With electricity prices to remain high, how will ag cope?


Eric Barker, Beef Central (Australia)



ELECTRICITY and gas prices are forecast to remain high for the foreseeable future after warnings of possible outages due to a shortfall in supply in recent days.


Yesterday, five states were warned of possible outages by the Australian Energy and Market Operator (AEMO), which manages the Australian Electricity Network. The shortfall was put down to a $300/megawatt hour cap AEMO put on suppliers, planned maintenance and a global shortage of gas.


While the grim predictions did not come to fruition after it directed companies to add supply to the market, the organisation has taken another major step today to suspend the spot market for electricity because it cannot guarantee supply.


“These electricity shortfalls primarily relate to generators revising their market availability in response to administered wholesale electricity price caps. In addition, there are generation units offline for maintenance, along with influencing factors, such as higher energy-related commodity prices,” AEMO said in a statement this morning.


“Today, AEMO continues to encourage generators across the NEM through our lack of reserve (LOR) notices in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia to bid their availability into the market, rather than being directed to do so.”


The situation put many on edge, including processors, and prompted calls from academics and the Electrical Trades Union for an inquiry into the way Qld’s electricity network is managed.


While an inquiry may answer some questions, the situation is not expected to be resolved quickly with a global shortage of gas forcing prices up and possible shortages to continue. One processor has told Beef Central the company’s power bill is likely to increase by 300 pc next year.


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