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Posts from the ‘Locale is WA’ Category

Is this the day that solar and wind changed the W.A. grid forever?

Renew Economy, 22 February 2019

The Australian Energy Market Operator has been fretting about the increase in the penetration of rooftop solar for some time now, and perhaps most of all in Western Australia, one of the world’s biggest “stand alone” grids, where the solar uptake is accelerating rapidly.

The state now has more than 1GW of rooftop solar on its main grid, which is located in the south-west corner of the state, and which is known as the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).
That makes rooftop solar the biggest source of electricity by capacity, and the uptake is growing at 35 per cent a year, according to AEMO.

It also has a growing amount of large-scale wind and solar capacity, as construction resumes following a three-year hiatus engineered by the previous Coalition government, and reforms are made that will facilitate access for renewables to the grid.

The isolated nature of the SWIS, both in its physical characteristics and some say in the culture of many in the industry, makes W.A. a fascinating case study.

And rooftop solar is particularly attractive because the west gets gets a lot of sun, and because consumers are finally being asked to pay the true cost of the fossil-fuel based grid, which was hugely subsidised by the government that has decided it can no longer foot the $500 million a year cost of making the electricity bills appear slightly more palatable.

But that rapid switch to rooftop solar is creating a very big “duck” curve that the grid operator is having to learn how to manage, as are others around the world where solar is a growing share of production.
The duck curve relates to the fall in demand in the middle of the day – driven by the uptake of rooftop solar – and the “ramping” needed to catch up with grid demand as it rises quickly as the sun sets in late afternoon, early evening.

The operator says that on October 18 last year, it was forced, for the first time, to call in “backup load following ancillary services” – broadly the equivalent of the directions that AEMO has grown accustomed to issuing in South Australia and more recently Victoria.

The operator said this was the result of volatile wind output, which delivered swings of up to 50MW in short time periods during the morning, compounded by variations of up to 100MW in the output from rooftop solar in the late morning as cloud cover moving across the south-west corner and Perth in particular.

At 11.30am, local time, the operator called on 50MW of Backup LFAS Down and 50MW of Backup LFAS Up, for a period of 3.5 hours to meet what it expected to be a volatile load profile. AEMO says it was justified because – as the arrow is pointing to in the above graph – a band of clouds around 1pm reduced solar PV output and caused a 300MW increase in demand, and its passing caused a 250MW reduction in demand in the next time interval (1.30pm). The back-up call was not costly – around $36,000 – although a second back-up call, on December 26, at 1am, caused on this occasion by rapid changes in wind output, was imposed for 8.5 hours (35.5MW) and cost around $81,000.

AEMO says the increasing level of penetration of rooftop PV and other renewable generation is going to increase the amount of volatility experienced on the power system going forward, and the number of directions. AEMO boss Audrey Zibelman addressed this issue at a symposium at UNSW this week, when she said that in Western Australia there is sometimes “too much rooftop solar that is not managed”, causing voltage to drop at a distribution level, and leading to curtailment of rooftop solar output.

“We have to start introducing the solutions now to make sure it works – otherwise we will be in the unenviable position of saying we can’t do any more,” Zibelman said. Those solutions include a shift to “orchestration”, which will allow networks owners and grid operators to use smart inverters to help manage distributed solar output. Battery storage, demand management and aggregated systems through smart controls of devices such as pool pumps could also do the trick.

“We want to be able to use all these investment, in a way to provide a private benefit and a public benefit and integrate then into the system,” Zibelman said. “It’s important for markets to be able to reward people to do that so that they are getting payments for the service. We have to get cracking.”

Is this the day that solar and wind changed the W.A. grid forever?

Perth bike paths fail to meet lighting standards

The West Australian, 13 December 2018
Large sections of Perth’s most popular bike paths are poorly lit, with many failing to meet Australian lighting standards. Research commissioned by the RAC examined 67km of inner-city bike paths and found almost 60 per cent had substandard lighting.
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Disability compliance the focus of $18m pedestrian crossing program

Railpage, 18 December 2018
An $18 million program to ensure Perth’s pedestrian level crossings comply with disability standards has begun, with 22 crossings to be upgraded over the next 12 months. Pedestrian crossings on the Midland, Fremantle and Armadale lines will be targeted by the Public Transport Authority (PTA) in the first wave of upgrades, between December 2018 and December 2019.
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Perth airport tunnel construction grinds to a halt after water leak causes sinkhole

ABC News, 25 September 2018
A water leak, which has led to the creation of a sinkhole, is continuing to delay the construction of Perth’s new $1.8 billion airport tunnel.Tunnelling for the new Forrestfield-Airport Link project was brought to an abrupt halt on Saturday afternoon. The sinkhole appeared on Sunday morning, forcing the closure of Dundas Road.

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Trees make way for bike path in Cottesloe

Western Suburbs Weekly, 20 July 2018
GREEN-LEANING councillors face having to agree to cut down about 50 trees to get a long-delayed commuter bike path through Cottesloe that will eventual connect to Fremantle. “I saw the plan this morning, and it was a pretty lazy piece of town planning as it’s just a straight line that doesn’t seem to take into account the trees in the way,” West Tree Canopy member Peter Dickson told communitynews.com.au.
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Tram tech gains speed

The West, 2 September 2018
State and local government officials were briefed this week on the suitability for Perth of “trackless trams” — a new concept of public transport that experts believe could revolutionise inner-city travel.

A team from Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute, headed by the recently announced WA Scientist of the Year, Professor Peter Newman, went to China last month to investigate the trackless tram technology.
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The first Australian utility to embrace era of “base-cost renewables”

ReNew Economy, 7 December 2017
West Australia’s regional utility Horizon Power has become the first major Australian utility to embrace the concept of “base-cost renewables”, recognising that the plunging cost of solar and wind is set to turn traditional theories of energy supply on their head. Horizon boss Frank Tudor has outlined a vision that he says will be an R&D “sandbox” for bigger and more centralised utilities across the country – and the world. And it’s about shifting to a future of “distributed energy”, built around low-cost renewables and enabling technologies like storage and smart controls to fill the gaps.

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The $4 billion bet on Metronet as Perth passengers step off public transport

ABC News, 10 December 2017
It has been more than two decades since West Australians were happier with their public transport options than they are now. More than nine out of 10 Perth people who catch public transport say they are satisfied with the service they get, according to the latest results from Transperth’s passenger satisfaction survey.

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Seminar: The Electrification of Australia’s Land Transport: How to get Moving by Dr Michael Kane

Wednesday October 25th 2017, Time: 12 pm – 1 pm
Synopsis
Dr Michael Kane will present the current efforts in Queensland to electrify land transport. His will also take us through some of his thoughts on whether the goal of 100% renewable land transport is feasible. He will discuss potential policies and practices that might make this possible.

Reflecting on this what will be interesting is that the intensification of road transport will also occur with electric AVs but not sufficiently to impact on peak major trunk PT. Lesser traditional PT and local private car trips will likely be replaced by a hybrid version of Uber/taxis/on demand transport. Private AV car use will have to be subject to road pricing or the road network will grind to a halt. What is also challenging from another perspective is that late night PT trunk is likely to unviable outside very large cities and slow and inefficient rail/light rail will also come into question as to why they shouldn’t be converted to ‘shared’ AV only highways (existing rail lines in Perth are all good performers). It will be a much more competitive environment in many ways, and everyone’s mode loyalties are going to be challenged. Trunk PT will also have to drop in price to remain competitive which should be possible with the dropping of subsidised non-trunk services.

With the recent pricing on hydrogen fuel cells (coming from 100% renewables) for buses and trucks is it realistic to assume to assume that all land transport is capable of transitioning technology wise for no additional vehicle costs from some point in the next decade? While there may be some infrastructure and industry changeover costs, the real challenge will be changing people’s mind-sets.

About the Presenter

Dr Michael Kane is the Director of Innovation and Economic Strategies at Economic Development Queensland. Dr Kane’s role is to support EDQ’s innovative planning and development initiatives relating to regional development, sustainable energy/water, housing, knowledge economy and transport. Michael has worked with EDQ (and Urban Land Development Authority) since 2009 in sustainability, innovation and strategy advisory roles. Before this he was an adviser for the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure in Western Australia on land development, transport and strategic planning. He has a PhD from Curtin University with his thesis relating to knowledge economy, urban and transport planning.

Event Details
Event: CUSP Seminar: The Electrification of Australia’s
Land Transport: How to get Moving by Dr. Michael Kane.
Date: Wednesday October 25th 2017
Time: 12 pm – 1 pm
Location: [Norman Dufty Lecture Theatre – Bldg 210, Rm 102]
Curtin University
Kent Street, Bentley
RSVP: Please RSVP your attendance by [Tues – 26/10/2017].
Early responses are appreciated.

Event registration
christine.finlay@curtin.edu.au
Please Contact Christine Finlay by [26/10/2017] to register you interest in attending this event.

Jetstar to start regional WA flights in bid to cut fares

The West Australian, 11 September 2017
Jetstar may start operations within WA to cut airfares, but Australia’s largest airline group has warned that regional airports need to cut fees. Qantas Domestic chief executive Andrew David told the Economics and Industry Standing Committee inquiry into airfares within WA that the group was looking at deploying the Jetstar operation within WA to “address some of the challenges that currently exist”.

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