New record electricity demand in Queensland today (Monday 18th)

Bit of a hot one in QLD today (Monday 18th January 2010), driving demand to a new all-time record as air-conditioners worked overtime around the state to keep us cool.

Overnight we saw the demand somewhat higher in relative terms than the rest of the NEM, with humidity high by virtue of overnight thunderstorms (which resulted in capacity being reduced from Calvale to Tarong as a standard precautionary measure).  The following snapshot was taken from NEM-Watch v8 at 05:05AM market time.

 2010-01-18 at 05-05 NEM-Watch

As the day started, we saw the price jump in QLD in the early morning as a precursor for what would come in the afternoon.  The following snapshot (at 08:40 market time) shows the QLD price spiked to $1774.66/MWh and the demand already climbing sharply (in contrast to the rate of increase shown for VIC and NSW).

2010-01-18 at 08-40 NEM-Watch

By 11:40 market time (below), we see demand in QLD (8667MW on a “dispatch target” basis) was close to the all-time maximum demand recorded previously (that of 8857MW, on the same “dispatch target” basis). 

The red colour of the QLD region compared to the milder colours of the other regions clearly show how the weather (and hence demand) pattern in QLD had separated significantly from the pattern seen in the south of the country.  Demand in NSW and VIC is shown to be relatively flat through the day to this point in time (which explains why the NEM-Wide demand had only reached a very mild 27,388MW).

2010-01-18 at 11-40 NEM-Watch

By 12:25 market time (below) we see that prices in QLD had begun to climb (to $280/MWh) as a result of the high demand (though note that there is shown to be a 27% Instantaneous Reserve Plant Margin (IRPM), or spare capacity, in the QLD “Economic Island”).

The QLD demand (8823MW) was only 34MW below the all-time maximum.

2010-01-18 at 12-25 NEM-Watch

At 12:35 market time (below) we see that demand in QLD (8867MW) was now 10MW above the previous record demand – and looking likely to continue climbing into the afternoon.

2010-01-18 at 12-35 NEM-Watch

By 13:15 market time (below) we see demand well and truly above the previous record (8919MW) and prices having spiked, as well (to $8001/MWh). 

Meanwhile, demand and price in the other regions is seen to be very subdued.   As such, NEM-wide demand is still a very modest 27,571MW.

This is another example of how, it seems, the weather patterns in QLD are predominantly independent from weather in the south – meaning that spikes in demand in QLD are not likely to drive a new record NEM-Wide demand (as distinct from what happened in VIC and SA in January 2009 when new record demand in those regions drove a new record NEM-wide demand). 

2010-01-18 at 13-15 NEM-Watch

At 13:30 we see demand drop back a little (perhaps as a result of demand side response triggered by the price spike).

2010-01-18 at 13-30 NEM-Watch

That’s all I have time for today – check your own copy of NEM-Watch for more real-time updates!

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

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