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ANALYSTS: IT’S TIME TO “GET OUR SKATES ON” IN ENERGY SHIFT

Climate Media Centre 5 mins read

August 31 2023

 

Energy analysts say the latest 10-year outlook for Australia’s electricity grid from AEMO, known as the Electricity Statement Of Opportunities (ESOO) should be a call to arms to speed up the shift away from coal powered clunkers to renewable energy and a modernised electricity grid.

 

The Australian Energy Market Operator has revised its assumptions about Australia’s grid, noting that coal-fired power is becoming less reliable and that the pace of building renewable energy, transmission lines and batteries needs to increase. It also highlighted the untapped potential for rooftop solar and electric cars which could plug into the grid.

 

The Climate Media Centre has the following statements from analysts who are also available for interview.

 

To arrange interviews, please contact:

Jacqui Street, Climate Media Centre 0498 188 528 / jacqui.street@climatemediacentre.org.au

Jemimah Taylor, Climate Media Centre 0478 924 425 / jemimah.taylor@climatemediacentre.org.au

 

To interview Andrew Stock please contact: 

George Hyde, Climate Council 0431 330 919 / george.hyde@climatecouncil.org.au 

 

 

Stephanie Bashir Founder and CEO of Nexa Advisory said:

“This ESOO is telling us we are behind in our energy transition. That is not news.

“AEMO has identified coal and gas power as being more unreliable than ever in 2022-23 and the outlook is for that to deteriorate further. That is also not news.

“What has changed is that six months ago it was assessed by AEMO that all the reliability risks would be addressed by projects in the pipeline if we delivered them on time. They won’t be, unless we pull our fingers out.

“The industry, from investors to developers and providers, are ready and willing to do this. We have been saying, for years, governments and other decision-makers need to focus the effort on prioritising and accelerating connections of the renewable power projects in the ISP and building the transmission infrastructure.

“I cannot emphasise enough that we cannot rely on coal power to address reliability issues when they are part of the problem.

“Reports like the ESOO are important to policy makers, investors, and industry. They rely on these as the source of truth to frame direction and decisions. They must be reliable and consistent in their approach and framing.

“The ESOO identifies a gap of only 191MW of missing capacity once Eraring coal fire power station closes to meet the reliability standard (table 10, p.74). The NSW Government could easily address this gap by just slightly increasing the firming tenders underway.”

 

Tristan Edis, Director, Analysis and Advisory,  Green Energy Markets said:

“While we certainly need to get our skates on building new power plants, the amount of unserved energy after Eraring exits is surprisingly small.”

 

“If readers manage to make it to page 74 of the report they’ll find the amount of new capacity needed to meet the reliability standard can be easily constructed within the timeframes required.“  

 

Tim Buckley, director of independent public interest think tank Climate Energy Finance, said: 

“The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) August 2023 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) demonstrates yet again that state and federal governments must move with urgency to expedite planned transmission projects, utility and distributed renewable energy generation, and storage. 

 

“While AEMO’s projections show that in the absence of accelerated delivery some gaps in reliability will arise over the coming decade, this is a result of the retirement of 62% of Australia’s end-of-life coal power clunkers by 2033 – generators that are in any case increasingly unreliable and prone to unplanned outages that impact supply. A clear indicator of this is the fact that in 2022, forced outages at Australia’s ageing coal power fleet left the grid short of forecast coal generation capacity for nearly one-quarter of the year. Continuing to place reliance on outmoded, polluting and unreliable coal power is an unacceptable concentration of risk, and investment should be directed to energy transition.

 

“Notably, AEMO explicitly confirms that risks to supply can be adequately addressed by state and federal government renewable energy transition initiatives currently underway. These include enhancing orchestration of virtual power plants (VPPs) and distributed energy resources (DER) such as rooftop solar, to help shore up supply and firming, major transmission infrastructure, pumped hydro storage (PHS) and battery energy storage systems (BESS), assuming these can be delivered on schedule.” 

 

Johanna Bowyer, Lead Research Analyst, Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis said:
“AEMO’s Electricity Statement of Opportunities shows the importance of accelerating the energy transition, by building large scale zero emission energy resources quickly and increasing the uptake of distributed energy resources.

 

“The ESOO shows that if renewables and storage build, government schemes and actionable transmission projects proceed on schedule, alongside strong investments in distributed energy resources and flexible demand response, the market is forecast to remain within the reliability standard in all regions except for Victoria in 2028-29. If these measures do not progress on schedule, risks to reliability are forecast to arise in a number of regions after 2025-26.”

 

David Leitch, Principal at ITK Services said:

“Above all else the latest ESOO reflects the need for a greater focus on executing effectively the new investment required to keep the lights on. In particular NSW needs to execute its REZ rollout process better.

 

“It’s increasingly clear that an REZ wide planning processes with appropriate environmental impact statements are needed so that local communities and authorities can appreciate the big picture. Equally transmission roll out needs to be better executed. Building excessive  storage and keeping existing thermal generation going longer is just like defect remedy on a car assembly line. Its not needed if we build the wind solar and transmission properly, that is by simultaneously working from the top down and the bottom up."

 

Heidi Douglas, Solar Citizens, National Director, said: 

“The Federal Government can act right now to help scaffold energy security and reduce energy bills by extending the highly successful rooftop solar rebates to include home batteries.

 

“A rebate for small-scale storage will turbocharge the uptake of home batteries and help provide energy security for the whole grid. 

 

“With extreme temperatures and energy shortages predicted this summer, the Federal Government must provide a rebate for home batteries immediately, to harness our investment in home solar to provide cheap reliable power at night too.”

 

Climate Councillor and energy expert Andrew Stock said

“AEMO’s report shows that accelerating the rollout of renewable energy, storage, and transmission projects is key to fortifying Australia's energy supply.

 

“Critical to this transition are not only sources like wind and solar but also supporting technologies like advanced batteries and efficient transmission lines that can bring this generated energy to where it’s most needed.

 

"With a wealth of clean energy projects ready for implementation, Australia has no excuse for inaction. The consequences of maintaining our dependence on unreliable fossil fuels is a future fraught with climate and energy instability and risk. By industry, governments and communities working together to accelerate renewables, storage and transmission, Australia will ensure its energy future is both clean and reliable.

 

To interview Andrew Stock please contact: 

George Hyde, Climate Council 0431 330 919 / george.hyde@climatecouncil.org.au 

 


Contact details:

For all aside from Andrew Stock:

Jacqui Street, Climate Media Centre 0498 188 528 / jacqui.street@climatemediacentre.org.au

Jemimah Taylor, Climate Media Centre 0478 924 425 / jemimah.taylor@climatemediacentre.org.au

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