I was grateful to be asked to participate in another discussion, this week, about where demand is headed in the NEM – following on from the comments I have made previously on WattClarity®.
Most recently, I posted this analysis of the pattern of demand on a regional basis, and observed that (at least for the three largest regions) a common pattern could be observed in terms of flattening growth rates (at all but the peakiest of peaks) since 2006 – and perhaps a slight decline recently.
Coincident to the discussions this week, I came across some historical records of peak demand in Queensland that pre-dates the NEM by a number of years. I have presented these here for your reference:
Note that I am reasonably confident (though not 100% sure) that the numbers shown in these charts are an “apples to apples” comparison of peak demand on an as-generated basis. Please bear this in mind.
1) QLD – calendar year basis
As seen in the chart below, with almost 15 additional years of history added, we can find a similar pattern of lower load growth from the early 1990s (a period of softening demand growth that led to the deferral, for a couple of years, of the construction of the Stanwell power station).
In this light, it is understandable that a number of generation project developers are talking, now, about projects moving slowly, or being on hold.
2) QLD – financial year basis
I separately found some records that went back even further, on a financial year basis – these are represented in the second chart.
As is indicated in this chart, it does appear that the growth seen from around 1999 to 2005 was higher (on average), than the growth experienced over any other 5 year block of time.
Perhaps we should be considering what factors (such as the introduction of major industrial loads in mining, minerals processing or other industries) occurred in that period at a higher rate or concentration than in any other?
If someone can point me at a similar history for each of the other regions, I would be most appreciative.