Australian Daily Electrical Power Generation Data – Introduction With Permanent Link To Daily and Weekly Posts

Posted on Sun 05/13/2018 by

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By Anton Lang ~

Permanent link to all daily and weekly Posts in this Series

I have been detailing the Base Load information for the main Australian coverage area in a series of weekly Posts for almost a year, and that Series is at this permanent link. While the main point of those Posts is to show that the lowest power consumption for each and every day is at 4AM each morning, while nearly all of us are still sound asleep. That total power consumption at that time is around 18,000MW, and 80% of that power is delivered by coal fired power plants, and this indicates just how important , and essential, coal fired power really is. While the details about coal fired power are the most important thing with that series, I also show how much power is being delivered by just two sources of renewable power, Hydro, the larger of the two, and wind power, and how much they are contributing at that 4AM point in time.

Because of the interest that series has generated, I received a suggestion that it would be of interest if I could detail not just the figures for that single point in time, (that 4AM Base Load) but to detail the average daily totals for all the power generation sources across this same Australian coverage area. (and here there is a hat tip of thanks to Rob, who uses the screen name freddyflatfoot for that suggestion) Those details would be large enough in numbers and content to probably detract from the main point of that base Load Series, and would make each weekly Post in that series so much larger as well. I also thought at first that doing something like this would probably be a little problematic with respect to the time it would take, not to rush the task, but to do it correctly with references and also images as well for each of those individual power sources, with the data and some text as well.

However, with further thought, I decided that it could be done, but it would require a separate Series of Posts just for these details. With some careful setting up at the start, I realised I could in fact do something like this, and the time factor involved was not all that much. So, this will be a Series of its own, and in each Post, I will detail the daily averages for all the power generation across this large AEMO coverage area. I will do it on a daily basis, with data and text for each days figures, and at the end of each week, I will then also give the average data for all sources and the rolling averages as well.

As with all informational Posts of this nature, it was the first task to decide what data to use, so as to have as much information in place right from the start. I will show images for the total generation with all fossil fuel sources, both coal fired and natural gas fired power, as well as for renewables, Hydro Power, Wind Power, Solar Power and also Rooftop Solar Power as well. That covers virtually all power generation. It entails the use of eight images, with the accompanying 8 blocks of data, and then some comments for the day. For the data, I will detail the daily average power generation for each source, the high power generation total and the low power generation total, the percentage of that individual generation as part of the overall total power generation, and also the total power generation and percentage at the Peak Power time.

For reference to all this data, I will be using the graphs at the Aneroid site. (and here I owe a vote of thanks to Andrew M, who runs that site and has kindly allowed me to use those images) Those graphs are updated on a real time basis, using the actual generation data from the AEMO itself, so they are accurate.

The format will look something like what I have below these eight images, and I will use the data for just one day to explain each of the graphs as an introduction to them. Here I have the eight images for this one day for the power generation from each of the sources. Those eight images, while shown in a small size here, to fit across the page, will open on a new page and at a larger size by clicking on each image, and in that manner you can more readily see the graph and its detail.

Total Power Generation All Sources

Total Generation All Fossil And Coal Fired Power

Total Generation And All Renewable Generation

All Renewable Power Generation

 

Hydro Power Generation

Wind Power Generation

Solar Power Generation

Rooftop Solar Power Generation

Here, I have kept the images in a sequence so I can better show them, and add an explanation for each of them with the data for each of these images.

As this is the Introduction, I’ll just be using it as that way of explaining each of the images, and as you can see, these totals are all for the same day, Sunday 29th April 2018, and as you can see, that date appears at the top of each image immediately above the graph itself.

Total Power Generation All Sources

Total Power Generation

The first image shows the Total power generation from each of the sources. I have added the image at right in a slightly larger size than the small one above, but if you click on the smaller version of this image, it will open in a new and larger page so you can better see the detail of the totals.

The solid black line at the top is the total power generation from every source, and this is also close to what actual power consumption is as well, and the only difference is in the losses associated with all grid systems. Note here that the shape of this Load Curve is now getting back towards the profile for the cooler Months and Winter, with the two Peaks one at around 8AM, when everyone rises from sleep in the morning and goes about their morning things at home. Power then falls slightly after everyone leaves for work and school, and then through the afternoon, power generation rises again towards the main Peak, the evening Peak of highest daily power consumption, hence highest power generation also. That peak for this day is a little over 24000MW, and keep in mind here that overall power consumption is lowest during the two days of the weekend, Saturday and Sunday. The blue line just below this total power black line is for all fossil fuelled sources of power generation, coal fired power and also natural gas fired power as well. Note how closely the load curve for these closely follows the back line for total power generation, and also note how high this is in comparison to the overall total. Close to the bottom of the graph are the totals for Hydro Power, the orange line, then the purple line below that which shows the total for Wind power. Then, and here you need to look closely, the red line below that, barely able to be seen, and this is the total for commercial solar power plants. The total for hydro, wind and solar power make up that small difference between the blue and black lines at the top.

Total Generation All Fossil And Coal Fired Power

Fossil Fuelled Power Generation, Including Coal Fired Power Generation

This next image shows the totals from all fossil fuelled sources of power generation. Again, this image is a little larger than the small one in the rows of images above, and clicking on the smaller image opens it up on that new and larger page so again, you can see the detail a little better. Here on this image, that black line at the top is exactly the same as for the blue line in the previous image for the overall totals from every source, and the black line below that is the sub total for just the coal fired power plants. For ease of sizing the images, I have left them the same size, so the legend of coded plant names under the graph is cut off, but all those coloured lines at the very bottom of this image indicate that they are for those coal fired power plants. If you look below the graph itself, it shows the first couple of rows of coded names for the power plants, and here you can see the boxes ticked for just the coal fired plants. The ones coded as BW are for the Bayswater Power plant and there are four Units at that plant, hence the forur ticked boxes. The next boxes are for gas fired plants and they are not ticked, and then there are the boxes coded ER, which is the Eraring coal fired power plant, also having four Units, hence the four ticked boxes.

Note here how close to the all fossil fuelled Total, (the top black line) the total for coal fired power alone is, and also how closely it follows the upper line as well. It deviates a little at the main Evening Peak when more gas fired plants come on line to top up the total power required to match what is being consumed. The average from coal fired power alone varies during the day from a high of over 80% at the 4AM minimum to around 72 % to 75% at the Peak power times at 6PM, and the average throughout the day would be close to 75/76%.

Total Generation And All Renewable Generation

All Renewable Power Generation Versus Total Power Generation

This next image is similar to that first image, only with the Fossil Fuelled component (the blue line) deleted, and shows the contribution from all Renewable power sources of generation. I have left the total power generation, (from all sources) that top black line on this image to show you the stark difference as to how little of the daily power generation is delivered from all sources of Renewable Power. That lower black line just above the coloured lines is the Sub Total for all renewable power. Note especially that while the total power ranges from a low of 17000MW, and then up to the main Evening Peak of just over 24,000MW, the total for all Renewables only ranges from a low of 2000MW to a high of around 3600MW. Also note that while the load curve shape for this total approximately looks like the main Load Curve shape, that is only due to the fact that Hydro power is the only one which does follow the main load curve shape, well, sort of anyway.

All Renewable Power Generation

All Renewable Power Generation

This Image is the same as for the immediate previous image showing the total for all renewable power, only with this image I have left off the overall total power generation, so this top black line shows the total for those three main renewables used here, Hydro Power, (the orange line) Wind Power, (the purple line) and Solar Power. (the red line) While the image ‘looks’ larger, note that the scale (the left hand axis showing total power generation) is a different to make the image larger. You may also see a couple of other coloured lines on this graph as well, because the scale is so low that they now show up, but here, keep in mind that they barely even register less than 100MW. These are some tiny power plants that use biofuels mainly to generate tiny amounts of power, all of them barely adding up to 60 to 80MW across the whole of Australia, and also on a limited time basis, adding ever so slightly to the overall total for Renewable Power. Note here that Hydro is the largest Renewable power source and as overall power consumption increases, Hydro works in relatively closely with that increase and decrease. The main source for more than half of all Australian Hydro power is in the State of Tasmania, where it is the major supplier of power, but keep in mind here that Tasmania is the smallest consumer by State in Australia, and only consumes around 5% of the Australian overall total power consumption, so here, hydro serves this small State well.

Hydro Power Generation

Hydro Power Generation

This image shows just the power generation from Hydro Power, and as you can see the shape of the Load Curve is the same as in the previous image directly above, the orange coloured line on that graph, and again the scale is changed to make the graph look larger in size. Also of note is how the shape of this Load Curve is (just) similar in nature to the overall power consumption / power generation load curve, in that it rises (ever so slightly) in the morning, almost falls away slightly and then rises again in a more pronounced manner to the larger evening Peak Power time at around 6PM.

As you can see here, the minimum power generation here (from 1AM through till 6AM) is just on 1200MW, and as I mentioned above, most of that is in Tasmania, where Hydro is the major supplier of electricity, and that total for Tasmania is 1080MW of that 1200MW minimum level there, and that equates to virtually all the power consumption in that State at that time. It’s hard to imagine that such a tiny State can have 24 individual Hydro plants, the largest of which is the plant on the Gordon River, and that is the orange line you can see in the coloured lines at the bottom of the graph. Most of these Tasmanian plants are less than 100MW in capacity.

Note that where it rises sharply towards the evening Peak, more Hydro comes on line, and as you can see with the coloured lines towards the bottom of this graph, that comes from the ‘brown’ line and that is Murray One, which, at 1500MW is the (equal) largest Hydro Plant in Australia. Even then that large Hydro plant is only delivering around 500MW of its total capability of 1500MW.

Wind Power Generation

Wind Power Generation

This image shows the total power generation from all 44Wind Plants in this coverage area with around 2900 individual wind towers. The total Nameplate for all wind plants is just a tick under 5000MW. Again, the image is the same as the one in the Renewables image, only with the scale also changed to make the graph appear larger in size, and that scale is even larger in size than for the previous Hydro graph. Note that the load curve for this does not follow the same shape as the overall power consumption/generation load curve. It rarely does follow that main Load Curve, as power consumption is actually regular across those hours in the day, while wind power generation is not, and is intermittent at best.

The total here shows a high of 1250MW at around 8AM, and then it drops away sharply to only 300MW at 2PM, and then rises to around 1150MW at 7PM. This indicates the constant output of all those wind plants, well, the ones that are actually working anyway. That low point there of 300MW means that all wind plants are operating at a Capacity Factor (CF) of only 6% and the yearly average is around 30%, which is 1500MW, and even that is higher than the highest total for this graph on this day. The average power generation for the whole day here is around 900MW, and that’s a CF of only 18%.

That daily average power generation of 900MW for this day is only 4.6% of total power generation, and as that is the same as for power consumption, it means that wind power was only delivering that 4.6% when averaged across the day of what Australia was actually using for tat same day.

Solar Power Generation

Solar Power Generation

This image shows the total power generation from all nine of the Solar Power plants in this same coverage area. Note again the scale variation here, because when you look at the original graph above for all power generation, this is the tiny red hump at the very bottom of that graph. The black line shows the total, and the coloured lines below that show the total for each of these solar plants. Note here the jagged nature of the black line after Midday, and then looking at the coloured lines, see how they also are jagged. That signifies that for some of these plants it was overcast after Midday, and each time power generation drops, that indicates a cloud covering the Sun. All the jagged coloured lines add together to the jagged nature of the black line. Note that the drop off is (even at this small scale) not inconsiderable, and then it takes time to build back up after the cloud passes.

Note how the total only makes it to just short of 350 MW and that’s just for three hours from 11AM till 2PM. Note that it starts at zero not long after the Sun comes up, at around 7AM, and then falls back to zero at around 6PM, so it is only generating during those daylight hours but it is basically just such a tiny amount. While this graph is now closer to the cooler Months shape, even in mid Summer, that total is not much larger, and the only difference is that the hours of operation are a little longer, from 5.30AM starting from zero and then through till around 7PM when it is again back to zero.

The average here for this day’s power generation from start to finish is around 220MW, and during all that time of power generation, that average is barely 1% of the total power which is being consumed during those same hours. Even at the Peak of 350MW, that is still only 1.5% of what is being consumed at that time. While this 220MW average is for 11 hours, when extrapolated out to the full 24 hour day, that average for solar power generation comes in at less than 0.5% of the average daily power consumption. Not even half a percent. Now, looking again at the overall total power generation graph above, hence also the total power consumption, and note the large evening Peak of over 240000MW at 6PM. Now, look again at this solar power generation graph, and note how much power is being generated at that Peak 6PM, and the total power being delivered from Solar power is zero. So, for the time when most power is needed, solar power has closed down for the night.

Rooftop Solar Power Generation

Rooftop Solar Power Generation

This image shows the total power generation from all the rooftop solar PV systems across the whole of this same coverage area. Because this power generation is termed as ‘behind the meter’ it does not show up on the overall power generation. Here, the black line indicates the total power generation, and the coloured lines below show the total for each of the five States in this vast coverage area.

The total Nameplate for all the rooftop installations across the whole of Australia is now around 7800MW, and that is a large amount when considered as Nameplate alone. However, as with all Solar PV installations, the actual power being generated is considerably less than that. Keep in mind here that the Nameplate total of 7800MW is coming from 1.8 MILLION installations spread across Australia, so almost 2 million tiny little power plants across a vast coverage area, with an average sized installation on each roof at only 4.3KW. Most of the power those small units generate is actually being consumed by the homes with those installations themselves, and that could be as much as 75% of that total, so very little power is actually being fed back to the grid, and again keep in mind that what is being fed back to the grid is spread across the whole vast area of Australia, and all of it would be consumed in each local grid area with those panels.

Note here that this power starts from zero at Sunrise, about 7AM here and just as the evening Peak starts, at 6PM it is again back to zero, as the Sun sets. The high point for the day here is 3500MW, and that is between 11AM and 2PM, barely three hours. The average for just the daylight period it is generating is around 1800MW, and that equates to around 8% of the total power consumption, and when it is at its maximum, that’s around 17% of what is being consumed.

However, when averaged across the whole day, that average drops to around a little over 800MW and that equates to around 4.2% of the average daily power consumption.

This total does not show up on the overall Load Curve for total power consumption, (total power generation) and the only way to visualise it is to look again at the top image for total power generation. See that slight dip from around 9AM till around 4.30PM, (about there the black line passes upwards through 20000MW) well, draw a straight line between those two points, and that would be the impact of rooftop solar power, so it provides a small bulge to the Load Curve as you see it there, a slight hump, or in this case, that slight amount removed from this image of the Load Curve. Now, while this amount of power ‘seems’ significant when the data is given as 7800MW total Nameplate, the overall power delivery is a lot smaller than that. Either way, it has no impact at all on the generation of power from coal fired sources, as that ramps up and down slowly in line with the total power consumption, so the only impact it may have is that it means less power needs to be added (at those times solar power is operating) from natural gas fired plants. In all of this, what needs to be seen as most important is that this is spread across the whole of this vast coverage area, so when broken down, it’s not an overall total of 3500MW, but tiny amounts of power in small local areas, and mostly consumed by the homes themselves, so it cannot even be equated to a single large scale power plant.

Conclusions

As is most often the case, something of this nature seems that it could be a relatively easy thing to do. That was one of my first thoughts. However, when I realised the scope of it, it became more difficult. At first I thought I could do the daily figures into a single Post for the whole seven days of the week, but the overall length of that Post became huge when I included all the images and the data so I found the only way around it was to do it on a daily basis with the weekly averages at the end of each week.

As it is, information like this is probably already available somewhere, but if I do it like this, then I have my own data in the one place with a complex breakdown to that daily, and then the weekly basis as well.

The setting up at the start has been a process which was longer than I expected, but hopefully, now, the daily process will be a little easier.

With this Series of Posts, I hope to show that while renewable power is making a contribution, that contribution is smal when compared to actual power consumption overall, and when such a huge amount of power is required on an absolute basis, at a regular basis as well, then that can only be delivered by dedicated large scale power plants which can actually do thatd here in Australia, that means it is coal fired power, which is far and away the largest supplier.

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.

OzPowerGenerationTFO

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