Roger Young’s recent post focused on the question of whether the energy storage requirements listed in Prof. Andrew Blakers’ study “100% renewable electricity in Australia” were realistic, but at the time no hard numbers on exactly how much storage Prof. Blakers’ scenarios would require were available. I have now come up with some reasonably hard numbers by applying Blakers’ scenarios to recent Australian grid data. Because the grid data cover a period of only a few months these numbers are not fully diagnostic, but they are sufficient to confirm Roger Young’s conclusion that the Blakers study seriously underestimates storage requirements.
Modeling 100% renewable energy scenarios has become a popular activity among academics. An example is the recent study published by Professor Andrew Blakers et al., which based on model results concluded that 100% renewable generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM) grid area of eastern Australia could be supported by only 400-500 GWh of energy storage. In his recent post Roger Young concluded that the true requirement was closer to 6,800 GWh, over thirteen times higher.
Roger Young’s estimate was, however, based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation. In this post I calculate storage requirements for Blaker’s two basic renewables scenarios – 80 wind/20 solar and 55 wind/45 solar – using 97 days of actual grid data (from 27 July through November 2, 2017) that cover all of Australia except Northern Territory. The results show that at least 2,800 GWh of storage would have been needed to support an Australia-wide, wind-solar-powered grid over this period, about six times greater than the Blakers study estimate. This 2,800 GWh estimate will, however, underestimate long-term storage requirements, quite possibly by a large amount. Roger Young’s back-of-the-envelope estimate of 6,800 GWh may therefore not be too far off the mark.
Analoguing the Blakers scenarios:
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