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Monthly Edition: June 2024

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Loy Yang A trips all 4 units - 13th February causing a significant market price event

June Energy Market 2024

Australian Energy Market June 2024: Trends and Price Movements

Eraring Power Station extension eases price pressure, but supply issues maintain high market levels.

 

Published: 6 June 2024

Our Key Message

The Australian Energy Market Trends for June 2024 reveal significant developments and fluctuations influenced by policy changes, unexpected outages, and variations in generation sources. In this comprehensive overview, we delve into key factors affecting electricity and gas prices, forward contracts, and future market forecasts.

Eraring is officially back in the generation mix. In May, confirmation of the Eraring Power Station (NSW) was officially released, confirming its life extension by a minimum of two years, with an additional two-year option to extend to mid-2029. This announcement had an immediate impact on pricing.

The ACCC gas netback series continues to forecast a strong decline in wholesale prices by June 2026. While AEMO is still considering a more conservative outlook for 2025 and 2026 Australian Winter periods. On May 9th, the Australian government announced the Future Gas Strategy Policy, which has made minimal impact on longer dated pricing

June Energy Market 2024

Market Summary

Revised Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) released and the extension of Eraring Power Station beyond 2025 brings mixed reactions.

Spot Prices: Spot electricity prices were significantly higher in May compared to April across most of the eastern seaboard. This was driven by several factors, including lower than average wind generation, unplanned outages at power plants, and network constraints limiting the ability to move power from region to region. Notably, an NSW electricity price event triggered by the coincidence of planned and unplanned thermal generation outages on May 8th significantly impacted spot prices. Western Australia, however, saw consistent pricing throughout the month.

Forward Contracts: Forward contract prices for electricity rose across the board in May, with all states reaching their highest levels. This increase was in spite of dips in prices immediately following the Eraring power station announcement and was driven by concerns about generation reliability and continued network constraints highlighted in revised ESOO report. Additionally, lower wind generation is expected to put more pressure on higher-priced gas and hydro generation during the upcoming winter. In Queensland, the return to service of the Callide C power station in late June/early July is a potential concern for further short-term price volatility.

ACCC LNG Netback pricing predicts price drops in Winter 2026.

Gas Market: Spot gas prices also rose in May, particularly following the NSW electricity price event. The lower wind generation throughout the month also put pressure on gas prices. However, prices settled down towards the end of the month, with the average only slightly higher than April. Trading activity in the short-term gas market is low, with a shift towards securing gas through longer-term contracts (Cal 25 and beyond). Despite the current price increases, the ACCC forecasts a significant drop in long-term gas prices by mid-2026

 

Utilibox Energy Contract Price Index

Source as of 3rd June: Utilibox Energy Contract Price Index -  using contract prices from Energy Action’s Reverse Auction platform. The index averages these contract prices - providing insight to pricing trends rather than specific contract price levels.

Electricity Contract Market 

NSW

Any softening seen in the April period was quickly eroded as the forward contracts all retraced back and continued to push higher. Currently all contracts are trading at their highest level and are close to the levels seen where the Cal 24 contract was trading this time last year.

All contracts closed the month higher, however there was some significant movements in both directions. The revised ESOO report contributed to driving wholesale prices higher, particularly in NSW. The official announcement regarding the extension of Eraring Power Station was anticipated to ease this increase, however it led to an elevation in the longer-term pricing curves. Overtime this settled but has not yet retraced back to levels prior to the ESOO announcement.

Low wind output across the NEM has also put some concern back into the forward market as it becomes more reliant on higher priced fuel sources (gas and hydro) as we move into Winter. The expected mild winter weather is keeping volatility low but average prices are still high as the network constraints are still active.

​​Recommendation: 

  • While reductions in pricing for next winter will occur, it is advised to monitor trends as we should eventually see a contraction of pricing. This is because, the current trend where all forward contracts are trading at their peak and looking to continue this trend into June. We will see some backwardation in the NSW contracts as they will be trading at high levels. While historical data does not indicate future pricing movement, the forecast of mild weather into June, will make it more likely for the pricing curve to soften for the latter half of Cal 24 and Q1 of Summer 2025.
  • All contracts are currently a short-term watch.

 

QLD

QLD contracts have been indirectly affected by the Eraring announcement and were only minimally affected during May compared with other states. All contracts have jumped and are now trading above $100, with the Cal 2027 contract just recently breaking through. The contracts are still backwardated, however, the level of premium between the Cal 26 and Cal 27 contracts is shrinking. Contracts are still at all-time high levels.

The next issue for QLD is ensuring that Callide C comes back online in late June or early July without any problems. As it stands, there are anticipated challenges with this return-to-service timeline.​

Recommendation: 

  • All contracts are trading at all time highs and have been on strong bull runs. Moving into June and assuming the mild winter conditions continue, it is expected that these contracts will soften. This is depending upon the absence of complications with Callide or an unexpected market price event. However, based on current conditions, a softening of these contracts are expected moving into Q3.
  • All contracts are currently a short-term watch.

 

VIC 

VIC stayed in-line with QLD and NSW contracts and have jumped significantly over May. The Eraring announcement, a price event on the 8th of May and significant changes in the ESOO reports outlook, have resulted in a significant upward pressure on the contract pricing.

While VIC contracts are still sitting well below $100, the contracts have continued to push up into winter and are also trading at recent highs. Lower wind generation across the month has also impacted forward contracts pricing as more expensive gas & hydro has been required to cover the shortfall and impacting spot prices.

​​Recommendation:

  • Since all contracts are all above previous highs and have had strong bull runs. It is recommended to anticipate a moderation in these increases as market conditions stabilise and wind generation in VIC increases. If the Bureau of Metrology forecast predictions are accurate, we should expect a decrease in pricing curve throughout June.
  • All contracts are currently a short-term watch.

 

SA

The SA contracts do tend to lag the other states and while the Cal 2025 contract has jumped, the Cal 2026 and 2027 contracts have lagged. SA contracts were more affected by the ESOO announcement as there was a significant shift in the reliability shortfall refresh. This heavily impacted the Cal 2025 contract and while it also should have lifted the Cal 2026 and Cal 2027 contracts, they were less affected.

  • The Cal 2025 contract has pushed up significantly and is now sitting at a contract high level. While it does feel slightly over-cooked at these levels there are still some supply issues affecting the longer-term contracts. It should settle as we move through winter.
  • All contracts are currently a short-term watch. While the Cal 26 and Cal 27 are reasonably flat, the lack of liquidity in this market may mean that these relatively benign prices do not translate into contract prices for customers.

ASX Baseload Futures Prices

NSW Futures PricesQLD Futures PricesVIC Futures PricesSA Futures Prices

Electricity Spot Prices.

Pricing remained strong regardless of the market event and early May prices being volatile

May pricing was significantly stronger than April across all regions as higher underlying averages combined with a price event at the start of the month (8th May price event), has kept monthly spot averages up. Less volatile prices cease to exist outside of this event, but averages remained high.

These strong prices were influenced by several physical challenges through the month:

  • Wind Generation: Remained low throughout May with a surge by the end of the month. Low wind generation resulted in increased pressure on Gas & Hydro generation, pushing prices higher.
  • Power Outages: While there was a major unplanned outage in NSW on 8th May, generation was slow to return and additional smaller plant outages continued to strain available supply.
  • Network Constraints: Restrictions on grid’s ability to transfer generations from region to region, result in less generation available from other states which is exacerbating shortage.
  •  

In contrast, WA prices remained constant again through May. Despite some volatility in the balancing market, it was minimal, and prices were lower than most of the eastern seaboard.

Monthly Average Spot Price

Monthly Avg Spot PriceMonthly spot price table

Electricity Network Price resets approved by the AER

May also saw the release of approved network pricing by the AER across the various network jurisdictions it administers.

Network prices recover revenue for poles and wires component of the electricity supply chain. Network costs typically represent 30-45% of a customer’s bill.

The monopoly businesses which operate the networks are responsible for delivering electricity across the grid are regulated by the AER, which sets prices annually in advance each May for 1st July start. The distribution businesses also collect revenue for the upstream transmission businesses, and various jurisdictional programmes to strengthen the reliability of the grid, such as Renewable Energy Zones developments.

With a few notable exceptions, distribution prices have risen significantly across all customer classes and most network areas. Increases are being driven by inflation and in NSW in particular by the requirement to invest in new transmission to support renewable generation.

In NSW, customers of the Ausgrid business are particularly affected, and can expect a 20% increase in their network costs, whilst Endeavour LV customers can expect increases of about 11%.

In Victoria, the application of prices was mixed, with Jemena given the greenlight to increase prices by 16% across the board whereas the other networks are constrained to increases below 10%. 

Qld customers can expect increases in the order of 8% to 12%,  while LV users in SA, Tasmanian and NT customers can expect increases of 11%, 20% and 9% respectively.

Electricity Network Price resets

Gas Markets Breakdown

Gas Market BreakdownACCC LNG Netback Gas Pricing

Source: ACCC LNG Netback Gas Pricing - As of  3rd June

  • Spot Gas Prices: Spot gas prices continued to strengthen as we move deeper into winter. Prices were also pushed up on the days post the 8th of May (NSW Electricity price event) as the market needed more generation to fill the shortfall. This had a direct impact on the spot gas prices across most states. Initially, reduced wind generation at the start of May also put price pressure onto gas prices. While prices eventually settled down, the average was only slightly higher than the previous months. Occasionally, prices reached the high teens with VIC spot gas breaking through the $18.00/GJ mark. However, this was short-lived as wind generation increased later in the month
  • Trading Activity and Futures Prices: ASX trading as been minimal with wide price spreads persisting. However, there has been recent activity in the longer-term gas contracts starting from Cal 25 and beyond. Prices have been consistent within the $15.00/GJ range, depending on load shape and usage requirements. Given increased activity, it may be worth initiating the contract process for Cal 25 and beyond.
  • ACCC LNG Netback Gas Pricing: The latest ACCC market report shows longer-term gas prices to fall leading up to Australian winter of 2026. The forecast of 2025 prices anticipates an increase during the Northern Winter period due to an increase in global demand for gas. Following that by a slight decrease during Australian Winter of 2025 where global demand is lessened. We are expecting an upward trend at the start of 2026 before a significant drop by June 2026. Even at its forecasted lowest point level, future pricing remains at $2.00 above the current netback pricing levels.
  • Gas Future Strategy: Announced in early May, the Labour government has revised its stance on gas and is now supporting it as a transition fuel in the shift towards a renewable economy. This policy has made minimal impact so far on the forward retail contract market. Nonetheless, it does confirm the role of gas moving to a Net Zero Economy.

Environmental Certificate Markets.
Trends, Pressures, and Regulatory Shifts

Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)

The STC market has remained stable with spot STC’s holding firm at $39.90 and showing no indication of moving off these levels. Short-dated forward contracts are slightly backwardated but trading volumes remain very thin.

The Clearing House remains in surplus and percentage changes to the 2024 target have not influenced price trends or market direction. The next compliance period, due in late July, has continued to be at a flat rate since April and has seen on price movement. As of now, the market has not moved from the $39.90 level as there is no factors that might influence a change. The surplus in the Clearing House has yet to impact the underlying price.

Latest Spot Trade

Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)

Large Generation Certificates (LGCs)

Spot LGC trading volumes remain solid with daily activity. Prices have been generally stable within a range, but there has been some recent movement. Spot LGCs closed the month below $47.00, with the last trade at $46.10.

Large Generation Certificates (LGCs)

Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEECs) 

VEEC prices continue their surge, exceeding $110 per certificate. Retail offers are even factoring in penalty pricing due to tightening supply. Spot VEECs recently hit $115.00, reflecting a significant 12% increase on top of the previous 9% rise.

While weekly creation has stabilised this week, overall creation volumes in 2024 remain lower compared to both 2022 and 2023. The ongoing supply shortfall is a key driver behind the price increase.

Energy Saving Certificates (ESCs) 

ESC prices seem to have plateaued around $19.75, finding resistance at attempts to break below $19.00. This might represent a short-term trading range. Notably, the market has not seen any longer-dated contracts yet.

Creation volumes have fluctuated significantly over the past month, with both very high and very low output weeks. Despite this inconsistency, pricing has not been significantly impacted. The 2024 weekly average now surpasses the previous two years.

Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) 

ACCU volumes were down slightly compared to previous months, in terms of both volume and the number of trades. Both Generic and Human Induced Reduction (HIR) ACCUs have been holding at this level, trading more sideways than in a clear direction. Both types of certificates are trading close to the $34.00 with HIR ACCUs still attracting a small premium.

Appendix – New South Wales Baseload ASX Futures

New South Wales Baseload ASX Futures

Latest data available from Utilibox as of 3rd June

Appendix – Victoria Baseload ASX Futures

Victoria Baseload ASX Futures

Latest data available from Utilibox as of 3rd June

Appendix – Queensland Baseload ASX Futures

Queensland Baseload ASX Futures

Latest data available from Utilibox as of 9th May

Appendix – South Australia Baseload ASX Futures

South Australia Baseload ASX Futures

Latest data available from Utilibox as of 3rd June

Appendix – Baseload ASX Futures

Calendar Year 2024

Calendar Year 2024 Futures

Latest data available from Utilibox as of 3rd June

Appendix – Baseload ASX Futures

Calendar Year 2025

Calendar Year 2025 ASX Futures

Latest data available from Utilibox as of 3rd June

Appendix – Baseload ASX Futures

Calendar Year 2026

Calendar Year 2026 ASX Futures

Latest data available from Utilibox as of 3rd June

Appendix – Baseload ASX Futures

Calendar Year 2027

Calendar Year 2027

Latest data available from Utilibox as of 3rd June

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