Queensland reached electricity demand record during heatwave

Transmission towers against orange sky (peak demand)
Image: Shutterstock

As the country sizzled through a punishing heatwave over the weekend, Queensland’s robust electricity network proved strong, reaching record electricity demand.

On Sunday afternoon at the peak of the heatwave, the state reached a new electricity demand record of 9369MW.

“Even when Queensland hit the maximum demand level, Queensland still had 548MW in reserve capacity, bringing strong system security with reserve capacity even when the mercury was soaring,” Energy Minister Mark Bailey said.

“It is almost unprecedented to hit peak on a weekend, but people using air-conditioners to escape the heat was a big factor. 76 per cent of homes in South-East Queensland now have air-conditioning compared with 45 per cent in 2004.

“Both Powerlink, Energy Queensland, Stanwell and CS Energy, along with other generators worked around the clock to meet the demand and ensure that our system met this challenge.”

Thousands of New South Wales and ACT homes were warned on Friday about looming power shortages.

The Australian Energy Market Operator warned of a looming power shortages to thousands of NSW and ACT homes on Friday afternoon as the heatwave conditions caused demand to outstrip supply.

“Unless additional generating capacity can be found, AEMO may be forced to repeat the load shedding order that saw 90,000 homes in South Australia have their power supplies cut earlier this week,” a statement from the operator said.

Electricity supply was stabilised on Saturday morning, the Australian Energy Market Operator confirmed, following a peak demand of approximately 13,500MW in the NSW region (which includes the ACT), the highest NSW region peak demand on a Saturday since January 2011.

The continued high temperatures this afternoon, coupled with additional network demand by commercial and industrial business, means Queensland could hit another peak demand record, Mr Bailey said.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator’s forecasts indicates we are still in good shape to meet this demand,” he said.

“In Queensland we have a diverse mix of electricity generation, including baseload coal-fired and hydro generation complemented by other renewables.

“This diversity means Queensland’s power system is ready to meet the expected customer demands for electricity during our hot weather.”

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