El Nino is expected to create a significant spike in electricity demand

School & Education / Sustainability by Tom Edwards


The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has warned that El Nino may lead to a significant spike in electricity demand, reaching its highest level in a decade this summer. It is expected to bring about heightened electricity consumption due to a combination of extreme heat, severe drought, and bushfires.

In the 2023/24 Summer Readiness Overview, AEMO’s Executive General Manager Operations, Michael Gatt, expressed particular concern for Western and Eastern Australia. Gatt highlighted worries about potential droughts, storms and cyclones (for example, precisely that have occurred in northern and southern Queensland prior to Christmas 2023), fire hazards, and intense heat in these regions.

Furthermore, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) anticipates abnormally dry and hot weather across a substantial part of the country, influenced by the El Nino phenomenon.

AEMO is proactively implementing contingency plans to mitigate risks, including the pursuit of an unspecified amount of “short notice” reserve and emergency capacity. This is likely to involve demand management strategies, such as requesting major energy consumers like refineries and smelters to temporarily reduce their loads during peak demand.

Forced outages are likely

Forced outages are expected to occur when there is a convergence of high electricity demand and low solar or wind availability, as well as during scheduled generation and network outages, according to this AEMO report.


As Victoria experienced a warmer spring in 2023, the high-risk fire season also started earlier than expected as a result of this El Nino.

Increase your energy independence

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  1. Renewable energy sources: Prioritise the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydropower. Installing solar panels with UNIfied Energy on your property, for example, allows you to generate your own electricity, reducing reliance on the grid.
  2. Energy efficiency: Improve the energy efficiency of your home or business by investing in energy-efficient appliances, lighting, insulation, and windows. Conduct energy audits to identify areas for improvement and implement energy-saving measures.
  3. Battery storage: Consider incorporating energy storage solutions, such as batteries, to store excess energy generated by renewable sources such as solar. This enables you to use stored energy during periods of low renewable generation or during power outages.
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