NQ transmission grid escapes unscathed, but demand is very low

Following the passage of TC Yasi across the coastline overnight, AEMO published this market notice at 5:14 to notify the market that the main transmission backbone running up the coast of Queensland had remained intact.

In this old screen from our ez2view software, we see the situation this morning:

2011-03-04 at 06-35 low demand in NQ

[Data shown for zones and links within Queensland are sourced from Powerlink]

We see the cells for the zones of Far North, Ross and North coloured in dark blue – which signifies that the zones are experiencing exceptionally low demand (at a level significantly lower than it has been for a large number of years). Contrast this to Gladstone, for instance, where the pace of industrial development (and a humid night) mean that the demand is high there, relative to its history.

We can see that demand in “Ross” (including Townsville) and “Far North” (including Cairns) continued to trend down overnight – compared with the levels at 22:30 yesterday – to reach levels of around 55MW each. A quick scan of history shows that demand in Ross has not otherwise been below 200MW since at least the start of 2006, and demand in Far North not below 100MW.

Keep in mind that these low levels of demand will be due to the loss of supply to numerous locations, but also due to residents and businesses voluntarily having disconnected yesterday afternoon/evening, and it not being safe enough to reconnect yet.

In what might be a sign that it has escaped major damage, the “North” zone (including Mackay) can be seen to be powering up again this morning.  A scan of history shows that demand in “North” dropped to a lower level in March 2010 (80MW at its lowest) as a result of TC Ului.

We also note that all power generation in Northern Queensland is offline, except for a small amount of output from Collinsville (i.e. the hydros in Far North are not running, nor are the Mt Stuart and Yabulu generators in Ross).  This could be due to low demand in the area, or due to local safety reasons (as the strong winds persist).

As a final note, we see more high prices predicted for later today…

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.

2 Comments on "NQ transmission grid escapes unscathed, but demand is very low"

  1. PS – this morning the Age reports that it is at least 170,000 people without power

  2. PS – also Powerlink’s tweets clarify that the 275kV network is ok, but the 132kV network has some issues.

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