Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 8th July 2017

Posted on Sat 07/08/2017 by


By Anton Lang ~

What is Base Load Power?

For so long now, those two words have been used as just the one word, baseload, and that one word is now almost solely used to describe coal fired power plants as baseload plants, and it is used in this manner in a way that is totally incorrect.

The Base Load is two words and it is the minimum level of electrical power consumption on a daily basis. That level is the lowest level that power consumption gets down to, and it never falls below that amount except for one day a year, Christmas Day, when it is slightly lower.

That lowest point of power consumption is what should be correctly termed as the Base Load.

This is easily seen when you look at Load Curves for power consumption.

Since electrical power has started to be used, that total power consumption can be shown by Load Curves, and below are two examples of Load Curves, and you’ll see that they look slightly different, and that is because power consumption differs from Season to Season.

These load curves are similar in nature for towns, for cities for Capital cities, for regions and for States as well as for an overall Country. The two examples I have shown below are for Australia as a whole and as you can see, they vary from Season to Season. The top one is for Summer, and the lower one is for Winter, and these are typical for every area I mentioned above.

Note the time scale along the bottom of each graph, and you can see it starts at Midnight, and goes through the day and back to Midnight. Note the time when it is at its lowest, and that is around 4AM, for both Summer and Winter.

Now, look up the left side vertical axis, and that is the amount of power being consumed in MegaWatts. (MW)

You can now see that the lowest point it reaches is 18,000MW and that’s at around that same time each day, 4AM. So, when almost everyone is tucked up asleep in bed, Australia is still consuming 18,000MW or power.

While those two images show Load Curves for Australia, as I mentioned, they are the same for everywhere on Planet Earth where electrical power is generated, and as an example go to this link. This is for the State of California, and if you scroll down to the second image it shows the Load Curve for the previous day, and you can see that this is the same shape curve as the top one in the image for Australia, because this image is for yesterday, July 7th, a typical Summer Load Curve, and note that this State, California consumes a much higher level of electrical power than the whole of Australia, and the Base Load minimum power level on this Load Curve is 25000MW, and is also at 4AM.

I haven’t selectively picked these two Australian graphs because of that 18000MW number, because they are the same all year round. That absolute amount of power at its lowest level is always around that 18,000MW.

If that huge amount of electrical power was not actually being generated and delivered to the grids across Australia, the Country would be blacked out.

That power is required and required ABSOLUTELY. It cannot be allowed to fall below that level.

Here in Australia, that huge amount of power is supplied by coal fired power. We have no Nuclear Power Plants, like they have in the U.S. and in other Countries, so that coal fired power is all we have. That level of power cannot be supplied by Renewables either, as you can plainly see, because that huge amount is required across the whole 24 hour period, and this is the lowest it falls to.

So, to actually show this, I am going to check each day on a daily basis, and show the results for each day in a weekly Post.

The major Australian grids cover five States, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, all States east of the Western Australian border, and this almost covers the whole of Australia.

Each week you will see the breakdown for that lowest level of power in Each of those five States, the total for all that Australian area, the amount of power delivered from fossil fuels, both coal fired power and natural gas fired power, the total delivered by Hydro, and by wind power, adding these last two together to give a total percentage of the whole amount delivered by renewables, and as a last thing, the total power delivered by just those coal fired power plants in each State, in total, and also as a percentage of the total.

This will conclusively show that Australia cannot do without coal fired power, and also that renewables, especially wind power will never be able to deliver these huge amounts of power.

For references, I have used the Australian Market Regulator the AEMO for each State’s absolute requirement and the site which details wind power, and which also indicates hydro, fossil fuel power, and coal fired power on a plant by plant basis.


All these totals are from 4AM on each day.

There are no coal fired power plants in South Australia or in Tasmania

5th July 2017

New South Wales – 6920MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Queensland – 4960MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 4150MW (Coal Fired Power – 4100MW)

South Australia – 1070MW

Tasmania – 1060MW

Total – 18160MW

Fossil Fuel – 16200MW (Total coal fired power – 15100MW  – 83.2% of the overall total of 18160MW)

Hydro – 500MW

Wind – 1800MW (9.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 12.6% of the total.

6th July 2017

New South Wales – 7030MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Queensland – 4930MW (Coal Fired Power – 5100MW)

Victoria – 4380MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 1140MW

Tasmania – 1030MW

Total – 18510MW

Fossil Fuel – 16800MW (Total coal fired power – 14900MW  – 80.5% of the overall total of 18510MW)

Hydro – 700MW

Wind – 1600MW (8.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 12% of the total.

7th July 2017

New South Wales – 7450MW (Coal Fired Power – 6000MW)

Queensland – 5000MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4300MW (Coal Fired Power – 2900MW)

South Australia – 1050MW

Tasmania – 1140MW

Total – 18940MW

Fossil Fuel – 16800MW (Total coal fired power – 14700MW  – 77.6% of the overall total of 18940MW)

Hydro – 800MW

Wind – 1800MW (9.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 13.4% of the total.

8th July 2017

New South Wales – 7350MW (Coal Fired Power – 6400MW)

Queensland – 5050MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 4150MW (Coal Fired Power – 3500MW)

South Australia – 1100MW

Tasmania – 1150MW

Total – 18800MW

Fossil Fuel – 16800MW (Total coal fired power – 15400MW  – 82% of the overall total of 18800MW)

Hydro – 1000MW

Wind – 1400MW (7.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 12.7% of the total.


Weekly Average For Base Load – 18603MW

Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 15025MW – 80.8%


As you can see here, on no day did that Base Load fall below 18000MW, and coal fired power supplied almost 80% (and above) of that total power on each of those days. At that same time, the total for wind power only reached 9.7% at its best as only a small part of that total absolute requirement.

Base Load Power is not a description for a power plant. It is an absolute power requirement to keep Australia actually operational. Take away that coal fired power, and Australia just shuts down.

From now on, each Saturday, I will be detailing the totals for each day for Australia.

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.