Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 29th July 2017

Posted on Sat 07/29/2017 by

3


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.

The Bayswater Coal Fired Power Plant In New South Wales

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.

This is the permanent link to all the Posts with the data from each week.

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, the time of minimum power consumption.

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

*****

Sunday 23rd July 2017

New South Wales – 7210MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

Queensland – 4980MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 3920MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)

South Australia – 970MW

Tasmania – 960MW

Total – 18040MW

Fossil Fuel – 15400MW (Total coal fired power – 14200MW  – 78.7% of the overall total of 18040MW)

Hydro – 750MW

Wind – 2700MW (14.9% of the total)

Renewable power – 19.1% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26260MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19200MW

Monday 24th July 2017

New South Wales – 6990MW (Coal Fired Power – 4900MW)

Queensland – 5080MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4200MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)

South Australia – 1160MW

Tasmania – 1070MW

Total – 18500MW

Fossil Fuel – 17000MW (Total coal fired power – 14600MW  – 78.9% of the overall total of 18500MW)

Hydro – 750MW

Wind – 800MW (4.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 8.4% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24000MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19600MW

Tuesday 25th July 2017

New South Wales – 7100MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

Queensland – 5140MW (Coal Fired Power – 5300MW)

Victoria – 4150MW (Coal Fired Power – 3600MW)

South Australia – 1070MW

Tasmania – 1000MW

Total – 18460MW

Fossil Fuel – 15500MW (Total coal fired power – 14100MW  – 76.3% of the overall total of 18460MW)

Hydro – 750MW

Wind – 2800MW (15.1% of the total)

Renewable power – 19.2% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27740MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18000MW

Wednesday 26th July 2017

New South Wales – 6800MW (Coal Fired Power – 4800MW)

Queensland – 5150MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)

Victoria – 4110MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1060MW

Tasmania – 940MW

Total – 18060MW

Fossil Fuel – 15200MW (Total coal fired power – 14000MW  – 77.5% of the overall total of 18060MW)

Hydro – 750MW

Wind – 2750MW (15.2% of the total)

Renewable power – 19.4% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27750MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17400MW

Thursday 27th July 2017

New South Wales – 7080MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Queensland – 5120MW (Coal Fired Power – 4700MW)

Victoria – 4390MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 1070MW

Tasmania – 1140MW

Total – 18800MW

Fossil Fuel – 17000MW (Total coal fired power – 14500MW  – 77.1% of the overall total of 18800MW)

Hydro – 650MW

Wind – 1000MW (5.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 8.8% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 28570MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18600MW

Friday 28th July 2017

New South Wales – 7000MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Queensland – 5200MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 4060MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 1220MW

Tasmania – 950MW

Total – 18430MW

Fossil Fuel – 16600MW (Total coal fired power – 15300MW  – 83% of the overall total of 18430MW)

Hydro – 850MW

Wind – 1600MW (8.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 13.3% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26820MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17600MW

Saturday 29th July 2017

New South Wales – 6950MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

Queensland – 5100MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 3910MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 900MW

Tasmania – 1010MW

Total – 17870MW

Fossil Fuel – 15500MW (Total coal fired power – 15000MW  – 84% of the overall total of 17870MW)

Hydro – 650MW

Wind – 2600MW (14.5% of the total)

Renewable power – 18.2% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 25100MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17600MW

*****

Weekly Average For Base Load – 18309MW

Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14529MW – 79.4%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 18520MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14986MW – 80.9%

*****

Comments For This Last Week

Each week I watch and detail this data, I learn something new.

Again, you can see that the Base load did not fall below that figure of 18000MW, except for the Saturday morning, when it was only 0.7% below that figure. Two things I have noticed is that Base Load is slightly lower on the Saturday and Sunday mornings, and I suppose that would be due to some businesses not needing to consume as much power on the weekends when they close for those two days. The second thing seems pretty obvious really, and only because the data is done on a daily basis, and that is related to the weather, obvious when done on a daily basis, as opposed to just a general overview of the data itself. On colder mornings that Base Load is slightly higher, and on some days considerably higher, as seen from last week’s data when, on a bitterly cold morning across most of Australia, (well, really cold for Australia anyway) that figure was up to 19540MW, a full 150oMW higher than that average figure of 18000MW.

Another thing I would again like to point out is the comparison between coal fired power and wind power. As you can see from the red highlighted percentage for the coal fired power component of the Base Load, it varies very little, in a range between 76% and 84%, supplying the vast bulk of that Base Load. Even on good days, wind power provides only 15% of the power at that point in time when actual consumption is at its lowest point. However, the range of variability can be as low as 4.3% this week, and it has been as low as 1%, and when you’re talking 4% of 18000MW, that’s only a tiny amount of what is actually required, and required absolutely. While that coal fired percentage is always so relatively stable, each day, that wind power component varies hugely on a daily basis, and you never know when it will be low or high. Even when it is high, that coal fired power component is the same as it always is.

One of the other things I have been watching as well is the sharing of power between States.

As you can see from the data for Queensland, the coal fired component is invariably higher than what the Base Load actually is for that State, while for the other two States, that coal fired power component is lower than the Base Load.

Australia is a vast Continent so those States have different requirements. Victoria is a small State, and while it is the second most populous State in Australia, its power consumption is almost always lower than Queensland, which has a much lower population but covers eight times the area, so Queensland is vastly more decentralised than Victoria, hence the need for power which can cover those vast areas. Queensland is 2.7 times larger than Texas in the U.S. While a large proportion of the population is in that South East corner of the State, around the Capital city Brisbane, there are a number of large cities spread along the length of Queensland’s long coastline.

Because Queensland has the youngest ‘fleet’ of coal fired power plants, enough to cover the State’s consumption, it supplies some of that power into Northern NSW, where that coal fired component is not enough to cover the Base Load. At the same time as Queensland is supplying power into Northern NSW, some of that power from the NSW generators is being supplied into Northern Victoria.

Victoria supplies most of its own power, and now it is under some stress with the recent closure of the Hazelwood Plant, taking 1600MW of stable constant power out of the Victorian grid, and placing stress on the remaining two plants in Victoria with only ten Units now, which instead of operating in a manner where they followed the Load, they are now having to operate at their maximum nearly all the time.

In Victoria, at times of need in those other two Southern States, South Australia and Tasmania, Victoria is also supplying power into both of those States as well. Tasmania has most of its power from Hydro power, and South Australia has the largest concentration of Wind power in Australia. So, when wind power is low, South Australia is augmented with power from Victoria, and the same happens for Tasmania as well, as Victoria supplies power into that Island State. It also works the other way as well, when South Australia has high levels of wind power, and it supplies power back into Victoria at times like these. The same applies for Tasmania, as they occasionally supply power into Victoria across the Bass Strait Link.

So, there is a constant interchange of power between States, not so evident at that 4AM minimum Base Load point in time, but more evident as the Winter Months twin daily peaks arrive at around 8AM and 6PM.

You’ll also notice that I have now included the data for that (larger) evening Peak at 6PM, and you’ll see that at that time, coal fired power consistently has ramped up from the 4AM average of around 14500MW to 18500MW.

One thing of note this week was the number of Units that were offline, and this would most probably be put down to maintenance. As I mentioned in the Introductory Post, there are 16 coal fired power plants in Australia, with a total of 48 Units at those plants. During the week, 8 of those Units were down for maintenance I suppose, and yet, the numbers for the power supplied from those coal fired plants  stayed similar all week, as other Units were ramped up to supply more power. Now, just saying eight Units were down, you may think that isn’t much. In Victoria, those two Units down were at Loy Yang A and Yallourn W. In NSW, there were three Units down, one each at Bayswater, Liddell, and at Eraring. In Queensland, there were three Units down, one each at Gladstone, Stanwell, and Tarong North, and at one stage for a couple of days, one of the Units at Callide was also down.

That’s 8 Units in all, and with that Callide plant as well for a couple of days, the total power taken out of the system amounted to 4,400MW, and that’s a huge amount of power, around 17% of the total power requirement at those Peak times.. Even so, now note how the figures for the total power supplied from coal fired power changed very little, as those other Units supplied more power for when it was needed. Also, to add to that missing power, Natural Gas fired plants were also asked to operate for times when they normally would not, and, as a consequence, with the cost of Natural Gas so high in Australia, the cost of electrical power spiked to high levels for those times of high power consumption, and at times during the week, the cost per unit of power was over $250/MWH in every State, a huge cost, usually seen only occasionally, and in short duration spikes, but this week, it was for longer periods, and with more of them at that high cost for power.

You may also note that I have added the average Base Load for the week, and the running average for Base Load. That weekly average may change slightly across further weeks, but that running average won’t be changing by any significant amount now that the weeks are adding up, and as you can see from that running average, the total is at 18500MW, and the running average for supply from coal fired power is now stabilising at around 81%.

Until supporters of renewable power can actually find a power supply which can supply these huge amounts of power on an ABSOLUTE basis, then there is a long future ahead for coal fired power.

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.

OzBaseLoadTFO

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