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South Australian Gas Generator Interventions

by Jack Simpson

AEMO’s Quarterly Energy Dynamics (QED) report just came out today for Q1 2021. Of particular interest is the South Australian region which has been experiencing incredibly low prices thanks to the high levels of renewables in the market.

At the same time, these low prices have created system security challenges for the market operator. In fact over the past quarter, AEMO has had to intervene in the market a record 70% of the time to ensure that at least one gas powered generator remained running.

If it were not for these interventions, it would have been uneconomic for the the generators to continue running, given the low prices in the region.

These are just some of the challenges the energy market faces as more coal exits (and we lose the inertia that they imparted to the system), and we see more renewables and rooftop solar enter the market.

It will be interesting to see whether the implementation of a 2-second fast frequency response service provided by batteries will help with these issues in the future.

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