Reduced electricity use and a strong uptake of renewable energy technology is forecast to lead to a five-year delay in the need for generation investment in South Australia, according to the latest South Australian Electricity Report (SAER) released by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) today.
The SAER outlines a small reserve deficit of 24 MW in summer 2019-20, occurring five years later than forecast in AEMO’s 2011 Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO).
"The SAER shows that the low reserve condition (LRC) point – which indicates when new investment in generation is required – has been deferred for South Australia as a result of a fall in electricity use and forecasts of slower growth in both annual energy and maximum demand," said AEMO Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mr Matt Zema.
There has been a five per cent – or 700 GWh – reduction in South Australia’s annual energy in 2011-12, about 10 per cent (1,500 GWh) lower than forecast in the 2011 ESOO and South Australian Supply and Demand Outlook (SASDO) reports. Forecast maximum demand is also growing at 1.0 per cent, which is slower than anticipated in the 2011 ESOO.
Lower demand from large industrial and manufacturing customers, such as mining operations and water desalination plants, not coming on line contributed to the reduction, along with a significant penetration of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in South Australia and consumer response to rising electricity costs and energy efficiency measures.
"In South Australia, the uptake of rooftop PV systems has contributed to a reduction in demand by requiring less electricity to be drawn from the grid," said Mr Zema.
"AEMO estimates that 38 per cent of rooftop PV capacity installed in the State is producing electricity at times of summer maximum demand."
South Australia leads the National Electricity Market regions in the uptake of rooftop solar PV systems, and around one in five South Australian homes now has a system installed. In 2011-12, rooftop PV systems are estimated to have generated 306 GWh in the State, equivalent to 2.4 per cent of its annual energy.
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