On Wednesday 10th June 2009, temperatures plunged across the NEM for the first time this winter, providing a long-awaited dump of snow to start the season, and driving electricity demand high.
high regional demand
Given that the holidays are now over (for most of us) and we’re returning back to “normal” life, we thought it would be a good time to provide a brief overview of what’s happened in terms of NEM-Wide demand, to date.
NSW experienced a record summer demand on Thursday 15th January, driven by high temperatures across the state. The extreme weather experienced in NSW followed the extreme weather that swept across South Australia and Victoria only two days beforehand.
Just as had been forecast, Tuesday 13th January 2009 saw hot, dry weather roll in across South Australia, and then into Victoria. The high temperatures caused demand to climb, but not to the level at which NEMMCO had forecast demand to climb over the summer period. As a result we saw the price in SA jump to a level near VOLL at 13:40, and remain there until about 18:00 (i.e. more than 4 hours).
High temperatures in Queensland drive demand up on New Year’s Eve.
It appears that we spoke too soon when we mentioned on the 22nd July that winter 2008 had been relatively uneventful.
Just over 24 hours from making these comments, we saw prices jump sky-high in the mainland regions, and go the other way (to the negative price cap) in Tasmania.
Our Managing Director spoke at the “Australian Energy & Utility Summit 08” in Sydney on Tuesday 22nd July 2008, touching on issues including the extremes of price volatility that were experienced over winter 2007.
Our Managing Director spoke at the “Australian Energy & Utility Summit 08” in
Sydney on Tuesday 22nd July 2008, touching on a number of issues including the nature of peak demand forecasts (for winter in the NSW region) over the coming 10 years
With demand soaring, and interconnectors constrained, generators in South Australia and Victoria took what opportunity they had to force the price high. So successful were the South Australian generators that the Cumulative Price Threshold was reached in South Australia and, under NEM Rules, an Administered Price Cap was applied for a period of time.
In March 2008 (after summer had officially ended) South Australians were forced to endure a record 15 straight days of temperatures climbing above 35ºC. Victorians also experienced extreme heat for…
In Queensland we experienced one of the mildest summers I can remember. As a result of this, demand levels were subdued for most of summer. However, for a couple of days in late February, summer finally arrived, and struck with a vengeance.
There was a temperature-driven spike in demand in South Australia on Friday 8th December 2006.
However, demand also spiked on other days in the week, and on those occasions did not lead to the price spikes seen on the Friday.
For several days in early December, temperatures reaching 40 degrees in Queensland and New South Wales cause airconditioning load (and hence total demand) to soar in both regions.
The high demands resulted in very high prices being experienced in both QLD and NSW (and also the SNOWY region). Both VIC and SA were insulated from the high prices because (at least in part) of the fact that transfers over the SNOVIC interconnector were constrained to minimise negative inter-regional surplus
There was a temperature-driven spike in demand in NSW on Tuesday 21st November 2006.
These sweltering temperatures combined with bushfires to cause localised blackouts in the Sydney city area, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald in the article “Power jitters as heat bites”.
From the start of the NEM through until 2001, the NEM was typified by a pricing dichotomy with sustained rock-bottom pricing in NSW, Snowy and Victoria and high and volatile pricing in the extremities (Queensland and South Australia).
In 2001, the QNI interconnection and many generation projects were developed. This led to the convergence of prices between all regions, and the disappearance of price volatility – circumstances that were a real threat to generator profitability.
In response, generators adopted an approach that came to be known as “the economic withholding of capacity” to engineer volatility into the market throughout winter 2002 – and hence higher prices as a result., and generator behaviour.
There was a high level in demand in Victoria on Thursday 26th January 2006.
This was especially remarkable, considering that it was an Australia Day public holiday – when commercial (though not industrial or residential) demand could be expected to be somewhat lower than would otherwise be the case.
Coupled with this level of demand was a significant spike in price that lasted several hours.
This week saw a new record demand in NSW of 13,292MW on Thursday 2nd February. Correspondingly, average prices were above $100/MWh in both NSW and Queensland – but the price spikes did not transfer to the southern regions.
Demand in Victoria peaked again, bringing with it high prices in Victoria and (to a lesser extent) South Australia.
Indeed, the demand experienced in Victoria (on Friday 24th February) exceeded the previous high level of 8,552MW for summer, set in January 2006.
Our analysis looked at generator behaviour on the occasions of these price spikes.
Summer 2005-06 saw Australians sweltering in temperatures 40 degrees and above.
In the National Electricity Market, this led to new peaks in demand and (given the tight supply/demand balance) delivered high (and volatile) spot market pricing.
Here we have compiled a weekly summary of events in the NEM over summer 2005-06.
In a week which is traditionally very subdued in the market, the NEM sweltered in temperatures in excess of 40 degrees and an exceptional NEM-wide demand (about 30,000MW) was recorded.
What made this demand peak more remarkable was that this occurred on a day when, traditionally, a large amount of commercial and industrial load would have been offline for the Christmas & New Year holiday.