Proves that renewables work for the whole grid it does, it does:
Elon Musk’s agreement to build the world’s largest battery for South Australia isn’t just an extraordinary technological breakthrough that signs coal’s death warrant. It’s potentially a game changer in the way we do politics, reinserting the importance of basic reality into a debate which has been bereft of it for too long.
Post truth, yadda, yadda,
For months now, Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg, various fossil fuel energy executives and media commentators like Paul Kelly have been rabbiting on about the “energy trilemma”. It’s their contention that energy policy must deal with cost, reliability and emissions, and that it is impossible to achieve all three at the same time. Conveniently, they choose to put emissions at the bottom of this list and bury it under a pile of coal, which they claim is cheap and reliable.
This is not true. Not even close to it. It doesn’t stand up to basic scrutiny.
Rilly? For if there weren’t a trilemma then there would be no problem, would there? Further, we’d not need rules or regulations or subsidies or feed in tariffs.
Renewable energy, which obviously wins on emissions, is now beating coal on cost. What’s more, with an energy grid managed effectively by people who want renewables to succeed, it is no less reliable than fossil fuels.
Musk’s gambit closes this book. He has brought reality crashing in.
Within 100 days, there will be a huge battery system making South Australia’s energy grid clean, affordable and reliable, and benefitting the eastern states along with it.
With those additional installation investments, an estimate of $500-$600 per kilowatt-hour of storage is probably closer to reality. An installed 100 MW/300 MWhr lithium-ion power station would cost somewhere between $150 million -$180 million (200 million Australian dollars to A$240 million)
Within the context of addressing South Australia’s electric power system stability needs, a 300 MW-hr installation appears to have been unaffordable. Premier Jay Weatherill has a total of A$550 million available, and Tesla’s massive battery is only a part of the necessary capability.
As Gizmodo has reported, the system that Tesla will be installing will provide 129 MW-hr of energy storage capacity, less than half of what Rive originally hinted could be delivered. At a discharge rate of 100 MW, the battery will be totally depleted in less than 80 minutes. As all cell phone, tablet or laptop computer owners should know, it isn’t advisable to fully discharge a Li-ion battery. It can dramatically reduce battery lifetime.
The response plan also includes a new government funded, A$360 million, 250 MWe fast reacting gas turbine power plant, a bulk electricity purchase contract designed to encourage construction of a new privately owned power plant, a taxpayer financed exploration fund for additional natural gas supplies, special powers granted to the SA energy minister to order plants to operate, and a requirement for electricity retailers to purchase a fixed portion of their power from SA generators.
They’re having to subsidise people to go fracking to make this work.
Looks like that trilemma is still active really. And what was that about a post truth world?