Techno-Economic Modelling Report

Mar 2024

This report details the results of Ekistica’s techno-economic modelling work. This work guided some of the thinking behind the Roadmap to 2030. It includes analysis of the existing power system infrastructure and looks at likely challenges that could emerge during a transition, among other considerations.

Type: Report Future Grid publication   Format: PDF Excel

This tech­no-eco­nom­ic mod­el was based on input from a a series of work­shops, led by Ekisti­ca as part of sub-project one and has helped inform the Roadmap to 2030 and the path­ways sug­gest­ed to achieve 50% renew­able ener­gy pen­e­tra­tion in Alice Springs in the next six years. 

Results from the mod­el are con­densed into a report, pro­vid­ing analy­sis of exist­ing pow­er sys­tem infra­struc­ture, both cen­tralised and dis­trib­uted, and explor­ing the tech­ni­cal and eco­nom­ic chal­lenges that could emerge dur­ing a tran­si­tion. It explic­it­ly mod­els how large-scale stor­age con­tributes to fre­quen­cy con­trol and reserve requirements. 

The report is dri­ven by the under­stand­ing that tran­si­tion­ing to a high­er pro­por­tion of renew­able ener­gy requires the con­sid­er­a­tion of numer­ous fac­tors, such as the pow­er system’s capa­bil­i­ties, eco­nom­ic via­bil­i­ty, key sys­tem con­straints, espe­cial­ly min­i­mum sys­tem load, and the poten­tial impact on ener­gy con­sumers and stakeholders.

The key out­put of this mod­el­ling work is the opti­mised least-cost com­bi­na­tions of large-scale solar, wind and bat­tery ener­gy stor­age that would enable the Alice Springs pow­er sys­tem to achieve the 50% tar­get under a range of pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios of dis­trib­uted ener­gy resource (DER) uptake (low, mod­er­ate and high) and ther­mal gen­er­a­tion oper­at­ing strate­gies (gas on and gas off permitted).

The find­ings showed that:

  • If dis­trib­uted ener­gy resource, such as rooftop solar gen­er­a­tion, con­tin­ues to grow at high lev­els, sys­tem min­i­mum demand would fall below the lev­el it was designed to oper­ate at as soon as 2025, or by 2030 with mod­er­ate uptake. 
  • Wind tur­bine gen­er­a­tion was seen to be cost-com­pet­i­tive in solar-only sce­nar­ios with high DER uptake and if some gas gen­er­a­tion remains online, but not for the gas-off option. 
  • The uptake of elec­tric vehi­cles is not like­ly to have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on min­i­mum sys­tem demand. 
  • Using cen­tralised stor­age from DER gen­er­a­tion would only have a mean­ing­ful affect in high DER uptake scenarios.
  • The least-regret deploy­ment strat­e­gy of large-scale renew­ables is also the most cost-effective.

The num­ber of days above 35°C his­tor­i­cal­ly and as mod­elled using cli­mate fore­casts and resam­pling from his­tor­i­cal weath­er data.

Sub-project 1 also includ­ed a behav­iour­al study, based on a whole of town com­mu­ni­ty sur­vey and a wind study. Both of these stud­ies informed the tech­no-eco­nom­ic mod­el­ling and Roadmap.