Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 9th September 2017

Posted on Sun 09/10/2017 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 3rd September 2017

New South Wales – 6260MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)

Queensland – 4950MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 3570MW (Coal Fired Power – 4300MW)

South Australia – 900MW

Tasmania – 1070MW

Total – 16750MW

Fossil Fuel – 14600MW (Total coal fired power – 13700MW  – 81.8% of the overall total of 16750MW)

Hydro – 660MW

Wind – 2200MW (13.1% of the total)

Renewable power – 17.2% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 23210MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17200MW (74.1%)

Monday 4th September 2017

New South Wales – 6300MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

Queensland – 4900MW (Coal Fired Power – 5100MW)

Victoria – 3750MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 900MW

Tasmania – 1060MW

Total – 16910MW

Fossil Fuel – 14000MW (Total coal fired power – 13100MW  – 77.5% of the overall total of 16910MW)

Hydro – 540MW

Wind – 3000MW (17.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.9% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27090MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19100MW (70.5%)

Tuesday 5th September 2017

New South Wales – 6540MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

Queensland – 5300MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4230MW (Coal Fired Power – 4300MW)

South Australia – 960MW

Tasmania – 1160MW

Total – 18190MW

Fossil Fuel – 15400MW (Total coal fired power – 14300MW  – 78.6% of the overall total of 18190MW)

Hydro – 1000MW

Wind – 2800MW (15.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.9% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27820MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19500MW (70.1%)

Wednesday 6th September 2017

New South Wales – 6520MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

Queensland – 5340MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 4240MW (Coal Fired Power – 4300MW)

South Australia – 1000MW

Tasmania – 1120MW

Total – 18220MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14300MW  – 78.5% of the overall total of 18220MW)

Hydro – 1000MW

Wind – 2500MW (13.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 19.2% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27070MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18600MW (68.7%)

Thursday 7th September 2017

New South Wales – 6400MW (Coal Fired Power – 4100MW)

Queensland – 5110MW (Coal Fired Power – 5600MW)

Victoria – 4300MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

South Australia – 1010MW

Tasmania – 1050MW

Total – 17870MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14100MW  – 78.9% of the overall total of 17870MW)

Hydro – 500MW

Wind – 2100MW (11.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 14.5% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26890MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19200MW (71.4%)

Friday 8th September 2017

New South Wales – 6570MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

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

Victoria – 4250MW (Coal Fired Power – 3700MW)

South Australia – 1070MW

Tasmania – 1130MW

Total – 18130MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 13500MW  – 74.5% of the overall total of 18130MW)

Hydro – 1000MW

Wind – 2000MW (11% of the total)

Renewable power – 16.5% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26190MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19200MW (73.3%)

Saturday 9th September 2017

New South Wales – 6590MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

Queensland – 4960MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

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

South Australia – 1090MW

Tasmania – 1130MW

Total – 18020MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14400MW  – 79.9% of the overall total of 18020MW)

Hydro – 1340MW

Wind – 1100MW (6.1% of the total)

Renewable power – 13.5% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24790MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17900MW (72.2%)


This Week’s Average For Base Load – 17728MW

This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 13915MW – 78.5%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 18298MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14826MW – 81%


Comments For This Last Week

The average Base Load for this last week actually fell below 18000MW, but even so, that figure is still only 3% lower than the Running Average. On two mornings early in the week, it fell below 17000MW even, and I can’t recall seeing that before. We are moving out of Winter now, and the mornings warm up a little more quickly.

Coal fired power has been in the news for the last week, focussing on the closure of the Liddell power plant, and that closure has been brought up by the owners of the plant, AGL, who have said that they propose to close the plant in 2022, still five years off. The plant is already 46 years old with its four Units opening in 1971/72/73. When new, those Units generated 500MW each for a total Nameplate of 2000MW. Now quite old, they can only manage around 450MW, in a similar fashion to the reduced capacity of the now closed Hazelwood plant in Victoria, which also operated at a reduced Capacity due to their age after 53 years operation. At any one time, at least one of those old Units at Liddell is off line, and more often than not, the Units are only run enough to generate around 250MW, although at Peak times I have seen all four Units generating at their maximum, usually when other Units are down at other plants.

Coal fired power has provided the main amount of delivered power for some Months now, as it is cheaper to generate, especially in these times now when the cost of power is such a huge talking point, and because those plants are in virtual continuous operation, and because most plants are so old, they are more prone to closure for maintenance, and this week provides a case in point. In NSW especially, four of those Units were offline, one each at Bayswater, Liddell, Eraring, and Mount Piper. While only four Units, that however is a loss of 2580MW, which is the equivalent of much more than one whole Plant being offline. At the same time, there were also four Units off line in Queensland and also one Unit off line in Victoria, so 9 Units in all for a total Nameplate of 4370MW, a huge amount of power to be taken out of the system, more than two major plants out of action.

I mentioned in an earlier Post that one of the Units at Stanwell in Queensland was offline for a major upgrade, costing $53 Million, and that Unit has been off line for all the time I have been detailing this data and comments. During this week, that Unit, Number Three, at the Stanwell plant started back into operation. Admitted, it is probably early days yet, and they would still be testing the Unit, and it is only generating 160MW of its total of 365MW, so that will alleviate power shortfalls somewhat when it is fully operational.

Swanbank E Power Plant In Queensland – 385MW CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine)

Also in this last week, the Queensland Government announced it will be (re) firing up a relatively new power plant, Swanbank E, a CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) Plant using natural gas fired as its fuel, with a Capacity of 385MW. The Government Minister proudly announced this will alleviate some of the ever rising cost, which is a little curious. as Natural Gas is currently the most expensive it has ever been, with supplies here in Australia restricted as most of it is being sold offshore to cash in on the huge price currently being paid in this region for that Natural Gas. What is also curious is that Queensland is generating more power than it consumes, in fact between 15 and 23% more power, and virtually all of that is coming from the State’s coal fired power plants. So, with more than enough power, it seems odd that another plant is being revived to generate what will be full time power, as this plant is a CCGT, able to operate all the time. So why would this happen in a State already well provided for power. That excess power which is being generated over and above what the State consumes is being sold into Northern NSW, and the State regularly supplies that large amount of power, via two major Interconnectors around 1100MW, virtually all the time. It could be that the State is well aware of the earlier announcement that Liddell is closing, and this might be the spur to sell even more power into NSW.

This Weekly Base Load task I am doing keeps throwing up other things worthwhile checking.

Queensland, has a Labor Government who set up a special Renewable Power Inquiry Panel, and when the results came in they said, hand on heart, they will be 50% Renewable by 2030, something I covered in an earlier Post when I made a Submission to that Panel explaining how it would most probably not be done, and that Post is at the following link. At that Post, I detail some background and provide a further link to my Submission, which is a detailed 13 page explanation showing that it would be almost impossible, and that document is a pdf document with the link provided at this Post below.

Australian Renewable Power – Queensland State Government Aims For 50% By 2030

Well then, after some research this week, here’s a few inconvenient facts about that very same Government.

I had an idea that the Government owned a good deal of the coal fired power in Queensland, with its two Government owned Corporations, Stanwell Corp, and CS Energy.

I wasn’t 100% certain on how much they actually did own, so I went and did the research.

Those two corporations actually own 85% of the coal fired power in Queensland. Of those 8 plants, they own outright 6 of them. They also own that part of the power generated by the Gladstone power plant that is not used by the Boyne Island Aluminium smelter, so 700MW of the 1600MW.

The only plant that they don’t own is Milmerran, owned by Intergen, which is mostly the Ontario (Canada) Teachers Pension Plan.

The total Nameplate owned by the Government is 6970MW, of the total Nameplate of 8139MW.

So then owning 85% of the State’s coal fired power, what sort of income might that provide?

Well, it’s around $10 Million ….. EACH day, or around $3.6 Billion a year, and that’s just from the coal fired assets.

Each day, those plants average out at around 6300MW in total power generation. Queensland regularly delivers 1100MW into NSW, all of that from coal fired power.

With that power going into NSW, Queensland regularly generates around 115%  to 122% of what the State actually uses, and around 95% of that total is from coal fired power. The State could very comfortably survive (well, anything South of Mackay anyway) on its coal fired assets.

Oh, and also, the coal consumed at all those plants is provided from nearby coal mines, all of which are also owned by the same two Government corporations. They own the power plants, they own the coal, they own the rail lines, and they own the rail company which transports the coal as well.

And that gas fired plant they are running up again to cash in on the projected closure of Liddell is a CCGT, and is also owned by one of those Government corporations as well.

Oh, and they also own the two Interconnectors as well.

So, a State promising 50% renewables by 2030, starting from a base near zero, (there are no wind power plants in Queensland) has 115% plus of its power coming from fossil fuels, mostly coal fired, and those 2 corporations also own another 700MW of gas fired power as well.

Oh, these same two Corporations do actually own some renewables as well. Stanwell owns 150MW of Hydro in the North to supply some parts of North Queensland, and CS Energy own the pumped Hydro at Wivenhoe, a 500MW plant. That Wivenhoe pumped hydro plant, during the last 7 days, generated 160MW for one hour last Monday. No point running it really, because they have buckets of coal fired power, and if they were to use that pumped hydro, they would have to buy the power (from themselves) to pump it back up to the top water holding.

Sometimes I wonder how these politicians can get away with saying the things they do say.

Wind power had a relatively good week all up, but in South Australia, where they proudly proclaim they have Australia’s largest concentration of wind power, what is interesting to see is that between 1000MW and 1600MW of its total supply is currently being provided by those Natural Gas fired power plants, and any excess wind power is being sold off into Victoria. The cynic in me thinks that they may not particularly desire having the possibility that there might be any more blackouts in that State, especially in the lead up to the forthcoming State election.

The data for this week again shows that coal fired power provided almost 80% of that Base Load, and there were even times during the main Evening Peak when coal fired power was up around 70 to 75% of the total requirement.

Coal fired power. There just is no substitute.

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.