Power generator maintenance banned, mothballed plants forced open to save summer power supply
By Rob Harris, National politics reporter
Victorian power generators will be banned from undertaking summer maintenance and any “mothballed” plants will be forced into operation from October in a bid to head off widespread blackouts next summer.
The Australian Energy Market Operator will attempt to shore up electricity supply, amid fears both Victoria and South Australia are at risk of damaging blackouts this summer because of the closure of the Hazelwood power station.
The body responsible for operating Australia’s largest gas and electricity markets has warned if two or more states face high-temperature days at the same time next summer, then the ability for one state to draw on the other’s supply would be drastically reduced.
An independent review of Australia’s energy security, chaired by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, has revealed that AEMO will work for the first time with the Bureau of Meteorology to improve ¬demand forecasting.
The Finkel report, released on Friday, said the key problem was the lack of any new generating ¬capacity that was capable of being dispatched rapidly.
Current demand forecasts are provided by two external bodies — neither of which is the bureau.
The Finkel report said the key problem was the lack of any new generating capacity that was capable of being dispatched rapidly — such as gas, hydro or coal.
“The past few years has seen the retirement of significant coal-fired capacity from the National Electricity Market while there has been no corresponding reinvestment in new dispatchable capac¬ity,” it said.
The report warned the renewable energy target had provided an incentive for wind power — but it was not available on-call ahead of peak demand.
“If new dispatchable capacity is not brought forward soon, the reliability of the National Electric¬ity Market will be compromised,” it said.
AEMO has been urged to worked retain a strat¬egic reserve of electricity capacity, which would be held outside the market but could be drawn on in times of emergency when reli¬a¬bility standards are breached.
Severe heatwave conditions in southeast Australia in February this year highlighted the challenges of maintaining electricity supply during extreme weather conditions.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has disputed that the state would experience any interruption of supply.
AEMO forecasted a potential energy shortfall in during the upcoming summer and will also use its emergency powers to offer to pay big industrial energy users to shut down during heatwaves.
The move could free up 600 megawatts of energy from early January to the start of March.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Subscribe to weekly updates
- Bid to put power ball in Turnbull’s court
- 'Unprecedented': Solar panel installations soar, on track to triple 2017 record
- Cap energy mergers to bring down power bills, ACCC tells Malcolm Turnbull
- ACCC calls for major reset of energy sector to drive down power bills
- 'The short answer is yes': Abbott's vow to cross the floor over government's energy policy
- Gas to the fore after Liddell power station closure
- East coast gas shortage eases but Longford outage puts pressure on prices
- Renewable energy set to supply one-third of market needs by 2020
- South Australia rides renewables boom to become electricity exporter
- Big power resists AEMO 'strategic reserve' push after NSW squeeze