Energy industry releases heatwave factsheet

The Australian Energy Council (AEC) and Energy Networks Australia (ENA) have released a factsheet on heatwaves and power supplies.

AEC policy general manager Ben Skinner said electricity demand has historically been highest on hot week days and when business and industry is in full operation.

“The biggest risk is when there is very high demand,” he said.

“Usually that is at the end of a run of two or more hot days. Buildings are already hot, there may be low output from wind generation and solar PV output declines late in the afternoon.”

The council also said individual power station generation units can and do have unplanned outages from time to time.

This was normal for large plant both in Australia and overseas. Power systems have back-up capacity to manage a limited number of individual outages.

“There can also be localised issues with power supply on hot days, but these do not reflect systemic problems,” Mr Skinner said.

“Although there are challenges, hydro, gas and coal-fired plants have performed during previous heatwave events and that will continue to be the case.”