November 22, 2021 Read More →

South Australia becomes first gigawatt-scale grid to hit zero demand

Renew Economy:

South Australia on Sunday became the first gigawatt scale grid in the world to reach zero operational demand on Sunday when the combined impact of rooftop solar and other small scale solar installations met all the customer load requirements.

The landmark event was observed by several energy analysts, including at Watt Clarity and NEMLog, where Geoff Eldridge noted that a number of measures for South Australia demand notched up record minimums for system normal conditions.

The fact that South Australia’s operating demand could fall to zero, and even into negative territory, was flagged as a possibility this spring by the Australian Energy Market Operator, who noted it would be the first gigawatt scale grid to do this.

Minimum demand is now possibly the biggest challenge for market operators like AEMO, because under current market settings it needs to have a certain amount of synchronous generation to maintain system strength and grid stability.

It does this by running a minimum amount of gas generation, and through the recent commissioning of spinning machines called synchronous condensers that do not burn fuel. It also needs a link to a neighbouring grid, in this case Victoria, so it can export surplus production.

[Giles Parkinson]

More: Rooftop solar helps send South Australia grid to zero demand in world first

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