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Unpacking the Impact of AEMO’s Scheduling Error Post Liddell Shutdown: A Peek into the Energy Market Dynamics

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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) recently confirmed a scheduling error involving the Liddell Power Station, which led to considerable disruptions in the National Electricity Market (NEM) and the futures market on May 1, 2023. The closures of the last three units of the Liddell Power Station towards the end of April should have been integrated into the AEO dispatch system. However, a data mismatch within the system kept these units active, leading to market inconsistencies.

This oversight originated from a disparity within the NEM Dispatch Engine (NEMDE) utilized by AEMO. While a portion of the system correctly acknowledged the shutdown of the Liddell units, another part, responsible for handling constraints, continued to count them at their initial 500MW capacity rather than the actual zero. The resultant 1500MW drop in capacity from the system’s balancing equation led to adjustments in the power distribution across states.

To rectify this situation, AEMO reduced power flow from Victoria to New South Wales and moderated power generation by approximately 173MW. The resulting market response was a surge in electricity prices, pushing the daily average price up by around 30%.

In the aftermath of the Liddell shutdown, the market has been on high alert, responding to the smallest of disturbances. This sensitivity was evident as the futures market reacted positively, experiencing a rise in the Q3 2023 close price across QLD, VIC, and NSW, and a notable increase in SA.

In the following weeks, the power market continued to be volatile due to various outages and unexpected factors such as a tube leak at Bayswater 2, outages at Kogan Creek, Eraring 2, and Tarong, the delay of Callide’s return, and unexpected interest rate hikes. This scenario led traders to act on the price differences between states, resulting in a rise in NEM prices. It is suggested that this sensitivity and rapid reaction of the market is likely to continue for some time. Despite the quick adjustments in the spot market, the futures market appears to be retaining its value.

This is a summary article from Edge2020 – read the original article.

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