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Posted on: November 26, 2020

Solar-Plus-Storage 101 | Department of Energy

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A “RENEWABLE ENERGY” ARTICLE WITH THE TITLE “Big batteries are getting bigger and smarter, and doing things fossil fuels can’t do”: LINK TO SOURCE:

Grid Energy Storage: Beyond Batteries - YouTube


South Australia and Victoria seem to be engaged in a competition for bragging rights over who has the biggest big battery in the country. Right now it is South Australia, with the newly expanded Hornsdale Power Reserve (150MW/194MWh), but the mantle late next year will go to Victoria, where Hornsdale owner Neoen has committed to building a 300MW/450MWh big battery at Geelong, before the crown possibly returns to South Australia with AGL’s proposed “gigawatt hour” battery next to the Torrens Island gas generator. What we can be sure of is that big batteries will get even bigger. AGL has talked of a 500MW battery at Liddell with as yet unspecified hours of storage, Neoen is talking of a 900MW/1800MWh big battery at the massive Goyder South wind and solar hybrid plant in South Australia, while Sun Cable may trump them all with a 20 gigawatt hour battery in the Northern Territory if its bold plan to supply Singapore with the world’s biggest solar farm becomes a reality. Big might be beautiful, and able to steal the headlines, but the real significance of the most recent announcements – Neoen’s in Victoria and AGL’s in South Australia, as well as this week’s new AGL big battery proposal for the Loy Yang A brown coal generator in Victoria – is not just their size, but what they are able to do. Batteries are often dismissed – including, regrettably, by prime minister Scott Morrison and others who should know better – as being next to useless because they say they can only power a state or a smelter for a matter of minutes or seconds. See: On first day as PM, Morrison learns difference between Big Battery and Big Banana. Those comments show a complete misunderstanding of what batteries are supposed to do, and they have already been rubbished by the performance of any number of big batteries already installed across the country – whether it’s the ability to keep the lights on in a local region when the grid elsewhere fails, protecting South Australia from major faults and transmission losses, or slashing the cost of gas back-up and improving reliability to the mines owned by Australia’s richest people in the Pilbara. Batteries have become specialists at providing critical grid services such as frequency control, and are now moving into the large scale provision of “synthetic inertia”. Soon they will be “grid forming”, rather than “grid following”, and offering “system strength”, but these are just a fraction of the so-called “value stack” that is on offer. All of these eat into the domain traditionally dominated by the fossil fuel generators. But wait, there’s more. The Victorian big battery is significant because its primary service will be a contract with the Australian Energy Market Operator in its System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS). What it means in practice is that AEMO will be able to operate the main transmission link between NSW and Victoria at near capacity, allowing more to be imported into Victoria, particularly at times of peak demand. Currently, most transmission links are restricted in the amount of capacity they can transfer, because AEMO needs to keep some in reserve in case of an outage or a fault. The Victorian big battery will provide 250MW of “virtual transmission” capacity that can be injected when required. It only has half an hour of storage under that contract because that is all that is needed to give AEMO the breathing space to marshall its resources if a fault does emerge. So the real value of the battery is far greater than a 30-minute extension. It effectively means it can provide an increase in the transfer capacity for any length of time. In short, it provides the same capacity as a 250MW gas generator for lengthy periods, but without the fuel cost and with greater flexibility. Neoen has already been providing this SIPS service at Hornsdale to AEMO for the South Australia grid, but that service has been provided “free of charge”. The difference with Victoria is that Neoen will be paid $12 million a year for the SIPS service, and the battery will be free to earn money elsewhere and through other services with the rest of the capacity. The Victoria government’s business case study makes clear the benefits – crucially, a much reduced chance of “unserved energy” (rolling blackouts) and a strengthening of the grid. And the benefits easily outweigh the costs. The two batteries proposed by AGL in South Australia (250MW/1,000MWh) and Victoria (200MW/800MWh) are equally significant. Firstly, they will be located next to big fossil fuel generators, which they will ultimately help displace. And, for the first time in Australia, they will have up to four hours of storage, meaning that they will compete directly with traditional gas plants, particularly peaking plants, to provide cover for the few hours a day of peak demand, and particularly in the early evening when rooftop and utility scale solar wind down. Four hour storage has become common in the US, where the combination of solar and batteries has easily won out in tenders over competing bids from gas generators as utilities and regulators prepare for peak demand periods. It means that gas plants will be increasingly forced out of the market in terms of bulk storage by cheaper wind and solar, and their role as “firming” generators will be marginalised by the prevalence of big batteries, particularly over shorter time periods. The emergence of longer duration pumped hydro storage will further reduce their market opportunity. AGL has told RenewEconomy that it is likely it will initially build its 250MW South Australia big battery – to be located at the site of its ageing Torrens Island gas plant – with one hour of storage, and then expand the storage duration as the market opportunity emerges (and presumably as the use of traditional gas generators winds down). A similar staged strategy will be adopted at the Victoria battery next to the Loy Yang A coal fired power station. What these battery developments tell us is that this technology is multi-faceted, and as costs continue to fall, and their value recognised by the market – firstly by the shift to 5-minute settlements and then by the creation of new markets for a multitude of grid services – then their deployment will multiply in size and numbers.

South Australia is already running at 58 per cent wind and solar (over the last 12 months), and this share will be increased significantly once the installation of synchronous condensers over the next 12 months allows more gas generators to be dialled down, constraints on wind and solar to be relaxed, and fewer “directions” in the market. And as the number of wind and solar projects continues to grow, along with battery storage – at Goyder South, Torrens Island, Lincoln Gap and Playford, and possibly Snowtown and Morgan, amongst others, then the focus will turn to longer duration storage, and the handful of pumped hydro projects that are competing for space in the South Australia grid. That will come close to signalling the end of the road for fossil fuels in South Australia’s grid, and it’s just a matter of time before that occurs elsewhere in the country too.

Three Stooges - The Boys Engineer a Mouse Trap - YouTube


As described in a related post on this site, LINK: , climate scientists and climate science engineers implementing the climate science energy engineering imperative of moving the global energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels to renewables has embarked on this giant enterprise with a gross misunderstanding of how new technologies are brought to the market, and specifically how new energy technologies are brought to the market for energy.

The Finishing Touch - Wikipedia

They entered into this giant enterprise with the quaint notion, likely derived from the success of the Montreal Protocol: LINK: , that with sufficient fear of the use of fossil fuels in terms of its claimed ability to cause planet destroying climate change, the renewable energy alternative on offer will sell itself regardless of its technical weaknesses described in a related post in terms of intermittency, unreliability, and mostly, in terms of its overall assessment as a product still under development that is not ready for the market. To their horror and quite unlike the magical success of the Montreal Protocol, the technical and engineering flaws in the renewable energy technology on offer to move the world away from fossil fuels, turned out to be the immovable barrier that could not be overcome with fear of climate change just as rational observers had predicted: LINK:

Joe Torcivia's The Issue At Hand Blog: The Three Stooges Save… WHAT?!

The way it works is that you come up with a competitive product and you bring it to market and compete with the existing products. If your product is better you win and if it is not you lose. This is how the market for energy works. But the Montreal Protocol strategy is that you create fear of the alternatives and ratchet up that fear until your product sells.

However, as it turned out, the importance of the reliability and availability of energy was grossly misunderstood by climate scientists. The unreliability and intermittency of renewables could not be overcome with the fear model that had sold the Montreal Protocol.

Stan & Ollie: Who are Laurel and Hardy? - CBBC Newsround

Eventually, the climate science activism against fossil fuels even with UN backing and even with the fear of the end of the world by fossil fuel emissions: LINK: , found it necessary to provide some engineering solutions to the unreliability and intermittency issues in renewable energy to push through its agenda against fossil fuels. Some of these innovations are described in a related post: LINK: . The continuation of this process is seen in the source document under review in this post: LINK TO SOURCE:

15 Hilariously Bad Designs for Everyday Objects | WIRED
The Three Stooges - Wikiwand

Yet, even as climate science now appears to be congratulating itself for being able to offer some solutions to the unusable product it had offered the world, the rational solution and the true measure of the renewable technology on offer is that the technology should compete in the market for energy and sell itself without the need for fear based activism. Clearly we are not there yet. Even with all these improvements in renewable energy technology that they boast, they still need fear of the destruction of the planet to sell their product. This product is not ready for the market.


The devastation of human life is in view': what a burning world tells us  about climate change | Environment | The Guardian

3 Responses to "CLIMATE ALARM OF 11/26/2020: BIG BATTERIES"

How are they to be charged?

The excess energy in renewables will be stored for the periods of shortfall. The storage solution for the varability in available solar and wind energy is to even out the energy delivered.

The best battery ever developed is the UO2 fuel pellet. There are now metallic Uranium fuel pellets that dissipate decay heat at temperatures below its melting point.

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