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.

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.


New service (still under development) available at

We have been a keen supporter of different aspects of Demand Response in Australia’s national electricity market.  We have been, for instance, facilitating demand response for a number of large industrial energy users for more than a decade .

Over more than a decade, we have seen a steadily increasing awareness of the capacity of Demand Response to deliver significant value to the industry as a whole – whilst also providing a benefit to the particular energy user supplying the flexible consumption.

Years ago when we started this process, we found that the initial awareness was almost zero (and a reasonable amount of negativity in some quarters).  Hence we accepted, as part of our role, some responsibility for providing education about demand response – what it is, how it might work in the context of the NEM, and what the benefits would be.

We’ve not been the only ones involved in actively promoting the potential of demand response – there are a number of others that have made key contributions (which are referenced in the “Stakeholders” section of the site ** please let us know if we have missed others **).

The development of the site as another free service provided to electricity sector stakeholders, with the aim of making this particular aspect of complexity more understandable, was a logical extension of the time we have invested in education about Demand Response over the past decade and more….

We posted this article on the site on 1st July 2015 and have contacted many market stakeholders and observers, keenly seeking their input into making the site as effective as it can be in helping to make different methods of Demand Response as understandable by, and accessible to, a broad range of electricity users.

Asked to write an article for the Financial Review on Generation Oversupply

As someone seen as a source of insight about the National Electricity Market by a number of journalists, including many who follow the articles posted on our WattClarity® industry commentary site, it is logical that our CEO (Paul McArdle) would be asked to write the article “Generation wallows in oversupply” for the Financial Review to provide some context to one aspect of the ongoing RET Review.

It is also understandable that Paul would follow up that article in the AFR with this article on WattClarity that included a clear picture of how the decline in electricity demand is presenting challenges for the successful implementation of the Renewable Energy Target.

Following further on this theme, a second article was also posted on WattClarity® with a graphical illustration of the size of the main electricity generators supplying the NEM.

Helping to explain winter peak demand, and price volatility, to a wider audience

Cold weather during June 2008 saw electricity consumption soar in the Queensland region of the National Electricity Market – delivering some spot price volatility.

Seeking some insights into what was happening in the market at the time, we fielded calls from journalist Duncan Hughes (of the AFR).  Our CEO (Paul McArdle) assisted by

In his article “Power prices put business on back foot” Duncan quotes Paul as explaining one of the causes:

“demand was growing at 100MW every five minutes, which … necessitated … NEMMCO to schedule more expensive (peaking) generation as a temporary measure to meet high anticipated growth rate in demand…”

Duncan also quoted Paul as noting how demand response was active in response to the price spikes.