30 October 2018 The Guardian, Clean energy is cheap, surging – and headed for a fall. The relentlessly corrosive nature of political debate about climate change can sometimes mask that this is a golden moment for the clean energy industry in Australia. A …Continue reading →
11 January 2018, The Conversation, A month in, Tesla’s SA battery is surpassing expectations. It’s just over one month since the Hornsdale power reserve was officially opened in South Australia. The excitement surrounding the project has generated acres of media interest, both locally and abroad. The aspect that has generated the most interest is the battery’s rapid response time in smoothing out several major energy outages that have occurred since it was installed. Following the early success of the SA model, Victoria has also secured an agreement to get its own Tesla battery built near the town of Stawell. Victoria’s government will be tracking the Hornsdale battery’s early performance with interest. Generation and Consumption Over the full month of December, the Hornsdale power reserve generated 2.42 gigawatt-hours of energy, and consumed 3.06GWh. Since there are losses associated with energy storage, it is a net consumer of energy. This is often described in terms of “round trip efficiency”, a measure of the energy out to the energy in. In this case, the round trip efficiency appears to be roughly 80%. The figure below shows the input and output from the battery over the month. As can be seen, on several occasions the battery has generated as much as 100MW of power, and consumed 70MW of power. The regular operation of battery moves between generating 30MW and consuming 30MW of power. Read More here
12 July 2017, The Guardian, Commentators who don’t understand the grid should butt out of the battery debate. Criticising South Australia’s battery for not meeting peak demand is akin to raging at your smartphone because it can’t send a fax. he Australian electricity grid’s most recently announced extremity is a gargantuan battery system in South Australia, designed to bolster grid security. The facility has been met mostly with a warm welcome, interspersed with weird, interesting and tense hostility. Buried in the mix of reactions are clues about how a new phase of grid transition might play out, as we switch from the rapid build out of zero carbon power sources to building and integrating them into a system designed for fossil fuels.Before we interrogate the misunderstandings of South Australia’s new battery, we have to step back and look at the system as a single, electric organism. Read More here
7 April 2017, The Conversation, The stampede of wind farm complaints that never happened. National Wind Farm Commissioner, Andrew Dyer, has just released his much anticipated first annual report. In its first year of operation until the end of 2016, the National Wind Farm Commissioner says his office received: 46 complaints relating to nine operating wind farms (there were 76 operational wind farms in Australian in 2015)
42 complaints relating to 19 proposed wind farms
two complaints that did not specify a wind farm.
The commissioner’s office closed 67 or these 90 complaints, with the remaining 23 complaints still in process. Of the 67 now-closed complaints, the office closed 31 because the complainant did not progress their complaint. This suggests these complaints were minor. The office closed the file on another 32 after it sent complainants more information about their complaints. This leaves only four, which the report describes two as being settled after negotiations between the parties, and two given the ambiguous category of “other”. These figures are frankly astonishing. The complaint investigating mechanism was set up after a Senate enquiry report that cost undisclosed millions to deal with a “massive” problem with wind turbines. But the hordes of people who apparently needed a way to help them resolve matters have now gone shy. Chair of the Senate Committee on Wind Turbines was ex-Senator John Madigan, a public critic of wind farms. Read More here