Energy storage requirements for the SA grid

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Honours students

Project guidelines

Project description

SA obtains approximately 45% of its electrical energy from renewable sources – large scale wind and small scale solar PV. To reliably integrate these intermittent sources into the grid will increasingly require energy storage in a variety of forms such as pumped-hydro and batteries together with virtual energy storage in the form of demand side management. The storage requirement will progressively increase as controllable fossil fuel generation sources are withdrawn from the system.

The objective of this project is to develop tools to assess the energy storage requirements to ensure reliable supply with high levels of intermittent generation.

Useful notes

As useful bits of information come to light, just list them here:

Approach and methodology

(1) Develop software tools to download from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) website generation and load data which is captured at five minute intervals and process the data to build long-term (several years) time-series records of the output from intermittent and controllable generation sources, load data, etc.

(2) Analyse the time series data to identify the statistical properties of the intermittent generation sources; and similarly for the SA system demand.

(3) Based on the above statistical properties develop a model to generate time series data representing a higher level of renewable generation in SA than is currently installed; and similarly for the SA load.

(4) Develop and implement a method to estimate the required level of storage required in order to satisfy a specified level of supply reliability under a variety of scenarios.

(5) For a storage of given size determine the improvement in supply reliability, etc.


  • It is important to regularly see your main supervisors. Don't let more than 2 week go by without them seeing your face briefly.
  • You should be making at least one formal progress meeting with supervisors per month. It does not strictly have to be exactly a month, but roughly each month you should be in a position to show some progress and have some problems and difficulties to discuss. On the other hand the meetings can be very frequent in periods when you have a lot of activity and progress to show.
  • The onus is on you to drive the meetings, make the appointments, and set them up.

Project deliverables

  • Place all written work to be place on this wiki. A Semester 1 proposal report and a Semester 2 final report are required.
  • Fill out a short progress report on the wiki each week, every Friday evening, to briefly state what you did that week and what the goals are for the following week.
  • Just hand up a labelled CD or USB with your complete project directory at the end. One for each group member
  • Make a fun YouTube presentation of your whole project (designed to attract lots of hits). You can have supplementary YouTube videos that are instructional, with details for future groups (these are designed to not be entertaining nor get many hits).
  • You carry out a project exhibition in Semester 2.
  • You carry out two seminars. One in each semester.
  • Any purchases you make on the project account (eg. books) are the property of the university, and should be handed in at the end.

Relationship to possible career path

This project will familiarise you with the terminology and procedures used in the power industry. You will gain an understanding of power generation and load requirements and how these are met and managed. Energy storage systems and technologies will be explored and investigated. You will also gain proficiency in programming at a functional level. In exploring and using energy data, you will also make use of statistics and optimisation. The optimisation techniques used to manage energy storage systems along with the use of cutting-edge storage technology could bring real benefit from the work of this project. Such benefits include providing insight into potential solutions for SA's energy grid and perhaps even proposing such solutions. The knowledge and experience you will gain from this project is useful for any career in the power industry, or electrical engineering in general, and this project will provide a taste of what such a career has in store.

See also

Useful papers we wrote

[1] D. Abbott, "Limits to growth: Can nuclear power supply the world’s needs?" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 68, No. 5, pp. 23–32, 2012, Scholar Google hits ResearchGate

[2] D. Abbott, "Keeping the energy debate clean: How do we supply the world's energy needs?" Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 98, No. 1, pp. 42–66, 2010, Scholar Google hits ResearchGate

References and useful resources

If you find any useful external links, list them here: