‘Avalanche’ of renewables threatens power grid

December 05, 2018

A rapid shift in Australia’s electricity mix to renewable energy from coal over the next decade will threaten the security of the nation’s power grid if poorly integrated, while introducing a carbon price may render the nation uncompetitive, the head of the world’s peak energy agency has warned.

The warning is in line with Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi's assertion that skewing the nation's energy mix towards a high percentage of renewable generation is a one-way-street to higher prices and unreliable electricity. 

The Australian reports, as Labor looks to revive the government’s now-abandoned national energy guarantee — underpinned by a 50 per cent renewable energy target — the Paris-based International Energy Agency says Australia needs to ensure an “avalanche” of clean energy supply is backed up by firm generation to keep the lights on.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol told The Australian, “Power systems without back-up have accidents in terms of security of supply. It’s definitely not good news for the citizens and not good news for the reputation of the grid.”

“Ambitious targets for increasing renewables in the power mix must be delivered as part of a long-term plan. You cannot switch the system too quickly,” he said.

“In many countries, people think a growing share of renewable in the electricity system is the solution. Absolutely not,” Dr Birol said. “Power generation is one part of the problem, but it is not the entire problem and it is not even the biggest problem.”

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