Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 22nd July 2017

Posted on Sat 07/22/2017 by


By Anton Lang ~

This is the continuing Post, where each Saturday, I will detail the power consumption for the Base Load in Australia for the previous week. This will show what is actually meant by the term Base Load, and that is the minimum daily power consumption at its lowest point. Power consumption never falls below this point.

Here in Australia, that level of power is 18,000MW.

I was asked in a comment at last week’s Post with the data to add an image which might better show what that Base Load really is. I’ll include the image here for this Post, and also add it to the Introductory Post as well.

This Load Curve is a typical Winter Load Curve for here in Australia, as right now, it is the middle of Winter, and that is indicated by the two peaks in the morning and evening. The Pink colour below that solid black line across the page at around 18000MW is the Base Load, and for a more detailed explanation of this image, refer back to that Original Post. (at this link)

This data I have collated below is for this last week, and is for the five States connected to the Australian grids, every State east of the Western Australian border, and here I will show that data for each of those five States, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania.

As you can see from these numbers, that huge amount of power is being supplied mainly by coal fired power, and on most days that coal fired power provides 80% or more of that level of power, at that time, when power consumption is at its lowest level, that total of 18,000MW.

All of this data is taken at a single point in time, and that is at 4AM of every day, when nearly all of us are sound asleep.

For the Introduction and background for this Base Load, refer back to the original Post at this link.

For the purposes of this data, the sources are as follows.

Total Power consumption for each State

Fossil Fuel totals and Coal Fired power totals

Hydro Power totals

Wind Power totals

All these totals are from 4AM on each day.

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


Sunday 16th July 2017

New South Wales – 7160MW (Coal Fired Power – 6000MW)

Queensland – 4920MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4070MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 960MW

Tasmania – 1040MW

Total – 18150MW

Fossil Fuel – 16200MW (Total coal fired power – 15800MW  – 87% of the overall total of 18150MW)

Hydro – 600MW

Wind – 1600MW (8.8% of the total)

Renewable power – 12.1% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27130MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 20200MW.

Monday 17th July 2017

New South Wales – 7050MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

Queensland – 4950MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)

Victoria – 3880MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1000MW

Tasmania – 990MW

Total – 17870MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 14400MW  – 80.6% of the overall total of 17870MW)

Hydro – 600MW

Wind – 3000MW (16.8% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.1% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 28800MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 20100MW.

Tuesday 18th July 2017

New South Wales – 7260MW (Coal Fired Power – 5150MW)

Queensland – 5000MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)

Victoria – 4100MW (Coal Fired Power – 3700MW)

South Australia – 1140MW

Tasmania – 1080MW

Total – 18580MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14250MW  – 76.7% of the overall total of 18580MW)

Hydro – 550MW

Wind – 2500MW (13.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 16.4% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27980MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 20110MW.

Wednesday 19th July 2017

New South Wales – 6930MW (Coal Fired Power – 4800MW)

Queensland – 4910MW (Coal Fired Power – 5480MW)

Victoria – 4060MW (Coal Fired Power – 4030MW)

South Australia – 1010MW

Tasmania – 1010MW

Total – 17920MW

Fossil Fuel – 15200MW (Total coal fired power – 14310MW  – 79.9% of the overall total of 17920MW)

Hydro – 600MW

Wind – 3100MW (17.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.6% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 28860MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19750MW

Thursday 20th July 2017

New South Wales – 7200MW (Coal Fired Power – 5900MW)

Queensland – 5040MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4080MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1230MW

Tasmania – 1030MW

Total – 18580MW

Fossil Fuel – 16800MW (Total coal fired power – 15500MW  – 83.4% of the overall total of 18580MW)

Hydro – 750MW

Wind – 1800MW (9.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 13.7% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 29760MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 20400MW

Friday 21st July 2017

New South Wales – 7560MW (Coal Fired Power – 6400MW)

Queensland – 5110MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4580MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1120MW

Tasmania – 1170MW

Total – 19540MW

Fossil Fuel – 18000MW (Total coal fired power – 16000MW  – 81.9% of the overall total of 19540MW)

Hydro – 1300MW

Wind – 800MW (4.1% of the total)

Renewable power – 10.7% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 28270MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19400MW

Saturday 22nd July 2017

New South Wales – 7630MW (Coal Fired Power – 5550MW)

Queensland – 5080MW (Coal Fired Power – 5850MW)

Victoria – 4130MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1040MW

Tasmania – 1090MW

Total – 18970MW

Fossil Fuel – MW (Total coal fired power – 15200MW  – 80.1% of the overall total of 18970MW)

Hydro – 900MW

Wind – 2800MW (14.8% of the total)

Renewable power – 19.5% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26210MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17400MW


Weekly Average For Base Load – 18515MW

Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 15055MW – 81.3%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 18591MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 15138MW – 81.4%


Comments For This Last Week

There were quite a few points of interest over this last week.

Look again at the figures for wind power on the Monday, (3000MW) Tuesday, (2500MW) Wednesday, (3100MW) and also on the Saturday (2800MW) mornings. These are impressive figures for wind power in Australia, and the total Nameplate is 4500MW, so at that time each morning (4AM) wind power was supplying a lot of power into the grids. While on the Saturday morning it rose to that 2800MW at 4AM, it was from a low base. However, for the three earlier days, wind power was delivering at rates I have never seen with Australian wind power. While wind power can be variable, from low to high on virtually most days, on these three days the average was fairly constant throughout the day, with Monday averaging 2800MW all day, Tuesday averaging 2600MW all day and Wednesday averaging 2500MW all day, and that is something I have never seen before here in Australia, not for three consecutive days like that at such a high level, as the average daily power delivery is only 1350MW, so for those three days, it was more than double that average.

However, having said that, now look again at the figures for coal fired power on those same three days. It hardly changed at all from its normal power delivery, both at that 4AM minimum, and especially at the evening Peak time at 6PM, when supply is what it always has been. This indicates that Wind power is actually not doing what it is supposedly being introduced specifically for, to REPLACE coal fired power. So, even when the wind power is high, it only means that less Natural gas fired plants are required to top up the supply to what is being demanded, especially keeping in mind that here in Australia, the cost of Natural gas is very high at the moment, so coal fired power is still delivering what it always has been delivering, those huge amounts of constant and regular supply.

Again note that on a couple of days that Base Load fell slightly below that figure of 18000MW, but even then, that is less than half of a percent lower, and on Friday morning (at 4 AM mind you) it was up to 19540MW, a full 8.5% higher than that 18000MW. That Friday morning is a case in point here, as in four of those five States, the morning Peak at 8AM was actually higher than the normal evening peak at 6PM. In those four States, it was a bitterly cold morning, well, for Australia anyway, and that high peak indicates that people would have had the heaters on in the early morning to take the edge off the cold.

Even on those three days when renewables as a whole (both wind power and hydro power combined) supplied around 20% of that Base Load, coal fired power was still supplying what it always has supplied.

There is one other thing I would like to point out. Those of you who are reading carefully may notice that on some days, when you add coal fired power to the power supplied by both renewable power sources, the total percentage for power might add up to more than 100%. That is not a case of my padding the figures, as I have only copied the exact figures from those sources I showed above. In Australia, because of those vast distances here on this large Continent, with a huge grid which covers almost the same area as the Continental U.S. and few plants to cover all that area, there are losses in the system, and the size of those losses even surprised me as well. Those losses amount to almost 7%  to 10% of all power being generated, so where you see the totals for Monday and Wednesday adding up to just over 100%, this also incorporates those losses which are inherent in any and every electrical power grid system.

When it comes to the Base Load requirement for dedicated power, there is no substitute for coal fired power. When that requirement is so high, at 18000MW, you actually need power plants which can supply those huge levels of power and do it on a constant basis, and here in Australia, that means coal fired power.

Take away that coal fired power, and Australia comes to a grinding halt.

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.