All the more reason to have pumped hydro and battery storage. More expensive in the short-term due to capital costs, but cheaper in the long-run.
South Australia is entering a new phase of its transition towards a 100 per cent renewable energy grid, with solar starting to become the biggest contributor to the state’s grid in the middle of the day.Who provides the evening peak? Not solar.
Some of those with rooftop arrays in South Australia are being paid 55 cents per kw/h to provide electricity to the grid at times of the day when it isn't required.
How is this sensible policy? How does this benefit South Australia, subsidising to the hilt a lop-sided grid system that provides the most expensive domestic electricity in the world?
My main beef with current energy policy is that the Govt is subsidizing the wealthy who can afford solar, but penalize the poor who can't. A more equitable way forward is Govt or Industry funded capital investment in new power generation. It sounds a bit Socialist, but it's a better way forward than stealing from the poor to benefit the rich.
The more affluent driving lower emission more fuel efficient cars, have cheaper energy demanding houses, fly on planes that use less fuel etc etc etc, thats life. The problem with applying ideology over market rates, is that the people who can afford to pay for the ideology is the more affluent.
There is also no stealing from the poor as the poor don't pay taxes or the taxes they pay are less than the social welfare hand outs. Generally speaking if you are on less than average wage you are not contributing to the Fed govt's overall income after welfare payments are factored in. The bulk of the fed govts income comes from the higher income earners. The biggest issue for lower income earner is that they tend to rent and renters have limited options to get houses with solar as whats the incentive for the owner (me being one).
Battery storage is a NON solution for the large scale grid problems. The Tesla battery and other smaller ones may have their place or look pretty, but realistically isn't going to solve big problems, yet! Helps in smaller grid locations and will soon benefit Solar PV owners.
Pumped hydro has its place, but its expensive power designed for solving peak demand issues, not regular demand as remember pumped hydro does not generate 1MW of new energy, it just recycles, at a cost! With pumped hydro you need to generate about 120% of the original demand.
So that means if you have a coal power station is running at say $60/MW with a 85% reliability, the PV solar/wind that supported the pumped hydro needs generate power at around $25MWh as does the pumped hydro to be on par with coal. Additionally with coal if you have a 2400MW of installed capacity in say 6 units with say stand-by Gas Turbine for breakdowns, you need 3-4 x the installed capacity in PV solar and wind, ie 7500 to 10000MW of installed capacity to make up for the very low load factor, nominally around 33%. There will be some pumped solutions that work and make sense, but others not so and in a country of limited rain and in case of SA, limited places to build, pumped hydro is not the golden child its made out to be. Snowy 2.0 I believe will not happen as the costs are fully exposed.
PV solar has its place and I like the technology, its cheap to install and uses free land and effectively free or at least hidden maintenance costs on mostly domestic housing as neither are reflected in the actual price and output. More efficient directional solar farms typically use Australia's lower cost land with little agricultural use. PV output typically follows peaking demand with the exception of late PM and early PM where we are currently seeing the highest prices.
Wind in the right locations has an output that can compliment PV solar in that the two rarely go to 0% and 100% together and wind on the coast can be good and generating power later in the afternoon. But neither PV solar or wind solves the 24/7 solution.
The CO2 issue, the most common back up for non-despatchable power is Gas Turbine, you can build coal fired power plants that are more efficient on CO2 emissions than a open cycle gas turbine. The problem with the bulk of Australia's coal fired power stations is that they use dated technology designed and built in an era of cheap coal and who cares emissions targets. If you replace them with the latest technology as per even China, emissions such as SO2, NOX and CO2 are far lower.
The way to solve the power price and reliability issue is simple.
- End the subsidies for RE. You want to build, go for it! We hear so often that RE has faster turn around and income generatio than coal, so fine build away, but I'm not paying.
- Non-despatacble power suppliers cannot bid against dispatchable power suppliers unless they provide a 24/7 guarantee which is required in some countries, I think UK being one of them.
- Remove the POLITICAL RISK for building coal power stations.
RE will come, no doubt about it, the price is dropping, the technology evolving, but lets do it with some commonsense and not destroy our industry more than we have and maybe even bring some back as well as give power prices that Australian's who live in the world's most energy abundant country per capita deserve. Do this and you don't need welfare payments to lower income earners to fund PV solar or off-set their higher power prices.Something to think about
Dubai has minimal oil and limited gas reserves and imports gas at certain times of the year. Its power sector is now 99% gas turbine, closed cycle with open cycle boosters and uses the waste heat from closed cycle to desalinate seawater for the city.
The 0-2000kW monthly tariff I pay is $A 8.5c/kW and rises to 13c/kW for over 6000kW/mth. Power is not subsidised for expats (457/482 equivalent visa holders) which make up 85% of the population and there are some other fuel charges when gas prices are high and VAT.
If you cannot get domestic power in Australia at this price, you have to ask why? Don't blame the aging mostly devalued coal fire power stations. The Gold Plating of the grid is not reflected in the wholesale prices.