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The Payne Institute for Earth Resources presents: Iain MacGill

March 1, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

The Payne Institute for Earth Resources presents: Iain MacGill

Open to the Mines community and the public.

Seminar Title: Some lessons from Australia on clean energy opportunities and challenges for electricity grids, large and small.

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). Iain’s teaching and research interests at UNSW include electricity industry restructuring and the Australian National Electricity Market, sustainable energy generation technologies, distributed energy resources, energy efficiency options, energy and climate policy and environmental regulation. Iain leads work in two of CEEM’s three research areas, Sustainable Energy Transformation, including energy technology assessment and renewable energy integration; and Distributed Energy Systems including distributed generation, energy efficiency and demand-side participation.

Australia provides an interesting context for renewable energy integration into electricity grids, large and small. The Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) is one of the physically largest interconnected grids in the world, spanning Northern Queensland all the way south to Tasmania, and west to South Australia. South Australia’s wind and PV generation is now contributing over 50% of that region’s electricity demand. Over 5GW of utility wind and PV projects are about to begin, or are already, under construction across the NEM, equivalent to around 10% of existing generation capacity. Meanwhile, the existing coal-fired generation is aging, while gas-fired generation’s contribution to the mix has actually been falling due to rising gas prices. Recent security events including, in late 2006, a complete blackout in South Australia have raised growing concerns about the secure and reliable operation of the NEM, Some argue that renewables are to blame but, as this presentation will discuss, there are other possible lessons to draw including the potential perils of an export focussed gas industry, and market power in both electricity and gas.  There are also promising developments to address these challenges with new technologies including what is currently the world’s largest utility grid battery in South Australia.

Australia has amongst the highest retail electricity prices in the world for small consumers. It also happens to have has the world’s highest residential penetration of PV – almost 20% of households now have a PV system on their roof. An estimated 5% of  new household PV systems are now also being installed with battery storage systems. Australia also has a large number of mini-grids serving remote communities in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland. As seen elsewhere, there is growing deployment of PV into these grids too. And broader interest in community energy options, including at the fringe of the present grid. This presentation will also discuss possible lessons on distributed energy futures from this Australian experience as well. Technical, yet also economic, commercial, regulatory and policy perspectives will be considered.

Please join us in Engineering Hall room 211.

Payne Seminar on March 1


March 1, 2018
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Engineering Hall
816 15th St.
Golden, CO United States
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