Japanese Australia’s wholesale energy costs elevated within the June quarter, though they remained effectively beneath the extent reached through the power disaster a yr earlier, the Australian Vitality Regulator has stated.
New South Wales posted the best spot pricing with a median of $148 a megawatt-hour, up from simply over $100/MWh through the first three months of the yr. Throughout final winter’s power squeeze, costs averaged about $320/MWh.
For the June quarter, Queensland and South Australia’s wholesale costs averaged about $140/MWh, Victoria’s slightly below $100, whereas Tasmania’s had been most cost-effective at $65.
In the course of the interval, AGL closed the ultimate models of its Liddell coal-fired energy station in NSW’s Hunter valley, contributing to the uptick in costs for the quarter, the AER stated.
Nonetheless, provide circumstances weren’t as tight as a yr in the past when delayed upkeep at ageing coal-fired energy stations mixed with an prolonged chilly climate snap, which pushed up power demand. Wind power was additionally decrease than anticipated.
“We’ve seen far fewer coal generator outages and extra coal capability supplied into the market than the identical interval final yr,” stated AER board member Justin Oliver. “There are robust gasoline flows between states and excessive gasoline storage ranges at [Victoria’s] Iona facility, which is important for managing supply-demand shocks.”
The pickup in wholesale costs had been mirrored within the up to date default retail energy costs supplied throughout the japanese states. These have risen by 1 / 4 or extra because the begin of July even whereas wholesale costs have began to path off.
The rise in spot costs got here even with the federal authorities imposing value caps for home use of gasoline at $12 a gigajoule and $125 a tonne of black coal since January. The gasoline value restrict has been prolonged to 2025 whereas the coal cap will lapse after 12 months.
Regardless of the cap, east coast gasoline market spot costs averaged about $14.50/GJ within the April-June interval, up from about $12 through the March quarter, the AER report stated.
“Excessive Might costs had been largely the results of manufacturing constraints at Longford [in Victoria] mixed with pipeline capability constraints on the Moomba-to-Sydney pipeline,” the report stated. “This resulted in downstream costs in southern markets rising above $19/GJ, earlier than pipeline capability will increase in June lowered upwards value stress.”
Gasoline demand trailed off in June, partly due to milder temperatures, sending gasoline costs beneath $10/GJ.
Japanese Australia had its warmest ever June by most temperatures, based on the Bureau of Meteorology.
In Victoria, a state where many residents rely on gas for heating, minimum temperatures were 1.77C above the 1961-90 average. That was the state’s fifth warmest June by overnight temperatures on record and the mildest since 2014.
Renewable sources continued their advance, with 1,100 megawatts of new capacity in the form of solar, wind energy and batteries added in the quarter.
Wind output reached record levels in June in the national electricity market. The output of solar and wind energy was also on average 745MW greater than for the same quarter last year, the AER said.
The chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton, told an energy summit in Sydney that Australia wasn’t building renewable energy quickly enough “to replace failing coal and expensive gas, ensuring reliability and driving down power prices”.
“Over recent years we have been averaging around 3 gigawatts of rooftop solar and 3GW of large-scale renewables per year,” he said on Tuesday. “That needs to double to put us on track to 82% renewable energy by 2030.”
However, despite the need to double the pace of investments, a range of headwinds including drawn-out planning approvals meant new project commitments were actually slowing.
“Just 0.4GW of new large-scale renewable energy projects have been committed in the first half of 2023,” Thornton said. “That’s a long way short of the 5GW per annum we need.”