27 September 2023

Energy levels low as power demand falls

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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has announced that electricity demand reduced across the National Electricity Market (NEM) in the third quarter of 2020.

AEMO said the reduction was due to the increased uptake of rooftop solar (PV) systems and changes in energy use during to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Changes to consumer habits and industrial activity during the pandemic continue to reduce underlying demand, particularly in Victoria where the strictest limits on economic activity have been in place,” AEMO said.

“As highlighted in AEMO’s Quarterly Energy Dynamics (QED) report for Q3 2020, NEM‑average operational demand decreased by 313 megawatts (MW) (1.4 per cent) when compared to Q3 2019,” it said.

Managing Director and Chief Executive at AEMO, Audrey Zibelman said electricity demand continued to reflect the impacts of the pandemic, with reductions observed in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, while residential heating drove an increase in electricity demand in South Australia.

“The uptake of residential and commercial solar continues at record pace, which was largely responsible for new minimum operational demand records in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia,” Ms Zibelman said.

“Mainland National Electricity Market (NEM) wholesale electricity prices declined almost 50 per cent compared to the same period last year, reaching their lowest Q3 level since 2014,” she said.

“Excluding Tasmania, NEM wholesale electricity prices fell by 45-48 per cent compared to the same quarter last year, dropping to the lowest third-quarter level since 2014 ($32‑51/MWh).”

Ms Zibelman said grid-scale solar and wind had accounted for 14 per cent of the generation mix, up from 12 per cent in the third quarter of 2019, due to increased supply coming into the system.

AEMO’s 49-page Quarterly Energy Dynamics for Q3 2020 can be accessed at this PS News link.

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