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Solar Powering South Australia Completely For Several Hours A Day

A week ago, all of the electricity demand in South Australia was met by solar — rooftop and utility — from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. That’s six hours of free power from the sun. Sometime this year (remember, we in the antipodes are heading into summer) all operational demand being met by renewables may become the norm. Excess supply is being exported to Victoria or stored in batteries. The Hornsdale (Tesla) “Big Battery” is proving that it is far more useful than the Big Banana. And Electro might drop in for a snack.

Only a few years ago, South Australia’s Big Battery was being ridiculed, and predictions of an apocalyptic nature were being made about the state grid. Now, it is an example to the world and a supplier of electricity to the other states. From 2025, the link to New South Wales will also be able to handle any excess power generated in South Australia.

Western Australia operates the world’s largest isolated grid. Last weekend, solar perched on the rooftops of homes and businesses supplied 75% of electricity needs. Talk of a business case for fossil fuel “baseload” power is now getting quieter. Tim the Toolman Taylor would be impressed — more power!

“The Western Australia main grid, known as the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), is expected to phase out the last of its state-owned coal generators by 2028, mainly because they are dirty and polluting, and because they struggle to deal with the big bite of the energy pie taken by rooftop solar in the middle of the day.”

Western Australia will benefit from the installation of more wind power to supply the SWIS at night, and batteries to store any excess solar. At present, it appears that it is gas generation which is feeling the squeeze.

The National Electricity Market Watch tells me that at the moment about 50% of the electricity being used all over Australia is coming from a combination of solar, wind, and hydro.

Sitting at my computer on this rainy Sunday morning, I am encouraged by the progress Australia is making. Not just more power, but power from the right sources that does not corrupt the planet on which we live.

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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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