Wind speed and electricity demand correlation analysis in the Australian National Electricity Market

Determining wind turbine generators’ ability to meet electricity demand without energy storage
9 November 2015

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This paper analyses wind speed and electricity demand correlation to determine the ability of wind turbine generators to meet electricity demand in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) without the aid of energy storage.  With the proposed increases in the number of windfarms to meet the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET), this correlation study is formative to identifying price and power stability issues and determining what transmission structure is required to best facilitate the absorption of wind power.

We calculate correlations between wind speed and electricity demand data for the years 2010 to 2012 using Weather Research & Forecasting Model (WRF 2015) wind speed data and Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) electricity demand data.  We calculate state level correlations to identify potential bottlenecks in the interconnectors that link each state’s transmission network.  The transmission lines within each state tend to be less of a constraint.

We find a small temporal increase in correlation between electricity demand and wind speed.  This we attribute to an unwitting renewable energy portfolio effect with the increase in solar PV and solar water heating.  Strengthening this portfolio effect is the decline in manufacturing that makes household domestic demand relatively larger. Comparing our study with an earlier correlation analysis by Bannister and Wallace (2011) tends to confirm our initial findings.

We find the most advantage from the lack of correlation between wind speed between the NEM’s peripheral states including Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.  Additionally, the correlation between electricity demand and wind speed is strongest between these states.  Similarly, we find the most advantage from the lack of correlation between electricity demand in each of these states.  The self-interest groups within Victoria and New South Wales and the transmission companies geographically contained within each state hinders the development of optimal interconnector capacity to maximise the benefit of wind power in the peripheral states and the NEM generally.

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2015
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1-10
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Suggested Citation

William Paul Bell, Phillip Wild, John Foster, Michael Hewson, 2015, Wind speed and electricity demand correlation analysis in the Australian National Electricity Market, Economic Analysis and Policy, viewed 26 February 2017, <http://apo.org.au/node/59193>.

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