Coal Fired Irony

Posted on Mon 08/24/2015 by


TonyfromOzProfileImageBy Anton Lang ~

Not only does Renewable Power fail so comprehensively at replacing coal fired power, it turns out that all existing renewable power plants in Australia will need to replace themselves long before coal fired power ceases operations.

There was an article in the media back in April, shown at this link, where the owners of large scale coal fired power plants in Australia have said that they will close their largest plants by 2050.

At the time, the anti coal lobby, and those who are pushing for more renewable power claimed this as a victory.

Not only is is NOT a victory, but I seriously wonder if those same people have thought about this for even a fleeting minute.

Bayswater Power Plant

Bayswater Power Station


That’s 35 years from now.

The Company which owns these power plants AGL own two of the largest power plants in Australia, the Bayswater Plant which supplies vast amounts of power into the New South Wales grid, and Loy Yang, which supplies vast amounts of power into the grids of Victoria.

Bayswater began operations in 1985/6 and has a Nameplate Capacity of 2640MW, generated from its four units, all fuelled by the nearby black coal deposits. It delivers around 17,000GWH of power each and every year, and that’s around 8% of the total power consumption for the whole of Australia.


Loy Yang Power Station

Loy Yang began operations in 1985 and has a Nameplate Capacity of 3300MW, generated from its six units, all fuelled by the nearby brown coal deposits. It delivers around the same power as the Bayswater plant.

They plan to cease operations by 2050.

Now, let’s look at renewable power, the most favoured two versions of this being Wind power and the two versions of solar power, and here we could also include rooftop solar power as well.

When you add up the total Nameplate Capacity for EVERY wind plant in Australia, the total comes to around 4000MW. However, the total power delivered from all of them only comes in at around 8,500GWH per year. Add in all the solar power actually delivered and the total barely moves, now up to around 9,000GWH.

Australia is booming ahead with the installation of those rooftop panels, and there are currently around 1.5 million rooftop installations. The average installation is around 2.2KW, so the nameplate Capacity for rooftop solar is 3300MW, a seemingly large amount. However, because rooftop solar power only generates its power while the Sun is actually shining, the actual power generated by all those panels comes in at only 3500GWH a year, which is a paltry amount really.

So, now add that to the total power from the large power plants for wind and solar, and the total is now 12,500GWH.

Compare that with the total power delivered from Bayswater and Loy Yang, around 34,000GWH per year, which is 2.7 times higher than all that renewable power.

Nearly all of those renewable plants, and virtually all of those rooftop installations have been put in place over the last ten years, some older than this, but only out to 15 years at most.

The life span for all those renewable power plants is barely 20 to 25 years, and recently, the life span for wind power has been showing that 15 years might be closer to the mark. The same applies for any version of solar power, and also for any rooftop solar power system.

Even at the best case scenario of 25 years, what that means is that every currently existing renewable power generation method will have reached the end of its life well and truly before 2040, a full ten years before consideration is given to closing Bayswater and Loy Yang.

So, both Bayswater and Loy Yang were in operation at least 15 to 20 years before any of these renewable power plants were constructed, and will be in operation for ten years after all that renewable power has long since reached its full life expectancy.

So, in effect, every single renewable power plant currently in operation and every solar panel on every roof will need to be replaced before these two coal fired plants close down, and will be approaching the time when they all need a second replacement.

In reality, and even giving them a best case scenario life span of 25 years, any wind or solar plant which is only in planning now, and will not be constructed for another ten years will still need to be replaced before these two coal fired plants close.

So, not only have these renewable plants not replaced large scale coal fired power, they actually have to replace themselves before these coal fired plants close down.

Every Wind Plant, every Solar Power Plant, every rooftop solar installation, across the whole of Australia not only generates barely 37% of just these TWO coal fired power plants, but the coal fired plants were delivering power 15 to 20 years before they were even a thought bubble, and will be delivering power at least ten years after all those renewable generating sources have reached the end of their lives.

An enormous amount of money has been spent on these renewable power plants, and will need an even greater amount to replace them all, while all that time and more, these two coal fired plants have just been humming along, delivering absolutely huge amounts of power on a 24 hour basis, something that renewable power can only dream about doing.

So, all that renewable power has not only NOT replaced large scale coal fired power, but it has to replace itself before these coal fired plants close.

If that is not the definition of irony, then I don’t know what is.

Anton Lang uses the screen name of TonyfromOz, and he writes at this site, PA Pundits International on topics related to electrical power generation, from all sources, concentrating mainly on Renewable Power, and how the two most favoured methods of renewable power generation, Wind Power and all versions of Solar Power, fail comprehensively to deliver levels of power required to replace traditional power generation. His Bio is at this link.