October 14, 2020 Read More →

Milestone set in South Australia as solar supplies 100% of demand for first time

Renew Economy:

The combination of rooftop and utility scale solar met 100 per cent of demand in South Australia for the first time on Sunday, reaching a milestone that will surely be repeated many times over – and for longer periods – in the future.

The milestone was reached at 12.05pm grid time (Australian eastern standard time), with rooftop solar providing 992MW, or 76.3 per cent of state demand, and utility scale solar providing a further 315MW – meaning all three of the state’s big solar farms, Bungala 1, Bungala 2 and Tailem Bend were operating at full capacity.

The new record came just weeks after solar set a previous milestone of 94 per cent of state demand and rooftop solar output reached 900MW for the first time. On Sunday, that level (94 per cent) was beaten for more than two and a half hours. The combination of sunny weather, mild temperatures and relatively low weekend demand is sure to see more records fall.

The state’s generators were producing more than they needed and exporting most of the surplus to Victoria with some going into the state’s big batteries.

South Australia is currently required to run a minimum amount of gas-fired generation to provide grid services such as inertia and system strength, but the need for this will be reduced when four new synchronous condensers are switched on over the next 12 month, and as battery storage begins to provide “synthetic” inertia services.

The expanded Hornsdale big battery is trialing those inertia services, and has the capacity to meet half the state’s inertia requirements. The construction of a new link to NSW will also further reduce the need for local gas fired generators, and will accelerate the shift towards the state Liberal government’s target of net 100 per cent renewables (averaged over a year).

[Giles Parkinson]

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