Broome clean energy study

Broome clean energy study Report

  • Author(s): Phillips, Rob, King, Angus, Bunn, Lenn
  • Published: 2023
  • Publisher: Sustainable Energy Now

Abstract: This report builds upon the Kimberley Clean Energy Roadmap (KCER) by providing updated, cost-effective, low-emissions electricity generation options for the town of Broome, located in the Kimberley region of WA. New modelling software enabled a wide range of generation options to be considered, using 2024 cost estimates for fossil-fuel and renewable electricity generators. Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) was used to compare various combinations of technologies across their expected lifetimes. Section 3 outlines the assumptions used in the modelling, including why a carbon price of AU$60/tCO2-e has been applied as the base case. Capital costs in the Kimberley are higher than elsewhere in Australia due to remoteness and severe weather factors. The results are described in Section 4. The current LNG-only generation has an estimated LCOE of $293/MWh. Gas generation costs are strongly sensitive to variations in carbon and fuel prices. Given the increasing likelihood of a carbon price imposition in the short to medium term, and the high volatility of gas prices internationally and domestically, continuing the LNG-only option represents a high to extreme risk for electricity generation costs in Broome. This report shows that the lowest estimated LCOE ($215/MWh) occurs at a solar PV capacity of 60MW, combined with 40MW/160MWh battery storage, backed up by the existing 30MW of gas (LNG) generation. This scenario leads to an 82% reduction of LNG consumption. Table 6 summarises four optimised scenarios, with PV capacities of 40, 50, 60 and 80MW, respectively, where the LCOE differs by only $8/MWh (4%) across the range. The percentage of RE with these scenarios varies from 58% to 88%. Increasing the amount of PV to 80MW will generate 52GWh per annum of intermittent, surplus energy with only a marginal increase in LCOE, although most of this is available only in the Dry season. This surplus is available for use in innovative applications, which would further reduce the LCOE. Further modelling showed that wind generation has an LCOE in the same range as the optimal PV options. There is no benefit from adding wind to the generation mix in Broome when climatic, visual, land and wildlife impacts are considered. Seasonal factors preclude achieving a higher RE percentage at acceptable costs (with or without Wind) with current technologies and costs. From December to March, lower solar radiation results in insufficient energy to meet demand and backup gas generation is needed. Into the future, this generation could be decarbonised. The optimum 60MW PV outcome with 82% of RE will substantially reduce the amount of fuel needed for generation in Broome. To provide Broome’s annual 131GWh of electrical energy, an average of 7.35 LNG road trains are required per week. With only 18% of the original fuel requirement, this equates to an average of only 1.32 shipments a week, or 10.4 tonnes of LNG per day. The final part of the report considered implementation options – how a transition to large-scale renewables could occur in Broome. One factor was that the modelling did not distinguish between rooftop and utility solar PV. The total costs of utility and rooftop PV can be made comparable by appropriately setting the levels for feed in tariffs. Section 5.2 discussed why a mixture of rooftop and utility solar PV may be appropriate in Broome, and the pros and cons of each. A certain amount of utility PV and associated battery will need to be installed by 2027 to replace the gas generators at the end of their contract.

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Phillips, Rob, King, Angus, Bunn, Lenn, 2023, Broome clean energy study, Report, viewed 24 July 2024,

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