The October edition of the Australian Energy Emissions Monitor consists of two sections. The first is an update of total emissions arising from consumption of electricity, gas, and petroleum products in the five states of eastern Australia. The second looks more closely at month by month consumption of energy in Victoria and New South Wales.
Key points covered in this edition of the Monitor include:
- As wind and solar generation continue to supply a growing share of electricity in eastern Australia, i.e. the National Electricity Market, electricity generation remains the only significant source of emissions reduction.
- Total consumption of gas continues at an almost unchanged level, while, except for domestic aviation, consumption of petroleum products has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
- Month by month examination of energy consumption supplied by both electricity and gas shows a consistent and very clear seasonal pattern.
- Seasonal demand variation presents a particular challenge for electricity generation which, in mainland eastern Australia, is currently met by varying output from coal fired generators. This challenge will be made much larger, particularly in Victoria, if and when consumers switch away from gas and towards electricity.
- As the supply system shifts towards more wind and solar generation, new approaches will be required to limit costs to consumers arising from the need to deal with seasonality in demand.
- The Australian Energy Market Operator's Integrated System Plan states that “overbuild” of wind and solar generation, accompanied by output curtailment during protracted periods of lower consumption, will be the least cost option for addressing this.
- Such an approach will require new policy instruments to support investments in generation that will only be required for part of each year.