The start of 2013 has seen a number of records broken across the country due to the hot weather experienced in all states. Parts of the country have seen temperatures regularly exceed 48 C, with Moomba in South Australia experiencing 49.6 C on January 12. This year has seen the average maximum across the country exceed 40 C on a number of days, with a new record set on January 7 of 40.33 surpassing the previous record set in 1972 of 40.11 C.
Thursday January 17 saw Adelaide’s temperature hit 43.1 C at 4:35 pm. With this hot start to 2013, how does this compare with previous years in terms of energy demand?
Our analysis for South Australia shows electricity demand for January 17 peaking at 2991 MW at 6:00 pm, coinciding with increased air conditioner use by those arriving home from work. In comparison to past years, using January as a basis, we see similar or slightly higher peak demands for days above 40 C. Back in 2008, January 10 saw a maximum of 41.7 C, with demand peaking at 2919 MW. In 2010, the highest January temperature was 42.8 C on the 11th, resulting in a peak demand of 3118 MW.
With an increase in population, housing and therefore air conditioner use, one would expect this peak demand to rise over time with a typical range of 3100 to 3200 MW for a 40-plus degree day expected. Modelling by AEMO in 2011, prior to the influx of solar PV, suggested peak demand in South Australia for 2013-14 to reach 3140 MW for a medium growth scenario.
A possible explanation for this lower than expected peak demand can be found by considering the behaviour of South Australian households.
Published by CQ Partners