There remains a popular perception that a high level of renewables in the National Electricity Market (NEM) necessarily implies unreliability. In this article Hugh Bannister explores this notion by building up a plausible plant development strategy from the ground up; then trying to improve it. The backbone of such a strategy is gas plant to provide reliability. Renewable energy can then be used to lower operating costs, mainly fuel.
The article explores the limits to renewable energy penetration and what will be needed to relieve those limits, at least in part.
The article also touches on the issue of energy security. The NEM is posing new challenges for AEMO to maintain security – the ability of the system to continue operating satisfactorily when disturbed. While AEMO has a system security work program underway, the need to find robust long term solutions is becoming ever more urgent, as highlighted in the final report of the 25 August 2018 system incident.