The Australian Energy Market Commission Reliability Panel today called for submissions on its report covering the performance of the national power system for the year to 30 June 2015.

Since the end of the 2014-2015 reporting period, two major operating incidents have occurred in the National Electricity Market: the trip of the Heywood interconnector in November 2015 and the trip and outage of the Basslink interconnector in December 2015. These incidents and implications of increasing large-scale intermittent generation will be assessed in detail in the 2016 review report which will be published for consultation later this year.

Developments in the National Electricity Market in 2014-2015

The market experienced very warm conditions with heatwaves, the warmest spring on record for the second year running and a cooler than average autumn. These conditions meant demand was higher than what it would have been. Average operational consumption plateaued following a decline in recent years.

Total growth in maximum demand continued to decline in 2014-2015 and moderated in Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania following the uptake in rooftop PV installations, increased energy efficiency, and changes in industrial plant operations.

The market operator, the Australian Energy Market Operator, forecasts a gradual increase in operational consumption over the next 20 years. In the short term, maximum demand is expected to increase in Queensland, decrease slightly in NSW and remain relatively flat in elsewhere in the National Electricity Market.

The amount of generation capacity was similar to that in 2013-2014. A significant amount of coal and gas generation capacity was withdrawn and replaced by renewables, typically wind and solar.

There has also been an increase in the number of businesses providing demand management services to customers. Examples include services to optimise the use of a consumer’s solar PV and battery storage system and services to help businesses better manage their consumption to avoid premium charges during peak periods.

Reliability performance of the power system in 2014-2015

The Panel found that there was no unserved energy in the National Electricity Market and that the reliability of the power system continued to remain within the reliability standard. The AEMO was not required to issue any directions for reliability during 2014-15. Nor was it required to exercise the reliability and emergency reserve trader (RERT) mechanism during this period.

There were two incidents where frequency was outside the operating standards in 2014-15. These incidents were effectively managed and actions were taken to address the issues identified.  There were no instances where secure voltage limits exceeded 30 minutes in 2014-15. Similarly, AEMO did not draw on procured System Restart Ancillary Services (SRAS).

The Panel is not aware of any instances in 2014-15 where AEMO issued a direction and the directed participant elected not to comply on the grounds that complying with the direction would affect the safety of its equipment or personnel.

Submissions on the annual market performance review 2015 draft report are due by 28 July 2016. In addition, stakeholders may request the Panel to hold a public meeting on the draft report. Any requests for a public meeting must be received by the Panel by 23 June 2016.