm says its nuclear-waste fueled diamond batteries could last thousands of years

by Peter Grad , Tech Xplore

A cellphone power source that lasts nine years. An auto-battery pack that lasts nearly a century. A pacemaker that is powered to last 28,000 years.

These surreal claims are being made by a California-based battery company that says successful early test results recently competed on a nano-diamond battery brings them closer to realizing such claims.

The key to their revolutionary batteries is radioactive nuclear waste. There are massive quantities of leftover nuclear waste from nuclear plant facilities. Such waste is extremely toxic, lasts thousands of years and poses a challenge when it comes to disposing of it (burying and encasing it) safely.

The company, NDB, says it can safely utilize this waste to generate power in its nano diamond batteries. It can achieve this by processing graphite nuclear waste into a pure form and then converting it into diamonds. As the waste product enveloped by the diamond decays, it interacts with the carbon to generate a small electric current.

Depending on the power drain, the battery, which never needs recharging, would last for a user's lifetime, and beyond.

It could be used for common mobile devices, medical products, satellites and could provide energy in hard-to-reach locations or remote areas where routine maintenance would be difficult.

The company has not yet produced a prototype, but says it has proof of concept. The company sees virtually unlimited applications of NDBs.

"Think of it in an iPhone," NDB's chief strategy officer Neel Naicker says. "With the same size battery, it would charge your battery from zero to full, five times an hour. Imagine that. Imagine a world where you wouldn't have to charge your battery at all for the day. Now imagine for the week, for the month… How about for decades? That's what we're able to do with this technology."

The basic principle behind the concept is not actually new. As NDB's chief operating officer Mohammed Irfan explained: "Using radioisotopes as a source for energy is not new. We have nuclear medicine, where patients are treated with controlled equipment, which has always given effective results. Similarly, we have had nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. Of course, that's a completely different process, but it's been able to successfully and safely deliver power and energy without safety issues."

Some NDB claims have ben greeted with cautious skepticism in tech circles.

"NDB speaks of low- and high-power versions of the cell in development, but until we see some output figures the claims are still hazy, and until we see some proof, they're just claims," said Loz Blain, a tech writer at New Atlas.

Steven Novella of the publication NEUROLOGICA blog questions how the batteries will reach sufficient output to be as effective as NDB's developers claim. "This all sounds great," Novella says, "but there is a critical factor left out… What is the power density of these devices?" Specs from similar projects utilizing radioactive fuel, Novella suggests, show "the power density is extremely low, much lower than chemical batteries like lithium-ion. The engineers from NDB admit their power density is about the same as other nuclear diamond technology."

NDB says it will begin work on a prototype as soon as virus-related quarantines ease, and they hope to produce a working prototype in less than two years.

In the meantime, they believe they have found the ultimate solution to a longtime problem.

"We've taken something that's really harmful to the environment, a problem, " NDB's Naicker says, "and created energy."
https://techxplore.com/news/2020-08-ene ... amond.html
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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rev wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:08 pm
https://www.opb.org/article/2020/09/03/ ... r-reactor/

At least our federal government as useless as they are haven't entirely ruled out nuclear as an option.
The Federal Government and News Corp should be hauled before the advertising standards tribunal every time they mention "cheap power" and "nuclear" in the same sentence...

The cost of nuclear energy in Australia is around $184 mwh (wholesale) for large scale reactors and $238 mwh for small nuclear reactors. I have sourced these figures from the South Australian's government report into the nuclear fuel cycle.
https://nuclear.yoursay.sa.gov.au/the-report
And as these are 2016 figures, one can only imagine what the cost would be in the late 2020's.

Current costs for renewables are $50 mwh (wholesale) for solar, $45 mwh for onshore wind and $100 mwh for offshorewind. Coal and gas I put around $130-$150.....

Large scale battery storage is around $160-$170 mwh but forecast to drop %10 every years for the next 5 years.

That article about Utah mentions no prices or cost per mwh, typical of the nuclear industry.

By the way if you google "world's most expensive power plant" the winner is the Hinkley Point (C) nuclear power plant in the UK.....and it hasn't even opened yet !

Original cost $35 billion....now running 2 years behind schedule.....final cost 45-50? billion Australian dollars, its getting harder to find out as the UK government is severely embarrassed by this project and is trying to stop the information flow.

UK power consumers will be paying $186 (plus cpi) per mwh wholesale for the next 35 years as the UK government has "guaranteed" the right of supply from the new nuclear plant......ie the grid must buy power from Hinkley.
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rev
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Yes because solar and wind has really driven the price down for consumers in South Australia. Oh wait a minute....reality at the door :roll: :lol:
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Surely the price of Nuclear would drop if more stations were being built, though? Solar Thermal was pretty much the most expensive type of power about a decade ago before there was a decent pipeline of projects underway, now I recall hearing (and yes, from renewables people) that it is now among the cheapest technologies available. Anyways, I wouldn’t mind seeing a couple of SMR projects being built just to see how they go financially & technologically (also as a bit of payback to stick it up those Greenpeace/Primitivist types who whine about everything nowadays unless it involves going back to subsistence living in straw huts in the jungle)
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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rev wrote:Yes because solar and wind has really driven the price down for consumers in South Australia. Oh wait a minute....reality at the door :roll: Image
Actually, solar and wind are the cheapest sources of electricity we have in this state. It's the gas and diesel generators (the latter which are used in emergencies) that drives our wholesale price up.

Batteries and other storage will continue to put downward pressure on wholesale costs. What really kills us on price is the cost of distribution.

For what it's worth, SA now has the second lowest wholesale electricity price in Australia.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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South Carolinas many billions spent on Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Power Station that likely will never be turned on.
That is surely up there for recent example of nuclear power costing a fortune and not delivering.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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bits wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 9:47 am
South Carolinas many billions spent on Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Power Station that likely will never be turned on.
That is surely up there for recent example of nuclear power costing a fortune and not delivering.
I see an argument for self-contained submarine-style no-maintenance nuclear power stations for mines and outback communities. It is possible that market has now moved in favour of wind/solar plus batteries too.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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Norman wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:03 am
rev wrote:Yes because solar and wind has really driven the price down for consumers in South Australia. Oh wait a minute....reality at the door :roll: Image
Actually, solar and wind are the cheapest sources of electricity we have in this state. It's the gas and diesel generators (the latter which are used in emergencies) that drives our wholesale price up.

Batteries and other storage will continue to put downward pressure on wholesale costs. What really kills us on price is the cost of distribution.

For what it's worth, SA now has the second lowest wholesale electricity price in Australia.
We've been promised for years and years and years that renewables will bring down the consumer price. It hasn't.
We are now at a stage where renewables make up most of our electricity generation yes? So why haven't the prices come down for consumers?

We're now being told that homes with solar will need to pay SAPN a fee. Biggest con job in this states history I say.
Imagine you're about to invest in solar power for your home, and instead of the 80~ odd inverters that were available you now only have a choice of 3 which can be remotely controlled meaning they can switch off your solar generation capability and force you onto the mains grid instead.

I can definitely see more and more people setting their homes up to be offgrid.

It's as ridiculous as charging people for collecting rain water in tanks that they've paid for, with the rain water running off their roofs into their gutters and down a pipe into their paid for and owned rain water tank. Because that happens to in parts of this country.

Wasn't the government meant to be bringing down the cost of living? Weren't they recently talking about how utilities costs are coming down? Where, when has this happened? For whom? I don't know anyone that prices have down for. I was away from home for several months earlier in the year, my gas bill was still the same as it was when I'm home using the gas. Why?

Nuclear power may, or may not, deliver cheaper power to consumers. I don't believe that a state Labor governments report, the same state Labor government that was vehemently opposed to nuclear power based on their ideologically driven policy on the matter, is a credible source on that though.

But what I do know is that our utilities being in the hands of multinational corporations that are answerable not to the people of Australia, but to their share holders (who don't give a toss if we're being ripped off or not), is what's wrong with the whole setup. There is no accountability for these corporations, and they get away with whatever they want.
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Re: News & Discussion: Electricity Infrastructure

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New rules start today regarding installation of roof top solar panels in South Australia.

You should read this article if you intend installing roof top solar in the future or if you are going to replace the inverter on existing panels.

From Renew Economy
Rooftop solar enters brave new world as South Australia leads shift to tighter rules

Image


South Australia has ushered in a brave new world for rooftop solar, with the introduction of new rules that require strict new inverter standards and households to nominate an “agent” that will be empowered to switch off their solar if asked to by the market operator.

The new rules – dubbed the “Smarter Homes” – will revolutionise the way distributed energy resources interact with the grid in South Australia, and across the country, and just so happen to come into force on the fourth anniversary of the state’s “system black” state-wide blackout in 2016.

The new standards aim to ensure new rooftop solar installations have the ability to “ride through” system faults, can be subject to changing export limits, and can be disconnected from the grid if needed. Similar rules will be introduced in Western Australia, and then throughout the main grid.

To meet this goal, all rooftop solar systems installed in the state from today must choose from a list of government-approved, compliant inverters (see here) and system owners must have appointed a “relevant agent” (listed here) which is approved to control these inverters, if need be.

It is the most significant new development for rooftop solar, which in just a few years has grown from a niche technology that nibbled at the earnings of the big coal generators, to a phenomenon that will come to dominate the grid in future years as the market shift from a centralised grid to a distributed one.

Which means that while the standards currently apply only in South Australia, one version or another of the same rules will inevitably be extended to the rest of the National Electricity Market, and the W.A. grid, sooner rather than later, via the Australian Energy Market Operator.

AEMO has long planned a “roadmap” to introduce new standards, new technology and new protocols to enable it to manage this growing resource around the country.

But South Australia’s booming uptake of rooftop solar – and the fear that the “zero demand” benchmark may be reached before a new interconnector to NSW is built by around 2023 – has forced it and the state government to fast-track their response.

Just last month, AEMO described the grid-wide need for new powers to control rooftop solar as “urgent.”

In a draft interim standard published in late August, the market operator noted that up to 40% of rooftop solar systems could suddenly disconnect if inverters were not able to ride through system faults. In S.A., that amounts to 500MW, and counting, of capacity that could suddenly be lost – a major threat to the system in such a small grid.

As noted above, the new inverter standards coincide with the anniversary of South Australia’s infamous “system black” event of four years ago, a state-wide black-out caused when freak storms flattened powerlines and triggered a series of catastrophic system and generator faults.

That system black had nothing to do with rooftop solar – and as AEMO noted after the event, was not about large-scale renewables, either – but it drove home the need for a “smarter” and more agile grid, and for AEMO to better understand the characteristics of the resources at its disposal.

In South Australia, the rooftop solar resource is the number one priority, as it hurtles towards becoming the first gigawatt-scale grid in the world where the growing amount of rooftop solar effectively eliminates grid demand. It is believed that up 4,000 new systems are being added each month.

South Australia’s decision, to go it alone and in quite a rush, has not pleased everyone, of course. Solar industry bodies have lamented the lack of notice and warned that the swift rule change could leave retailers and installers saddled with millions of dollars-worth of redundant stock. Others have suggested that over regulation is killing innovation.

But the government is forging ahead. South Australia’s energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has argued that 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.

The state has also been leading the roll-out of home batteries and the establishment of virtual power plants, both of which are considered vital to the smarter management of the state’s huge rooftop solar resource.

“We’re providing subsidies for batteries and low interest loans for batteries and new solar installations, allowing households to take control of their energy use and drive down their power bills,” the minister said in a statement on Monday.

“The Home Battery Scheme has also paved the way for commercial providers to launch new Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) in South Australia, which operate batteries together like a power plant, providing even lower battery prices and bigger savings to households who join in.

“Alongside with state government’s Virtual Power Plant and the free batteries for bushfire victims, this takes the total number of home batteries committed and installed in SA to over 20,000,” he said.

The Marshall government also grabbed the chance on Monday to take a swipe at its political opponents. “We are fixing the legacy of blackouts left by the old Labor government,” Van Holst Pellekaan claimed.

As for what this means for the industry and for households in South Australia, as the Clean Energy Council explains here, customers looking to install a rooftop solar system will now need to use a compliant inverter, a list of which is available on the SA Department for Energy and Mining’s website. The list is comprehensive, and constantly being updated – more compliant inverters were added just last week.

Customers also need to appoint a ‘Relevant Agent’ to manage the turning off and on of their system in an emergency. A list of Relevant Agents is available on the SA Department for Energy and Mining’s website. The new rules don’t affect existing solar customers replacing their inverter under warranty. But if customers are replacing or upgrading an inverter out of warranty, the new rules do apply.

For installers and retailers, the new rules are clear, and inverter checks are now being conducted by the Clean Energy Regulator as part of its systematic inspections of installed rooftop PV systems to ensure their safety and compliance.

Industry sources have told RenewEconomy that the cost of installing a system under the new rules may be $20-30 higher than before.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/rooftop-sol ... les-68583/
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