Electricity consumption set for decline: AEMO

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released its latest independent electricity consumption forecasts.

The 2014 National Electricity Forecasting Report (NEFR) is being developed on a consistent basis in the next 10 years for the five National Electricity Market (NEM) regions: New South Wales (including ACT), Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

In its annual energy outlook to 2016-17, the findings suggest electricity consumption in the NEM is declining and is forecast to continue its decline for the next three years, aside from some growth in Queensland as a result of liquefied natural gas.

Queensland is the only region in the NEM experiencing industrial growth, due to LNG projects. It also has the strongest growth in rooftop PV installations, which drives down overall consumption from the grid.

New South Wales experiences a decline in consumption due to reduced large industrial forecasts.

Victorian consumption is forecast to decline, driven by large industrial and manufacturing plant closures, including the Point Henry aluminium smelter in August 2014.

South Australian consumption is forecast to decline, with the desalination plant reducing consumption due to the completion of operational tests. Decreasing residential and commercial consumption is a result of the highest existing levels of installed rooftop PV per capita across the NEM.

Tasmanian consumption is forecast to decline despite increased production at the Norske Skog Boyer paper mill. The decline reflects the lowest population growth in the NEM and high rooftop PV installations.

In the longer term, NEM electricity consumption is expected to flatten.

To reflect the impact of unfavourable economic conditions on energy-intensive industries, the low scenario includes potential closures and reduced operations at existing aluminium smelters.

The full report is available on the AEMO website.