Australian news, and some related international items

Dennis Matthews reviews Energy Market Operator (AEMO)’s report on ENERGY SUPPLY OUTLOOK

Dennis Matthews June 2017, Comments on “ENERGY SUPPLY OUTLOOK Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), June 2017”  This 30 page report has more acronyms than you can shake a stick at. The average full page of text contains some 20 acronyms. For example, on the first page of CHAPTER 1 we have

“New information since the November 2016 updates to the ESOO and EAAP, and the March 2017 GSOO, which has been included in the ESO modelling, includes:”

In the majority of cases, the acronym is defined only when first used. There is no list of acronyms.

Needless to say, this makes for very difficult reading except for those working in the energy industry and bureaucracy. The typical energy consumer would be continually frustrated trying to find out what many of the acronyms mean.

Referring to thermal electricity power stations as coal-powered, or as gas-powered, generators (CPG or GPG) suggests a degree of technical confusion. The coal or gas is in fact an energy source (fuel) rather than a power source.

To avoid ambiguity and confusion, the acronym NEM (National Electricity Market) should be reserved for the actual market and not used for the region covered by the market.

A relatively new term (and acronym), ‘unserved energy’ (USE) seems bound to confuse. USE is defined as:

“the amount of energy that cannot be supplied to consumers, resulting in involuntary load shedding (loss of customer supply), because there is insufficient generation capacity, demand side participation, or network capability, to meet demand.”

In other words, it is a demand that is not filled (met, served). A more correct term would seem to be ‘unfilled energy demand’ (UFED).

In considering climate conditions that could lead to peak demand, the report concentrates on temperature, especially high temperature in summer. What is driving peak demand is an ever increasing desire for comfort, throughout the whole year. Ever increasing affluence has led to ever increasing ability to pay for more and more comfort and convenience.

The major determinants of comfort would appear to be temperature and moisture. In summer, high moisture makes hot days less comfortable, whilst in winter, high moisture makes cold days less comfortable. For a given ambient summer temperature, the higher the humidity, the greater the demand for cooling. Whilst for a given ambient winter temperature, the higher the rainfall, the greater the demand for heating.

Exacerbating the trend for more and more comfort and convenience is a trend to houses with larger open spaces, fewer occupants and worse insulation. Nowhere in the report is there any consideration of managing energy demand through better building design and construction. Demand management has come to mean paying consumers to turn off energy guzzling equipment during periods of peak demand (demand side participation, DSP).

The statement that “Extreme weather conditions typically occur on summer weekdays, between 4.00 pm and 8.00 pm” is obviously nonsensical. Presumably, it is meant to refer to energy demand.

In considering risks to ‘electricity supply adequacy’ due to extreme weather conditions, the report does not seem to have included bushfires and floods.



June 19, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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