The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) recent assessment of the latest heatwave that hit Queensland showed that the state has approximately 2GW of rooftop solar installed across the state, definitely more capacity than any of its coal generators.
A report on the RenewEconomy website indicated that the AEMO assessment emphasized on how significantly rooftop solar lessened peak demand and pushed it to later in the afternoon over the whole week of the heatwave.
The Head of Operational Forecasting at AEMO, Mike Davidson described the week-long heatwave as a “remarkable event.”
He added, “Prior to this event, there had only been two days on record in February where the Queensland state-wide average maximum temperature had exceeded 40 °C – once in 1935 and once last year. The previous record operational (or grid) demand for Queensland was 9,412MW set in January 2017. We saw this record literally being smashed every day during the ‘heat event’, and the new record now is 9,796MW. This is an increase of nearly 400MW and to put that into perspective, is roughly the energy required o power a mid-sized town of 150,000 customers. If temperatures had reached what had originally been forecast, we would have seen even higher demand.”
When asked about how close AEMO working with weather forecast providers when it comes to managing extreme events is, Davidson answered, “We take data from three separate weather service providers so that we can get the best information to manage events like this. We also have a meteorologist in secondment in our team from the Bureau of Meteorology and he has been really invaluable in helping us understand what the conditions for the day ahead are going to be. Because events like theses are record-breaking, you don’t have history on which to base your forecast. At times like this, having expertise on-hand is absolutely invaluable.”
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