The cost of renewable energy is falling and for large scale installations, the cost of wind farms and solar is now cheaper than the cost of installation of coal or gas generation. The cost of solar energy is falling more rapidly than wind so that large scale solar will be cheapest of all in the very near future. The difficulty with renewable energy is the short term variability. In SA there is often a 1 GW variation in wind power between a windy day and a still day, so unless renewable energy can be stored or shifted around the country, the capacity of fossil fuel power generating capacity plant still needs to be close to the total maximum demand of SA.
Consumer based battery storage in the near future will have realistic payback periods, which will accelerate their uptake. Such a large introduction of customer owned generating plant will dramatically change the average power demand but may not change the peak power demands significantly.
By 2050, the UK, Germany and several other countries will only allow new electric passenger cars to be registered. Toyota will phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2050. If all cars are electric vehicles, the electric-power demand will double. These trends will cause a significant change in South Australia’s power generating mix, demands and economics. The presentation will discuss this and the steps that need to be taken to keep our lights on reliably.
This is an Engineers Australia event advertised for the interest of TelSoc members.