Events of Winter 2002 in the NEM.
Articles by Paul McArdle
Our Managing Director was asked to speak at the “Queensland Energy” conference in Brisbane on Wednesday 12th March – specifically addressing the topic of price volatility in the NEM.
To provide the basis of discussion during the conference, we focused our analysis solely on Queensland region (to make the topic more manageable).
In our review of volatility in the Queensland region, we focused specifically on 3 core attributes of the market: Queensland dispatch prices; NEM-Wide Instantaneous Reserve Plant Margin; and the concept of “Economic Islands”.
Over the period of summer 2005-06, we prepared a number of articles about other occasions of note in the NEM. These articles are linked here.
Summer 2007-08 was really a story of two different summers, with very mild temperatures experienced in the north (resulting in low levels of demand) but with sweltering temperatures in the…
In Queensland we experienced one of the mildest summers I can remember. As a result of this, demand levels were subdued for most of summer. However, for a couple of days in late February, summer finally arrived, and struck with a vengeance.
Here’s some articles about the impact of the drought on the NEM – culminating in a stepped change in prices, and changes to dispatch patterns, etc…
Following from the interest generated in the article published in the AFR, we completed some analysis of the trend in IRPM over the history of the NEM up until June 2007.
The results of this analysis revealed that at no time before 2007 had the IRPM even dropped below 12% and that, except for the 2-day period (19th and 20th June) the IRPM had not dropped below 10%.
For two remarkable winter evenings in 2007 (19th and 20th June specifically) NEM-Wide Instantaneous Reserve Plant Margin (IRPM) plunged to the lowest levels ever seen in the NEM (a mere…
Our second review was prepared in conjunction with the release of NEM-Watch version 7 (including the new NEM-Watch portal at www.NEM-Watch.info) in March 2007.
We compiled a week-by-week summary of interesting events that occurred in the NEM – from 19th November 2006 through until 16th January 2007 (the day of the blackout).
Our first review, linked here, was prepared the night of the blackout itself, and provides a chronological history of events, as seen through the NEM-Watch™ application.
Note about the NOUS Group report on the blackout in Victoria of 16th January 2007
Victoria experiences a large blackout in the afternoon and evening of 16 January 2007, when bush fires cause three main transmission lines to trip. This created chaos throughout much of…
There was a temperature-driven spike in demand across the NEM later in the week beginning Sunday 7th January – culminating in the summer’s first demand peak above 30,000MW (on Thursday 11th January).
On this occasion, the spot price spiked above $1000/MWh in Queensland, NSW, Snowy and Victoria,
There was a temperature-driven spike in demand in South Australia on Friday 8th December 2006.
However, demand also spiked on other days in the week, and on those occasions did not lead to the price spikes seen on the Friday.
For several days in early December, temperatures reaching 40 degrees in Queensland and New South Wales cause airconditioning load (and hence total demand) to soar in both regions.
The high demands resulted in very high prices being experienced in both QLD and NSW (and also the SNOWY region). Both VIC and SA were insulated from the high prices because (at least in part) of the fact that transfers over the SNOVIC interconnector were constrained to minimise negative inter-regional surplus
There was a temperature-driven spike in demand in NSW on Tuesday 21st November 2006.
These sweltering temperatures combined with bushfires to cause localised blackouts in the Sydney city area, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald in the article “Power jitters as heat bites”.
From the start of the NEM through until 2001, the NEM was typified by a pricing dichotomy with sustained rock-bottom pricing in NSW, Snowy and Victoria and high and volatile pricing in the extremities (Queensland and South Australia).
In 2001, the QNI interconnection and many generation projects were developed. This led to the convergence of prices between all regions, and the disappearance of price volatility – circumstances that were a real threat to generator profitability.
In response, generators adopted an approach that came to be known as “the economic withholding of capacity” to engineer volatility into the market throughout winter 2002 – and hence higher prices as a result., and generator behaviour.
There was a high level in demand in Victoria on Thursday 26th January 2006.
This was especially remarkable, considering that it was an Australia Day public holiday – when commercial (though not industrial or residential) demand could be expected to be somewhat lower than would otherwise be the case.
Coupled with this level of demand was a significant spike in price that lasted several hours.
This week saw a new record demand in NSW of 13,292MW on Thursday 2nd February. Correspondingly, average prices were above $100/MWh in both NSW and Queensland – but the price spikes did not transfer to the southern regions.