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We’ll keep lights on, states can worry about emissions: ESB

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The chair of the newly created Energy Security Board has re-emphasised the heavy load Australia’s state and territory governments will have to shoulder on power sector emissions reductions, if the proposed National Energy Guarantee manages to win COAG approval and is introduced.

In a stakeholder briefing webcast on Friday morning, the ESB’s independent deputy chair, Dr Kerry Schott, endeavoured to tease out some of the detail of the NEG, including how it might affect the states, and their often much higher emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

ClimateCouncilOzMap

Source: Climate Council 2017

As Schott re-stated during the webinar, the federal government commissioned the ESB to engineer the NEG around its own, Paris pledged emissions reduction target of 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

As the Climate Council yesterday reminded us, this bare-minimum target ranks Australia among the worst developed countries on climate action; is not consistent with limiting global warming to 2°C; and is on a level that – if adopted by the rest of the world – would see the planet fried.

But that is not the ESB’s concern, and why should it be, when they have the mostly Labor states to pick up the slack.

“The amount of emissions reduction that happens in Australia is a matter for the Commonwealth and all of the state governments,” Schott said in answer to a question about whether the NEG would disincentivise the development of renewables.

“The approach that we’ve used was based on where the Australia government is coming from, which is just trying to meet their Paris commitments.

“Some states have more ambitious emissions reduction targets than that, and that can be incorporated in this approach.

“So the amount of renewables that we see in the system will be basically driven by the emissions reduction targets that the federal and state governments set.”

So how would that work?

“What would happen in those jurisdictions (with higher emissions reduction targets) is that the reliability requirement would adjust,” Schott told the webinar.

“Obviously, if you’ve got more intermittent renewables, you need to just make sure that you’ve got enough dispatchable power to keep system stable and reliable.”

“What that would mean for the retailers in (those states), is that instead of simply meeting the Commonwealth target, they would need to meet the higher state target.

“So when they’re contracting… they would need to meet that (state) emissions target, the reliability obligation that goes with that, and it would just simply use the same approach.”

Right. But will the states go for it? South Australia Energy minister and treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has said no, in this withering critique.

“What will happen (now), is there’s COAG energy council and they will decide whether to proceed with this Commonwealth approach,” Schott said.

“They may – and I certainly would if I was them – want more work done. We’re in very early days with this.

“There is a great deal of work that needs to be done. If COAG agrees to doing more work on (this approach), we’ll do some more work and see where it ends up.”  

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  • Rod

    More work = more delay and uncertainty.

    I’ve seen the governor general has been approached on a couple of sources and the Greens are pushing hard on the citizenship debacle.
    Hopefully an election soon and the NEG will be consigned to the dustbin along with the COALition.

    • Hettie

      Don’t hold your breath. The GG won’t wipe his own nose without Turnbull’s permission.

    • Jo

      More work = more money for the ESB

  • Mike Westerman

    What abject nonsense: so states are going to be saddled with “dispatchability” requirements, regardless of the distance between load centres and power stations? Transmission constraints or reliability? Any wonder SA intends to boycott the NEG! Unless it becomes a bit more focused on engineering reality, so should everyone else!

  • Rod

    So, a funny thing just happened here in SA 3:45pm Friday CST. Cloudy, still, warm.
    The widget had 187MW in grey which means (I assume) the GE LM2500+ are running.
    Hello, I says and low and behold our spot had hit $200/MWh. The extra fast ramping generation slammed the spot down to $88.
    That to me is how the NEG should work. That is despatchability. Some may not agree with that sort of market intervention but I’m happy if the State Government keeps that up.

    • Peter F

      The grey means that power is flowing at less than interconnector capacity. What is unusual is that it was flowing to SA. For the last 3 months it has mostly been flowing the other way. SA has about 3,100 MW of gas capacity not including the emergency generators and assuming they can actually achieve nameplate. As demand was only about 1,500MW very unlikely the emergency generators were called up. The rapid price fall just means that another market generator kicked in.

  • Peter F

    She is right about only one thing.
    Hand this schoolboy level assignment back with “more work required” stamped on just about every statement the ESB has made.
    If Germany can achieve 40%+ renewables with peak hydro less than 7% of peak demand whereas peak hydro here is almost 30% of peak demand where is the problem

    • solarguy

      Agreed, Shott even admitted that, but lets hope their going to listen to real experts.

  • Hettie

    Ok, folks, chew on this.
    It is quite obvious that the sun does not shine between sunset and sunrise the next day.
    It is also beyond dispute that in any given place, there will be periods during the day when the skies are overcast, and even weeks on end of rain.
    But is the entire country under cloud at the same time?
    And is the whole of Australia becalmed at the same time?
    And are all the solar panels and all the wind turbines concentrated in one place?
    Er, no.
    So although any given wind or solar installation may be unable to generate much power from time to time, there will be other installations, in other locations, that are pumping out the electrons like crazy.
    So the intermittent nature of wind and solar when connected to a grid of any size is not the crippling problem the fossil fools would have us believe.
    The greatest demand for power occurs during daylight hours, admittedly with a peak in the early evening, after sunset and when winds typically drop, but the geographic separation of wind farms and solar farms has to reduce the impact of intermittency.
    Large scale storage doesn’t need to supply a whole state for weeks on end, does it.
    There’s a whole lot of technical stuff in this field that baffles me, but I can’t help thinking that sometimes the basic commonsense stuff is overlooked by the boffins.
    And I wonder how the cost of a new coal fired power station would compare with the cost of decent insulation, draught proofing and external shading of windows of however many homes that power station might supply. That’s a form of demand management that no one seems to talk about.
    Just saying.

    • Rod

      Agreed on both counts.
      A geographically and technology diverse grid can easily accommodate >50% renewables,
      And energy efficiency is such a no brainer. I get frustrated that more is not done at a Govt. level and household level. It is not rocket science and there is so much free information available on how to reduce energy use.

      http://reneweconomy.com.au/energy-efficiency-foundation-climate-transition-48098/?utm_source=RE+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=bdd155d140-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_09&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_46a1943223-bdd155d140-40373937

    • solarguy

      Hettie my girl, your absolutely right, but it’s going to be a very well thought out balance of generation and storage. e.g. cloud cover, not much solar, in one region, but plenty of wind in that effected area. OR little solar or wind that needs to be imported from another region with enough capacity to spare for the effected region………….you get the drift.

      • Hettie

        Of course I do. And thank you both, Rod and Solarguy, for endorsing my observations. I thought even as I was writing that I would get chewed out for stating the bleeding obvious, but so often the obvious *needs* to be stated.
        The little house I designed for myself 6 years ago and built on land selected for its almost due solar north long side, is very comfortable year round in one of the colder climates, Armidale NSW (yes, Barnaby country, dog help us) and has used an average 8kwh/ day for all purposes except heating and hot water, both gas. A decision that made sense at the time, but which I now regret.
        High thermal mass, white roof, R4.5 insulation, deep sun penetration in winter but almost zero from spring to autunm equinox, and ceiling fans.
        Pergolas to the north with deciduous vines, such easy, affordable measures to reduce running costs, and a delightful living environment.
        Most houses in this town are freezing cold in the winter, or cost a fortune to heat. People are so ignorant about sustainable housing…. There I go again.

        • Rod

          “white roof” This alone would reduce the cooling load on your average Australian house by 30% yet look at all the black roofs.
          Ignorance or just plain stupidity.

          • Hettie

            Councils could mandate, state Gov’ts legislate white roofs for all new builds or replacement roofs, and double glazing; reject DA if major glazing is not on the north, or if big windows face west, or northern windows are covered by verandas. (Pulls hair out.)
            Basix and 6 star ratings are pathetic.
            Somebody, please put me in charge of this!!!

          • Chris Drongers

            A southerner putting cold climate solutions onto tropical Queensland/NT and top of WA.
            This type of thinking has already caused NABHERS rated properties in the tropics to be the same oversized eskies as in Victoria. Cross ventilation, shade, sensible temperature regimes (house holds at 21C might be sensible in Melbourne but are bonkers in Darwin where 26-30 might be more reasonable).

          • Hettie

            You are right, of course, Chris, as to detail. Different climates demand different design solutions. However, no matter the climate, there are always appropriate design principles that can make buildings more comfortable and greatly reduce the need for artificial heating or cooling. The problem is that as things stand, fashion has a far greater influence than evidence based design. Black roofs are one example, the pervading belief that the house ( main windows) must face the street even if that is due west, is another.
            Still, it is possible to legislate for energy efficient housing AND commercial buildings too.

          • solarguy

            My darling wife wanted a black tiled roof, I didn’t but at least it’s fairly covered in PV.

          • Rod

            I hope you are impressing on your clients the shading benefits of more panels. 😉
            I’m sure my second array made a difference to our roof space temps. Along with my 1st array and solar HWS most of the North roof is shaded.

          • Mike Westerman

            I’m not sure on 30% if you already have sarking and batts on your ceiling.

          • Hettie

            Yep. Sarking and R4 bats. White roofs also reflect solar heat back into space. With enough of them, some compensation for the loss of polar ice.
            I am not sure, but I think California has mandated all new roofs must be white, because of that.
            Also reduces winter heat loss. The radiation component only of course. Not much can be done about conduction apart from heroic levels of insulation.

          • Mike Westerman

            On the contrary Hettie – white roofs increase winter losses becoz titanium oxide is such a good radiator at long wavelengths (which is why these surfaces are cool even in the sun). But a minor issue if you have good ceiling insulation.

            A bigger issue for our cities is the acres of bitumen for roads and parking. I’m am excited by the possibility of turning this into green space once self driving vehicles and TAAS becomes the norm! To say nothing of ground water recharge and reduced run off.

          • Phil Shield

            Hetti is right. Black roofs are more efficient at both absorbing and emitting radiant heat. So they are worse for energy efficiency both on hot days and on cold nights. Black roofs only do better on cold days when there is some solar radiation. I do energy modelling of buildings for a living. All buildings that need a significant amount of cooling do better with light coloured roofs.

          • Hettie

            Thought so. Thanks.

          • Mike Westerman

            Phil painted surfaces regardless of color have virtually identical emissivity at long wave lengths particularly with aging, altho’ high titanium dioxide paints have slightly higher emissivity than most black pigments at IR wavelengths. White paint has a very much higher reflectance at solar wavelengths, hence in sunlight, a white roof absorbs and holds less heat but most likely will reradiant heat at a greater rate at night.

          • Rod

            For my own interest, when I get a minute I will try to find a reference.

            I don’t think reflective sarking on roofs is mandatory in OZ but that would help a bit. I’ve tacked a foil backed rubber product, etherm, under some of my roof and veranda and that makes a big difference.

          • Rod

            This is pretty interesting and supports your point about sarking.
            A cool roof and reflective foil is overkill but either with ceiling insulation will save on cooling loads. The roof material seems to make a big difference in the % improvement.
            https://www.solec.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Cool-Roofs-for-Hot-Climates.pdf
            I’m not sold on reflective paints as I understand they lose effectiveness after a few years.

        • solarguy

          Your welcome Hettie, I live in Maitland about 3hrs drive away from Armidale. Do you have any PV?

          Could you afford a SHW system, as that will save you stacks, ditto reverse cycle air con.

          • Hettie

            We are practically neighbours!
            Yes, I had a 5kw system installed just 30 days ago, after 25 years of wanting solar. The average daily output after very mixed weather has been 28kwh, much to my delight. Less delightful is the fact that paperwork has been messed up and although a smart meter was installed back in July, it has not yet been configured for net metering, so the grid is getting 25kwh a day gratis. Once that is sorted, I expect a substantial monthly credit. Sufficient that the net result will more than cover repayments on my green loan.
            Hot water is instantaneous gas, and in the warmer months that is my only gas use. Not enough to warrant SHW. By March I should have saved enough for RCAC. There is a good spot for the outdoor unit on the south side of the house, and although the primary use will be for winter heating, it will be good as the climate heats to be able to bring the summer temps down just a degree or two.
            I’m a bit of a princess when it comes to thermal comfort. 19 to 24, or I get tetchy.
            The change from gas to Air Con for heating should also pay for itself in short order, especially as this house rarely drops below 17C even when it’s -8C outside.

          • solarguy

            Great stuff, now that have solar you won’t look back. Look for a service provider that has a good FIT v’s SAC charge. Energy Locals have good deals.

            On the A/C, Fujitsu inverters are good value for money and very efficient for the price, we have 4 off them and run them free with solar and battery at night too. You will be able pre heat or cool for free during the day, keeping you a comfy princess.

          • Hettie

            I sometimes think I hijack these comments threads outrageously, but it’s all good fun.
            12.8 c from Powershop, and supply charge $1.3999/day. 26.21c/kwh advance on line purchase all day.
            I’ve been with them 2 years now. They are chasing up the meter issue.
            I’ll look at Energy locals for a comparison…
            With air con, noise level is very important to me, and there’s a reasonably priced Mitsubishi model on the Choice recommended list that runs at 28db. That’s top of my list now, but things change in 6 months.
            Let’s hope that one of the things that change is the Federal Government.

          • solarguy

            Energy Locals, has a deal, 25cents/kwh, SAC less than a buck/day. you mentioned 12.8cents and 26.21?

            Our Fujitsu’s are very quite, can hardly tell their running. But your choice Hettie.

            Yes let’s hope the government changes.

          • Hettie

            I’ll Google them. Suspect deals vary by location. But I’ll let you know.
            Won’t be ready for aircon until autumn , but I can keep indoor temp down to 25 @6.00pm even on 36C days, by opening up overnight, battening down @7.00am. Ceiling fans on overnight to drive the cool air down onto the exposed concrete floor. Big diurnal temp variation here. 36 is top temp to date, but climbing every year.
            Tks again.

          • Hettie

            Had a quick look. Seems good, but because it is now the retailer responsible for setting up metering for solar, I think I should wait until that’s all sorted before changing. I can always quote E.L. rates to negotiate with Powershop. Keep you posted.

          • Hettie

            I sometimes think I hijack these comments threads outrageously, but it’s all good fun. FIT
            12.8 c from Powershop, and supply charge $1.3999/day.
            All day rate online saver 26.21c. I’ll have a look at Energy Locals for a comparator. Spreadsheets rule, OK
            Re Air con, noise is a major issue for me. There’s a Mitsubishi model on the Choice recommended list that runs at 28db – top of my list for now. By March? Things change. Including our Government, I hope.

          • Rod

            I’m not sure what State you are in but I stumbled on a great spreadsheet the other day on the Vinnies site. Just click your State and the spreadsheets are in there.
            There is a macro on the web to break the sheet password if you need/want to tweak it.
            https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/Our_Impact/Incomes_Support_Cost_of_Living/Energy/

          • Hettie

            Thanks, Rod. NSW.
            I have set up a spreadsheet of my own, but will certainly look at Vinnies site, see how it works.

    • Peter F

      The longest zero wind period in SA is about 20 hours. Even if it is overcast, in all but thunderstorm density cloud, PV still works and no-one is suggesting we do away with all gas backup.
      The net result is that if SA had storage for 50% of average demand for 12 hours it could still achieve about 80-85% renewable penetration.
      If Lyon, Zen and DP Energy and Solar Reserve go ahead with their plans including phase II plus the ongoing installations of rooftop solar as well as Lincoln Gap and Willowgolechie wind farms, SA will be generating about 13,200 GWhr of renewable energy by 2020 vs demand of about 12 GWhr.
      It will still import Victorian coal power at times and run its gas plants at times but it will export more renewables than it uses from fossil fuels. Even without Cullerton pumped hydro it will have 1,000 MW+ storage capacity. Add in Cullerton and another two years of behind the meter solar and batteries and by 2022, it will be 110% net renewables

      • Ian

        Good work. Finally an analysis of a near-100% renewables grid in S.A.

        More work needs to be done to push the S.A. grid to only renewables generation and near-100% year round reliability – without gas. The inter connectors to the bigger Victorian Grid can still act as an Apron String whilst SA boldly goes where no one has gone before.

        • Peter F

          I have not done any detailed analysis but my thinking is along the lines of some sort of Pareto analysis. Getting to or slightly beyond net zero power generation with occasional use of gas is probably the point where you move your focus to energy efficiency, soil carbon sequestration, electrification of heating and transport.
          Efforts in these area would seem to be far more cost effective than adding lots of storage that will hardly ever be used just in case of three days of windless cloudy weather once every two or three years or 20-50 hours of hot still afternoons per year

          • Mike Westerman

            Peter given the huge response to AEMO seeking curtailment contracts for the upcoming summer, I’m fairly sure these will be the most cost effective manner of managing the “freak peaks”. Another reason why Snowy 2 doesn’t make sense, and nor does Turnbull in defending it.

          • Peter F

            There are no magic bullets but I agree Snowy II probably doesn’t make sense, a series of 100-500 MW plants close to existing transmission infrastructure and close to load centres would probably be less costly and contribute a lot more to grid resilience because although the storage cost may be higher that would be more than offset by eliminating extra grid investment

      • mick

        nice analysis mate court case on proposed windfarm at palmer due to resolve nimby argument with another project near keyneton being looked at if they get up sa could potentially cut the cord

    • Peter Campbell

      Yes to all that. It’s not so much ‘boffins’ doing the overlooking. Rather it is political interests and the incredulity of the narrow-minded tribal right that is wilfully ignorant and misleads.

      • Hettie

        As I said in another thread, the members of this government, faced with evidence, have an anaphylactic reaction.

  • John Saint-Smith

    The phrase ‘staggering incompetence’ springs to mind to describe a body charged with managing the electricity grid of a modern middle sized economy. I might be biased, but
    I’d back the anarchy of the market over this lot!

    • Hettie

      Not so much incompetence as greed.
      The current setup is highly competent at protecting the financial interests of the retailers, the coal lobby and the fossil fuel generators.
      Consumers? Not so much.

  • Robert Comerford

    Why even give time to this NEG nonsense?

    It just a think tank concocted by Malcolm and his fossil fuel backers to spread more FUD to prevent us moving to a totally renewable power system as fast as possible.
    At least the rabbit is an honest moron, he believes what he is saying.

  • Richard

    More reinforcement for my argument that the NEG is a bloody brilliant idea!

    It is adaptable to whatever RE target is set by whatever government.

    I can see the NEG model, or modified version of, being adopted globally as standard practice for stabilizing grids and costs while the energy transition is underway. It will result in a faster more efficient transition.

    • Rod

      So you are saying coal is a suitable transition fuel?