Energy in South Australia

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South Australia is rich in energy resources. It contains significant reserves of fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and oil. The state also contains large amounts of uranium, including the world's single biggest deposit at Olympic Dam which represents 30% of the world's total resource.[1]

More recently, the State has seen a rapid increase in investment in renewable energy, and is now the leading producer of wind power in Australia.[2] South Australia has been noted for the availability of hot rocks suitable for geothermal electricity generation.[3] The South Australian Government has released plans to make South Australia a green energy hub for Australia's eastern seaboard.[4]

Renewable energy initiatives and potential[edit]

South Australia leads the nation in terms of renewable energy investment. Being a leader in green energy South Australia, with 8% of the nation’s population, captured 56% of the grid connected wind power, 30% of solar power and 90% of its geothermal developments.[5] With the advantage of being known for having some of the windiest and sunniest places in Australia, South Australia is considered to be a target for green energy investors.

The Australian Government has invested AUD 1 million dollars commissioning a study by Macquarie Capital, WorleyParsons and Baker & McKenzie to investigate the state’s electricity transmission capacity and potential for expansion of renewable energy in South Australia.[6] This study proposes that increasing the transmission capacity will unlock an estimated AUD 6 billion in renewable energy investment that will generate up to 5000 MW of clean and green energy The Economic Development Board has recommended that the State make use of its unique natural advantages in generating wind, solar, geothermal and wave energy enabling the region to maintain its leading position in the development and use of "green" energy and establishing a significant renewable energy industry. Further An AUD 20 million renewable energy fund under the supervision of newly formed Renewable SA Board has been established. The first investment of AUD1.6 million will be spent over two years to create a South Australian Centre for Geothermal Research, in conjunction with the University of Adelaide. The Fund will boost up investment in research and development, examine opportunities for manufacturing, and help assess how to develop a "green grid" based in South Australia but linked directly into the national power grid.[7][8][9]

Geothermal[edit]

Geothermal Energy refers to the heat generated naturally by the earth, which can be used for the production of electricity. One of the greatest advantages of geothermal energy is said to be the reduction in CO2 emission. Unlike some other energy alternatives, which rely on intermittent supply of sunlight or wind, geothermal power generation can be used, like more traditional sources, for long term base-load power 24/7.[10] South Australia hosts significant geothermal resources, with a surface heat flow of 92 ± 10 mW m2, compared to a heat flow of 49-54 mW m2 in geologically similar regions.[11]

Unlike many other parts of the world such as New Zealand and Iceland where geothermal energy sources result from circulating groundwater heated by a shallow magma source, heat flow in South Australia primarily results from elevated concentrations of radiogenic elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium in granitic basement rocks.[12] The radiogenic concentration of basement rock in the South Australian Heat Flow Anomaly (SAHFA) is over three times greater than the global mean for similar regions.[13] Thick layers of overlying sediment insulate and trap in the deeper heat.[14] Due to the low permeability of granite, the hot rocks must undergo hydraulic fracturing and stimulated to allow a flow of water through the system to produce energy.[15] This heat is slowly conducted to shallower rocks near the surface.[16]

Petratherm propose developing the geothermal energy in the more permeable sedimentary rocks that overly the hot granites, a process called Heat Exchange Within Insulator (HEWI).[17] While somewhat cooler, in many cases they do not require hydraulic fracturing.

It is estimated that one percent of geothermal energy shallower than five kilometres below the earth's surface and hotter than 150°C can supply Australia’s total energy requirement for 26000 years.[18] South Australia and Tasmania where the granite basement rocks are suitable, are the main locations where geothermal energy is being developed in Australia. Sedimentary style geothermal resources have also been located near the south Victorian coastline stretching across South Australia.[19]

Geothermal energy has already been utilized commercially at two South Australian locations, Birdsville geothermal electricity generated from the hot water from the great Artesian basin, and a geothermal district heating scheme at Portland has been using for the last twenty years, supplied by the hot water of the Otway Basin. Many companies in Australia have engaged in developing geothermal energy for full scale commercial deployment.[20]

Both state and federal government are making effort to support and sponsor research for realizing Geothermal energy commercially. The South Australian Centre for Geothermal Energy Research (SACGER) was established in 2010 as a part of state government’s Renewable Energy Fund in order to promote a world class hub for practical, high priority geothermal energy research. This 3.6 million dollar funding will help South Australia to reach its target of producing 33% of renewable energy by 2020.[21] Apart from designing geophysical tools, imaging the possible geothermal reservoirs, improving simulation of fracture and fluid networks in geothermal reservoirs SACGER is also involved in developing trace elements micro-analytical imaging facilities for South Australia through key analytical infrastructure advances and mapping fracture systems in South Australian geothermal reservoir analogues.[22]

In order to promote and encourage exploration in Australia, Geo-science Australia has taken initiatives to identify the hot spots of active geothermal regions for supporting geothermal industry. Onshore Energy Security Program—an initiative by the federal government has been set up a field logging program to improve the heat flow coverage of Australia. OzTemp database—another product by Somerville et al. (1994 - Geotherm94 database) at the Bureau of Minerals Resources (now Geo-science Australia) and the Energy Research and Development Corporation is designed to measure temperature from different sources and extrapolate these to five kilometers depth.[23]

Wind[edit]

Wind energy is a popular alternative to the fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil in terms of better sustainability, economically feasible and environmental friendly. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) 2010 SA Supply Demand Outlook estimates that in 2009-10, 18% of the state’s energy production came from wind power.[24] In July 2014, South Australian wind farms produced enough power to meet 43% of the state's electricity needs, up from the previous record of 38% in August 2013.[25]

South Australia is the largest producer of wind energy in Australia, as of April 2011 hosting 49% of the nation’s installed capacity.[2] In mid-2009, RenewablesSA was established to encourage further investment in renewable energy to the state.[26] There are currently 16 wind farms operating across the state with an installed capacity of 1,473 MW of power.[27]

AGL Energy is a major developer of wind farms in Australia with many new projects in production or planned. By 2011 the company expects to produce 460 MW using 232 wind turbines in South Australia, supplying an estimated 250,000 households with electricity.

A 180-turbines wind farm has been proposed Suzlon Energy Australia, which is expected to have a nameplate capacity of 600 MW of energy that will supply enough electrical power to run 225,000 homes. This AUD 1.3 billion project will be built about 20 kilometres southwest Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsula. Through this project, known as the Ceres wind farm, a high-voltage direct-current submarine connection across Gulf St Vincent to feed power to Adelaide will be developed.[28] Data supplied by the local developers revels that the average wind speed in the region is 8 m/s making it a favourable destination for this project. An integrated bio mass plant will also be a part of this project which can feed into state’s power supply.[29]

If approvals are obtained, the Suzlon project is projected for completion by 2015. According to the latest report released by the Clean Energy Council. Suzlon is Australia’s second biggest turbine supplier after Vestas with a 29% share of installed wind capacity. It already operates six wind farms in South Australia with a capacity of 507 MW. It conducts its central warehouse activities from Adelaide. This project will forecast South Australia as a leader in renewable energy. This region has already accommodated more than half of country’s wind power aiming to reach 33% renewable energy generation by 2020.[30]

Solar[edit]

As a part of the initiative to depend more on sustainable energy and reduction in carbon emission, the Australian Government is promoting the usage and installation of solar hot water.[31] It is estimated[32] that the federal government has allocated AUD 94 million to fund future solar projects.

One such initiative is the South Australian Government’s Solar Hot Water Rebate Scheme, which supplies rebates up to AUD 500 for the installation of a domestic hot water solar heater. Additionally, the Australian Federal Government’s Solar Hot Water Rebate programme can earn a rebate up to AUD 1,500.[33][34]

Another solar project in Adelaide is the Adelaide Solar City Programme, which plans a 50 KW rooftop solar photovoltaic system. The installation will comprise 288 solar panels. This system will be installed on the roof of historical market building which according to Dario De Bortoli, Adelaide Solar City Program Manager, is a proof of the fact that solar power systems can be installed even in historical buildings without much renovation.[35]

Adelaide is undertaking a feasibility study as to whether the country’s first solar thermal power plant should be built at Port Augusta, South Australia.[36] The solar thermal power generation focuses sunlight onto an absorber and pipe containing special fluid. The heated fluid piped through a heat exchanger to create steam that will drive a steam turbine to generate enough power to supply up to 40% of state electricity demand.[37]

Suppliers in Adelaide who can supply and fit solar hot water system include Hot Water Now, Apricus Australia, Adelaide Solar System, M & G Distributors, Solar Shop Australia, Solaris Technology, Solar SA. Yindi Services.[38] For Adelaide residents who would like to replace their existing gas or electric heater with the solar heater then they are eligible for several rebates that will eventually help overcoming your cost of installation.

Electricity prices[edit]

Quarantine Power Station, Adelaide

The 2013 South Australian Electricity Report noted that increases in prices were "largely driven by transmission and distribution network price increases".[39] In contrast, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has noted that the South Australian wholesale prices are lower than they have been since the start of the national electricity market, and that the wind “tends to depress the South Australian regional prices”.[40] The Government stated that the price increase due to the Carbon Tax was approximately half of that experienced by other States due to the high installed capacity of wind and gas-fired generation.[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Uranium 2009: Resources, Production and Demand. Paris, France: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). OECD. 2010. p. 456. ISBN 978-92-64-04789-1. 
  2. ^ a b "Wind Energy - How it works". Clearenergycouncil. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Clean energy grid for solar australia". The Greens. Greens.org. 17 August 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "South Australia to become green energy hub". West Australian Publishers. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Green Grid Pdf". Government of SA. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Final geen grid report". Renewablessa government of SA. 
  7. ^ "Ministrial statement". Response to EDB's Economic Statement. Government of South Australia. 28 April 2009. 
  8. ^ "EDB South Australia". Southaustralianbiz. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Economic Development Board and the office of Economic Development". South Australian Government. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "QA Fact Sheet". Petratherm. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Neumann, N; Sandiford, M; Foden, John (2000). "Regional geochemistry and continental heat flow: implications for the origin of the South Australia heat flow anomaly". Earth and Planetary Science Letters (Elsevier) 183: 107–120. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Dello-Iacovo, Michael (2014). South Australian Heat Flow Anomaly: Source and implications for geothermal energy (Honours). University of Adelaide. 
  13. ^ Neumann, N; Sandiford, M; Foden, John (2000). "Regional geochemistry and continental heat flow: implications for the origin of the South Australia heat flow anomaly". Earth and Planetary Science Letters (Elsevier) 183: 107–120. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Abul Khair, H; Cooke, D; Hand, M (2015). "Hydraulic fracturing in a sedimentary geothermal reservoir: results and implicationsSeismic mapping and geochemical analyses of faults within deep hot granites, a workflow for enhanced geothermal system projects". Geothermics (Elsevier) 53: 46–56. 
  15. ^ Legarth, B; Huenges, E; Zimmermann, G (2005). "Hydraulic fracturing in a sedimentary geothermal reservoir: results and implications". International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Science (Elsevier) 42: 1028–1041. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "AGEA: - FAQs geothermal energy". Information about geo thermal energy. Australian Goethermal Energy Association Inc. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Petratherm: -Projects". Information about HEWI. Petratherm. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Geothermal Energy Resources". Geoscience Australia. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Geothermal Energy Resources". geothermal energy. Australian Government geo science. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  20. ^ "Australian Projects Overview". Geo thermal projects. AGEA. October 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "Geothermal Energy Adelaide.edu". Geothermal Energy. adelaide.edu. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  22. ^ ASMS. "ASMS Geothermal power". Geo thermal energy. Australian Science and Mathematical School. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  23. ^ "Formulating the Geothermal Energy Project". AusGeo News. Geoscience Australia. September 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  24. ^ "Enotes wind power south australia". Enotes. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  25. ^ http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/media-centre/media-releases/august-2014/140808-wind-record.html
  26. ^ "Renewable Energy: - Wind Energy In South Australia". Wind Energy South Australia. Government of South Australia. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  27. ^ Government of South Australia: "Wind energy in South Australia", updated 4 August 2014, retrieved 4 November 2014
  28. ^ News, Eco; David Twomey (31 August 2011). "Suzlon Energy invests $1.3bn in SA wind farm". eco news. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  29. ^ Oliver Wagg (5 October 2011). "Repower to be the Australian face of Suzlon after merger". Wind energy. rechargenews. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  30. ^ Dominique Patton (21 October 2010). "Suzlon unveils plans for $1.4bn wind farm in South Australia". rechargenews. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  31. ^ "Solar hot water rebate". Resourcesmart. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  32. ^ ref needed
  33. ^ "solar rebates south australia". solar power research. south australia: business portal showing rebates programme. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  34. ^ "Solar installation and rebates". adelaide solar energy. energyrant. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  35. ^ "Adelaide Solar City". solar city in south australia. IQPC. October 2009. 
  36. ^ "Port Augusta Solar Thermal Generation Feasibility Study". Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  37. ^ "Energy Matters Video News - Episode 47". solar thermal farm. Energymatters. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  38. ^ "solar hot water systems adelaide". systems of solar energy. Envirofriendly. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  39. ^ http://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/Planning/South-Australian-Advisory-Functions/South-Australian-Electricity-Report
  40. ^ Power of the wind - how renewables are lowering SA electricity bills
  41. ^ Electricity and gas prices to jump 18% in SA

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