AEMO predicts challenging summer

AEMO

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released its 2018/2019 summer readiness report, predicting a challenging summer ahead.

AEMO’s 2018 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) report highlights the plans and actions both AEMO and the industry have taken to prepare Australia’s power system for the summer ahead.

AEMO managing director and chief executive officer Audrey Zibelman said findings from AEMO’s 2018 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) projected a heightened risk of involuntary load shedding in Victoria and South Australia for the upcoming summer, in the absence of further action.

“Our summer readiness plan outlines the actions we have taken to achieve our objective of delivering reliable, secure and affordable energy to all Australians,” she said.

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“The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a hotter and drier summer which, coupled with other risks we have identified, suggest we have a challenging summer awaiting us.
“But while we know that unexpected events can and do happen, particularly when the power system is under pressure and most prone to failure, AEMO is confident the plans we have made and the targeted actions we have taken in collaboration with the wider energy industry and governments, have appropriately equipped us to tackle any unforeseeable events the upcoming summer might bring.”

These actions have led to the sourcing of up to 930 megawatts of off-market reserves through the Reliability and Emergency Trader (RERT) mechanism. This initiative enables AEMO to have sufficient resources to manage potential high-risk scenarios that typically occur in summer, such as extreme or extended heatwaves, bushfires and/or unplanned infrastructure outages.

“As highlighted at the end of last summer, AEMO continues to look at all avenues to reduce the costs of strategic reserves for Australian consumers,” Ms Zibelman said.

“Our continued operational efficiencies and refinements in our forecasting methodologies, together with the increased capacity of approximately 2100 megawatts of new generation capacity, means we did not need to procure the same level of strategic reserves as last summer.

“We will continue to engage in discussions with industry to ensure additional reserves are available to us should unforeseen circumstances arise,” said Ms Zibelman.

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AEMO’s 2018-19 summer plan also focused on undertaking extensive emergency preparedness exercises and hosting information sharing sessions with a wide range of industry stakeholders and all government jurisdictions.

Beyond this summer, AEMO is expecting almost 6000 megawatts of new wind and solar to be operational in the next two years, which will alleviate the short-term risk of involuntary load shedding during summer peak periods. However, mid to longer term strategic planning and resource investment, such as those outlined in AEMO’s Integrated System Plan, will be necessary to not only manage the power system during peak summer periods, but also to ensure ongoing reliability and stability of Australia’s power system throughout the year, according to AEMO.

Read the full report here.