CEDEX Report: ACT 100% target helps break investment drought. Supply not the issue for SA blackout

by Hugh Saddler

The Australia Institute, in partnership with engineering consultants pitt&sherry, has released the latest Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX).

The CEDEX is the benchmark indicator for Australia’s carbon emissions and an up to date snapshot of vital data from the energy sector.

The report released today reviews the impact of the ACT’s 100% target on development of renewable energy resources in Victoria and South Australia.

Report author, energy consultant Hugh Saddler, also remarks on the stability of supply in South Australia in the wake of remarkable and claims made in the wake of the state’s storm-induced blackout.

ACT helps end the investment drought

“After a long investment drought, we’ve see the commissioning of the first turbines at two new windfarms, Ararat in Victoria and Hornsdale in SA. Both are contracted by the ACT government to contribute to its 100% renewable contracted electricity supply by 2020,” Saddler said.

“These two projects ended a gap of 16 months with no new windfarms which was a consequence of policy uncertainty regarding the RET under the Abbott government.

“While uncertainty was ended with the passage of legislation for a lower target, it is notable that the lower RET is still to deliver any new wind capacity. The ACT-linked wind farms are all additional to the RET – the potential certificates from ACT contracted windfarms are surrendered – and therefore add to the emissions abatement achieved through the national RET policy.”

South Australian wind weathers a storm

“What did occur, as clearly set out in the preliminary report by AEMO, released on the morning of 5 October, was loss, over a period of 40 seconds, of sections of three of the four major transmission lines running between Adelaide and Port Augusta.”

“The National Electricity Rules (Rule 4.2.3) describe an event such as occurred as a ‘non-credible contingency’. That means the damage was so extreme that well-planned for, but seldom used protocols stopped any power producer delivering electricity to households.

“Given the magnitude of the transmission line failure, not to mention ongoing local storm and flood damage to the low voltage distribution network, the speed with which electricity supply was restored across most of South Australia is a tribute to the skill and hard work of AEMO and all participants in the electricity supply industry in the state,” Saddler said.

Other findings in the CEDEX report:

  • Both hydro and wind generation also increased in September, bringing total renewable generation for the year to 26.0 TWh, equal to 14.0% of total NEM generation, the highest level since August 2014.
  • For the fourth successive month, total annual wind generation set a new record; in the year ending September it reached 10.8 TWh, equal to 5.8% of total generation in the NEM. For comparison, the hydro share was 7.8%.  

Full report