I’m not going to make a habit of posting an article each time some central body posts some Report/Study, as I’d get nothing else done – however in this case (just like with the COAG Energy Council’s two discussion papers on ‘NEM 2.0’) I sense I’ll be referring back to this one a number of times in future, so it’s worth noting this one here this morning.
Note that I’m also doing this as experience has taught me that documents on the AEMO website (including through several website redesigns) tend to move around quite a bit over the years, so I’m posting this article here in order to provide a more durable link to the content.
Thursday 30th April 2020 sees the AEMO release it’s first* ‘Renewable Integration Study’, and my sense is that it’s not a moment too soon given some of the challenges we’ve grown increasingly aware of in the past couple of years – and also some looming challenges we’re collectively not speaking too much about (though might post more about via WattClarity in the coming months).
* note that I say here ‘first’ as it is a first of its kind under this specific title, I believe. However others in our team have recollections of a ‘Wind Integration Study’ published perhaps 5 years ago or so (I can’t find this now on the AEMO website, unfortunately – it might have had a different formal name, or been moved).
Links on the AEMO website are currently here:
1) To the News Release for the study; and
2) To the Study itself.
I’ve not read them, yet, but I do notice AEMO has assembled them into 5 bite-sized chunks of information, starting with the 75-page main ‘Stage 1’ report:
Given we’d invested countless hours (with Greenview Strategic Consulting, and with the assistance of others) in compiling our the Generator Report Card 2018 11 months ago now, and in that had analysed a number of different aspects of challenge arising both sides of the ‘out with the old, and in with the new’ energy transition, I will be interested to review and see how many of the concerns raised in the GRC2018 have been covered in this Renewable Integration Study.
This 75-page main report also links to four supplementary documents, all roughly the same length in addition:
High Penetrations of Distributed Solar PV
Managing Variability and Uncertainty
|Appendix D (though not named as such!)
|I’ve already written a number of times about the challenges inherent in the opacity of distributed small-scale solar PV output, and I know that’s far from the most significant challenge faced here.
Hence will be quite interested in what the AEMO has covered in Appendix A.
|The AEMC has recently passed a rule change on Primary Frequency Control – however my understanding is that this is only intended as an interim measure.
Hence will be interested to see what’s in Appendix B.
|On WattClarity we have have written a number of times about challenges like this (such as with respect to this inherent belief that some have that ‘diversity will cure it’).
I’ll read this one with great interest.
|Not sure why this was not just labelled ‘Appendix D’, but will review with keen interest.|
(A) AEMO calling for submissions
There’s a consultation process (noted at the bottom of this page) that talks about submissions in June 2020.
As noted before, we very rarely make formal submissions – however it seems likely that there will be other articles on WattClarity in between now and the end of June that discuss various aspects of the core challenges inherent in integrating renewables into the NEM. When we do this (and if I remember) I’ll try to link them in here for completeness:
|Date||Related WattClarity® Articles
Topic and Context
|Tuesday 2nd June 2020
07:00-09:00 NEM time
|The Energy Systems Integration Group (ESIG) is hosting a webinar on the AEMO’s RIS on the morning of Tuesday 2nd June 2020 that’s free to attend.|
|xx June||Might have time to contribute some thoughts via an article at some point.|
I hope these articles (to come) prove useful.
(B) Media Coverage of the release
It’s understandable that there’s also media coverage, so it’s worth linking to some of these:
1) In the AFR, Angela Macdonald-Smith wrote ‘Renewable power to be wasted without reforms: AEMO’ and includes this quote:
“AEMO said the power system already needs near-daily interventions* to keep the lights on and supply secure in regions with high shares of renewables such as South Australia.
As the share of wind and solar further increases, the complexity of running the market grows because of increasing volatility in generation levels, uncertain demand and a weakening in system strength as traditional fossil generators close down.”
… and that AFR article linked in ‘The diabolical task of clean energy transition’ written on 14th January 2020 by Elouise Fowler with Angela.
* note that the ‘daily interventions’ were discussed in some detail in Theme 9 within Part 2 of the 180-page analytical component within the GRC2018:
2) In the Australian, Perry Williams wrote ‘Changes needed ahead of clean energy switch: AEMO’ .
3) In the SMH, Peter Hannam and Mike Foley wrote ‘Australia’s grid could handle a huge leap in renewable power by 2025’ and included the note:
There have been concerns that Australia’s grid, which was designed to connect to a handful of large scale generators, would not cope with the array of solar panels and wind turbines.
But in the new report, AEMO says it believes careful regulation of power generation can overcome these concerns.
Achieving the three-quarter share will need changes in markets and regulation otherwise AEMO will have to impose curbs on renewable energy to ensure grid stability, Ms Zibelman said.
I note the 75% number referenced was for instantaneous contributions in some dispatch intervals in the AEMO’s base case (i.e. “central”) scenario – not an aggregate over time.
Giles notes AEMO’s support for ‘ahead markets’ (terminology coined in the COAG Energy Council’s second discussion paper on ‘NEM 2.0’).