Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 21st October 2017

Posted on Sun 10/22/2017 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 15th October 2017

New South Wales – 5690MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

Queensland – 5110MW (Coal Fired Power – 5300MW)

Victoria – 3810MW (Coal Fired Power – 3500MW)

South Australia – 960MW

Tasmania – 1070MW

Total – 16640MW

Fossil Fuel – 14000MW (Total coal fired power – 13000MW  – 78.1% of the overall total of 16640MW)

Hydro – 1500MW

Wind – 1100MW (6.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 15.6% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 21650MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 16400MW (75.8%)

Monday 16th October 2017

New South Wales – 6130MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)

Queensland – 4960MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 3770MW (Coal Fired Power – 3500MW)

South Australia – 960MW

Tasmania – 1070MW

Total – 16890MW

Fossil Fuel – 14500MW (Total coal fired power – 12900MW  – 76.4% of the overall total of 16890MW)

Hydro – 1500MW

Wind – 1000MW (5.9% of the total)

Renewable power – 14.8% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 23950MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17500MW (73.1%)

Tuesday 17th October 2017

New South Wales – 6600MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

Queensland – 4970MW (Coal Fired Power – 5300MW)

Victoria – 3880MW (Coal Fired Power – 3300MW)

South Australia – 970MW

Tasmania – 980MW

Total – 17400MW

Fossil Fuel – 14000MW (Total coal fired power – 12800MW  – 73.6% of the overall total of 17400MW)

Hydro – 1300MW

Wind – 2200MW (12.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.1% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24680MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17800MW (72.1%)

Wednesday 18th October 2017

New South Wales – 6570MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

Queensland – 4970MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

Victoria – 3870MW (Coal Fired Power – 3000MW)

South Australia – 1080MW

Tasmania – 970MW

Total – 17460MW

Fossil Fuel – 14000MW (Total coal fired power – 12700MW  – 72.7% of the overall total of 17460MW)

Hydro – 1300MW

Wind – 2300MW (13.2% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.5% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 25090MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 16600MW (66.1%)

Thursday 19th October 2017

New South Wales – 6430MW (Coal Fired Power – 4600MW)

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

Victoria – 4190MW (Coal Fired Power – 3500MW)

South Australia – 1090MW

Tasmania – 970MW

Total – 17780MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 13100MW  – 73.4% of the overall total of 17780MW)

Hydro – 1500MW

Wind – 800MW (4.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 12.9% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 23940MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17200MW (71.9%)

Friday 20th October 2017

New South Wales – 6520MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

Queensland – 5170MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)

Victoria – 3860MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 960MW

Tasmania – 970MW

Total – 17480MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 13500MW  – 77.2% of the overall total of 17480MW)

Hydro – 900MW

Wind – 1400MW (8% of the total)

Renewable power – 13.2% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 22950MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 16900MW (73.6%)

Saturday 21st October 2017

New South Wales – 6220MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

Queensland – 4960MW (Coal Fired Power – 5300MW)

Victoria – 3740MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)

South Australia – 1010MW

Tasmania – 1010MW

Total – 16940MW

Fossil Fuel –15000 MW (Total coal fired power – 13200MW  – 77.9% of the overall total of 16940MW)

Hydro – 900MW

Wind – 1400MW (8.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 13.6% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 21450MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 16200MW (75.5%)


This Week’s Average For Base Load – 17227MW

This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 13029MW – 75.6%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 17943MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14265MW – 79.5%


Comments For This Last Week

While I contribute Posts at this site only, with an occasional Guest Post at the JoNova site, I also visit (and occasionally leave comments at) other sites with related content as well, just to see what is being said, and at one site during this last week, one of my earlier Posts in this series was linked to and a couple of the comments were not really complimentary, mentioning that what I have written here is pretty much untrue, and in one case as delusional, and a throwback to the 70s. That is of no consequence to me at all, as what I have here are the facts, and the facts are the facts no matter what. However, one comment mentioned that if indeed power consumption is falling, (which it is) then that is due to the fact that the power being generated by renewables, (and here it was specifically mentioned as coming from rooftop solar power) is now assuming the vast bulk of power generation and taking over from coal fired power.

Now that is something which can be quite easily addressed, and while I have been saying that the total average power consumption is indeed falling, I have been equating that to being a result of the normal reduction in power consumption during the benign Months of Mid Spring (which it is now here in Australia) and also in the benign Months of Autumn, and this was also perceived as something I was making up to further attempt to make my own argument as to why power consumption was falling.

Since the beginning of a regular and constant availability of electrical power coming into being, it has always been the case that overall power consumption falls in those benign Months, both at the micro level, in your own home, and then at the Macro level, power consumption for a whole State or a Country.

I can actually show you that. See that image at the right here. I have left it small, because even at the size where it covers the whole screen here, it is still a little difficult to make out, so I have kept it at a very large sized image so you can make more easily see the point here. So, if you click on that image, it will open in a new and much larger size. This is for the State Of New South Wales, the State of largest power consumption here in Australia, and that is indicated by the tab at top left, NSW which is blacked out, hence the State indicated. While this is a forward projection, it follows almost exactly the power consumption for every year.

Inside that large blue area you can see the reddish coloured line which looks similar to a sine wave, that up and down closely gathered lines indicating maximum and minimum power consumption on a weekly basis, showing the average high and the average low for the week. Se how even that rises and falls with the passing Months, and as you can see the Months of lowest power consumption are during the Spring (late September early October) and the Autumn. (mid April to May) Incidentally, see those two vertical spikes lower than all the rest. Those are for the weeks covering Christmas Day, the day of lowest power consumption, and the week covering the Easter Break here in Australia.

As we are now currently in mid October, (mid Spring) when power consumption is lowest in the lead up to the increasing power consumption during Summer.

At this time of lower power consumption, all of the large coal fired power plants schedule their down time for regular maintenance, to ensure that all their Units are ready for that increased Demand of Summer, when all those coal fired plants will be needed most to be supplying all their power that they have available. Because of that, I have been watching over the last four or more weeks as a number of Units have been down for that work to be done. It’s an interesting thing to watch as some of those large Units are wound down for anything up to perhaps two, and sometimes even three days, and then come back online. They usually wind back fairly quickly, over a period of around two hours, stay offline for the requisite time, and then scroll back up to their maximum power generation, and that runup time can be anything up to five hours or more. However, the really interesting thing is that while that Unit which was down now comes back on line, somewhere else in the Country or even in that same State, another large Unit starts to run down. This is a co-ordinated thing as those Units roll up and roll back. During this last week, at any one time, there were 10 or 11 Units off line. This was never more visible than was the case for the State of Victoria this week, where they had three Units down or most of the week, not all the same units but units going down as another came back on line. Victoria is a case in point here since the closure of the Hazelwood plant, and that ancient 53 year old plant gave that State the ‘insurance’ of having plenty of power available, even if Hazelwood could not manage to generate the original design total of 200MW for each of its eight generators, hence a Nameplate of 1600, but even those Units which could still deliver power which gave the State the ability to always have readily available power ‘on tap’ so to speak.

However, this week, that State had three Units down at any one time. There are only three large plants now operational in that State, Loy Yang B with 2 Units, Loy Yang A with 4 Units, and Yallourn W with 4 Units. That gave the State a total Nameplate of 4700MW from those 10 Units. With three of them out of action, that removed 1440MW from Victoria’s grid, and that’s 31% of its total coal fired power capability. Because of that, other smaller gas fired units had to be utilised, and Victoria also had to import power from its three surrounding States, and again, that can be shown with the image below. This image is a screen snapshot taken from the Australian Energy Regulator, the AEMO from their NEM Dispatch Overview site, and this data is updated on a minute by minute basis.

Now, here, Victoria is the State I want you to look at, so that’s the dark coloured box in the middle there with the heading VIC.

You can see that under the word Demand (actual power consumption) the total there is 5461(MW) The heading immediately under that is Generation and that indicates the power being delivered from all its operational power plants and that’s 4052. Under that is the total from Wind, and that’s 358, so the total power being generated in the State is 4410, leaving a shortfall of 1051MW.

That shortfall is being supplied from the three surrounding States. 473 comes from Tasmania, and that is mainly excess Hydro power because the bulk of power being generated in that State is from Hydro, and the excess is being supplied into Victoria via the Interconnector across Bass Strait, as Tasmania is that large island to the South of the Continent directly South of Victoria. There are two Interconnectors supplying power between Victoria and South Australia, and both are actually delivering power into Victoria, a total of 247, and in this case, that is probably excess wind power, as South Australia has the greatest number of wind plants in Australia. Then, the State to the North of Victoria, NSW is delivering 331 into Victoria, and here, that is most probably gas fired power from the OCGT plant at Uranquinty, the largest power plant close to the border of the two States.

So now, when you add together that power being delivered by those three surrounding States into Victoria, that total comes in at 1051(MW) the exact amount of shortfall in Victoria.

You might notice that if NSW is supplying into Victoria, then the figures for that State don’t quite add up, but what is not shown on this image is that the State to the North of NSW, Queensland is supplying 814MW into Northern NSW via the two Interconnectors between those two States.

So, all the numbers for all the five States now add up, and you can see the delicate balance of power sharing between the States, and how the generation of power across this vast area is something that needs to be watched on a minute by minute basis.

So, it’s not a case of a power plant operator just making a decision to shut down one of the Units at his plant. That plant operator HAS to keep the Regulator informed as to exactly when he wants to close down that Unit, so that other plants can be scheduled to supply the power that will be now missing when that Unit does go offline. Now you can also see why, as has been the case over the last few weeks, that as one plant comes back up online, another is going off line, as the sequence of maintenance shutdown now become obvious. The power sharing arrangements between the States also need to be watched as well, because they only have a certain carrying capacity, and that is also indicated on that image you see there. Note the arrows between the States, and you can see that some are coloured red. That red colour indicates the maximum carrying capacity of that Interconnector. Those arrows have two numbers inside their ‘boxes’ and that indicates the carrying capacity of that Interconnector, and in  main that is two directional. In other words the Interconnector can carry X amount in one direction and a different amount in the other direction, and while that sounds a little odd, don’t think of it as just one wire between the States. The Interconnector is a series of high tension cables strung on those huge towers you occasionally see in your travels. The carrying capacity is the amount of power one set of those high tension cables can carry and how much the other high tension cables can carry, so more cables for more power carrying capability.

None of this would have been too much of a problem as little as five years ago when there was such a thing as ‘Rolling Reserve’. That was mainly older coal fired plants kept in service for just such times as these when large Units go offline. They would operate just for the time needed for this critical maintenance to be carried out. It also highlights the ‘fallback insurance’ that the old, and now closed Hazelwood plant provided in Victoria. During its last 40 days or so of operation Hazelwood consistently delivered power from its ancient Units, averaging around 1350MW for those last days, and that would have easily covered this week’s shortfall in Victoria. Now, however, there is no such thing as rolling reserve anywhere in Australia, as all of those older plants kept mainly for this purpose have closed down over the last five years. Now, all they have is intermittent wind power and gas fired plants, and with the cost of both of those power generation sources, the cost for electricity has risen to the highest level in our history.

Australia’s New Energy Policy

This last week, the Turnbull Government released its new energy policy. As part of that, the new policy was first presented to the Cabinet and then to the Party Room of all the Government’s members to show them what it was all about prior to the official announcement. As part of that the Minister for the Environment And Energy, Josh Frydenberg showed them documents which indicate the now parlous state of affairs in the electricity generating sector. Part of the article reported on this mentions the following:

When Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg walked into the Coalition party room with his energy policy earlier this week he faced a sea of hostile faces. But they left the room shocked. At last, the government politicians understood that Australia faces a long term blackout power crisis the like of which has never been seen in modern times.

It’s one thing to read commentaries warning of what is ahead but another to see a minister use confidential information from independent power authorities and regulators to show the desperate state of affairs that is looming for the nation. And then Frydenberg went to the ALP and showed them the same material.

Frydenberg was, if anything, even more alarming than me …  [says Gottleibsen who wrote about how the “Energy crisis risk is criminal. March 2017″].

Between 2012 and 2017 Australia has built 1,850MW of weather-linked “intermittent capacity” and only 150 MW of “dispatchable capacity”.

At the same time “dispatchable capacity” has been reduced with the closure of coal and gas fired power plants and the failure to maintain existing coal fired plants.

According to the Australian Energy Market Operator back in 2012-13 we had 20 per cent “reserve capacity”— power generation capacity above maximum demand. Currently that’s down to 12 per cent and if the Liddell power station is shut there will be a big shortfall. We therefore face the clear certainty of frequent and long blackouts in all our cities if we do not invest in “dispatchable capacity”.

It seems that ‘suddenly’ Australia is now in a position where we face impending blackouts and load shedding because we have not constructed power plants capable of delivering the full time, regular and reliable 24/7/365 power required to keep the Country running. We have instead concentrated on building wind plants with their intermittent power generation.

While it is only NOW that the people who should have been making these decisions have noticed this now seemingly desperate situation, it is in fact nothing new at all.

Back in July of 2011, more than six years ago now, I wrote a Post here at this site discussing how that we in Australia could actually reduce CO2 emissions from coal fired power plants by replacing them as they close down with the new technology UltraSuperCritical coal fired plants now being constructed virtually all across the Planet. That Post is at the following link.

CO Emissions Reduction – A Radical Plan

At the bottom of that Post, I added an image showing the forthcoming shortfall in just one State, New South Wales, and that image is the one I have added below, and if you click on this image it will open in a new and larger window and you can more readily see the text for explanation of what the colours indicate

The light green bars you see on this bar chart show the current Nameplate Capacity of power generation for that State. The line going through this bar graph indicates the Nameplate Capacity required for the whole system in that State to remain reliable, and as you can see it rises with the passing years. The dark yellow colour indicates the NEW additional Nameplate required to keep the system reliable, and that begins to rise significantly from 2015/16 onwards.

And now, note the date this chart was compiled, written along the bottom of the image ….. 2009. That was now eight years ago, and only now are politicians becoming shocked.

There is nothing new in the World. People were tasked to compile information like this, and then came out with the result you see, and then it was just ignored, and now it’s come back to bite them.

We desperately need new large scale power plants, plants which can actually supply large scale power, plants which can supply reliable and constant power, the power to keep not just cities or States operational, but the whole Country.

That can only be 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.