December 1, 2021 Read More →

South Australia grid only one step away from 100 percent renewables

Renew Economy:

In the transition to a world free of fossil fuels, all eyes should be on developments in South Australia, because it is here that skeptics about wind and solar are being defied, and where the local grid is just one step away from being able to operate with no fossil fuels in the system at all.

Last weekend, as reported by RenewEconomy both here and here, South Australia set multiple new records for the share of wind and solar for any gigawatt scale grid in the world.

Wind and solar reached a peak “instant” output of 135 per cent of local demand, and over a 48 hour period grabbed a share of 108 per cent of local demand, and a 100 per cent share over a 93 hour period. The excess supply was mostly exported to Victoria, although small amounts were also stored in batteries.

The new records were facilitated by a new operating protocol that means the Australian Energy Market Operator requires only two gas units to be operating at the time – a total of just 80MW. It means that gas delivered less than five per cent of total generation when there was enough wind and solar to meet demand.

It has been expected that once the new transmission line linking South Australia to NSW – Project EnergyConnect – is built and operating at full capacity in 2025, then South Australia will be able to operate with only wind and solar generation, and no fossil fuels at all at certain times.

[Giles Parkinson]

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