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Electricity

NEM WHOLESALE MARKET UPDATE

  • 2023-2024: Reliability risks are forecast to be greater than the Interim Reliability Measure (IRM) in SA and VIC this summer

    • BOM: for the coming summer, hot and dry conditions with elevated bushfire risk, El Nino patterns likely. Max Demand outcomes likely to be in the upper end of the forecast range, risks of involuntary load-shedding remain elevated,

    • The reliability of thermal generation generally stayed at historically poor levels in 2022-23, and most plant operators have advised that overall plant reliability is unlikely to materially improve

    • Approx 3.4GW more generation and storage is expected to be available compared to same time last year

  • Reliability gaps are forecast in all mainland NEM regions when considering only those developments that meet AEMO’s commitment criteria

    • The projected electrification of traditional gas loads, particularly heating loads in Victoria, increases forecast consumption and maximum demands in winter. For Victoria in particular, winter peak demands may exceed summer peak demands by the end of the by end of this decade.

    • Existing generator operators have advised AEMO of an expected closure volume over the next decade of 6,730MW - representing approximately 20% of the current thermal fleet

  • Generator and unplanned outage rates are forecast higher than previously, reflecting recent trends of poor performance among some generator technologies

  • Forecasts of energy consumption and maximum demand are higher in some NEM regions, driven by projected electrification of households and businesses and forecast expansion of industrial facilities.

  • CAL24 SWAPS have fallen in price by around 5% this month. There are two forces contributing to this drop; the extreme heatwave in the northern hemisphere has made the market believe the same could happen in the southern hemisphere, however the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has not yet declared that an El Nino will form, tempering those views

  • Higher Q1 2024 CAP prices in NSW ($43) and QLD ($58) suggests we might experience hot periods and extreme demand. Consequently, NSW and QLD will feel the biggest stress from this, due mainly to Callide C Power Station being unavailable until after Q1 2024

  • AGL's Loy Yang A coal plant: extending operations and is not closing until 2035

  • Mt Piper: Energy Australia have announced this generator will not close prior to 2040, but may be run like a battery in it’s final years

  • Eraring: NSW initially due for closure 2025 however this has been pushed back primarily due to delays in renewables projects coming online

  • Regarding renewable penetration, in the 12 months to August 2023, there was a 3% increase in the minimum and 7% increase in the maximum recorded values in the NEM

  • Weather influence:

    • High chance for significantly drier than usual weather for August and September, with expected maximum historical maximum temperatures to be recorded

    • The BOM has predicted a high likelihood of below-average rainfall, higher than average temperatures and warmer minimum temperatures.  These long-range factors are influenced by likely El-Nino development and record warm ocean temperatures globally

    • With drier and warmer weather over winter, grid-scale solar continues to set new NEM records. Contributing to this also has been battery storage capacity overtaking pumped hydro capacity in the main grid

Cumulative change in electricity generation in the NEM, trend, by fuel, by quater, June 2016 to June 2023:

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ELECTRICITY FUTURE PRICING CHARTS

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PRICING CHARTS
Sunset on Solar Panels

WA (WEM) energy update

  • WA Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO):

    • The rapid energy transition and the evolving energy landscape are fuelling demand growth and introducing diverse capacity risks as coal-fired generation is phased out

    • Strong growth in demand is forecast, driven by expansion in business and industrial activities and electrification

    • Consideration of a broader range of capacity supply risks to ensure sufficient reserve margin to maintain system reliability and security

    • Forecast supply-demand balance of capacity requires new capacity investment in the WEM

    • Near-term need for additional capacity procurement to manage reliability risks for 23-24 and 24-25

    • Committed capacity is not yet sufficient to offset generator retirements and forecast increases in demand for 25-26

  • WA have this week secured $3 billion in funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) to assist in meeting their aggressive renewables targets:

News item 1

VIC to support AGL’s Loy Yang coal plant

 

The Victorian government has agreed to extend the operation of AGL Energy's Loy Yang A coal-fired power station until 2035, despite pressure from a major shareholder, Mike Cannon-Brookes, to close the plant earlier in alignment with the Paris accord.

 

The agreement aims to prevent blackouts and price spikes, considering the importance of coal generators like Loy Yang in supplying 60% of Victoria's power. It also provides unspecified state assistance for the plant, allowing it to shut down in case of low wholesale prices that might otherwise trigger an earlier closure.

 

EnergyAustralia announced plans to transition its coal-fired generator into a backup role for renewable energy. The deal reflects ongoing challenges for power generators in the face of renewable energy influx and market dynamics.

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News items 2
Image by KWON JUNHO

APA completes first stage construction on

east coast gas grid

 

APA Group has finished the first stage of its east coast grid expansion, which is aimed at improving gas security and reliability by increasing capacity for customers. The second stage of the expansion is currently under construction and is expected to be ready to meet the growing winter demand in 2024.

 

This expansion includes the completion of the South West Pipeline and the Western Outer Ring Main (WORM) gas transmission project, which will enhance system capacity, reliability, and security of gas supply to households and businesses in Victoria while supporting gas-fired power generation for renewable energy backup. Stage two of the expansion is set to be completed in time for the winter of 2024.

News items 3

AEMO warns urgent generation investment is needed as national grid faces summer strain

 

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warns of significant reliability challenges in the national power grid over the next decade, with immediate concerns for this summer, unless there's swift investment in electricity generation and transmission. South Australia and Victoria face particular risks, especially in Victoria, where problems are expected to persist for the entire decade.

 

AEMO urgently calls for imminent investment to safeguard the National Electricity Market (NEM), covering all states and territories except Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The report points to various factors exacerbating reliability issues, including aging coal-fired generators and an increase in unplanned outages. Sixty-two percent of the NEM's coal-fired generators are projected to shut down before 2033, leaving a substantial gap in the national grid.

 

Over the next decade, growing population and declining gas usage are anticipated to drive up grid demand. The report also identifies opportunities in widespread adoption of solar panels and batteries, especially if power generation and storage can be coordinated across the grid.

In response to the AEMO report, Energy Minister Chris Bowen acknowledges the challenges and asserts that the government is taking steps to address them, emphasising ongoing policy reforms for a more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and reliable energy system, including programs like Rewiring the Nation and the Capacity Investment Scheme.

Image by Frédéric Paulussen
News item 4
Wind Turbines

AEMC proposed rule change to maintain reliability during the energy transition

 

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) is proposing rule changes to adapt to the shift from coal to renewables, ensuring a reliable electricity system. The proposed changes include adjustments to price settings in the wholesale electricity market to encourage investment in new generation and storage technologies, particularly during high-demand periods and emergencies.

Under these draft rule changes:

  • the Market Price Cap, which sets the price ceiling in the wholesale electricity market, would increase from $16,600/MWh currently to $22,800/MWh by 1 July 2027
     

  • the Cumulative Price Threshold, which serves as a trigger point to end a sustained seven day period of extreme high prices in the wholesale electricity market, will increase from the equivalent of 7.5 hours at the Market Price Cap to 8.5 hours at the Market Price Cap by 1 July 2027; and
     

  • the Administered Price Cap, which caps the price in the wholesale electricity market once the Cumulative Price Threshold has been reached, will be set at $600/MWh from
    1 July 2025.

News item 5
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