March 2021

Purpose. To explain that battery storage is not a feasible method to “firm” or support the intermittent energy from wind farms.

Background. The NSW Roadmap towards green energy includes a Renewable Energy Zone in New England with a capacity of 8GW that matches the current capacity of all the wind farms in SE Australia combined.

Critical Issues.

Wind droughts. There are frequent and prolonged “wind droughts” when there is next to no wind across SE Australia for many hours and even days at a time.

Firming. To maintain the supply of power that is required to match demand, the intermittent input from the wind has to be firmed, that is, supported by “dispatchable” power from reliable sources that can be switched on as required.

The main kinds of firming power are gas, pumped hydro and battery storage

Gas is not acceptable to Greens and pumped hydro will not be available in bulk for some years.

The cost of battery storage.

This study explains the cost of battery storage required to firm up the power supply from a typical wind farm. The cost is astronomical and this means that battery storage  cannot be expected to provide feasible and affordable firming power to support the Australian wind industry.

Recommendation.

That these critical issues be discussed in the party rooms, in the media and among the public.

SUPPORTING CALCULATIONS    Calculating_the_cost_of_firming_the_New_England_REZ.pdf