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Distributed renewable energy storage in the national electricity market: Options for commercial energy users and implications for utilities

Hector, Gillian (2015) Distributed renewable energy storage in the national electricity market: Options for commercial energy users and implications for utilities. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Given its ability to enable firm supply, electrical energy storage is increasingly viewed as a solution to the intermittency of renewables. While many studies have focussed on the benefits and implications of energy storage for utilities and residential energy users, options for commercial energy users within Australia's National Electricity Market (NEM) have been largely ignored. This dissertation provides a techno-economic comparison of the available energy storage technologies and summarises the literature to determine which are the most appropriate and cost effective. Different technologies provide different advantages and no single technology may be able to meet all of the requirements of commercial end users. While lithium ion batteries are expected to dominate the NEM as costs decline, their dominance may be challenged in future by hybrid aqueous batteries which provide environmental advantages and are relatively low maintenance. The increased deployment of renewable energy storage technologies requires utilities to adapt their business models. Given the advanced deployment rates of renewable energy storage in the German market, a case study comparison of German utilities Rheinsch-Westfalisches Electrizitatswek (RWE) and E.ON versus NEM utilities AGL Energy and AusNet Services is performed. The comparison finds that the NEM utilities are better placed to adapt to the future challenges of an increasingly decentralised energy market, but further policy support is required to accelerate this transition. Policy options are formulated from the perspective of innovation systems theory and systems thinking. This approach not only addresses the regulatory and economic barriers that need to be overcome for the widespread deployment of renewable energy storage, but also ensures that utilities have the economic incentives and policy certainty required to support this aim.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Minakshi, Manickam
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