300,000 Victorians are without power the grid is damaged. Time to consider that home battery?

    Today represents one of the hottest days in Victoria this summer and its safe to say, the grid has not fared well.

    Minister for Energy & Resources. Minister for Climate Action. Minister for the State Electricity Commission (SEC), Lily D’Ambrosio posted on X saying she has just met with the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) about the current unprecedented impact of extreme weather on our power grid.

    At one point, the price for wholesale power in Victoria spiked to around $16,600 per MWh, a dramatic shift from the normal average of between $15 an $100 per MWh.

    AEMO has confirmed that a significant power system event occurred in Victoria early this afternoon with the Moorabool to Sydenham 500 kilovolt transmission lines tripped, multiple generators disconnected from the grid and some consumers experienced a loss of electricity supply.

    Just after 3PM AEMO published a Market Notice (114625) that suggests there were reports towers were on the ground.

    As a technique to ensure further outages don’t occur, AEMO has directed AusNet Services to enact load shedding. Controlled load shedding is a mechanism AEMO uses as an absolute last resort to protect system security and prevent long-term damage to system infrastructure.

    AEMO ordered up to 300MW of capacity to by cut, which effectively pays people not to use power during this peak time.

    Regional Director of Tesla Energy for APAC, Josef Tadich reposted this item on LinkedIn from WattClarity that provides further detail. Grid-scale batteries are often the first to jump into action and supply what energy they have to the grid, and take advantage of a price spike like we just seen. The scale of today’s issue is likely to exceed what was available as battery capacity in Victoria to date, hence the need to request load shedding as well. Interstate connections from the likes of Tasmania are also reported to have helped the stabilize the grid.

    Large, grid-scale batteries have been increasing in Victoria (and much of Australia) as we replace aging infrastructure from coal-fired stations like Loy Yang. Over the coming years, we’re likely to see further investment in battery storage until we can fully replace the amount of energy produced by fossil fuels and store it for use 24/7.

    For those customers impacted by the outages, only a small percentage will have home battery storage available to them, as prices remain high. Given the severity of this event, and the infrastructure that will be repaired, the outage could be a lengthy one, with still many hours left in the afternoon where air conditioners will be on high.

    There are currently 3,022 Solar Battery Loans remaining for 2023-24 in Victoria. These offer up to $8,800 in interest free loans, helping more homes get into battery storage and being resilient to events like this. On a 40 degree day, the prospect of not having power and colling, may motivate some more homes to consider home battery storage.

    Since the dramatic price spike, additional supply has come back into the market and now oversupplied the power, with prices now showing as much as -$999.99.

    Feature image credit @SierraRasten, more information at Reneweconomy.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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