The extraordinary Australian grid

Keith Orchison: "The electricity grid in Australia is quite extraordinary in some respects.  It's actually, on the east coast it's the world's longest interconnected grid.  It runs from northern Queensland to the bottom of Tasmania in the south and to the borders of South Australia in the west.  It's 5,000 kilometres long which is the distance from Moscow to Lisbon.  There is no interconnected grid from Moscow to Lisbon.  What's more it is servicing only about 20 million people over that distance, where in Western Europe there are 300 million people.  So it's very long, it's very skinny, it has a handful of really quite large loads, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and so on and for the rest of it it's providing electricity over quite a large distance to small regional, rural communities.  It connects something like 200 power stations to the users, it's an expensive way to provide energy but that's the nature of the beast.  Australia is so configured and it raises issues when you are talking about building new electricity generation because the more you add to the grid, not only do you add to the cost, but you also add, in a technical sense, to the difficulties.  Skinny grids are hard critters to manage."

Categories: Australia Energy Issues
Author: Keith Orchison AM
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