A tight supply/demand balance in NSW over the week (4th June to 8th June 2018) triggers various activity

Over the prior week (Monday 4th June to Friday 8th June 2018), the NSW region – and, to a lesser extent, the broader NEM – experienced a tight supply/demand balance.

In response to what was happening during the week, we saw a range of activity ourselves, including:

(1)  One-on-one questions with clients

Our prime focus is (and always has been) on continually enhancing how we serve our diverse and growing range of clients, who use our software (and other products) to help them understand what’s going on in the energy market.

Given that the events of that week were so complex (and coincidentally that I had pre-arranged commitments in NSW with a number of clients & others) it was not really a surprise that we fielded a number of questions (some described here) about what was going on.  We appreciate these questions – as they stretch our capability to understand, and explain clearly, complex events such as what happened last week.

(2)  On social media

On the evening of Thursday 7th June, I had a brief amount of time to post this snapshot of the NEM from NEM-Watch v10 on social media (LinkedIn, and Twitter) – which led to some discussions on social media, and elsewhere:

Over the weekend that followed, I was able to grab a few hours to take a more measured look at what had occurred through the week, as a result of which I could post the article “Recapping a shaky week for the supply-demand balance in the NSW region last week” on WattClarity on Monday 11th June.

(3)  In the traditional media

As a result of all of the above, and what we have done in the past, it was also not really a surprise to find ourselves referenced and quoted in the more traditional media over that week, and in the discussion that followed.  Here are some of the references we noted:

Saturday 9th June

As noted on the NEMwatch portal, we found our (RenewEconomy-sponsored) NEMwatch Live Supply & Demand widget referenced in the Newcastle Herald.

Journalist Andrew White from the Australian asked our CEO (Paul McArdle) a few questions before publishing an article on Saturday 9th June “Outages see power prices hit the roof” – including this paragraph:

The founder of Global-Roam consultancy Paul McArdle said only 6000MW of NSW coal ­capacity was available yesterday, which was an improvement on Thursday, but about 2000MW less than at the same time last week.
(though note that we’re a software company, not a consultancy)

Interested readers can see the chart (generated with our NEMreview v7 historical analysis tool) provided to Andrew on Friday 8th June here:

Mon 11th June

Drawing on the more detailed analysis published on Wattclarity on Monday morning, Andrew White from the Australian was able to publish an article on Monday 11th June “Paul McArdle of WattClarity: NSW power outages ‘threat to industry’” .

Tue 12th June

On Tuesday, Ben Potter from the AFR included some references to the WattClarity article in his article “Big power resists AEMO ‘strategic reserve’ push after NSW squeeze” .

Wed 13th June

After we’d both attended the launch of the Victorian Energy Policy Center in Melbourne on Wednesday 13th June, Ben Potter from the AFR also included reference to the WattClarity review of the prior week in his article “Energy expert to Tomago Aluminium: Buy cheap wind and solar power” .

 

 

 

Animation on WattClarity helps explain what happened during yesterday’s blackout throughout South Australia

Our CEO, Paul McArdle spent the best part of last night piecing together the animation below in an attempt to understand what went on leading up to and during yesterday’s blackout throughout South Australia. Using ez2view, the animation explains what happened in generation and demand levels in South Australia between 06:00 and 17:00 on Wednesday the 28th of September, 2016.

An initial post and an update on the situation has already been posted on WattClarity, but time permitting, more analysis of what’s happened will be published over the coming days and weeks.

WattClarity helps the Australian Financial Review explain Tasmanian situation

A recent article published by our CEO, Paul McArdle about the state of Tasmania’s electricity supply was quoted by journalist Ben Potter in yesterday’s edition of the Australian Financial Review. Ben Potter sought quotes from a number of experts in the industry to clarify what cost the current Tasmanian energy crisis may result in:

“Whatever the number, it’s big” said Paul McArdle, managing director of energy consultancy Global-Roam, in a blog post last month. Mr McArdle estimated the crisis would add about $216 milliion to Tasmania’s energy costs over the March quarter.

The estimate is based on average prices of about $!50MWh – about $100 above pre-crisis prices – and average consumption of 1000MW over the quarter.

Journalist asks for insight about “free energy”

The electricity supply industry is currently the subject of much conjecture about how the future might unfold.

One such scenario involves the possibility that the cost of solar and storage will continue past patterns of decline to the point where the cost of each becomes negligible.  Software industry veteran Mike Cannon Brooks commented on this recently, so our CEO Paul McArdle was contacted for insights (due to our positioning at the intersection of energy and Information Technology) about the plausibility of this scenario – leading to the article “Completely Free Energy a hard swallow for captains of industry” in the Financial Review on 18th March 2016:

Copy of article from the AFR on 18th March

 

Further thoughts will be posted at a later date at WattClarity®, our industry commentary site.

Energy blogger uses NEM-Review to analyse historical demand data

Energy, science and technology blogger Ketan Joshi published an article on Monday which posed the question ‘Is Sydney’s heat decoupling from demand spikes?’. Within the post, he uses historical data from NEM-Review to compare New South Wales’ average demand between 2000-2015 against the daily average demand so far in 2016:

“Curiously, demand isn’t much higher or lower than the past five years. Keep in mind this comparison is slightly different – averages from 2000 to 2015, rather than temperature averages from 1859 to 2015 (like-for-like also shows average 2016 temps above the 2010-2015 average, though).”

“Regardless, there’s a novel disconnect, here. Sydney’s  unusually high temps aren’t driving unusually high demand.”

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Energy generator uses WattClarity and ez2view to highlight demand side response in consultation paper for rule change request

The Snowy Hydro Corporation have submitted a rule change request that would see a change to the National Electricity Rules to oblige price sensitive demand greater than 30MW to bid into central dispatch.

An excerpt from this WattClarity article posted in January 2014 was used in the ‘Statement of issue’ section of the consultation paper, including a screenshot taken from ez2view.

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Explaining what demand would look like on a renewable-heavy NEM to a wider audience

A previous article written by our CEO, Paul McArdle for WattClarity has recently been published on RenewEconomy.

Paul is booked in to speak at the 2015 All Energy conference about what role Demand Response might play in a future environment where intermittent generation sources supply a significantly higher percentage of the energy mix in the NEM.

In his article, Paul notes assumptions about consumption, the network and supply before going on to model a load duration curve.

DurationCurveUnservedNativeDemand03peak

Explaining South Australian wind generation to interested (and confused) stakeholders

After fielding a number of questions relating to wind farm production in South Australia over a two week period – our CEO, Paul McArdle took to WattClarity to help make the complexity of the situation understandable to many interested (and confused) onlookers.

To illustrate the yin and yang of wind over a 4-day period for broader consumption, we used our NEM-Watch entry-level dashboard. Using screenshots of NEM-Watch we were able to create the animation below to clearly explain what was happening over the 4-day period.

 

Explaining why large energy users are concerned about last week’s machinations in South Australia

A week of unusual occurrences in the South Australian energy space fascinated many onlookers, particularly large energy users.

After fielding a number of calls from large energy users in South Australia who were wanting to know what was going on, our CEO, Paul McArdle wrote this article on WattClarity to explain why they were concerned, to note observations about what happened and to state the possible implications for the future.

Providing insights about the state of solar-panel subsidies in Australia

In the summer of 2013-14, Geoff Winestock wrote an article for the Australian Financial Review regarding the state of solar-panel subsidies which became topical after a series of heatwaves in the southern parts of Australia. The article came after the AEMC issued a report stating that the cost of solar-panel subsidies will be a significant contributor to energy prices in the coming years. Our CEO, Paul McArdle was asked to provide insights on the topic:

 

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