South Australia islanded from the eastern part of the NEM overnight


Awoke this morning to a long stream of price SMS alerts triggered overnight for South Australia (and other particular keyword alerts for Market Notices, etc) due to the islanding event overnight.

Here’s a quickly annotated snapshot from NEM-Watch this morning:

NEM-Watch highlighting the islanding of South Australia overnight

Rough sequence of events:

0:16 NEM time SA is islanded.  The flow and import/export limits drop to zero.  In a very quick scan I can’t actually find what causes this to happen.
Immediately, constraint equations act to “constrain up” already operational units at Torrens and Quarantine in order that they can start to make up the power lost over the interconnect.  Prices spike to $14,000/MWh

Peakers take longer to start up and cut in.

02:34 AEMO notes that they have started directing participants.  have not looked further at what happened here.
05:02 AEMO notes that they have stopped directing participants.

Note that immediately prior to the separation, Victoria had been exporting to South Australia with prices in South Australia up around $300/MWh (not much wind blowing in South Australia, and obviously no solar overnight, leading to gas generators running to meet demand).

These generators were then able to ramp quickly to match the load lost from Victoria when those imports were no longer available.

Does not look like any load lost, thankfully…

Investigations and a formal report will follow.

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of the company 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.

2 Comments on "South Australia islanded from the eastern part of the NEM overnight"

  1. Paul, AEMO media release can be found here with a little more detail:
    http://www.aemo.com.au/Media-Centre/Media-statement—South-Australia

  2. As a PS to my early morning article, I realise I made a mistake in commenting that no load was lost.

    Here’s a few other articles that provide more details:

    1) Loss of load at (at least one) major C&I customer:
    http://www.afr.com/business/energy/bhp-billiton-ceo-andrew-mackenzie-raises-job-fears-after-new-power-blackout-20161130-gt1gtn

    2) Another perspective:
    http://reneweconomy.com.au/vic-network-fault-causes-outages-in-south-australia-conservatives-blame-renewables-84808/

    3) Of course the AEMO report, noted by Kieran above.

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