Australia is in the middle of what is likely to be the world’s fastest energy transition, according to the AEMO. The Australian Energy Market Operator has already delivered a 20-year extended plan to ensure a shift from coal to a network dominated by renewable energy sources. According to the authority, it will help with good cost-cutting and emissions.
The final report of the 2020 Integrated System Plan differs a little from the ISP announced last year. Apart from the price updates in gas, networks, and battery storage, the public embraced rooftop solar even more rapidly than ever before. But the primary message is that the energy transition is unavoidable, and there is no point in resisting it.
A Futuristic Green Approach
According to Audrey Zibleman, “coal replacement with renewable energy sources is essential. The reason is the cost of wind and solar energy has already started declining in recent years and will continue to fall. And when put together with battery storage and pumped hydro, they distinctly offer the cheapest and evident replacement.” Whichever way you see it, the AEMO says that “Australia is going to witness the fastest energy transition”.
The ISP is actually the blueprint of AEMO, which is 20 years old to ensure that planning, infrastructure, market rules, and regulations are in the right place to shift from a centralized coal grid to a distributed and digital network. This distributed network links the best resources of renewable energy and meter technologies.
AEMO still has plenty of stuff on their to-do list. Apart from rewriting the market rules, they are working on upgrading the inverter technologies that will give them more visibility and control over rapidly growing rooftop solar installations. It is also pondering over transmission links between state networks and the creation of particular renewable energy zones.
Another focus of the Integrated System Plan is the growing links between Victoria and NSW, mainly because rooftop solar growth makes the old brown coal generators in Victoria too challenging to manage.
Four sensitivities might vary at the time of significant market events that should be considered. These sensitivities are Snowy 2.0 delays, early retirement of existing generators, the closure of heavy industrial load in Victoria and Tasmania, and the early development of VRE in Central-West Orana REZ. Two new sensitivities are added to inputs that could change the optimal development path: legislation of Renewable Energy Target in Tasmania and upgraded demand forecast including the possible impacts of COVID-19 and current trends in on-demand PV sales.
A Statistical Roundup According to the recent draft of ISP, the significant changes in the input are costs. Each major project in ISP that has gone through the RIT-T process had a minimum 30 per cent increase in price during initial estimates due to many factors. But there was a reduction in the cost of grid-batteries and about 30-40 per cent, and the gas-powered generators witnessed an increase in price upto 30-60 per cent. The cost expectations of new hydro energy storage also increased by 50 per cent.