Areas of deeper analysis

Posting commentary on WattClarity meets certain customer needs – but there are occasions where deeper analysis is warranted (and requested by our customers).

Where we publish more comprehensive reports, they will be listed here.


Here’s three big reasons why spot prices in Queensland are higher than they used to be

A quick outline of what have been (in my view) the three key reasons why wholesale electricity prices in Queensland have risen, compared to 5 years ago.

Energy Supply Disruption – Understand the Customer Drivers

The energy supply industry is now a case study of major disruption and this is causing chaos. We are now witnessing the simultaneous high prices in electricity and gas – importantly at the commodity level - not network driven this time – although that just changed with the AER loss – more petrol on the fire.

NEM FCAS causer pays factor issues for wind and solar farms

Generators used to consider the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) FCAS causers pays factors (CPF), used to allocate FCAS regulation costs across the market, as an obscure and unimportant technically challenging curiosity. Since 2014, the cost of FCAS regulation services for generators has increased from just under $5 million per year to greater than $60 million for 2016 and now has the attention of all of the generators, especially if their portfolio includes generation assets in regions with a lack of FCAS regulation providers and high prices such as South Australia.

Fast Frequency Service – Treating the symptom not the cause?

The National Electricity Market (NEM) is designed to operate at 50 Hz. Frequency deviation occurs when generation and load are mismatched. It is important in a lightly meshed and long network such as the NEM to maintain tight frequency control and that frequency response is available throughout the network.

On batteries, and “fixing South Australia’s problems”

Some quick thoughts about Tesla's promise to "fix South Australia's power woes". Which specific problem is Tesla promising to fix?

Question – in an interconnected electricity system (and market), when did it become acceptable to neglect a systems view?

Because of (technical and commercial) interconnectedness in the National Electricity Market, the possibility of unintended consequences should be kept in mind

Review of the NEM in 2016

Electricity consumption in the National Electricity Market (NEM) increased by 0.8% in 2016, this is on top of a 1.1% increase in 2015. Queensland and NSW experienced increases in consumption with all other states experiencing a reduction.

A big disconnect between words and actions?

Can you help me understand this apparent (and large) disconnect between words and actions in the GreenPower space?

The new energy ecosystem

Transformation in the electricity industry is occurring at an astounding rate. What’s more, it’s happening globally and Australia is pretty much ground zero. As a result, a new energy ecosystem is emerging. Accenture has recently released three reports which cover different aspects of this new ecosystem. These are the ‘New Energy Consumer’ report, ‘Digitally Enabled Grid’ report and the combined report for the ENA and CSIRO titled ‘Insights from Global Jurisdictions and Evolving Business Models’.

Infigen Energy suffering from “wind correlation penalty” in South Australian wind farms

Some thoughts about the possible uplift to Infigen Energy revenues, stemming from higher forward contract prices in the South Australian region of the NEM

The war for dispatch: Who will control distributed energy?

In today’s energy sector, it is rare to get electricity networks, retailers, generators and system controllers in the same room at the same time. In a deconstructed market about to be transformed by distributed energy, how will decisions be made around how it is dispatched?

If I was going to assess Factors Contributing to the “truly remarkable” Q2 2016 prices, here are some starting places I’d look…

A starting list of factors that I'd look further into, if I was sucked into the "rabbit hole" of assessing all of the contributing factors leading to the Remarkable Prices seen in Q2 2016 - and which could continue into the future.

Comparison of spot (i.e. physical) and contract (i.e. financial) for calendar 2015

Over on our Demand-Response focused site, I posted an article yesterday providing a high-level comparison between contract prices for calendar 2015 and final spot prices (for the 4 mainland regions). This was in response to questions from a particular energy user.

Assessing the opportunity for Demand Response in Queensland

Our guest author, Mike Williams, has posted some analysis (over on the specially-focused Demand Response site) looking at the benefits of spot exposure and Demand Response in Queensland

What role might Demand Response play in a (possible) future grid featuring high levels of intermittency?

Back on 8th October, I spoke at All Energy in Melbourne on this topic. Given the questions posed after the session, it seemed that it might be of value to some WattClarity readers if I narrated over the top of the presentation and included it here, for future reference.

Ramp rates, for “Unserved Demand” much higher in this future world

A quick look at how ramp rates would vary (for "Unserved Consumption") in the hypothetical "10x" high intermittency grid.

Considerable spillage, in the high intermittency “10x” scenario

Continuing our analysis of these hypothetical future scenarios to understand the shape of "unserved energy" and hence the potential contribution of Demand Response - today I post about energy spilled in a future with high intermittent generation supply.

What would “demand” look like, in a “10x” intermittent scenario

Laying out the framework for the analysis I'm doing for my presentation at All Energy 2015 - about the role Demand Response might play in a future market dominated by intermittent generation

Seeking to understand the great Network Debate

Sitting on the outside, looking in, this article sums up what seems to be the main areas of contention in the great Network Debate that's been running the past couple years.

Know of a talented young electricity-sector engineer (a future international Cornwall scholar)?

The University of Queensland has called for applicants for the next round of the E.S.Cornwall Memorial scholarship (closes Friday 31st July).

A great opportunity for a young engineer to gain international experience at this time of change.

Three sample approaches (of 173 worldwide) to integrating renewables into the grid

We saw Ryan Wavish present on this topic at All Energy 2014, and invited him to write an article for WattClarity highlighting some of the learnings of the ARENA-funded study.

National regulations encourage new entrant retailers

Some thoughts about why we've been seeing an increase in the number of authorised electricity retailers competing in the Australian National Electricity Market, from a new guest author - Connor James

AGL is almost twice as large as the second biggest generator – who’s also in the list?

A snapshot of generator size, by ownership

Electric Vehicles–some back of the envelope calculations

Some back-of-the-envelope calculations about what electric vehicles might mean for the National Electricity Market, following on from my presentation at the EUAA Annual Conference

Is solar PV providing more opportunity for spot price engineering?

Some initial analysis looking into the question of whether the increased penetration of solar PV is increasing the variability of scheduled demand to the point that generators can exert more pressure on spot prices.

Why are we completing this extensive review of what happened over a very volatile summer in QLD – and why, and what the future implications might be?

Why are we investing significant time in completing this review of what was remarkable price volatility in QLD over summer? We're primarily a software company that develops shrink-wrapped products used by about 100 market participants, spectators and commentators.

Do you know of someone who could be our Energy Market Analyst (initially short-term contract)?

WattClarity is one way we strive to help people make better decisions – by making the energy market clearer, and more understandable.

Do you know of someone who can help us to expand the scope of what we do in this space? Here's details of the person we're looking for...

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