Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 26th August 2017

Posted on Sat 08/26/2017 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 20th August 2017

New South Wales – 6550MW (Coal Fired Power – 4600MW)

Queensland – 5010MW (Coal Fired Power – 5600MW)

Victoria – 4380MW (Coal Fired Power – 4800MW)

South Australia – 1060MW

Tasmania – 1170MW

Total – 18170MW

Fossil Fuel – 16500MW (Total coal fired power – 15000MW  – 82.6% of the overall total of 18170MW)

Hydro – 800MW

Wind – 1200MW (6.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 11% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26940MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19800MW (73.5%)

Monday 21st August 2017

New South Wales – 6830MW (Coal Fired Power – 4600MW)

Queensland – 5090MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 4200MW (Coal Fired Power – 4700MW)

South Australia – 1040MW

Tasmania – 1150MW

Total – 18310MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 15000MW  – 81.9% of the overall total of 18310MW)

Hydro – 800MW

Wind – 1800MW (9.8% of the total)

Renewable power – 14.2% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 29210MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 20000MW (68.5%)

Tuesday 22nd August 2017

New South Wales – 6870MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 5060MW (Coal Fired Power – 6000MW)

Victoria – 4480MW (Coal Fired Power – 4800MW)

South Australia – 1180MW

Tasmania – 1150MW

Total – 18740MW

Fossil Fuel – 17200MW (Total coal fired power – 15800MW  – 84.3% of the overall total of 18740MW)

Hydro – 1300MW

Wind – 460MW (2.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 9.4% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27440MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19700MW (71.8%)

Wednesday 23rd August 2017

New South Wales – 6850MW (Coal Fired Power – 4800MW)

Queensland – 5130MW (Coal Fired Power – 6000MW)

Victoria – 4250MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

South Australia – 1100MW

Tasmania – 1090MW

Total – 18420MW

Fossil Fuel – 16700MW (Total coal fired power – 15200MW  – 82.5% of the overall total of 18420MW)

Hydro – 1100MW

Wind – 850MW (4.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 10.6% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27350MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19700MW (72%)

Thursday 24th August 2017

New South Wales – 6710MW (Coal Fired Power – 4600MW)

Queensland – 5200MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4390MW (Coal Fired Power – 4600MW)

South Australia – 1170MW

Tasmania – 1190MW

Total – 18660MW

Fossil Fuel – 16500MW (Total coal fired power – 15000MW  – 80.4% of the overall total of 18660MW)

Hydro – 1300MW

Wind – 900MW (4.8% of the total)

Renewable power – 11.8% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 28400MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19400MW (68.3%)

Friday 25th August 2017

New South Wales – 6870MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 5180MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4460MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

South Australia – 1280MW

Tasmania – 1130MW

Total – 18920MW

Fossil Fuel – 17000MW (Total coal fired power – 15200MW  – 80.3% of the overall total of 18920MW)

Hydro – 900MW

Wind – 350MW (1.8% of the total)

Renewable power – 6.6% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27130MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18100MW (66.7%)

Saturday 26th August 2017

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

Queensland – 5030MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 4190MW (Coal Fired Power – 4800MW)

South Australia – 1200MW

Tasmania – 1100MW

Total – 18220MW

Fossil Fuel – 17000MW (Total coal fired power – 15300MW  – 84% of the overall total of 18220MW)

Hydro – 1250MW

Wind – 560MW (3.1% of the total)

Renewable power – 9.9% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24520MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17900MW (73%)


This Week’s Average For Base Load – 18486MW

This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 15214MW – 81.8%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 18322MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14884MW – 81.2%


Comments For This Last Week

There only needs to be a late Winter cold snap to see power consumption rise, and that happened this week, with every morning up beyond 18000MW consumption, and that saw the average for the week (at that 4AM point in time) rise by around 1000MW each morning, and all of that and more was supplied by coal fired power, as the average for that rose by around 1500MW each morning. The weekly percentage for power supplied by coal fired power at that time was also up, around 82% of the total. That overall rise was also reflected in the Evening Peak, as that also was around 1500MW higher each day as well, and again, the coal fired power component of that was also higher.

What is worth looking at is the comparisons between total power consumption and coal fired power generation in two States, Queensland and Victoria. Note that in the case of Queensland that coal fired component is always higher, and not just by a little, but consistently between 500MW to 900MW higher. In fact at around the time the morning Peak begins at around 8AM, that interchange ramps up to around 1100MW and stays at that rate virtually for the remainder of the day. Victoria is also higher by anything up to 600MW. When you look at this link which shows the power sharing arrangements between the States, you’ll see that Queensland’s coal fired plants are supplying power into Northern New South Wales. (NSW) Victoria has Interconnectors into NSW, South Australia, and Tasmania. The State where coal fired power is always lower than actual consumption is NSW, and while Victoria also regularly supplies into Southern NSW, Victoria often delivers power into South Australia and Tasmania as well.

That interchange into NSW was exacerbated late in the week, when, on Friday morning, one of the Units at Bayswater wound back to zero, and that took 660MW out of the total generation for that State. This was in addition to one of the Units at Vales Point also being shut down for maintenance, a further 660MW drop in coal fired power. On top of that two Units at the 40+ years old Liddell were also off line. While Liddell has a nominal capacity of 500MW per Unit, (so four Units gives a total Nameplate for Liddell of 2000MW) However, due to its advancing age, these Units can only manage a maximum of around 420 to 450MW. So, with all those Units down, that meant that around 2200MW of coal fired power was off line in that State. Because of that, those remaining units at all coal fired plants ramped up a little further to make up for that loss, and also, some of the other natural gas fired plants were also brought on line. It’s worth showing that with the image below. Now, while that Unit at Bayswater was the last to go offline of those ones I mentioned, that was just prior to the morning peak beginning, so when power dropped off a little after that morning peak, it did not start to rise again until the beginning of the evening Peak time, and that is what is shown by this image below. The four Units in question are at the Uranquinty power plant near Wagga Wagga in Southern Central NSW. These four Units are all Open Cycle Gas Turbines using Natural gas as their fuel. They each are rated at 166MW, so the Plant has a Nameplate of 664MW, so this plant effectively replaces the power supplied by that one Unit at Bayswater. One Unit came on line early in the morning and stayed online, and the remaining Units came online at around 4.30 to 5PM to be ready at the Evening Peak at 6PM to supply power for just three hours at most. Under the actual graph is the legend, and you can see that the boxes ticked are only those for that Uranquinty plant. (URANQ11, 12, 13, and 14)

What was also interesting to watch was the cost for power in NSW at the start of that Evening peak, as it ratcheted right up from around $95/MWH to a spike of around $250/MWH settling back to the higher new average of around $125/MW, and not dropping back to that lower level until after the evening peak had passed, and those same four Units went back offline, after only supplying power for three hours.

Also worth noting is that while Wind power was slightly higher on Sunday and Monday, for the remainder of the week it was well below the yearly average of 1500MW per day. Even so, coal fired power delivered what it always has delivered, whether wind power is high or low.

One of the things I have noticed is in my home State of Queensland. I have noticed that one of the Units at the Stanwell Power plant, which is only 20Km from where I’m sitting now, has been off line for these last 8 weeks I have been doing this task. I found out that Unit (Number 3) is undergoing an overhaul and upgrade at a cost of $53 Million. Who would have thought, eh? Coal fired power is supposedly dead, and they’re spending millions upgrading a plant to extend its life, proudly announced by a State Labor Government, whose local member here in Rockhampton, Bill Byrne says that the Queensland government had a coherent strategy in place to reach a 50% renewable energy target by 2030 to reduce emissions, adding “Clearly, a great part of the future is about renewables, it’s not about coal fired power stations.”

I also noticed another little snippet of information as well. I have mentioned previously that in 2002, it was Unit 4 at this same power plant, Stanwell, which set a World record for continuous operation of 1073 consecutive days.

I found a recent article that said that in August of 2015, another Unit at this same plant broke that previous World record the plant held. This was Unit 1 at the same plant, and it also ran continuously, delivering its full power for 1088 days, and that’s one week short of three years.

That’s one Unit of 361MW.

For the sake of comparison, let’s look at the biggest wind plant in Australia, Macarthur wind plant in Victoria. It has 140 turbines and a Nameplate of 420MW, so it’s Nameplate is larger than this one Unit at Stanwell. Macarthur Wind plant opened in 2013, so it has been in operation now for 4 years.

To deliver the same power generated by this ONE unit at Stanwell, Macarthur Wind plant will have to wait until late 2021 to do that, so it will take eight and a half years to generate the same power as this one unit at Stanwell did in three years.

Over the last two weeks, labor Governments in two States South Australia andVictoria proudly announced that they will be constructing new power plants in their States. In South Australia, that new power plant will be a Concentrating Solar (Solar Thermal) power plant of 150MW. and costing $650 Million. Victoria has announced plans to construct two new Solar PV power plants with a total Nameplate of 140MW. Both solar proposals are minute by comparison to any coal fired power plant, and will be virtually useless to deliver the power required to run their respective States.

When it comes to REAL power generation, there is no substitute for coal fired power, and when you need 18000MW of dedicated 24 hour power, then renewables of the two favoured types, wind and solar power just cannot deliver that.

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.