There is a significant problem in South Australia. It generates an excessive amount of energy. On Sunday (November 21st), generators had to pay to feed electricity into the system! When the aggregate output of the rooftop solar, as well as other minor non-scheduled generators, surpassed all of the local customer load requirements, South Australia (SA) “became the first-gigawatt size grid in the globe to achieve zero operational demand.”
It was a mix of an abundance of sunshine and wind, which increased output, and warm weather, which reduced demand. This was expected after a string of records was broken in recent months. The speed with which things are moving astounds me. Maintaining the grid stability and system strength will be a challenge for market operators. In this, gas generators, batteries, and synchronous condensers all play a role.
Currently, SA is able to transfer part of this extra power to Victoria’s adjacent grid. By 2025, a connection to New South Wales is scheduled to be established. According to Eldridge, rooftop solar accounted for 95.6 percent of overall demand at 12.35 p.m., which is a new high. On October 31, the previous high was 88.3 percent. “On Thursday, November 4th, rooftop solar set a new record with a maximum production of 1,301MW,” says RenewEconomy.
Because of the limitations of the Victorian link, SA has used severe restrictions at times. Nonetheless, over the last 12 months, wind and solar contributed to more than 62 percent of local demand. Because rooftop solar PV is predicted to increase in the next decade, the situation is going to become more complicated. Despite the capacity to turn off solar (which has only been used once), the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) prefers to use battery storage and appliances to absorb excess power. Wouldn’t it be nice to be compensated for storing this additional energy in your car battery? It appears like South Australia will achieve its objective of net 100 percent renewable energy well ahead of the 2030 deadline.
In just over 15 years, South Australia has gone from 1% renewable energy to over 60 percent renewable energy, putting it at the forefront of the global energy shift. According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, this might climb to almost 85% by 2025–26.
South Australia’s goal is to attain 100% net renewable energy by 2030. To date, they have attracted over A$6 billion in the large-scale renewable power and storage investment, with another A$20 billion in the pipeline.