Researching for a talk at Humanist House in Sydney next week turned up some intriguing factoids. Energy Consumers Australia produced a handy 240 page Energy National Energy Regulation Handbook. People have been busy the last decade or two creating a Kafkaesque landscape of agencies and regulations to achieve the “overarching objective” of the Australian Energy Market Agreement (COAG 2004) namely “the promotion of the long term interest of consumers with regard to price, quality and reliability of electricity and gas services.” What could go wrong?
Well for a start the National Energy Guarantee now late and lamented but the same objectives march on, sustained by several thousands of pages of legislation.
Each of the National Gas, Electricity and Energy Retail Laws were passed into law initially as
Schedules to Acts of the South Australian Parliament:
12.1 the National Electricity (South Australia) Act 1996 (SA)
12.2 the National Gas (South Australia) Act 2008 (SA);
12.3 the National Energy Retail Law (South Australia) Act 2011 (SA).
13. The Laws passed into legislation in South Australia are then incorporated by reference into the law of the other participating jurisdictions through local legislation of their own.
And so on…
In total, the primary Laws, Rules and accompanying regulations for the NER, as passed in South Australia without taking into account any of the modifications in other jurisdictions or any of the Procedures, comprise over 4,000 pages of legislation. (page 5)
Relax, they are from the government and they are here to help.
Surveying the landscape of power demand and supply, it seems from the much-loved AEMO Dashboard that the demand goes up and down between 19GW at night and as much as 28GW at the evening peak. As I write it is 28, previously 27 was the most I have seen. Wind and Other contribute 6%.
Looking at the power stations in SE Australia the five active coal stations in NSW have capacity of 10.2GW, the nine in Queensland can deliver 8.4GW and three in Victoria 4.7GW (counting Loy Yang A and B as two). Total 23.3.
Gas in the four states can provide 10.6GW and hydro 6.2GW including 3 in SA from a partnership of Tas Hydro and SA Water.
So we are not short of conventional power. More on the situation with unreliables later.