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OpenNEM: An open platform for National Electricity Market data

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The Energy Transition Hub is pleased to launch the OpenNEM project with the our new widget in RenewEconomy’s sidebar, and its landing page on RE, and the alpha’ release of our website.

The OpenNEM project aims to make the wealth of public National Electricity Market (NEM) data more accessible to a wider audience.

We hope that improved access will facilitate better public understanding of the market, improve energy literacy and help facilitate a more informed national discussion on Australia’s energy transition in the long term interests of consumers.

As others have recently pointed out, accessing and analysing NEM data is not readily accessible to many, leaving the workings of the market relatively opaque.

By providing a clear window on the data, we hope to address the information asymmetry between stakeholders and improve the productivity of those engaged in energy market discussions.

In particular, we are keen to empower organisations advocating for reform or researching issues in the National Electricity Market (NEM) that have significant implications for consumers.

Internationally, the importance of open and transparent energy data is also gaining prominence.

Open practices facilitates better research and promotes evidence-based policy. OpenNEM is a significant step in this direction for the Australian energy markets.

Statewide generation and price data

In this first release, OpenNEM includes visualisations for the five NEM regions — South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales (including the ACT) and Queensland, and the NEM as a whole.

OpenNEM provides visibility for the past seven day of generation by region and by technology (and for the past three days in the widget).

The OpenNEM website shows a page for each region including the energy, proportion of contribution and volume weighted price for each technology.

The volume weighted price reflects the spot market value for each source of generation, i.e. the revenue that would be received by a ‘merchant project’ — a facility that always takes spot prices, without any hedging or contracting arrangements.

Below are some examples from the past week. One of the striking aspects is that each region in the NEM has a different ‘personality’ based on its natural resources and legacy investment decisions.

First, and perhaps most interesting is South Australia. With no remaining coal fired power station, we see a network without so-called “baseload-generation”.

South Australia’s production swings between high wind generation and export, to high gas generation and import over the course of a week, with rooftop solar reliably reducing peak demand and pushing it into the evening.

At the other end of the spectrum (and the NEM) is Queensland, substantially powered by black coal. Despite the heavy reliance on fossil fuels, the impact of rooftop solar in the Sunshine state is clearly visible.

As has previously been reported, the aggregated capacity of rooftop solar is Queensland’s largest power station.

Each other state similarly has its own particular traits. Victoria, at the centre of the NEM, is currently dominated by inflexible brown coal, with increasing shares of both wind and solar, and draws on hydro (internally, and from SA and Tasmania) in times of peak demand.

NSW is dominated by relatively flexible black coal. Compared with Victoria, the black coal appears to take on a much large share of the intermediate load than either hydro or gas.

Tasmania is particularly interesting. Basslink is clearly getting a regular workout, with the state often switching between import and export on an almost daily basis, raising questions about Tasmania’s desire for a so called NEMexit!

We invite you check out the other states on the website and see their personalities as the seasons change and the energy transition continues.

Users of the Chrome browser can also enjoy the additional functionality of exporting chart such as these, as a PNG suitable for posting to social media. An example illustrating the import export swings on Tasmania is shown below.

 

Future development and feedback

Future releases will allow data export to enable researchers, journalists and the curious to undertake their own analysis. We will also be extending both the data coverage and functionality.

This will include historical data, and the ability to drill down to the individual generator level. In time we hope to extend OpenNEM to include visibility of the Western Australian market, which operates quite separately and publishes different data sources.

We are very excited by the reception we’ve received during the testing phase and are keen to hear suggestions and of any areas where OpenNEM is confusing or has rough edges.

OpenNEM has been developed by Dylan McConnell, Steven Tan and Simon Holmes à Court and was part funded by a grant from Energy Consumers Australia.

Editor’s note: RenewEconomy’s popular NEMWatch widget and landing page is also to be expanded to provide further insight into the workings of the NEM. An announcement will be made soon.  

Pocket
  • Jonathan Prendergast

    Excellent work team! I have had a poke around and it is very usable and provides many insights. The GWAP for each generation technology for each state is very valuable, albeit it is only for the last 7 days.

  • Mark Byrne

    Beautiful.
    Except for, you know, all that ugly black and brown. Can you change that to green?

  • Jon

    Very nice thankyou.
    Looking forward to having a good look at the data.

  • Ren Stimpy

    The widget doesn’t have a colour legend. I can guess that the black is coal and the brown is dirtier coal, but beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

    • Rod

      The website has a legend and more stats.

      • Ren Stimpy

        Oh crap do I have to click through to ‘the website’ everytime? What happened to a summary ‘in a nutshell’?

        • Rod

          If you are interested at a State level, website it is I think.

          • Ren Stimpy

            No, I’m interested at the NEM level.

    • Dylan McConnell

      There is a little button next to the ‘i’ that shows a legend -and clicking the “i” or logo takes you to a larger widget on RenewEconomy – so you don’t have to click through the website 🙂

      ..But yes – future updates of the smaller widget will show a bit information. Thanks for the feedback!

      • Ren Stimpy

        Aha thanks. Reminds me of the first time I couldn’t find the clitorus.

        • Kate

          Did you also need a legend then?

          • Ren Stimpy

            Every piece of information (feedback) helps.

          • Ren Stimpy

            Well being a legend I don’t feel I’m qualified to judge.

          • Kate

            Which you undoubtedly are, now that you know where it is. Well done you bloody Legend, you!

            Now let’s return to the focus to Dylan’s comment whereby he’s encouraging people to click that little button…

          • Ren Stimpy

            I probably should’ve prefaced my original comment acknowledging that it’s a fine widget, little buttons and bloody legends notwithstanding.

  • Rod

    Just had a quick look at the website and it is excellent. Knowledge is power as they say.

  • Ray Miller

    Great work team valuable asset.
    For the main widget how about ordering the generation in emissions intensity by fuel type? i.e. putting Lignite units on the bottom followed by black coal, gas etc..

    It would also be interesting to visualize price * GWh (in market increments) to see what and when our collective spend is?

  • ben

    Very nice, congratulations!

  • Dave Britt

    Awesome work guys!

  • Tom

    Nice!

  • masongeo

    Suggestion: on the region/state views, to be clear Price$ should be Price$/MWh (as for pricing on the overall view).
    Thank you for this great addition to visual presentation of NEM data.

  • Les Johnston

    The website ought to be modified to incorporate https in its address. Without https, the web site will be blocked as part of trogan etc protection.

  • Jon

    Can anyone explain why Qlds daily rise and fall is a lot less peaky than the rest of the states?
    Qld looks more sinusoidal where the rest of the states look more sawtooth.

    • Phil

      Probably the demand from the LNG industry at Gladstone. I believe that uses enormous amounts of energy continuously.

      Also aluminium smelters may come in 2nd place as major users.

      • Jon

        I thought the same initially, but wouldn’t that give the same sawtooth pattern but lifted higher?
        It’s like Qld is somehow moving peak load from the middle of the day to mid morning and mid afternoon.

        We have solar and our HWS (heat pump) runs from 9:00am and pool pump runs from 2:00pm but wouldn’t have thought there is enough people doing the same to shave the peak like is being shown in the charts.

        • Phil

          Ah yes you are right. Might be self consumption of solar affecting the patterns.Qld does have a lot of sunny days and lots of pools (pumps) and air conditioners .

          • Jon

            Looks like it’s air conditioning, cooler in the southern states and a bit warm in Queensland now has Qld with a very sawtooth pattern with much higher peaks.

  • Ben Davies

    Very interesting. Thanks for doing this and making it free to use. Sobering too in light of how much more work needs to be done to completely decarbonise Australia’s electricity supply.