Essay by Eric Worrall
“… AEMO says … some gas and diesel generators were not interested in providing power under the price cap. It said it would take action to force them online. …” Remember, Winter has only just started in Australia.
AEMO warns of widespread load shedding in Queensland and NSW supply crunch
Giles Parkinson 13 June 2022
The Australian Energy Market Operator has warned of potential widespread load shedding in Australia’s most coal-dependent states – Queensland on Monday and NSW on Tuesday – because of the lack of supply, or more pointedly, the lack of will to offer supply under the newly imposed price cap.
The warning of potential forced outages came just hours after the market operator extended its price cap for a second trading day in a row after prices in Queensland breached the trigger point of $1.359 million over the previous seven days.
The deepening crisis came as one quarter of Queensland’s coal capacity remain sidelined because of maintenance and unexpected outages, and a number of gas and diesel generators were also not operating. In all, little more than half of the registered capacity in the state is being made available.
AEMO says the risk of load shedding was made worse because some gas and diesel generators were not interested in providing power under the price cap. It said it would take action to force them online.
…Read more: https://reneweconomy.com.au/aemo-warns-of-load-shedding-in-queensland-supply-crunch-as-prices-capped/
The new green left wing Aussie Federal government’s response to skyrocketing prices and scarcity appears to be what I think of as the “Venezuelan Solution”, imposition of a hard price cap.
Some owners of emergency generators have refused to supply power under the price cap, so the plan is to use the threat of prosecution to force generators to operate, regardless of the financials of the situation, to ensure the grid doesn’t fail.
I can’t help thinking that the Aussie government effectively holding a prosecution gun to power providers heads, and demanding they provide energy at the price the government has set, could lead to a rise in the number of generators suffering “unscheduled maintenance outages”.
If power providers resist, and the grid fails, what is the government’s next step? Send the army in to take over power generation facilities by force?
Don’t forget all of these problems were caused by decades of government maladministration on both sides of Aussie politics, an irrational obsession with transitioning to green energy which started in the mid 1990s.
If Prime Minister Albanese and his predecessors hadn’t created such a hostile environment for dispatchable power investors by talking up the green transition, or spinelessly failing to denounce it, if some of his fellow traveller state governments hadn’t permanently banned fracking and in some cases encouraged and celebrated the demolition of coal power plants, we wouldn’t be in this situation.
Lets just say I’m glad I upgraded my home backup generator a few weeks ago, before this all too predictable disaster unfolded.
Update (EW): AEMO has confirmed price caps are now in operation across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Update 2 (EW): A realtime Aussie electricity price dashboard is available here.