"Australia’s main electricity grid will probably avoid major supply shortages
next summer but risks escalate in later years as ageing coal plants exit
potentially faster than new renewables and storage projects come on line.
The projections are contained in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s
updated Electricity Statement of Opportunities report, released on Tuesday.
The revision was triggered by several changes in project timings including
delays of at least a year for Snowy Hydro’s giant pumped hydro project, Snowy
2.0, and its gas/hydrogen plant at Kurri Kurri in NSW.
New gas, wind and battery projects forestalled previously predicted supply gaps
in South Australia in 2023-24 and Victoria in the following year. But so-called
reliability gaps could emerge from 2025 onwards with a handful of coal-fired
power stations dropping out of the national electricity market.
“These gaps widen until all mainland states in the Nem are forecast to breach
the reliability standard from 2027 onwards, with at least five coal power
stations totalling approximately 13% of the Nem’s total capacity expected to
retire,” said Aemo’s chief executive, Daniel Westerman.
“Urgent and ongoing investment in renewable energy, long-duration storage and
transmission is needed to reliably meet demand from Australian homes and
Another relatively mild summer in 2022-23 has helped generators avoid a repeat
of last winter’s shortages.
Still, the cooler conditions in eastern Australia linked to three La Niña years
that have moderated electricity demand may soon give way to another El Niño,
climate models indicate. El Niños are typically marked by increased prevalence
of heatwaves, bushfires and droughts, all potentially challenging for the power
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics