How is the energy sector changing?

Power systems all over the world are experiencing rapid and profound change. The last decade has seen an inexorable rise in the penetration of renewable generation technologies, ie, wind and solar farms. In the past, these technologies accounted for only a small fraction of total electricity supply. But now they are a critical part of our power system, and their significance will only continue to grow.

These new forms of generation have different characteristics to thermal and hydro-electric generators. Their availability is not entirely at the discretion of the operator – they only generate when the wind blows or the sun shines. These characteristics are changing how we plan and operate power systems.

The existing thermal fleet is also aging and shrinking. These new technologies are crowding out gas- and coal-fired plants as the penetration of renewables rises. These plants are leaving gaps in the provision of essential system services as they exit that we have previously taken for granted, like system strength and inertia. The continued secure operation of power systems without these services, and the means by which they can be replaced with new technologies and control systems, remains a major engineering challenge that has yet to be overcome.

Emerging new technologies challenge the most fundamental tenets of power system operation. Distributed technologies such as small-scale solar photovoltaic systems (PVs) are now in widespread use across the globe, presenting an alternative model of energy supply to that of large-scale centralised energy generation. And perhaps most important is the advent of cost-effective energy storage – battery costs are decreasing rapidly giving rise to the prospect that energy can be stored at times when supply is plentiful and withdrawn at times when supply is scarce. These are profound changes that have consequences for every part of the sector.

Endgame’s experience in the energy sector

Our team members have extensive experience in the electricity and gas sectors. Oliver Nunn has spent the last decade consulting across the length and breadth of the industry. He has worked for wholesale market participants, transmission and distribution network service providers, and for major electricity gentailers. In addition, his advice is regularly sought by market bodies such as the Australian Energy Market Operator and the Australian Energy Market Commission. An aspect that sets Endgame apart is our deep understanding of the operation of the NEM Dispatch Engine. We have been involved in a number of reviews that have seen us forced to understand intricate parts of the dispatch process and their impact on market outcomes. The dispatch engine lies at the heart of the wholesale electricity sector and we have an exceptional understanding of it.