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South Australia’s energy market continues to provide fascinating viewing for energy nerds, large energy consumers and vested interests since the exit of the last coal-fired generator just over a fortnight ago.
Of course, this does not suggest that wind energy is about to provide 100 per cent of the state’s energy needs all the time, or even average out over the whole year. That level currently stands at around 40 per cent, but it does highlight the possibilities, particularly with more wind energy projects in the pipeline that could more than double the current capacity, and push for the need for more inter-connectors to other states.
As this graph below illustrates, while South Australia has enjoyed reasonably strong wind conditions over the past two weeks, its 1,500MW of wind capacity contributed little on Friday, resulting in more than 1,000MW of gas-fired generation for a time, and for prices to shoot skywards. South Australia has historically had the highest prices in Australia, thanks to that volatility, and it’s reliant on expensive gas. While gas is used to fill in the gaps between wind and solar in South Australia, it is used in Queensland to fill the gaps between the output of coal and system demand, minus the input of 1.5GW of rooftop solar. Those days mostly correspond with low wind days (see graph below) – May 13, 17, 18, 19, and 20.


John Thomas North (pictured), originally a Yorkshire mechanic, became a friend of the future King George V and was worth $10 million in 1889? King George V of the United Kingdom was a member of the Society for the Prevention of Calling Sleeping Car Porters "George"? 19 crewmen of the Russian oceanliner SS Czar received the Silver Sea Gallantry Medal from King George V of the United Kingdom for rescuing 102 survivors from a burning ship in October 1913?
South Australia has the most volatile prices, partly because no other state has such big swings in demand, and because it has just a few dispatchable generators serving the market, which is more than two-thirds supplied by two players. So what’s interesting to watch is the comparison between South Australia and Queensland, the other state most reliant on gas as the marginal cost of generation. Queensland, apart from a few biomass power plants, has no large-scale renewable energy generation. On the days with lots of wind, the South Australian price is often well below that of Queensland.


This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. It seems that South Australia, even with the local brown coal generators switched off, is importing less than it did at the same time last year. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.



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