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November 28, 2017 - 8:47 AM
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has today released its 2017/18 summer readiness report, which outlines all actions taken to best prepare the National Electricity Market to meet Australian energy consumer requirements.
Summer is the period of highest energy usage for all of Australia except Tasmania. It is also the period when this level of demand, high temperatures, and climatic events like bushfires and storms place the power system at highest stress and make it most prone to failure.
Following the rapid closure of the 1,600 megawatt (MW) capacity Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria in March 2017, AEMO assessed the short-term balance of supply and demand. In its Energy Supply Outlook report, AEMO identified a heightened risk of supply disruptions for the coming summer in Victoria and South Australia if no further steps were taken.
“With work commencing in February, AEMO’s 2017/18 summer readiness action plan has focused on maximising the resources in the system, including reserves for emergencies, and active engagement with industry and government to ensure clear alignment and understanding of the requirements of the power system during periods of high electricity demand,” said Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Ms Audrey Zibelman.
“Since the closure of Hazelwood in March, AEMO is pleased to announce a total of close to 2,000 MW of additional resources will be available to the market for this summer.
“Additional resources include the return of 833 MW of existing market generation capacity from gas-powered generators, over 1,000 MW of generation and demand response resource reserves AEMO has procured via the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader mechanism,” said Ms Zibelman.
The Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) is a mechanism AEMO uses to maintain power system reliability and system security via reserve contracts. It is a program outside the wholesale electricity market where large electricity users are contracted by AEMO to either use less energy or generate power from their own generators.
AEMO identified the need to enact the RERT procurement process following analysis highlighting a risk to power supply across Victoria and South Australia on extreme consumer demand periods for the coming summer. The RERT mechanism also facilitates the 143 MW of demand response across Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales procured through the joint AEMO and ARENA demand response trial.
“As the independent market and system operator, AEMO’s primary role is to maintain system balance by procuring resources to meet the demands of the system at a time and at a location where it is necessary.
“We now have a range of dispatchable resources that can be used to strategically support the market as required, including battery storage, diesel generation and demand resources. AEMO is confident that we have taken all the necessary actions – and then some – to make sure we are ready,” said Ms Zibelman.
AEMO’s comprehensive summer readiness plan also includes the implementation of a range of operational improvements, together with ensuring the availability of fuel for generators (coal, gas, water, and diesel) and the availability and capacity of the transmission network to carry power to where consumers need it.
Although preparing the power system for the upcoming summer is an immediate priority, AEMO continues to focus on supporting the evolution of the power system as it transitions to a low emission future.
“AEMO is working actively with Commonwealth and State Governments and the energy industry, guided by the Finkel Review and now with the newly formed Energy Security Board, on a road map so changes can be made to the design and operations of the power system to resolve current operating challenges.
“Affordable, reliable and secure energy for all Australians remains our clear goal objective,” said Ms Zibelman.
AEMO summer readiness report can be accessed here.