The second quarter of 2021 was highlighted by a sudden and unexpected event at Callide Power Station in Queensland, where an indoor explosion subsequently led to unit trips, load shedding, price spikes, and other complications across the region. Internally meanwhile, our development team has been busy working to make the necessary upgrades to our software products to ensure compatibility with the AEMO’s new MMS 5.0 Data Model as the market inches closer to the implementation of 5-minute settlement.
Coverage of Explosion and Outage at Callide Power Station
In the early afternoon of May 25th, an explosion in one of the turbine halls at Callide Power Station caused three large units to suddenly go offline. As a result, roughly 2000MW of supply was wiped from the QLD region in a matter of minutes, triggering load shedding throughout the state as demand needed to be cut to match the loss of supply. Several price spikes inevitably followed, as did the mainstream media’s coverage of the situation.
In the weeks following, Paul and our other WattClarity analysts published numerous pieces investigating what happened to the market and network during and immediately after the event, as well as discussing the potential long-term ramifications. Some of our coverage can be found below:
- Loss of ~2000MW of demand in Queensland on Tuesday 25th May by Paul McArdle
- Three Events Yesterday – with Mainland Frequency as low as 48.555Hz by Paul McArdle
- Sequence of Events on 25 May – A Very Short & Partial Visual Guide by Allan O’Neil
- Plenty of things went wrong in Queensland last Tuesday, but some very important things went right by Allan O’Neil
- First pass review of bidding behaviour on Tuesday 25th May 2021 in Queensland, after Event 2 by Paul McArdle
Our full coverage on this topic is tagged here on WattClarity.
In addition to the insights we published, we were also asked to provide comments in the mainstream media:
Paul McArdle from Brisbane energy consultancy Global-Roam said CS may be taking a conservative view at this early stage, but “anything involving the generator and/or turbine may take many weeks (or months) to fix”
Queensland power unit could be out for year, The Australian, May 28th 2021.
Energy experts are baffled by the Callide C incident, saying turbine failure – or even boiler failure – at a relatively modern power station is extremely rare. “No examples come to mind internationally that I am aware of. It’s extremely rare,” says Global Roam managing director Paul McArdle.
Inside the Callide C power station disaster, Australian Financial Review, June 2nd 2021.
Upgrades to several software packages for MMS 5.0 compatibility
In a significant rule change for the entire market, settlement in the NEM will move from 30-minute to 5-minute intervals from October 1st, 2021. The change marks a shift in the market design and will be consequential for generators, large energy users, and other market participants. As such, our development team has been focused on making the necessary changes to the back and front-end of our software products to ensure they are compatible with the incoming MMS 5.0 Data Model released by the AEMO – this includes upgrading our ez2view, deSide and NEMwatch software, and helping our clients understand the incoming changes and potential tripwires, as Paul has discussed here on WattClarity.
New Software Engineer joins our ranks
We’re very happy to announce the newest member of our team, Adam Kent. Adam joins us as a Senior Software Engineer and will be based in Sydney. He has experience working on a diverse range of software applications and more recently has been involved with embedded programming. We’re excited to have Adam on board to extend the capabilities of our software team as we push forward through a very full program for the remainder of the year.
We’re always on the lookout for keen and capable people who can fit into our team and help us deliver more to our growing number of clients. Do you know of people who can work with us?
Development of Generator Insights 2021 continues
Many of our internal and external analysts are in the midst of their research and preliminary analysis that will form Generator Insights 2021. A short but incomplete list of topics that we are currently investigating includes the value of wind diversity, long-term trends in Marginal Loss Factors, and forced outage rates across the NEM.
Some headlines from around the market
- On June 2nd, the AEMO released the Preliminary Report: Trip of multiple generators and lines in Queensland and associated under-frequency load shedding on 25 May 2021.
- On May 27th, some mainstream media reports imply that Callide C4 Unit could be out for an extended period.
- On April 22nd, the AEMC published a draft determination about Fast Frequency Response (FFR). The rule change followed a request last year from Infigen Energy to address power system risks due to falling levels of inertia.
- On April 13th, the all-time record wind output for the entire NEM was broken when it hit 5,430 MW right before midnight.
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