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Electricity demand continues to rise in Australia

The February 2016 Carbon Emissions Index (CEDEX®) Report by pitt&sherry; and The Australia Institute (TAI) has found that national electricity demand continues to rise on average by 0.17% per month, and although emissions fell slightly in the year to 31 January 2016 as a result of decreased brown coal generation and increased hydro generation, electricity emissions overall have experienced an upward trajectory since their lowest point in June 2014.

National

  • Electricity demand continues to climb nationally, with demand increasing on average by 0.17% per month

  • Although emissions fell slightly in the year to 31 January 2016, due to decreased brown coal generation and increased hydro generation, emissions overall have risen steadily since their lowest point in June 2014

  • Electricity emissions could be reduced by improving energy efficiency standards as well as increasing generation from renewable sources.

Tasmania

  • In recent months, Tasmania’s electricity supply system has been severely impacted by lack of run-off into hydro water storages, caused by abnormally dry conditions throughout last winter and spring

  • A breakdown of Basslink in December 2015, which the state was relying upon to draw electricity supply from Victoria to compensate for low hydro generation, resulted in an increase in gas-fired generation at high cost

  • pitt&sherry suggest that one remedy for the above situation is to increase Tasmania’s wind generation capacity, which would be complementary to its hydro resource.

The Report contains data for emissions from electricity generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM) up to the end of January 2016.

Dr Hugh Saddler, Principal Consultant, Energy Strategies at pitt&sherry, said that January 2016 was the eleventh successive month to record an increase in total demand for electricity in the National Electricity Market.

“Total annual electricity demand is now 2.0% higher than the minimum level recorded eleven months ago, a sustained rate of increase which has not been seen for nearly seven years. Queensland is driving this increase, with demand being 4.5% higher than in the year to February 2015, as it continues to use electric motors for the extraction of coal seam gas. Without Queensland, the other four NEM states combined still recorded an increase in annual demand of 0.6% over the same period.”

Dr Saddler commented that, putting aside Queensland gas industry demand, making more progress on mandatory energy efficiency standards for new buildings and equipment in Australia would help reduce electricity demand and related emissions.

“Energy efficiency standards for new buildings and equipment can significantly lower electricity demand and emissions, as well as reduce power bills for consumers, especially on very hot days. Unfortunately, national progress in this area has been at a standstill for some time and is now showing up in rising electricity demand and emissions.”

Dr Saddler also noted that while emissions had slightly decreased this month, due to decreased brown coal generation and increased hydro generation as a result of various market forces, this is likely a temporary reprieve, and from the end of March, at latest, electricity emissions will most probably continue to rise in line with their trajectory over the past 18 months.

Getting the electricity mix right in Tasmania

In recent months, Tasmania’s electricity supply system has been severely impacted by lack of run-off into hydro water storages, caused by abnormally dry conditions throughout last winter and spring. To compensate for this, Tasmania drew nearly 40% between 25-40% of its electricity supply from Victoria, via Basslink throughout last October and November. A breakdown of Basslink in December 2015, however, meant that Tasmania was forced to increase supply from hydro generation while kick-starting its gas-fired generators, at significant cost.

According to Dr Saddler, this scenario could be avoided by increasing wind generation capacity in the State, with the added benefit of reducing electricity emissions long-term as there would be limited need to rely on brown coal generation from Victoria.

“Wind generation is an ideal complement to hydro with storage,” he commented. “In windy conditions, hydro can be turned back, allowing storages to replenish, and subsequently generate at higher levels when there is little or no wind.”

For more information please click on the link below.

https://www.pittsh.com.au/news/cedex/

For further information
contact the specialist —
Robert Nicholson Technical Director Energy Services

Mobile 0418 224 795
Email rnicholson@pittsh.com.au

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