Solar drops midday wholesale prices below Zero in Queensland
Large-scale solar power in Queensland and the continuing uptake of rooftop solar by homes and businesses is having an impact on wholesale electricity prices in the state, sending them into negative figures in the middle of the day.
Last week on June 19, wholesale electricity prices in the Queensland went below zero -– an extremely rare occurrence, but one that might be expected to become increasingly common in coming years.
According to Paul McArdle at Watt Clarity, the (5 minute) dispatch price fell below zero on a number of occasions, highlighting the change in the shape of the energy market with the introduction of solar. According to his data, the prices went negative on five different occasions.
During this time, around 20 per cent of Queensland’s electricity supply came from solar – some 128MW of large-scale solar, and nearly 10 times that much (1270MW) from rooftop solar.
The fall into negative prices is because demand is low – there is no air conditioning required – and the Queensland government has riding instructions on its main government-owned generators to keep running, to ensure prices stay low. They probably weren’t thinking about them being this low.
“You will see this happening more and more,” McArdle says, noting that the shape of the energy load has changed from a two-humped camel (loads in morning and evening), to what is commonly referred to as the duck curve.
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By Giles Parkinson on 25 June 2018