South Australia offers vital lessons for other jurisdictions transitioning from a fossil fuel-based electricity grid to a low emissions, high penetration renewables grid.
Coal was phased out in 2016. Today, South Australia’s grid is dominated by wind and solar backed up by battery storage and interstate grid connectivity. Peaking gas is seen only as a temporary generation technology.
The proportion of electricity demand met by large-scale and small-scale variable renewable energy generation grew from zero to 60% in just 14 years.
South Australia’s 2020 electricity demand was served by 13% rooftop solar, 4% utility-scale solar and 42% wind. The remainder was provided by gas generators (42%), interstate imports and exports and a contribution from batteries.
With 40% of homes having rooftop solar, South Australia is a global leader.
But the records don’t stop there according to a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) which highlights lessons learnt for energy planners globally.
[Johanna Bowyer and Dr. Gabrielle Kuiper]