Winter 2024’s outlook improved with generation availability

3 min

Similar operating conditions to last winter are expected this year for Australia’s energy systems, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Winter Readiness briefing to industry.

Developed with industry, considering weather, energy demand, generation and network infrastructure availability, the briefing presentation outlines how AEMO has prepared to manage energy security and mitigate risks across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

AEMO Executive General Manager Operations, Michael Gatt, said that AEMO spends months preparing for the winter ahead, considering a range of forecast operating factors.

“Months of planning with industry, governments and network businesses has gone in to preparing the energy systems for the winter ahead,” Mr Gatt said.

“Based on the Bureau of Meteorology’s modelling, we expect median rainfall for most of Australia, warmer and dry conditions and less chance of cold extremes.

“Planned high impact outages across the NEM are at reduced levels to last winter, however Victoria will have a significantly higher number of outages for project and transmission maintenance,” he said.

Considering these planned outages over the next three months, an average of 2,500 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity from coal, diesel and gas units in the NEM are returning to service.

“There is significant uplift in the availability of existing generation going into this winter since last year, as well as an expected 600 MW of new battery energy storage systems and nearly 1,300 MW of new renewable generation connecting to the NEM to meet demand this winter.

East coast gas storage levels are also at high levels across most regions, including the Iona, Dandenong and Newcastle storage facilities that are approximately 90% full.

However Victorian gas production capacity has decreased, which means there will be an increasing amount of winter gas supply required from Queensland.

AEMO’s recent Victorian Gas Planning Report update, released in March, has indicated that this will continue, with the planned closure of Longford’s gas plant 1 starting in July 2024 and Gas Plant 3 later in the decade.

Meanwhile in WA’s Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM), as with previous winter periods, there are several major generator and transmission outages, however, electricity reserves are largely healthy for the period.

Although no reserve shortfalls have been identified for winter 2024, AEMO is actively monitoring generation availability across all regions and is working closely with transmission network service providers and generators to manage maintenance and planned outages.

To mitigate potential supply issues during increased demand periods, such as an extreme cold snap, AEMO has levers available at its disposal to help navigate reliability pressures, should they eventuate.

Please access the east coast gas and NEM electricity winter preparedness report here.


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