Market chaos as blackouts push coal production to record high, despite new wind spikes

The electricity price chaos plaguing Australian energy markets continued over the weekend and into the new week as new data showed how multiple blackouts pushed coal generation to a record in the main network of the country.

Energy authorities and analysts say responsibility for Australia’s record electricity prices reflects a mix of international events, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the resulting high coal and gas prices results in the Australian market, and additional local issues such as multiple coal blackouts and coal supply shortages.

Coal generation in the national power market hit a record high – both seven-day moving average and 24-hour average – highlighting issues with supply, maintenance and generation of the fleet of aging coal in the country.

According to NEMLog’s Geoff Eldridge, the average share of coal in the NEM fell to 52% over a 24-hour period and 55% over a seven-day rolling average. Both figures are record lows.

Around the same time, wind energy is also posting new records – this time for maximum rather than minimum output – although the surge has offered only temporary respites from high prices due to the dominant influence of expensive coal and gas which generally controls pricing. .

According to NEMLog data, wind hit a record 25.2% share of NEM output for the 24 hours to 6:30 p.m. AEST on Sunday, while South Australia and Victoria recorded state records at the continuation of the great front that swept through the weekend.

South Australia, which went from feat to famine last week (its wind output fell to less than a megawatt last Tuesday evening) posted a new record peak of 1,934 MW at 2105 AEST on Saturday, and 24-hour production through 1630 AEST Sunday was a record average of 96.1%.

Source: NEM Log. Please click to open.

However, prices in the state remained volatile after Australia’s energy market operator declared a “protected event” for the “potential loss of several transmission lines” due to damaging winds.

His intervention changed the generational mix and was designed to avoid any risk of a repeat of the 2016 statewide blackout.

However, as WattClarity documented, there were many different failures across a range of generators – both gas and wind – which added complexity to the situation.

In Victoria, a new peak instantaneous wind power output was also recorded at 0030 AEST on Sunday, when output reached 2,970.9MW, more than 242MW above its previous record set on May 156 this year.

That gust of wind — averaging over 2,500 MW for more than 12 hours — was enough to push prices into negative territory in that state before gas producers pushed it back above $400. /MWh to cover their newly inflated production cost.

So far in June, average wholesale prices in New South Wales have been $470/MWh, up almost 50% from the already high level of $320/MWh on average in May.

In Queensland they rose to $443/MWh from 347 MWh in May, and even in South Australia they rose to $320/MWh.

Coal outages over the past seven days have included Loy Yang A Unit 2, Yallourn Unit 1 and Loy Yang Unit 1 in Victoria, as well as Callide B Unit 2, the unit 4 of Callide, units 3 and 4 of Gladstone and unit 1 of Millmerran. service for the entire period in Queensland.

Eldridge says Tarong Unit 2 was taken out of service on Saturday and there also appears to be a significant reduction in production at Kogan Creek on Thursday and Saturday.

In NSW, Bayswater Unit 3 and Liddell Unit 4 were out of service throughout the period. During the week, Unit 3 at Eraring was returned to service last Tuesday and Unit 2 at Mt Piper on Saturday.

AGL said Unit 4 at the Liddell Generating Station was taken out of service 3 weeks ago due to a malfunctioning generator transformer, and the unit is expected to be back in service in the second fortnight of July.

“We are also carrying out major planned maintenance and an upgrade to Unit 3 at Bayswater Power Station,” a spokesperson said.

“This type of work is planned well in advance and mainly upgrades the turbine and the digital control system. This means that there is one unit out of service, but we expect it to be back in service in the coming weeks. »

Origin announced last week that output from the nation’s largest generator, Eraring, would be severely curtailed by mining issues at its main coal supplier, Centennial.

#Market #chaos #blackouts #push #coal #production #record #high #wind #spikes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *