Australian electricity bills set to soar

Our electricity grids are clearly under stress as evidenced by these booming AEMO daily average prices. On 6 June I blogged – Surge in wholesale electricity prices last week – and I expected the daily average AEMO prices for the four States would return to be mostly under $50 again. Not so, the South Australian price is trending over $100 and the three big States are near $100 on the 30 day average.
Eventually these booming power prices will feed into power bills and the media is ignoring the issue. NemWatch is worth checking to see which State is generating from what source at any point in time.
Power prices set to rise following legal challenge 27 Feb 2016 Not sure if issues talked about in this SMH article can explain the AEMO price surge of past two months.
Yes, Let’s Triple The Cost Of Electric Power! 23 June 2016 a Wentworth Report by David Archibald.
AEMO annual av RRP 1999-2016 financial years. (RRP = regional reference price)

Comments – anybody know why SA was high in 1999?
Was the 2007 step up in all States something to do with RET?
The Carbon Tax peak shows clear in 2013-14 then RRP seemed to settle in 2015.
AEMO monthly av RRP financial year 2016

Comments – SA was high in winter 2015. Qld spike Feb 2016 is a mystery so far.
Remember the Port Augusta coal fired stations shut on 9 May – so SA price increases in May & June not that odd as supply tightened. But why do the three large States with ample coal generation also show major RRP increases in May and June?

Tasmanian power exports via Basslink in Dec 2015 were triggered by Victorian price signals

I should have included this price graphic in my March blog – Tasmanian electricity crisis explained day by day
Now it is crystal clear to see that Tasmania initiated power exports when the Victorian RRP rose through ~$80(per MWhr) and exports ceased when Vic RRP fell back. Looking at my March chart of the 5 minute data from 15th to 21st Dec 2015 it is clear that imports ceased just prior to exports being commenced and vice versa. I have no idea what stresses can be induced in a cable when the current is reversed frequently like this. It is also worth noting that the export MW exceeded the import MW. Here is the daily chart from 1 Nov 2015 to 10 Mar 2016.

Rival thermal solar power plants proposed for Port Augusta

Taxpayers should be watching their hip pockets. Concentrated Solar (CS) proposals for the Port Augusta region have made news for a while now – this technology involves the use of tracking mirrors to concentrate the suns rays to heat a container of liquid which can then be used to generate electricity when the sun is not shining. Solastor announced a plan to build a 170-megawatt “graphite block heating water” solar thermal plant. Then we hear about the US firm Solar Reserve who have a 110MW molten salt CS plant at Crescent Dunes in Nevada which has cost +$Bill and they claim produces 500K MWhrs per year which is less than Queensland produces from Hydro.
The Port Augusta future solar power scene is made more interesting by the Solarstor Chairperson Dr John Hewson going on the attack against Solar Reserve – and then the RenewEconomy site criticising Dr Hewson. Marvellous stuff as the GreenLeft pixies brawl – considering the way renewables advocates always stick so close to the hard provable facts. I have found it near impossible tracking down reliable evidence for claims made by solar proponents. More later – for over five years now Solarstor has been building/experimenting with a CS pilot plant at Cooma using a graphite block on a tower. There is also a Solastor installation of eight towers(graphite blocks) and mirror arrays at Lake Cargelligo in central NSW. Near Forbes Vast Solar is building a molten salt thermal solar plant. As I said – more later on the NSW thermal solar plants.

Surge in wholesale electricity prices last week

Peter Bobroff who runs the AusGrid PublicKnowledge website – alerted me to the increase in the AEMO RRP wholesale electricity prices over recent weeks.
My chart of 4 States daily av AEMO RRP from these AEMO tables. I have added 30 day average curves.
Chart constructed by Peter of the number of 5 min intervals per day that the RRP exceeds $150.
We have been wondering why this price surge now – which looks unprecedented over 29 months. My power bill from a year ago equates to about $170 per MWhr. The charts show price has been under pressure this year. NemWatch gives a snapshot of generation by source.