• shoo 37 days ago

    South Australia participates in Australia's National Energy Market (NEM): https://aemo.com.au/en/energy-systems/electricity/national-e...

    The market operator, AEMO, hosts a NEM dashboard here - pretty interesting. The first tab of the dashboard is showing the supply and demand in each australian state that participates in the market. It also shows the flow between the different states via interconnectors, highlighting which interconnectors are at capacity. Some of the other tabs show the electricity price & the fuel mix for each state: https://aemo.com.au/en/energy-systems/electricity/national-e...

    • sumedh 37 days ago

      Why is Vic so expensive?

      • danielheath 37 days ago

        It’s markedly higher today than usual (unsure why).

    • PudgePacket 37 days ago

      SA = South Australia for the rest of the world.

      • vulcan01 37 days ago

        When reading the title my mind thought "South Africa".

        • czbond 37 days ago

          Thank you. I spent longer than I wanted pondering if it was a battery acronym.

          • unmole 37 days ago

            I've seen RSA in hockey and ZA elsewhere but never SA.

            • aussiegreenie 36 days ago

              SA is the norm in Sporting organisations SA Rugby or Cricket SA.

            • ckdarby 37 days ago

              Thanks, I thought SA was a company.

              • greenknight 37 days ago

                SA, we're heaps good!

              • sulam 37 days ago

                > Neoen, who owns the Hornsdale Power Reserve, are close finalising testing that will increase the capacity of the battery from 100MW to 150MW.

                Surely the battery capacity is measured in joules or at least megawatt hours, not watts?

                • dkbrk 37 days ago

                  Maximum discharge rates for batteries are generally called "C" with units of hour^-1, though the units are often left off for some reason.

                  For the purposes of an installation such as this, C is essentially a constant, depending on factors such as the chemical and physical construction of the cells and thermal management system of the batteries. Given C and the maximum power output, you can calculate the actual energy capacity of the battery.

                  Describing capacity in terms of power rather than energy reflects its usage in actual practice. I doubt the C of the battery is higher than 1/hour, and peaker plants can be brought online on a timescale of 10 minutes or so. So if the grid has a shortfall in power, the relevant question is whether the battery has the power capacity to make up that difference. If it can, it should have the energy capacity to last until the rest of the grid brings online more supply (assuming it didn't start at a low state of charge).

                  • vvll 37 days ago

                    The size of the expansion is 64.5MWh of battery storage and 50MW of inverters according to this source: https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/06/23/adding-50mw-64-5-mwh-...

                    • gpm 37 days ago

                      Really I'd expect it to be measured in both.

                      Megawatt hours measures how much energy it can store, megawatts measures how fast it can discharge.

                      • duskwuff 37 days ago

                        The battery has a maximum safe discharge rate. I suspect the performance of a utility-scale power reserve is limited by its discharge rate, not its charge capacity. (This also makes it an apples-to-apples comparison to the peaking power plants it takes the place of.)

                        • Tade0 37 days ago

                          This is my pet peeve as well. But not being a native English speaker I figured I won't try to lecture people on this - not my language after all.

                      • abledon 37 days ago

                        wow, the video says it saved $150M, and they are only investing another $15M? amazing nonetheless, what other car company has market trading software as part of its energy division?

                        • nl 37 days ago

                          The SA gov investment is $15M and there is an additional $8M from the federal government[1].

                          The $150M savings is a little unclear - [1] gives is at $40M/year for 2 years.

                          Those savings are to consumers and businesses in the state, not to the government itself and there are a number of additional clean energy projects underway in SA, so the maths on the appropriate amount to invest in each one is difficult to calculate.

                          In particular, batteries save money by removing the (very high) peaks. They are important because they reduce the effectiveness of market manipulation which SA was suffering from. But increased diversity in power generation within SA and an upcoming second interstate interconnector[2] help with this too.

                          > what other car company has market trading software as part of its energy division?

                          I think every single energy division has energy trading software? It would be astounding if they didn't - I worked for a power company last century for a little while and they had energy trading software back then.

                          [1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-19/sa-big-battery-set-to...


                          • dmix 37 days ago

                            This is good news but expansion of only 50% is underwhelming and $15m is small potatoes compared to other energy projects. Ideally they'd be significantly expanding this or building whole new plants.

                            • SEJeff 37 days ago

                              They're building one in Ventura, CA that is about 3 times bigger than the one in south australia. It will be 100 MW/400 MWh whereas the Hornsdale power reserve is 100MW/129MWh currently and will be 150MW / 129MWh after this update.

                              Then there is the absolutely monstrous PG&E Tesla battery at Moss Landing (also in California) which will start as 182.5MW / 730MWh, but is forecast to eventually grow to 1.1GWh of energy.

                              A contract for a "smaller" one with Hawaii Electric that works out to 135MW / 185MWh was just signed in March with Tesla.


                              • dmix 37 days ago

                                Perfect. Glad to hear they are legitimately expanding and trying out the model in the US.

                            • foota 37 days ago

                              Maybe diminishing returns?

                              • epistasis 37 days ago

                                This is likely it, though I don't know the particulars of this grid. In most grids, there's a small amount of super profitable frequency regulation to be performed. However, there's very limited capacity needed for that. Doing energy arbitrage over time is much more difficult to make profitable, usually. A huge amount of new solar and wind in the US will be built with batteries attached in the next five years, because it's easier to make energy arbitrage work when you're an energy producer (and also make the tax credits for storage work, which typically require that the batter is only charged from zero carbon electricity).

                                • HeadsUpHigh 37 days ago

                                  I remember there was an analysis somewhere that suggested we need batteries at 20$/kwh to achieve 100% renewable production. But we only need 150 $/kwh to achieve 80% renewable. So there are probably low hanging fruit to get right now. Hopefully all this extra production will drive battery prices down.

                                  • mamp 37 days ago

                                    Nah, the state’s broke

                                  • SEJeff 37 days ago

                                    What other car company has a legitimate energy division at all?

                                    • EdSchouten 37 days ago


                                      • SEJeff 37 days ago

                                        Fair. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries develops just about everything.

                                  • zmmmmm 37 days ago

                                    I'm curious what the lifetime of the batteries is and whether that is being fully incorporated into the evaluation of their cost effectiveness? Of course, given they have already apparently recouped more than their entire cost before even getting fully out of testing phase, it seems like this is not going to be an issue. But I still always do wonder how well this is accounted for with battery tech.

                                    • vvll 37 days ago

                                      Lifetime of the batteries is generally linked to throughput (full charge/discharge cycles). For batteries that go through one charge and discharge a day, this results in the battery energy storage capacity being around 60-70% at the end of 10 years [1].

                                      For this Tesla battery (frequency support), the battery isn't required to fully charge/discharge every day, and instead only charges/discharges in response to over/underfrequency events on the power grid (you can see its current status on their website [2]). Without following the day-to-day operation of the battery, you could estimate the lifespan of the battery will be 10 years+.

                                      [1] https://vectorwebstoreprd.blob.core.windows.net/blob/vector/...

                                      [2] https://hornsdalepowerreserve.com.au/

                                      • sgc 37 days ago

                                        100%. Nobody makes that kind of asset purchase without lifecycle analysis.

                                      • toomuchtodo 37 days ago

                                        > But I still always do wonder how well this is accounted for with battery tech.


                                    • fernly 37 days ago

                                      Could somebody translate this into English?

                                      > Autobidder is a real-time trading and control platform that provides value-based asset management and portfolio optimization, enabling owners and operators to configure operational strategies that maximize revenue based on their business objectives and risk preferences.

                                      Is it that other power providers can bid for some big-battery output?

                                      • smallnamespace 37 days ago

                                        > Autobidder is a real-time

                                        it observes data and makes decisions continuously

                                        > trading and control platform

                                        it makes trades on the power markets as well as controls your battery

                                        > that provides value-based

                                        you can control a model of fundamental economic value embedded in the software, so your decisions can be made not just based on observed market prices, but also your own opinion of what things ought to be worth

                                        > asset management and portfolio optimization,

                                        you view batteries as financial assets and look for ways to optimally manage them to extract the most money, and you can view and manage multiple batteries as a single economic unit

                                        > enabling owners and operators to configure operational strategies that maximize revenue based on their business objectives and risk preferences.

                                        you can choose to have more money with more risk, or less money with less risk

                                        • jeffbee 37 days ago

                                          >> Autobidder is a real-time

                                          >it observes data and makes decisions continuously

                                          The correct term for this is "online", not "real-time" which has another meaning.

                                          • gpm 37 days ago

                                            My understanding of the terms is that online means it processes streams of data, but not that it is fast enough to keep up with the real world. Realtime means that it is fast enough to keep up with the real world. Realtime seems to be the appropriate term to me.

                                            Do you have a different set of definitions?

                                            • SEJeff 37 days ago

                                              Yes this is the correct term. Realtime processing in the operating system context vs the streaming data context are different things.


                                              • nl 37 days ago

                                                Realtime software often means "hard real time"[1] which is a constraint where a response is guaranteed within a particular time.

                                                This is a fairly specific area where special real-time deterministic operating systems are used etc.

                                                I think your usage was fine, and the pedantic use of "real time" is dying anyway. There's a whole field of "soft real time" which blends into online, and some parts of the battery control SCADA systems may well be true real time anyway.

                                                [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_computing

                                              • jeffbee 37 days ago

                                                I was just responding to the definition given. "observes data and makes decisions continuously" is not a proper expansion of "real-time".

                                              • TwiztidK 37 days ago

                                                The time scales it operates in are usually quite a bit larger than systems that would typically be discussed here, but I don't see how "online" would be a descriptor than "real-time".

                                            • pmorici 37 days ago

                                              It's software that decides when to charge the battery / buy power and discharge the battery / sell power using forecasts based on historical demand trends and the spot price of power.

                                              • manicdee 37 days ago

                                                Technical innards of the Autobidder system in case you care to know more https://youtu.be/ggdYts4muu0

                                                It’s basically a market forecasting system which allows the operator to place bids on various energy markets such as supply, contingency and ancillary services. The battery has limited resources (power output and energy storage) so it needs to plan well ahead for making the most money for each watt-hour it buys or sells.

                                                • toomuchtodo 37 days ago

                                                  Autobidder uses ML and other signals to maximize the revenue for asset owners based on electric market data (real time and historical). It has a rough idea when the grid will be demanding power, how fast the storage project can charge and discharge, what the minimum aggregate state of charge should be, etc.

                                                  Not affiliated with Tesla except as an investor, have gotten to test drive Autobidder as part of an engineering/procurement/construction storage project.

                                                  • ethbro 37 days ago

                                                    What are the industry incentives for Tesla to do this, instead of utilities?

                                                    It just seems kind of weird for Tesla to be saying "We'll sell you this thing you tell me you need" and also "Here's us building a thing to help you tell what you need."

                                                    • nordsieck 37 days ago

                                                      > What are the industry incentives for Tesla to do this, instead of utilities?

                                                      1. Most utilities operate power plants, they don't operate power storage facilities. From a capital efficiency standpoint, power plants want to be run all the time, so there's not much that they can do that's particularly fancy.

                                                      In contrast, Tesla both buys and sells electricity, so they have the opportunity to arbitrage across time. This is especially true in places where the cost of electricity dips below 0.

                                                      2. There are some utilities that have stored power (e.g. hydro dams). I suspect that they don't employ the engineering talent to pull off something like Autobidder.

                                                      • rurban 37 days ago

                                                        But those energy providers ("utilities") have the necessary political and budget power to pull off something like Autobidder. In many countries they are controlling local governments. Buying such a logistical solution is peanuts for them, automation is everything.

                                                        They are already doing better things than just dumb ML, they have proper models and constraint and planning software.

                                                        • toomuchtodo 37 days ago

                                                          If they had the will and resources to do it, they would’ve done it. Having been in both engineering first and engineering last orgs, it’s clear they cannot execute in this regard (like a tech company).

                                                          • woodandsteel 36 days ago

                                                            Right. Because these utilities have, as Ruban says, "political and budget power" they are fat and happy, and don't bother with engineering innovation.

                                                            • ethbro 36 days ago

                                                              To be fair, in many cases markets are explicitly set up to preclude innovation.

                                                              Monopoly grants with rate caps don't afford much aspirational budget for SV-wage engineers.

                                                    • dzhiurgis 36 days ago

                                                      Do you know any open source alternatives? I've just signed up for power using a plan to pay using spot price. The provider already does show forecast for the day, but I'm sure they don't have an API.

                                                      Edit: Well, seems someone mitm'd their app to find API. Can plug that into something that can analyse entire NZ's trends.

                                                  • tupac_speedrap 37 days ago

                                                    Jesus... is there any news websites nowadays without hundreds of scripts doing botnet shit in the background?

                                                    • gpm 37 days ago

                                                      Yes actually, lite.cnn.com.

                                                      It looks like the only scripts it loads are scripts to set up a single analytics provider. F5 results in only 6 network requests, the page, the favicon, a stylesheet, two js requests for the previously mentioned analytics provider, and a request for a tracking pixel for the previously mentioned analytics provider.

                                                      • consumer451 37 days ago

                                                        text.npr.org is excellent as well.

                                                        • dmix 37 days ago

                                                          A true inspiration for web design.

                                                          This is what every news site should strive towards. Instead of getting clunkier like Reddit.

                                                          • SturgeonsLaw 37 days ago

                                                            I'll forever use old.reddit.com

                                                            Between that subdomain, RES and a custom userstyle, Reddit is quite a pleasant experience.

                                                          • gpm 37 days ago

                                                            Even better! 2 requests, the html and a favicon, both first party!

                                                        • H8crilA 37 days ago

                                                          136 requests to load this page, according to my Chrome debugger. This has got to end one day, but today is not the day.

                                                          (please downvote my comment as it is absolutely off-topic, thanks!)

                                                          • bori5 37 days ago

                                                            Thanks for the warning about the page, I found your comment helpful and no more off topic than countless other tangential comments that get made on HN.

                                                          • beervirus 37 days ago

                                                            Disable JavaScript. Most stuff works fine.

                                                            • manicdee 37 days ago

                                                              This is one reason why we use adblockers (malware distribution aside).

                                                              • forgotmypw17 37 days ago

                                                                Not many, if any.

                                                                It's why I browse without JS, and use third-party archiving tools to view content like this site, which is blank without JS.


                                                                • PhantomGremlin 37 days ago

                                                                  You don't need a third-party tool.

                                                                  Firefox + NoScript + Page Style->No Style

                                                                  Fixes many many sites including this one.

                                                                  Many sites are just fine without that final No Style step. It fixes many of the most recalcitrant sites. If that doesn't work I usually don't bother reading the article.

                                                                  Similar trick for Safari. Just enable the Develop menu and you can check Disable Styles and Disable JavaScript and you get both the text and the pictures.

                                                            • Animats 37 days ago

                                                              Is Autobidder a bug or a feature?

                                                              It's something Enron would have done. Get some energy storage, and then use it to speculate in electricity futures. Buy low and charge, and sell high and discharge later. Maybe hold back energy on hot days until the peak is reached, then put it on the market.

                                                              A battery operator has more flexibility than most generators - they can sell, but not buy. We'll know this is a problem when Goldman Sachs Renewable Power LLC buys a big battery.

                                                              • rictic 37 days ago

                                                                Enron's crime wasn't speculation, it was fraud.

                                                                By buying low and selling high, the consequence to everyone else is that the price of power is more consistent. The least consistent power producers are some of the greenest, like solar and wind plants. Since this is Australia, I'd hazard a guess that the peaker plants that this is competing against are likely coal.

                                                                So greener energy and more predictable prices, what's not to like?

                                                                • toast0 37 days ago

                                                                  It's a feature.

                                                                  Adding a market participant with the motive and means to buy when the price is low and sell when the price is high reduces the price volatility.

                                                                  • shoo 37 days ago

                                                                    > Adding a market participant with the motive and means to buy when the price is low and sell when the price is high reduces the price volatility.

                                                                    Anecdotally, I've heard from people who work in business related to the australian energy market that it is sometimes profitable to push the electricity system in a direction that increases imbalances of supply & demand (i.e. increase the volatility of the actual system -- not merely the price) in order to maximise profit of an individual market participant.

                                                                    • Animats 37 days ago

                                                                      That's not clear. California briefly had total deregulation with a power auction ever half hour, and volatility increased so much that there were blackouts. Expecting markets to produce stability is naive. Markets don't typically converge on some equilibrium, they oscillate around it.

                                                                      • nl 37 days ago

                                                                        This is true, and one of the reasons the Telsa battery was able to make so much profit was because it took the peaks off the very high peak prices that other market participants were happy to allow to occur before.

                                                                        There is a market regulator that stops most of the worst of the manipulation that happened with Enron, but it is an imperfect system.

                                                                        Large parts of Australia are on a single market, but with separate quasi-state based pricing sections. South Australia had a difficult market, with large amounts of renewable power (mostly wind and roof-top solar) and a single interconnector to coal-fired stations in another state.

                                                                        That left it very vulnerable to price spikes, especially at ~17:30 during summer when people would get home from office and turn on their air-conditioners. That would case huge price spikes.

                                                                        The big battery is able to supply enough to get over much of that peak load spike, and an additional gas generation peaker plant along with even more geographically diverse renewables has fixed the rest of that problem. There is a second interstate interconnect being built too.

                                                                    • manicdee 37 days ago

                                                                      The problem is that the energy market itself is not orderly and organised like you would like it to be. People want to put the kettle on when they want a cup of tea, not when you think it is appropriate for them to put the kettle on.