Transpower says Friday morning power supply still looks ‘tight’

Electricity demand could reach a record high on Friday morning.

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Electricity demand could reach a record high on Friday morning.

Transpower invited power companies to an online briefing Thursday afternoon to discuss the risk of there not being enough power to meet demand Friday morning.

The national grid operator informed power companies on Tuesday that it expects there to be only a small buffer of reserve generation to deal with any unexpected events during peak load. Friday morning.

Transpower’s initial advisory on Tuesday asked generators to increase production to reduce the risk of supply not meeting demand between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Chief operating officer Stephen Jay then stressed that he did not expect any power outages, but the online briefing scheduled for 2pm suggests his concerns have not been fully allayed.

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The next step for Transpower, if it remained concerned that the power supplies were too tight, might be to issue a warning notice on the grid.

Generators stand to lose money if they ignite expensive coal, gas or diesel generation that turns out to be surplus to requirements or is only needed for very short periods of time, and Transpower has no currently no legal power to require power companies to turn on generation they had not planned to run.

But in the event of a total network emergency, it can order network companies to reduce their demand, for example by shutting down ripple-controlled hot water systems or, if necessary, shutting off power to customers.

Jay predicted on Tuesday that power demand could hit a record high Friday morning as the current cold spell moved further north.

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His concern over power supply was heightened by forecasts that there will be little wind on Friday morning, reducing the contribution from wind generation, although wind forecasts fluctuated.

Morning demand typically peaks in winter at around 6,500 MW and Transpower aims to keep at least 200 MW of generation in reserve to deal with unforeseen events, such as power plant outages.

Genesis Energy spokesman Chris Mirams said Wednesday he was “comfortable with our own position, with some flexibility to offer more to the market if needed.”

Contact Energy production manager John Clark said Transpower was doing the right thing by publishing its notices.

“The market is responding as generators make generation available and we continue to work and communicate with Transpower on this,” he said.

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