Least cost options are presented for supplying the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) with 100% renewable electricity using wind, photovoltaics, concentrating solar thermal (CST) with storage, hydroelectricity and biofuelled gas turbines. We use a genetic algorithm and an existing simulation tool to identify the lowest cost scenarios of renewable technologies and locations for an actual year of NEM regional hourly demand and observed weather using projected technology costs for 2030. These scenarios maintain the NEM reliability standard, limit hydroelectricity generation to available rainfall, and limit bioenergy consumption.
I will present the lowest cost scenarios, dominated by wind power, with smaller contributions from photovoltaics and dispatchable generation: CST, hydro and gas turbines. Annual costs are compared with a scenario where fossil fuelled power stations in the NEM today are replaced with modern fossil substitutes at projected 2030 costs, and a carbon price is paid on all emissions.
About the speaker
Ben Elliston is a computer engineer by original qualification, having worked in industry for a decade. Over that time, his interests in sustainability issues and renewable energy have grown. He completed a Master of Engineering at ANU in 2009 and then commenced a PhD in electrical engineering at UNSW to pursue his interest in renewable energy futures. He is supervised by A/Prof Mark Diesendorf and A/Prof Iain MacGill.