There have been many simulations of a 100% renewable electricity grid for Australia, including some ground-breaking studies from Beyond Zero Emissions, The University of New South Wales and the ANU. Even the recently released Integrated System Plan from the Australian Energy Market Operator exceeds 97% renewable in the 2040s. So, what is the point of another one? Well, this simulation differs from the others in a couple of ways:

  • It uses actual generation and demand data rather than relying on synthetic traces for those quantities
  • It is being conducted in near real-time

The benefit of using actual generation and demand data is that some people are sceptical of synthetic wind and solar traces. They may also be dubious when you start modifying demand. The benefit of the near real-time modelling is that people tend to be more concerned about recent events. If a recent day had very little wind and solar generation, some will take that as proof that you cannot run an electricity grid on renewables. A study based on data from a few years ago is unlikely to change their minds. Another aspect of near real-time modelling is that it is one thing to optimise a simulation when you have all the data in advance, it is another when you design the simulation before you get the data.

With that in mind, exactly one year ago I started running a simple simulation of Australia’s main electricity grid to show that it can get very close to 100% renewable electricity with approximately […]