26 September 2023

Winter security improves energy supply

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Australia’s energy supply is expected to be more secure this winter with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) providing an update on the health of east coast energy systems ahead of the cold season.

Chief Executive of AEMO, Daniel Westerman said the NEM Winter Readiness 2023 outlook aimed to firm up energy security and mitigate risks across weather, demand, generation and network infrastructure.

“While the 2023 winter weather outlook looks less severe than 2022, with lower-than-average rainfall and warmer temperatures, the potential for extreme weather events and generation vulnerability are still there,” Mr Westerman said.

“Fuel supplies are estimated to be similar to last year, with improved coal stockpiles increasing the availability of generators that were operating at reduced capacity last year because of coal supply issues,” he said.

“East coast gas storage levels are also higher than historical levels.”

Mr Westerman said there were no major outages impacting gas production leading into winter however, reliance on winter gas supply from Queensland would increase.

He said there were an additional 2,300 megawatts of dispatchable generation available across the National Electricy Market (NEM) this winter.

“That is generation we can call on that wasn’t available last year,” the CEO said.

“Plus, we have another 2,200 megawatts of new renewable generation and storage capacity we also expect to be available.”

AEMO has noted the potential for gas shortfalls during peak consumption and gas-powered generation of electricity pressures this winter.

Mr Westerman said to de-risk gas availability on the NEM, new disclosure obligations would be implemented for gas industry participants.

“These new obligations provide AEMO with additional functions to monitor, communicate and manage any emerging gas supply adequacy and reliability risks or threats on the east coast market,” he said.

AEMO’s 14-page NEM Winter Readiness 2023 can be accessed at this PS News link.

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