GenInsights Quarterly Update for 2023 Q4 released

A belated note this quarter that we’ve* finalised GenInsights Quarterly Update for 2023 Q4, provided subscribers access to the report, and delivered the Executive Briefing required for one of our clients:

* noting again that this was a collaborative effort between some of us at Global-Roam Pty Ltd (the producers of WattClarity) and the analytical team at Greenview Strategic Consulting.


This is now the seventh in the series of quarterly updates, and follows:

1)  We first published the 2022 Q2 Update (132 pages);

2)  Then the 2022 Q3 Update (204 pages), including an additional Appendix for ‘One Year on from 5MS

3)  Then the 2022 Q4 update … which was released on 14th February 2023 (198 pages)

4)  Then the 2023 Q1 update … which was released on 31st May 2023 (258 pages).

5)  Then the 2023 Q2 update … which we released on 24th Aug 2023 (now up to 272 pages).

6)  Then the 2023 Q3 update … which we delivered in Dec 2023  (now up to 282 pages).

7)  Which brings us to this 2023 Q4 update (now up to 304 pages).

These quarterly updates seek to update and extend some of the analysis published in our widely-read GenInsights21 publication, which  built on the popular GRC2018 (which was released on 31st May 2019).


(A)  What’s in GenInsights 2023 Q4?

Here’s a quick view of the content:


This report (supplied to subscribers as an integrated PDF) at the following address:

The report contains:

(1)  An Executive Summary including 6 Key Observations; and

(2)  Six appendices which each explore different aspects of the energy transition through the detailed analysis of historical data.

These 7 components are explained more below:


. About this Component
Executive Summary

+ Chronological Summary

28 pages

(a new feature in this Quarterly Update)

The Main Report is double the size in 2023 Q4 than for 2023 Q3, because it now includes both:

1)  An Executive Summary includes 6 x Key Observations that have been gleaned from what has been observed through the evolution of the focussed quarter.

These Key Observations follow in the vein of:

(a)   the 22 x Key Observations included in GenInsights21, and

(b)  the 14 x Key Themes in the earlier GRC2018.

2)  But also a tabulated Chronological Summary for the quarter in focus, which:

(a)  Lists each of the 92 days in the quarter;

(b)  Highlights the most significant days, across all of the metrics we analyse; and

(c)  Provides an index into further commentary in the report

Appendix 1

49 pages

NEM Heartbeat

In this appendix we take a look at a number of different ‘heartbeat’ metrics that help to identify the overall health of the NEM, including:

1)  Weather factors (like temperature)

2)  Prices

3)  System inertia


With GVSC we’ve been analysing system inertia as far back as in the GRC2018, as highlighted with this article of August 2019.

More recently the AEMO has been publishing its own derivation … which allowed us (beginning with the 2022 Q4 Update) to begin highlighting how the two different measures compare:

(a)  Our bottom-up estimate, showing contribution from different types of plant; and

(b)  The AEMO’s published regional aggregate.

With data from the 2023 Q1 update, on 20th July 2023 Jonathon Dyson published his article ‘Let’s talk about inertia’ via WattClarity – including a review the lowest inertia in Q1 202 (on 4th March 2023 both NEMwide, and in SA).

Future Quarterly Updates continue this process.


4)  Frequency Performance, which is topical given exploration by others, such as Allan O’Neil in February 2023.

5)  Instantaneous Reserve Plant Margin (IRPM) … following from its inclusion in the 2022 Q3 update:


With respect to IRPM, here’s a sample of what’s been posted on WattClarity referenced back to GenInsights:

(a)  With respect to the 2022 Q3 update, one small snippet of the content of that Update was shared with WattClarity readers on 6th November 2022 in the article ‘Long-range trend of Instantaneous Reserve Plant Margin (IRPM) and focus on Q3 2022 – from GenInsights Quarterly’.

(b)  As discussed in Appendix 1 for the 2022 Q4 Update, what a different quarter this one was!

(c)  On 3rd Feb 2024 in compilation of the 2023 Q4 Update, we posted about ‘Sky-high IRPM in the middle of the day, Sunday 1st October 2023’.


6)  Following its addition in the preceding 2023 Q2 release, we continue analysis of LOR status (both actual and forecast):

7)  new to the 2023 Q3 release, we have added in analysis of the NEM-wide ‘% VRE’ for the focused quarter.


During 2023 Q3 in relation to % VRE the early days of July 2023 particularly stood out, as a result of which we’ve progressively added successive stages of a Case Study on WattClarity:

(a)  on 6th November 2023 we posted  ‘Case Study (part 1) of low % VRE NEM-wide on 3rd and 4th July 2023’.

(a)  on 7th December 2023 we posted  ‘Case Study (Part 2) of Low % VRE NEM-wide on 3rd and 4th July 2023’.

(c)  with more to come …


8)  Also added in the 2023 Q3 release has been analysis of Interventions in the market over the preceding 12 month period.

… + others.

Appendix 2

30 pages

The changing shape of Grid Demand

In this appendix we take a look at the changing nature of Grid Demand, which necessitates looking into:

1)  Different shapes of demand:

(a)  Starting with ‘Grid Demand’

(b)  But then also analysing Rooftop PV shapes to also assess ‘Underlying Demand’.

2)  Beginning with the 2022 Q4 Update, we’ve also added in some analysis of the forecastability of ‘Operational Demand’

… this uses a method of ‘Forecast Convergence’ we introduced in GenInsights21 to assess the changing challenges of forecasting what ‘Operational Demand’ will be 24 hours from the point of dispatch.

Appendix 3

78 pages


Wind and Large Solar

In this appendix we take a look at different aspects of the performance of Wind and Large Solar assets (separately and together), including:

1)  Production

2)  Commercial Performance


With respect to these unit-level statistics for 2023 Q3, on Tuesday 5th December 2023 we posted how  ‘Rooftop Solar is crushing* the returns for Large-Scale VRE’.


3)  Curtailment

4)  Self-Forecasting

… and in particular for 2023 Q1 what changes in usage patterns can we see for those Solar Farms and Wind Farms who have deployed self-forecasting – given:

(a) AEMO upgraded its AWEFS and ASEFS forecasting systems on 23rd November 2022; and

(b) The 3-month long ‘Grace Period’ ended on 23rd February 2023

5)  ‘Forecast Convergence‘ for aggregate VRE Capability

(a)  how accurate are the AEMO’s forecasts of Wind + Large Solar capability across the NEM, 24 hours from the point of dispatch?

(b)  given the growing installed capacity, with more Wind and Solar Farms being developed, to what extent is this challenge growing?

6)  Aggregate Raw Off-Target

(a)  in these Quarterly Updates, we continue to watch what’s happening in terms of collective deviation from Target across all the Wind and Solar Farms – updating and extending the analysis covered in WattClarity articles to 2020.

(b)  Following the 2022 Q4 Update, we shared ‘some revelations in GenInsights Q4 2022 about Aggregate Raw Off-Target for Semi-Scheduled Units’

(c)  Following the 2023 Q3 Update, we shared ‘Case Study (part 1) of large collective under-performance for Semi-Scheduled assets on Friday 18th August 2023’ … and will (time permitting) explore more about this event under this category on WattClarity.

(d) In the compilation of the 2023 Q4 Update, we shared ‘A long-range trend of large instances of Aggregate Raw Off-Target (AggROT) across all Semi-Scheduled units.

(e) On 25th Feb 2024 we shared both:
>>  ‘Tuesday 31st October 2023 sees the only two instances (in Q4, and all year) of AggROT for Semi-Scheduled units < -500MW.
>>  ‘Large instances of collective under-performance across all Semi-Scheduled units on Sunday 24th December 2023.

+ more to come.

Appendix 4

41 pages

Firming (or dispatchable) Capacity

In this appendix we take a look at different aspects of the performance of (fully) Scheduled assets (at various levels of bundling), including:

1)  Performance specifically through Q4

2)  Aggregate Scheduled Target (AggSchedTarget):

(a)  In absolute terms


With respect to the 2023 Q1 update, there are three snippets to be shared here on WattClarity:

i.  On 14th May 2023 we shared how ‘we’re not building enough replacement dispatchable capacity’

ii.  On Wed 31st May 2023, we shared ‘Digging further into ‘Aggregate Scheduled Target’, to understand what Dispatchable Capacity is actually required’

iii.  On Wed 30th Aug 2023, we shared Case Study of high AggSchedTarget on Thu 30th Jan 2020 and Fri 31st Jan 2020 (part 1!)’ and will continue with more analysis to be collated under this category on WattClarity.

iv.  On Fri 8th March 2023, we shared ‘Case Study of Sunday 12th November 2023 (lowest point for Aggregate Scheduled Target in 2023)’ as one very interesting day in 2023 Q4.


(b)  Ramping from one Dispatch Interval to the next


During 2023 Q3 we found 7th, 8th and 9th Sept 2023 particularly of interest, such that we started an evolving Case Study as follows:

i.  on Tue 14th Nov 2023 we shared  ‘Case Study (part 1) of Aggregate Scheduled Target on Friday 8th September 2023’ .

i.  on 6th Dec 2023 we shared  ‘Case Study – Severe Weather Challenges Day-Ahead Forecasts for 7, 8, 9 September 2023 .

iii.  This ‘Case Study of Sunday 12th November 2023 (lowest point for Aggregate Scheduled Target in 2023)’ also included a view of some large 5-minute ramps (up and down) in AggSchedTarget.

iv.  On Fri 8th March 2023, we also shared ‘Case Study of Friday 8th Dec 2023 (big gyrations in Aggregate Scheduled Target)’ as one very interesting day in 2023 Q4.


(c)  Daily ramping (i.e. MIN requirement to MAX requirement over the day)

3) Forecastability of AggSchedTarget

(a)  During 2023 Q3 we found 7th, 8th and 9th Sept 2023 particularly challenging as a result of the forecastability


4)  Firming capacity development schedule, matched with coal closure schedule.

(a)  In compiling the report for 2023 Q4, we shared a waterfall chart of Firming Capacity installed capacity base in this article about Engie’s closure of Snuggery and Port Lincoln.


Appendix 5

39 pages

Coal Units

The 44 x coal units still operational in the NEM in Q1 2023 (down 3 units, after 3 units at Liddell closed in 2023 Q2) are a special subset of dispatchable plant that have been addressed in more detail in this particular Appendix – because:

1)  They still provide a large share of the Energy consumed in the NEM (and also the ‘Keeping the Lights on Services’);

2)  But suffer from the big drawback of high emissions intensity.

What this contains includes:

1)  Performance specifically through the quarter in focus

2)  Coal unit ‘dependability’

In the 180-page analytical component of the GRC2018 we included an extensive focus on the changing nature of different aspects of coal unit ‘dependability’.  This was extended and updated in GenInsights21.

Now, in each quarter, we’re extending and updating further, with the inclusion of analysis of:

(a)  Changing levels of Unavailability


Following the 2022 Q4 update, on Mon 6th March 2023 we shared ‘Unavailability of coal units hits 24% across calendar 2022 (but they are *not* collectively tripping more often)’ … and we continue to track how this metric is changing as successive quarters roll past.


(b)  Three different metrics that help to indicate the changing rate of ‘Sudden Failure’:

i.  number of Starts,

ii.  number of ‘Sudden Trip’, and

iii. Aggregate Raw Off-Target.

… in the compilation of the 2023 Q4 Update, we shared ‘A 20-year trend of large instances of Aggregate Raw Off-Target (AggROT) across 44 x coal units to 31st Dec 2023.

(c)  Recently added to these Quarterly Updates, we’re now also separating out all hours in the quarter for each of the remaining coal units into three categories (Operational, Planned Outage and Forced Outage), which makes it clearer which units appear to be  struggling and which units don’t appear to be struggling.


Some of this information was shared on Thu 19th Oct 2023 in the article ‘Two pieces of information (about Eraring Power Station) from the Origin Energy 2023 AGM’ … following the 2023 Q2 update.


3)  We also look at ‘Forecast Convergence‘ for Aggregate Coal Unit Availability across these ‘still operational’ coal units for this quarter.

4)  Each quarter we take an updated look at the Closure Schedule.

Appendix 6

38 pages

Network Dynamics

In this Appendix, we look at:

1)  Regional Energy Balances

2)  Regional Transfer Duration Curves

3)  Specific interconnector operations

… including (continuing from the 2023 Q1 update), the impact of various types of constraint

4)  Renewable energy congestion

… to augment what has been provided in Appendix 3

5)  note that there’s no new information this quarter about Marginal Loss Factors (MLFs) in this issue, but has been in other updates when new information is available.

… and in future Editions will add in other aspects.


Hopefully this has provided some sense of what’s included in this Quarterly Update for 2023 Q4.


(B)  How to order?

Please contact us if you have more questions on the above, and please complete this order form and return to us to secure your order, remembering to flag which option you prefer:

Option 1 = Document only (as integrated PDF); or

Option 2 = both:

(a)  Document (as integrated PDF) +

(b)  Executive Briefing (noting that this is subject to availability).


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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