Spinning Reserve and Renewable Energy Penetration: How much spinning reserve does South Australia need?

Richards, Gregory Ian (2017) Spinning Reserve and Renewable Energy Penetration: How much spinning reserve does South Australia need? [USQ Project]


The inspiration for this project was the highly political and biased commentary regarding the cost and reliability of the South Australian Power Network as the state strives to achieve ambitious renewable energy targets. This commentary intensified (magnified) after the state-wide power outage in September 2016 in an attempt to identify the cause of the failure and apportion blame. The root cause of the outage has been identified as a failure to control the networks frequency within tolerable limits. An analysis of the impact of renewable energy’s impact on the network frequency is provided, as well as technical and market based recommendations to improve the reliability of the network during contingency events.

With renewable energy’s installed capacity expanding throughout the Australian National Electricity Marketplace (NEM), gaining an understanding of how renewable energy sources affect the ability of the network to react to a contingency is vital to ensure network security and reliability into the future.

A model developed in MATLAB Simulink was used to create a power network model which can be used to initiate contingency events and record the resultant frequency response of the network. By simulating a variety of scenarios, with different generation mixes and contingency events, limits can be found for the reliable operation of the network. In addition, the predictions of the simulation will then be used to propose system control and network management options to both minimise financial costs as well as increase the security and reliability of the network.

The key learning from the project was determining the significant impact removing traditional turbines had on the spinning reserve in the NEM. By modelling different storage/generation types it is shown an adequately planned network can remain stable and reliable with a high percentage of renewable energy installed. Although technically feasible; the current financial market, political climate and the electricity market needs to be reformed to ensure the financial viability of the changes required to ensure stability and reliability. The lifecycle of renewable energy generators on average is 30 years, so a clear political outlook and plan will ensure investors can accurately calculate the risk involved in investing in new generation capacity. Market modification to simplify the market and ensuring all generators can contribute proportionally to both the main and ancillary markets will drive down electricity prices ensuring the cheapest generation can be utilised to minimise costs.

The key outcome of the project was to debunk the political and biased commentary surrounding the reliability and security of an energy network with increased renewables penetration. With proper planning, front end engineering and a long-term plan a successful transition to renewable energy can be achieved.

Further work to improve the model involves gaining more accurate information from individual generators and to improving the control systems of the proposed wind turbine and fast frequency response systems to see how the impact of these units can be increased. Although the project aim is to improve spinning reserve, is it a real requirement for an asynchronous network? Is it technically feasible to adopt an asynchronous network where voltage control is used to balance generation/demand whilst still providing a secure and reliable network?

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Electrical and Electronic)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Helwig, Andreas
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2021 04:10
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 04:10
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/40801

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