JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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SA renewable electricity market mayhem as frequency stabilizing costs hit record breaking $90 million

Since SA was islanded the costs just to keep the frequency stable are as much as the energy itself

Two weeks ago the Australian grid had a major near miss, and South Australia has been isolated from the rest of the nation ever since. It was supposed to be connected again in two weeks, but repairs to the 6 high voltage towers that fell over, evidently will be longer. Strangely, apparently no news outlet has mentioned this in the last two weeks.

While SA has been the renewables star of the world for two weeks, there’s been mayhem in the market. Instead of cheap electricity with 50% renewables it’s chaos. Allan O’Neill explains that the cost of stabilizing the grid has gone through the roof. It’s so bad, and generators have to contribute to balance their output, that solar and wind power are holding back from supply because they can’t afford to pay the costs to cover their share of frequency stability.

But when South Australia became islanded by the transmission line collapse, FCAS requirements for that region could only be supplied from local providers – and there is only a small subset of participants in South Australia [...]