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Prospects and problems of increasing electricity production from mid-size renewable energy generation on the South-West Interconnected System (SWIS) in WA

de Balbine, D., Urmee, Tania and Ally, J. (2012) Prospects and problems of increasing electricity production from mid-size renewable energy generation on the South-West Interconnected System (SWIS) in WA. Procedia Engineering, 49 . pp. 57-65.

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    Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2012.10.112
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    Abstract

    Western Australia (WA) is truly blessed by abundant and readily available renewable energy resources. Yet most of its energy use still comes from fossil fuel energy. In the case of the South-West Interconnected System (SWIS), which is the largest grid of the state, renewable energy represented only 4 percent of the total electricity production in 2009-2010. From these two facts, this paper looked at the possible causes of such a small production of renewable energy and the future development of renewable energy technology for the SWIS in the coming decades. It was noticed that the SWIS and its economic and political structure tend to create barriers to renewable energy through strict market rules and lack of political will. This is particularly true for mid-size renewable energy (RE) facilities of less than 30MW, which cannot compete with traditional electricity production and are faced with technical issues to be integrated in the energy mix. In addition, strong lobby groups, encouraged by abundant fossil fuel reserves in WA, deepen the obstacles preventing fast development of renewable energy for the SWIS. There are many opinions and studies of various academic and industry experts that claim it is technically and practically possible to produce 100% of electricity from RE by 2050 in some parts of the world, which is also valid for the SWIS. However, with the current barriers and policies in place, it is very unlikely that the SWIS would achieve such an outcome. This paper discusses the barriers and driving factors of the RE sector and the possibility to improve RE production for the SWIS. It also discusses the role of the government in the energy market to increase RE penetration in the SWIS.

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Energy
    Publisher: Elsevier Limited
    Copyright: © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/12221
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