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[Episode #39] – Transition in Australia

Australia has the highest proportion of households with rooftop solar PV systems of any country in the world. It also has the second-dirtiest grid in the world, getting three-quarters of its power from coal. As such, Australia might as well be the global poster child of energy transition, with both a huge load of dirty power plants it needs to retire, and a huge set of distributed and variable solar and wind systems that it needs to integrate into its power grid, while keeping everything balanced, without being able to import or export electricity from other nations. It’s a fascinating case study in wholesale markets, renewable incentives, technical balancing issues, and yes, acrimonious political debate between Browns and Greens. To help us understand this complex picture, we speak with Dr. Jenny Riesz, a Principal at the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the operator of Australia’s largest gas and electricity markets and power systems. Dr. Riesz works on adapting AEMO’s processes and functions to ensure ongoing security and reliability as the power system transitions to renewables, and leads its work program on matters such as frequency control, analysis on declining inertia, and possible solutions such as Fast Frequency Response.

Geek rating: 9

Guest: Dr. Jenny Riesz is a Principal at the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).  She is in the Future Power System Security program, working on adapting AEMO’s processes and functions to ensure ongoing security and reliability, as the power system transforms over the coming decades.  Prior to this, she was a research associate at the University of New South Wales, modelling energy markets for 100% renewable power systems, and a specialist in modelling renewables and climate policy at ROAM Consulting.

On Twitter: @jennyriesz

On the Web:  http://jenny.riesz.com.au/

Recording date: March 2, 2017

Air date: March 22, 2017