The other day I submitted an article analysing 2018 YTD costs for wholesale electricity in the 5 states that make up the national electricity market. It did not fly but my interest was aroused again today when an article in the state of darkness daily rag talked about the “big battery” helping to “drive down costs”.
Using the data from the YTD analysis and adding December 2017 I have looked at the summer costs, (December 2017 + January 2018 + February 2018) for QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS and SA to see what the differences are. These are wholesale prices before the transmission people and the retailing parasites add their margins and presumably before the RET subsidies are distributed. Remember also, it is supposed to be a “national market”.
For each state I found the percentage of time that price/MWh was above $150, the actual cost of the electricity consumed in these periods and the percentage of the total summer cost that it represented. The editor cannot reproduce the table or the chart and it may have to await the return of Sinc to see the results most clearly. They can be summarised as follows.
Victoria and South Australia were outstanding in the amount of time when the price was more than $150 per MWh and the amount of the total bill for the summer period that was racked up on those high cost days. The amount of time in the high cost zone ranged from 0.4% for NSW, 0.7% for Qld, 2.1% for Tasmania, 2.4% for Victoria and 4.9% for SA. The highest cost for the period showed a huge range from $280/MWh in NSW through 2,500 in Qld, 4,200 in Tasmania, to 12,900 in Victoria and the gold medal at 14,16676.50 in SA.
Another way to report the difference between the states is to count the % of the total summertime costs that were incurred during those short periods when the price was above 150.MWh.
The folk in NSW have it easy. They had 4.97% of the time with prices above $150/MWh and the total percentage of the “summer bill” was just 1.47.
SA and VIC, the “renewables states” were not so fortunate. For the 2.43% of time in VIC the percentage of the “summer bill” was 32.96. In SA, “the state of darkness and rank stupidity” it was 45.39% of the total “summer bill” for 4.9% of the time.
A chart that cannot be reproduced here shows the gigantic spikes in SA and Victoria on Jan 18 and 19 when consumers were flogged with when prices up $14,000+ per MWh as the system was about to fall over. TAS managed to get free power when SA and VIC were paying through the nose.
As I said, this is supposed to be a “national market”. Clearly it is a very distorted one where consumers are treated differently in different states. When electricity was generated in large thermal power stations the cost did not vary from minute to minute, it was a constant. The only time when there was a price difference was overnight when reduced load encouraged generators to offer discounts to avoid wasting steam. In SA it was called the J Tariff and I expect other states had something similar. Traditional pumped hydro schemes also provided a market for off-peak power.
What we have today is simply madness. No matter how much the gormless pollies and the gullible “planet savers” want renewables to work they will not. As more useless stuff gets added and the reliable stuff gets thrown out the issues outlined above will get worse for us and better for the greedy. It is interesting that the 2 “renewable states” are the ones that get shafted the most.