Australia’s electricity woes could be solved through a unified and publicly owned national power grid, a discussion paper has said.
This paper authored by University of Queensland economist Prof John Quiggin says the creation of the national electricity market in the 1990s has failed to lower power prices and improve system reliability or environmental sustainability. It argues the electricity grid, including physical transmission networks in each state and interconnectors linking them, should instead be publicly owned.
And it says that “renationalised” grid should be responsible for maintaining a secure power supply and moving towards a zero emissions industry.
“Batteries, wind and solar power can put a lot of energy into the system but they can’t materially improve its strength or provide any traditional inertia at present, because they have no large controllable spinning mass of synchronous generation to stabilise the grid,” explains Julian Turecek, Head of Assets, EnergyAustralia.
“By putting between 100 and 250 megawatts of generation at our hydro project at the tip of the Spencer Gulf, we are effectively able to put back significant strength and inertia into a remote part of the grid which will make it far more resilient to cope with frequency and voltage disturbances,” he said.
Ahead of Power Grid Resilience 2017, Julian explores the economics of pumped hydro and a glimpse into the vision of EnergyAustralia’s Spencer Gulf pumped hydro project and how it has the potential to stabilise the grid.
In this case study, Kate Summers, Manager of Electrical Engineering at Pacific Hydro, shares her tips for establishing good frequency control practices and the steps Pacific Hydro is taking to provide greater grid stability and improve management of peaks in energy demand.