Last week was an extraordinary one for Australia’s National Electricity Market. The wind blew out all of its renewable energy records, and – for one week at least – created a new paradigm for the market.
As this graph below shows, wind energy effectively became the new provider of base load in the NEM, which serves the eastern states.
This graph, provided by Hugh Saddler of Pitt&Sherry, follows on from our other graphs of last week that showed wind energy generating two thirds of South Australia’s capacity and up to 91 per cent of the state’s demand.
According to Saddler, the share of wind energy over the six days from June 23 to June 29 was 14.5 per cent, peaking at 21.4 per cent a 5am on June 27.
The highest 30 minute wind output was 2.8 GW (more than three quarters of rated wind capacity) at 9pm eastern time on June 25, when it accounted for 15.1 per cent of total generation.
During the week, the share of coal and gas was reduced significantly. Coal, which usually averages 75 per cent or more, accounted for just 64.4 per cent over the six days (black coal 35.2 per cent, brown coal 29.2 per cent). Its low for the week was just 61.6 per cent – and the economy did not grid to a halt!
Gas accounted for just 6.9 per cent. Hydro’s share over 6 days was 14.2 per cent, meaning that for the past week, renewables accounted for 28.7 per cent – and that does not include rooftop solar PV, which is hidden behind the metre. With solar PV, the share of renewables would be more than 30 per cent for the week.
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