Fluctuating energy demand, high prices hit South Australia

By Enterprise Monkey

The government of South Australia has asked French utility Engie to restart its mothballed Pelican Point Power Station in Adelaide amid soaring electricity prices.

National Electricity Market (NEM) prices in the state have surged above $1000 per megawatt hour (MWh) this month — even hitting the maximum $14,000MWh price on Tuesday.

South Australian Energy Minister and Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said a combination of the planned outage of the Heywood power interconnector with Victoria, higher gas prices and harsh winter weather was to blame for price volatility in the state’s energy market.

“Engie has brought addition­al generation at Pelican Point ­online after I approached them with the request. No amount has been paid to Engie to increase generation,” Koutsantonis said.

Opposition frontbencher Rob Lucas has blamed the South Australian government’s reliance on renewable energy for the surge in electricity prices. On Monday, wind energy generated 83 percent of SA’s electricity, though Lucas blamed the “rush” into renewables without ensuring continued base load power for the state’s soaring prices.

However, proponents of renewables say clean energy is not to blame for energy woes, arguing that South Australia’s history of paying above average electricity prices is the culprit.

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