Grid Upgrade Tidal v Solar/Wind v Fossil
© 2016 InfraTidal Pty Ltd
As the proportion of solar and wind power connected to a national grid is pushed above 30% of total power, the revenue of power network generators and regulators will fall. At the same time their costs to upgrade distribution networks to accommodate this increased uncertainty and intermittency of supply and provide two-way transmission systems will increase. So the cost of grid connection must increase even though the amount of power, in cents/kWh, customers use decreases.
That is customers will start to have to pay the real costs of providing continuous availability and power quality control services. Distributed generation and going off-grid using solar and wind generation will not avoid these costs as diesel back-up generation is then required. There is now an alternative way of providing continuous, stable power to replace fossil-fuel generation that doesn’t require re-engineering the national grid. The answer is to replace large centralized fossil fuel generation with generation of bulk (gigawatts), reliable, non-intermittent renewable electricity using tidal or geothermal energy.
The cost of grid power has already increased due to the high cost of reengineering the power distribution network to accommdate the increased variability of generation as solar and wind renewables are added. People do not realise that power grids are one-way, that is from generators to consumers, and making them two-way (i.e. add wind farm/neighbourhood solar to HV transmission) is expensive. Grid operators are already lobbying regulators to allow them to change the basis on which customers are charged for electricity and/or to decrease reliability and control standards so they can compete with these unreliable and intermttent renewables. One way or another customers will pay - either by more expensive power bills, and/or less reliable power, and/or less controlled power with more ‘blown’ household appliances.