South Australia’s stunning renewable energy transition

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The eyes of the energy world are upon it, but the renewable energy transition in South Australia is probably one of the misunderstood, misreported and under-appreciated achievements of our time.South Australia, for those who have not been paying attention, has dumped coal and now sources more than half its generation from wind and solar, becoming a net exporter rather than an importer of electricity along the way.It now has plans to make that share of renewables “net 100 per cent” in a decade, and a multiple of that in the future. Given its location, at the end of a long and skinny grid with little connection to other markets, it is truly remarkable – and an inspiration to institutions, policy makers, consumers and the industry itself about what is possible.What is also remarkable – at least in the context of Australia’s political environment – is that this is a bipartisan effort. The team that led the transition plan for Jay Weatherill’s Labor government has largely been kept intact by Steve Marshall’s Liberal government that took power early last year.Sure, Labor and the Liberals have bickered and continue to do so over various aspects of policy design (notably the use of “targets” and the role of a new inter-connector), but the current state Liberal government is clearly as keen on this transition as its Labor predecessors.The reasons are obvious: Cheaper green power and an opportunity to rebuild the state’s manufacturing industry and bring in new business.To put all of this in some context, South Australia now ranks number two in the world – behind Denmark – in total share of electricity generated from “variable” sources – i.e. wind and solar. What makes South Australia’s achievement all the more remarkable is that it is located at the end of a “skinny” grid, has a “peaky” load that averages around 1,500MW, but can go to more than 3,000MW in the summer heat, and to as low as 500MW in mild and sunny spring days, and it has little connection to other markets, unlike Denmark and most other regions.Its shift to renewables has been justified by the big plunge in costs of both solar (down 85 per cent in ten years), and wind (down 50 per cent), and battery storage (down 84 per cent).There are more cost falls to come, but the switch to cheaper power is starting to show benefits, which will increase as more wind and solar, more storage, and more equipment such as synchronous condensers further reduces the dependence on gas.More: South Australia’s stunning renewable energy transition, and what comes next South Australia’s stunning renewable energy transitionlast_img