IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Renewable energy integration into the Australian National Electricity Market: Characterising the energy value of wind and solar generation

Listed author(s):
  • Boerema, Nicholas
  • Kay, Merlinde
  • MacGill, Iain
Registered author(s):

    This paper examines how key characteristics of the underlying wind and solar resources may impact on their energy value within the Australian National Electricity Market(NEM). Analysis has been performed for wind generation using half hour NEM data for South Australia over the 2008-9 financial year. The potential integration of large scale solar generation has been modelled using direct normal solar radiant energy measurements from the Bureau of Meteorology for six sites across the NEM. For wind energy, the level and variability of actual wind farm outputs in South Australia is analysed. High levels of wind generation in that State have been found to have a strong secondary effect on spot prices. Wind generation's low operating costs will see it displacing higher operating cost fossil-fuel plant at times of high wind. At the same time, the increased variability of wind may impose additional challenges and costs on conventional plant which will also be reflected in wholesale spot market prices. It is shown that this is proving particularly important during high wind penetration periods, which are contributing to an increased frequency of low or even negative prices. The solar resource in South Australia is shown to be highly variable; however, as seen with wind power, geographical dispersion of generators can significantly reduce power variability, even with as few as six sites. The correlation of the solar resource with spot prices also appears to be superior to wind generation. Modelling using the Adelaide solar resource showed that, for electricity sold into the spot market, two-axis tracking solar generators would achieve an average price that is over twice that received by wind generators over the year 2008-9 analysed. Of course, significant solar generation deployment might drive similar price impacts as seen with wind generation, thereby reducing this advantage. Considering the potential implications of both major wind and solar generation within South Australia, the solar and wind resources within the State appear, on average, to be non-correlated for the magnitude, and the change in magnitude, across half an hour. The analysis shows that solar and wind resources within the NEM have key characteristics that can markedly impact on their energy value within the wholesale electricity market. High levels of renewable electricity are already affecting spot prices, highlighting the need for low bidding renewable generators to attain power purchase contracts and for developers to consider this effect when choosing a site location for renewable generators. Other generators within the NEM may also be significantly impacted by major renewable energy deployment. The long-term success of renewable generation will likely depend on maximising the energy value that it contributes to the electricity industry.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Australian National University, Environmental Economics Research Hub in its series Research Reports with number 107740.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Sep 2010
    Handle: RePEc:ags:eerhrr:107740
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, Building #132, Canberra ACT 2601

    Phone: +61 2 6125 4705
    Fax: +61 2 6125 5448
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Cutler, Nicholas & MacGill, Iain & Outhred, Hugh, 2009. "The Integration of Wind Generation within the South Australian Region of the Australia National Electricity Market," Research Reports 94887, Australian National University, Environmental Economics Research Hub.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:eerhrr:107740. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.