AEMO says ready for summer with 2GW of additional resources

Learning from the experiences of last summer, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has now announced that almost 2 GW of extra power will be available to the National Energy Market (NEM) for summer 2017-18.

The additional resources will include 833 MW of previously mothballed gas generators, and over 1,000 MW of generation and demand response resources procured through AEMO’s Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader mechanism, a program outside the wholesale electricity market where large electricity users are contracted by AEMO to either use less energy or generate power from their own generators. 

“We now have a range of dispatchable resources that can be used to strategically support the market as required, including battery storage, diesel generation and demand resources. AEMO is confident that we have taken all the necessary actions – and then some – to make sure we are ready,” said Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Ms Audrey Zibelman.

Following on analysis highlighting a risk to power supply across Victoria and South Australia, such as the one published in the AEMO’S Energy Supply Outlook in June 2017, the additional resources are expected to compensate for the 1.6 GW that unexpectedly went offline when Victoria’s Hazelwood power station closed in March.

Moreover, in its 2017/18 summer readiness action plan, AEMO also underlined the role of rooftop solar in the future and its ability to minimize peak demand.   

“Overall, the peak is expected to fall in most NEM regions in the next five to 10 years. In this period, maximum demand is expected to keep occurring during sunlight hours while rooftop PV is generating, so forecast growth in rooftop PV will reduce demand from the grid“, reads the report.

The table below shows current figures and 20-year forecasts for maximum demand (MD) in each NEM region, with the installed capacity of rooftop PV, and how much of each region’s total installed generation capacity it represents.