Could Alice Springs reach 100% renewables by 2030?
It’s absolutely feasible before 2030 that we can work towards operation at 100% renewable energy at certain times of the day or year. This was a scenario modelled as part of the Roadmap to 2030. However, how frequently we do that and for how long will then become a question of economics and power system stability.
Solar is currently the only commercially viable renewable resource in Central Australia, and to reach 100% solar would require a very large (and prohibitively expensive) battery, to cover the overnight periods. Learning how to provide Essential System Services through renewable energy technologies is crucial to reaching 100% solar during the day. Future Grid's Wind Monitoring Study demonstrated that it may be possible diversify the Alice Springs energy portfolio. Although on its own it may be more expensive than the typical cost of wind generation in Australia, due to the poorer overall wind resources, it has a notable degree of solar/wind resource complementarity. That is the wind resource is most abundant in the late afternoon and evening when solar generation potential is significantly below maximum demand. Other factors that could assist - but are outside the scope of Alice Springs Future Grid - include the adoption of electric vehicles and their integration into the grid, and the development of a green hydrogen industry.