Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Origin and Neoen plan $1bn batteries for NSW power plants

What use is a power source that lasts only for a few hours? What happens when the battery runs flat? Nights can last for 12 hours so when the wind is not blowing get ready for blackouts after 10pm or thereabouts.

And cloudy days could be a problem too. There are many days that are overcast all day, which greatly reduces solar panel output.

Clearly, gas-fired generators are essential. And if you have got them, why the battery?

Two of the world’s biggest batteries, worth a combined $1bn, will be built at the sites of NSW coal plants in a move to ease strains in the power grid and provide back-up for renewable energy generation.

Origin Energy plans to develop a giant 700 megawatt battery at Eraring, Australia’s largest coal-fired power station, while France’s Neoen is preparing a 500MW battery stack dubbed the Great Western Battery Project at Wallerawang, home to the former EnergyAustralia coal station, which has now been decommissioned.

The two batteries would rank as the largest storage devices in the world and over four times larger than the Tesla world-beating battery in South Australia, which is also operated by Neoen.

The rollout of the big batteries shows the willingness of investors to ensure enough supply is in place when coal plants retire over the next two decades. It also boosts the flexibility of running Eraring, which supplies a quarter of the state’s energy needs, during peak demand until its scheduled retirement in 2032.

Origin’s 700MW battery, which can send power into the grid for up to four hours, will be developed in three phases, with the initial capacity expected online by late 2022. An expression of interest for its supply and installation was issued to industry players on Monday. The battery is the largest under consideration in Australia and will require sign-off from Origin’s board.

“The deployment of this battery at Eraring will support Origin’s orderly transition away from coal-fired generation by 2032, while complementing the policy objectives of the NSW energy road map,” said Greg Jarvis, Origin’s executive general manager for energy supply and operations.

“We recognise we have an important role to play in positioning Origin’s electricity generation portfolio to support Australia’s rapid transition to renewables,” Mr Jarvis said. “A large-scale battery at Eraring will help us better support renewable energy and maintain reliable supply for customers, by having long-duration storage ready to dispatch into the grid at times when renewable sources are not available.”

Neoen, which in November teamed up again with Tesla for a “humungous” 300MW battery installation near Geelong in Victoria, will spend up to $400m on the NSW facility, with a generation capacity of 500MW and up to 1000 megawatt hours.

The battery installation will be close to the former Wallerawang plant and connect to a substation that was used for the coal development, documents lodged with the NSW Department of Planning show.

Neoen has so far committed $3bn of investment on 1600MW of renewable generation in Australia and plans to double spending to $6bn by 2022, representing 3000MW of power supply.

“The large-scale battery system would reduce the possibility of load-shedding and blackout events in the state, especially considering the multiple existing coal-fired power plants that are planned to retire in the next decade,” Neoen said in its planning documents.

A breakdown at AGL Energy’s Liddell coal plant in December has increased the potential for power blackouts during heatwaves this summer and forced the nation’s biggest aluminium smelter to cut production.

The batteries back up a key plank of the NSW government’s ambitious plan to attract $32bn in private investment over the next decade focused on 12 gigawatts of renewable generation and 2GW of long duration storage.

Big energy producers and users had previously raised fears over a plan by the NSW government to underwrite investment in renewable and storage generation.

It may also ease tensions between industry and the federal government after Scott Morrison gave companies until April to commit building 1000MW of new power capacity to ensure there was a like-for-like replacement for the Liddell coal plant which will close in the 2022-23 summer.

Coal, which currently provides 70 per cent of electricity, will contribute less than a third of supply by 2040 and could be forced out earlier than planned retirement dates as competition from renewables and carbon constraints render plants uneconomic, Australian Energy Market Operator forecasts show.

By 2035 nearly 90 per cent of power demand could be met by renewable generation during periods through the day. However, that will require up to 50GW of large-scale solar and wind to be added under the most aggressive plan to cut emissions, representing nearly all the current capacity of the market to be built in just two decades.

Up to 19GW of “firmed” dispatchable resources such as gas, pumped hydro and batteries will be required in the next two decades to back up renewables.

Big coal plants like Eraring have been forced to dial down capacity close to minimum levels more frequently due to low wholesale spot prices and the solar “duck curve” phenomenon, where renewables beat coal on price during the day.

Traditionally the country’s big coal generators run around the clock, reflecting both market demand for the fuel but also the difficulty in tweaking output from huge pieces of machinery that can take hours to properly synchronise with the grid.

But the relentless surge of cheap and plentiful renewables — solar, wind, hydro and battery storage — is sparking a shift among the big baseload coal producers that supply 70 per cent of the grid’s needs.

Whereas once Origin may have run the plant through the day and night, the ability of solar to cut wholesale prices in the day means Eraring may make a better return ramping its output up and down to meet peak demand.

Another one of Australia's delightful Aborigines

A man alleged to have dragged a woman for several hundred metres during a violent carjacking in Brisbane will remain behind bars on remand until his next court appearance.

Theo Fewquandie, 18, did not appear at Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning after his dramatic arrest the night before.

He is facing a raft of serious charges, including unlawful entry of a motor vehicle, robbery with violence, dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm, deprivation of liberty and unlicensed driving.

Police have since urged anyone with dashcam footage of a man – described as being “Aboriginal in appearance, curly hair in a ‘man bun’ style, black shorts, black T-shirt and a black, white and red hoodie” – to come forward.

Fewquandie, from Ellen Grove, is alleged entered a blue Mitsubishi hatchback parked outside of the Buranda Shopping Centre carpark at 7pm on Monday.

It is alleged the driver had gone inside to collect food from the local Nando’s, leaving a 22-year-old woman waiting in the car.

Fewquandie is alleged to have pushed the woman out of the vehicle, causing her to be dragged several hundred metres before crashing into a wall.

The 22-year-old woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

No application for bail was made on Tuesday morning as Fewquandie’s lawyer asked for an adjournment.

He will return to court on March 1.

Class action drags on as survivor fears death before cash

Queensland residents have passed the 10-year anniversary marking a deadly flood on the 10th of January 2011.

Ten years after a raging torrent crashed through homes and destroyed lives there are renewed calls for thousands of flood victims to be swiftly compensated by the state’s ‘negligent’ dam operators.

A class action backed by 7000 people led the Supreme Court in 2019 to find the state government, Seqwater and SunWater were negligent in the operation of the Wivenhoe and Somerset dams in the lead up to the 2011 floods.

The government has accepted the decision but the two dam operators have appealed, which is expected to be heard in the Court of Appeal in May.

Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully, who represents the hardest-hit suburb of Goodna, slammed dam operators Seqwater and SunWater for “dragging” the matter out and denying compensation to victims.

“Ten years on and claimants have passed on, families have split up, couples have divorced and children are still suffering from the impact of the flood but Seqwater and SunWater and their lawyers and insurers are continuing to toy with people’s lives and emotions,” he said.

“This is a national disgrace as the class action grinds to a halt for possibly another two years while the case heads to the High Court.”

Mr Tully, who is part of the 7000-strong class action, said the operators should “accept the umpire‘s decision” and called for new national legislation to ensure large disputes were settled in an appropriate time. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.

“Class actions are powerful tools against corporate wrongdoers but the system needs to be overhauled so that victims of natural disasters don’t have to wait for more than a decade to be compensated.”

Goodna resident Frank Beaumont, 78, says despite the muddy water receding a decade ago, he’s still battling to survive.

Mr Beaumont, lost $250,000 in home value, his marriage and family due to the stress of the event. “It‘s absolutely frustrating, the court case has been going on for seven years and the next part of it is not until May this year,” he said.

As he approaches 80 years old Mr Beaumont is increasingly fearful he won’t live to see any money. “I hope to be around but if Seqwater and SunWater lose their appeal they can go to the High Court so there are another two years – It’s very doubtful.”

Seqwater and SunWater declined to comment.

'Hard to see a safe corridor': NSW shelves plan for return of international students

The NSW government has shelved plans to start returning 1000 international students to Sydney each week in a blow to some of the city's major universities.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian told The Sun-Herald in November she wanted to use a third of the state's hotel quarantine slots to bring in international students and skilled migrants, starting as soon as this month.

The push was at odds with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and a national cabinet agreement which made returning Australians the priority leading up to Christmas.

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said returning international students will be a critical part of NSW economic recovery from the pandemic.

"At the moment our priority is returning Australians home. Given the arrivals cap of 3000 a week into Sydney Airport – that currently leaves limited room to consider international students," he said.

"The NSW government will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth government and the education sector with the clear aim of having international students back in 2021."

On Saturday, Ms Berejiklian said of her original plans: "I think that's always our aspiration, but we can't pretend about how serious the current mutations of the virus are, and until we understand better what those strains are doing."

A federal Department of Education spokeswoman said NSW had not yet submitted "a formal plan" and that bringing Australians home was the government's first priority.

However, senior NSW government sources said a detailed plan to return 1000 students had been developed late last year, but this had been put on hold since the northern beaches and western Sydney coronavirus outbreaks.

Western Sydney University vice-chancellor Barney Glover said it was unlikely universities would see a so-called safe corridor trial in the near future.

"I think that's unfortunate, but I certainly understand the position the government is in," he said. "I think we've just got to be patient," he said.

Professor Glover said it might be possible to see the return of students return as early as May, but the second half of the year was "looking more likely".

Nicole Brigg, pro vice-chancellor international at Macquarie University said that after watching the daily news "it is hard to see a safe corridor happening soon".

University of Technology Sydney deputy vice-chancellor Iain Watt said the safe corridors plan had not been abandoned, but Australian education providers were at risk of long term loss of market share of international students to other countries including the UK and Canada, whose borders are open to them.

"We are going to be locked into this smaller share of the market if we keep can't find a way to balance the health and safety issues with economic issues and allow students from low risk countries to travel here," he said.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Australia's international student industry generated $40 billion in annual revenue. Mr Watt said significant numbers of students and "not just a few hundred" would need to return to help the thousands of businesses that rely on international student spending.

Chief executive officer of the International Education Association of Australia Phil Honeywood said the average international student spent up to $100,000 a year in the Australian economy and stayed for three to four years, but state and federal governments were "rolling out the red carpet" to other short-term visitors.

"Our political community is relaxed about bringing tennis and cricket players and their entourages into Australia for a short time," he said. "They are similarly relaxed with hundreds of foreign military personnel about to arrive here for short-term training exercises.

"However, unlike Canada and the UK, they continue to put barriers up against international full fee paying overseas students who are here for the long-term rather than a few weeks."


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE TIED)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


1 comment:

Paul said...

I know a Fewquandie. I think it may be a Fijian family name.