South Australian Solar & Wind Reaching 135% Of Energy Demand
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On Saturday, November 27, 2021, solar and wind once again broke its own record, reaching a 135% of the energy demand and averaging more than 108% of local energy demand over a 48 hour period in South Australia. This new benchmark was a result of excellent solar and wind conditions and the decision by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to dramatically dial down the amount of gas generation required to ensure the grid security.
Until recently, South Australia had required at least 240 MW of gas generation to ensure “synchronous generation”, according to an exclusive report by RenewEconomy. That would require repeated “directions” from AEMO and meant that some wind or solar had to be curtailed to make room for gas generation. But following the commissioning of four spinning machines known as synchronous condensers (which do not burn fuel, but takes energy from the grid to initiate the spinning), AEMO has dialed back the amount of gas generation required, first to 120 MW and more recently to 80MW, or just two gas generators (one is actually needed while the other is for insurance).
South Australia has become the first gigawatt scale grid in the world to be nearly fossil free, with no coal generation (the last coal generator closed in 2016) and only 4.4% from gas (The thin orange line in graph below).
As the market operator becomes more and more comfortable with using battery storage, utilizing “grid forming inverters” to provide the “system strength”, market experts believe that the share of fossil fuels will decline. AEMO has issued one white paper on the potential role of grid forming battery inverters. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is preparing to launch a $100 million funding round to prove this technology at scale.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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