As springtime rolls around in the NEM, those with interest in the market are always keeping an eye on South Australia to see just how low operational demand will go and when (not so much if) the record will be broken. This year has not disappointed.
On 11 October 2020 at 12:30, South Australia recorded operational demand of 300 MW, smashing the previous record. Like previous minimum demand observations, the biggest driver was generation from behind-the-meter solar which at its peak contributed 1 GW of output and drove down operational demand. Additionally, there was ~315 MW of grid scale solar generation at that time.
This highlights the significant level of solar penetration in SA, particularly due to the absence of wind generation on the day. However, while we can look favourably on the contribution of VRE in satisfying SA’s local requirement, there is an elephant that cannot be ignored – gas.