A new report commissioned by chief scientist Alan Finkel,Â The role of Energy Storage in Australiaâ€™s Future Energy Supply Mix, says the required investment in energy security and reliability over the next five-10 years will be minimal,Â even if wind and solarÂ deployment moves far beyond levels contemplated by the Energy Security Board.
â€œAt an aggregated national level, Australia can reach penetrations ofÂ 50 per cent renewable energy without a significant requirement for storage to support energyÂ reliabilityâ€
The contrast with ESB modelling â€“ and the attempts by Coalition parties at state and federal level to dismiss high levels of renewable energy as â€œrecklessâ€ â€“ could not be more pronounced.
While the ESB, in arguing for a National Energy Guarantee, speaks of the system threats and urgency to act with a level of â€œvariableâ€ renewables accounting for between 18 and 24 per cent of total generation, this new report says surprisingly little storage may be needed with 35 per cent to 50 per cent wind and solar.
Even in the 50 per cent variable renewable energy scenario â€“ more than double that contemplated at the high end by the ESB â€“ the new report suggestsÂ enough battery storage may be available â€œbehind the meter,â€ households and businesses, to meet the storage needs.
Pointedly, the study models levels of â€œvariableâ€renewable energy â€“ wind and solarâ€ that are far higher than that contemplated by the ESBÂ in its argument for an â€œurgentâ€ reliability option.
The new studyâ€™s â€œlow renewableâ€ share â€“ 35 per cent â€“ is twice the amount of wind and solar modeled by the ESB for 2030, at just 18-24 per cent, and yet it sees little need for a lot of added storage.
The studyâ€™sÂ medium renewables scenario aims at 50 per cent share of variable renewbles by 2030, while its â€œhighâ€ share models 75 per cent wind and solar penetration.
It even contemplates what is needed for a 100 per cent renewable energy in South Australia â€“ a scenario that looks increasingly possible given the huge range of projects in the pipeline, many with storage of some sort, including pumped hydro, solar thermal, and batteries.
See the summary from reneweconomy:Â http://reneweconomy.com.au/new-finkel-report-finds-no-need-to-panic-about-energy-storage-42755/