June 5, 2018 Read More →

Australian grid moving steadily toward renewables, decentralization

Renew Economy:

The politics may not change much, but Australia’s electricity grid is changing before our very eyes—slowly and inevitably becoming more renewable, more decentralised, and challenging the pre-conceptions of many in the industry.

The latest National Emissions Audit from The Australia Institute, which includes an update on key electricity trends in the National Electricity Market, notes some interesting developments over the last three months.

The most surprising of those developments may be the South Australia achievement, which shows that since the closure of the Hazelwood brown coal generator in March 2017, South Australia has become a net exporter of electricity, in net annualised terms.

Lead author Hugh Saddler notes that this is a big change for South Australia, which in 1999 and 2000, when it had only gas and local coal, used to import 30 percent of its electricity demand.

“The difference today is that the state is now taking advantage of its abundant resources of wind and solar radiation, and the new technologies which have made them the lowest cost sources of new generation, to supply much of its electricity requirements,” Saddler writes.

As for rooftop solar, Saddler notes that the share of residential solar in the grid is still relatively small but it is the most steadily growing generation source in the NEM. By 2040, or perhaps 2050, the share of distributed generation, which includes rooftop solar, battery storage and demand management, is expected to reach nearly half of all Australia’s grid demand.

More: The Rapidly Changing Dynamics of Australia’s Grid

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