How has the Carbon Tax influenced Hydro Generation levels?


As noted a couple of weeks ago, we saw that output from hydro generators increased slightly in the first week of the carbon tax, compared with the prior week.

Two further charts from NEM-Review are included here to highlight how the carbon tax (and other factors, such as Yallourn being unavailable due to coal supply issues) has resulted in production levels at hydro plant higher than that delivered in any prior month over the history of the NEM:

Comparison of monthly average production from hydro plant across the NEM

(interestingly in this chart, we also see that hydro production levels through 2006 and 2007 – particularly drought affected years – were not substantially lower than the years following, when hydro levels increased)

In the chart above, we see a distinct increase in production levels throughout 2012 from a low point in January, with a pronounced kick beginning in June (as the output of Murray increases in response to the problems at Yallourn) and continuing in July (in response to the changing cost structures of other plant under the carbon tax).

This is highlighted specifically below, where average output is shown on a weekly basis by hydro system:

Trend in hydro output by portfolio through 2012

In the final chart, we see how output from Murray (in the VIC region) increased through June but then has tailed off through July as Snowy Hydro has, instead, increased its output of the Tumut units in the NSW region.

Trend in output from Snowy Hydro plant through 2012

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

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