Australia plans to allow renewable energy sources to fully maintain its grid at certain times of the day within the next four years.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released a report stating that the surge in rooftop solar will drive renewable energy generation across the National Electricity Market (NEM).
It is estimated that by 2025, NEM will install 8.9 gigawatts (GW) of commercial and residential solar energy, adding to Australia’s existing 50 GW energy fleet.
AEMO outlines that this alone can provide up to 77% of the total electricity demand at various points of the day, and when combined with planned and existing utility-scale solar and wind farms, it may reach 100% renewable energy Power generation.
“By 2025, there will be some time to meet all customer needs through renewable energy,” AEMO CEO Daniel Westerman said in a statement. Media release.
“This underlines AEMO’s priority to develop a grid that can operate at an instantaneous renewable penetration rate of up to 100% by 2025, providing consumers with reliable and affordable energy.”
However, AEMO pointed out that the rapid development of decentralized and distributed energy systems has created loopholes in Australia’s power grid.
In particular, the Australian Energy Safety Board (ESB) warned last month that major technical challenges must be addressed to ensure a safe and planned transition to renewable resources.
One of these key factors is the lack of transparency between energy retailers and distributed energy sources (DER)—homes and businesses own rooftop solar or batteries.
Stefan Jarnason, CEO of Solar Analytics, a provider of solar monitoring software and hardware, said that ESB and AEMO reports have repeatedly stated that a mechanism is needed to better manage DER.
Jarnason told The Epoch Times in an email: “The first problem now is that the visibility of how DER operates on the grid is almost zero.”
By default, DERs are currently exported to the grid, and there is little interaction with the grid operator. However, on sunny days, AEMO was forced to intervene and completely reduce this generation in some cases.
Over the years, the problem of insufficient measures to deal with the increasing solar energy has become more and more serious. Last year alone, AEMO required 321 manual interventions, while in 2016, it required 6 interventions.
Jarnason explained that although industry-recognized guidelines already exist, Australia has not worked hard to implement this important mechanism.
“DER is growing rapidly and will become the largest source of power generation in the grid in this decade,” Jarnason said. “However, no authority anywhere has taken the steps agreed by the industry to actually solve urgent problems.”
“So DER will continue to grow, and we will sadly face a difficult period of higher than necessary prices due to the disorderly transition,” Jarnason said.
In addition to DER management, concerns about the ability to provide sufficient, “flexible” electricity at all times of the day are increasing, especially with the decommissioning of aging and failure-prone coal-fired power stations.
Flexible power generation, such as battery, hydropower, and natural gas power generation, can be started and output in a short period of time to make up for the time when the solar energy drops, such as cloudy or night.
To solve this problem, the Energy Safety Commission issued a report last week recommending a new capacity mechanism to encourage flexible energy production.
This mechanism requires a form of “insurance”, that is, the payment of dispatchable generators during periods when energy supply is at risk.
However, AEMO has ensured that with the support of new solar, wind, natural gas, batteries and water power projects, Australia’s energy supply for the next five years is safe.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times