Kia ora Flickster,
Your friendly Flick team here, shining the spotlight on the electricity industry and bringing you all the market info you need to stay informed (‘cos, ya know, #knowledgeispower!). With lots going on over the next few months we thought we’d take a look ahead and see what’s in the pipeline that might impact spot pricing for our Freestyle Flicksters.
Throughout the first half of 2020 there are a few outages planned in order for generators to carry out necessary maintenance.
From 8-23 February the Ahuroa Gas Storage facility in Taranaki will shut down for its four-yearly inspections, and between 11-24 March there’s a planned outage at Pohokura for similar checks. From January through to June 2020, there’s also scheduled inspections of the Pohokura undersea pipeline, which might result in maintenance work and outages (if they’re needed).
Between January and March 2020 there are planned outages on the HVDC link (the cable that transfers power from Benmore in the South Island to the Haywards substation in the North Island) to undertake annual maintenance and some upgrades. This means that, at times during these months, there’ll be limits on the amount of electricity that can be transferred between islands. There’s far less hydro capacity in the North Island, and with less generation being transferred northwards, spot prices in the North Island might be pushed up.
Coming up, there are 3 scheduled outages where the HVDC link will be completely shut down for 24 hours each, on 1 February, 7 March and 21 March (there was also one last weekend on 18 January). These outages have been scheduled for Saturdays, when we tend to collectively use less power, so that they’ll have less of an impact on spot prices. Phew! Here’s the link to the current HVDC Outages 2020 calendar.
It pays to note, too, that there are a couple of days where the HVDC work will coincide with the Ahuroa (February) and Pohokura (March) outages. These outages will affect the amount of thermal generation available, and push spot prices higher in the North Island.
Our hydro storage well and truly depends on Mother Nature, and whether she decides to grace us with lots of H2O this summer (or not!). Currently, national storage levels are sitting at 120% of average. Yass!
NIWA’s seasonal forecast is also predicting near-normal or above-normal rainfall in the west and south of the South Island - hopefully over our big hydro lakes! - up until March, and normal or below-normal rainfall north of Lake Taupō.
What will this mean for your power bill?
The higher forecasted spot prices might possibly translate into higher bills for some of our North Island Freestylin’ Flicksters, although it remains to be seen exactly what will happen because, as well all know, there are lots of things that contribute to final spot prices.
In any case, we reckon it’s a great idea to keep an eye on your app so you’re ahead of the game. And if you have any questions, give us a bell!