Australian energy prices hit all-time high

Canberra: Australian energy prices have soared to their highest level amid “an unparalleled period”, latest data revealed on Friday.

According to the data published by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), the average wholesale price of electricity in the National Electricity Market (NEM) in the three months to June 30 was A$264 per megawatt hour (MWh), reports Xinhua news agency.

The figure is up by A$177 per MWh on the previous quarter and three times higher than the average price in the second quarter of 2021.

Gas prices averaged A$28.40 per gigajoule (GJ) , compared to A$8.20 per GJ in the second quarter in 2021.

Violette Mouchaileh, executive general manager at AEMO, said high global prices for fossil fuels drove the increase.

“Wholesale energy price hikes and volatility were driven by multiple factors, including high international commodity prices, coal-fired generation outages, elevated levels of gas-fired generation, fuel supply issues, and many east coast cities experiencing their coldest start to June in decades,” she said in a statement.

“What’s clear is the urgent need to build-out renewable energy with diversified firming generation, like batteries, hydro and gas, and transmission investment to provide homes and businesses with low-cost, reliable energy.”

In its report, AEMO said shortfalls from coal-fired generators left a gap in the market that was filled by gas.

The Operator in June implemented price caps on wholesale electricity prices to shield Australians from higher prices.

“The scale of interventions needed to manage the extent of reserve shortfalls made operation of the market in accordance with the National Electricity Rules (NER) impossible,” it said.

“And AEMO suspended operation of the NEM spot market in all regions between June 15 and June 24, when full spot market operation recommenced.”

It is now facing compensation claims from generators.

(IANS)