Media Statement: Release of the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap by the State Government
Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap welcomed by SEN
4 April 2020
The release today by the State Government of its Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap has been welcomed as a significant development by Ian Porter, Chair of the community thinktank Sustainable Energy Now (SEN).
“SEN is committed to the rapid and early introduction of renewable energy into Western Australia’s power system,” he stated.
“This Roadmap is the first step in the process and SEN congratulates the government for producing such a comprehensive and complete guideline.”
“The transition of WA’s main power grid, the SWIS, from a centrally controlled and powered system to one with distributed energy resources is a massive undertaking and needs to be well-planned, particularly the proposed steps towards tariff reform.”
“Tariff reform is always difficult and those opposed to change are likely to focus on those who may be most impacted.”
“But without tariff reform to drive behavioural change, the system will not operate fairly, efficiently nor sustainably.”
Porter added that “SEN will now review the Roadmap more comprehensively, focussing on the pilot tariff reform exercises to make sure they bring about the best result for the system and its users, which is basically everyone in the southern part of the state.”
New SEN Brochure available
Ross Garnaut recording available
17 February 2020
The link to the recording and slides from Prof. Ross Garnaut's book launch in Perth "Superpower: Australia’s low carbon opportunity" is available from the SEN Events page.
SEN Submission to the WA EPA regarding Woodside's Browse and North-west Shelf Proposals.
13 February 2020
SEN Submission to the WA EPA regarding Woodside's Browse and North-west Shelf Proposals [PDF file, 1 MB]
Woodside’s proposed Browse Basin development will emit 4 gigatonnes of GHG pollution over its 30-50 year lifetime.
This includes 4.8 megatonnes of ‘reservoir CO2’ each year, which will be vented to the atmosphere.
It will increase by 19% the emissions needing to be reduced elsewhere by 2030 under Australia’s Paris target.
There are numerous flaws and misrepresentations in the Woodside proposals:
- They do not clearly report estimated methane emissions
- They under-estimate methane’s Global Warming Potential (GWP) by calculating the effect over 100 years instead of 20 years (over 20 years methane is 84 times more potent as a warming agent than CO2);
- They attempt to conceal the magnitude of the reservoir CO2 emissions;
- They use an unrealistic and discredited projection of global gas demand, which is at odds with other projections
Furthermore, Woodside is making no realistic attempt to avoid, minimise or offset these emissions.
Woodside repeatedly claims, incorrectly, that gas is 50% less polluting than coal. SEN’s analysis shows that gas is at best 25% less polluting than coal.
This massive gas development cannot proceed if the world is to keep global warming within 2.0ºC.
Sensitivity of Electricity Prices to a Carbon Price on the South West Interconnected System
31 January 2020
Sensitivity of Electricity Prices to a Carbon Price on the South West Interconnected System. SEN submission to Energy Planning WA.
Energy Policy WA has been developing a Whole of System Plan (WoSP), but a carbon price has not been considered in the modelling. This report argues that there are national and state requirements to manage climate risk, and provides a well-researched sensitivity analysis which shows that various levels of carbon price can add 20-50% to the wholesale cost of electricity. Our conclusion is that modelling and decision making which does not include consideration of a carbon price is flawed, given the size of the effect indicated by this sensitivity analysis. The report itself outlines some of the implications.
Joint Special Event JCIPP and SEN present Prof Ross Garnaut
Sustainable Energy Now (SEN) and John Curtin Institute of Public Policy (JCIPP) present Professor Ross Garnaut AC.
Professor Garnaut discussed his newest book "Superpower: Australia’s low carbon opportunity".
In the book, Professor Garnaut offers a road map for progress, covering energy, transport, agriculture, the international scene and more. Rich in ideas and practical optimism, Superpower is a crucial, timely contribution to this country’s future.
Slides and video links from the event on our events page.
SEN Submission to DWER intended to inform the formulation of WA Goverment's Climate Change policy.
6 Dec 2019
Among other things, the submission:
- quantifies the scale and scope of the emissions' reductions required to meet state targets. While SEN has responded within the context of the State’s emissions target, (which matches the federal targets of 28% reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050), SEN has emphasised that much stronger action needs to be taken, along with a trajectory of reductions.
- summarises Negative Emissions Technologies and fuel switching approaches which can be applied or developed.
SEN has outlined targets that need to be met to meet the State's responsibility to meet WA's share of the national target of 28% emissions reduction over 2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this, the State needs to:
- Find 37 Mtpa of total abatement, to move from 88 Mtpa (in 2017) to 51 Mtpa in 2030.
- Reduce total emissions by at least 3.7 Mtpa CO2e per year between 2020 and 2030, equating to a total reduction of 37 Mtpa.
- Reduce energy sector emissions to 45 Mtpa by 2030, at a rate of at least 4.5 Mtpa CO2e per year. This figure is higher because some emissions are being offset by land use activities.
Submission to EPA on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Guidelines
2 Sept 2019
This submission responds to the Environmental Protection Authority consultation about Guidelines to consider greenhouse gas emissions in its future assessments of developments in Western Australia. SEN has reviewed the Guidelines in terms of the latest scientific understanding, agrees with their content as an appropriate minimum first step, and suggests some extensions to the guidelines.
Federal Election Position
SEN supports the transition to Renewable Energy. Therefore, SEN supports candidates who:-
- Accept that global warming and climate change is occurring;
- Have plans to do something about it in terms of assisting a transition to renewable energy as a policy position; and
- Are against the development of fracking because it contributes to global warming and pollutes the environment and is unnecessary.
Climate Council Fact Sheet: Climate Policies of Major Australian Political Parties
"The Climate Council’s factsheet, Climate Policies of Major Australian Political Parties, summarises climate policies of the three major parties, using information sourced from their respective centrepiece policy documents. It is not a comparative analysis by the Climate Council. Many of these policies are proposals and have yet to be implemented or detailed fully."
Conservation Council Election Scorecard
The Conservation Council of WA has also produced a Climate Voter Scorecard. [May 10 2019]
Joint SEN Presents - 29 April 2019
SEN and the Power & Energy Society hosted a joint event about “Operating the Grid with Low Inertia”, where Julius Susanto presented on on the new AEMO modelling tools.
Here is the recording of the presentation. [10 May 2019]
The Progressive Christian Network of WA is holding a Sustainability Workshop on Saturday June 8, from 9am to 4pm, at the All Saints Floreat Uniting Church, 50 Berkeley Crescent, Floreat. For details, see the Flier. [9 May 2019]
SEN Federal Election Scorecard
Who supports Clean Energy in the 2019 Federal Election? Here is our analysis of the policy positions of all parties. [8 May 2019]
Special SEN Presents with Jay Weatherill
Jay Weatherill, ex premier of South Australia joined Sustainable Energy Now, BDO and Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) for a discussion around energy transition, the role of government, challenges WA faces and the deal with Tesla.
SEN disappointed at New Bus Purchase announcement
Sustainable Energy Now is deeply disappointed with the decision of the Western Australian Government to enter into a contract to purchase 900 new diesel buses over ten years, when electric buses would be a better option for a government with aspirations to be progressive and innovative. See our statement here. [21 March 2019]
SEN welcomes Electricity Planning announcement
SEN welcomes the Labor Government's announcement of a long overdue electricity planning process in Western Australia. Our views on the Whole of System Plan and Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap are available through this media release, and this more detailed statement. [11 March 2019]
SEN's recent contributions to the WA Energy Debate
Many of SEN's policy team made major contributions to our 52pp submission to the WA Scientific Inquiry into Fracking. Thanks also to researchers who provided advice and material to the SEN Policy team in preparing the submission.
SEN also presented insights on the energy transition to the Public Utilities Office (PUO). The PUO advise government on, amongst other things, matters relating to energy security, cost, policy options and futures.
- Our presentation to the PUO, PDF [1.6 MB]
- SEN submission to Western Australian Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation in Western Australia PDF [2.0 MB]
- Appendix Document: Western Australian Tight Gas Industry: A review of groundwater and environmental risks. PDF [4.7 MB]
- WA Fracking Inquiry submissions library.
To view a list of our recent statements click here
For a round up of renewable energy technologies and SEN, download our Flyer.
SEN promotes practical, affordable strategies for a sustainable global future by the adoption of renewable energy. SEN is a dynamic and independent WA association.
- Note that this page of findings is complemented by the Modelling Overview page which provides an introduction to the project, the modelling toolkit and the team.
- On this page you will find
- The Full ‘Clean Energy WA’ Report can be downloaded here.
Clean Electricity Western Australia
Modelling Renewable Energy Scenarios for the SW Electricity Grid
Published 20 May 2016.
This study describes modelling of renewable energy (RE) scenarios for Western Australia’s SW electricity grid (SWIS)
It describes how SEN’s new SIREN Toolbox software was used to model power generation sufficient to meet demand in 2030.
Five scenarios with 85 – 100% renewable energy are modelled and costed. Scenarios include business as usual coal and gas and nuclear.
The executive summary from the latest version of the Full Report now follows:
Western Australia’s South-West Interconnected System (SWIS) can move to 85% renewable energy (RE) for the same cost as new coal and gas. In reality, it is expected to be even cheaper as the modelling in this report has used conservative cost data for RE that is higher than current forecast costs. The SWIS can move to 100% RE for only an extra 3 to 4c/kWh, a premium of only 15% on current domestic electricity prices.
This study provides comparative assessments of a number of RE scenarios which could be realistically implemented in the SWIS by 2030 using existing proven, utility scale, commercial technologies. Using SEN’s new Integrated Renewable Energy Networks (SIREN) Toolkit software, the assessments provide technical, economic and environmental (CO2e emissions) analyses to assist policy makers, regulators and community leaders to demonstrate how an orderly transformation of the SWIS to a RE dominant system can be achieved economically by 2030.
For each modelled scenario, SEN has analysed the requirements to build a new reliable RE power generation system and the corresponding carbon emission intensity in order to identify the most practical, efficient and cost-effective low carbon energy generation options for implementation by 2030.
Western Australia is in an excellent position to move to RE over the next 15 years, but the opportunity could be wasted unless commitment, planning and the transition begin immediately.
1. 85% RE electricity prices equal to new coal/gas grid scenarios
The wholesale cost of electricity from a modernised electricity grid, whether coal or 85% renewable, would be about 1c/kWh more than the current (2016) wholesale cost. The retail cost of electricity1 to SWIS residential customers would increase by about 2c/kWh, regardless of whether Scenario 1 (85% RE) is implemented or the existing or renewed fossil fuelled grid is replaced.
2. RE costs trending lower
RE costs are falling as advances in technology improve efficiency and reduce installation costs (BREE 2013). It is confidently anticipated that even lower prices for electricity can be realised than those predicted with the current modelling assumptions (which have purposely been set at conservative levels). SEN considers that LCOEs of some RE technologies, for example wind and CST with MS storage, are already lower than those used in the modelling.
3. Phasing out of current coal fired electricity generation
Coal fired generation can be phased out over 14 years in an orderly and structured program. Section 6 of this study illustrates a possible transition plan to reach the lower-cost Scenario 1 (85% RE), starting with the immediate retirement of the aged Muja plants.
4. Transition to Renewable Energy (RE)
To transition to Scenario 1 (85% RE) by 2030, approximately 8,000 MW of new RE generation would need to be installed at an estimated cost of $20.1 billion, based on 2015 costs. This equates to an installation rate of approximately 570 MW per year.
5. Demand side management (DSM) would reduce LCoE
Universal installation of smart meters could be implemented at low cost to enable some customers to voluntarily opt to have some of their appliances turned down or off by the grid operator for short periods during times of peak energy cost. Use of 500 MW of this type of DSM with the RE scenarios could reduce the electricity cost by up to $2/MWh (0.2c/kWh) without DSM reserve capacity payments, while reducing carbon emissions by several thousand tonnes per year.
6. Carbon emissions reduction
RE electricity generation scenarios for the SWIS presented in this study reduce annual CO2e emissions by 11.1 million tCO2e for Scenario 1 (85% RE), or to 12.3 million tCO2e for the best 100% scenario, which represent 85% and 92% reductions respectively. As Western Australia’s population is about 2.7 million (AustraliaPopulation2016 2016), this equates to emissions reductions of 4.1 – 4.6 tCO2e per person.
7. Protection from future gas and carbon price increases
RE scenarios have stabilising effects on the electricity price, because they are much less susceptible to fuel price fluctuations (only 5 – 15% of generation relies on fuelled generation).
The RE scenarios are also less sensitive to the price of carbon emissions, unlike the Business as Usual (BAU) Scenario 6, as the RE Scenarios incur only 8 – 17% of the carbon costs of BAU.
8. Benefits of BM battery storage
Behind-the-meter (BM) battery storage is likely to be a cost effective option for both consumers with rooftop PV and those without. This will tend to flatten the demand profile, reducing the amount of expensive gas turbine generation required (as shown in Figure 3, Section 3.4).
9. RE grids reduce network costs and capacity payments
A modernised dispersed wind and solar based electricity grid with battery storage would provide the following cost savings:
Reduced network charges.
Reduced tariff adjustment payments (TAP).
Reduced reserve capacity payments (CP).
10. Reduced externalised costs of pollution
As Scenario 1 (85% RE) has less than 17% of the carbon emissions of Scenario 6 (BAU), the externalised impacts/costs of pollution (CO2 contribution to global warming; heavy metal and particulate pollution) and negative effects on human and environmental health will be greatly reduced.
11. Fuelled scenarios have higher risks
The risk analysis in Section 7 shows that the two fuelled generation dominant scenarios modelled (coal/gas and nuclear/gas) carry much higher risks than any of the RE Scenarios. Nuclear had the highest risk profile, particularly in terms of safety and environment (radioactive waste) and also in terms of costs and project implementation. Coal and gas carry high environmental (carbon pollution) risks and are susceptible to fuel availability and price fluctuations. Moving to 100% gas fuelled generation would achieve less than a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions.
12. Base load generation not required on RE systems
The large, inflexible base load generators that operate constantly in traditional fossil fuelled grids are not needed, and indeed are a hindrance, in RE powered grids. However, open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) are essential components of the RE powered SWIS scenarios as they provide:
Rapid response balancing power when storage runs out during extended periods of low wind and sun.
Power quality control requirements (when spinning in synchronous compensation mode).
OCGTs and/or batteries and/or flywheels can be used instead of base load generators for frequency stability.
1� The modelling assumes a $30/tCO2e carbon price.
Fig 1: Power Generation Capacity – Comparative Scenarios
Fig 2: Summary of Scenario Costs and Carbon Emissions
Fig 3: Effect of behind the meter batteries in ‘flattening’ demand profiles
Fig 4: Hourly shortfall in summer for Scenario 2
Fig 5: Hourly shortfall in winter for Scenario 2
Table 10: Summary of scenario costs and carbon emissions
BASIS AND KEY ASSUMPTIONS
Carbon price $30/tonne of CO2e.
All scenarios include:
New-build cost of the entire electricity generation and storage components.
New-build costs only for transmission lines & substations additional to existing.
No difference in costs of distribution system (poles & wires).
Cost of capital: 10% for all generation (based on BREE AETA3); Government low risk rate of 6% for transmission and pump hydro storage projects; 5% savings rate for ‘behind the meter’ PV and battery.
There is a single load source - the Perth Metropolitan Area.
Wind and solar energy costed is the energy transmitted to the major load source = (generated energy) - (transmission losses).
All wind and solar energy generated is costed at the following average LCOEs (BREE AETA Model3 estimate for 2025 in 2015 net present value): Wind $85/MWh; Utility-scale fixed PV $110/MWh; Concentrated solar thermal (CST) with 6 hours storage: $165/MWh.
LCOE for rooftop PV is costed at $65/MWh (Solar Choice website, 2015)
Dispatchable (balancing) power and storage are costed differently: a fixed annual cost per MW capacity installed plus variable costs (including fuel) for each MWh of energy generated.
Wind and solar generation surplus to load is still fully costed in the LCOE, even though in reality it may be curtailed or sold more cheaply.
All wind turbines are onshore (land-based).
A nuclear option has not been included as nuclear fission generation is inherently non-renewable, is not available in the required timeframe and has significant unresolved safety, environmental and cost issues. Costing and issues for nuclear at SWIS grid scale will be discussed in the full Modelling Report.
Additional figure summarising the generation mix for select models with various levels of RE as percentages (not included in the Full Report).
BAU refers to Business as Usual model (replacing coal and gas generation with new power plant). Link to download PDF version of this figure.
1 The modelling assumes a $30/tCO2e carbon price.
2 Using single and double 330 kV lines from Geraldton and Merredin to the Metro area; and east of Albany connecting to the existing 33 kV network at Collie.
3 Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics: 'Australian Energy Technology Assessment Model' v.2.1; 14/01/14.
Commercial users are encouraged to donate to SEN which enabled this modelling. SIREN Team members volunteered many hours of their time and expertise to develop this powerful and adaptable modelling package. A contribution will help greatly, thanks.
Users wanting assistance in the use or specific application of SIREN Toolbox on a commercial basis can contact Angus King firstname.lastname@example.org for work involving SIREN and /or Ben Rose email@example.com for work involving Powerbalance.
Attachment 1 - Powerbalance Optimized Scenarios for Renewable Energy
Attachment 2 - Powerbalance Optimized Scenarios for Coal BAU, Nuclear, Gas
Attachment 3 - Dispatchable Power Costings
Attachment 4 - 2030 Renewable SWIS Risk Matrix (in Excel format)
Attachment 5 - RE Roadmap 1.6pct grwth, 3500MW gas
Attachment 6 - Ramp rates
Attachment 7 - Storage required to eliminate fuelled generation
Attachment 8 - 2030 Renewable SWIS Risk Matrix (as PDF)
The FULL REPORT can be downloaded here.
BAU Business as Usual
BMB Behind the meter battery storage (household and commercial)
CO2e Carbon dioxide equivalent
CP Reserve capacity payments
CST Concentrated solar thermal
LC Levelised cost
LCOE Levelised cost of electricity
MWh megawatt hour(s)
OCGT Open cycle gas turbine
PHS Pumped hydro storage
TAP Tariff adjustment payment
Q. How much land area will these renewable stations occupy?
A. Very little land area is required. The blue and yellow squares on the map below show the actual land area taken up by 6000 MW of wind and 3000 MW of solar PV, enough to provide 85% of the state’s electricity demand in 15 years’ time at an assumed demand growth rate of 1.6% per year.