The Murdoch media continues to lay the blame on renewables, a notion specifically rejected by AEMO, leading to a Twitter battle between SA minister Tom Koutsantonis and The Australian’s Adelaide bureau chief, Michael Owen.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) appears to be showing signs of embracing change, not least in the fourth and final report on the South Australian blackouts last December. They suggest that if all the operating windfarms had had their software appropriately adjusted the lights would have stayed on for the bulk of the network.
Rather than finger-pointing about wind energy, the report emphasises the need to embrace new fast response technologies and a flexible network.
Audrey Zibelman, the new CEO, who recently led New York state’s ambitious “Reform the Energy Vision” program, in her first outing spoke of:
- the need of a “flexible network” that can respond in “real time and truly real time.”
“That is going to need a different approach,” she said. “Australia is leading the world …. ” She said the focus would be on better data and working on the “demand” side of the load. But because of the rapid pace of technological change “we don’t have multiple years any more” to get systems right.
The report talks of the need to source additional security from new technologies – such as storage and demand response, along with large-scale solar, wind farms, and household solar and storage – rather than relying on traditional synchronous coal and gas plants.
That’s what AEMO principal Jenny Riesz told the 2017 Wind Industry Forum in Melbourne last week.
The buzz word is frequency control and ancillary services (FCAS). Technically wind farms can do it.
In the article:
- Kate Summers, a senior electrical engineer at Pacific Hydro and an authority on the subject of the peculiarities – and inadequacies – of Australia’s energy market, argues a complete rethink of the FCAS market is needed.
She says the ‘synchronous’ fossil fuel generators are not providing FCAS.
Technically it’s a bit beyond me, but for more information read Summers’ Fast Frequency Service: Treating the symptom, not the cause?
The main thing for me is that AEMO seem to be on the case, not asleep at the wheel.
I gather it is about hertz, rather than voltage variation, and is about second by second variations. So central dispatch is not the answer, it’s more about network standards and control, I think.
I think we’ve linked to this before, but I’ve posted it here because it is relevant to FCAS and network stability as per the previous item. SA is looking for a series of smaller batteries to salt around the grid, with network security in mind.
- Canberra-based software company Reposit Power says the best guarantee of energy security is battery storage systems installed behind the meter, in Australia’s homes and businesses, and not grid-scale applications.
Speaking at a Special Parliamentary Briefing on Energy Storage on Wednesday, Reposit director Luke Osborne said that Australia’s energy sector was rapidly decentralising, with new technology allowing consumers to be much more active in the management of the grid – while also giving energy market operators access to thousands of megawatts of back-up power capacity.
He reckons that we can have a virtual power plant of 5GW in homes and businesses by 2020.
The briefings were hosted by Andrew Bandt, Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan. Attendees included Bob Katter, and Liberal MPs Tim Wilson and Craig Kelly.
Energy minister Mark Bailey announced the proposals to align the state’s current change the state’s voltage from 240 to 230 volts to conform with the other eastern states.
And other changes to facilitate more rooftop solar. I found this interesting:
- Bailey says the changes will provide greater flexibility for electricity distributors to operate the electricity network, increase embedded generation (solar and storage) hosting capacity and lower costs for grid upgrades.
The lower voltages is considered crucial also for new concepts such as peer-to-peer trading and blockchain technologies, and is part of a push for the whole of Australia to shift the settings on its low voltage network – which services 8 million customers – to around 220 volts, in line with new appliances and other technologies, and international practice.
Experts say that the ability to lower the normal operating voltage of those segments of the network with a high penetration of rooftop solar reduces the risk of exceeding maximum voltages when generation levels are high.
- Victorian utility North East Water has announced plans to install solar and battery storage at its water treatment plant in the regional town of Yackandandah, with a tender for the job launched on Friday.
In a statement, the company said it hoped to install 43kW of solar panels and 40kW of battery storage at the facility as part of its own commitment to carbon neutrality, and as a broader water sector trial it was conducting with industry think-tank Intelligent Water Works.
The article lists a range of similar solar installations around the country, but this is the first with batteries.
The Age newspaper ran an “exclusive” story on the front page warning of 72 days of potential blackouts across the state over the next two summers due to the closure of Hazelwood.
It was fake news, of course, depending on the misinterpreting of an AEMO graph.
- One source, who said he talked to Fairfax journalists “at length” trying to explain the graph, described the news story as “unbelievable”. But he also criticised AEMO for publishing a graph without any explanation of what it might mean.
So Fairfax has joined Chris Uhlmann of the ABC and the Murdoch media in misinforming the public about electricity.
9. Turnbull announces an inquiry into electricity prices
PM Malcolm Turnbull has announced an inquiry into electricity prices, to be conducted by the ACCC.
As Paul Bongiorno says, when all else is failing, call an inquiry.
Matthew Warren, CEO of the Australian Energy Council (AEC), representing 21 major electricity and downstream natural gas businesses supplying the majority of electricity production nationally, says the inquiry is not the answer. He says “we are running out of electricity because for the past decade we haven’t had clear, consistent national energy and climate policy”.
There will be a preliminary report in September and a final report on June 30 next year.
It’s an excuse for doing nothing. Nick Xenophon is right. It can’t wait that long.
Turnbull has said that it is the states’ role to build new power stations. He hasn’t caught up with the idea that capitalists are supposed to do this within a positive framework set up by the government.
The relevant capitalists want an emissions intensity scheme, as does Xenophon, before they return to the field.
10. 200th CC
I’m not big on significant milestone numbers. They are only significant because of a number system based on 10. furthermore, I’m fairly sure that I’ve either doubled up or missed one. I remember discovering the problem and deciding that it was too hard to fix.
Nevertheless we are somewhere around the 200 mark, which is not bad at all!