Network Demand Management
Council tackles the problem of Energy Demand in the North.
It costs more to supply Townsville with electricity than any other major city in Australia!
Why? Because in the North, we are so far from the power stations in Central Queensland, 80% of the power produced is lost in transmission, but the main cost is to maintain and upgrade the transmission lines, also as the city grows, we are rapidly running out of capacity.
An additional pressure on the system is that we don’t use energy at a constant level; and the peaks are a lot greater than what we use during the rest of the day. Two problem peaks in usage occur every work day around Breakfast and Dinner Times when the average person is at home starting up or shutting down. Add to this the office buildings and industrial locations that are firing up air conditioning, pumping water or turning on security systems and lights. This phenomenon is called Peak Demand and it could dramatically affect how we live here in Townsville.
If you need to be reminded about how fragile this artery is just remember what happened in Yasi when the power lines got damaged! It took weeks to get reconnected.
While this peak may only occur for a few minutes, or even a few seconds, the poles and wires that carry the electrical power have to be designed to that peak level. Eighty percent of the cost of electricity that you pay actually goes to maintain, upgrade and add new poles and wires.
Meeting this challenge, Ergon and Townsville City Council have joined forces to reduce both total energy consumption and peak energy demand. We are going to be the test pilots and lead the way. The transformation has already begun and over the next eighteen months every Council site will be, tweaked and measured, looking for ways to improve our electrical consumption.
Already council staff may be noticing obvious changes to the lighting systems in their offices; but behind the scenes air-conditioning plant and other equipment is being upgraded as the project is rolled out across the city.
We are trialling some new technology in the hope of leading the wider community but the heart and soul of this battle can be won by very simple actions done by each council employee. We have counted in excess of 20,000 lights across council sites.