The February 8 blackout of 90,000 homes and businesses in South Australia highlights the need for a large 24-hour solar thermal plant with storage in Port Augusta, according to Repower Port Augusta.
A February 15 report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) into the blackout said AEMO made,“Errors in the temperature forecasts (that) led to errors in the demand forecast”.
The report revealed that after AEMO ordered SA Power Networks to load-shed 100 MegaWatts, SA Power Networks load-shed 300MW.
This resulted in 60,000 more customers having their power turned off than was required.
Repower Port Augusta Campaigner Dan Spencer said it’s a clear demonstration of the need to invest in a 24-hour solar thermal power plant.
“Gas either couldn’t take the heat or the supply had been sent overseas, we need a new synchronous 24 hour solar thermal plant to be built in Port Augusta to back up SA’s world leading clean power,” he said.
Mr Spencer said the South Australian government’s power purchase and the Federal Government’s clean energy agencies must be used to invest in this 24 hour solar solution for South Australia.
The power purchase tender involves the state government tendering the supply of the state government’s own electricity demand (484 Giggawatt hours per year), with the winner to be announced mid-2017.
State Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the AEMO report into last week’s load-shedding event outlines a litany of errors that lead to 90,000 South Australians being left without power.
He said it demonstrates AEMO was unable to get their demand forecasting right, and that fundamentally all of this could have been avoided.
“There was spare gas-fired generation available at Pelican Point to supply the grid, however by the time AEMO realised they had incorrectly forecast demand there was not enough time for AEMO to direct Pelican Point to turn on,” he said.
“South Australia reached its highest ever demand that day but we had enough local generation to meet that local demand.”
Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he ‘completely agrees’ with Repower Port Augusta.
“If we have renewable energy it has to have storage, and I have called on the state government not to approve any new renewable proposals, unless they have storage,” he said.
“Consequently I am still working with and have spoken to both SolarReserve and Solarstor to bring them up to speed on the extra $20 million slice of ARENA funding the federal government put aside specifically to help storage projects.
“... The power outage demonstrates how badly we need dispatchable energy.”