The third quarter of 2018 (Q3 2018) was one of records for the energy sector, according to AEMO’s latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics (QED) report.

The report provides energy market participants, businesses, consumers, governments and other interested parties with information on the market dynamics, trends and outcomes during each quarter.

The National Electricity Market (NEM) recorded its highest ever quarterly variable renewable energy (VRE) output with over 1,200 megawatts (MW) of new large-scale solar and wind capacity commencing generation during the period. The amount of large-scale solar capacity that commenced generation during the quarter was higher than the NEM’s entire large-scale solar capacity at the start of the year. Q3 2018 was the first quarter on record in which wind output exceeded gas-powered generation (GPG) and AEMO also observed the highest hydro generation output across a quarter since 2013. 

Over on the west coast, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) reached over 1 gigawatt (GW) of rooftop PV and solar farm capacity installed, resulting in an increase in the occurrence of negative prices due to the high amounts of small-scale PV causing a drop in minimum daytime demands.

Q3 2018 was also the quarter that South Australia recorded its lowest minimum demand on Sunday 30 September 2018 however as previously noted on Energy Live, that record was broken three weeks later on Sunday 21 October 2018.  

Separation of Queensland and South Australia from the rest of the NEM, following a trip of the Queensland to New South Wales interconnector (QNI) on 25 August 2018, resulted in approximately 1,110 MW of under-frequency load shedding in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania; and more than $10 million in Frequency Control Ancillary Service (FCAS) costs on a single day, which was a key contributor to the highest quarterly FCAS costs since 2008.

Wholesale electricity prices were a mixed bag across the NEM and Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) when compared with Q2, with Victoria and South Australia experiencing a small reduction, and New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia observing a slight increase in the average price over the period. 

Wholesale gas prices increased across all markets when compared to the previous quarter and Q3 2017. This uplift in price coincided with reduced supply from production, an increase in deliveries to Curtis Island for LNG export, and increasing international oil and gas prices.

Read the full report for more in-depth analysis of the quarter that was.

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