Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 12th August 2017

Posted on Sat 08/12/2017 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.

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 6th August 2017

New South Wales – 6360MW (Coal Fired Power –4800MW)

Queensland – 4970MW (Coal Fired Power – 5100MW)

Victoria – 3820MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

South Australia – 1130MW

Tasmania – 1010MW

Total – 17290MW

Fossil Fuel – 14300MW (Total coal fired power – 14100MW  – 81.6% of the overall total of 17290MW)

Hydro – 600MW

Wind – 3000MW (17.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.8% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 25820MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19500MW (75.5%)

Monday 7th August 2017

New South Wales – 6700MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 4970MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)

Victoria – 4050MW (Coal Fired Power – 4300MW)

South Australia – 1010MW

Tasmania – 1100MW

Total – 17830MW

Fossil Fuel – 15400MW (Total coal fired power – 14700MW  – 82.4% of the overall total of 17830MW)

Hydro – 750MW

Wind – 2200MW (12.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 16.5% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 28920MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19700MW (68.1%)

Tuesday 8th August 2017

New South Wales – 6780MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 5060MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 4350MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

South Australia – 1240MW

Tasmania – 1060MW

Total – 18490MW

Fossil Fuel – 16200MW (Total coal fired power – 15000MW  – 81.1% of the overall total of 18490MW)

Hydro – 700MW

Wind – 1600MW (8.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 12.4% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 28580MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19800MW (69.3%)

Wednesday 9th August 2017

New South Wales – 7200MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)

Queensland – 5170MW (Coal Fired Power – 6000MW)

Victoria – 4330MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

South Australia – 1150MW

Tasmania – 1110MW

Total – 18960MW

Fossil Fuel – 16600MW (Total coal fired power – 15900MW  – 83.9% of the overall total of 18960MW)

Hydro – 1000MW

Wind – 1700MW (8.9% of the total)

Renewable power – 14.2% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27090MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18900MW (69.8%)

Thursday 10th August 2017

New South Wales – 7160MW (Coal Fired Power – 5100MW)

Queensland – 5420MW (Coal Fired Power – 6000MW)

Victoria – 3970MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

South Australia – 950MW

Tasmania – 1040MW

Total – 18540MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 15300MW  – 82.5% of the overall total of 18540MW)

Hydro – 900MW

Wind – 2600MW (14% of the total)

Renewable power – 18.9% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26090MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19200MW (73.6%)

Friday 11th August 2017

New South Wales – 6580MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

Queensland – 5110MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 3970MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

South Australia – 960MW

Tasmania – 990MW

Total – 17610MW

Fossil Fuel – 15300MW (Total coal fired power – 14500MW  – 82.3% of the overall total of 17610MW)

Hydro – 600MW

Wind – 2700MW (15.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 18.7% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 25170MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18500MW (73.5%)

Saturday 12th August 2017

New South Wales – 6320MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

Queensland – 4960MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)

Victoria – 3920MW (Coal Fired Power – 4300MW)

South Australia – 1050MW

Tasmania – 1030MW

Total – 17280MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 14200MW  – 82.2% of the overall total of 17280MW)

Hydro – 1150MW

Wind – 2000MW (11.5% of the total)

Renewable power – 18.2% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24300MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18400MW (75.7%)


This Week’s Average For Base Load – 18029MW

This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14814MW – 82.2%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 18421MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 15012MW – 81.5%


Comments For This Last Week

Another week of data, and again, there were new things I learned.

Note again that the Base Load average for the week was over 18000MW, and the running average has settled down to a total also over 18000MW with coal fired power consistently delivering 80% and more of that total. Note that the only time it falls appreciably below that 18000MW total is for the two days of the weekend, the Saturday and Sunday, and even then, it’s only around 4% lower.

I have added the percentage for coal fired power at the major evening Peak power consumption time of 6PM, and even that is consistently around 70% plus as well.

I’ll draw your attention the the peak time on Sunday and compare that with the same peak on the Monday, when it was 3000MW higher, an increase of 12%. That was due to the exceedingly cold weather, well for here in Australia anyway, and that was due to an out of the ordinary event that the media called the Blizzard Of Oz, an event that lasted for two days, hence the high Peak also on the Tuesday as well.

One of the perceived problems that coal fired power always seemed to have was that it was not seen as Load following, in other words, able to change output to reflect the way that the Load (total power consumption at any one point in time) changes. Coal fired power plants have very large generators that are best operated at their maximum power generation all the time, and because of the huge weights involved with those large generators, it was perceived that they could change very little from that maximum power generation. However, after weeks now of watching the data and recording it, I have found that this is not really the case, as some generators in isolation do in fact change their power output at times of low consumption, (that 4AM time) and when viewed as a whole they do in fact closely reflect actual power consumption, which is Load following. It’s easy to say this, but I can actually show with two images. The first image is of just those 16 coal fired power plants with their 48 separate Units in the three States which do have coal fired power. Rather than just shopw the load curve on its own, I have also included the legend, showing that the only boxes ticked are thos of the Units at each coal fired power plant in those three States.

The second Image, below this one, is of the actual Load for all the States in Australia, the image I used in the Introduction, and as you can see, the top coal fired image is virtually identical to the shape of the main Load Curve for total consumption.

Now, while that load curve for the coal fired units, (that top image) shows that they do follow the actual Load Curve for consumption, that is basically in just the States of New South Wales and Queensland, because in Victoria, the total output stays virtually stable between 4000 and 4400MW, now that Hazelwood and it’s (around) 1600MW has closed down. What this indicates is that the grid, as robust as it must be, is also quite finely tuned as well, and that, while coal fired power includes huge generators, they can be adjusted on an overall basis in those three States to follow the Load, by those grid controllers, and individual power plant operators varying their outputs from the Units they have in operation.

One thing about that top image there, which is from yesterday, Friday here in Australia. You can see that the morning peak is almost the same as for the evening peak, both around 18500MW, which differs from the usual Load Curve where that evening (6PM) consumption is nearly always higher than the morning Peak. Things like this are indicative, not only of power generation itself, but also as an indicator as to the weather itself, because Friday morning was a cold morning along the Eastern Seaboard here in Australia, and all States showed an increase in power consumption for that morning, and that can be anything as high as that 3000MW on this day in particular, as well as during the days earlier this week with that huge cold weather event I mentioned.

I have also noticed that the maintenance schedules for the separate Units at those plants in the three States. You can see that the power data is relatively similar on most days, and what I have found is that Units will not go offline until the earlier one which was undergoing maintenance has come back online. At any one point in time, there are two or three units in each State which are offline.

Again, I will point out the variability of wind power, and this week it varied from a low of 8.6% to a high of 17.3% of the Base Load, but at the same time, note here that the power generation from coal fired power altered very little from the amount of power it regularly generated, further accentuating what I have always been saying, that wind power is NOT actually replacing coal fired power, no matter whether it is generating a lot of power or little power.

When these huge amounts of power are required all the time, there really is only one source for those amounts of power, and here in Australia, that is coal fired power.

Take that coal fired power away, and Australia will just grind to a halt ….. very quickly.

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.