The important role renewable energy is playing in South Australia’s energy mix has been underlined by the release of a new joint report on the state’s power supply security.
Compiled by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and ElectraNet, the report found there were no new issues with power supply security in South Australia, and that, under normal operating conditions, the SA grid can continue to operate securely and reliably with a high percentage of wind and PV generation.
However, it added that the state could experience issues if the network connecting South Australia to Victoria experienced an outage, and that further investment should be made to improve power security.
AEMO Managing Director and Chief Executive Matt Zema said the power systems are changing with the rise and uptake of emerging and renewable technologies, advances in battery storage, increasingly active consumer behaviour, and shifting demand patterns.
“The joint report with ElectraNet highlights the crucial need for power system support services, such as frequency control services, to maintain a secure and reliable power system.
“Traditionally, large conventional synchronous generators have inherently provided power system support services, such as frequency and voltage control. With some large synchronous generators exiting the market, especially in South Australia, these power system support services will need to be sourced by other means.”
Australian Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren said South Australia is at the leading edge globally in managing the integration of high levels of renewable generation like wind and solar.
“South Australia has become an accidental experiment in integrating wind and solar at scale,” Mr Warren said.
“As a result, South Australians are increasingly reliant on a narrower range of generation sources to meet their needs when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. We can manage this in a number of ways, but it will require significant extra investment and careful consideration,” he added.
Kane Thornton, Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, said the report has left the door wide open for new innovative solutions to help the nation’s transition towards a low-carbon energy market.
“Large-scale battery storage is just one approach that was recommended in the report, which is an exciting emerging technology with real potential to provide both grid stabilisation and support.
“Continuing to ensure that the energy system is carefully planned, with market designs and