About media quote on solar panels being “mostly useless” late in the day

During the national heatwave of February 2016, we fielded many calls from journalists and saw an increasing number of parties use (or embed) a variety of our bite-sized widgets, all focused at making some aspects of complexity more understandable.

One of the conversations I had with a journalist let to being quoted over the weekend saying that solar PV was “mostly useless” late in the day.  Hence, over the weekend I added this note of clarification on WattClarity for those who are interested in more than just soundbites.

Providing insights to The Australian about the situation in South Australia

National Business Correspondent for The Australian, Annabel Hepworth published an article which details the concerns of big energy users in South Australia over high electricity prices after the recent turmoil in the state. Attempting to extend understanding on the situation Paul McArdle provided insights for the article, stating that blackout had “just put a two-week stop” to commercial concerns about the market “but the concerns continue”.

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NEM-Watch Fuel Type Widget snapshot helps illustrate the state of South Australian energy generation after blackout

In an effort to talk around last week’s power blackout in South Australia to a wider audience, The Australian published a number of infographics on pg. 6 of their daily edition on Thursday, the 18th of October, 2016.

Included was an artistic reproduction of a snapshot taken from our NEM-Watch Widget from 4pm the previous day – as shown here:

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The snapshot was used to compare the energy generation make-up for each state against their respective renewable energy targets

The Australian attributed this image to the SA Government, because they accessed the live chart on the SA Government website.

This location in the Department of State Development is the current location (as at October 2016) of the embedded copy of the NEM-Watch Fuel Type Widgets, one of the growing number of 3rd party “Host” locations that are choosing to embed this widget, which started its life at these two initial locations:

  1.  At RenewEconomy here; and
  2. On the NEM-Watch portal here.

 

Pondering the future of Australia’s electricity market through detailed analysis

Our CEO, Paul McArdle recently penned an article on WattClarity pondering whether the remarkable price results from Q2 were a short lived excursion or whether they are the begging of a more systematic change in pricing patterns. Paul’s article caught the attention of several journalists including Ben Potter from the Australian Financial Review, who referenced the analysis in his piece ‘COAG out of action as electricity prices soar‘, and sought comments from Paul on the topic:

Average wholesale electricity prices across the National Electricity Market shot up to $65-$80 a megawatt hour in the mainland NEM states in the June quarter, and to $120 in Tasmania, Paul McArdle, director of GlobalRoam, said.

Providing analysis on the possible closure of Australian power station

Last week, Sydney Morning Herald journalist’s Adam Morton and Brian Morris published an article on the possible closure of coal-power generation at the Hazelwood Power Station. In the article, the journalists sought comments from a number of industry experts including our CEO, Paul McArdle. Providing experience and insight on the topic, Paul was quoted in the article:

Most analysts who spoke to Fairfax Media said it was difficult to say what impact removing Hazelwood would have on prices – Global-Roam’s Paul McArdle said it was the “million dollar question” – but many said they were likely to increase.

Paul McArdle, managing director at Global-Roam, said: “The reality is nobody knows because it depends what competitors do.” He said it was likely prices would rise while also lifting AGL’s profitability, for example.

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.

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.

Explaining solar power’s contribution to power supply to a wider audience

Our CEO, Paul McArdle has been quoted by Angela Macdonald-Smith from The Australian Financial Review in regards to solar power’s place within the NEM. Paul’s comments provided an insight to a wide audience about solar’s “small but rapidly growing contribution” to power supply.

He was quoted as saying:

“About 3 gigawatts of solar power is installed across the national electricity market. In the absence of solar demand would have been higher this week byt now much is difficult to say. Only those household that had oversized their solar systems thanks to earlier, more generous feed-in tariffs would probably be able to meet their own air conditioning demand during the summer peak. Others who installed systems would still be relying on the grid to supplement their own solar generation.

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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