South Australia: a global solar & wind pathfinder
- Nov 4, 2021 7:18 pm GMT
The state of South Australia derived 73% of its electricity from solar PV and wind during the month of October. The average price on the wholesale spot market was US$31/MWh. For the preceding 12 months, the solar/wind fraction and price were 62% and US$44/MWh respectively. The South Australia grid displays excellent stability.
On one day in October, South Australia derived 100% of its electricity from solar and wind. On most days, the solar/wind fraction exceeded 100% or even 120% for at least a few hours, as shown in the graph for the last 7 days of October (yellow is solar, green is wind). The rooftop solar fraction exceeded 85% at times and is expected to surpass 100% at times during the approaching summer.
South Australia has a population of 1.7 million. Its electricity comes mostly from solar and wind. The balance is generated from fossil gas with a small fraction (~1%) of net imports/exports. South Australia has no hydroelectric, coal, bio, geo or nuclear generation. South Australia is part of Australia's National Electricity Market but is relatively weakly connected to the other states. Transmission capacity is ~0.9 GW compared with average and peak demand of 1.6 GW and 3.2 GW respectively. South Australia hosts about 0.3 GW of batteries, and this is expected to rapidly increase. Four new synchronous condensers have been installed.
South Australian solar and wind is rapidly increasing. It is expected to average more than 100% by the mid-2020s, which will coincide with the completion of new transmission capacity to the eastern states.
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