SA shows smart connections key to grid stability

Energy networks will play a key role in stabilising and firming our high renewable energy future.

Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, said the release of reports today by the South Australian (SA) Government and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) reinforced the important role already being played by networks to provide critical grid stability.

Synchronous condensers and network scale batteries, like those delivered by ElectraNet in SA, are already helping keep the lights on and the grid stable,” Mr Dillon said.

“Energy security is no longer about producing enough electricity, with the surge of solar we now face the challenge of at times having too much for the system to cope.”

Mr Dillon said that Project Energy Connect, the proposed interconnector between SA and NSW, would help stabilise the grid.

“A more interconnected grid is a more stable and reliable grid,” he said.

Reforming tariff structures to reflect when surplus electricity is being generated is also critical.

“SA Power Networks is implementing a solar sponge tariff system to give customers price incentives to use more power when solar is generating into the system. This sponge will help keep the grid stable, which in return will help reduce system costs.

“A 21st-century energy system cannot be operated using 20th-century concepts of price and usage.

“The more we can allow customers to manage their use to align with system needs, the less we will need last resort options like shutting off household solar PV systems.”

Other technologies such as hydrogen will be needed in a future energy system. Hydrogen gas can be produced from excess renewable energy and easily stored for future use either in electricity generation or blended into the existing gas distribution network.