Aussie households slowly kill gas cartel with solar

The market will respond. With the Australian Government’s protected gas cartel driving power prices mad from 2015 guess what? At Bloomie:

Australians’ fervent embrace of rooftop solar is forcing the grid to become more flexible.

The shift has carved out daytime demand for traditional generation and caused bigger fluctuations in electricity use across the day, the Australian Energy Market Operator said in its annual report on the long-term outlook for the grid. With a number of coal power plants set to retire over the next decade, lithium-ion batteries, pumped hydro and improved transmission infrastructure will play a key role in filling the gap, it said.

Sure, some of this is inventives and climate change, too.

Ironically, the solar boom left us even dependent upon gas turbines that can switch on and off quickly which has rendered southern states unreliable. From AEMO:

Key insights
• The forecast level of expected USE is below the reliability standard in all regions in 2021-22 (T-1).
• Absent additional investment, USE is forecast to increase to above the IRM, and below the reliability standard, in New South Wales in 2023-24 (T-3) after the retirement of the Liddell Power Station.
• The increase in forecast expected USE in New South Wales after the retirement of Liddell has moderated since the 2019 ESOO, partly due to the planned commissioning of the QNI Minor50 augmentation by December 2022. Despite this, in the absence of further actions, there remain high risks of load shedding during extreme heat events after Liddell retires. Any delay in the commissioning of QNI Minor would exacerbate this risk.
• Reliability in New South Wales is forecast to continue to deteriorate over the 10-year outlook due to the impact of increasing forced outage rates as generators age and near retirement.
• Without further timely network investment, USE in New South Wales is expected to increase well above the reliability standard in 2029-30 after the retirement of Vales Point Power Station.
• Expected USE risks remain in all years in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia if there were multiple long-duration generation or transmission outages coinciding with high demand, as was experienced in Victoria last year.

Yet there are no plans for gas turbines in the outlook:

We will need much more water, battery and interconnectors to spread the weather for renewables ahead.

Aussie households are steadily killing the gas cartel’s private energy carbon tax.

I guess they never expected that when they voted down a carbon price that charged the generators instead!

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. We will need much more water

    Useless with mass immigration:

    Australia’s population to reach 456 million by 2200.

  2. Jumping jack flash

    The future for [Australian] energy is everyone provides for themselves or it is limited to small local grids that are shared. The time to make the switch has never been better than right now.

    Privatisation and the New Economy where gargantuan piles of debt are absolutely essential for everyone to own pretty much ensured the death of the centralised energy model.

    If you couple this with an electric car, then you achieve total energy independence. Something that has been missing from modern society since the days of the fuel stove and the horse and cart. Its a very empowered position to be in.

  3. TheLambKingMEMBER

    These reports are very factual and ‘old world’ thinking. There is no vision or direction.

    This problem will be solved with a bit of engineering, a bit of economics and a bit of technology driven deflation (listen to this MB podcast on the 6th of August – 3.33 Will Technology Driven Deflation be the price of tomorrow)

    We drive supply and demand by economics (pay people to use less – like we do with Alcoa, pay more to release power with demand.) We drive up reliability by engineering, by adding power buffers everywhere. We add batteries at houses, sub-stations and where high voltage power-lines join the grid to smooth the output (like we do with routers and packets on the internet.) The price of batteries are falling by about 20% a year, within 5 years they will pay for themselves within a reasonable time (and we will use depreciated EV car batteries)

  4. I’m about to install a 10kw system at home, I will do batteries in the next 5 or so years to go with. It will totally kill my energy needs.

    • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

      Good for you. My 10.3kW system went active in early June get some east, north and west arrays if you are planning for self consumption. I did put in a small battery 10kW with this system and it has been surprising how much it is used (more than 100% utilisation per day in the winter).

      • Yeah but I am thinking Battery prices will decline over the next few years. So may make it more compelling. Looking at my current energy usage, it’s mostly during the day where there is high energy usage (drier, pool pump) etc.. so I think solar can offset a lot of it. Plus I’m gonna get LCD lights for the house to keep nighttime costs down. Since at night it’s mostly lights and TV going.

        • Gavin
          We’re a 5 member household, but the lecky bill always says we use less than a 2 person household.
          LED lights is a big start, turning off devices with standby power usage is v important.
          Change your mindset and your lecky bills can evaporate with panels + battery.
          For us, it’s 90 days since we drew power from the grid.

          • Excellent to hear, yes I’m below the 2 person household power usage figure already. Monthly bills have been $140 on avg. but I think with solar I can reduce it by about $100 and only pay for supply charge. Being more conscious of your usage is also important.

  5. bolstroodMEMBER

    Aussie households slowly kill gas cartel with solar.
    We installed 5kw solar + batteries with just that intention.

    • ignoratio elenchiMEMBER

      We just did Solar – waiting on grid connection. Battery in 2 years. I will trade the medium diesel SUV for a PHEV once car dealers open.
      I did some calcs earlier in the year, I would need around 28KWh of batteries to be entirely off grid. An electric car could be a portable battery – however the local electricity grid would have to allow it.

  6. David – In “Figure 20” in the reproduced chart, the “Thermal” projects are all gas turbines. And there are a stack committed too as the text indicates (like AGL’s reneable battery gas turbine replacement for Liddell post 2024).

    Might want to amend your text to point out that the market is going to build more batteries/hydro instead of gas to provide flexibility (a few years ago “thermal”, i.e. gas, would have been dominant in the forecast).

  7. With my new house, we intend to install a large solar plus batteries system within tu next 12 months, and expect to participate in a virtual power plant system with the excess power produced.

    Hope to get an electric car soon, too.

    • MountainGuinMEMBER

      VPP and getting paid near wholesale rates for well timed exports rather than a few cents is really going to be the trigger to boost residential batteries IMO. VPP set ups seem pretty restricted at the moment.