Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 18th November 2017

Posted on Sun 11/19/2017 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.

The Bayswater Coal Fired Power Plant In New South Wales

Here in Australia, that level of power is 18,000MW.

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 12th November 2017

New South Wales – 6470MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 4950MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 3560MW (Coal Fired Power – 3500MW)

South Australia – 1030MW

Tasmania – 1040MW

Total – 17050MW

Fossil Fuel – 15600MW (Total coal fired power – 14200MW  – 83.3% of the overall total of 17050MW)

Hydro – 500MW

Wind – 1000MW (5.9% of the total)

Renewable power – 8.8% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 22510MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17700MW (78.6%)

Monday 13th November 2017

New South Wales – 6580MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

Queensland – 5290MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 3890MW (Coal Fired Power – 3500MW)

South Australia – 1130MW

Tasmania – 1060MW

Total – 17950MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14400MW  – 80.2% of the overall total of 17950MW)

Hydro – 700MW

Wind – 800MW (4.5% of the total)

Renewable power – 8.4% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26130MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17900MW (68.5%)

Tuesday 14th November 2017

New South Wales – 6390MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 5110MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

Victoria – 4070MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1090MW

Tasmania – 1010MW

Total – 17670MW

Fossil Fuel – 15800MW (Total coal fired power – 14000MW  – 79.2% of the overall total of 17670MW)

Hydro – 400MW

Wind – 1700MW (9.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 11.9% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26380MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17900MW (67.9%)

Wednesday 15th November 2017

New South Wales – 6470MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 5130MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

Victoria – 4240MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1030MW

Tasmania – 980MW

Total – 17850MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14000MW  – 78.4% of the overall total of 17850MW)

Hydro – 500MW

Wind – 1200MW (6.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 9.5% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 25260MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17600MW (69.7%)

Thursday 16th November 2017

New South Wales – 6460MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

Queensland – 5220MW (Coal Fired Power – 4800MW)

Victoria – 4120MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 870MW

Tasmania – 1050MW

Total – 17720MW

Fossil Fuel – 15500MW (Total coal fired power – 13100MW  – 73.9% of the overall total of 17720MW)

Hydro – 400MW

Wind – 1800MW (10.2% of the total)

Renewable power – 12.4% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24120MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18600MW (77.1%)

Friday 17th November 2017

New South Wales – 6540MW (Coal Fired Power – 5300MW)

Queensland – 5240MW (Coal Fired Power – 5600MW)

Victoria – 4030MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 990MW

Tasmania – 1030MW

Total – 17830MW

Fossil Fuel – 16200MW (Total coal fired power – 14700MW  – 82.4% of the overall total of 17830MW)

Hydro – 300MW

Wind – 1000MW (5.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 7.3% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 23430MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18100MW (77.3%)

Saturday 18th November 2017

New South Wales – 6110MW (Coal Fired Power – 4700MW)

Queensland – 5160MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 3790MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1060MW

Tasmania – 990MW

Total – 17110MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14300MW  – 83.6% of the overall total of 17110MW)

Hydro – 550MW

Wind – 450MW (2.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 5.8% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 21630MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 16500MW (76.3%)


This Week’s Average For Base Load – 17597MW

This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14100MW – 80.1%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 17861MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14198MW – 79.5%


Comments For This Last Week

As I have mentioned over the last few weeks now, the benign months are making way for the warmer months as Summer approaches, and a number of things are starting to show up.

The first of them is that the Base Load has started to rise again, albeit by only a small amount, but that rise is becoming evident. It mainly shows up on week days, naturally, as weekends always see a little less power consumption across the whole 24 hour period, and that is seen most when you compare the Peak consumption for all days, at around 6PM every night. While the Base Load at around 4AM is usually around 6% higher on week day mornings, those working week day peaks at 6PM can be anything as large as 16% higher than they are on the Saturday and Sunday. Now, while quoting a percentage figure here makes it ‘seem’ not all that much that actual rise in Peak power at those times is between 4000MW and 6000MW, a substantial amount of power extra on week days as opposed to weekend days

The second thing that has shown up is that the number of coal fired Units being offline has started to fall. For the lest six weeks or so, it has averaged around 10 units down (and at times as many as 12 Units down) each day across the Grid, and this week the average was only 7 Units down. This was mostly evident in New South Wales where for most of the week, there were only three of the Units down, and two of those were the Units at Liddell, now off line for more than 18 weeks. From late Tuesday until late Friday night, only those two Units at Liddell were off line, so all the other Units in NSW were running. When it comes to Units going down for maintenance purposes, I would like to show you something here, concerning two of those plants in NSW, Bayswater and Mount Piper. One of the Units at Bayswater (Unit number One) that was offline around ten days back now came back on line, but for those ten days or so, it was only generating around 400MW to 450MW out of its total of 660MW. Those other Units at that Bayswater plant are being upgraded and will be able to have a slightly higher total generation. However, this one Unit was just humming along at around that lower amount for all the time since it came back on line. There’s nothing all that unusual about a Unit not reaching its full power for a time after it comes back up on line, but that usually only lasts a day, three days at most, and this one Unit consistently was at that low figure for ten days or so. After running at this level of power generation for those almost ten days, on the Thursday, they raised the generation to around 500MW, still not at its maximum, and it stayed at that level for almost a day. On the Friday morning it was raised to 550MW, and stayed there for seven hours. It briefly rose to 620M, and then back to 600MW, and stayed at that level for two hours. The thought I have next is that it was not  it was not performing at its best, so at around 5PM, the Unit began shutdown procedures and at 10.30PM, it was back to zero. Something similar happened with the Number Two Unit at the Mt. Piper plant. It also came back online after some weeks offline, and it also was run at a consistently lower level of only 350MW, which is barely half of its nominal Nameplate of 700MW. After running at that level for around six or seven days, it also was raised slowly on the Friday morning, and in steps to around 650MW, and it too, like Bayswater was (again, just my idea here) not performing at its optimum, so it too was shut down, in a stepped manner over a ten hour period, finally going fully offline at around the same time as that Unit at the Bayswater plant. Now, having explained all that for the two plants, the thing I would like to point out here refers back to the first point I made about power consumption being considerably less during the daytime period of those two weekend days when compared to the normal working week days. They waited until late on the Friday so both Units could be worked on during those two days of lower power consumption, getting two days start at a time when consumption is lower than on normal week days, so to speak.

The third thing I would like to mention is that switch in the Load Curve profiles between the cooler and warmer Months, and that has now started to become more evident across all the five States. It was most obvious in NSW, the State with the highest power consumption, and that is why I have included this image shown at right. Again I have left the image here as small, but if you click on that image it will open in a new tab in a larger format so you can see the detail better. This shows power consumption in NSW for the whole 24 hour period of Friday just gone, staring from just prior to Midnight and going through the full 24 hour period back to Midnight.

Note how the Load profile (the lighter coloured line here, as that darker coloured line is the price per unit, $/MWH) now shows consumption rising to just that one Peak, instead of the cooler profile with two peaks and a distinct dip between the two peaks. What I have done here is to take a screen image with my mouse hovering over that high point in the day’s consumption, so it shows the time, (11AM) the Unit cost ($74.01/MWH) and of most importance here the total power being consumed. (8668MW)

That shift in the Peak to an earlier time each day also shows that the Peak is rising, as it does in the warmer Months of the Summer. While that Peak for this day may only be around 600MW higher than the usual 6PM Peak, that will rise even higher as Summer kicks in (keeping in mind that this is just for one State) and that power consumption at that time of day is almost 3500MW to 4000MW higher than it is during the cooler Months when there is that dip between the two Peaks, and that is a substantial amount of power, and it is around 3000MW higher than it was at the same time just last week.

Hazelwood Closure

This 53 year old coal fired power plant in Victoria closed at the end of March, and I made a comprehensive and detailed Post on that subject, showing that in its last 31 days of operation this one plant delivered 15% more power across those 31 day than EVERY wind plant in Australia added together, and that is detailed at this link. That Hazelwood plant, as old as it was, still generated more than 20% of the State’s power requirements, power that now has to be sourced from elsewhere, and as has been shown with this continuing series, that closure has placed stress on the remaining ten coal fired Units in that State. At the time, politicians in that State said that the cost on power prices would be negligible, probably showing a rise of only 85 cents per week at most. As it turns out, those guesses were wildly off the mark, with power prices in that State set to rise around almost Ten Dollars per week. Andrew Bolt has more to say about this in his own Post at this site, the Post immediately following this one.

The Queensland State election and the Clare Solar Plant

This week, the current Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk had a photo op and campaign announcement at the site of a proposed new Solar Power plant for Queensland. Her Government has a policy of going to 50% renewable power by 2030, something that I have shown both in the text at this continuing series, and in other Posts here at this site, including this Submission to that Government Panel set up to implement this proposal that this is something that will not be achieved. It doesn’t stop the media and the public believing the spin from her and her party in the lead up to this election that it can be done.

This proposed new  renewable power plant is the Clare Solar Plant located near the town of Ayr, which is around 90 kilometres South of the City of Townsville in North Queensland. This plant is proposed to have a Nameplate of 150MW and will be a Solar PV plant, so only generating power during the hours of daylight from panels similar to those which could be mounted on rooftops.

Because the plant is only a PV plant then it has a Capacity Factor (CF) of 25%, which is what is claimed, but plants of this nature regularly only generate at a CF of around 20%. Even at that claimed CF of 25%, that takes its year round average down to around to a Nameplate of just under 40MW. So, using that adjusted Nameplate of that 40MW, that means that this new Solar plant will generate barely around 0.55% of Queensland’s daily power consumption, averaged across the whole year. Half a percent is not much of a way towards the hoped for 50% target for Renewable power generation by 2030.

Another thing which was not mentioned in the media was the amount in subsidies to be paid to this solar plant in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates. These certificates are for each MWH of power being generated by this solar plant, the same for all renewable power plants, and they will amount to around $26 Million a year for this one small solar plant, and they will be paid for, naturally, by the consumers of electricity, so, out of the cost of electrical power, the cost of which is only going in one direction, upwards. That amount stretches out each year, and by 2030, this will see a total of almost $340 Million being paid to this solar plant operator. It was also recently announced that this same Queensland Government will veto a Federal Government Loan (not a subsidy, but a loan which must be paid back) of a Billion to a proposed new coal mine operated by the Adani Company, owned by a Billionaire from India. It would seem that a billion dollar loan to a coal mine is bad, while a third of a Billion dollar gift to a tiny scale solar plant is okay.

I mentioned above the Bayswater coal fired plant. At its maximum, with all four Units delivering their best, Bayswater will deliver the same power as generated by this Clare Solar plant in a 24 hour period, and Bayswater will deliver that same power in 20 Minutes. Even at its normal yearly average power delivery, taking into account that it ramps up and down to follow the load, and has down time for maintenance, Bayswater will deliver the same power generated from this solar plant in ONE YEAR, and deliver that power in a little under 7 DAYS. The solar plant will have a projected life span of 25 years, and even though power from this solar plant will fall off dramatically after 10 to 15 years and continue falling even at that full rate, Bayswater will deliver the life time power generated by this solar plant in only 20 weeks.

25 years of solar power compared to 20 weeks of power from one coal fired power plant.

It would seem yet again that there just is no comparison.

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.