South Australia’s power system: a crisis or a canary?
In recent months, South Australia has witnessed some remarkable changes in the electricity system. Already S.A. is the state with the highest per capita penetration of wind and solar technologies. With Northern Power Station shutting down, S.A. Becomes the first mainland state to become coal free. Combined with Pelican Point out of operation and the main interconnector to Victoria being constrained with upgrade maintenance, S.A. saw market volatility and high price events not seen for many years. S.A. is a world leader in terms of integrating renewable energy into the grid, but these recent events have put a spotlight on the challenges that come with this transition. What needs to happen next in S.A.? Will storage technologies smooth the system or will solar thermal find a place? Perhaps the link to Victoria’s stable brown coal generators will keep the system secure, but does that negate the green credentials?