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AEMO cautious about over-loading storage on wind, solar farms

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The head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman, has expressed caution about suggestions that new wind and solar farms should have to match their entire capacity with an equivalent amount of battery storage.

The need for wind and solar farms to include battery storage was raised by chief scientist Alan Finkel in his recently released review, although it left such requirements at the discretion of the AEMO.

However, energy minister Josh Frydenberg has been arguing, in both the Coalition party room and in public lectures, that the ratio should approximate one megawatt hour for every megawatt of installed capacity.

Although many wind and solar farms, both new and existing, are considering adding storage to shift their load or provide network services, the requirement of matching each MW for MWh is seen as overkill, and an attempt to turn wind and solar into baseload generators, when flexibility and reliability is the key.

“The idea that as you put in wind and solar (you need to have a certain amount of dispatchable power), the question becomes, to what level?” Zibelman said when asked by RenewEconomy.

“This is a dynamic issue. So having generators purchase a certain amount (of storage) and thinking (in terms of) once that is done, is probably not going to be the optimal way forward.

“Is that the optimal way to get resources in – in other words to have a static approach – or should we create a dynamic approach where AEMO identifies the amount of reliability that’s required; there’s a mechanism to procure it in the system; and we do it in the most economic way?” Zibelman said.

“We need to make sure the system remains reliable. …The concern I have… is that if you leave it and we set a static number, there’s only one thing that we can be clear about, and that is that it is probably going to be wrong. It’s either going to be too much or too little.

“So we’re going to want think about how do we approach this in a much more dynamic way, with changing the nature of the system.

”So, while I get the desire, I think we would like an opportunity to explore, is that the best result for consumers.”

The CSIRO and Energy Networks Australia have pointed out that most Australian grids will likely not need significant amounts of storage anytime soon because anything less than 30-50 per cent penetrations is “trivial”.

South Australia, however, is reaching saturation, which is why the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery storage project will be located there, followed by others which will allow more wind and solar farms.

Zibelman, speaking at a CEDA conference in Melbourne, said her organisation and others wanted to “get on with it” and implement some of the much needed reforms in the energy market, including some of those identified in the Finkel Review.

“100 per cent of people I have talked to across the industry are saying ‘we’ve got to get on with it,” she said.

“We’re a Coalition of the willing (she said in reference to AEMO and the heads of other institutions such as the Australian Energy Regulator, headed up by Paula Conboy, and the Australian Energy Market Commission, led by John Pierce.

“Paula and John and I want to get on with it. … we’ve got to make these changes. We don’t want to waste this crisis.”

Zibelman said she was looking forward to the COAG meeting on Friday and wants them to endorse broad recommendations of Finkel.

“(We’re not only solving issues for Australia) …we’re solving issues for the rest of the world,” she said. “We have to remember that economics is driving all of this. It’s not just about policy.”  

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  • Chris Fraser

    Not only should they be going after all of the Finkel recommendations, they need to go the full extent of each recommendation that Finkel requires. Good luck !

    • Rod

      They (LNP) will pick and choose what suits them and their donors.
      You can bet the CET with an emission threshold lower than coal won’t be on the agenda.

  • Mike Westerman

    Even tho’ not apparently supported by any factual analysis, Frydenberg’s proposition of 1MWh storage for each MW of new renewable generation is not particularly onerous. Most pumped hydro installations for revenue reasons design around 5-6h of full load operation, that is, 5-6 times what Frydenberg suggests, enabling the firming up of a typical day’s output from a solar installation (5MWh/MW). It’s possible that he has proposed this standard without really understanding what he is saying, perhaps thinking of the Tesla installation which has an entirely different purpose – who knows in the noise that is the Conservative response to the energy revolution currently underway!

    • Most pumped hydro installations for revenue reasons design around 5-6h of full load operation, that is, 5-6 times what Frydenberg suggests, enabling the firming up of a typical day’s output from a solar installation (5MWh/MW)

      Really? Well I didn’t know that. Co-incidentally enough, that’s the recommendation which has just popped out of my modelling!

      Just an hour ago I posted this comment.

      However, energy minister Josh Frydenberg has been arguing, in both the Coalition party room and in public lectures, that the ratio should approximate one megawatt hour for every megawatt of installed capacity.

      Although many wind and solar farms, both new and existing, are considering adding storage to shift their load or provide network services, the requirement of matching each MW for MWh is seen as overkill, and an attempt to turn wind and solar into baseload generators, when flexibility and reliability is the key.

      No sorry but energy storage of only “1MWh for each MW” of wind capacity is not going to cut it, as you can see from my calculations below and my modelling here
      https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/scientific-computer-modelling-of-wind-pumped-storage-hydro/

      My recommendation is that the requirement for energy storage for wind would be –

      36/7 or a bit more than 5 MWh of energy storage for each MW of capacity.

    • In the UK, Dinorwig has a ration of 5GWh/GW but the others are way different.
      Ffestiniog 3.6GWh/GW
      Cruachan 25GWh/GW (although I do believe it is being upgraded with additional generators which will lower that ratio)
      Foyers 21GWh/GW

      https://www.withouthotair.com/c26/page_191.shtml

      The planned pumped storage hydro scheme for Coire Glas was supposed to have a ratio of 50GWh/GW.

      Suggesting that ratios much higher than 5 to 1 are common, in the UK at least.

  • solarguy

    Fryedburg understands nothing about PV bell curve, 1MWh for every 1MW of installed capacity means in any given day you wouldn’t fully charge the battery. What a waste of money.

  • “Between 2008 and 2017, she said, … and wind had increased 263% from 1,100 MWh in 2008 to 4,000 MWh. By 2020, wind power is expected to increase to 10,000 MWh.”
    – the Australian Energy Market Operator chief executive, Audrey Zibelman,
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/11/tesla-battery-deadline-must-be-met-energy-market-regulator-says

    Excuse me but Audrey seems to be confusing her “MWh” with GWh and thereby has understated the annual wind production in Australia by a factor of 1000!

    To quote from –

    SOUTH AUSTRALIAN FUEL AND TECHNOLOGY REPORT – 2017
    https://www.aemo.com.au/-/media/Files/Electricity/NEM/Planning_and_Forecasting/SA_Advisory/2017/2017_SAFTR.pdf
    “Figure 1, Page 9 – South Australian registered capacity and generation output in 2015–16
    Wind Capacity – 1,576 MW, Wind Output – 4,322 GWh”

    In case Audrey doesn’t know, the Wind output – produced energy – in the financial year, 2015-2016 was 4,322,000 MWh, one thousand times more than the “4,000 MWh” Audrey quoted for 2017.

    As a rule of thumb, wind power that can serve a power demand 24/7/52 needs energy storage for 1.5 days of the peak demand power that can be guaranteed which is typically only 1/7th of the wind capacity.
    https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/scientific-computer-modelling-of-wind-pumped-storage-hydro/

    So from SA’s today’s wind capacity of 1.6 GW, we should expect to guarantee to serve no more than a peak demand of 1.6/7 = 0.229 GW = 229 MW, requiring to store 1.5 days or 36 hours @ 229 MW which equals 8,244 MWh of energy storage (that’s for wind energy storage only, solar energy storage is extra).

    Looking to the future, let us assume that in 2020 the annual wind output in South Australia is 10,000 GWh. How much energy storage will be needed for the wind power then?

    Let us estimate the wind capacity in 2020 to be 3.7 GW.

    So in 2020, the requirement for energy storage (for wind energy storage, leaving aside solar storage which is extra) could be estimated as follows.

    Peak on demand power that can be guaranteed from wind – 3.7 / 7 = 0.53 GW = 533 MW

    Energy storage required 1.5 days (36 hours ) x 533 MW = 19,200 MWh.

    So when South Australia wind turbines require energy storage of 8,000+ MWh today and 19,000+ MWh by 2020, why is it that managers of the South Australian electricity grid have satisfied themselves with an order from Telsa for a battery with a capacity of only “129 MWh” that admittedly may well be the “biggest ever” battery but will nevertheless be grossly insufficient for South Australia’s energy storage needs, today and even more so in 2020.

    South Australia will be back for much more energy storage capacity and then hopefully they will listen to THEIR OWN SCIENTISTS who are telling them that pumped-storage hydro is the way to store massive amounts of energy for the grid.
    http://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/hydro-storage-can-secure-100-renewable-electricity

    Scottish Scientist
    Independent Scientific Adviser for Scotland
    https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/

    * Double Tidal Lagoon Baseload Scheme
    * Off-Shore Electricity from Wind, Solar and Hydrogen Power
    * World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?
    * Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power
    * Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020
    * South America – GREAT for Renewable Energy

    • As a rule of thumb, wind power that can serve a power demand 24/7/52 needs energy storage for 1.5 days of the peak demand power that can be guaranteed which is typically only 1/7th of the wind capacity.

      However, with back-up generators available, the peak demand power guaranteed can be raised above “1/7th” significantly, as follows.

      Wind power, energy storage and back-up can meet demand 24/7/52.
      My computer modelling of a wind power, pumped-storage hydro and back-up generators system predicts the following relationships between system features.

      Table of wind, pumped-storage & back-up factors
      The factors in the table are peak demand power multipliers. Each row triplet describes a possible system configuration for 24/7/52 reliable 100% renewable energy generation*

      __ Wind power __| _ Storage days __|_ Back-up
      ______ 7 ______.|______ 1.5 ______|____ 0
      _____ 5.5 ______|______ 1.1 ______|____ 0.15
      ______ 4 ______.|______ 0.8 ______|____ 0.3
      _____ 2.7 ______|______ 0.6 ______|____ 0.4
      _____ 1.5 ______|______ 0.4 ______|____ 0.5

      Therefore assuming a system configured as per the last row of the table –
      1.5 times peak demand wind capacity
      0.4 days of peak demand storage
      0.5 times peak demand back-up capacity
      – it would be possible to guarantee a peak demand up to 2/3rd of the wind capacity, but that would need a back up of 1/3rd of the wind capacity.

      Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power
      https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/scientific-computer-modelling-of-wind-pumped-storage-hydro/

    • Matt S

      I see where you are going, but you’ve applied your understanding of your own country on Australia, and as a previous poster has mentioned there are significant differences between the two:
      – Solar & Wind are inversely correlated in SA. High penetrations of both in SA. You cannot compare with a grid of wind or solar-only.
      – 700MW (25% of demand) in interconnected transmission
      – 3GW (100% of demand) in existing dispatchable generation

      More storage capacity will be required in Australia, once the engineering requirements of said storage prevail. However, these technical conditions relate to much higher penetrations of RE in other states & after dispatchable generation is retired.

      Frankly, IMO SA doesn’t yet need back-up yet either. It’s only because the market didn’t operate as it was meant to, and there’s an election next year they’ve made this intervention. And its cool As:)

      • Whilst, admittedly, my recommendation of
        36/7 or a bit more than 5 MWh of energy storage for each MW of wind capacity.
        has limited applicability to a grid with lots of of solar power, it is at least a recommendation which is based on scientific computer modelling.

        Whereas it doesn’t seem obvious to me that the minister’s suggestion of

        However, energy minister Josh Frydenberg has been arguing, in both the Coalition party room and in public lectures, that the ratio should approximate one megawatt hour for every megawatt of installed capacity.

        is based on such scientific computer modelling, but rather it looks more like a figure plucked out of the air.

        Now maybe the minister has been well advised by government scientists who have done the required computer modelling on which to base such a recommendation of “1MWh / 1MW” in which case, all well and good.

        I’m certain that Australian scientists somewhere will have crunched the numbers on this, like here at ANU
        http://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/hydro-storage-can-secure-100-renewable-electricity
        but Australians ought really to check that their minister has taken the right advice because in my experience ministers are very good at taking the wrong advice from vested interests in industry.

        I can very well imagine that wind turbine firms will be asking the minister to reduce the requirement for storage because they want to maximise sales of wind turbines.

        However, these technical conditions relate to much higher penetrations of RE in other states & after dispatchable generation is retired.

        Frankly, IMO SA doesn’t yet need back-up yet either.

        Well what I suggest you do there is to convert your dispatchable generators to run off the equivalent renewable energy.

        In other words, convert your coal-fired power stations to burn biomass and convert your gas-fired power stations to burn hydrogen (and source the hydrogen from electrolysis of water using surplus solar and wind power).

        Then you can use your old dispatchable generators as renewable energy back-up.

        Simple.

    • solarguy

      Mate there not under any illusions of what’s needed. After all how do you move a mountain? One pebble at a time!

  • However, energy minister Josh Frydenberg has been arguing, in both the Coalition party room and in public lectures, that the ratio should approximate one megawatt hour for every megawatt of installed capacity.

    Although many wind and solar farms, both new and existing, are considering adding storage to shift their load or provide network services, the requirement of matching each MW for MWh is seen as overkill, and an attempt to turn wind and solar into baseload generators, when flexibility and reliability is the key.

    No sorry but energy storage of 1MWh for each MW of wind capacity is not going to cut it, as you can see from my calculations below and my modelling here
    https://scottishscientist.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/scientific-computer-modelling-of-wind-pumped-storage-hydro/

    My recommendation is that the requirement for energy storage for wind would be –

    36/7 or a bit more than 5 MWh of energy storage for each MW of capacity.

    • neroden

      Complete arrant nonsense. WAAAY too high an estimate for Australia.

      I don’t even have time to go through how wrong your modelling is, but let’s start with your assumption that solar power doesn’t exist.

      If you’re really a scientist, and not just a promoter, try again, and this time use reasonable assumptions for the long-term penetration of solar power.

      You should also take a look at minimum daytime solar production and how rarely this correlates with lack of wind.

      For a given region, you have to start with a baseline of solar production on a very predictable hourly curve. Then look at the minimum solar production curve to see how much would need to be filled by other sources. Look at the maximum solar to see how much excess is available for time-shifting, for which batteries will be installed purely for price arbitrage. Then look at the residual load curve and compare it to the maximum and minimum wind production. You will again get a measure of batteries which will be put in purely for price arbitrage. Look at the residual load curve after THAT, and subtract out the existing hydro (and any geothermal), on the low (drought) estimate. The remainder after THAT is the necessary installation of storage (or backup fossil fuels) to deal with shortages — some of this will already be installed for price arbitrage.

      • Solar power pretty much doesn’t exist in Scottish winters so I’ve focused my modelling on wind power – energy storage systems.

        Sorry about that.

        • neroden

          OK. That’s very reasonable for Scotland. Totally inappropriate for sunny Australia, though!

          • Norway is one of those few countries with an extraordinary conventional hydroelectric resource.

            Country – % of electricity generation from renewables
            UK – 22%
            Finland – 42%
            Sweden – 60%
            Norway – 98.5%
            Iceland – 100% (hydroelectric & geothermal)

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_production_from_renewable_sources

            Scotland’s two neighbours to the north – Norway and Iceland are both renewable energy exemplars – so that’s handy for me to point to when Scots want to rest on their laurels.

            There’s renewable energy everywhere, if a country has the wits to utilise what they’ve got.

            South America is very well supplied with renewable energy.

            Put Lake Titicaca for pumped-storage together with the Atacama Desert for solar PV, Patagonia for wind power and the Amazonian etc rainforests for biomass and conventional hydroelectricity and South America would seem to be blessed by natural renewable resources (and therefore riches) which are second to none in the world.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1391e2c0fc9acc7fe52c6663e3bf6f739cec5516eb4b8119a5e9c8f4926c8da7.jpg

          • trackdaze

            SA could well do with more solar? To complement its wind no?

          • eveee

            Scotland has one thing going for it besides whisky and poets. They have the highest wind capacity factor in the world on the Shetland Islands. But sunlight, poor Scotland.

  • trackdaze

    If we look at capacity factor of coal at about 60% ap per EIA and wind at 40% then half would be required.

    It would be insane to force all new to add that much in the early days of storage. Ramping the requirement up to allow for 50% capacity over the next 5-10years fine.

    This of course, would absolutely decimate coal and gas

    • Rod

      I might be reading it wrong but ALL new generation needs dispatch-able back up, including FF?
      This item will be on the top of the COAG agenda Friday. Should be a VERY interesting meeting.

      • technerdx6000

        Fossil fuels should be forced to have battery storage as well either way. Would provide massive stability

  • DJR96

    There is no doubt battery storage will be an essential and significant part of the mix in future.
    But it is essential to recognise that its benefits are for the network as a whole, not just for renewables generation. It is just as useful for existing generation too.

    As such, storage really needs its own category within the system and not have to pretend to be a form of generation only. The full benefits of storage, particularly battery storage, will not be fully realised until this is done.