Total Power Anomaly Detection

Posted on Sat 10/19/2019 by


By Anton Lang ~

Now I’ve stopped doing my daily data posts for electrical power generation, I wondered why just one of my data collection totals was higher than the two other sources I am now aware of, that do the same thing. All of my data was collected manually from this source and it took me around four hours of work a day, and six hours on Mondays with the extra totals for the Rolling Totals. When I checked my manually collected, calculated and collated data, with the source I am now using, all  but one of my data totals was within 0.1%, that other one within 0.3% accuracy when compared with theirs. However, the one main overall total, the absolute total power generation for the year from every source, well that was out by a factor of 1.15%. and that’s a pretty huge margin really, considering that total is in TeraWattHours. Mine was 206TWH, and theirs was 203TWH, so that difference was 3TWH, and that’s 3,000,000MWH.

I couldn’t figure it out why it was so wrong.

Admitted, the site I use now overstates rooftop solar, (RTS) as you might expect given who is running the site, and the fact that even the AEMO doesn’t know the absolute total for RTS, but that didn’t account for the largeness of my supposed error.

The site I used for all my data gave the total power generation from every source, no matter who was consuming it or where it was being consumed. This new site just does power generation, but for some reason leaves out one part of it, well doesn’t leave it out, just artfully conceals it in plain sight without an explanation.

I only stumbled across this by accident actually. For some reason, I was checking the absolute total power generation on an hour by hour basis, comparing one site with the other. All was pretty much the same, except that suddenly, for a period of two hours those two totals varied by almost 1000MW, and that’s a substantial difference, just two hours and then back to the same.

Odd, I thought, why would that be.

Look hard, look really hard, ask dumb questions. (of yourself, as you do!)

There it was,

Now go and check. Chase it down.

So, I went off and checked, and here it took five separate sites, and some knowledge to track down the full story. (and here it was lucky that I had a good idea as to what I was doing, otherwise this would still be a mystery)

Okay then, go to this link, (the new site I use) and luckily this result can be explained at the ‘default’ page, so I don’t need to tell you too much to run it down.

What this shows you are the Load Curves for power generation for the last seven days. Place your mouse in the vacant area under the main graphs, because if your mouse is on that graph area, then you’ll see a vertical line, indicating the time at that point, and this first point is just a general look around and explanation.

Now look across at the right there at the accompanying chart and it tells you the total power being generated by each source at the CURRENT time, and the pie chart under that shows you the current chart and source by colour of all generation sources. The Load Curve graphs also break down the power generation by source by colour as well.

Now place your mouse anywhere on the graph, and a red vertical line appears indicating the time, and at each time point the chart to the right shows power generation at that point in time. (pretty cool eh)

Okay then, what about this perceived problem I found

So then. look along the bottom of the graphs. Note those brown bumps off the bottom. Hover your mouse over the big one there, and so it doesn’t move around, click your mouse and it stays there. Now look across at the chart at the right, and you can see all the power generation from every source at that time. Look at the bottom of the chart and you’ll see two entries under Loads, those being Pumps and Battery Charging. See the total for Pumps and it’s 800MW or so, depending on where your mouse is stopped on that brown bump area.

The total power generated at the top is 24000MW plus, and the Net total (at the bottom) is 23000 plus, and that  lower total (23000 and something) is the same as at the top of the red line on the graph where your mouse has stopped. The brown bit is that bump at the bottom of the graph, also showing in the black bit as well, and it says minus on the chart at right, and is off the bottom of the coloured graph, indicating (as it might be thought to indicate) negative.

At this site they have taken it off instead of adding it on. Yeah yeah I know, semantics because it’s really there, but hey, the average punter looking at something like this has absolutely no idea at all what it means, without a helluva lot of knowledge on the subject.

There was that supposed total generated power anomaly from the site I used to this one. That site I used gave the absolute total, because after all that power being consumed by those Pumps still has to be generated by a power source. Over a whole year, that came in at around that one percent extra that I had in my data collection. I can’t figure out why they would not include it as generation unless it counts as power consumed in the cause of power generation, if you can (sort of) see that.

Tumut Three Hydro Power Plant (Pumped Storage)

So then, what are those ….. ‘Pumps’?

They are the three big Monsters at the Tumut Three Pumped Hydro Power Plant. (another one of those other sites I had to visit)

I  have occasionally mentioned during that Series of Posts that power is consumed (by Tumut Three) getting the water from Jounama (the lower Pondage) back up to Talbingo, (the upper Dam) and that power is (around) 1.4 times what can be generated when the water flows back down again to generate power, so this Pumped Storage Hydro Plant is not ‘New’ generated power, but in fact a net power consumer. Those three huge pumps are what is used to do that, pump the water back up the hill, so to speak.

Back to those bumps on the graph.

Note that one you’re on, the big one. Note the start time and the end time. 10AM and 4PM, starting a little, then a lot, then a little.

Okay, add up all those ‘bumps’ for the year, and the total comes in at around that one percent of Total power generation that I was higher by in my data.

Okay now, I then go to the AEMO site, (just another of those sites I mentioned) and find out what the cost for electricity is at those points in time, and say, who woulda thunk it, it’s as cheap as it ever gets, both in NSW, and in Victoria when power is being consumed for those pumps, as Snowy Hydro is connected to both States, so they buy their power from whomever is the cheapest eh!

Note also that at that point (brown bumps) look up that red vertical line to the top, that yellow area, and see that RTS is generating heaps. It might be construed that RTS could be delivering that power as it is generating lots. But none of that RTS gets back beyond the local substations, and it is all consumed by the residences themselves anyway those with the panels and those nearby. Because that RTS is high at that daylight time, then other power from other sources does not need to be generated to supply those residences, so the AEMO price game begins. However, as  was pointed out to me by a contributor at one site I also leave Comments at, that contributor, Rick Will has often told us (and a hat tip here to you Rick) that because that RTS is high, then other power entities sell their power at a low price, so here, Snowy Hydro has taken advantage of that.

And in the main, (the brown and black bumps on that graph) it is coal fired power delivering the power to drive those Pumps to get the water back up the hill. So, coal fired power (which is 60 to 70% of all generated power at that time) is what is being used the most so that ‘green’ power can be generated by Tumut Three Pumped Hydro when that water flows down the pipes and across the turbines to generate that power used almost exclusively at peak power times when power costs are at their highest.

Now think Snowy 2.0, that wonderful new scheme dropped on us by a now departed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. It will be a source of power that relies upon using low cost (and in the main, coal fired) power to pump water up the hill to generate power at peak power time when it costs the most, sort of defeating the whole stated purpose of bringing power costs down.

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.