31 March 2022
26 May 2022
Our quarterly reports allow us to identify significant trends in the wholesale electricity and gas markets, and independently evaluate market developments as they emerge.
- Wholesale electricity prices increased across all regions in Q1 2022 compared to the same quarter last year, at least doubling in most regions with prices (VWA) ranging from $64/MWh in Victoria, to $89/MWh in NSW and quadrupling to $171/MWh in Queensland.
- High wholesale prices continued into Q2 2022. As of 15 May 2022, VWA prices in all regions were between $160/MWh and $283/MWh, with Queensland remaining the most expensive region.
- High future prices in Queensland and NSW over 2022-2024 suggest market participants expect higher prices in these regions to persist.
- Demand reached near record highs in Queensland with high humidity and elevated overnight temperatures.
- In an environment of higher fuel prices, generators shifted capacity to higher prices. At times, limits on the Queensland-NSW Interconnector (QNI) also reduced the availability of low priced energy.
- Q1 2022 saw the highest ever quarterly output by grid-scale solar generation. Despite rising fuel costs, gas output also rose, as gas generators were dispatched in response to black coal outages.
- These shifts, supported by increased wind and hydro generation, saw further falls in coal generation. Black coal generation NEM-wide reached a record low 49% of total output. Brown coal generation was also low, recording its lowest level for a January-March quarter.
- This report also includes a focus story on high FCAS prices in Queensland.
- Domestic wholesale gas prices were elevated in Q1 2022, averaging around $10/GJ and setting a new Q1 record. Prices began to increase at the end of Q1 and into Q2, with prices up to $55/GJ recorded in Victoria in May. While domestic gas prices remained much lower than international prices in Q1, there were days in May when the domestic price exceeded the LNG netback price.
- International gas prices hit record highs in Q1 2022, with new single day price records set in Europe ($88.61/GJ) and Asia ($70.88/GJ) in Q1 2022.
- Higher domestic prices in late March, April and early May, coincided with an increase in the volume of gas used to generate electricity and higher NEM prices, a ramp up of storage levels in the lead up to higher demand over the Australian winter, as well as high levels of international demand and robust exports.
- Futures prices also increased in line with overall higher price expectations. At the start of May 2022, Victorian gas futures were trading on the ASX at $15.00/GJ for Q2 2022 and $17.50/GJ for Q3 2022. These prices are significantly higher than in 2021.
- Q1 2022 saw near record LNG exports and high domestic gas production. Gas production hit a new record for Q1 at 5,357 TJ/day.
- This report also includes a focus story on the Day Ahead Auction for pipeline capacity which continues to provide cheap access to transport to move gas across the east coast markets.