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Network Charges to Export (Solar) to the Grid? Solar having an impact on 'Big Power'?



How soon we forget :wink:


… and this was born in a place where the sun shone, albeit before PV :wink:


I would be interested to read the analysis that comes to that conclusion. Where can I find it?

Perhaps what is required is a planned transition over time to a point where solar, wind and other renewables (hydro, geothermal, tidal…) provide the main grunt supported by stabilising measures like batteries and pumped hydro with gas for emergencies. The idea that we can or should shutter all coal plants tomorrow is a straw man. The problem is that at the moment there is no plan at all.

If you include in your assessment the likelihood of this policy coming about you are right. But it still doesn’t seem reasonable for this threat to be waved in front of domestic generators when commercial generators don’t pay it.


It is capacity and not generation.

If the article is correct, it appears that a significant proportion of the low carbon generation in the UK comes from nuclear.

In the UKabout a quarter of all generation is nuclear which is classed as low carbon. Over the next 15 years, the proportion of nuclear generation in the UK is to increase to about 1/3 of total…they are building additional nuclear capacity (I understand from abit of searching there are 8 new nuclear power stations planned). This will assist the UK in achieving higher levels of renewables in its network by improving reliability and balance out the fluctuating generation of renewables. Some of the reactors will replace those which will also retire in the coming years.

In Australia, nuclear in unpalatable politically, so the government is experimenting with (pumped) hydro storage and other forms of energy storage to try and achieve similar outcomes. Just hope it does rain and the dams don’t evaporate…or the watet is diverted and used to maintain supply in the cities (which may happen should there be a prolonged drought as sustaining life will override energy storage).


This is a mind numbing description. I found after a few paragraphs I started skimming not reading but everything about planned nuclear capacity in the UK is there.


The link in my last post has similar information.

In the UK they will have numerous nuclear ‘batteries’…in Australia (the continent with the most variable rainfall and one of the driest), we are relying on dam water. We must be risk takers, but on the otherhand too conservative to not consider proven technologies like nuclear? Getting a headache just thinking about it…


It is unbelivable that Australia has the largest reserves of uranium in the world which we are prepared to mine and export but we refuse to use it to produce power domestically.



In regard to the South Australian battery project, please see this website:
It reports that ’ —it “will provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes”, or reportedly a total of about 1 hour and 18 minutes of power going at full capacity."
This is not going anywhere near base load needs for the rest of the population and industry and commerce and agriculture.


You have pointed out the limitations of one battery installation, that is not the same as saying “Battery banks with present technology are simply not feasible to cover for base load power for any length of time.” You have over-generalised from one example.

I am not saying batteries are the silver bullets that cure all power supply problems, far from it, but they do have a place in rebuilding the system so that it is stable, reliable, affordable and gets away from coal.


I agree with all except the nuclear requirement for Australia. In 1994 Australia was in the forefront of alternative energy technology but when the shortsighted government of the day stopped the subsidies those companies went to Europe especially Ireland to further their research etc. Since then we slumped into the energy backwaters with no foresight, encouragement, risk taking and ever increasing cost for the consumers. After all, we have unlimited and free sunshine and a coastline with free wind that needs to be harnessed effectively combined with small household and large scale battery banks. Let Blockchain enter the energy field in a big way and community based power will be the norm for future power generation and distribution. I suspect that the big energy providers are fully aware of this ‘threat’ and - just like the big banks - they charge us to the hilt to ensure huge profits while they can be made.


There is a very lengthy thread on the pros and cons of nuclear power, which may not come to an unavoidable conclusion but does show the question is by no means as simple as we should automatically use a resource just because it is available.


Maybe everyone has become a bit soft :wink: pedals anyone?

At least in the event of an outage it would keep the tele running long enough to see the end of Master Chef so you’d know who sung the best and who was voted off the island … (apologies to Alf)


It is worth a more detailed read, most notably for all the related content that is non nuclear. It hints at the complexity in the UK market, impacts of effectively their carbon tax and diversity of the energy mix. The UK relies heavily on natural gas for generating base load and peaking. There are commitments in the UK to three new combined cycle gas power plants this year, which suggests nuclear Is not on its own. At least until the gas runs out!

The UK is well ahead of Australia in achieving carbon reduction and also in addressing its energy needs. Details for a different topic.

We have in this topic started down a side track which is really asking questions about future energy options and economic + policy drivers? Given the recent changes in Federal Govt (IE very little) the future for electrical energy generation is no more certain today than it was 8 weeks prior.

It may be even more difficult to predict against the uncertainties in current economic conditions.

A reasonably current view on the economic relativities between different generating options, excluding nuclear. It is all in Aussies too! Zzzzzz!!
Battery storage and large scale solar have come down a little based on the most recent project commitments.

No one is talking grid/network costs.


For those touting nuclear/UK examples its worth noting that ‘new in-progress’ plant in the UK is horrendously over budget, schedule is shot and getting worse (as is budget blow-out).

As far as $ and generation capacity/demand Gas gets first crack, followed by coal and then renewable’s.

When demand dips there’s a good chance that solar and wind have to ‘switch-off’ or get $0.00 etc.
Issue with rooftop solar is that unless the grid goes down it is exporting regardless (and typically a wholesaler if they ‘had’ to do similar would be paying to do so because overloading a grid is a big no no)

I’m not entirely sure how block chain is going to help one way or the other here?

Its a supply and demand issue and being able to get the supply to the demand.
Renewables have a supply consistency issue and Fossil Fuels a cost issue (and reliability/maintenance).


It depends what costs are factored into the generation. If one looks at adding in say carbon capture and storage, fossil fuels are on par with nuclear.

The US government has also looked in detail at Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation and it found in 2023 with including CCS and also existing subsidies to renewables, the following:


The US figures, while may be slightly different to that in Australia due a number of factors including weather, labor costs, development costs, network connection costs etc, it gives an idea of more current (2019) comparative costs compared to that which has been done by the CSIRO (2017).

That is correct and usually additional costs associated with maintaining reliability and stability of the network are not often considered, as they are external to the pure generation costs and usually attached to a network cost.

It is also worth noting that renewables also require ongoing/continuous maintenance. For example, keeping reflector mirrors/PV panel glass clean in the case of solar or regular inspection and servicing in the case of wind.

It is also suggested that there will be additional capacity required for renewables due to the variable nature of the generation. During high generation times, this additional capacity will push prices down (as generation will exceed demand), but in low generation times, the costs would be very high and potentially at the AER ceiling price. If additional and diverse capacity is introduced to increase generation when renewable generation is at a low, this will create additional redundancy which will significantly impact on the cost of the renewable generation. The solution to avoid this is to introduce mass storage like pumped hydro and the SA battery packs. Both are not cheap solutions and may ultimately there may be a bit of additional built in redundancy with storage.

For example, the SA Telsa battery cost $90M to support the network (cost to SA taxpayer is about 4-$5M/year). There have been reports that this battery will ‘provide 30000 homes with about an hour of electricity’. As there are about 9 million residences, the costs for battery support becomes very expensive (say capital cost of $27B for 1 hours power for dwellings only - commercial nor industry included). Once commercial and industrial use, as well as increased demand through higher use of electricity to replace traditional fossil fuels, as well as having sufficient capacity to ensure that the network operates under most conditions, the cost is very high.

It is worth also noting that the $27B would allow the construction of multiple traditional fossil type generators or several nuclear reactors.

At the end of the day, noting will come cheaply and Australian’s will need to pay for the option taken in the future. Any path Australia goes down will also potentially be locked in for 25-50+ years (which is the expected life of many replacement technologies).

I also agree. If the comment was about a highly diverse and spread small scale electricity generation system which is operated (automatically) to meet network demand, this is a highly complex system which will come at enormous cost. While in theory it sounds like a great solution and potentially has advantages, there are also many disadvantages and constraints which would need to be overcome.

Effects of climate change on the consumer

The SA battery project is not intended to provide baseload power - and Murdoch’s reporters should know that! It is for situations in which the interstate electricity grid is temporarily (i.e. for several seconds) over-stretched.

If you plan sensibly in a big country with an integrated electricity grid then a combination of solar, wind, tidal, hydro and pump hydro generation is never going to leave us without power. The wind is blowing somewhere, the sun is shining somewhere else (for at least part of each day), the tides will continue to go in and out, and when one of these is falling short you have hydro to make up the difference.

The trouble is that our policy makers are captured by last century’s industry.

That equation has been steadily changing, to the point where renewables are pretty much the cheapest option in most circumstances.

Every time nuclear is mentioned as a ‘cheap’ option I cringe. No nuclear power station has been built without free insurance from government. No profit-making insurance company will touch nuclear power with a barge-pole, because one accident can not just destroy the power plant but wipe out the insurer.


Oh by far however my point in the quoted text was from a who gets paid for what power is produced first.

The UK offshore wind (latest is a 13MW turbine!) has generation costs way down compared to a lot of other sources

Currently for their ‘new’ Nuclear plant the UK is looking at £25 billion (~$45 billion dollarydoo’s) before its produced a single Watt. It is a 3200 MW doohicky so I have no idea how that compares to Aussie generation levels. So technically we’d get bit over half of one :wink:


While interesting what does this discussion deliver? :thinking:

Discussion of generation is pointless without consideration of the impacts on distribution, for renewables the very significant added cost of storage, or impacts of transitional changes in the energy generation mix. How are these costed.

The complexity of the discussion and analysis necessary to present a complete and unbiased assessment is challenging. Referencing the most recent and comprehensive Australian Govt or Industry assessments may be the best place to start.

Comparing cost estimates for new generation in the USA is less relevant, given Australia is a significantly different economic environment.

Ignoring the politics and emotions attached to possible extinction by CO2:

Critically the cost of Solar PV and Wind Generation is a useless data point. Apologies if that causes alarm. Without consideration of the requisite capacity in energy storage, and adding in that cost neither will progress both PV and Wind may prove to be great white elephants!

For a very straight forward Engineering and Economic test for the future of residential power generation is there a base case? IE a solution that uses available proven technology, and has a known cost basis.

One option is to consider the cost of providing a solar PV system and overnight battery storage capacity to 50% of Australia’s residential customers. IE approx 5million homes.
Ignoring any that have already made the transition a cost estimate of approx $5,000 for each PV system (5+ kW for 20+kWh ave) and $15,000 for 12kWh of overnight use/storage would round the investment up to $100B. That’s about the same as the NBN x 1.75?

As an outcome for the network and grid interconnects, the demands on the grid would be able to be reduced, with the battery systems being programmed to top up off peak over night.

There is a great opportunity for levelling demand through the use of exisiting network technology to switch individual residences between different modes. A further outcome might be that with this approach there is no great need to enable export from residential systems, given each residence is intended to be self consuming of all local generation.

Overall total demands on large scale generation for residential use would reduce by up to 50%. a A greater possible benefit if there was any controlled export from solar PV to local non PV enabled customers.

The peak demand leadings on the network would also reduce by a similar percentage.

And importantly GHG emissions from electricity generation for residential use would reduce by 50%. In reality, a greater reduction would arise due to the energy mix for large scale generation already including some low emissions sources.

One likely unknown is how would retailers charge self sufficient customers for grid connection and off peak makeup power? Important since they would loose 50% of their volume! :wink:


And do the relatively recently privatised electricity market out of all that revenue? Not a hope in heck! Even a government of a different colour wouldn’t dare take on the industry, given its history of fighting for relatively progressive issues and losing over the last decade.


It appears difficult to rationalise any costs relating to the grid without considering the bigger picture,

Perhaps there are other ways forward at a lower total cost to the consumer?

The base case suggested of 5million Solar PV plus overnight storage systems however is possible. Given the wealth of half of Australia the total upfront investment is approx the cost most pay for a new second car (on average)! No new government support necessary?

The cost of battery storage is one small drop short of payback in a reasonable time given current electricity prices. Yes, the industry has a lot to loose, and government significant disruption of the sector to manage. Will consumers win out of this, or will consumers face another NBN style disaster of expensive and unequal outcomes?

Perhaps the issue is not with the grid, although it is a convenient way for some of hiding reality behind technology and consumer ignorance?


Your usual insightful comments have missed this time by focusing on what we see is important. When has one of our recent governments made a policy that was not focused on a dollar in a business (or donor) pocket or populist whistling?

When has a government made plans beyond a 3-year election cycle? Making longer range plans and policy is inhibited by governments disowning and destroying whatever the predecessor party started, that being another facet of the problem. One side is more aggressive in that regard than the other yet it does not seem to hurt them at the polls; a conclusion is another aspect to the problem is us.

Lower cost to the consumer does not generate donations to political parties or dividends to shareholders. I submit that is the crux of any discussion. Technology and feasibility are nowhere to be seen, unless the construction and supply companies help with those donations and dividends. There is nothing that expedites or blocks change better than political ‘works’, especially when the electorate seems unconcerned with whether ‘honest government with good policies for the nation’ results from their votes.