Add that to the windpower bill: SA Battery cost $90m which is $220 per family of four

The ABC reports that finally the people of SA can find out what the emergency Tesla battery cost — $56 per person, or $220 per family, just for the purchase, not for the operation. Hands up South Australians, who would have rushed to sign up to be the Star Renewable State if they had to sign the checks themselves and their electricity bill had a item called: “The price of renewables”.

South Australia didn’t need a battery when it had coal power:

A 505-page report released by Neoen this month ahead of an initial public offering suggested the battery cost around $90 million, at the current exchange rate.

The giant 100-megawatt lithium ion battery near Jamestown in the state’s mid-north commenced operation late last year.

“It actually costs taxpayers’ money. There’s a cost of $4-5 million a year to have the battery in place.

“There are more costs than that involved.

Where does Giles Parkinson think these “revenues” come from?

However, Giles Parkinson said the battery was on track to “make revenues of about $25-26 million in its first year”

The battery makes no electricity. All it does is shift supply at the wrong time to the right time, a problem the state didn’t have til it tried to run off the wind.

The revenues are another cost to be added to taxes and electricity bills of companies and householders.

The battery saves millions of dollars in system security — another charge that I’m pretty sure wasn’t as significant before unreliable energy randomly bombed the grid:

Under the agreement, the South Australian Government has the right to access 70 per cent of the output at any one time to provide an urgent hit of power to prevent load-shedding blackouts, or to provide system-security services to the energy grid.

Before the battery’s installation, those services had come at a hefty price.

The Australian Energy Regulator found they had cost the state more than $50 million since 2015.

 Are there any NEM experts out there who can confirm when charges for providing “system security” were introduced to the NEM? Noting that there are many flavours of security. There appears to be an explanation of the NEM situation published in 2001.

Grids using coal turbines (or gas or hydro) must have run for years without FCAS and other market structures.


h/t Dave B, OriginalSteve.


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47 comments to Add that to the windpower bill: SA Battery cost $90m which is $220 per family of four

  • #

    This is how your government works out revenue and profit! This was the following sentence after the revenue statement by Giles.

    “However, Giles Parkinson said the battery was on track to “make revenues of about $25-26 million in its first year”.

    “We don’t know what the profit margin of that is but we can probably estimate it’s a fair profit margin,” he said.”

    Seriously, if I pulled this statement out in front of senior management back in the day when I was responsible for estimating project revenue and ROI, I would’ve been stripped of project lead and shown the door. I’m just picking my jaw off the floor just reading that flippant statement…


  • #

    I’m no NEM expert but I can smell stup1d1t1 when I see it.


  • #

    But doesn’t TSLA own the revenues and the govt just own the $5m standby cost?


    • #

      NeoEn own the battery and presumably paid the $90 million. They receive $4 million a year from the SA government for FCAS services provided by the battery.

      Remember FCAS was a trivial consideration before renewables because spinning turbines tend to self regulate and there was a spinning reserve to handle any single generator crashing.

      Renewables are inherently unstable in a network and FCAS costs tend to skyrocket as renewables market share increases.


  • #

    BTW if the govt paid $90m for it, IT OWNS IT!!! Can someone explain to me why it THEN pays TSLA $4-5m pa to be allowed to take MWh from ITS OWN BATTERY????


    • #

      Well charge me up and blow me down!!

      Looks like the gift the keeps on giv$ing ….. and tak$ing …. and giv$ing …. and tak$ing ….

      Must be all in the fine print? Another greenie duped WeatherDILL why do you sound so surprised??


    • #

      I believe the that the govt. pays to use the grid stability services (FRCS?) 70 MW part of the battery.


  • #

    Now let’s assume “network security” cost the govt $50m in 3 years. (A lot less than NOT having it cost, admitttedly.)

    Does the 70MWh replace all of that $13.33m pa? Or is the govt still paying >$8m to other parties?


  • #

    Add another 15 batteries and they would have enough storage to power South Australia for about 60 minutes….providing they could find some reliable energy source from which they could charge.


  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    What continues to mystify me about SA electricity costs is the near complete absence of official responses to plausible, important accusations that problems exist. Geoff


  • #

    Giles has more to say today. read all for the batteries to come:

    27 Sept: RenewEconomy: Giles Parkinson: Tesla big battery defies skeptics, sends industry bananas over performance
    More importantly, it has given a glimpse of the future, how a grid can be effectively managed with a very high share of wind and solar – not just faster, but also cleaner, smarter and more reliable than the dumb and ageing fossil fuel grid we now depend on, and which has become victim to endless market rorting from the industry incumbents.

    So much so that it may turn out to be the best value investment that the South Australia Labor government ever made, although their political opponents may be reluctant to admit it.
    As RenewEconomy revealed exclusively last Friday, the Tesla big battery is making money that promises a quick return on investment, something not thought possible when the battery was built on time and on budget.

    Share listing documents from its owner, the French renewable energy developer Neoen, reveal the construction price ($A90 million), the government contract ($A4 million a year, paid in monthly instalments, for system security), and total revenue of $A14 million in the first six months of 2018…

    Van Holst Pellekaan may have been right about the money spent on the diesel generators, which have yet to be switched on (apart from maintenance), and maybe could have been leased rather than purchased outright.

    But there can be no doubt that the Tesla big battery – and the other batteries that are following – will give the government confidence as the state’s share of wind and solar leaps from 50 per cent now to more than 73 per cent by 2021 and 100 per cent by 2025. (Those are AEMO forecasts)…READ ALL


    • #

      and Giles, all that (if true re the Gens) is only possible because you have a nice fat coal fired interconnector to lean on.


      • #

        Dont forget.. SA still gets 50% ++ of its electricity from big spinning Gas generators..Torrens Iland etc which will provis most of the “Systen security” their grid needs
        The Battery is nothing more than a money skimmer……which is why its so appealing to other players in our energy market.


    • #
      Graeme No.3

      If someone gave me $90 million and a chance to earn money from that gift, would I accept it? Let me think….

      In reply to Giles Parkinson, if this battery is the way of the future why do we not see lots of renewable generators installing them using their OWN money.


  • #

    Fears backpackers could be electrocuted by solar panels
    Townsville Bulletin – 14h ago
    RENEWABLE ENERGY SOLAR farm contractors have been using unlicensed labour for electrical work, raising concern the workers involved, many of them young backpackers, could be electrocuted…

    26 Sept: ABC: Queensland solar farms actively hiring backpackers, insider claims
    Exclusive by political reporter Josh Bavas
    Despite the Queensland Government promising a jobs boom from the construction of dozens of solar projects across the state an industry insider says companies are turning to cheap labour over local workers.

    One solar industry insider told ABC News their company was actively hiring backpackers because of “drug and alcohol problems” with local job seekers…
    You have a huge pipeline of solar parks all over Australia,” he said.
    “All of them will be delayed … because when you don’t have the proper labour, you can’t deliver on time.
    “Someone in this country must stand up and tell the truth. So if you won’t get the locals, what other options do you have?
    “There is an increase in costs to fly in and fly out workers, so what do you do?”

    But the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has slammed the practice.
    ETU state organiser Dan McGaw said he is regularly lodging complaints with the Office of Industrial Relations over concerns raised during site inspections.
    “We’re seeing a lot of backpackers doing unlicensed electrical work so companies are cutting corners,” he said.
    “I was on a site recently … I said to the construction manager on site — I asked who had done the electrical work.
    “He admitted to me that no electrician had ever been on site — that all the work had been done by labourers and those labourers had been backpackers.
    “We can’t afford to have unskilled foreign workers doing unlicensed work.”

    So far this year there are more than 20 solar farms either recently completed or currently under construction in Queensland with several more projects in the pipeline.
    The industry has helped create more than 4,700 jobs — according to responses from the construction companies involved.
    The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has delivered $51.4 million of grant funding across six Queensland solar farms, while the Queensland Government is in talks with solar businesses to offer set future energy prices as an incentive…

    After questions from ABC News in June, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would get her director-general to investigate claims about the labour market across the green energy sector.
    In the last fortnight officers from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Electrical Safety Office began a blitz of inspections across regional solar farms.
    A total of 30 notices have so far been issued to a number of companies — including 23 breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act and seven breaches of the Electrical Safety Act.
    These have included notices for unlicensed electrical work, failing to provide personal protective equipment for workers and failing to implement safe systems…

    “With the construction of solar and wind farms expanding throughout Queensland, we must ensure electrical safety is paramount,” (Industrial Minister Grace Grace) said.
    “While there is a robust system in place to ensure the highest levels of safety, we are far from complacent and we want to ensure world’s best practice in this area.
    “Following the completion of the solar code, a similar process will be undertaken to develop a separate code of practice for wind farms,” she said…

    Solar farms completed or currently under construction in Queensland


  • #

    27 Sept: ABC: AGL denies Government feud triggered Vesey departure as chief executive
    By senior business correspondent Peter Ryan
    AGL interim chief executive Brett Redman, who is likely to succeed Mr Vesey, said the energy giant remains committed to closing Liddell by 2022.
    “The question of closure dates is an operational one of ensuring ageing coal plants are retired responsibly and safely,” Mr Redman said.
    “It is not a question of ideology on our part.
    “As Australia’s largest emitter of carbon, we have an obligation to our shareholders and other financial counter-parties to manage their exposure to carbon risk.”…

    26 Sept: RenewEconomy: Giles Parkinson: AGL promises no change in strategic direction, coal closures not “ideological”
    “The most common question I have been asked is whether I anticipate a change in strategic direction for AGL,” acting CEO Brett Redman said in a speech to the annual general meeting, in his first public appearance since his appointment just over a month ago. “My answer, in a word, is no.”
    “For several years we have referred to two strategic imperatives that drive AGL’s decision-making. They are: to prosper in a carbon-constrained future, and to build customer advocacy.

    “We define these things as “imperatives” because, frankly, we know we have to respond to them or be left behind. We must meet changes in technology. And we must meet and try to exceed customer and community expectations.”

    Still, Redman and chairman Graeme Hunt, who spoke before him, acknowledged the fine line that AGL is treading, between making record profits out of its coal generators in the Latrobe Valley and the Hunter valley, which still account for more than 80 per cent of its generation, and embracing the future.

    That transition has most notably been felt in its decision, announced in 2015, to close the ageing and increasingly decrepit Liddell coal generator, a decision that has become a lightning rod in the ideological rhetoric between the federal Coalition government and the energy industry.

    Noticeably, neither Redman nor Hunt mentioned Liddell by name.
    But Redman said this:
    “The question of closure dates is an operational one: of ensuring ageing coal plants are retired responsibly and safely as we work through transition. It is not a question of ideology on our part.
    “Far from it. And neither is the need to address our carbon exposure more generally. It is a question of prudent and pragmatic risk management, working alongside all stakeholders, to deliver a sustainable and responsible transition in which the power sector continues both to enable and to participate in Australia’s future prosperity.”

    But the failure to mention Liddell by name is perhaps because AGL seeks to gain something from new energy minister Angus Taylor that it has not been able to achieve before, despite years of lobbying, the introduction of so-called “capacity” payments…
    Capacity markets are, however, controversial. In Western Australia, they are used but are seen as farcical because of the added costs imposed on consumers for plants that are built but never used…READ ON


  • #

    When you put stupid politicians in power, you get stupid decisions.
    It’s either stupid media and gullible public believing this scam, or there is a definite global agenda to destroy western economies.
    It’s becoming more and more apparent of a global agenda and any politician who opposes it is crucified by the green blob media led in Australia, by the ABC.


  • #

    read the angry replies:

    27 Sept: TWEET: Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs:
    Delighted to join @theresa_may and @jacindaardern at #UNGA meeting in support of #ParisAgreement implementation, hosted by @antonioguterres & @PEspinosaC. Effective implementation rules will help us to deliver on our collective ambition so finance & investment can flow. PIC

    Add another $400m to the cost of Paris: Australia under pressure for more GCF dollars
    The Australian · 5 hours ago
    Australia has been called to immediately commit a further 400 million to replenish a Green Climate Fund to help developing countries cope with the impacts of climate change. …


  • #

    ***Malcolm Turnbull cannot be ruled out as an option for chairman??? the only silver lining about the revelations of the past 24 hours was it ruled Turnbull out, I thought! how much crazier can it get?

    27 Sept: SMH: All bets are off: 72-hour crisis leaves the ABC at an unprecedented turning point
    by Bevan Shields
    The Morrison government now has a series of pressing decision ns to make. It must quickly strike a settlement with Guthrie, who is viewed as a dangerous presence while ever she remains aggrieved by her very public sacking on Monday. It will also need to quickly determine whether the ABC board should be cleaned out given there is irrefutable evidence all seven directors knew of Milne’s fatal demand to sack at two journalists in the face of political pressure. And it will need to appoint a chair who can secure the trust of staff and play a pivotal role in selecting a new managing director to run the organisation…

    ***Malcolm Turnbull cannot be ruled out as an option for chairman, but his connections to Milne and numerous complaints to the ABC as prime minister would work against him. The safest and mostly likely pick from Morrison and Fifield will be a sensible and safe pair of hands that will have the trust of the staff and community, and stay out of the headlines. Businessman David Gonski and Gilbert + Tobin managing partner Danny Gilbert are considered strong candidates…


  • #
    Gerry, England

    Government spends a fortune creating a problem – then spends another fortune to offset the problems it created in the first place. Remind me again why politicians deserve any respect let alone be addresses as ‘The Right Honourable’ as they are in the UK.


    • #

      Government spends a fortune creating a problem – then spends another fortune to offset the problems it created in the first place

      …only to end up creating more problems…etc,etc

      Fixed it 4ya


  • #
    John Watt

    From another point of view, batteries such as Jamestown are an essential component of a renewables-based system such as SA. It is basically a means of maintaining quality of supply. It is not a source of standby supply. From this perspective it makes no sense to attribute a profit to the battery function.


    • #
      Curious George

      It is simply a storage site. Have you ever rented a public storage unit? Then you had to pay a rental fee. Storage sites can be profitable.


    • #

      If you can arbitrage supply why not (charge low price/sell high price) while maintaining an amount of capacity for FCAS (not sure they do that last bit, I believe they where caught with their pants down during the recent islanding incident)


    • #

      Back in the old days before renewables, all coal plants ran slightly below capacity and this was called a spinning reserve.

      It had enough available power to cover the biggest generating unit in the system if it failed.

      There was no need for batteries.


  • #

    behind paywall:

    26 Sept: UK Telegraph: Jeremy Corbyn vows to revive £1.3bn Swansea Tidal Lagoon project
    By Jillian Ambrose
    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to revive plans to build a £1.3bn tidal power project in Swansea Bay after Conservative ministers said it would cost energy bill payers too much.
    He branded the Government’s refusal to hand the project a 90-year contract to generate the country’s most expensive renewable energy “the wrong decision for our economy”.

    Mr Corbyn added that it was “the wrong decision for jobs and the wrong decision for the future of our planet”.
    “Labour will back it,” he said…

    26 Sept: Reuters: German environment ministry won’t block EU Commission’s CO2 plan
    by Michelle Martin and Riham Alkousaa
    Germany’s Environment Ministry will not resist a European Commission proposal on carbon dioxide emissions limits for cars and vans, a ministry spokesman said.
    “Blocking (the proposal) would carry great risks… It would in our opinion likely lead to there being no limits on emissions at all in the coming years. That would be the worst scenario for the environment,” he told a regular government news conference on Wednesday.
    “That is why we have decided not to block the Commission’s proposal as the basis of further proceedings,” he added.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that European carmakers could be made uncompetitive if EU targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from cars and vans were set at more than 30 percent by 2030…


  • #

    26 Sept: AP: Barack Obama takes swipe at Trump’s attitude on environment
    OSLO: Former U.S. President Barack Obama took a swipe at President Donald Trump’s attitude to the environment Wednesday, saying the world needs “political and social commitment” to achieve sustainability.
    “Unfortunately we have a U.S administration that deals differently around these issues,” he said to laughter from the audience as he addressed business leaders in the Norwegian capital of Oslo…

    “The single highest priority that I see globally at this point is the issue of environmental sustainability,” he said, adding that the 2015 Paris Agreement’s global climate targets were “a first step in the right direction. But only the first step.”
    He said environmental sustainability would only come when leaders adopted new technologies. “But that takes political and social commitment that right now is not forthcoming.”…

    Obama made no mention of his successor by name but told the audience at the Oslo Business Forum in the Norwegian Capital that he feared “rising protectionism and authoritarianism” in the U.S since he left office.
    Dressed in a dark suit over a light blue open-collared shirt…

    26 Sept: ThinkProgress: Just one midterm debate has mentioned climate change so far and you probably missed it
    High-profile Senate and gubernatorial candidates are not being asked about the climate risks their voters face.
    by Kyla Mandel
    Analyzing the most competitive Senate and gubernatorial races, Media Matters for America found that the vast majority of debates have not featured a single question on climate change, including the recent debate between Texas’ high-profile Senate candidates, Beto O’Rourke (D) and Ted Cruz (R).
    The exception? A single gubernatorial debate in ***Minnesota…
    Media Matters has analyzed 12 debates so far, and plans to keep doing so as the November elections draw closer…

    27 Aug: SouthernMinnesotaToday: Coming Minnesota Winter: Lots of Snow & Stinging Cold
    The Farmers’ Almanac is out with its prediction for the coming winter and it says Minnesota should expect “teeth-chattering cold and plentiful snow.”…

    28 Aug: CTV: Farmers’ Almanac forecasts ‘very, very cold’ winter for Canada
    by Ryan Flanagan
    Canadians are being warned to brace for a winter that will be nasty, brutish and not at all short…
    “What we’re saying for this particular winter is that it’s just basically going to be very, very cold,” Geiger told CTV News Channel on Tuesday…
    The almanac’s projections call for cold weather in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, “biting cold” in Ontario and “teeth-chattering cold” across the Prairies…

    The Farmer’s Almanac is also forecasting an unusually cold winter for most of the United States, with even Texas and Louisiana said to be in line for a “stinging cold” compared to their normal conditions.
    “You cannot escape to Florida. I think we even talk about a frost in April down in Louisiana,” Geiger said.
    According to Geiger, the Farmers’ Almanac forecast five big storms to hit the U.S. east coast last winter, and its projections were never off by more than two days…


  • #

    26 Sept: ClimateChangeNews: UK anti-fracking protestors jailed over blockade
    The men ‘deserve our gratitude, not a prison term’, Greenpeace’s executive director said, after judge handed them 15-16 month sentences
    By Sara Stefanini
    Three anti-fracking campaigners were sentenced to prison on Wednesday for blocking shale gas drilling operations in northwest England.
    Two protesters, Simon Blevins, 26, and Richard Roberts, 36, were sentenced to 16 months in prison for causing a public nuisance. Richard Loizou, 31, was sentenced to 15 months, Lancashire radio station 2BR reported. A fourth protester, Julian Brock, 47, received an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered to 20 days of rehabilitation activity.

    The four men spent up to four days in July 2017 camping out on lorries that were carrying drilling equipment to the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire, according to DeSmog UK. A jury found Blevins, Roberts and Loizou guilty of creating a public nuisance in August. Brock pleaded guilty so did not face trial.

    They will be the first environmental protesters to be imprisoned in the UK in 86 years, according to Kirsty Brimelow QC, who was acting for one of the men. Although this is disputed…

    26 Sept: Quartz: Bill Gates-led $1 billion energy fund is expanding its portfolio of startups fighting climate change
    By Akshat Rathi
    It’s not often that the world’s richest people get together, agree on a goal that’s for the public good, and then set about finding ways to achieve it. But that’s what Bill Gates has achieved with Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), which aims to invest $1 billion into radical energy startups capable of drastically cutting global emissions. The fund draws on the resources of billionaires like India’s Mukesh Ambani, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Virgin’s Richard Branson, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, and SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son.

    In June, Quartz broke the story of BEV’s first two investments (LINK): Form Energy, which is developing two new types of battery chemistries capable of storing weeks and months worth of energy, respectively, and Quidnet Energy, which is developing a technology to replicate the benefits of hydropower by pumping water into subsurface shale formations.

    We can now report, for the first time, a full list of the other companies that BEV is funding and will publicly acknowledge. (Some companies in its portfolio prefer not to be named, says Carmichael Roberts, BEV’s head of investing, while BEV plans to announce others at a later stage.)…READ ON

    Quartz is running a series called The Race to Zero Emissions that explores the challenges and opportunities of energy-storage technologies.


  • #

    So let’s assume that battery life is ten years, so that’s $22 per year per family of four for a battery that can fill in during a power fail of four minutes. That of course is ignoring any maintenance cost, and the cost of recharging the batteries.

    Perish the thought of the cost of a battery that could cover for an extended power fail.


    • #

      To be fair thats not what it is intended for, so really its a false argument. Its there to compensate for the natural instability and grid corruption of intermittents not as buld power outage back up.

      Expensive intermittent power, expensive band aids to make it hang together (batteries and diesels) , adding layers of complexity, shuffling money around playing with certificates. All putting “downward pressure on energy prices” Look Unicorns!!!!


  • #
    Sean McHugh

    To determine the worth of the battery, I think its capacity needs to be included.


  • #
  • #

    Still believe that this was a “bargain basement” price, as more recent similar battery installations in the U.S. have cost more, and Forbes calculated that the true cost should have been closer to $150m.


    • #

      I have said ths before..several times…
      Teslas Power Pack systems are commercially available for us$350,000 per MWh ..installed in mainland USA.
      If the one in SA cost more than $75m Au, someone was screwed on the deal. !


  • #

    Dang , this autotyping…
    That should be us$ 450,000 /MWh ..


    • #

      145,000 x 129 = $58 million. If the installed cost was $90 million that makes the transport and installation costs $32 million which seems extremely low when you consider the remote location.


  • #

    Is Giles Parkinson a graduate of Emma-nomics? Alberici 101 perhaps?