Electricity Demand In Australia Drops Again

Australian electricity demand

A report published yesterday shows electricity demand in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) decreased again in 2014.

Following a trend that began in 2009, GreenMarkets says consumption fell last year by 1.1 per cent – 2,098 gigawatt hours less than 2013 levels.

The only state to record an increase was Queensland (+ 0.9%). The state with the largest drop was Victoria (3.5%); which was largely attributable to the Point Henry aluminium smelter closing at the end of July 2014.

GreenMarkets says the reductions mask the contribution from solar and energy efficiency activities. Roof-top solar panel installations are not included as a generation source in the report; rather as lower electricity consumption.

“We estimate that solar installations supported by the Renewable Energy Target and energy efficiency activities supported by the various state based schemes will have contributed 1,877 GWh in 2014, or 89 per cent of the observed reduction in demand.”

NEM electricity demand

An earlier report from GreenMarkets states New South Wales’ STC creation from solar panel jumped significantly in the final quarter of last year, having created 25% of the total PV certificates over the same time period, compared to 22% over 2014.  However, Queensland PV certificate creation continued to fall with 28% of total PV creation during Q4 compared to 32% over 2014.

Overall renewable energy generation fell last year in Australia – and substantially (13.8% to 11.8%). This was primarily due a drop-off in hydro that was somewhat offset by an increase in wind power. On the topic of wind power, it  accounted for 34 per cent of South Australia’s total generation in 2014, slightly more than the 32 per cent level achieved in 2013.

While black coal-fired generation reduced by 2.5 per cent in 2014, the very bad news is even filthier brown coal-fired generation jumped by 4 per cent. Gas-fired generation increased dramatically at 11.5 per cent higher; primarily driven by Queensland.

“With the increase in fossil fuel generation, the emission intensity of generation increased by 2.1 per cent with the overall level of greenhouse emissions increasing by 1 per cent,” says the report.

Green Energy Markets, established by Ric Brazzale in 2008, is a research and advisory business with a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing renewable energy and distributed generation, and improving energy efficiency.