Jay Weatherill’s energy plan involves the construction of a government-owned 250MW gas-fired power plant to provide emergency back-up power and system stability services for South Australians, and power for his resources minister to instruct the owners of Pelican Point to turn it on. Yet his plans for cheaper gas, or any gas, will not work quickly and possibly will not work at all. Laura Tingle in an excellent article published under the title of Power sources: steaming Premiers and Pumped PMs tells us that on the futures market on Wednesday, the June contract for electricity in Victoria hit $147.50 per megawatt hour, compared to a price for the March contract of just $80 as energy traders put a price on the closure of Hazelwood in Victoria at the end of March.
Meanwhile a group of former BHP Billiton and BP executives is consulting with SA to build a private equity funded power station, using gas from a floating regasification plant sourcing gas from the North West Shelf and from Singapore, some of which may actually come from the Cooper Basin in the state’s north via Gladstone.
Is this for real, and how did we get into this ridiculous mess? Continue reading Gas to burn
As noted in Climate Clippings 139 (Item 5) the new Queensland Labor Government has committed to a 50% renewable energy target by 2030 so I was interested to attend a public forum last week on the future of electricity in Queensland, chaired by John Davidson as convenor of the West Brisbane Branch of the Queensland Greens. Speakers were John Foster, Professor of Economics at Queensland University, Murray Craig, Managing Director of Solar Centre and Charles Worringham, spokesperson for the Queensland Greens. Continue reading The future of electricity in Queensland
These posts are intended to share information and ideas about climate change and hence act as a roundtable. Again, I do not want to spend time in comments rehashing whether human activity causes climate change.
This edition is completely about implementation issues and is largely based on a number of links drawn to my attention by John D, for which gratitude and thanks. I’ve restricted the offering to six items to make it more digestible.
1. The battery storage system that could close down coal power
A German company is developing relatively large scale battery storage (up to 10MW-sized battery parks) which could “stabilise the grid faster, cheaper and with greater precision that conventional generation.”
It says that these systems can substitute 10 times the capacity from conventional generation – coal, nuclear and gas – and at a fraction of the cost. According to Younicos spokesman Philip Hiersemenzel, each battery park can be installed at around € 15 million, which means that for an investment of €3 billion, conventional generation in Germany’s 80GW would no longer be needed – at least for frequency and stability purposes. Continue reading Climate clippings 88
Giles Parkinson at RenewEconomy tolls the bell for fossil fuel energy producers pretty much on a daily basis. Recently he posted that Energex’ business model was broken, according to its annual report.
To explain the set-up, Energex is the state-owned electricity wholesaler and distributor for South East Queensland. It doesn’t generate power or retail power to the customers. It services 1.3 residences and other customers in an area with a population of 3.1 million:
Power is generated by power stations and delivered to Energex through a high-voltage transmission network that is owned and operated by Powerlink Queensland, also a government owned corporation. Go here for brief industry structure. The network that delivers power to residences and other customers is owned and operated by Energex.
In our house we buy power from AGL. I’m not sure they do anything other than send us a bill. They probably outsource their metre reading. Certainly they outsource marketing as became clear when I asked a question of a sales representative.
Ergon Energy, also state-owned, is the equivalent company for the rest of the State. Actually it is a cluster of operating companies with several joint ventures, including SPARQ Solutions Pty Ltd, which provides information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services to both Ergon and Energex. Ergon owns and operates 33 stand-alone power stations in remote off-grid locations selling directly to customers. The shaded area on this map shows the extent of the grid: Continue reading Queensland power generation at the crossroads