RenewEconomy Widget

Explanation of the RenewEconomy-sponsored NEMwatch™ Widget

We appreciate the opportunity to work with RenewEconomy to provide what’s alternatively known by a wide group of people as the “RenewEconomy widget” or the “NEMwatch widget”.

On this page we’ve linked to answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about this widget

Here’s a smaller view of the widget, though note that you can control the size of the widget when you embed it into your site (just follow the instructions under the “</> Embed” button).

Explaining Supply and Demand

The widget was upgraded in late 2017* to show both the supply side and the demand side of the energy mix.

On DATE we posted this explainer about electricity supply(link to come). On 24th April 2018 we posted this detailed explainer about electricity demand.
We did this because many of the questions we’ve fielded about the widget relate to the demand side of the equation (for instance, many questions about why there is a “demand that AEMO doesn’t see” shown in the widget).

Both supply and demand are important, because they must always balance in real time for frequency to remain stable, as explained here:

* we updated the widget in late 2017 (as noted here) to coincide with the advent of the Hornsdale Power Reserve battery, which gets its own widget at the bottom of the page here.


Power Grids

This NEMwatch widget shows the supply and demand balance across Australia’s two main electricity grids:

1) In the east, Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) covers only ½ of the Australian land-mass but accounts for roughly 90% of electricity consumed across the country.

2) The second major grid is the South-West Interconnected System (SWIS) that supports Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) which supplies the cities of Perth and Fremantle, and surrounding areas of south-western WA. Note that this does not cover the whole of WA (there is a sizeable grid in the North-West, for instance), but it is the only data we have access to at this point.

3) We’re well aware that the widget does not provide visibility of the main grids in Northern Territory (and other remote grids, such as Mt Isa). If data does become available for them, we would seek to include them.


Cadence, Timestamps, and Data Points

The widget shows data aggregated together from several different providers – so the data has slightly different cadence and timestamps. We have designed the widget to show the most current data available – you can mouse-over a particular data point to understand more.

The following table provides a few pointers about different data sets – with more detail provided here on this page:

In Western Australia
(The WEM operates in local Perth time, which is UTC + 8 hours)

Supply Data for most of the fuel types is supplied by the AEMO West (formerly the IMO) and is of a 30-minute cadence.
This widget was updated (March 2015) to include “APVI Small Solar”, which is the estimated production from small-scale (i.e. predominantly rooftop) solar PV – described here .This estimate is actually supplied for the whole of Western Australia, but we have made the assumption (because of population density) that this is almost equivalent to production in the SWIS.
Demand Data Being an isolated grid, supply always equals demand in the SWIS.

Across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania (the NEM).
(The NEM operates in Eastern Standard Time (UTC + 10 hours) and does not shift with daylight savings. Hence for clarity it is known as “NEM time”)

Supply Data for most of the fuel types is supplied by the AEMO East and is of 5 minute cadence.

1) It comes from the AEMO’s “Initial MW” SCADA readings taken from most of the larger generators that operate in the NEM and are allocated to respective Fuel Types using information in our Generator Catalog.

2) In some cases where generation by a particular fuel type is relatively small (such as the case of the few bagasse-fired power stations in QLD that have data reported by AEMO) we have taken the step of leaving them classified as “Other” to save space in the legend.

3) Where a new station appears with fuel type that is not yet set, it will appear as fuel type “Other” for an interim period.

This widget was updated (March 2015) to include “APVI Small Solar”, which is the estimated production from small-scale (i.e. predominantly rooftop) solar PV – described here .

Demand What is shown as “AEMO Operational Demand” is a number we calculate from unit level data in order to ensure that we can correctly provide visibility to consumption for charging of storage (either battery charging, or pumping to pumped storage hydro). This means that the figure for AEMO Operational Demand does not match to a single raw data field published by AEMO.

Pumping to pumped storage hydro, being a scheduled load, is reported explicitly by AEMO.
Similarly, charging of large-scale batteries (starting with Hornsdale Power Reserve) is reported explicitly by AEMO.

Finally, there are a number of points of consumption that the AEMO can’t see (especially in real time) – such as where it is supplied by generators that operate “behind the meter”. Small-scale PV is one example of this, but there are others (such as embedded generation on industrial sites). As we are able to access (or estimate) other aspects of this, we will evolve our representation.

Inter-Regional Flows The NEM operates as 5 interconnected “regions” approximating state boundaries (with the ACT part of the NSW region).

By seeing the difference between supply and demand in a particular region, you are able to understand the extent to which the region is importing (or exporting) at that time.

All data is shown as close to your current viewing time as possible.


If you have more questions?

If you have more questions about this widget, please drop us a line using this feedback form, remembering to provide us a phone number we can reach you on if we have questions about your suggestions.


You might also find the ECA Widget of some value?

Supply and demand for electricity are inextricably linked on an instantaneous basis – hence the combination of these two data points in the RenewEconomy widget.

In a similar way, there is a tight relationship between weather patterns (and particularly temperature) and levels of electricity consumption. That’s the reason we worked with Energy Consumers Australia to put together the “ECA Widget” described here.


Can we help you with your own widget?

Perhaps we can help you through the development, for you, of a widget that focuses on a particular point of interest you have in the competitive energy market?

If so, please call us on +61 (0)7 3368 4064 to discuss.