Tesla to build 250MW "virtual power plant" in South Australia | RenewEconomy

Tesla to build 250MW “virtual power plant” in South Australia

South Australia unveils plans to build 250MW “virtual power plant”, linking household rooftop solar and battery storage, in what it says will be world’s biggest. It will involve 50,000 homes, each with 5kW rooftop solar and a Tesla Powerwall 2.

Both of mine are way bigger than yours.

The South Australia Labor government has unveiled plans to build a 250MW “virtual power plant”, linking household rooftop solar and battery storage, in what it says will be the world’s biggest.

The project aims to connect at least 50,000 households, beginning with low-income Housing Trust (social housing) properties, which will be each fitted with 5kW of rooftop solar and one 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery system.

The involvement with Tesla further strengthens the links between the US solar, storage and Electric vehicle company, but this project will be significantly bigger than the s0-called Tesla big battery next to the Hornsdale wind farm.

The $800 million project (see more details here) will ultimately bring together 250MW of capacity and 650MWh of storage, allowing the combined resource to be pooled to help provide grid stability and extra capacity when supply is short.

The project easily dwarfs the 5MW AGL virtual power plant being put together by AGL – the scene at its launch of a clash between state premier Jay Weatherill and federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg, and the 250-home Reposit Power-led project in the ACT.

“My government has already delivered the world’s biggest battery, and now we will deliver the world’s largest Virtual Power Plant,” Weatherill said in a statement issued on Sunday.

“We will use people’s homes as a way to generate energy for the South Australian grid, with participating households benefitting with significant savings in their energy bills.

“Our energy plan means that we are leading the world in renewable energy and now we are making it easier for more homes to become self-sufficient.”

The project will begin with a trial 1100 Housing Trust properties, which will have the solar and storage installed at no cost, funded by the state government’s Renewable Technologies Fund, where the Tesla proposal emerged.

Around 100 homes have already or are being installed and Tesla has the contract to install all 50,000 homes, but insists it will not cause delays to deliveries to other customers (as occurred when the Tesla big battery was being built. Its own technology will be used to “aggregate” the systems.

An initial $2 million will be provided as a grant and a further $30 million as a loan. The government is seeking investors in the program.

The first install at the home of Des Jenkins occurred less than 24 hours after deal signed with Tesla. Also pictured, premier Jay Weatherill, energy minister Tom Koutsantonis, and Social Housing minister Zoe Bettison

The second state will see installations at a further 24,000 Housing Trust properties, and then a similar deal offered to all South Australian households over the next four years. Private households will need to pay for the installation but should see a significant (30 per cent) saving on their power bill.

The government will seek an electricity retailer to deliver the program, and appears determined to bring in a new player to increase competition in the state market, which has suffered from its dominance by two or three major players. Tesla will be responsible for the installation.

“When the South Australian Government invited submissions for innovation in renewables and storage, Tesla’s proposal to create a virtual power plant with 250 megawatts of solar energy and 650 megawatt hours of battery storage was successful,” Tesla said in a statement.

“A virtual power plant utilises Tesla Powerwall batteries to store energy collectively from thousands of homes with solar panels. At key moments, the virtual power plant could provide as much capacity as a large gas turbine or coal power plant.”

Tesla said it will install Powerwall and solar panels on up to 50,000 homes in South Australia by June 2022, starting with 600 homes in 2018.

“Residents will enjoy lower bills and backup storage from their Tesla Powerwall battery, and the broader community will benefit from a more reliable grid that can better cope with peak demand.”

The announcement confirms South Australia’s status as not just a global leader in renewable energy, but also in storage.

The 100MW/129MWh Tesla big battery is already operating, and starting to change the way the industry thinks about the grid, the the 150MW, 800MWh Aurora project, using solar tower and molten salt storage is also due to begin construction this year.

On top of this, a battery storage facility will be delivered in May at the Wattle Point wind farm, a smaller battery is to be built at the new Lincoln Gap wind farm, and Sanjeev Gupta has plans for both battery storage and pumped hydro to help power the Whyalla steelworks.

At least two other pumped hydro projects, including Cultana, are also in planning stages.

The announcement also comes ahead of the state election, where Labor is in a three-way battle for power with the Coalition and Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party.

The Coalition last October proposed a $100 million household battery fund, which would provide means-tested grants averaging $2,500 to 40,000 homes to help them buy batteries.

“All South Australians will also benefit from the increased generation in the South Australian energy mix, with lower energy prices and increased energy stability,” the government said in its statement.

Social Housing Minister Zoe Bettison said people in social housing can often struggle meeting their everyday needs and this initiative will take some pressure off their household budget.

“I am very pleased that this Government is able to back South Australia’s housing trust tenants through providing cheaper power through this exciting program.”

The government said on its website that the virtual power plant could add up to a new 250MW/650MWh, dispatchable power plant “that can meet around 20 per cent of the state’s total average daily energy requirements,” adding competition to the market and putting downward pressure on everyone’s energy bills.

“In addition, the virtual power plant will provide security services through the distribution network (like the Tesla Powerpack ‘Big battery’), helping keep the power on during events or disturbances in the network,” it said.

It noted that if the batteries were charged when a blackout occurred, the households would not lose power, but be able to operate their lights and appliances from the battery.

The key objectives of the virtual power plant are to:

  • Provide significant cost savings to consumers participating in the program
  • Demonstrate the ability of a virtual power plant to deliver savings to households and improve the resilience of the grid
  • Introduce competition into the South Australian energy market, placing downward pressure on energy prices
  • Establish a new, dispatchable renewable energy power plant, providing energy when it is most required

John Grimes, the CEO of the Smart Energy Council, hailed the initiative, saying virtual power plants allow families to take control of their power bills, whilst providing greater security for the energy network.

“This is smart energy and smart leadership from the South Australian Government,” he said in a statement.

“South Australia is a world leader on solar, storage and action on climate change, with world-leading renewable energy and emission reduction targets.

“South Australia has the world’s biggest battery and now it will have the world’s biggest virtual power plant.”


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  1. Matthew Rowland 3 years ago

    Stick that where the sun don’t shine (pardon the pun) Frydenberg, Turnbull, Abbott, Kelly and co.

      • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

        Well at least it’s not a seizure causing flashing fluro one today Gif Man … or is it The Meme Lantern now?

        • Bighead1883 3 years ago

          Di Natale had a crap and it talks above

          Labor is the only hope so abandon any Greens aspirations any may have or else it`s Liberal mayhem

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Goebbels took a dump and it colours in with crayons above

            Look Boy Wonder, I don’t give a rats who wins in Batman,
            and I totes want Jay to win in SA.

            Political propaganda can be counter productive if it’s annoying didn’t you know.

          • Bighead1883 3 years ago

            Fool of a Took
            It`s your kind of discombobulation that has gotten Australia here to this point of insanity
            I`m easy to avoid just POQ and stay that way

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Sure, easy to avoid, unless you keep posting seizure gifs, speaking of discombobulation.

        • Calamity_Jean 3 years ago

          Dang, that was quick.

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      Let’s hope the other Labor states implement a similar program. Ideally it would be ALL states but that is probably expecting a bit much.

      And let’s not forget WA!

      • Bighead1883 3 years ago

        Hi Barrie,it looks like Victoria is signing up
        Queensland has a massive solar farm happening,so things are on their way despite Fed stupidity in the renewables sector

    • jeffhre 3 years ago

      Those fellas in the first picture? Wasted pixels…Irony is, Turnbull already has solar on his own home!

  2. Dee Vee 3 years ago

    I hope those households participating get paid $14000 per MW/Hour like AGL pay themselves when they orchestrate a generator shutdown.

  3. DoRightThing 3 years ago

    Awesome news. This is what the people want, and need.
    Every solar panel and battery installation is a poke in the eye to the psychopathic LNP and their dirty fossil fuel paymasters, so bring it on.

  4. Jon 3 years ago

    This is one of the most exciting Energy announcements I’ve see.
    It will not only help those that need it the most but help peak shave the grid massively, especially if the batteries are set to top up if below a certain percentage full overnight if the wind is blowing to help shave the morning peak.

  5. Chris Fraser 3 years ago

    Another 50,000 homes grid-free (for short times as needed) ? Jay Weatherill really does get it. Well done.

    • wilful 3 years ago

      No, not grid free, that is the point of this, the grid is good, the grid should be supported.

      • Daroid Ungais 87 3 years ago

        The grid sucks.

        • Jon 3 years ago

          The grid is needed to share resources between regions else every microgrid needs to have way more storage and generation capacity than is needed if connected to the grid.

          • Daroid Ungais 87 3 years ago

            *Currently* it’s needed. Many are predicting in the future The Grid will be structured more like a Mesh of microgrids. That is, *The Mesh*.

          • Jon 3 years ago

            As you say distributed generation so that if your area is mainly solar generation (the only viable option in a city) and it’s cloudy for a day “the grid” will bring your n power from a windfarm/Solar/pumped hydro from out of the area.
            The grid will be as important thanks in a mainly renewable distributed power system as it is now.

          • DoRightThing 3 years ago

            It’ll be an internet for electrons that anyone can put into and take out and be credited or debited and tallied with a distributed blockchain.
            The true decentralization and democratization of energy.
            No wonder the fossil fuel cartel and the governments they own are panicking and trolling the world as if their survival depends on it.

          • Calamity_Jean 3 years ago

            “…as if their survival depends on it.”

            Because it does.

          • DoRightThing 3 years ago

            Indeed so.
            The dinosaurs didn’t see their asteroid coming, and the LNP are metaphorically just noticing theirs enter the atmosphere, and can only shake their fists at it.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Too true!

        • Brian Tehan 3 years ago

          The grid is more efficient. Less total power generation needed. The virtual power station will help with the evening peak – as well as helping out the less well off with their power bills.

      • Gordon Bossley 3 years ago

        It’s project like these that emphasise that the grid is critical to our future. The question is whether governments will allow gouging to continue, and if they do, there will be abandonment before some ‘nadir’, a realisation that intervention is necessary to clean up the game, and allow distribution of an abundance of electricity, fairly.

      • Chris Fraser 3 years ago

        Yes, sharing distributed energy and supporting the grid by design …. but when the grid lets them down, they are laughing.

        • solarguy 3 years ago

          Only if the battery is charged will they be laughing, otherwise somebody is going to be hurt real bad. LOL

          • jeffhre 3 years ago

            Right, too bad for them the sun doesn’t come up pretty near each morning in SA.

          • Rod 3 years ago

            The guy over at solar quotes pointed out that in Winter the battery is unlikely to be fully charged at any time.
            Also the average usage now is about 20kWh/day. A drained battery will not be unusual.

          • jeffhre 3 years ago

            I’m guessing that if the grid is functioning, a drained battery is doing its job as planned. And if the grid is down, folks switch to the use of circuits that have the essentials plugged in

          • Rod 3 years ago

            In reality the retailer will probably top the batteries up from the grid if need be, at the right price, just like the big battery to ensure there is something available in case of outages (blackouts)

          • jeffhre 3 years ago

            Meaning the batteries will not be allowed to fully drain but will always have a buffer?

          • Rod 3 years ago

            From what I understand the Tesla settings leave some in reserve but can be tweaked. I expect the retailer would like a decent buffer.

          • Rod 3 years ago

            I don’t want to be disparaging of all social housing tenants BUT, take the guy in this story for example. “We couldn’t afford to run the AC and dishwasher but now with PV we can”! They had a $700 bill for the previous quarter. WTF? That 30% discount will soon disappear with an attitude like than and the Gummint will get the blame.

            I hope the PV and battery comes bundled with some training in energy efficiency and an energy meter. I can imagine the batteries being drained often. Maybe the retailer will ensure something is always available via the settings.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Yes Rod, Some just waste power. It will show them system performance, what will certainly be needed is education on energy efficientcy!

  6. MaxG 3 years ago

    What I like about this: some poor plebs get the benefit of blackout protection; firing up the better off to do the same, though paying out of their own pocket… this will accelerate the uptake in general. — I love this.

    • solarguy 3 years ago

      For those who will have to pay, I wonder what the deal will be. A better FIT perhaps?

      • Diana 3 years ago

        Really? Something major like this happens and all you are concerned about is being incentivized to be a part of something major?

        • Ian 3 years ago

          I’m sort of with solarguy on this one. The objectives are noble, but are incomplete. This is just another big generator, albeit a virtual distributed one, with an undisclosed electricity retailer controlling the plant and a large foreign company – Tesla- installing it. This could have been a big opportunity to kickstart the battery installation industry, with lots of home grown installation companies vying for business and a diverse group of suppliers providing the equipment. Why the fear of allowing Ordinary Australians to develop their own industry and determine their own storage needs. Roof-top solar is a precedent which has been a huge success. Unlike old mate Max, I have great faith in the Australian people and think they should be helped to get solar battery installations started but not curtailed and controlled. This is is not a pilot program. It’s $800 million. There is a huge opportunity cost if they get it wrong.

          It’s a good idea to make public housing almost self sufficient in electricity needs, would such an installation preclude electricity payments for those people or will they effectively get a double-dip subsidy?

        • solarguy 3 years ago

          Diana, Where should I start here, I think enough whoops and yahoos have been expressed on this page already. Yes it is a good idea. What I’m talking about, is for those coming on board this scheme later on and who will have to pay for the installation, how will they benefit?

          Will the gear still be free? If it is free what control will they have over the system, if any? Would they be better off paying $16,000 for the gear, the install and having full control of the system?

          FYI, I live in NSW and last year we paid considerably more money and installed extra PV, a Hybrid Inverter, 2 x MPPT Battery Chargers, 37kwhr battery bank all of which I installed myself and paid for a net meter ($600) to be installed as well. It was a dream that my wife and I have had for years, knowing that the Solar Bonus Scheme was ending.

          Not knowing what was going to happen in the future we had a bet each way, meaning I designed the system to go off grid in a heart beat if the greedy networks and retailers wanted to rip us off. So as you can see we were happy to spend all that money to be free of the grid if need be.

          So, I am part of something MAJOR don’t you think. And apart from being part of the solution, we also now get paid a much better FIT for our excess power. Our last energy bill was in credit for $210, after the system had supplied power to all loads including air conditioning and thanks to the battery, over night as well. Incentive to stay on the grid

          In ending, the above was our incentive, spending considerable money paid off for us and rightly so, but what incentive is there going to be for South Australians who will have to pay for their installation. Getting these things for free, is good for those who can’t afford it, but they won’t get all the benefit. Owning a property and paying for it, there sure damn needs to be a pay off.

          • Rod 3 years ago

            Yes, the details are scarce (non existent) for those who will be done after the social housing. Supposedly those who can’t afford or in private rentals.
            Suntenants and matter.solar are two companies that offer 3rd party solutions for tenants and landlords. They have a couple of schemes where the 3rd party owns the PV or the Landlord does and the 3rd party installs a meter and bills the tenant at a discount for PV energy used. The FiT I’m not sure but I think the tenant reimburses the landlord. Anyway as you say it can get messy.
            As for those who are in their own home, the economics are so good banks will be more than happy to loan for PV and possibly storage. Like you, I would rather own my assets.

          • David 3 years ago

            Put simply, with this scheme, where public housing is the recipient of the equipment, the tenants do not own or maintain the equipment. The power generated by the equipment is sold to the tenant at a much lower rate AND excess is distributed to other housing tenants at a much lower rate.
            The tenant leaves, the equipment stays.
            Note: I am a housing SA tenant.
            I have been looking into ways of getting solar on the roof for some time.
            Currently, the options are fund it myself (not possible), go through a power company scheme that looks a little sus, but is doable, or go through “Cool or Cosy” using a scheme they have that allows me to pay off the system over a number of years, after which I own it.
            The C or C option can also do battery storage. When I looked at it last year, with battery storage, the numbers were double our current budget for electricity, so not doable. I’m still waiting for figures on a solar only system to see if that would fit the budget, keeping in mind that we would still be up for night-time use and any increases in the future. We would also, eventually, own and be responsible for maintenance of the system which we probably would not be able to ‘move’ to another property should our circumstances change, so a potential loss of the investment in future years.
            While this scheme does not eliminate the power bills, and the 30% saving is based on a Kw/h rate (.40) that’s a lot higher than we have negotiated (currently 0.3116), it will reduce our cost slightly, make the house black-out resistant and not be any sort of financial burden on us in the future if something goes wrong.
            All that AND it benefits the SA power grid as well. That’s not a hand-out, that’s a good investment in, and intelligent use of, government owned assets.
            If it allows people on low/fixed incomes to spend a little more out in the community, benefiting local businesses, that’s also a benefit to the community and, somewhere in the equation, those that can afford to buy their own systems.
            Never mind “trickle-down economics”, this is trickle-UP economics.

          • Rod 3 years ago

            Hi David, I think I understand how it will work for the 1st 25,000 housing trust properties. Solar guy and I are wondering how it will work for the rest.
            So you are in a HT property? (sometimes HT customers stay in private rentals) I am surprised they would allow tenants to install PV.
            If I was in your shoes I would jump at this opportunity. This link confirms for me what I have always said. Give people the incentive and tools (metering) and many will adjust their energy use.

          • David 3 years ago

            Hi Rod.
            We had a situation abort 7 years ago where we could have managed solar panels on our HT property. AT THAT TIME, SAHT was rejecting applications for solar across the board, argument being that some, presumably older, properties couldn’t support the weight.
            Since then they have changed their policy and solar can be fitted on a case by case basis.
            Another reason to double think doing this is that, after more than 20 years in the property we had intended to put solar on, we were required to move, as they were redeveloping the area. Do you think I was glad they had said no to solar a few years earlier?
            We’ve ‘applied’ for the solar/battery scheme, but not holding our breath. If we get it, great, if not, keep heading down the C&C path… or take a closer look at that power company scheme
            Both may be reluctant to finance something on an HT property, for obvious reasons.

          • Rod 3 years ago

            Dodged a bullet by the sounds of it.
            Some on the Advertiser had been saying the roofs may not handle solar but I dismissed them but it seems it might be an issue. You would think newer properties would get preference.
            Hope you get picked.

    • trackdaze 3 years ago

      Should go to guaranteeing 1Gw of energy storage by 2020.

      • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

        But how many GWh?

        • trackdaze 3 years ago

          > 1

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            But <2? IOW not a whole hill of beans.

  7. George Michaelson 3 years ago

    I always wondered if battery enabled homes could island when there is power loss and run on their own. I may be wrong, I believed solar PV is explicitly not allowed to do this in qld. Maybe it’s state level authorised?

    Is it fully automatic or a manual cutover?

    • Giles 3 years ago

      All depends on the battery, and the inverter. These Tesla Powerwall batteries are designed to island and operate when the grid is down. Other batteries, like sonnen and Enphase, do not. You are right to say that rooftop solar PV by itself does not operate when grid is down.

      • Diana 3 years ago

        I did not know that rooftop solar didn’t operate in and of itself when grid is down. I guess I always assumed it did as I remember the concerns about rooftop solar still being “live” during the Qld floods a while back, and my Enphase MyEnlighten shows me using my solar output first, then resorting to grid electricity as needed. Or was it never that simple?

    • Patrick Comerford 3 years ago

      The Powerwall 2 is designed to operate with any currently installed PV inverter. In the event of a blackout it seamlessly isolates the grid supply and allows the battery to continue to power without interruption the whole house or all the circuits that are connected to the same circuitry as the battery supply. This changeover is so fast you don’t even know your area has had a blackout as everything (including the Internet) remains on. If this occurs whilst you PV system is also providing power to the house load the PV inverter will not shut down and will continue to power the house and or continue to charge the battery depending on how much your PV is producing. This situation will continue until one of two things happen.
      1-The sun goes down and you no longer produce power. The battery will continue running the house load as before and the PV inverter shuts down as it normally does overnight.
      2-your PV system completes charging the PW2 until it reaches 100% charged then the PV inverter will shut down and the house load will be supplied from the fully charged battery.
      In 1 above if you have not used all the available power in the PW 2 overnight the PV inverter will start up again as usual and commence recharging the battery or supplying the house load. This situation can continue ad infinitum.
      In 2 above the % Reserve charge in the PW 2 can be individually set by the user using the PW 2 App. This means the PW2 will not discharge below the preset amount ( I have mine set at 5%) so once this level of discharge is reached the PW2 will shut down and you will have a blackout. I’m led to believe that providing your PW2 is not completely discharged then there is reference voltage and frequency available to allow the PV inverter to power up but have not tested this myself.

      • George Michaelson 3 years ago

        This is maybe useful. In the wider sense, it suggests that if a suburb becomes islanded, and blacks out locally, the PV+TeslaBattery components actually reduce load/demand during restoration of the service. My anecdote here is from times long past, when bringing computing centre mainframes back online tripped at the wall because all the ICT systems drew too much current for cold-start to work without a lot of handwaving to reduce burden, until things were stable: the 400Mb packs of those days were washing-machine sized linear motors which took a lot of current to spin up.

        So a sufficient number of tesla batteries in a location, serves two purposes: it helps those owners not be blacked out, and it helps the local distribution net come back up with less risk of (re)tripping.

        Is that plausible?

        • BushAxe 3 years ago

          Theoretically if you have enough PW’s to provide reactive power and storage you could run neighbourhoods as islanded microgrids until the main grid is restored. Even PV without batteries could remain connected as there’s a grid for them to synchronise to.

          • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

            Smh….study all the technicalities of what you just said then get back to me…..I can’t wait….bottom line is don’t talk shit…I do this for a living so go sip another latte!

          • BushAxe 3 years ago

            Electranet’s Dalrymple battery project is a good example of a large microgrid, unless you’re going to claim it’s not possible. If you’re going to troll how about you enlighten us on some of your work please.

          • Rod 3 years ago

            What do you do for a living? Company? There certainly is some shit being “what you just said” but it seems to be coming from you.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Rod, ignore the dude…he a TROLLI

  8. Cee Cee 3 years ago

    Elon Musk will make America great again!
    Actually the localised workforce for Sth Aust will get a great boost also…..

    • Joe 3 years ago

      The Elon is a little busy at the moment with …..’Keeping South Australia Great’

  9. Robert Comerford 3 years ago

    Let us hope the SA voters get it.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      I saw the SA Leaders Debate….Nitwit Xylophone was hopeless….the Marshall was his on his turntable spinning his usual…is’ all Labor’s fault lines. The only one there with vision and plans was Premier Jay.

      • david H 3 years ago

        As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and isn’t that so true of the LNP’s performance on energy in general.

      • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

        Ha..see below. You’re a definite stooge for the Labor party…it’s written all over your posts!….tip- trying being a little more subtle….South aussies ain’t buyin this crap no more! I mean who the hell cheer leads for ‘Jay’…c’mon man.

        • Rod 3 years ago

          Plenty of South Australian’s are in support of renewables. Unfortunately we have a lot of dullards who actually believe the crap fed them by the Murdoch media. Too stupid to realise when they are being duped.
          Hopefully you and your’e (sic) ilk are in the minority.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          …..err Neky my man, Labor roots I do have but labelling me a Labor stooge…you have drawn a rather long bow. I do actually vote GREEEEENS my man. So please amend your post and correctly label me as a….. Greens stooge!

          • Rod 3 years ago

            I don’t dare tell him I’m a swinger.

    • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

      Staggering how we’ve witnessed the decline in this/ my beloved state yet still keep voting the same clowns in!

  10. Gordon Bossley 3 years ago

    I think this is visionary and clever / cunning on Weatherill’s part. Just in time for an election.

    I wonder when it becomes outright embarrassing for other states and the Federal government, that SA is leaping ahead with projects that assure its renewable, sustainable, low-cost energy future? Surely the next consequence is gravitation by businesses to a geography of low-cost energy?

    • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

      Low cost? LOL

  11. mick 3 years ago

    wont be long before the duck starts looking like road kill

  12. handbaskets'r'us 3 years ago

    How will your little graph look now Giles?
    Does this chart as small-scale or large, once it’s up and running?
    (Otherwise makes me want to pull my shirt over my head and do laps around the block).

  13. Chris Fraser 3 years ago

    SA – the “very little gas and diesel” State !

  14. frank 3 years ago

    so now SA can stop purchasing coal electricity from vic, nsw and qld.

    oh wait, you’ll be in darkness within 20 minutes

    • Brian Tehan 3 years ago

      Not too sure what you’re on about but SA has a lot of peaking gas generation capacity as well as renewables. The more storage, the less expensive gas is what it’s all about.

      • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

        Yes the more storage the less expensive gas is, and the clock is ticking on the 30 minute settlement rort too.

    • DoRightThing 3 years ago

      Sounds like you’re too invested in fossil fuels.
      Get out or go down with them.

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      “so now SA can stop purchasing coal electricity from vic, nsw and qld.

      oh wait, you’ll be in darkness within 20 minutes”

      A bit of a straw man argument mate! Who suggested that SA would need to stop purchasing from other states?

      Do you deny the reality that this program will reduce interstate purchases?

    • john 3 years ago

      At times it is the other way around as it can be for any State.

  15. Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

    Let’s wait and see considering the massive delays and constant delivery date changes by Tesla for people that have existing pw2 orders!

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Read Giles’ article paragraph 4 about “see more details”…your question is answered and its NO to your query of delays.

      • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

        I’m right at the coalface so my opinion on this is has been more than validated!

        • Joe 3 years ago


      • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

        Tell that to my customers.

  16. aldo 3 years ago

    WHat happens if you already have solar?

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      Maybe you will qualify for the addition of a battery?

  17. Peter 3 years ago

    Go South Oz, just getting on with the job and leading the country again. To maximise the benefits it’d be good to see the program also focus on rural areas. This has several benefits over a city focus; SA rural towns usually have bigger blocks sizes so I’d expect less shading issues, the solar will be geographically distributed thus helping smooth the effects of patchy cloud and most importantly it adds redundancy to the less-reliable rural grid. Towns in the mid and upper north, and upper west coast get a lot more sunshine than Radelaide.

  18. Lamby 3 years ago

    I have alway thought the Government should put Solar PV on Housing Trust homes instead on giving rebates to pay power bills. So adding to the grid rather than giving energy companies a subsidy.

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      I applaud the priority for Housing Trust Homes. These households will get a genuine benefit.

      • john 3 years ago

        And as another person mentioned much better to do a one off payment to allow those not so well of to gain cheaper power instead of endlessly paying them each year.
        Dignity regained by the receivers is very important to their well being.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Agreed, a rebate or concession does nothing to encourage energy efficiency. As I understand this scheme, the householder misses out on the FiT which is a pity.

  19. Joseph Brown 3 years ago

    Does anyone know whether these 5kw solar installations will be solar panels or the new Tesla solar roofs? I think it is very likely to just be panels, but of it were to be solar roofs then this could be a great way to work the kinks out of the production line.

    • Dennis Abbott.. 3 years ago

      Tom Koutsantonis has been speaking on the wireless this morning, suggesting that the PV panels may be manufactured in Adelaide.

      • ben 3 years ago

        That’d be Tindo

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Yep, saw the Presser on my TV with the top man from Tindo and Premier Jay confirming that. Tindo will be hiring more workers…I think that is what is called Jobs of The Future…NO…. its Jobs of The Now.

          • ben 3 years ago

            Good spotting, thanks.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            You’re welcome.

      • Ian 3 years ago

        I read on the ABC website news that 50%of the panels had to be made in Australia

  20. Ian Cleland 3 years ago

    Where is wave power part of the power supply mix. The Southern Ocean is just waiting to tapped into and it is 24/7.

    We have Carnegie Clean Energy with the CETO wave energy system as one of the suppliers

    • Catprog 3 years ago

      Probably the tech is not ready for large scale yet.

      • Ian Cleland 3 years ago


        It is ready and waiting. I will keep pushing it. There is a daily potential of 1.34 TW of energy from the Southern Ocean off the south coast of Australia.

        • Catprog 3 years ago

          Do you mean TWh?

          Can you point me to the tech and not just the potential?

          • mick 3 years ago

            if they could push water uphill for cultana hydro project it would be an elegant solution though probably too shallow with not enough wave action

  21. Ryan 3 years ago

    It’s Zoe Bettison . Auto correct seems to make it Jettison.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      Correct, thanks for heads up. I’m going to take Auto Correct out to lunch this week, it’s time we had a quiet word.

      • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

        Tell it no uncertain manner it needs to shake up or shop out.

  22. Sir Pete o Possums Reek 3 years ago

    Phase 2 should also include a serious roll out onto suitable:
    Schools (any level), TAFE, Hospital Fire-sheds (both types) …. copshops … etc.
    Invite _Local Government_ into the scheme, along with the general private sector.
    Some councils are already exploring smaller schemes.

    This will also increase design pressure on:
    – the network/mesh itself:
    how its managed , how its monitored, emergency uses, islands and fault isolation, and so on.
    Including All financial, hardware and software instruments tools and machines.
    There are some obvious Consumption / Production Levels:
    Residential , Light thru Heavy Industry, Primary Industries

    Perhaps more interestingly other groupings and mixtures of uses will appear.
    The SA Gov has just enabled one example with the Trust Housing.
    The unbinding of the “Value Chain” from the physical network is sure to create many opportunities to operate collectively. Just as notably it will enable the identification of real needs services and performance potentials. Much like the way the “Big Battery” has altered perceptions of response times, power factor management , frequency etc .
    e.g. Emergency infrastructure(s) need various levels of “back up” power , some may be provided onsite , longer term supply may be provided by some islands or guarantee. Or you may have a server farm or a metalurgical facility … ditto.
    Easy example may be bloody mobile phone towers. Why these are the first to die in fires for example.

    In short how WE as a collection of user/producers utilise and purpose and facilitate the system to work best as the fantastically enabling tool it is.
    Rather than how best to make profits from renting the infrastructure, or *cough* a corporate or state level only “cartel”.

    Oops I do go on.

    • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

      Keep in mind a pw2 will only store excess power from Pv after consumption and after round trip efficiency losses will only store 13.2kw/hrs so barely practical for commercial purposes despite being able to string 9 of them together….not suited for schools/tafe etc etc.

      • BushAxe 3 years ago

        There’s plenty of larger storage solutions available for commercial loads including the Tesla Power pack.

      • Sir Pete o Possums Reek 3 years ago

        Yes absolutely.
        Explore *better fits* every chance you get.
        This is about building a better energy network , not servicing a (this initial) contract.
        ((( If you don’t need to care about the losses ??? )))

        I’m not welded to Tesla Corp.

        (at this stage its lower political and delivery risk)

        A container sized Li* battery, would be appropriate at many sites. (No not all , at all , just many)

        Every small town sized sub-station in South Australia could take a stack of 40foot containers if needs be.
        (with some extra solar or wind)

        Use another storage system.
        Even another chemistries.

        Use the solar output as displacement for pumped hydro.
        The network(s) offers that sort of flexibility exploit it.
        (reduced demand means capacity should be available some-place else)

        e.g. The Zen Flow system scales well.

        The Sun (and Wind) as energy input are FOC _at site_ for storage and use.

        Most fire sheds have at least 100m2 of roof top and plenty of room out the back. (and they would be at the smaller end of the Local Government size structures)

        The technology and control systems are now more than good enough. We simply need to build the capacity to productively install and service them. We can do that.

        Waiting for perfect engineering ??? Priceless.

  23. Rob 3 years ago

    I hope Jay Wetherill survives the coming SA election. If he doesn’t he should run for Prime Minister of the country.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      I thought Premier Jay was the PM….he certainly acts like OUR Leader. That other dude pretending to be PM is just taking up the space.

      • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

        He’s been useless for far too long..don’t even get me started about they have f#@d up the health system!…..I bet you’re one of those stooges that hands out ‘how to vote’ cards for the Labor party…Lol..don’t even try to defend their energy policies!

        • solarguy 3 years ago

          Their energy policies don’t need any defence. Actions speak louder than words.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Hallo again Neky my man. Just catching up with all your ‘Labor
          stooge’ digs at me…this is the 2nd one now that I spotted. I’ll call it as I see it and on RE Labor and SA Labor with Leader Jay is way out in front of the ‘Fossil Fuel Stooges’ that you seem to favour by default. I don’t need to defend SA’s energy polices…they defend themselves.

  24. Roger Franklin 3 years ago

    Buy that man a Beer! Well done Jay.
    Next we will be reading that you are going to start manufacturing batteries in SA……!!!!

  25. Jason Van Der Velden 3 years ago

    Suck a big fat tesla battery Tony& company!

    • Joe 3 years ago

      And Tony comes back to say…”you can’t make steel from solar”……we’ve got tonnes of that Little Black Wonder Rock, Coal is Baseload, Coal is Reliable, Coal is just BEEEEEEEEEAUTIFUL, South Australia needs more Coal.

      • mick 3 years ago

        meanwhile pm maladjusted calling a bunch of useless bastards at the lib party launch

  26. Alastair Taylor 3 years ago

    It will be interesting to see if Vic ALP do something similar before the year is out as well (Spring Street election: last Saturday in November).

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      I hope SA and Vic compare notes. Would be great program for Vic and Qld also. Could run into (short-term) resource availability though?

  27. Gary Rowbottom 3 years ago

    Great initiative, helps out the less well off, and provides controlled grid support, and for those lucky to get it, on those times when there are power failures (usually due to network component failures) they are not left in the dark. Storage is key to success of the SA electricity supply.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Do you think this will change the economics of Aurora much Gary?
      Has that cheque turned up from Friedandburnt yet?

      • Gary Rowbottom 3 years ago

        I am not sure, most of Aurora’s output will be under their Generation Project Agreement, but I understand there will be a portion they can sell elsewhere and I guess anything that causes lower prices would affect return on that – but I’m sure they are not looking to cash in on crazy $10,000 + / MWh that we sometimes see now. And with new supply from a variety of sources coming from all quarters there are / will be effects everywhere. I am sure that was mostly foreseen. Having said that, Torrens Island A’s 480 MW is nearly 50, and B’s 800 MW not that far behind, so we need a good deal of reliable supply to transition from those generators – and the type of generation from Aurora is just the ticket to help fill that role, in my opinion.

  28. Chris Drongers 3 years ago

    Sheer awesomeness! Presumably these solar/batteries will be used to top’n’bottom the duck curve, reducing the need for the most expensive peaking plant. The next expansion of wind with pumped hydro will reduce the base longrun generators (including Victorian brown coal ).
    Leading up to the next COAG it will be fun watching the right wing pro-coalers make Turnbull’s moderates spin their simultaneous support for coal (to keep the RWNJs on side) and for renewables (to keep the soft Liberals in the camp as SA shows how much expansion of renewables to consumer’s advatage) can occur.
    Go South Australia!

    • Diana 3 years ago

      Chris, all things considered with this plan by SA govt, please consider writing an article for Renew Economy on the best way to manage the duck curve!

      • Chris Drongers 3 years ago

        I hope one of the Reneweconomy electricity grid professionals will write an article on what a distributed generation with batteries system could look like at both;
        the physical
        -what efficiency panels,
        -what happens when every roof maximises installation power because panels are so cheap,
        -changes necessary to dribble this excess power onto the grid (batteries, export limits, grid batteries to buffer, transformer and wire upgrades)
        -management of cars, heat pumps, all electric cooking ranges, etc

        and the commercial;
        -who pays for energy, FCAS, networks, retail margin
        -effect of peer-to-peer electricity sales (clipping the ticket for proportionate use of wires and FCAS)
        -provision for major low renewable generation periods
        etc etc.

        All of this is at the limits of technical innovation which is changing day be day (on Friday the Nissan Leaf with its vehicle to grid capability was not coming to Australia until end 2018, on Tuesday announced it will be here June 2018)
        and our governments still seem to be thinking that changes to commercial operations of the grids can be delayed by a year here, four years there (5 minute bid periods, inclusion of consumer interests in setting power charges).

        I look forward to one or more ‘educational’ type articles setting out what might have emerged (note; not ‘be emerging’ but would already be here) if technologies of the time were adopted and encouragement was forthcoming from governments.

        Go Jay!

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Is COAG after the SA election? A lot is hanging on that result.

      Vote early, vote often SA.

  29. Joe 3 years ago

    This is what a Labor Leader does and does best. “Agile and Innovative” (to quote Two Tongues Turnbull) and where does Premier Jay start off with his masterplan…with those least well off in the community,it’s just core Labor values. You will never see this sort of action in a COALition governed State. Once Premier Jay has sorted the Public Housing Rooftops then onwards with all other State administered rooftops…Schools, Hospitals, Police Stations, Government Office Buildings…just keep it going Premier Jay

    • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

      Lol..pure left wing dribble mate, you have no idea what is going on in this sector, I’ve worked in this industry for many years, this is pure vote buying at it’s best.

      • Diana 3 years ago

        Yeah, but damn, if they get back in it was worth buying those votes!

        • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

          Oh poor Diana…you sure aim low eh!

          • Diana 3 years ago

            You’re kidding…. the promise of 50,000 homes with solar/battery (starting with over 1000 Trust homes) ain’t worth voting for? Against what alternatives offered?

      • BushAxe 3 years ago

        Pure trolling unless you share your knowledge.

        • Nekminnut5150 3 years ago

          Ok then…cough up your money and order one! Then you’ll see…..smartarse!

          • BushAxe 3 years ago

            Order what? I’m not buying a battery at the current prices. I’ve registered with this program to see what they offer just the same as other companies like Sonnen. When I see a deal that gives me a battery and trades my excess power I’ll sign on the dotted line. I don’t need some salesman trying to flog me the latest widget.

      • Rod 3 years ago

        Which sector have you worked in for years? You just mentioned five sectors. The energy sector? I highly doubt that unless it was lighting gas lamps.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        You Trolli, crawl back into your harddrive.

  30. Chris Drongers 3 years ago

    What are the arguments AGAINST distributed generation and storage such as this?
    Centralized, utility scale solar plants are almost certainly cheaper per kWhr than rooftop solar but the cost of delivered power is much higher. Macro-economics says distributed power is bad, micro-economics says it is good.

    Distributed generation + storage may shift pricing power away from incumbent generators and retailers ( a good thing especially as governments are not good at catching the differential in pricing power through taxation (avoidance))

    But what arguments could b used against this move to distributed generation by Wetherill?

    • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

      Though we can argue the merits of centralised vs distributed I think we need to acknowledge the politics in this move Chris. Another plank in the re-election strategy that is well deserved I think!

      • Rod 3 years ago

        I’m just making an assumption here but wouldn’t most social housing clients vote Labor.
        Maybe the No Pokies guy has confused the Labor voters.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      Craig Kelly is on record using transmission losses as an argument against electric cars, so the distributed model should please him (but most certainly won’t).

    • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

      It is a pretty lousy investment. Here’s some realism on a Powerwall/solar setup:


      Note that the household was unusual in its power consumption patterns: for a more average household, the economics would not be so favourable.

      • David Osmond 3 years ago

        From what I saw, that analysis only looked at income from increasing self-consumption of home PV. These virtual power plants may also be able to earn money by selling electricity on the wholesale market during price peaks, and from selling FCAS services.

        • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

          I think it’s unrealistic to assume that low voltage distribution grids are a good source for FCAS. In any event, I doubt that the money earned would be worth the expense of all the control and communication kit and costs: somewhere I have a PhD study on this which explained just how onerous those requirements are. I suppose you can give consumers the choice of their own private power cut to feed the grid and earn a little on the side, but I suspect many would soon get fed up with that: they probably would prefer to run their own lives rather than have Tesla do it for them, interrupting cooking the evening meal and the TV, and turning off the A/C when it’s sweltering.

          • Giles 3 years ago

            You have written a PhD on distribution grid and you produce garbage like this?!?!?!:
            “They probably would prefer to run their own lives rather than have Tesla do it for them, interrupting cooking the evening meal and the TV, and turning off the A/C when it’s sweltering.”

          • Rod 3 years ago

            No I think he means he read it. Pretty obvious he didn’t understand it.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            Giles, you really should concentrate on making your articles accurate in the first place.

            I’ve lived in countries where the power supply was intermittent, and I can assure you that it rapidly gets pretty boring. Perhaps you and your acolytes are prepared to live like that, but I doubt that applies to the average cosmopolitan Australian.

          • DoRightThing 3 years ago

            The only thing that’ll get cut is your salary for trolling for the coal industry.

          • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

            No cut at all. I have noting to do with the coal industry.

          • DoRightThing 3 years ago

            Whatever – something is responsible for your irrationally negative and motivated reasoning.

    • Rod 3 years ago

      Nip on over to the Advertiser Chris if you really want to know what nonsensical arguments are being regurgitated.
      Not enough roofspace.
      Roofs not strong enough.
      The tenants will steal them.
      Tesla is bankrupt.
      You get the drift.

      One legitimate thing was that the PV should be overpanelled. Tindo may actually be a bad choice as their biggest panel is 260W

  31. Cooma Doug 3 years ago

    Folks…these things are emerging and much is being said in a positive light. But the true depth of this change has only been slightly revealed. A house with 5kw of solar and 10 kwh battery has much more potential in terms of grid market products than are being mentioned in the media.

  32. David 3 years ago

    “The Coalition last October proposed a $100 million household battery fund, which would provide means-tested grants averaging $2,500 to 40,000 homes to help them buy batteries.”
    Batteries are $10,000 and up, so, if you qualify under the means test, you also need to be able to finance the $7,500 difference. This leaves people on low incomes out in the cold… as is usually the case with Coalition policy.
    It would just be a $2,500 bonus for those that could already afford a battery.

    • DoRightThing 3 years ago

      Anyone owning and using a battery offers a valuable service to the grid and society, so why not just give them to the poor?
      Everyone benefits.
      (Except those in the business of mining coal and running polluting power stations – they’ve done enough damage already and need to find something else to do).

    • BushAxe 3 years ago

      The Liberals battery policy just subsidises those that can already afford them but it doesn’t provide the added benefit of an aggregated output.

  33. BushAxe 3 years ago

    250MW of batteries+ 250MW of rooftop PV and probably another 250MW of small PV installed by 2022 as well means SA will meet minimum demand in the next five years. Interesting times…

    • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

      Batteries consume power – the round trip efficiency of a Powerwall is around 85% if you believe the claims and confine yourself to its optimal charge/discharge regime. 250MW of solar will generate ~375GWh per year, compared with SA demand which is about 12.4TWh/a: that is about 3% of the total. What else might you get for $800m?

      It’s a brilliant deal for Tesla, to be funded by SA tax and bill payers.

      • BushAxe 3 years ago

        The government is funding the startup of the scheme, the successful retailer will fund the rest through the cashflow of the business not the taxpayers. I expect the new retailer will probably contract some wind generation to charge the system at night too.

        • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

          That will work well in a heat wave when wind is negligible.

      • Chris Drongers 3 years ago

        The bill payer was paying for the low quality, nearly exhausted coal from Leigh Creek as well so what is new?
        In the proposal here consumers get a 30% bill reduction and the funding comes mainly from private sources.
        The losers would be existing large commercial generators.

        • itdoesntaddup 3 years ago

          So charitable donations will fund the lower bills?

          • Chris Drongers 3 years ago

            No charity needed. Solar power is so cheap that daytime power can be supplied to the house at about 10c/kWhr; spread over a day and allowing for battery costs the cost of supply to the house including a bankable return to investors is still expected to be 10c/kWhr cheaper than current grid supply.

            Current generators and retailers are free to match the lower price if they can or want to.

  34. paul 3 years ago

    $800,000,000. Its ok for you lot using other peoples money, That’s $800,000,000.
    No wonder the state is fxkdhfhed

    • Rod 3 years ago

      What part of private investors is so hard to understand? Have another read with your good glasses on.

  35. petergoggin 3 years ago

    South Australia’s rooftop capacity factor is 15% therefore the average output of the “virtual power plant” is 37MW. The Powerwall has a “round trip” efficiency of 80% so the 37MW is reduced to 30MW.
    So for $800 million we get 30MW of electricity!
    (wonder how long this will last before it is “disappeared”

    • Giles 3 years ago

      Seen some dumb comments written on this web site but yours just about takes the cake.
      The average output has nothing to do with it, because apart from delivering cheaper energy to households, it is not needed to contribute to the grid. The key is the peak output, which is 250MW, and more or less guaranteed to be at that level by the storage. That is what counts in demand peaks.
      So for $800 million they get the equivalent of a peaking plant, with no running costs. And unlike a peaking plant which runs for just a few hours a year, these solar and battery storage installations run for 10-15 hours a day, delivering cheaper energy to the household occupants than grid based power.

      • petergoggin 3 years ago

        So for $800 million we get a peaker that can only output 250MW for just over 2 hours! According to “solarquotes”, it can take up to 3 days in winter to charge the Powerwall 2 and remember that the “roundtrip” efficiency is 80% so an enormous amount of solar power is wasted.


        The only reason participating households get a cheaper rate is because

        the SA government has stipulated it but the rest of the consumers will pay dearly.
        The “peaker” cannot contribute to the morning peak and on cloudy days will contribute nothing.
        For $800 million SA is getting a lemon and the poor consumers will have to pay for this fiasco.

      • petergoggin 3 years ago

        No we don’t get the equivalent of a peaking plant for $800 million. First of all, a gas peaking plant costs $300 million and can supply despatchable electricity regardless of whether the sun is shining. The 250MW of solar cells is coupled to 650MWh of Powerwall2 batteries and after battery losses of 20% can only provide power for just over 2 hours.
        This $800 million peaker cannot supply the morning peak and if it’s a cloudy day, cannot supply the evening peak either. Because the household is also using the storage, only a portion of the solar electricity actually makes it to the grid. According to “solarquotes”, it can take up to 3 days in winter to charge the powerwall 2. Wow, some peaker!
        And then there are the $150 million in STC’s that pissed off consumers have to pay to subsidies the solar installations. If ever there was a lemon, this is it!

  36. petergoggin 3 years ago

    Hey Mr moderator, you “disappeared” my comments giving a different perspective on the $800 million. Be nice if you could argue against what I said (which I could provide references for) rather than the “disappearing”.
    Haven’t your readers the right to know both sides of the issue? That used to be called free speech.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      I’m the only moderator and I didn’t touch them. perhaps you deleted them yourself. that is the only other option.

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