With the 2023 ESOO report, different views about which USE figure should the AEMO have led with?

Note that I have this out as a separate, short article for several purposes – including that it will be more directly referenceable in future.

It’s meant to tie in with today’s broader review of the 2023 ESOO here (which is still being completed).


It’s not really any surprise to us that the AEMO projections are looking pretty dire … assuming just what is currently committed proceeds.

On page 7/175 (in the Executive Summary) the AEMO led with the following trend of modelled USE (unserved energy) across the monte-carlo simulations they ran:


This they called Figure 1 … as a result of which it’s no surprise we see a number of news article headlines (such as we listed here) warning of ‘blackouts’ and so on …


Now some social media commentators (like Christaan Zuur, and like Dave Smith) have raised objections about why the AEMO has led with their ‘central scenario’ instead of what they present on p11/175 (still in the Executive Summary) as a sensitivity scenario in Figure 2:


For those not up with the AEMO lingo – this sensitivity scenario includes the modelled effect if all of the following additional boosts were to proceed:

1)  ‘Actionable transmission’ include projects like HumeLink, Marinus Link, and VNI West … despite some doubts about these.

2)  ‘forecast growth in consumer investments’ … despite AEMO noting (p92/175) that…

… ‘AEMO does not assume for reliability forecasting purposes that sufficient coordination and orchestration of these devices is successfully enabled to meet power system needs, including via VPPs and coordinated EV charging (and discharging in some V2G applications).’ (my emphasis added)

3)  ‘Firming and some renewable energy developments that have specific funding, development or contracting arrangements under federal, state and territory government schemes and programs’ … despite others noting challenges with these projects, as well …

… for instance, David Leitch noted in this useful article yesterday (Wed 30th Aug) that some projects contracted to supply under VRET2 are actually not proceeding.


Don’t have time to wade further into that rabbit hole at this time – other than to say that:

Headline #1)   AEMO has (in my view) led with the more appropriate figure (and that journalists are also correct in highlighting the risks that have been apparent for some time – yes, that does mean using the term ‘blackout’ – and which are now reflected in the ESOO 2023).

Headline #2)  to pretend otherwise would be (in my view) negligent.

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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