Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 19th August 2017

Posted on Sat 08/19/2017 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 13th August 2017

New South Wales – 6250MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

Queensland – 4910MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 3870MW (Coal Fired Power – 2900MW)

South Australia – 1010MW

Tasmania – 1170MW

Total – 17210MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 13100MW  – 76.1% of the overall total of 17210MW)

Hydro – 1000MW

Wind – 1700MW (9.9% of the total)

Renewable power – 15.7% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24110MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18500MW (76.8%)

Monday 14th August 2017

New South Wales – 6600MW (Coal Fired Power – 4700MW)

Queensland – 4990MW (Coal Fired Power – 5600MW)

Victoria – 3690MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1090MW

Tasmania –1090MW

Total – 17460MW

Fossil Fuel – 15200MW (Total coal fired power – 14100MW  – 80.8% of the overall total of 17460MW)

Hydro – 900MW

Wind – 1200MW (6.9% of the total)

Renewable power – 12% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26360MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18500MW (70.2%)

Tuesday 15th August 2017

New South Wales – 6680MW (Coal Fired Power – 4300MW)

Queensland – 5050MW (Coal Fired Power – 5600MW)

Victoria – 3880MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

South Australia – 960MW

Tasmania – 1080MW

Total – 17650MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 14100MW  – 79.9% of the overall total of 17650MW)

Hydro – 1000MW

Wind – 2200MW (12.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 18.1% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26450MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17800MW (67.3%)

Wednesday 16th August 2017

New South Wales – 6240MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

Queensland – 5000MW (Coal Fired Power – 5100MW)

Victoria – 3850MW (Coal Fired Power – 3500MW)

South Australia – 1040MW

Tasmania – 1020MW

Total – 17150MW

Fossil Fuel – 14000MW (Total coal fired power – 12800MW  – 74.6% of the overall total of 17150MW)

Hydro – 1300MW

Wind – 3000MW (17.5% of the total)

Renewable power – 25% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 25590MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17800MW (69.6%)

Thursday 17th August 2017

New South Wales – 6380MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

Queensland – 4980MW (Coal Fired Power – 5100MW)

Victoria – 4080MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

South Australia – 1010MW

Tasmania – 1060MW

Total – 17510MW

Fossil Fuel – 14300MW (Total coal fired power – 13600MW  – 77.7% of the overall total of 17510MW)

Hydro – 900MW

Wind – 2700MW (15.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.5% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26790MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18700MW (69.8%)

Friday 18th August 2017

New South Wales – 6450MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

Queensland – 5080MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 4120MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

South Australia – 990MW

Tasmania – 1070MW

Total – 17710MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 14000MW  – 79% of the overall total of 17710MW)

Hydro – 900MW

Wind – 2800MW (15.8% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.9% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19000MW (69.8%)

Saturday 19th July 2017

New South Wales – 6690MW (Coal Fired Power – 4600MW)

Queensland – 5020MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 4260MW (Coal Fired Power – 4700MW)

South Australia – 1170MW

Tasmania – 1150MW

Total – 18290MW

Fossil Fuel – 16800MW (Total coal fired power – 14800MW  – 80.9% of the overall total of 18290MW)

Hydro – 1100MW

Wind – 1200MW (6.5% of the total)

Renewable power – 12.5% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26300MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19300MW (73.4%)


This Week’s Average For Base Load – 17569MW

This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 13786MW – 78.5%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 18299MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14837MW – 81.1%


Comments For This Last Week

As Australia moves away from mid Winter and into the benign Months of Spring, in the lead up to Summer, you’ll notice that the Base Load drops slightly, as less people and workplaces need their heaters in operation. While that Average Base Load for this week has dropped slightly, that drop is still only 4% lower than the average, and is still close to that total of 18,000MW. That small drop is also reflected in the total for the Evening Peak at around 6PM as well, also slightly lower. Again, it’s easy to see the warmer morning (Wednesday) when the Base Load was low, and the cooler morning, (Saturday) when consumption was 1100MW higher.

I mentioned last week how, contrary to what some commentators say, coal fired power is actually able to follow the Load across the whole day from its low point at 4AM to the Morning and also the Evening Peaks, and on that rise from the low point to the high point averages around 5000MW, as coal fired plants are ramped up close to their maximum generation to cover those large Evening peaks, where power consumption regularly rises by anything up to 9500MW, so more than half of that rise is delivered by coal fired power.

You may also note here that Wind power had a relatively good week for power generation, and for three consecutive days, it hovered around 3000MW, an extremely high total for wind power, but again, let me stress that it is highly variable, and that after those three days, it went back down to that lower total on the Saturday morning, and has continued dropping, as now it is down to only 500MW, which, as the afternoon total rises, is only 2.4% of the power actually being generated. While wind is so variable, coal fired power still delivers approximately the same amount of power all the time, whether wind power generation is high or low.

Another thing I noticed this week is that more units are closing down, mainly for maintenance purposes, as the high loads of Winter ease a little, and before the higher loads of Summer start to kick in. It’s not a case of those Units being down for a long time, as the turnaround from shut down to when they start back up again is quite short in some cases. The oldest plant in Australia is the Liddell plant, nearby where Bayswater is at Muswellbrook in New South Wales, and that plant currently has two of its Units off line, and three Units at those plants in Queensland are also off line as well.

A further thing that is of importance here is the data for Queensland, and just look at those totals there, keeping in mind that these are only for that lowest consumption time of 4AM. While coal fired power in those other two States with coal fired power plants is regularly much lower than the Base Load, in Queensland, it is always higher than what Queensland is actually consuming, and even at that 4AM minimum, it is still higher, and on some days by as much as 600MW. However, as the power consumption rises throughout the day, those coal fired plants in Queensland ramp even more, and Queensland, virtually all day, generates way more from coal fired power than the total Queensland consumption. In fact, Queensland generates around 1000 to 1200MW more than is actually being consumed in that State, and all of that power comes from coal fired power. That extra power is being delivered across the border into the Northern parts of New South Wales, (NSW) which has less power generation (by percentage) than those two other States. If you watch the actual dispatch of power and the sharing between the States, Queensland is delivering all that excess, regularly around 1100MW, into NSW, and on most days, NSW is also drawing power from Victoria as well.

The State of Queensland has recently had an inquiry into renewable power and the State Labor Government has said that by 2030, they will be moving towards having 50% of their power being generated from renewable sources. One of the main findings to come out of this inquiry is that no coal fired power plants will be closed down by that same date. Currently, the State has zero percent renewable power, a couple of small hydro schemes, and some rooftop solar power, but no major scale renewable power plants.

What also needs to be mentioned here is that this same Queensland State Government, through its two Government owned power Corporations, owns 60% of all the coal fired power being generated in Queensland, hence the finding from that Panel that no coal fired plants will be closing, as that same Government is making a huge amount of money from its coal fired power resources.

So with the state supplying power into Northern NSW already, that means that in Queensland, the State is generating 115% of its consumption from coal fired power, and it hopes to lower that to less than 50%, so they can achieve that target by 2030, from a base of zero, and in barely twelve years.

It will never happen, because, if it does, then the State will be losing an absolute fortune it is making from the sale of huge amounts of coal fired power, both in its own State and also in NSW as well.

On so many fronts, coal fired power has become an absolute necessity, across the whole spectrum of society.

Even when power consumption is at its absolute lowest point, when nearly all of us are tucked up tightly in bed, and sound asleep, at 4AM, coal fired power is supplying 80% of the huge amount of power required absolutely to keep the whole Country actually running.

Take that coal fired power away, and Australia just ….. STOPS.

It is as simple as that.

When a whole Country requires 18,000MW of power while everyone sleeps, just so everything can actually work, then you have to have a source of power generation which can actually deliver that power.

That is what coal fired power does, and does ALL THE TIME.

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.