S.A. Energy Security Legislation Draft Not Good For Battery Storage

A draft legislation by the South Australia government to grant incentives only to “real inertia” may put a stop on battery storage and hinder future renewables developments if it is not changed. According to critics, this draft will deliver a $3.5 billion subsidy to the owners of state’s gas generators and would not lead to reduced prices for consumers or increased energy security and doesn’t focus on demand management and efficiency.

Although the government wants to rise its electricity demand coming from local dispatchable generation to 50% by 2025, it defines qualifying generation as providing “real inertia” and “fault current” and thus actually excludes “synthetic inertia” from battery storage and wind and solar farms.

We have heard of the ‘real inertia’ discussion and it sounds a little strange to us“, says Philip Hiersemenzel from Younicos /a German battery storage developer/. “There is, of course, absolutely no need for ‘real inertia’ rather a ‘synthetic inertia’ to keep the grid stable. In fact, if you’re starting from the premise that more and more power should and will be provided by cheap, clean, but intermittent renewables such as wind and solar, then ‘synthetic’ inertia has a number of manifest advantages.” he continues.

According to Dylan McConnell, from the Climate and Energy College in Melbourne, the legislation would not lead to improved system security and would in reality explicitly prevent flywheels and synchronous condensers which could provide inertia at all time compared to gas generation that can only provide inertia when it is actually on. Offline gas generation has time to synchronization greater than 5 minutes, and time to minimum load greater than 10 minutes, as opposed to less than 100 milliseconds for batteries. This is hardly beneficial for the system security.

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