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Electricity

WHOLESALE MARKET UPDATE

Electricity Spot Prices:

  • Low demand keeps spot prices in check. Ongoing mild weather and plenty of renewable generation has continued to subdue spot prices in the NEM and WA.

  • September energy prices reflected the system lower demand and the ongoing availability of renewable energy. Spot price averages across the board were lower in September compared to August. While there were some colder weather periods and a couple of unseasonably hot days, the overall impact was minimal. All states had a drop in spot average of 25% or above. SA recorded a huge decrease in volatility and the ongoing subdued daytime prices.

  • Supply Risks: Origin Energy (the owners' of Eraring power station), are believed to be in negotiation with the NSW state government. Nothing has been released yet, but the market is currently pricing in the expectation that Eraring will extend beyond the August 2025 date. There is potential that if the deal doesn’t go ahead, the expected price impact will disappear, and we could see significant price risk in late 2025 into 2026.

  • Price and Demand Risks: The looming summer is still presenting as a real risk to the market. In summer, we see more daylight hours and increased solar generation, but evening peak periods remain the risk period for most businesses. Demand and price risk is more prevalent outside of the solar production hours, and this is reflected in retail and network pricing.

  • There has been a softening in the forward contract periods. This might continue while we see a lack of price volatility on the early hot days in the short-term. There is still significant upside risk if we see prolonged heat.

AEMO Quarterly Dynamics Report Q3 2023:

  • NEM Connections:

    • At the end of Q3 2023, 33 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity were progressing through the connection process from application to commissioning, with one-third of this capacity in new applications submitted during the last six months.

  • Warmer weather and increased distributed photovoltaic (PV) output reduced operational demand.

    • Numerous minimum demand records were set this quarter.

  • Gas and black coal-fired output declined, increases in grid-scale solar and distributed PV.

  • Reduced wholesale prices despite reduction in black coal-fired capacity.

    • Higher output from VRE (Variable Renewable Energy) generators and lower operational demand.

    • Despite the retirement of the remaining Liddell units in April 2023, there were significant increases in the volume offered by black coal generators in lower price bands compared to Q3 2022.

  • New actual and potential instantaneous renewable penetration records.

  • East coast gas prices under half Q3 2022 levels, demand and production trended downwards.

Western Australia electricity and gas highlights:

 

  • The drop in gas-fired and wind energy production was compensated for by a rise in coal, distributed PV and battery generation.

  • Gas production and usage decreased, while the pattern of withdrawing from storage persisted.

 

 

Recent falls in NSW and VIC futures?

  • The new battery will provide grid stabilisation services, using Tesla’s advanced gird-forming inverter technology which can operate in a ‘virtual synchronous generator’ mode, mimicking the synchronous nature of traditional fossil fuel and hydropower generators (read more here).

  • Spot prices have been super bearish, and the abundance of wind has of wind have kept spot volatility to a minimum.

ELECTRICITY FUTURE PRICING CHARTS

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PRICING CHARTS
Metal Pipe Network

EAST COST GAS MARKET

  • Gas spot prices fall on low demand, but this not be reflected in the forward retail contracts. There is an ongoing disconnect between the spot gas prices and forward dated contracts. The gas cap is not dampening forward gas prices as the government had expected it to.

  • Gas spot prices continue to fall on warmer weather and lower demand. Gas spot prices fell in September across all states, but the contract market did not reflect these drops. While spot gas traded well below $10 for the month across all states, this was not reflected in another drop in contract prices. Gas prices did remain stable in the high teens to low twenties (subject to volume and shape). The government regulated cap did affect some pricing most of the contracted gas is not subject to that cap and is holding prices up.

    • South Australia’s average spot price fell dramatically in September to $9.68 down from $11.43 in August.

    • Queensland also fell from $10.91 in August to $9.35.

    • New South Wales and Victoria both dropped, NSW decreased from $11.02 down to $9.22 in September. VIC had the largest drop as warming conditions reduced demand for heating, it shifted from $10.65 in August to $8.64 in September

  • Supply conditions remain unfavourable. While we did see some softening in the retail contracts over previous months, this has started to plateau. We haven’t seen any dramatic drop in retail contract prices. The market is continuing to flag supply constraints for the upcoming winter. It is likely to be less severe as initially expected as the warmer spring has allowed more gas to be sent north to the QLD LNG export terminals. This should allow more gas to flow south next winter.

News items 2
GAS

ACCC rejects AEMO request to co-ordinate repairs of ageing coal clunkers

 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has rejected a request from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to coordinate repairs and maintenance for the country's aging coal generators. AEMO sought an exemption to ensure the reliability of electricity supply as more coal generators leave the market.

 

The ACCC's decision contrasts with its recent approval of Brookfield's takeover of Origin's utility business, citing benefits to renewable energy adoption and emissions reduction. The denial of AEMO's request may hinder the transition to green energy and pose challenges in managing older, less reliable coal generators.

 

The ACCC argues that coordination between competitors could violate competition laws and believes upcoming energy market reforms will assist AEMO in managing outages during the shift to renewable energy. AEMO is now working on a "Summer readiness plan" with government and authorities to address potential generator failures in the upcoming El Nino summer.

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Concrete Steps

Cement maker stops work as electricity prices surge

 

Australia's largest cement, concrete, and asphalt producer, Boral, is facing soaring electricity prices and challenges in the country's transition to renewable energy. The company has been forced to temporarily stop manufacturing each day due to a 54% increase in electricity costs over the past year.

 

Boral has been unable to secure enough renewable energy to support its green initiatives. A 10-year power purchase agreement covers only 19% of its renewable electricity needs to 2035, highlighting a shortage of cost-competitive offers. A lag in the rollout of new renewables and impending closures of aging coal-fired power stations are raising concerns about Australia's ability to meet its renewable energy targets.

 

The Australian Energy Market Operator is apprehensive about the availability of alternative energy sources to compensate for the loss of coal power. The slow progress in building high-voltage transmission lines is further impeding the transition. There is a call for accelerated planning approvals for projects located near existing grid connections.

The challenges lie in balancing affordability with the scale and speed of the energy transition, which requires a substantial expansion of the current energy system. This is compounded by global efforts to undertake similar transitions, creating supply chain pressures and shortages in critical resources.

News items 3

Environmental and sustainability claims

 

Many consumers use environmental and sustainability claims (environmental claims) as a key factor to decide where they want to spend their money.

Environmental claims are only useful for consumers when they are true, accurate, in easy-to-understand language and appropriately qualified. False or misleading claims also unfairly disadvantage businesses who are making genuine claims.

Businesses have obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) (being Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) not to make false or misleading representations or engage in misleading or deceptive conduct. These obligations should be considered whenever you are making environmental claims.

If you choose to make environmental claims, you can use these eight principles to help you comply with your obligations under the ACL, and to ensure that any claims you make create trust in your business and allow consumers to make informed decisions.

 

  • Principle 1: Make accurate and truthful claims

  • Principle 2: Have evidence to back up your claims

  • Principle 3: Don’t leave out or hide important information

  • Principle 4: Explain any conditions or qualifications on your claims

  • Principle 5: Avoid broad and unqualified claims

  • Principle 6: Use clear and easy-to-understand language

  • Principle 7: Visual elements should not give the wrong impression

  • Principle 8: Be direct and open about your sustainability transition

Green Energy Turbines
News item 4
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