The future Australian National Electricity Market – how renewable, how distributed, how synchronous, and how much storage?


Dr Iain MacGill
UNSW Sydney

The Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) is now sourcing around 20% of its generation from renewables, around half this from wind and solar. The costs of wind and particularly solar continue to fall, and many industry observers suggest their role will continue to grow over the coming decade and beyond. However, the variable and somewhat unpredictable nature of wind and solar generation does raise challenges for secure and economically efficient electricity industry operation. So do their power electronics mediated grid interfaces which do not inherently provide system inertia and strength.

At the same time, however, advances in storage and demand management technologies suggest new options to manage these challenges. This presentation will assess these challenges and opportunities for renewables, and their potential implications for the future generation mix of the NEM.

Dr Iain MacGill is an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at UNSW Australia, and Joint Director (Engineering) for the University’s Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM). CEEM undertakes interdisciplinary research in the monitoring, analysis and design of energy and environmental markets and their associated policy frameworks, with a particular focus on the Australian National Electricity Market . It brings together UNSW researchers from the Faculties of Engineering, Business, Science, Law and Arts and Social Sciences. Iain leads work in two of CEEM’s three research areas, Sustainable Energy Transformation, including energy futures modelling and renewable energy integration; and Distributed Energy Systems including distributed generation, energy efficiency and demand-side participation.