Renewables having a “pressure cooker” effect on power system

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The cost of integrating and increasing use of renewable energy is having a “pressure cooker” effect on the current power system.

The Energy Policy Institute of Australia has released a paper which warns of strain being placed on the system and additional costs associated with integrating renewable energy.

University of Queensland Professor Simon Bartlett, who wrote the report, stated the practical upper limit for renewable sources for most systems was around 40 per cent of total electricity generated.

“This may be exceeded but it is likely to require a greater level of interconnection with adjoining power systems, more energy storage, increased recourse to demand-side management and regulatory changes,” Professor Bartlett said in the report.

“The scale-up of intermittent renewables not only diminishes the robustness of a particular power system, but can also magnify the short and long term risk of investing in non-renewable generation assets and the power grid itself.”

The report is likely to reopen the debate about how realistic the renewable targets set by the states are.

Earlier this week, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) criticised the Victorian government for not consulting or providing modelling on it’s renewables target of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025, urging them to transition to a lower-emissions economy slowly and gradually.

To read the Energy Policy Institute’s paper, click here.

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