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Feeling the heat: power demand reaches new March record

IT was hot yesterday. So hot we set a new record in Queensland for power usage. 

According to the state Minister for Energy Mark Bailey, demand on the electricity transmission network reached an all-time high for March. 

At around 5pm the Queensland network reached around 8809 megawatts and spiked again at around 7pm. 

This is only 82 megawatts short of the all-time peak for Queensland, recorded on 18 January 2010.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the timing of the demand peak was also significant as the record was set later in the day, mainly due to the impacts of strong rooftop solar panel uptake across Queensland.

"The all-time record demand on the transmission network of 8891 megawatts was at 3pm in 2010," Mr Bailey said.

"Yesterday's record was later in the day at 5pm, with a second spike in demand at 7pm. The change in demand patterns was caused by the impact of increased rooftop solar panel generation.

"The generation capacity of solar has grown from 140 megawatts in January 2010 to 1300 megawatts.

"Queenslanders use solar generation until the late afternoon and then return to the electricity network to run air conditioners and other appliances from the early evening onwards.

"This significantly reduces daytime demand on the network and effectively delays peak demand to late afternoon or early evening. It is predicted that increased solar uptake will continue to push the peak demand later in the evening from 5pm to 7pm."

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said Powerlink's transmission network had reliably met yesterday's high demand without any issues.

"We plan and operate the network to allow for these hot conditions, particularly around this time of year," Ms York said.

"While it was a record peak demand for March, the Powerlink transmission network performed well and provided Queenslanders the electricity they needed to try and beat the high temperatures."

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