Victoria - Supply Shortages Again a Risk Over Summer

01 Feb 2002Archived News Climate Change Matters

A series of events have conspired over the last month or so in the Victorian electricity market to threaten supply levels. Luckily, the weather has not been in on the act. However summer is not over yet, and high temperatures would be the final ingredient needed to push pool prices through the roof, and perhaps force the imposition of usage restrictions.


Maintenance levels on privatised generation assets have long been a concern, and although the official reason is yet to be made public, it is no surprise that a 500 MW Loy Yang unit failed on 22 December and will be out of service until after summer, while another 500 MW unit needed urgent maintenance resulting in a six-day shut-down from 10 January.

In addition, a strike by coal workers at the Yallourn power plant resulted in a shutdown of a 350 MW unit, while new peak generation capacity scheduled to be on line by summer has been delayed as many in the industry had anticipated.

Through all of this, NEMMCO and the Victorian government maintain that there is plenty of capacity in the system to cope with peak demand. We can only hope they are right.

Fortunately for Victorian energy users, it appears that this may be the final summer where supply is a problem. The link between the NSW and Victorian markets via the Snowy will be upgraded from 1,500 MW to 1,900 MW, representing a 5% increase in Victoria's total electricity reserves. The upgrade is expected to be complete by the end of the year. In addition, peaking generation scheduled to be on line this summer should be on line by next summer.

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