CANBERRA, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Record level of energy from renewable sources has driven demand for electricity from Australia's grid to an all-time low.
The Australian Energy Market Operator on Wednesday released its report on electricity use for the final quarter of 2022, revealing average wholesale power prices fell more than 50 percent from the September quarter.
According to AEMO, renewable energy from wind, solar and hydro accounted for about 40.3 percent of power in the national electricity market (NEM) between October and December, beating the previous all-time high of 35.8 percent 12 months earlier.
Power generation from black and brown coal-fired power plants fell to the lowest level since the NEM started in 1998.
As a result, AEMO Executive General Manager of Reform Delivery Violette Mouchaileh said carbon emissions from the electricity sector fell significantly.
"This growth, along with the lowest output from coal-fired generation since NEM started, saw NEM emissions drop to the lowest quarter on record at 26.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent, 5.6 percent lower than Q4 2021 levels. Similarly, wholesale electricity market (WEM) emissions dropped 11 percent from Q4 2021," Mouchaileh said in a media release.
Wholesale electricity prices averaged 93 Australian dollars (65.5 U.S. dollars) per megawatt hour (MWh), down from 216 Australian dollars (152.4 U.S. dollars) per MWh in the September quarter, but still significantly higher than the Q4 2021 average of 52 Australian dollars (36.6 U.S. dollars).
The fall came as the federal government legislated a cap on the wholesale price of thermal coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in a bid to drive down energy bills, a move which AEMO said caused falls. ■