The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released the results of its latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics (QED) report, revealing several records for the Australian energy sector.
The National Electricity Market (NEM) recorded its highest ever quarterly variable renewable energy (VRE) output with more than 1,200MW of new large-scale solar and wind capacity commencing generation during the period. The amount of solar capacity that commenced generation during the quarter was higher than the NEM’s entire capacity of the year.
It was also the first quarter on record where wind output exceeded gas-powered generation. AEMO also observed the highest hydro generation output across a quarter since 2013.
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On the west coast, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) reached over 1 gigawatt (GW) of rooftop PV and solar farm capacity installed, resulting in an increase in the occurrence of negative prices due to the high amounts of small-scale PV causing a drop in daytime demands.
This quarter was also the quarter that South Australia recorded its lowest minimum demand on Sunday, September 30. That record was then broken on Sunday, October 21.
Separation of Queensland and South Australia from the rest of the NEM, following a trip of the Queensland to New South Wales interconnector (QNI) on 25 August 2018, resulted in approximately 1,110 MW of under-frequency load shedding in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania; and more than $10 million in Frequency Control Ancillary Service (FCAS) costs on a single day, which was a key contributor to the highest quarterly FCAS costs since 2008.
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Wholesale electricity prices were mixed across the NEM and Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) when compared to the second quarter, with Victoria and South Australia experiencing a small reduction, and New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia observing a slight increase in the average price over the period.
Wholesale gas prices increased across all markets when compared to the previous quarter and Q3 2017. This uplift in price coincided with reduced supply from production, an increase in deliveries to Curtis Island for LNG export, and increasing international oil and gas prices.
Read the full report here.