After plenty of rain and even flooding across much of eastern Australia, many of us are hoping the sun comes out this summer. But whatever nature has in store for us, EnergyAustralia is getting ready, says Energy Operations Executive, Sue Elliott.
“Summer's typically a time when energy demand is high. Heatwaves have the biggest impact on electricity prices, typically in January and February.
“So, we are getting ready. We've invested millions of dollars, and our people have put in countless hours, focused on the performance and reliability of our assets that generate power.
“Take our Mt Piper power station in New South Wales, for example. In early November Unit 2 underwent what we call a summer readiness outage. Then this month it'll be Unit 1's turn. During these outages various key components, like pressure parts, fans and ductwork, are inspected, repaired, and fine-tuned.
“We know reliability has been an issue at our Yallourn power station in Victoria, so our people have been working hard to turn this around. Their focus is on ensuring the power station is there for the two million homes that rely on it to stay cool over summer.”
Sue says EnergyAustralia's other sites, Victoria's Jeeralang and Newport power stations, Tallawarra in New South Wales, and Hallett in South Australia, play a vital role when the heat is on to supply electricity and help lower electricity costs.
“They've all had a pre-summer tune up so they're ready when demand for power peaks."
“Our two big Victorian battery storage facilities, at Ballarat and Gannawarra (near Kerang), are ready to go. They're able to power around 30,000 homes for an hour of critical peak demand – think a 35C plus day when everyone's air con is running – before being recharged.
“And we've got some other levers we can pull. EnergyAustralia has more than 350,000 households, and some big businesses, who are part of our demand response program. We can call on these customers to reduce their electricity usage during peak periods – freeing up capacity on hot summer days.
“Plus, some of our customers who own solar and batteries have signed up to be part of our Virtual Power Plant. This allows us to take control of their battery for an hour or two and discharge stored energy to the grid. This maintains grid stability and can help to avoid power outages.
“We've been putting in the effort now to ensure we're ready when the heat is on,” says Sue.