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Peak demand when QLD temperatures soar

blackout when demand peaks

Last Friday, the Australia Energy market operator (AEMO) forecasted a record peak demand for electricity due to high temperatures and humidity. The higher demand could have also resulted in very high electricity prices however by 5:30pm demand had dropped and electricity prices return to a normal level.

AEMO utilised its emergency powers to prevent blackouts across Queensland. As the evening peak approached on Friday, AEMO intervened and enabled Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader (RERT) to fill the  projected shortfall in generation. Between 5.30 pm and 9.30 pm, RERT panel members reduced consumption on-site or increased on-site generation which resulted in the overall demand for electricity across QLD to fall.

Currently, on a “normal” day, demand is easily filled with a combination of solar, wind, gas, and coal. On Friday, the system became more dependent on scheduled generation like gas and coal-fired powered stations and solar and wind generation was low. Queensland currently has reduced generation across its coal fired generators following the failure of two power stations (Callide C3 and Callide C4) in 2022. These power stations are currently not operating and undergoing repairs. On extreme days, an increase in demand can mean the difference between “normal” prices and the lights staying on due to demand outstripping supply.

Thanks to AEMO’s intervention, electricity prices did not reach the market cap of $15,500/MWh, demand dropped below the expected record levels and no blackouts occurred.

Queensland has high ambitions to replace the coal fleet with renewable and storage, however, days like last Friday only reinforce that coal-fired generation still plays a significant part in system security and price outcomes in the QLD.

Edge Utilities offer market leading services for business and strata energy users. We help you navigate the ever-changing energy landscape, focus on renewables and save on your power bills through our Edge Utilities Power Portfolio. Reach out, we would love to assist you: or call on:1800 334 336