Electrical Power Data In Pictures – Supply And Consumption And Renewables – Part 5

Posted on Mon 09/05/2022 by


By Anton Lang ~

Again be aware that this data is not from any time far into the past, as this data is current to just five days ago.

Every image you see in this Post is sized at a smaller size to best fit the page. If you click on any of the images, each one will open on a new page, and at a much larger size so you see the detail better.

The last image I showed you from the earlier Post was this one, and while the concentration will be on those four renewable sources of power generation, in this Post I will briefly explain some of the other sources of power generation.

I suppose that there’s no real reason why the colours for power generation on this graph were selected like they were, but notice that the four sources of renewable power are the four colours shown at the top of the graph, but occasionally, when some of the other sources are used, they also appear at the top, and they are in the main such small contributors, that they barely register at all, so again, my guess would be that the colours were originally arranged from the largest at the bottom to the smallest at the top, and both versions of solar power show up in the middle at the top, for a somewhat more aesthetically appealing looking image when it comes to colour arrangement. In a way, and this is just my own opinion, it somehow makes those four renewables appear to be be a larger contributor than they really might be, and you’ll see what I mean by that in the next Post.

I’ll show these next two images and offer a short(ish) explanation of them. These show the contribution from all fossil fuels, (coal fired power, and natural gas fired power in the main, but also utilising other smaller fossil fuelled contributors as well) and that’s the image at left, and the image at right shows the contribution just from coal fired power, and here that’s both sources, Black coal fired power, the largest contributor, the bottom darker grey colour, and Brown Coal, the next colour above that, the brownish colour. You’ll also notice I have used the time indicator as well, showing that time at 6.35PM, and, as I mentioned in the previous Post to this one, that is the time of Peak power consumption. (every day)

The left image shows all fossil fuels ticked in the Legend boxes under the graph, and those four renewables left off this image, with their boxes unticked. As you can see, these colours (the fossil fuels contributors) follow the total power curve, the black line at the top, and this in fact is referred to as Load Following. In other words, as the Load rises then more power generation is added, and as it falls, then power is taken out of the system. In the main, what is added and subtracted are smaller power generators, and that’s all that is needed to top up the grid as consumption rises. So, when the most power is needed, that’s the time when there are those other source contributors to the grid. So here, you can see that at that evening Peak power time, a time they KNOW will be around the same time every day, then all those smaller Units are readied to come on line as they are needed. At that evening Peak, you can see here that ALL fossil fuels contribute 76% of all the power being generated at that time.

I have included the image at right, just showing the coal fired contribution, for a specific reason. There are only 16 coal fired power plants here in Australia, spread across the three largest States, and at those 16 Plants, there are (currently) 46 separate Units, and they have a total Nameplate of 23,000MW, and on this day, of those 46 Units in total, 8 of them were off line, and that reduced the available total power that could be generated from coal fired power down to 19500MW. As I mentioned coal fired power is and has always been far and away the largest contributor to the grid, and as you can see from the time indicator those operational Units were delivering 17,000MW, and at that Peak time, that was 63% of all the generated power from every source, and they were delivering that power at an (operational) Capacity Factor of 87.2%. However, the specific reason I have shown this image of coal fired power is this. See how coal fired power also exactly follows the Load, in other words, it ramps up and down accordingly across the day. How many times have you heard that coal fired power is pretty much useless because it cannot ramp up and down. Well, this proves that myth totally wrong. You can see that it slowly ramps down to the low point for the day at 4AM, then ramps up for the morning Peak, then back down for the mid afternoon low, and then back up again  to is highest for the day at that evening Peak, and then back down again. You can see that the low point is around 10.30AM, and the high point is at 6.35PM. In that time, coal fired power has ramped up by almost 7,000MW. Coal fired power does not need to ramp up any faster than this, and this proves once and for all that coal fired power is quite capable of ramping on the needs basis that is required.

Okay, so that’s fossil fuels out of the way then.

Let’s look at another couple of images, and one of them you might even think that it’s not really an image at all.

The image at left shows the Hydro contribution of power going to the grid, and I have separated this Hydro renewable out on its own for, again, a specific reason. Note here that the power generation for Hydro also follows the Load Curve black line for power generation/consumption, with the two distinct high points at the morning Peak, and then the larger evening Peak. That’s because with Hydro power you CAN actually do that. As more power is required then more can be added to the grid. One of the main factors in all this is is that one State jurisdiction on the grid is the large Island State of Tasmania to the South of the mainland Continent. That State is the smallest power consuming State on the grid, and only consumes around 6.0% of all the power being consumed on that overall huge Australian grid, which includes Tasmania. And, on top of that, the State is mostly powered (75% in fact) by Hydro power, and of all the Hydro in Australia, 56% of it all is in that smallest of States. So Load curves for power consumption are the same everywhere, hence the hydro power generation would follow the Load Curve on that State basis, and in fact the overall basis as well.

Okay, that second image, and here, first up, note the scale change at the left of the graph, and the high point on that scale indicator is 2GW, (2000MW) and I have left off the overall total consumption black line so you can actually see (well sort of, if you squint a bit, or use a magnifying glass) the power generation, those tiny little bumps at around 6PM,. (18:00 on the graph)

Have you heard of The Battery? It is supposedly the largest Battery on the Planet, and it delivers power to the grid, and is supposed to be the forerunner of what the future looks like, with Batteries as a major part of the grid supply of power.

Well, this image shows the contribution of the Battery on an average day. I wanted to include the date stamp to show you all how much power was being delivered at the time of that ‘tallest’ (well!) bump on the graph at 6PM. However, that date stamp time completely obliterates the blue bumps ….. so, I left it off, but hey, that total maximum power delivered by the Battery at 6PM came in at 100MW, and that constituted one third of one percent of what was required absolutely at that time. Across the whole day, the Battery delivered 0.08% of all the generated power from every source, so less than one tenth of one percent. It would seem that coal fired power is, umm, not really needed any more, eh!

In the next Post, I’ll be explaining the four renewable sources with respect to the overall total power generation/consumption, and here’s the lead in image for that, the same image as the one at the top of the page, only with all power generation sources removed except the four renewables ….. and hey, doesn’t that look different.

This Post, while posted separately on this day, will be added to the main Sticky Post at the top of our site.

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.