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Key Findings

South Australia offers vital lessons for other jurisdictions transitioning from a fossil fuel-based electricity grid to a low emissions, high renewables grid.

Lessons from South Australia can help inform other jurisdictions on how to integrate large amounts of variable renewable energy generation and distributed energy resources into the electricity system.

South Australia provides valuable lessons for the rest of the world.

Executive Summary

South Australia (SA) is a window into the future of an electricity grid dominated by wind and solar, and backed up by storage.

Lessons from South Australia can help inform other jurisdictions on how to integrate large amounts of variable renewable energy (VRE) generation and distributed energy resources (DER) into the electricity system.

This report presents seven key lessons from the South Australian experience for other states and nations that are transitioning from a fossil fuel-based grid to a low emissions, high renewables penetration grid:

  1. 60% of annual demand has been provided by wind and solar and 100% in certain time periods
  2. Government policy and market features can drive high adoption of renewables
  3. Ambitious renewables plans can drive economic growth
  4. Wind and solar bring down wholesale electricity prices
  5. System reliability and security can be maintained in a high renewables grid
  6. Batteries can help maintain system reliability and security
  7. High penetrations of rooftop solar can be managed with distribution network innovation.

Johanna Bowyer

Johanna Bowyer is the Lead Research Analyst for Australian Electricity at IEEFA. Her research is focused on trends in the National Electricity Market, energy policy and decarbonisation.

Prior to joining IEEFA, Johanna researched distribution networks at CSIRO, worked as an engineer at Solar Analytics and Suntech and worked as a management consultant at Kearney.

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Gabrielle Kuiper

DER Specialist and Senior Adviser to the Smart Energy Council, Dr. Gabrielle Kuiper is an energy, sustainability and climate change professional with over twenty years’ experience in the corporate world, government and non-government organizations and academia. She was previously the DER Strategy Specialist with the Energy Security Board.

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