Power Demand Across the NEM states

QLD had the second warmest January on record however average power demand levels were in line with last summer. Between February 12 and 15, demand levels set a record of 9840MW, more than 450MW higher than the previous peak in January last year.

NSW had its third warmest January on record. However, demand was comparable to last year’s except in February when maximum demand was 5-8% less than last year.

VIC power demand was affected by warmer than average weather conditions as well as the partial plant outage at the Portland aluminium smelter. Average demand in January was up by almost 11%. February also saw average and maximum demand levels increase. However, milder weather conditions in March resulted in maximum demand 13% lower compared to last year.

SA experienced temperatures well above average for January. In fact, Adelaide had four days where temperature exceeded 40 degrees, and this, resulted in higher average and maximum power demand. Despite milder February temperatures, average demand remained higher than average, although maximum demand was down by more than 8% in comparison to last February.

Supply side factors:

Activity across the NEM

In NSW, Flow Power launched the Energy Under Control project to manage peak demand on the NSW grid in conjunction with ARENA and the NSW Government.

We were also involved in the RERT program across VIC and SA where Flow Power customers provided around 20MW of support on January 19. (see how Flow Power managed this high price event). AEMOs response included an additional 100MW of temporary diesel generation to be commissioned in VIC. The plant was not required to be dispatched as the region was able to meet demand requirements.

QLD remained a solid exporter of power to NSW in both peak and off-peak periods in January.

In NSW, increased generation at Bayswater and Liddell power stations met rising demand over January.

Snowy Hydro also increased its output at Tumut power station over January and February, generating up to 550MW.

A trip on Loy Yang B on the January 18 instantly withdrew 528MW of much needed power. This caused the spot price to rise in VIC and SA but additional wind and solar ensured stability.

Wind farm output in SA during March was more than 500GWh, this is the highest level that we have observed since last winter

Spot price outcomes:

The monthly spot price levels reflected the difference between northern and southern regions across the NEM. Spot prices in QLD and NSW were less extreme, in comparison to VIC and SA. The monthly average spot outcomes by region (in c/kWh) are outlined in the table below:

JAN-187.5 c/kWh7.6 c/kWh13.3 c/kWh15.9 c/kWh 9.8 c/kWh
FEB-187.2 c/kWh7.3 c/kWh9.7 c/kWh10.9 c/kWh8.9 c/kWh
MARCH-186.2 c/kWh6.6 c/kWh7.7 c/kWh7.9 c/kWh8.4 c/kWh
Source: AEMO

Q2 2018 Factors to watch:

QLD: Significant solar PV is expected to come on line in the second of 2018. Spot prices in the middle of the day are expected to be lower when solar generation is at its highest

NSW: There is more than 650MW of new wind power due to come on line in coming months. This increase in renewables is expected to lead to lower average spot price outcomes in the future

VIC: With a tighter supply/demand balance the performance of remaining brown-coal generators will be a key influence on spot price levels

SA: New renewable projects are expected to see am additional 210MW of wind and 220MW of solar capacity during 2018


Monthly trends