Home' Facility Perspectives : Vol 11 No 2 Contents 44
FACILITY PERSPECTIVES | VOLUME 11 NUMBER 2
| ENERGY MANAGEMENT
Recent blackouts, electricity
price hikes and political debates
are keeping energy security in
There is evidence to suggest that
Australia may be stumbling into an
energy crisis, and the federal and
state governments have been unable to
agree on any solution.
Earlier this year, South Australia endured
a heatwave where the mercury tipped 42
degrees Celsius in Adelaide, and 90,000
residencies were left without power for 45
minutes. At that time, there wasn’t enough
supply to meet demand, so some of the grid
had to be shut off.
This is a process called load shedding, and
could become common practice if the industry
doesn’t start to actively take steps in order to
ease the strain on energy consumption. The
South Australian Power Networks identifies
two main types of load shedding:
3 Automatic load shedding – when
equipment in the electricity grid
automatically switches off load to
protect networks. This is normally
associated with a sudden and
unexpected disruption on the electricity
grid, such as the collapse of the
transmission towers, which led to the
statewide blackout on 28 September
3 Manual rotational load shedding – when
demand increases towards available
generation, and the Australian Energy
Market Operator (AEMO) has time to
direct utilities to shed load in order to
restore the generation and demand
balance in the national electricity grid.
The authorities need to make sure that
the system remains in balance between
supply and demand, and if there’s no
extra supply available, the only choice is to
reduce demand by shutting off the power.
If this doesn’t happen, the entire system
will come under strain, causing another
The AEMO has responded to the crisis
in its recently released report titled ‘Gas
Statement of Opportunities’ (GSOO).
The 2017 GSOO highlights the increasing
pressure on gas and electricity for the
reliable supply of energy. It confirms what
most of us know about the current future of
Australian energy: it’s extremely important to
plan ahead across the entire energy supply
chain to deliver energy security and continue
a reliable supply to consumers.
According to the information provided
in the report, there will be a decline in gas
production that may result in a lack of gas-
powered electricity generation – this will
impact New South Wales, Victoria and South
Australia from the summer of 2018–19.
Chief Operating Officer of AEMO Mike
Cleary says: ‘At a time when liquefied natural
gas (LNG) export is dominating demand
and supply of gas in eastern states, strategic
national planning of gas development has
never been more critical for maintaining
domestic energy supply adequacy across
both gas and electricity sectors’.
The report gives a long-term outlook, and
recognises that early investment in exploration
and growth plans will be crucial to bring
undiscovered resources to the table in time to
meet forecast rises in demand for gas.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
responded to the GSOO report almost
immediately, calling for urgent crisis talks
with Australia’s east-coast gas companies
in early March. Turnbull met with gas
company CEOs, including those from from
Shell, ExxonMobil, Santos, BHP, Origin and
What are the solutions?
South Australia is in need of additional power
sources that can be utilised if necessary.
Authorities are currently investigating an
additional interconnector option for New
South Wales, Victoria or Queensland.
An additional interconnector could take
years and cost consumers billions of dollars.
Other potential ideas have been the storage
of renewable energy through batteries,
pumped hydro or another technology.
The South Australian Government is
potentially looking to stimulate a new
market entrant, in all likelihood a gas
generator, by offering a long-term
contract to supply 75 per cent of its
own power needs.
There was also good news coming
out of the Federal Budget, with the
delivery of a $265-million energy
package. The package will include
funding for a Bioregional Assessments
Programme to assess any potential
impacts on waterways and aquifers from
unconventional gas projects that may
need to happen in the future.
The government has also committed
$2 million to AEMO to improve publication
of real-time assessment of gas flows and
market analyses, to make it easier for the
market operator, businesses and investors
to make informed decisions about gas
Coming out of the budget, Minister for
the Environment and Energy, the Hon.
Josh Frydenberg MP, said: ‘Improving the
transparency, competitiveness and long-
term security of Australia’s east-coast gas
market is a priority for the government,
as gas is a crucial energy source as we
transition to a low-carbon economy’.
Unfortunately, the package won’t give us
any quick fixes, but the government seems to
be very aware of the issue, and is trying to
implement the appropriate steps to research,
assess and analyse a stronger and more
reliable energy market for the future.
IS AUSTRALIA HEADING
TOWARDS AN ENERGY
BY SKYE MITCHELL,
FACILITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA
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