Electricity demand and carbon emissions continue to decline.

By Cameron Jewell

8 August 2013 — The latest pitt&sherry carbon emissions index shows that demand for electricity and carbon emissions from electricity continued to decrease in July. Reductions in emissions were due to both a reduction is demand and a shift in generation to renewables and lower polluting energy sources.

“The declining trend in electricity demand and emissions continued in July 2013,” the cedex report said. “The total reduction in annualised NEM generation since July 2012 was over 4 TWh (2.2%) and the reduction in associated emissions was about 11 Mt CO2-e (6.3%). Of this total emissions reduction, about 40% can be attributed to the fall in demand and 60% to the shift in generation mix to lower emission sources.”

The report said that the Australian Energy Market Operator had estimated that solar PV generation had increased by 1.3 TWh in 2012-13, compared with the previous year.

“This suggests that PV accounted for about one third of the total reduction in output from NEM generators during 2012-13, making it an important driver of the changes in the electricity market.”

See our article Climate Commission: Australia has undergone a “quiet” solar revolution

The report also stated that expectations of growth in summer peak demand meant regulators had approved massive investments in network infrastructure, which had caused large increases in electricity bills, however these increases in peak demand had not been seen.

“Summer peaks have not grown for several years,” the report said. “The highest ever peak in Victoria was four years ago last summer, the highest in Queensland three years ago, and in NSW and SA two years ago.”

It dismissed claims that this was because of an absence of very hot summer days when airconditioners would put stress on the energy system, saying it was increased energy efficiency, changing electricity consumer behaviour and increased uptake of rooftop PV that was causing both reduced peak and overall demand.

The full report can be found here.