No new solar! How network lobby imagines Australia's clean energy transition | RenewEconomy

No new solar! How network lobby imagines Australia’s clean energy transition

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Report commissioned for networks lobby predicts zero large-scale solar plants built in Australia between 2020 and 2030. But a lot of gas generation. Really?

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The Energy Networks Association – the primary lobby group for Australia’s grid operators – has produced a detailed analysis on how Australia can meet its emissions reduction targets and best achieve its clean energy transition.

But there is one thing missing – under its modelling there will be no new large-scale solar built in the next decade to meet the country’s current emissions reduction target of 26-28 per cent by 2030. Nothing. Zero. Nil. Nada.

The modelling conducted by consultancy group Jacobs on behalf of the ENA was released in a report that pushes the lobby group’s argument that a “technology neutral” approach can deliver the best results for consumers. It got a nice big write up in the Australian Financial Review. 

By technology neutral, the ENA means no renewable energy target, just a low emissions target. That means more gas-fired generation – about 8,000MW of new gas fired plants in its scenarios. The ENA also represents the operators of gas pipelines.

ENA chief executive John Bradley was at pains to point out in the media release that “the call for technology neutral policy was no attack” on renewable energy sources.

“If markets are allowed to work, each technology finds its efficient role. Jacobs saw renewable generation reaching the 33,000 GWh target by 2020 in all scenarios examined and continuing to grow beyond 2020,” Bradley said.

Except that, according to the Jacobs report, hardly any large scale solar will be built between now and 2020 to meet the mandated RET, and then no large scale solar at all is built between 2020 and 2030.

ena modelling jacobs

Say what?

According to the table above, there will only be 768GWh of large scale solar by 2030. Considering that Nyngan alone produces more than 200GWh, and Nyngan, Broken Hill, Moree, Greenough River and Degrussa together produce 500GWh, it seems that Jacobs is ignoring even the imminent results of the large-scale solar tender by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

And then no solar at all in the next decade? That is despite the fact that under basically all scenarios envisaged by analysts – even conservative groups like the International Energy Agency and the Bureau of Resource Economics – large-scale solar will be the cheapest of any new technology in that decade.

As we pointed out on Monday,  Australia is set for a large-scale solar investment boom, precisely because the cost of solar is falling to match that of wind energy, solar plants are easier and quicker to build, and Australia has a lot of sun.

So, why do Jacobs and ENA believe there will not be a single MW of the cheapest technology? We asked the ENA for an explanation. They said:

“In the 26-28% scenarios there is limited growth in electricity demand over the decade, largely due to increasing levels of rooftop PV. There is a large increase in rooftop solar PV, which generates at the same time of the day as large-scale solar would. This effectively reduces the daytime wholesale price to being not much higher than off-peak prices.

“The peak price period shifts to the afternoon/evening hours when solar PV generation would be low, which is where wind generation benefits, but large-scale solar doesn’t at this point in the day. Hence, additional investment in large-scale PV in these scenarios doesn’t occur, because the revenue doesn’t offset the investment costs.”

The Jacobs modelling suggests just over 5,000GW of new rooftop solar, roughly equivalent to what has been installed over the last six years in Australia.

But, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, for instance, acknowledging the same issues, suggests that there will be 27GW of large scale solar by 2040, and around 10GW of that could be built by 2030. They also suggest 38GW of rooftop solar and a lot of storage will be installed as well. See graph below for their solar forecasts.

BNEF australia scenario


We’d go into the Jacobs modelling and the ENA proposals in more details, along with their justification for their preferred scenarios and their impact on consumer electricity bills, but can’t see why when they don’t factor in what will the cheapest generation technology. We have published an op ed piece they contributed here.

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  1. Ren Stimpy 4 years ago

    Head in sand doesn’t even begin to describe it. Economic and technological trends not even bothered with. Dramatic (actually world changing) cost reductions in solar – making solar as much an economic as technological advancement – ignored. This ENA report is not even the best fish and chip wrapper – they didn’t even have the foresight to publish it on grease-proof paper.

  2. Matthew Wright 4 years ago

    Unbelievable. Solar and wind are headed to halve in price again. How can gas compete with that? People are disconnecting and dumping gas. There will soon come a time where no new house gets connected to the gas network and every house sports solar panels and batteries. And that time is no more than 5 years away.

    • Rusdy Simano 4 years ago

      Boy oh boy. If only there is an industry standard out there on smart appliances. I would’ve dump my gas water heater straight into the bin. 80% of my solar power is exported to the grid at 7 cents. If I have a dumb electric-storage water heater, and use all those power (instead of exported), I’ll save money!! (or to charge my EV instead). No need battery storage!!

      • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

        you can dump it now. If you schedule your Sanden heat pump to run at a 11AM you’ll get 80-90% of your energy for the pump off your solar system (assuming 5kW+ system) that’s a total of 75% Sanden heat pump 20-22.5% solar photovoltaic gives 95-97.5% renewable fraction.

        • solarguy 4 years ago

          That’s interesting and confusing at the same time. Could you give a more concise and detailed explanation please.

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            ok say you have a benchmark 5kW system with 25 panels say 6.5kW if this was a new solar install. And you install a Sanden hot water heat pump. The heat pump runs at 900-1200W nominally around 1100. It runs for most households for about 2.5 hours but upto 4 hours to give 315L and fill the large sized family tanks (They also offer smaller 250L and 160L) options. So instead of using 4000kWh (based on 200L/day) the unit uses 1000kWh for the year. Ok next the unit is running at 11AM and a system even in cloudy conditions is often producing 1000W at that time. So on an annual basis if you overlay the production from (Melbourne) with a block of 1kW from 11-3PM you’ll find that 80-90% of the hours get met (depending on the year) So total renewable energy fraction is 95-97.5%

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Ok, I see, so that 6.5kw system which is taking up 40sqm of roof space is producing 1kw on a cloudy day, enough for the Sanden perhaps, but not to charge my battery or even run the fridge and freezer.
            So when I get home in peak time I have to use more expensive grid power for all my other appliances, stove etc. But I should have hot water, correct?

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            You’d be using 10-15kWh of expensive power to heat your hot water via electricity because when the solar PV panels are producing 1000W in diffuse light the hot water heater is doing pretty much nothing as they don’t work nearly as well in diffuse light and any heat accumulation is failing to keep up wtih re-radiation losses (due to the cold weather that often occurs during diffuse conditions) That’s why the benchmark for a solar hot water heater in Melbourne is 60% solar 40% grid.

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Oh how stupid of me, all I need to do is install another 6.5kw of PV too feed the Sanden heat pump and I’ll be fine. How much extra will that will that cost? And oh, I will have to find another 40sqm of roof area. Just so I can have free hot water eventually on cloudy days in winter.

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            No I think you’re super smart that’s why you’d understand that the limited contribution on a bad day to your rooftop solar thermal hot water heater would leave you with a massive 10-15kWh electrical boosting requirement while a sanden heat pump would use just 2-4kWh on that day leaving other power generated to recharge your battery / supply other local loads.

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            The type of day your talking about, that would give 1000wp from a 6.5kw PV system @11am, would yield approx. 1.2 PSH for the day. 6.5kw array x 1.2 PSH = 7.8 kwh or there about.
            Now that would leave 3kwh left to play with to supply other loads after the Sanden has taken about 4.8kwh seeing it’s a cold winter day. You won’t fully charge battery, which has a usable capacity of say 6kwh and that was exhausted the previous night. If the battery takes priority it will only be half charged, that leaves zero to power other loads, which will need to be powered from the grid. So to get better performance you would need a 13kw PV array, but what if you don’t have room for that much more PV.
            Consider this, a Sanden will use between 2-4.8kwh every day of the year, just to get to 60 c, were a SHW system won’t use power every day of the year! The SHW system will have re-radiation losses on such a day if it were a flat plate, but if it was an evacuated tube, those losses wouldn’t occur and so is far more efficient. Depending on the starting temp of the water from this less than ideal day, an ET SHW is likely to pull off the mission. Keep in mind these systems have a max (top out) temp of 80 c. The previous day may have allowed it to get to or close to that.
            All in all, a 6.5kw PV and an ET SHW, which takes up about 4sqm is all that’s required and cheaper than a 13kw PV system. In fact an appropriately sized ET SHW in Melbourne may only have to be boosted 10-30 days of the year, using between 4-10kwh for each of those days, depending on the weather for that year.
            You do the math Matt.

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            I’ve done the maths – I have a evac tube solar system paired with a heat pump – apricus tubes. I have another heat pump installed about two kilometres away. And the 30tube apricus needs a lot of boosting most evenings and that’s delivering 200L. You do the maths – I remember ringing you last time we were arguing about this and I heard your son shout in the background (just when I was on the phone) Dad can you turn the booster on the waters cold – that’s the story of a solar hot water heater in winter. SHW is becoming less and less the choice option as solar PV gets cheaper and cheaper. Put 9sqm of PV on your roof instead of 30 tubes of PV and add that to your solar system that 1300W will go a lot further combined with a heat pump which will use less energy total than that 1300W will consume.

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Yes Matt my son did ask me that while I was on the phone with you and as I told you then boosting was required after 3 days of almost continuous rain. What’s not to understand about that!
            Obviously I’ve hit a nerve with you as you know deep inside your HP argument is untenable.
            Even though PV is getting cheaper and not by leap’s and bounds either, the equation is $4k for the HP plus $1,800 for the extra PV. Gee close to 6 grand. Sure on good days that extra PV will allow you to have some extra juice to play with, but when all loads have used what they need the rest just goes out to the grid for 5 cents/kwh.
            If an 30 tubes won’t do the job, it simply isn’t sized for the load in winter in consideration to solar the insolation!
            Time to stop comparing Tigers with pussy cats.

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            No I think we’ve hit a nerve with you because you’re all set up to supply solar thermal which is commendable but times are changing. How many kWh to make hot water on a terrible rainy day. We’re talking 10 -15kWh – with a heat pump we’re talking 2-4kWh. SO if you’re talking about batteries – where are you going to get the 10kWh from for your solar hot water boost element which will take about 12.5kWh of production during the day while the sanden will use just 2kWH or less than 1/6th of the electric boost element.

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            I would get it from the grid of course, if Thor wasn’t up to it. The thing is that you assume 10-15kwh, but it could be as little as 4-6kwh, after all we only need to get to 50 or 60c depending on the load.
            Still better to use only 180kwh/year, than up to 1700kwh with a heat pump.
            I wouldn’t waste battery on boost. Off grid would use LPG gas instant boost.
            Look I’m sure you will keep avoiding answering the questions by side stepping, that’s what you good at. But have you learned anything yet?

          • Paul Szuster 4 years ago

            I’m trying to replicate your calcs solarguy – what are you capital cost assumptions for your evac tube set up and your assumed electrical boost during mid-winter – the design condition for battery storage? Are you saying electric boost is only 180 kWh per year?

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Paul, what calcs are you trying to replicate?
            Secondly, I don’t assume any capital costs, I know the costs, but I hope you get this. It depends on how many people will use the system.
            3.Boost amount will vary according to the load, the size of the system and the weather.
            180kwh/yr is a worst case scenario for these ET SHW systems, if correctly sized.
            So far this year I have had to boost 8 days to date that’s all. Others who have ET SHW systems have posted a confirmation on this very forum.

          • Paul Szuster 4 years ago

            Solarguy, No need for emotional patronising language e.g. “I hope you get this.” What is your capital cost? Of course it depend on the load, and therefore, a fair comparison of the system efficiency is required. One such comparison is the Aust Fed Govt REC Registry “Solar water heater STC calculator”. If we compare the Sanden 315L and Apricus Australia 315L electric boosted 30x evac tubes (AE-315-SS-BOT-30) – Zone 4 Sanden attracts 35 STCs vs 28 STCs Apricus (25% more than Apricus). Another separate Govt comparison of the efficiency is the Vic Govt VEET scheme. The activity results show the Sanden obtains 49 VEECs vs 43 VEECs for Apricus (14% more than Apricus). So here we have separate government sources showing total annual grid imports are lower for the Sanden heat pump than the 30 tube ET SHW for Zone 4.

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Enough of the psycho babble, I was being sarcastic. The amount of STC’s that a unit gets is not a reliable indication of real world performance.
            Apricus has other systems modelled, but you choose that one.
            However, I’m an Edson dealer ES-315-SHC28 = 47STC’s
            With 15yrs collector and 20yrs tank warranty, Price installed
            How’s your Sanden with 3yrs warranty, @ $4,000 looking now.
            Oh and how much for a replacement compressor?

          • Paul Szuster 4 years ago

            Can you show/share the specs of this model (ES-315-SHC28)? There is no mention of this model number via the entire Victoria VEET scheme, and no mention in the most recently published ATA hot water guide ( The most prevalent Edson 315L seems to be the ES-315-30 model (which is mentioned in both ATA guide and VEET register). Comparing this model vs Sanden. In Zone 4, this model produces 44 VEECs vs Sanden 49 VEECs. In Zone 4, ES-315-30 produces 31 RECs vs Sanden 35 RECs. In Zone 3, Edson 36 RECs vs Sanden 32 RECs. Of course there are many factors which influence performance, however these are the best ‘independent’ figures for comparison purposes. If you have prepared some independent comparisons, I would be pleased to see them. So all in all, similar overall annual grid import reductions, further evidenced by the Edson own marketing claims, “reduce your hot water power bill by up to 70%” and Sanden’s marketing by up to “78%”. The other important distinction, is at what time of the year this import reduction occurs. The most comprehensive modelling I have seen showing the seasonal load comparison is the BZE Buildings Plan (p. 173) which undertook computer modelling and showed in all cases except Darwin, the boost energy required in the worst case month (winter) is reduced by ~60% by using a heat pump instead of an electric-boosted HWS.

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            I don’t know if it’s on the VEET register or not and neither do I care as it is on the CER register. As for the ATA guide it was published Feb 2014. Call that recent?
            You seem to cherry pick small collector systems to compare with the Sanden because you know that a bigger collector comparison won’t support your untenable argument for heat pumps, even though they will save more money than a Sanden, far more!
            BZE computer modelling tells nothing, bullshit entered in = bullshit out. Where in that study is the methodology, there isn’t any is there, no numbers that mean anything. Straight from the Malcomb Roberts book of facts. No real world comparison, certainly not scientific.
            Recent Edson marketing shows a saving of 90%.
            Just a few weeks ago we replaced a heat pump for a customer, that was using on average 4kwh/day and that was for someone who lives alone. Her new Edson system so far has used ZERO, ZILCH, bugger all electricity. In fact every day it increased in temp with use.
            Anyone can call Edson on 1300 880 154 for a brochure on the SHC models.

          • Paul Szuster 4 years ago

            Just to be clear, the currently published “Edson Solar – Evacuated Tubes” marketing brochure page 4/12, “Reduce your hot water bill by up to 70%”. This means the best case scenario is 70% on the equivalent electric hot water system. These units are tested to Australian Standards (AS4552) for fair comparisons – and these are used to inform STCs. For ~4.5MWh p.a. electric storage hot water storage, the Edson solar hot water would therefore require 1.35 MWh p.a. in the best case.

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            Solarguy – completely not true – Edson claims up to 70% savings

            That means that in their best case scenario the saving is 70% or you need to use 30% of conventional fuel to make up for solar shortfall.

            In the case of NSW a standard electric unit for a family based on AS4552 requires 4531kWh year of electric heating to deliver 200L of 65C water per day. This is the standard we test on and it reflects a medium sized family of 3 – 4s hot water usage. With 30% conventional fuel you are in now way using 180kWh of boost electricity a year but instead you’re using 1359kWh/ year which is a lot – and most of that when it is cloudy is in the middle of winter when the sizing of a solar system and or batteries to make up that electric shortfall would have to be huge. This is where a heat pump is much cheaper than a solar PV system + batteries or alternatively sizing the grid which according to the AU government costs $7,000 per kW of provisioned peak capacity.

            So you can just make up your figures while I use official Australian Standards which all businesses involved in any sort of trade use to guide all their decisions around building, plumbing, electrical etc If you’re in business you generally follow the Australian standards fairly closely at
            a minimum so that you can remain viable and not end up foul of authorities.

            Furthermore Edson used to sell Sanden before
            they went bankrupt. And the owner of Edson couldn’t speak more highly of the Sanden saying it’s just an amazing premium Japanese made product.
            So the guy who supplies your Chinese evac tubes says the Sanden is the best thing out there. Given you only respect the views of Edson and not mine or the Australians standards then I refer you to his opinion and the 70% max saving figure (not 90% – you got that one wrong – please double check) from the brochure

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Is very true! I’m emailing you a brochure now. Unfortunately I can’t att a copy as the file is too big to up load.
            Bet you won’t admit it on this forum as your into misinformation to sell Sanden

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            Only misinformation is coming from you. Edson website is 100% clear. Homepage – the main page says 70% and the brochure says 70%. Obviously they haven’t chosen some Alice Springs example which is like 30,000 people out of 23million Australians They’ve used a more representative figure that covers where 93% of the population lives of 70%. Anyway other readers can look at Edson’s website to get the truth That’s not what Edson publishes on its website – so it seems pretty dodgee

            The front of the website


            “Reduce your power bills by up to 70%”

            The main brochure from their solar hot water link page 5


            “Reduce your hot water power bill by up to 70%”

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            So your now accusing me of editing a pdf brochure and telling porkies. I ask anyone to call Edson 1300 880 154 to confirm 90% savings is correct and the website should have been corrected along time ago.
            How about you, your biz buddy Paul and BZE put your money where you mouths are and we do a proper, real world comparison in the true scientific sense. I know you won’t do it, but hell I’m confident!

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            It’s really clear. The website says 70% and your brochure says 90%. Someone has clearly edited the brochure and I did not say or imply it was you. Edson have 70% written all over their website- that’s all they’re willing to say publicly. I guess they have to be careful about not misleading. We have many years experience with solar hot water having installed my first system when I was 19 which is 17 years ago and now on my second system (From flat plate instant gas boosted Edwards
            300L to evac tubes today) The boosting required in winter is
            immense. Although better than the flat panel the evac unit might as well not be there for many days as its contributes next to nothing. From a bulk energy perspective a solar
            hot water unit does a not too bad job (though not as a good as a Sanden) of eliminating energy imports but where it falls down is that it requires really large energy imports many days in winter. This peak requirement is expensive to meet and will be really expensive in a future renewable powered world where we either have grid renewables or houses that are near zero grid or zero grid import with onsite battery storage. Edson requirees 1350kWh of imports mostly in winter while the Sanden requires less than 1000kWh to achieve the same hot water but
            most importantly spread more evenly throughout the year – ie much less peaky in winter. This is a standard test condition used by the government (Federal and Vic) for STCs VEECS based on AS4552 200L per day etc. You’re confident but it’s based on emotion not published data – the above is based on published data of real world testing as per various Australian Standards and requirements of Australian Regulatory bodies.

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Based on emotion my arse! You and Malcomb Roberts must be related. Side stepping the challenge are we!. And tell everyone Matthew what AS4552 really is go on tell us!

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            Don’t get too emotional about it. AS4552 is what everyone bases their testing on for standard delivered hot water requirements. ie Rheem

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            A sanden would use more than 1500kwh/pa. I bet you have never owned a SHW system.
            Anyone who used batteries to boost a SHW system would have rocks in their head. And please tell everyone what AS4552, is. You don’t make sense, but then you never do!

          • Paul Szuster 4 years ago

            How do you come to that figure of 1500 kWh p.a.? If we’re talking 78% off standard electric storage hot water for 3-4 person family 4.5 MWh p.a. use in NSW – that is an electrical energy input of 0.99 MWh p.a…(< 2.8 kWh per day)

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Sanden 1.2kw compressor, cop of 4 and in cold winter temps is even less. The average every day 365 days of the year.

          • Matthew Wright 4 years ago

            NSW COP is 4.5 for the sanden. 4.0 is Vic. winter COP isn’t much less, running the middle of the day you’d get a touch under 4 maybe 3.8 so about 3.9kWh to run the unit. Versus your electric boost on a dark cloudy day a massive 15kWh with a an evacuated tube system

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            Bull shit! My advise is put up or shut up! But you won’t dare do that, will you!

          • Paul Szuster 4 years ago

            Technical specifications on Sanden published manuals/brochures – 1kW power input / COP 4.5 (annual average) – all tested to AS/NZ 5125 requirements. Simply incorrect to state COP 4 and 1.2kW compressor – where is your evidence to support these specifications?

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            From Sanden. Look at the end of the day you have no argument, a solar hot water system doesn’t use power every day and a heat pump must, 365 days of the year. Anyone who owns a SHW knows that your speaking bullshit especially those who own an ET SHW.
            So take up my challenge or shut up. If your so confident you will do it. END OF STORY!

          • Paul Szuster 4 years ago

            Warranty is not an indicator of performance. Both the Sanden and Edson warranties are vast improvements over warranties for existing “mature” hot water products such as Rheem Gas Storage systems which only offer customers 1 year warranty on all components. During years 2 – 5, they will replace the tank, but nothing else. In Years 4 and 5, the client has to pay for the labour. Then nothing beyond Year 5. Despite this crap warranty, does that stop households paying for these products? In fact many of these systems will run for many years, well beyond warranty lifetime….

          • solarguy 4 years ago

            I never said that warranty was an indicator of performance, but it is an indicator of quality and confidence in the product the manufacturer has in it.
            When a Sanden compressor fails outside of it’s 3yr warranty the cost is well north $2,500, which doesn’t include labour.

  3. Mark Roest 4 years ago

    I think there is another level here. They know precisely what they are doing, and they know what you are saying. They are mounting a propaganda offensive as the start of a new round of the political war to defeat solar. They are relying on identity politics at a fairly subtle level — hoping that decision-makers will stay entranced by their blandishments, particularly at the federal level.

    There is a very direct way to confront their assertion head-on, at its roots. They are saying there won’t be sun when it’s needed in the evening peak, and what they’ll say behind closed doors is that they need to run the gas plants in order to make using them at peak affordable, so they need the feds to block large-scale solar which would put them in an untenable position (as in, drive their power plants out of business, but saying that would spoil their scenario).

    All they need to do to maintain their posture is keep people thinking that storage will stay at $1000 per kWh and hence will be too expensive.

    To which we can say that even if it was, climate disruption and the Paris accords demand that we use it anyway, and get rid of the old gas and prohibit new gas plants, and life on earth happens to be worth spending more on storage than a slightly less (or actually more?) expensive gas plant (and don’t count the fuel). The dollar is NOT GOD!

    However, we don’t need to fight over that, because within 2 years storage will be under $200 per kWh, even in Australia. One fifth the price or lower, in two years, folks. No more excuses or scenarios in which gas is necessary and cheaper (in levelized price of electricity) utility-scale solar is to be pushed off the table. From here on out, it’s gas’ turn to be pushed off the table! (Along with coal, of course.)

  4. Ian 4 years ago

    In a previous article on this site, a brief and passing remark was made on the nature of gas plants. These are able to be started and stopped reasonably quickly. Ramping up a massive output in a relatively short time scale -‘ Eminently dispatchable’ you might say.

    Well apparently not. To run a 1GW gas power station you need a huge amount of gas. You need large pipelines covering long distances to collect the gas from numerous well-heads and feed it to the power station . Storing gas locally does not seem to be an option. Infrastructure in the form of pipelines costs money. Money costs interest or could be earning interest and any idle infrastructure is not earning money. A gas pipeline and the feeding gas wells need to run at highest capacity constantly to be economically viable. Consequently, gas power stations need to run constantly to best extract value from the infrastructure investment. A car can be filled up and sit idle all day but an Airbus or a cruise ship cannot, they have to be constantly converting fuel into airtravel or into tourist happiness to be justifing the capital investment. Gas power stations are more akin to passenger aircraft than to the family car in this regard.

    This point about gas generation has been over-looked and may well be the wooden stake that RE advocates need to destroy this FF vampire. The comments by John Bradley of the ENA quoted in this article probably reflect the reality of a grid supplied by intermittent solar, wind and ‘dispatchable’ gas generation. Any old fool can produce power when the sun shines and the wind blows but try doing this when these elements are absent ie on cold windless evenings. But here’s the rub. You can’t have your backup gas generation on standby and not expect it to be used for an economic period of time each day. Gas suddenly becomes the lead guitarist in a this type of energy network, and it will not tolerate too much wind or solar- just as Bradley is trying to say .

    The real question then is: How big can the fleet of standby gas generation be compared with the overall gas market before the intermittency of its gas usage compromises the economical viability of the gas supply network?

    • Mark Diesendorf 4 years ago

      Ian’s argument is a strong one against base-load gas-fired power stations. However, it does not apply to peak-load open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs), which have low capital cost and would have low demand for fuel in a 100% renewable energy grid, since they would only be operated infrequently, for short periods, to help fill the rare gaps in combined wind + solar output. They would connected to existing gas pipelines. They can burn renewable gases and liquids. When batteries become much cheaper, OCGTs may become unnecessary, but right now they play a valuable transitional role while variable renewable energy grows, e.g. in South Australia.

      • Chris B 4 years ago

        Most modern CCGTs (58-60%+ thermal efficiency) can ramp at 5% per minute.

        When they’re being operated they have to be kept idling at ~20% load to prevent thermal stress from cold cycling, but they can go from idle to full power very quickly. In combination with batteries, pumped storage, demand response and weather forcasting you could have them turned off for days at a time and only bring them online when the wind is predicted to drop off. They can also burn stored syngas or methane from landfill, sewage treatment, garbage, or biomass.

  5. Jonathan Prendergast 4 years ago

    I think based on data to date, policy settings, market structure and commercial realities, the forecast is probably right about not much large scale solar in the future.

  6. john 4 years ago

    One would expect a report done for the gas industry to reflect the best case scenario for that industry.
    This reminds me strongly of the PowerPoint Presentation put out by the now bankrupt coal producer, which basic finding was ” Coal is good for humanity “.
    At the time it did have the desired effect of gaining the attention of the more gullible in the community.
    As to just why large solar in all its forms, especially molten salt storage, pumped hydro and increasingly going forward battery storage is not viewed seriously is perhaps a problem here.
    There is no coming back from the basic energy cost input for the production of energy, which in the case of solar, wind, tidal or geothermal is zero.
    R and M should be in a similar cost frame to gas fired and if anything less.

    I do agree that now the bell curve of power demand is now a duck tail that storage in which ever form, has to be used to meet especially that evening load.

  7. trackdaze 4 years ago

    Interesting they see coal at less than 40% in 2020.

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