Australia’s east coast will have enough electricity to meet peak demand this summer, according to the market operator’s latest forecast.
The Australian Energy Market Operator(AEMO) plan for summer, released Friday, says new wind and solar installations have increased supply, while peak demand should not be as high as last summer.
An extra 3400 megawatts of large-scale renewable power will be online compared to last summer, along with an extra 2000 MW of rooftop solar.
AEMO chief operations officer Michael Gatt says heatwave and bushfire conditions should also be less intense, but they still pose a significant risk to the system.
“There is also an increased risk of tropical cyclones and flooding,” Mr Gatt said.
The energy market is also facing uncertainties around COVID-19.
While the virus has led to an overall drop in energy demand, it’s also made it harder to forecast peak energy use, especially as people stop working from home and return to city offices.
The AEMO’s summer forecast also hinges on current generator maintenance being completed before Christmas.
Meanwhile, the Victorian government this week allocated $543 million to fund six new renewable energy zones in its state budget.
The money will go to upgrading transmission lines and other improvements to the network so that wind, solar, and pumped hydro can feed more energy into the grid.
Earlier this month, Victoria announced it would build the biggest battery in the southern hemisphere near Geelong.
The 300 MW Tesla battery is twice the size of SA’s battery installation, and should be operational by the end of next year.
Also on Friday, the global wind turbine company Vestas announced it would supply wind turbines for two Victorian wind farm projects, expected to power about 120,000 homes.