20.02 Four Icebergs in the Path of Renewables Titanic
Purpose. To explain that the transition to renewable energy will be very difficult in Australia with existing storage technology
Background. All the major parties are in favour of increasing the supply of electric power from wind and solar energy.
Four features of the Australian situation will make the RE transition very difficult and impossible with existing storage technology.
- 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.
- The “choke point” factor. The grid needs a continuous input of power and the critical value of the input from intermittent sources is the lowest level. The RE transition is limited
20.03 - The Island Effect
Purpose of this note: To explain why Australia, being an island, is seriously disadvantaged in attempting to achieve ambitious renewable energy targets.
Background. A previous briefing note described four obstacles in the path of ambitious RE targets (The Four Icebergs – attached).
Frequent wind droughts.
The need for 100% of demand to be met 100% of the time.
The island effect.
No grid-scale storage available from batteries or pumped hydro.
The Critical Feature of the Island Effect: We cannot run extension cords to other countries to obtain power when we are short.
All the other places that have major RE installations either have access to power from neighbours with conventional power to spare or they have ideal topography
20.01 - The Choke Point – when the wind fails and the grid dies.
Purpose: To signal the critical situation for power security and the implication of the lowest “choke point” level of input from the sun and wind.
The Critical Issues:
(1) After the loss of several coal fired power stations we have virtually no spare baseload capacity. We are “running on the rims” with no spare tyre.
(2) Many times a year when the wind supply is critically low the system will “choke” unless conventional power sources (dominated by coal) can provide 100% of the demand for electricity.
(3) That situation is rare at present but it will be a constant danger when Liddell closes in 2023 taking almost 2GW of supply out of the system.
(4) We are told that wind and solar power can replace coal-fired