Hornsdale Power Reserve: batteries compensating for intermittency?

Trust, yet verify

It has been a while since last post (on the Doctor’s analogy skeptic style). This post will be a bit different. It will be about energy, more specifically about (grid sized) energy storage. It all started with this tweet from Jean-Pascal van Ypersele. This is the text of the tweet:

Those who argue that fossil gas plants are needed to compensate the intermittency of renewable energy should read this @McMarghem @eliacorporate @EngieBelgium @LuminusEnergie @Gregoiredallema

View original post 1,105 more words

49 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nottrampis
    Mar 15, 2020 @ 20:36:32

    Err SA is a NET exporter. If it is so intermittent that is impossible. how come you denialists cannot count?



    • Jim Rose
      Mar 15, 2020 @ 20:37:17

      That is a sign on insecurity.



    • trustyetverify
      Mar 15, 2020 @ 22:41:59

      Jim is correct. Intermittency and being a net exporter are not contradictory. It all depends on the time when and why that exporting is necessary. For example, Germany is using the same strategy. It exports electricity when there is excess production (windy and/or sunny) combined with low demand, therefor has to sell it at a low price (or even have to pay to get it exported). That strategy is still less expensive than investing in storage and strengthening the grid to support more intermittency. Both measures will be very expensive, but still less expensive than selling at a low price and buying at a high price.

      That is a valid strategy, but it only works if a country/state/territory has good neighbors that are willing to absorb the surplus (and/or willing/able to supply in case of a shortage). It also doesn’t work when those neighboring countries/states/territories are expanding intermittent energy (what is happening right now). In that case all will have the same problem at the same time and exporting excess will become not be a valid strategy anymore.

      Basically, those exports are the result of the choice of integrating intermittent power sources on a grid without the ability to balance that power.

      Liked by 1 person


      • trustyetverify
        Mar 16, 2020 @ 02:54:59

        The last sentence of the first paragraph got a bit mangled. It should say: “Both measure will be very expensive, but selling at a low price and buying at a high price is still less expensive”. It is also redundant, it is in fact repeats the information of the sentence before.



      • nottrampis
        Mar 16, 2020 @ 10:44:55

        Except only recently SA could not import any electricity but sailed through that very easily.

        Also it would mean SA exporting early in the morning when there is excess electricity and importing at the peak during the day. Even here importing would vastly exceed exporting .



    • trustyetverify
      Mar 17, 2020 @ 09:16:56

      Just curious, could you clarify the reasoning behind the claim that SA could not be a net exporter if wind is intermittent? And what part of the excerpt or of the linked blog post did you in fact react to when you said that? I want to figure out whether I understood it correctly or not.



      • nottrampis
        Mar 17, 2020 @ 10:36:05

        Just logic. If wind is so poor over ALL SA it must import energy. It could only export energy when demand is low i.e at night. The energy needed during the day is much more than during the night ipsofacto it must be a net importer.
        It isn’t.
        SA has in fact probably the most secure electricity in Australia.

        We have already seen SA work out when the interconnector could not work and as yet NO government of any persuasion has stopped batteries exporting their energy.

        This problem has yet to eventuate.



        • trustyetverify
          Mar 17, 2020 @ 13:45:15

          That is interesting. I don’t think it is that simple though, there are many nuances involved. Our definition of “intermittent” might also be a bit different. The limited experience that I have with the Belgian grid learned me that export caused by overproduction of wind doesn’t necessarily coincides with the night and there are also some other characteristics of intermittent output that pose challenges to a demand driven grid. That would be a very long story and this is not the place nor the time. My hands are itching though to write some posts on this specific topic, maybe somewhere in the following weeks when I can spare the time. You gave me some ideas…


        • nottrampis
          Mar 17, 2020 @ 14:01:47

          excellent just remember base load power usually means excess supply.

          Here is OZ we have an unofficial policy that both wind and solar must store its excess power to use at other times.


        • trustyetverify
          Mar 17, 2020 @ 14:17:12

          Not necessarily. It depends on the height of the base load, the typical demand curve, the peaking power plants, the grid and so on. But true, there are indeed examples where base load means excess supply (France for example comes to mind).

          Do you have references on that last claim (where, how that happens in practice,…)?


        • nottrampis
          Mar 17, 2020 @ 14:38:15

          whoa there,
          Baseload power takes time to power up and then down. Typically they have a number of units. Unless they are being serviced or break down it is not feasible to turn individual units off. Way back in the days of us having only coal fired power plants we had excess capacity to burn so to speak.

          go back to the Chief Scientist’s report. it has been embraced ever since and seems just to be sensible policy which together with the ever decreasing costs is why more and more batteries are being put in. Helps with dispatchable power which is impossible for base load to do.


        • Jim Rose
          Mar 17, 2020 @ 16:51:21

          So solution to unreliable coal is wind which depends on factors other than mechanical reliability.


        • nottrampis
          Mar 17, 2020 @ 17:30:51

          It is usually always windy and sunny. Remember demand is hottest when it is stinking hot. Solar will always being going. not so coal fired power stations!!


  2. rogercaiazza
    Mar 22, 2020 @ 14:04:00

    Notrampis said “It is usually always windy and sunny.” Tony from Oz has been detailing daily wind power generation (https://papundits.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/australian-daily-wind-power-generation-data-introduction-with-permanent-link-to-daily-posts/) for the AEMO coverage area recently. His plots contradict the claim that it is always windy and obviously it is not sunny at night. On 20 March (https://papundits.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/australian-daily-wind-power-generation-data-friday-20th-march-2020/) he commented that: “As much as you can say that wind generation was relatively stable from Midnight till around 4PM, it still varied from low to high in a range of 450MW, and that’s the equivalent of one large single Unit at a large coal fired plant, so it’s the equivalent of that one Unit going off and coming on every so often for that duration of 16 hours. And even so, that average for the 16 hours of around 2800MW is still only at a Capacity Factor of 40% of the total Nameplate for wind generation. The average across the whole day of 2645MW gave wind generation a daily operational Capacity Factor of 38%, and wind delivered just 11.4% of all the generated power across the whole day.”

    Liked by 2 people


    • rogercaiazza
      Mar 27, 2020 @ 07:09:50

      I followed up on this topic: Hornsdale Power Reserve Considerations https://wp.me/p8hgeb-kE

      Liked by 1 person


      • nottrampis
        Mar 27, 2020 @ 09:54:05

        sorry mate but if that was the case SA would be a net importer not exporter.

        Demand is far larger during the day!

        Similarly Teals does not compensate for intermittency as it could not export to other states.



        • Jim Rose
          Mar 27, 2020 @ 10:04:23

          Is every state a net exporter?


        • nottrampis
          Mar 27, 2020 @ 10:09:37

          do not bring irrelevancies and deal with the topic.


        • rogercaiazza
          Mar 27, 2020 @ 12:58:54

          I think we disagree on two points: 1) whether the primary current revenues and value to the system of Hornsdale is backup to renewables when their output is unavailable also referred to as contingency storage (your position) or the sale of ancillary grid services (FCAS) and 2) whether Hornsdale is necessary so that SA can export electricity to other states.

          This reference shows that there are more revenues from grid services than contingency storage: https://reneweconomy.com.au/tesla-big-battery-pulled-in-29-million-in-revenue-in-2018-2018/
          “Neoen said the battery’s revenues were made up of €2.7 million ($4.2 million) in fixed revenue from the AEMO, reflecting HPR’s availability as a contingency storage capacity provider. This is the nature of the contract negotiated with the previous Labor state government.”

          “There was a further €15.2 million ($A24 million) in revenue generated by the two battery-related merchant activities, i.e. the sale of ancillary grid services (FCAS) and arbitrage. AEMO noted last week that the FCAS revenues, which it tracks, totalled more than $4 million for the fourth quarter alone.”

          Because FCAS revenues for just the fourth quarter were $4 million that is the primary source of revenues. Note that does not mean that the battery is not used for contingency storage other times too.

          At my blog you commented that Hornsdale “does not deal with alleged intermittency problems. If it did it could not export electricity to other states!” Based on the wind power generation statistics for 25 March 2020 (https://papundits.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/australian-daily-wind-power-generation-data-wednesday-25th-march-2020/), I don’t think Hornsdale plays a substantive role in imports and exports. Hornsdale can only provide 129 MWh of electrical energy to the system. The daily variation ranged from 1,426 MW to 2,890 MW.

          I downloaded three months of daily fuel mix data at https://aemo.com.au/Energy-systems/Electricity/National-Electricity-Market-NEM/Data-NEM/Data-Dashboard-NEM and summed up the total electric energy (MWh) for all fuel types including battery storage in SA and VIC. The total SA electric energy supplied to the system over that period was 2,575,822, 43% came from wind (1,102,844 MWh), 5.8% from solar (149,237 MWh) but only 0.1% came from battery storage (2,650 MWh). Given the relative size of the battery to the amount of wind and solar I am confident that battery storage helps the ratio of exports to imports but is not a necessary condition for exports to occur.

          Liked by 1 person

        • nottrampis
          Mar 27, 2020 @ 16:45:07

          Just to back this up. for a short time SA had no assistance from the intercconnector. If intermittency was a problem we would have seen it.

          Nuttin occurred.

          The battery is there now used by AEMO for instant relief. It is highly successful in doing that.


        • Jim Rose
          Mar 28, 2020 @ 10:04:33

          How long does the backup battery last when backing up the system?


        • nottrampis
          Mar 28, 2020 @ 12:38:15

          with as much power as it has.

          If wind power was as bad ass you allege then guess what SA would be a net importer. A rather large one.
          It ain’t.

          As it is the Telsa battery is used to help mostly Victoria as I see it.


        • Jim Rose
          Mar 28, 2020 @ 13:11:00

          So it is true that it props up the system to 60 seconds


        • nottrampis
          Mar 28, 2020 @ 14:18:48

          yep the whole system connected to the inter-connector.


  3. Trackback: Hornsdale Power Reserve Considerations – Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York

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