Certain politicians have scoffed at South Australia for its enthusiastic uptake of renewable energy. But the southern state is having the last laugh and showing clean energy does cut electricity prices.
Australia’s ‘clean state’ has just posted the lowest average wholesale price in the country for the second consecutive month.
The November average wholesale price in South Australia was $50.86 per megawatt hour (MWh); October’s was $67.34/MWh.
The figures come less than a month after the National Electricity Market drew half its power from renewable energy for the first time.
At 11.50am on November 6, the market showed 50.2% of power coming from renewable energy including wind and solar panels.
How other state electricity prices compare
The wholesale price data, from the Australian Energy Market Operator, shows the other states’ prices in October:
- NSW $101.77
- QLD $74.16
- SA $67.34
- TAS $107.68
- VIC $100.70
- NSW $69.90
- QLD $61.08
- SA $50.86
- TAS $68.29
- VIC $67.98
(Western Australia and the Northern Territory are not part of the National Electricity Market)
South Australia: reliability and control
South Australia’s clean energy reliability came under scrutiny in 2016 after a statewide blackout.
However, an Australian Energy Market Operator investigation found renewable energy was not the cause. In fact, a transmission tower collapsed in cyclonic weather which made wind turbines ‘trip’ to isolate the fault. The turbines were operating perfectly and a new configuration now allows them to stay online in similar circumstances.
South Australia also has the Tesla ‘Big Battery’ at Hornsdale Power Reserve, which came online in 2017. The South Australian Government is now expanding the battery by 50%, following its track record of saving money.
“We know that the 100 megawatt capacity of the existing Hornsdale battery has saved South Australian electricity consumers $40 million per year since its inception,” the state’s Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan told ABC News last month.
The savings have come from using renewable energy stored in the battery to power the grid at peak demand times. The traditional way has been to use expensive gas ‘peaker’ generators.
With milestones seemingly popping up each month, it’s clear the future lies in renewable energy.
And while governments use clean sources of power at the state level, households can install their own renewable energy plant.
Installing rooftop solar power gives you a clean energy advantage and cuts your electricity costs at the same time.