Tips for reducing Australia’s electricity grid strain this summer

Australian Energy Market Operator

With high temperatures predicted again this weekend, the Australian Energy Market Operator has issued tips for staying cool and reducing  the electricity grid strain.

AEMO is responsible for making sure Australia’s electricity supply is reliable and adequate for our country’s needs.

According to AEMO’s advice, the electricity grid strain is at its most during high demand days between 4pm and 7pm. This is when people return home from work or school and switch on their air-conditioners.

Days of high stress on the electricity grid are those where the temperature is 38 degrees or higher. For every degree over 38, AEMO estimates an additional 125 MW of demand in each state.

Some appliances have a greater impact on overall electricity use than others. Air-conditioners and clothes dryers are very energy intensive. In fact, heating and cooling uses the most energy in the home (38%), according to the Clean Energy Council.

Is your solar system in tip-top shape?

Home solar systems are a constructive way that households can help reduce strain on the electricity grid. But the system needs to be performing at its optimum to get the most benefit.

Air-conditioners create electricity grid strain

Air-conditioners put strain on the electricity grid during our summer heatwaves.

A study of solar systems found the average small-scale solar system was performing nearly 19 per cent below capacity. The shortfall was due to dirt, droppings and other material obscuring the panels.

Regular cleaning of solar panels ensures you get the best return on your investment over the life of the system. If access is difficult, it’s possible to install a water spraying system that simulates a rain shower to clear away dust and debris.

Using less power with demand management

Demand management is another way individuals can reduce the stress on the electricity grid. This is where households plan to use less electricity during peak demand periods.

For example, if the peak period in summer is between 4pm and 7pm, then using the washing machine or dryer outside these times takes pressure off the grid.

Consumers can reduce electricity grid strain

AEMO says if 100,000 people switched off their pool pumps between 4pm and 7pm, demand would drop by approximately 150 MW.

By adopting a tactical approach to using electricity-guzzling appliances, and getting the most out of rooftop solar systems, Australians can live comfortably through even the most sizzling of summer days.