High temperatures today in NSW caused energy demand to spiral towards record highs, testing the grid and the generation capacity of the region. According to the market operator there was load shedding for 75 minutes with a max load of 310MW shed. More may have been needed if it wasn’t for widespread outages naturally reducing demand as well as facilities being instructed to fall back to backup power generation:
Officials pleaded with consumers to use less energy during the peak period, expecting their customers to do this out of the goodness of their heart and to help out their mates.
The national electricity market is broken. High prices in QLD last month bankrupted an energy retailer, SA and NSW have failed under peak demand and VIC is forecast to join the generation shortfall when Hazelwood is decommissioned. Retail prices will continue to rise (someone has to cover this $337 million) and the level of service will drop — like asking your customers to turn their air-conditioners off in 40° heat yet having no demand response system to actually incentivise this behaviour.
There is light at the end of the tunnel though. A next generation grid is within our grasp, where intelligence, automation and flexibility are key. Where consumers are allowed to participate on both sides and get a fair price for the services they provide. The main blocker to this transition has been the will to execute on it, but as these system failure events happen at a growing frequency the environment will emerge for these new structures to come into play.
Edit: I’ve now put up an early stage tool up that exposes the true cost of energy generation in realtime. Would love your feedback. It’s at isenergyexpensive.today