Rooftop Solar Poses Blackout Threat To Western Australia

Extraordinary powers designed for emergencies such major power plant failures or bushfires are being triggered to protect WA’s main grid from soaring output generated by rooftop solar panels.

In Western Australia the uptake of solar panels has rocketed as electricity prices leaped — there’s a slow motion solar train-wreck underway. Solar PV panels are now on more than one in four houses and growing at a phenomenal rate.

The South West Grid is small, with around one million customers and a daily peak of around 2 – 3,000 MW. But the solar generation now totals as much as 1,000MW, and is growing at blistering 180MW a year. Already, there are times solar can be the largest “single” source on this grid, and the AEMO has no control over it, which is why emergency notices are being issued more and more. The AEMO suggests the answer is more batteries, but we are still subsiding the installation of these unnecessary panels making the problem worse, and electricity prices are forecast to rise another 7% this year. As readers TomOMason and TonyfromOz say, so much for cheap solar — watch out: “Batteries Not Included”. The hidden costs get you every time, and the cost of the impact on the rest of the grid is only becoming known as we do this live experiment.

Solar panels are becoming an emergency in WA, equivalent to a bushfire

The growth of panels is so disruptive the AEMO sometimes has to invoke the “hisk risk state” and force the baseload coal and gas generators off the grid for fear of an overload. This is supposed to be something triggered only in exceptional circumstances. The rapid change to the grid generation will create a regular state of emergency in WA in a few years unless something changes.

Rooftop solar poses blackout threat to WA’s main power grid

Daniel Mercer in The West Australian

Extraordinary powers designed for emergencies such major power plant failures or bushfires are being triggered to protect WA’s main grid from soaring output generated by rooftop solar panels.

In comments to a Parliamentary inquiry, the body that runs the south-west electricity system has warned the market can no longer cope with the solar power being pumped out during certain conditions.

Experts have warned a looming crunch may lead to increased risks of blackouts and higher power costs for consumers.

There is now almost 1000MW of solar powered generation across the south west interconnected system — the biggest single source on the grid — with about 200,000 installations on households.

Full post

via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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May 21, 2018 at 10:12AM

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