No blackouts: Power promise as we sweat toward record energy demand

Queenslanders have been assured the lights and air conditioning will stay on as the state’s punishing heat and humidity this week is forecast to spark a record peak in energy demand.

Feb 02, 2023, updated Feb 02, 2023
Power providers have conducted scenario planning to prepare extreme energy demand expected on Friday. (Image: Unsplash)

Power providers have conducted scenario planning to prepare extreme energy demand expected on Friday. (Image: Unsplash)

Large parts of the state have been enduring a combination of high temperatures and high humidity for several days, with conditions expected to persist into the weekend.

Ipswich, west of Brisbane, is expecting highs of 37 and 36 degrees on Friday and Saturday respectively, with minimum temperatures in the low 20s.

The Australian Energy Market Operator is forecasting a new record peak on Friday afternoon of about 10,400 megawatts of electricity demand, Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said.

“That exceeds significantly the records that were set last year,” he said on Thursday.

“Queensland’s previous maximum demand was 10,085 megawatts, and we’re expecting over 200 megawatts extra demand tomorrow.”

Scenario planning has been conducted to prepare for the situation expected on Friday.

“I’m advised that we have enough supply to make sure the lights stay on,” de Brenni said.

“But the assurance that I want to provide to Queensland households and businesses is that our energy system is ready – now it will be tight, but the system will be manageable.”

Queenslanders are being advised to stay inside when possible and prioritise hydration.

“If you have to go outside … try and avoid the hottest part of the day,” Queensland Ambulance clinical director Tony Hucker said.

“Avoid alcohol. That’s the worst thing you can do as far as trying to hydrate yourself.”

Meanwhile, the state has begun rolling out a series of batteries in communities around Ipswich designed to store excess rooftop solar energy.

An initial 35 batteries with capacities ranging from 60 to 180 kilowatts are expected to support “several hundred” homes in the area.

The state will aim to deploy more neighbourhood batteries in areas with a high uptake of rooftop solar, de Brenni said.

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