Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 25th November 2017

Posted on Sun 11/26/2017 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 19th November 2017

New South Wales – 5860MW (Coal Fired Power – 4200MW)

Queensland – 5040MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 3450MW (Coal Fired Power – 3400MW)

South Australia – 950MW

Tasmania – 970MW

Total – 16270MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 13300MW  – 81.7% of the overall total of 16270MW)

Hydro – 350MW

Wind – 1400MW (8.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 10.8% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 22480MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17400MW (77.4%)

Monday 20th November 2017

New South Wales – 6370MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)

Queensland – 5070MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 3830MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1060MW

Tasmania – 1010MW

Total – 17340MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 14000MW  – 80.7% of the overall total of 17340MW)

Hydro – 400MW

Wind – 1500MW (8.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 10.9% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26010MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17400MW (66.9%)

Tuesday 21st November 2017

New South Wales – 6630MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 5150MW (Coal Fired Power – 5600MW)

Victoria – 4180MW (Coal Fired Power – 3300MW)

South Australia – 1100MW

Tasmania – 1000MW

Total – 18060MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 13900MW  – 77% of the overall total of 18060MW)

Hydro – 500MW

Wind – 1500MW (8.3% of the total)

Renewable power – 11.1% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 27320MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17500MW (65%)

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

New South Wales – 6640MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 5230MW (Coal Fired Power – 5600MW)

Victoria – 4220MW (Coal Fired Power – 3400MW)

South Australia – 1200MW

Tasmania – 990MW

Total – 18280MW

Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14000MW  – 76.6% of the overall total of 18280MW)

Hydro – 500MW

Wind – 2000MW (10.9% of the total)

Renewable power – 13.7% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26550MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17300MW (65.2%)

Thursday 23rd November 2017

New South Wales – 6760MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

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

Victoria – 4160MW (Coal Fired Power – 3300MW)

South Australia – 1160MW

Tasmania – 970MW

Total – 18250MW

Fossil Fuel – 16500MW (Total coal fired power – 14300MW  – 78.4% of the overall total of 18250MW)

Hydro – 500MW

Wind – 1100MW (6% of the total)

Renewable power – 8.8% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 25990MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18200MW (70%)

Friday 24th November 2017

New South Wales – 6560MW (Coal Fired Power – 5300MW)

Queensland – 5290MW (Coal Fired Power – 5900MW)

Victoria – 4290MW (Coal Fired Power – 3500MW)

South Australia – 1140MW

Tasmania – 1030MW

Total – 18310MW

Fossil Fuel – 17000MW (Total coal fired power – 14700MW  – 80.3% of the overall total of 18310MW)

Hydro – 600MW

Wind – 400MW (2.2% of the total)

Renewable power – 5.5% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 26000MW and Coal Fired Power supplied MW (%)

Saturday 25th November 2017

New South Wales – 6370MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)

Queensland – 5240MW (Coal Fired Power – 5800MW)

Victoria – 4030MW (Coal Fired Power – 3300MW)

South Australia – 1080MW

Tasmania – 1080MW

Total – 17800MW

Fossil Fuel – 17000MW (Total coal fired power – 14100MW  – 79.2% of the overall total of 17800MW)

Hydro – 600MW

Wind – 400MW (2.2% of the total)

Renewable power – 5.6% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24300MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17300MW (71.2%)


This Week’s Average For Base Load – 17759MW

This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14043MW – 79.1%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 17856MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14191MW – 79.5%


Comments For This Last Week

The load curve profiles have reached the stage now where they have swapped over from the cooler profiles with their two Peaks to the warmer Month profiles with the one Peak, with that Peak now moving from around 6PM back towards mid afternoon. Only Tasmania, and to a slightly lesser extent South Australia, still have a profile with those two peaks, but only just, and next week should see all States back with a Summer profile. That Peak is also rising as more power is required at that Peak time.

That is not particularly noticeable with the Base Load at that 4AM time, which doesn’t change very much at all. That Base Load is slowly rising again back to above the 18000MW mark, with four of the working week days back over that 18000MW mark this last week, and the average for the last three weeks has shown a rise of around 100 to 200MW each week, not all that much, but still heading back upwards.

Where it is most noticeable is at that Peak time where the rise in the daily average peak has been around 1300MW, (per day, averaged across the week) rising that much for each week for each of the last three weeks. The rise was most noticeable in the State with the highest consumption, NSW, where the Peak on Friday was above 9000MW and that’s a rise of around 1300MW from the usual cooler profile peak at 6PM.

Because that Summer peak is rising, fewer of those coal fired Units are offline, and this week, that average was down to around seven or eight, and on the Friday that was back to only six Units offline. One of the big Units in NSW, at the Bayswater plant must be having a problem, as it was offline for all the week. Of interest is that one of the Units at the old Liddell Plant came back online on the Saturday afternoon, one of those Units which has been offline for 19 weeks now, so that adds back to the NSW total. In Queensland, only one Unit was offline, which was lucky in a way, shown best with the interchange of power between the States. Victoria has the most problems, because all week, that State had three Units down, taking out around 1600MW out of that State’s supply. Because Victoria had that problem, they were being supplied by the three surrounding States, and the loss of supply in NSW was made up for by extra coming from Queensland.

Also of interest this week was that Wind power was down somewhat on what it normally delivers. The average supply for the week from Wind Power at that Base Load time, 4AM was only 6.7% of what was required, and while a percentage is a little obscure at times in the context of that 18000MW Base Load, that percentage is only 1225MW, which is quite a small amount, and that is from a Nameplate of 4400MW, so it is only operating at a Capacity Factor (CF) of 27%, which is only a little less than the average CF of 30%. However, it is the total here that is of greater importance, because that Base Load is required absolutely, and while there are some days when Wind power delivers up beyond 10% and higher, there are days like Friday and Saturday when it barely manages 2.2% of what is required.

The Queensland Election

The State election was held on the Saturday, and the counting went on during the night until around 11PM, and still there was no definite result. The incumbent Labor Party under the leadership of Annastacia Palaszczuk looks likely to be returned, but there are some doubts that she will have enough seats to govern in her own right with a majority, although that is probably the result which might eventuate, but that will not be known for certain for a number of days, after all the votes are finally tallied up. The Premier’s party, the Labor Party did well in the South East corner of the State, that huge urban area where there are the greater number of seats, and that was expected, but even so, she only just maintained parity with what she already had, only slightly increasing her vote by around one to two percent. However, out in the regions of this vast State, where there are fewer seats on offer, because of that vast size, the Labor Party did not do very well at all.  The Premier, naturally wanted to concentrate on that South East corner, so the North of the State will suffer most with a returned Labor Government. One of the minor parties increased their representation from two to three seats, and two, maybe three Independents were elected. the Greens Party might win one seat perhaps, in urban Brisbane, if the numbers stack up for them, and the One Nation Party might also win one seat if their numbers stack up. The LNP, the major party from the Conservative side of politics looks unlikely to be able to form any sort of stable Government if Labor cannot get the numbers, so it looks like the State may be in for a term of political instability, even if Labor does form Government. If they do, then the possibility of a new coal fired power plant in the North of the State looks to be doomed, as Labor presses ahead with its plan to move to 50% renewable power by 2030, something that no matter what they say, will NEVER be achieved. That South East corner, Labor heartland has a large proportion of the inner city latte Greens followers, and they were totally against the new huge coal mine planned for Central Queensland, so it is a wait to see if the result will have any effect on that new coal mine if Labor wants to keep faith with its base, and their Green sympathisers. In that central Queensland area, Labor did not do all that well, or even as well as they might have hoped, as the mine is a source of a lot of jobs, both with the mine and also the jobs that might come with the supporting jobs that any large mine of this nature brings. It was perhaps one of the more unusual elections in recent times in Australia, both at a State level for any State and a federal election, which, more often than not turn out to be pretty much cut and dried. This State election showed two distinctly differing results, one in that urban area, and  completely different result in the regional areas of the State.

The situation for electrical power generation in Victoria

Are Hazelwood’s chickens coming home to roost in Victoria?

In Victoria, the 53 year old Hazelwood power plant closed at the end of March, something I detailed in the comprehensive Post at this link. During that last Month of operation, Hazelwood generated 15% more power than EVERY wind plant in the whole of Australia combined.

I mentioned above how Victoria has three of its coal fired Units at its three plants offline, and I suspect at least two of them might also be having some problems with those as well, as they also have been offline for more than a week. Those three Units make up around a third of the total coal fired power in that State.

On Tuesday, Victoria had a real increase in power consumption, and here I mean plus 2500MW or so more than similar times in the previous weeks.

Peak power consumption was around 4/4.30PM and was 7630MW. Of that total, coal fired power was only  generating around 3400MW. Victoria was importing power from the three surrounding States, NSW, Tasmania, and also South Australia, but that was still not enough to take the power up to what the total was.

So, they also had to have EVERY gas fired plant in the State on line, all 21 Units from those plants, and some of those Units only make 20MW, so it was a pretty desperate situation. All that gas fired power made up the missing power to the total being consumed, and all up, gas fired power was making 2300MW, and because of that, fossil fuel was supplying 5700MW, so they needed almost 2000MW from wind and Interstate.

That now closed Hazelwood plant would have been able to supply around 1400MW, so with that gone, plus the down Units, there’s 2600MW, enough insurance to cover this spike.

Because all those gas fired units were running, the wholesale cost for power spiked in Victoria, not just the normal straight up and then back down spike, but above $200/MWH for five hours with a peak of $290/MWH.

Luckily, that afternoon, wind power was above average in both Victoria and also in South Australia, which was supplying Victoria as well.

It was not just isolated to this one day, as it was a similar situation for the next four days as well, with 16 gas fired Units generating on the Wednesday for 1900MW, 16 Units on the Thursday for 2000MW, and the same as that on Friday, and even on the Saturday with less power consumption, they had 15 of those Units online for 1950MW.

This was actually quite a serious situation, and in my opinion, I don’t think it will take too much this Summer to drive Victoria into load shedding, if this is any indicator. This will hurt. They can only hope that the problems with those coal fired Units is soon rectified, to alleviate any further situation like this one.

It again accentuates the importance of coal fired power, and how that when there’s not enough of it, problems arise with power generation.

There really just is no substitute for coal fired power.

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.