Summer Is Coming: AEMO Says Power System is Prepared

After Australia’s blackouts and energy failures of Summer 2017, the Australian Energy Market Operator says this year the grid will be ready

summer is coming: AEMO says energy system is ready

The Australian Energy Market Operator has released their Summer Operations Report 2018-19  which outlines a readiness plan “to address risks and deliver reliable and secure power to consumers throughout summer 2018-19…”

Read on for our outline of the report.

What’s in the AEMO Summer Operations Report 2018-19?

In the report, AEMO has focused on three areas of risk for Summer 2018-19:

  1. Climatic conditions, with potential impacts on both demand and supply.
  2. Peak electricity demand management.
  3. Resource availability.

The report builds on strategies applied last year and is structured around four key elements:

  1. Sufficient available resources.
  2. Continuing operational improvements.
  3. Contingency planning.
  4. Collaboration and communication.

Energy Risks in Australia, Summer 2018-19

So what exactly are the risks we might face this Summer? Based on historical data, AEMO has a pretty good idea of the common risks we will face in terms of electricity supply and demand. Let’s go through each of the risks.

Energy Risk #1: Climatic Conditions

According to the report, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is expecting risk of an earlier bushfire season, drought conditions and increased temperatures in Australia.

Each of these can potentially impact generators and transmissions networks and lead to extreme peak demands on the network and equipment failures. Drought conditions may also reduce hydro and thermal generation output since water is needed for fuel or cooling.

Energy Risk #2: Peak Electricity Demand Management

The report outlines that demand is forecast to be similar to historical records, however, demand can spike as a result of unforeseen circumstances so the AEMO will be watching this closely.

The report has found demand is more likely to occur later in the day than past years, largely due to the uptake of solar rooftop power and households producing their own energy during daylight hours.

Energy Risk #3: Resource Availability

AEMO has identified a risk for Victoria and South Australia of unserved energy during peak conditions. Unserved energy is the amount of customer demand that cannot be supplied due to a deficiency of generation or interconnector capacity. In other words forced load shedding (definition from WattClarity).

To tackle the risk of resource availability, AEMO has created a reserve which can be used if the “market does not respond with enough supply or demand resources to ensure the reliability standard is met.”

AEMO Strategies for Australia’s Summer Energy Risks

Let’s go through the four key strategies AEMO have outlined in the report and how these will combat the risks mentioned above.

Strategy #1: Sufficient Available Resources

This strategy involves using available resources to ensure supply meets consumer energy requirements and power systems are managed during times of low grid demand.

Strategy #2: Continuing Operational Improvements

AEMO will consistently improve systems and processes to adapt to needs related to supply, demand and reserve levels.

Some of the changes they have made include:

  • better risk management abilities with the Forecasting Uncertainty Measure (FUM)
  • real-time data sampling from solar PV systems to improve forecasting abilities
  • improved data about weather conditions and impacts on renewables and other sources of electricity in the generation mix
  • collaboration with BoM, Weatherzone

Strategy #3: Contingency Planning

As outlined earlier, AEMO have come up with the most possible risk factors and have put strategies in place to meet these ahead of Summer. Scenarios and emergency testing of contingency plans, communications processes and decision making is carried out as part of this strategy.

Risk identification processes have improved with weekly AEMO briefings.

Strategy #4: Collaboration and Communication

Contingency plans and outage management plans have been developed in collaboration with government and industry groups. Communication is open across the industry to allow AEMO to ensure fuel availability, undertake emergency exercises and improve forecasting as well as identify any risks.

If you’d like the full details of the Summer Readiness Plan from AEMO, you can download the report here.

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