Queensland breaks demand record

4 min

The southern states are in the middle of a stretch of hot weather, but during the week starting Monday, 11 February 2019, Queensland experienced its own run of very hot days, which peaked with another broken record for operational demand.

Queensland, with its tropical climate, is no stranger to challenging weather conditions (and it’s been the hottest summer on record) but in the last few months there have been a number of record temperatures broken. In December, we reported on the unprecedented hot weather throughout the north tropical and central coasts of the state with annual temperature records smashed with 42.6 oC recorded at Cairns on 27 November.

Looking back even further to February 2018, we reported on a new Queensland demand record, these records have fallen yet again.

During the week starting Monday, 11 February a combination of high temperatures and high humidity in southeast Queensland led to operational demand exceeding 10,000MW for the first time. A new operational demand record of 10,044MW was set, which surpassed the previous demand record from February 2018 of 9,796MW.

On Wednesday, 13 February, which was the peak day, maximum temperatures in the south-eastern part of the state were up to 10oC higher than the long-term average. This, coupled with higher than average humidity, made for uncomfortable conditions across southeast Queensland load centres.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the development of a heat-mass extending across central and eastern parts of Australia led to a low-intensity heat wave for much of eastern Queensland during that week.

The pairing of high dry bulb temperatures (this refers basically to the ambient air temperature. It is called "dry bulb" because the air temperature is indicated by a thermometer not affected by the moisture of the air) and developing sea breezes resulted in the apparent, or ‘feels like’ temperature remaining elevated throughout the day on Wednesday, 13 February, even though the sea breeze pushed in over the Brisbane central business district (CBD) in the afternoon. What we normally expect is that a sea breeze cools the temperature off and lowers the apparent temperature, this was not the case. The important difference between temperatures and feels like temperatures is explained here.

Stay updated with Energy Live as we will be more covering more on these weather related events and their impact on the NEM, as well as an overview of the whole summer season in the Australian energy industry.


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