This project was concerned with analysing future low emissions scenarios from an Australian perspective through electricity network simulation using software to simulate each generator on the network each second using historical weather and demand data. The main aim of this project was to create a framework where future energy scenarios can be simulated and assessed and improved before billions of dollars is committed to building infrastructure. This project analyses the impacts of adding significant wind, solar thermal and geothermal generation to an existing network in a fictional state of Australia similar to South Australia over a time period of one year. The baseline generator portfolios consisted of a coal dominated network and a mixed network which includes coal, CCGT, OCGT and Hydro-Electric generation and each scenarios key outputs were total emissions for the year and stability which measured whether the generators were under or over generating based on the systems present demand. As more wind generation was added to the network, the volatility of the output of the generator in the system increased and an alternate dispatching method was used instead of the Least Cost Dispatching. Enhanced Intermittent Dispatching deliberately dispatched a peaking generator to act as a buffer and dampen the effect of a large change in wind based output. This study found there were days of high volatility for both solar and wind based energy sources and both sources had days of low contribution which would lead to an inability to retire existing generation. It is recommended that further work be done in this field and that planning for future low emissions networks involve the exploitation of generator synergies and an approach which includes a whole of network analysis to ensure the lowest risk transition to a low emissions electricity generation network.
University of Newcastle Research Higher Degree Thesis