Australian Base Load Electrical Power – Week Ending 31st March 2018

Posted on Sun 04/01/2018 by

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By Anton Lang ~

Week 39

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. (See data for the Running Weekly Average For Base Load below)

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 25th March 2018

New South Wales – 5930MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)

Queensland – 5640MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)

Victoria – 3520MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)

South Australia – 1080MW

Tasmania – 1010MW

Total – 17180MW

Fossil Fuel – 14000MW (Total coal fired power – 12900MW  – 75% of the overall total of 17180MW)

Hydro – 1200MW

Wind – 2500MW (14.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 21.5% of the total.

Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 22650MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18200MW (80.4%)

Monday 26th March 2018

New South Wales – 6220MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)

Queensland – 5500MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)

Victoria – 3720MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 990MW

Tasmania – 940MW

Total – 17370MW

Fossil Fuel – 14000MW (Total coal fired power – 13300MW  – 76.6% of the overall total of 17370MW)

Hydro – 800MW

Wind – 2700MW (15.5% of the total)

Renewable power – 20.1% of the total.

Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24520MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18900MW (77.1%)

Tuesday 27th March 2018

New South Wales – 6320MW (Coal Fired Power – 4700MW)

Queensland – 5670MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 4210MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

South Australia – 1110MW

Tasmania – 970MW

Total – 18280MW

Fossil Fuel – 16200MW (Total coal fired power – 14800MW  – 81% of the overall total of 18280MW)

Hydro – 1150MW

Wind – 1050MW (5.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 12% of the total.

Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24370MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18600MW (76.3%)

Wednesday 28th March 2018

New South Wales – 6350MW (Coal Fired Power – 4600MW)

Queensland – 5610MW (Coal Fired Power – 5100MW)

Victoria – 3950MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)

South Australia – 1090MW

Tasmania – 920MW

Total – 17920MW

Fossil Fuel – 14700MW (Total coal fired power – 13700MW  – 76.5% of the overall total of 17920MW)

Hydro – 1100MW

Wind – 2400MW (13.4% of the total)

Renewable power – 19.5% of the total.

Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 25590MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 19100MW (74.6%)

Thursday 29th March 2018

New South Wales – 6580MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)

Queensland – 5600MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 4170MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

South Australia – 1180MW

Tasmania – 950MW

Total – 18480MW

Fossil Fuel – 17000MW (Total coal fired power – 15500MW  – 83.9% of the overall total of 18480MW)

Hydro – 950MW

Wind – 550MW (3% of the total)

Renewable power – 8.1% of the total.

Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24520MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18500MW (75.4%)

Friday 30th March 2018

New South Wales – 6020MW (Coal Fired Power – 4300MW)

Queensland – 5400MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 3650MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

South Australia – 1070MW

Tasmania – 920MW

Total – 17060MW

Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 14400MW  – 84.4% of the overall total of 17060MW)

Hydro – 1000MW

Wind – 1300MW (7.6% of the total)

Renewable power – 13.5% of the total.

Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 22330MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18000MW (80.6%)

Saturday 31st March 2018

New South Wales – 5990MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

Queensland – 5360MW (Coal Fired Power – 5700MW)

Victoria – 3750MW (Coal Fired Power – 4400MW)

South Australia – 1040MW

Tasmania – 1020MW

Total – 17160MW

Fossil Fuel – 15400MW (Total coal fired power – 14500MW  – 84.5% of the overall total of 17160MW)

Hydro – 1200MW

Wind – 800MW (4.7% of the total)

Renewable power – 11.7% of the total.

Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 22320MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18000MW (80.6%)

*****

This Week’s Average For Base Load – 17636MW

This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14158MW – 80.3%

Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 18059MW

Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14597MW – 80.8%

*****

This Week’s Average For Peak Load – 23758MW

This Week’s Average For Peak Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 18472MW – 77.8%

*****

Comments For This Last Week

As you can see from the data, the Base Load fell slightly again, and this is typical for the benign Months, now in Autumn, as power consumption falls across the board during the day. While that total at 3AM to 4AM fell by only a small amount, the largest fall is in the Peak Power. That total before Sunup is around 500 to 1000MW lower during these Months, while at Peak Power time, the total is around 2000MW to 4000MW lower. Even so, the average Base Load is still over 18,000MW, and coal fired power is still delivering 80% and more of that total. What is also noticeable is that at the Peak Power time, coal fired power is delivering a higher percentage than during the high consumption Summer Months, and that is easily understandable as more power is needed than can be supplied just from coal fired power and that extra comes from the number of Natural Gas Fired plants that come on line to ‘top up’ the power to what is being consumed.

A couple of things of note during this last week. The first is that the States in Australia that were on Daylight Savings Time (DST) have now changed back to ‘normal time’, on the Sunday morning, so while the data is in real time for all States, those low points have differed by one hour for NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and the ACT and now all States are aligned back with Queensland which does not have DST. It made little difference to me, as I ave always used the one specific point in time, (for that AEMO real time one time data) 4AM for all the data, and now the low point moves back to that time, not that it varies all that much at that low point, as it is a flattening at the bottom of each State’s Load Curve for power consumption.

The second thing is this, and look again at the data. Note that this last week, the amount of power delivered from Hydro has been above its normal (4AM Base Load) figure of between 500 and 800MW. This week Hydro has been consistently higher than 1000MW. That is because the Basslink Interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania was damaged during routine servicing, and expertise is required from overseas to rectify that problem. So, the Basslink Interconnector has been down, and will be until the middle of April. Now, what this does is to highlight something, probably an inconvenient fact for those supporters of Renewable Power, and how we need to be relying more on power generated from these methods of power generation. Tasmania is one of those States with a high percentage of renewable power, in this case Hydro Electricity, and the State has the highest percentage of Hydro for any State in Australia. What needs to be stressed here is that Tasmania only consumes 5% of the Australian Power Total, the smallest amount of any of the States, so having a high percentage of Hydro is easier to do than in those three States with much higher power consumption. What has been happening all along is that Tasmania uses its Hydro during the daylight hours when consumption is higher, and during the night, they use the power supplied via the Interconnector to deliver most of that State’s Base Load power, admitted, also the lowest in Australia. That power coming from Victoria is nearly all of it coal fired power supplied from Victoria’s brown coal fired generators. So, s convenient to use coal fired power to save their Hydro usage , again highlighting the fact that for the ten or so hours during the night, they use the cheap and readily available coal fired power, and then during the day, as consumption ramps up, they use their Hydro power. Nearly all of that extra Hydro power generation you see this last week is from the State of Tasmania.

The Importance Of Coal Fired Power

It is an easy thing for me to show the figures for the data for coal fired power and then explain just how important it really is, but sometimes, it is better seen with the use of images, and that’s what I will do here.

These three images show power generation for just the one day, and that day is during this last week, Thursday 29th March 2018, and all three images show that date at the top. While the images are shown small here so I can fit all of them across the page, you can click on each image and it will open in a new and larger page so you can better see the detail as I explain it below the images.

 

 

 

 

 

Firstly, click on the left image and this shows the total power generation as the black line at the top of the graph,and this also closely adheres to the total power being consumed across the States of Australia for the major AEMO coverage area. Below that black line total are the coloured lines indicating the power generated from all sources. The blue line just below the total is power generated from fossil fuelled sources. The orange coloured line indicates the power being delivered from Hydro sources. Below that, you can just make out the purple line and this indicates the power being delivered from Wind Power, and if you look very closely, you can just make out the red line below that and this indicates the power delivered from solar power. Note specifically that blue coloured line and how it closely follows the shape of the total power consumption.

Now, click on the second image, the middle one. This indicates the fossil fuel part of that total. Here, that top black line is the same as for the blue line on the first image, the total power supplied from all fossil fuelled sources across the full 24 hours of this one day. What I have done with this image is to show just the total power being delivered from coal fired power, and that is the second black line just below the top black line. At the bottom of this graph, you can see a whole lot of coloured lines. Each one of those is for an individual Unit at a coal fired power plant. To show this, what I have done is to show the ‘legend’ under the graph, which only shows that the boxes ticked are just for those coal fired units. For ease of fitting the image on the page, I have left out the 10 Units from Victoria, and just shown the Units from NSW and Queensland. For an example here note that the first four ticked boxes along the top are BW01 to BW04, and they are the four Units at the Bayswater power plant, each of those Units a 660MW generator. Of note here is if you look at how closely the Load Curve for just coal fired power follows the Load Curve for all Fossil fuels, and then refer that back to the black line for the Total generated power in image one. This indicates that coal fired power, as whole can be used to ‘follow’ the Load, something we have been told cannot really happen, because those coal fired Units cannot really be ramped up and down at short notice, and as you can easily see, this load following capability is indeed being done, not just on this day, but indicative of every day.

Now, click on that third image, and the scale here is completely different so it can be more readily seen. This image shows just the power being generated by Wind Power and Solar Power. These are the same as for the purple and red lines you see on that first image, but on a scale a little easier to see. the purple line is shown in the middle but the first part and the last part where it is black are the same, because the change is when Solar Power is added in, giving the black line as the Sub Total of wind and solar. So, at that 4AM point in time, which indicates the minimum Base Load there was no solar power, and the total power here was just from Wind, and that total was only 3% of the total power being consumed at that time. Solar power kicks in at around 7AM, rising to around 550MW and then falling away again. The total power being delivered from wind and solar at the Peak Power time, 4.30PM is around 1300MW, and that is still only 5.3% of what is being consumed. True, there are days when wind and solar might be higher, but only as much as around 10% at any point in time, and also there are days when it is lower than this as well.

So, as can be seen by just looking at these three images, you can see just how important coal fired power really is. At any one point in time, coal fired power is delivering between 75 and 85% of all the power that is being consumed.

You cannot just turn them off, or shut them down, or as is the case in South Australia, blow them up. You cannot replace them with wind and solar power because those two cannot deliver constant and reliable power. When power is required on such a huge basis as is needed to keep the Country running, there 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.

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