Tesla is not the problem, the 30 minute bidding model, and the state/federal divide on energy policy, and the monopoly capital rent-seeking behaviour of encumbent privatized generators using coal and gas, and guaranteed yields on capital investment, and weak regulatory oversight, and a lack of national coordination, maybe they are the problem.
But Tesla exposes the problem: the Neoen battery stack has been fantastic, but needs to be kept in perspective: To use this for more than FCAS (frequency stability services) nationwide, means re-building the national transmission grid to favour battery models. Parliamentarians got up on their hind hooves and brayed about how it couldn't keep lightbulbs on for more than 20 minutes and was a waste of money: They didn't for one minute admit it wasn't designed as a longterm power store, but as a frequency-control store, stability, and for peak-price bidding to cap off supply-price disfunctions, its working fine: Something like 60% of its capacity is for private bid to earn money, 40% contracted to the state for their goals. It is a real game changer but needs to be understood, its not like a Pumped Hydro unit, or a synchronous condenser (although it is more like that, than PHES) It is its own beast. Its response speed is so fast, the regulatory behaviour models have to adapt to cope with it.
A Five minute bid pricing model is coming in under 2 years I think. I hope the majors don't work out a way to "game" it because my hope is, other mega-scale battery and PH systems will be onstream then, and be able to survive in it, and drive some more coal and gas out of the system.
We have a fictional belief in "base load" power here rather than responsive power. We also lack useful tools like demand management which can be used to bid alongside supply for pricing to avoid having to turn on nasty dirty generators, when the option to time-shift load exists (supermarkets and places with huge thermal mass can time-shift their AC and cooling or heating budget, and so avoid load)
Meantime, people are arguing for a de-centralized model using household batteries where resilience is kept in the customer distribution net, as well as at the transmission net level. There are competing pressures around "how shall we fix it" which are not simple.
If you want to read a good overview of this, look for stuff written by John Quiggin, an economist in Queensland who has written on the stuff-ups in privatized energy supply in Australia and the market failure.
My guess is that without storage systems, wind and solar and distributed power will always be "regulated away" by wealthy incumbents.
But with storage systems, new forms of power will be valid participants and maybe there is a chance of an efficient energy market.
But while it is definitely a valid concern, and probably applicable to energy markets, it is unlikely to be the single reason for any and every problem with energy markets and production.
Using it as a highbrow euphemism for "corruption" probably causes more harm than it is useful: it gives license to ignore actual technical problems and the painstaking search for solutions, opting instead for an all-encompassing, nihilistic, and cynical narrative where nothing really can be done, except trying to tear down ever more existing institutions.
I also don't quite understand how storage systems are supposed to bypass problems arising from "regulatory capture". If incumbents get to write the rules in their favour, they could just as easily keep newcomers using storage out of the market as those without.
The electric grid is the product of a century of technical and regulatory co-design. If you were starting from scratch with an eye to accommodating renewables, you wouldn’t design either the grid or the regulations the way they are. But you’re not. You’re slowly evolving the system from point A to point B. You’re dealing with expensive physical infrastructure built on 30 year planning horizons, in many cases with express guarantees about revenues (because at the time, you needed that capacity and sought to induce someone to build it).
A friend in texas pays about .06/kwh for residential power.
In California, PG&E gets power at 0.03/0.04 per kwh, and resells it to residential customers for .22/.28/.49 per kwh. (you pay more when you use more, unlike any other commodity)
I hope these markets benefit from robust competition, and maybe projects like this help. Allow alternative energy, route around distribution problems and shake things up a bit.
(yeah, "throw out the old code, rewrite it")
I'll counter that I believe the energy systems are moving in the right direction and will likely get to a better spot over the next 5-20 years as the infrastructure upgrades are necessitated and alternatives products that are more cost-effective options become more viable / pressure builds on policy makers.
And yes, energy markets are incredibly complex - especially in highly dynamic areas with fluctuating demands and supply possibilities. I believe the CA-ISO was integrating electricity for 10,000-35,000 MW every 3 seconds about 7 years ago -- probably way faster at this point. It's amazing and humbling what our grids operators are able to do.
"Since 2009, the electricity networks that own and manage our “poles and wires” have quietly spent $45 billion on the most expensive project this country has ever seen. Allowed to run virtually unchecked, they’ve spent vast sums on infrastructure we don’t need, and have charged it all to us, with an additional fee attached. The spending was approved by a federal regulator, and yet the federal government didn’t even note it until it was well underway."
As you intimate, the whole AU vs state vs private interests approach to power supply leads to a breathtakingly poor result for citizens / consumers.
Anyway, I wonder how the grid will cope after the lion-share of the generation is done by synchronized inverters, instead of high-inertia rotational generators. I am concerned we move too fast and make our grids instable worldwide, with generators amplifying deviations instead of absorbing them.
No, that is referring to capital investment in the distribution assets, not generation.
What are the time-frames to qualify as 'responsive power'? I can imagine a battery acting like a capacitor and smoothing out supply on a second by second basis, but big pumped hydro like snowy 2.0 can (will) provide 'base load' within 90seconds of being turned on.
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Low demand starting at night into early morning. e.g. https://energymag.net/daily-energy-demand-curve/
You literally can't store enough energy in batteries to power the network. Yesterdays demand for SA was  218,247,760 kWh. At even the most optimistic battery price no one has ever managed to achieve as scale of $100 USD per kWh betteries that's $21,824,776,000 (21 Billion Dollars) for one state, in Australia.
You need to double or triple that to deal with summer heat waves, having enough storage to deal with intermittent renewables etc. You'd be looking at $200 billion for SA alone, with 1.7mil people, to move to battery power, without any of the infrastructure change.
Oh and lithium ion batteries lose half their charge every 10 years or less. So you will need to invest $100 billion every decade. That's $128,381 per person in SA to move to battery power once, and then $6,419.05 per year to replace the lost capacity.
This is a pipe dream wilder than cold fusion.
Most Teslas sold today will still be driving with their original batteries and well over 60-70% of their capacity well beyond ten years. Tesla warranty actually covers them up to 8 years up to 70%. Meaning they are fully confident they can promise that and keep their money in the bank.
> even the most optimistic battery price no one has ever managed to achieve as scale of $100 USD per kWh
Cost keeps dropping: https://about.bnef.com/blog/behind-scenes-take-lithium-ion-b.... Ten years is a lot of time and Tesla just announced the desire/goal to increase production capacity to about 1 Twh/year (i.e. about a 35x change relative to production today). Whatever the cost is going to be in ten years, it's going to be nowhere near what it is today. Well below 100$/kwh in ten years certainly.
> Yesterdays demand for SA was  218,247,760 kWh.
You seem to assume a complete lack of wind and solar on a day (unlikely) is going to require 100% battery reserve. That scenario is very unlikely. It might happen locally a couple of times per year but you could simply import power for regions elsewhere in Australia via a cable. Or you could install some over capacity solar to ensure that even at reduced efficiency you still get some power and use the surplus that you end up having for other purposes (clean water, producing hydrogen, etc.).
In any case, nobody is talking about rolling out that much battery. So we're talking way less battery that will cost less than you assume and lasts much longer than you assume and that will allow for the retirement of some very expensive aging coal/gas plants (which you should factor into your numbers).
Also, 21 billion is actually not that much. Coal power costs about $2k per kW (or more), so having enough coal plants to satisfy that demand would cost about 18 billion.
For 29/7/2019 (midnight to midnight), total energy demand was 34,700 MWh.
(Go to https://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/National-Electricity-Mar... and download the SA data for Current Month. Divide the TOTALDEMAND in each half hour settlement interval by 2 to get MWh, then add them up for 48 intervals for the day in question.)
You need that only when renewable production goes to zero, that happens pretty much never. Your PV production goes to 0 at night but demand is lower at this time.
So yes, it is completely feasible to do battery load averaging if you do the math correctly
Wonder where I've heard that before.