Via the AFR today:
The chair of the Energy Security Board Dr Kerry Schott says the rapid take-up of household rooftop solar panels in Australian cities is causing energy security problems for energy distribution companies.
…”The so-called duck curve is really causing security issues for the distribution networks,” she said.Dr Schott said Australia’s power grid was simply not structured right to cope with the rapid change in technology and shifting markets.
“We’ve got a grid at the moment that’s not fit for purpose,” she said.
Part of the problem was that large renewable energy projects such as solar farms and wind turbines were in rural areas and there was a ”long, skinny string” to connect those into the cities where the large populations were.
…Dr Schott also said that ageing coal-fired power stations like the Liddell plant in New South Wales weren’t flexible enough to be part of the long-term future landscape.
“They are dinosaurs in that sense,” she said.”What we actually need in the market is energy that is both firm and flexible”.
In short, you need gas-fired generation, both combined cycle and peakers. They’re the only ones that are “firm and flexible” enough as energy storage catches down in price in the long term.
But the Government just can’t face it, also at the AFR:
In his keynote address to The Australian Financial Review National Energy Summit in Sydney on Wednesday, Mr Taylor will highlight the need to strengthen the process for retaining coal generators.
He will declare that “some vague hope” of renewables, transmission upgrades and demand response filling the supply gap being left by the closure of AGL Energy’s Liddell power station in NSW early next decade, isn’t good enough.
Mr Taylor will also emphasise the need for strong market signals for new investment in gas and hydro power, both through the Morrison government’s underwriting program, its retailer reliability mechanism and a redesign of the National Electricity Market to include day-ahead commitments to supply power.
This is all bollocks. All we need is gas reservation to reliably drop the price of that fuel. Then all problems are solved at once.
It was always the plan to use gas as the “transitional fuel” in the decarbonisation process. Using it to substitute inflexible and polluting coal while we waited for power storage to catch down in price.
The only thing that went wrong with it was a gas cartel emerged and stole all of the gas for export to Asia, crashing the price there while pricing it out of the local power mix.
We need to keep 15% of current east coast gas exports at home on a fixed price so that the cancelled plans to build combined cycle and gas peakers can be restored.
This is all that the US did, without anywhere near the level of renewables or policy incentives, and it has advanced decarbonisation with total reliability.
All of Australia’s energy problems are fixed with the stroke of the gas reservation pen.
He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.