Is electricity demand growth returning in Australia?

by Hugh Saddler

In late 2010, after over a century of almost uninterrupted growth, demand for electricity in Australia began to fall. Two previous papers, published in 2013 and 2015, examined possible reasons why demand was falling in the National Electricity Market (NEM), which accounts for nearly 90% of Australian electricity consumption. However, no sooner had the second paper been published than data began to suggest that electricity demand was growing again.

This short paper compiles data on electricity demand in the NEM up to the end of April 2016 and confirms that, as at that date, demand by both residential and general business consumers has been growing steadily since late 2014. On the basis of the preliminary data available, if these new trends continue, residential electricity demand will grow from now on in line with population growth, while general business demand will grow in line with economic activity.

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