Rooftop solar has helped deliver another Australian grid record, this time in Western Australia where the state’s wholesale electricity market (WEM) dipped to 1,176MW in the third quarter, the lowest minimum demand on record for the third quarter and just 3MW higher than the state’s all-time minimum.
According to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s latest Quarterly Energy Dynamics report, new Q3 low in demand was recorded at 11.30am on Sunday September 29 – at a time when output from rooftop PV was approximately 971MW and fulfilling an astonishing 45 per cent of underlying system demand.
This, in turn, has contributed to an increase in negative pricing events in W.A., as it has in South Australia and Queensland.
AEMO says negative prices were recorded in 5% of intervals, mostly in the middle of the day due to low operational demand and rooftop PV, but also in the early morning with low demand and strong wind output. Unusually, negative prices were also experienced in the state’s “balancing” market.
The output of distributed solar generation over the quarter was boosted by mild and sunny weather, AEMO said, coupled with increased penetration of rooftop PV – 22 per cent increase on W.A.’s South West Intercnnected System (SWIS) alone, according to state-owned gen-tailer Synergy.