The Bayswater Coal Fired Power Plant In New South Wales
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.
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.
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 29th October 2017
New South Wales – 5890MW (Coal Fired Power – 3700MW)
Queensland – 5220MW (Coal Fired Power – 5300MW)
Victoria – 3490MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)
South Australia – 870MW
Tasmania – 970MW
Total – 16440MW
Fossil Fuel – 14000MW (Total coal fired power – 12800MW – 77.9% of the overall total of 16440MW)
Hydro – 600MW
Wind – 2000MW (12.2% of the total)
Renewable power – 15.8% of the total.
Sunday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 23030MW and Coal Fired Power supplied MW (%)
Monday 30th October 2017
New South Wales – 6230MW (Coal Fired Power – 4000MW)
Queensland – 5270MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)
Victoria – 3840MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)
South Australia – 990MW
Tasmania – 1030MW
Total – 17360MW
Fossil Fuel – 15000MW (Total coal fired power – 13300MW – 76.6% of the overall total of 17360MW)
Hydro – 650MW
Wind – 2000MW (11.5% of the total)
Renewable power – 15.3% of the total.
Monday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24870MW and Coal Fired Power supplied MW (%)
Tuesday 31st October 2017
New South Wales – 6640MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)
Queensland – 5360MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)
Victoria – 4130MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)
South Australia – 1070MW
Tasmania – 1060MW
Total – 18260MW
Fossil Fuel – 16500MW (Total coal fired power – 14700MW – 80.5% of the overall total of 18260MW)
Hydro – 700MW
Wind – 700MW (3.8% of the total)
Renewable power – 7.7% of the total.
Tuesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 23530MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17400MW (73.9%)
Wednesday 1st November 2017
New South Wales – 6330MW (Coal Fired Power – 5100MW)
Queensland – 5260MW (Coal Fired Power – 5400MW)
Victoria – 4050MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)
South Australia – 1130MW
Tasmania – 1060MW
Total – 17830MW
Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14400MW – 80.8% of the overall total of 17830MW)
Hydro – 800MW
Wind – 600MW (3.4% of the total)
Renewable power – 7.8% of the total.
Wednesday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 23500MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17500MW (74.5%)
Thursday 2nd November 2017
New South Wales – 6530MW (Coal Fired Power – 5200MW)
Queensland – 5240MW (Coal Fired Power – 5500MW)
Victoria – 4150MW (Coal Fired Power – 3900MW)
South Australia – 1120MW
Tasmania – 1030MW
Total – 18070MW
Fossil Fuel – 16600MW (Total coal fired power – 14600MW – 80.8% of the overall total of 18070MW)
Hydro – 800MW
Wind – 400MW (2.2% of the total)
Renewable power – 6.6% of the total.
Thursday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 24260MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 18100MW (74.6%)
Friday 3rd November 2017
New South Wales – 6430MW (Coal Fired Power – 4500MW)
Queensland – 5360MW (Coal Fired Power – 5900MW)
Victoria – 4020MW (Coal Fired Power – 3800MW)
South Australia – 950MW
Tasmania – 1090MW
Total – 17850MW
Fossil Fuel – 16000MW (Total coal fired power – 14200MW – 79.6% of the overall total of 17850MW)
Hydro – 600MW
Wind – 1400MW (7.8% of the total)
Renewable power – 11.2% of the total.
Friday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 23490MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17700MW (75.4%)
Saturday 4th November 2017
New South Wales – 6440MW (Coal Fired Power – 5000MW)
Queensland – 5230MW (Coal Fired Power – 5600MW)
Victoria – 3840MW (Coal Fired Power – 3400MW)
South Australia – 1030MW
Tasmania – 1050MW
Total – 17590MW
Fossil Fuel – 15500MW (Total coal fired power – 14000MW – 79.6% of the overall total of 17590MW)
Hydro – 750MW
Wind – 1500MW (8.5% of the total)
Renewable power – 12.8% of the total.
Saturday Peak Power at 6PM – Total Power Consumption – 21950MW and Coal Fired Power supplied 17100MW (77.9%)
This Week’s Average For Base Load – 17672MW
This Week’s Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14000MW – 79.2%
Running Weekly Average For Base Load – 17895MW
Running Weekly Average For Base Load Supplied from Coal Fired Power – 14222MW – 79.5%
Comments For This Last Week
With the approach of the warmer Months, power consumption is beginning to increase, both at peak times, and also with the Base Load, and the two Peaks evident in the cooler Months will very soon swap over to the usual Summer profile of the one peak during the mid afternoon period.
I started doing this data and analysis in what was mid Winter, and that base Load figure was a bit above 18000MW. As we moved away from Winter, and into the benign Months of Spring, that figure for the Base Load dropped away each week, and now, as Summer gets closer, it is beginning to rise again. That can be seen in the weekly average, slightly higher now, and the Base Load running average, still just a tiny bit below that 18000MW mark. The percentage for Base Load supplied by coal fired power has also dipped slightly below 80% (but only by a tenth of one percent) mainly due to the fact that so many Units at coal fired plants are off line for servicing, to be ready for the Summer rise in power consumption.
Again, this week, those coal fired power plants had Units offline, and across the three States which have those coal fired plants, there were between eight and ten Units down at any one time, taking around 5000MW out of the system, which is more than 20% of the coal fired power total, and for some comparison, the total Nameplate for wind power is 4400MW, but at the average Capacity Factor for wind power of only 30%, that Nameplate delivers only an average of 1300MW, so just those offline coal fired Units amounts to almost four times the average wind power delivery.
I have been saying for the last few weeks that the coal fired power plants have been shutting down individual Units at their plants on a rotational basis across the three States which still have coal fired power plants, winding them back for maintenance, so that they will be ready for when the much larger daytime power consumption kicks in, when the shape of the Load Curves for consumption change over from their cooler Months profile to the warmer Months profile. That has now started to show up in the shape of load curves at the AEMO site for power consumption by State, and that was seen in two States, New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (Qld) on the Monday, 30th October.
Here, I will show you just the image for the State of NSW. That’s the small image shown here at the right. I have purposely left it small because even at a size where it covers the whole page here, it does not show all the detail. However, if you click on that image, it will open in a new and larger window, and you will be also see that detail more easily. What you are looking at here is that lighter coloured line, and the darker coloured line is the spot price for electricity for every five minutes across the two days shown.
To better indicate it, I have then cropped that exact image to show just the whole 24 hour period of Monday 30th October 2017, from Midnight through the day and back to Midnight, to better indicate the shape change of that Load Curve. In the cooler Months there are two distinct peaks, the smaller one at around 8AM, and the larger one at 6PM. Between the two peaks power consumption would fall off by around 1500MW to 2000MW. (just for this State NSW)
Near the left of this image is the low point for power consumption, and that was at around 3.30 to 4AM on that Monday morning, and that total was 6230MW. As people rose from their sleep in the morning and readied for work, and as some of those workplaces started to ready for the day ahead, power consumption rose towards the usual morning peak at 8AM. Then, instead of power usage easing back slightly as it does in the cooler months, consumption just kept rising, and it finally reached a Peak at around 3.30PM and that peak was 9930MW. It then started to drop away and at the usual evening Peak at around 6PM, power consumption was still 8790MW. Even just the day before, the Sunday, when consumption is normally lower than for week days, that 6PM total was 8390MW, so this Monday total was (naturally) still higher than the Peak of the day before, and 700MW higher than for the same time on the previous Monday.
However, what is of even greater interest here is the huge rise in consumption between what is the usual cooler Months Peak, (at around 6PM) and the Peak as shown by this warmer Months peak, and that is a pretty substantial amount of almost 16o0MW, and that is just for this one State, NSW, and that figure will increase. That Peak at 3.30PM on this day is around 3500MW higher than it was for the same time (3.30PM) on the previous Monday, so you can see, that is a substantial rise in power consumption.
What this shows is that the routine and scheduled closure of those Units is precautionary thing done at this time of year so that the Plants can be at their optimum for the coming Summer.
As this was happening, that rise in consumption, that old ‘just in the nick of time’ adage came into play, two of the larger Units in NSW came back online during this Monday, the one at Bayswater and also one of the two Units at the Mt Piper plant as well, delivering back to the NSW grid a total of almost 1400MW. NSW has had 6 Units down for maintenance on a rotational basis for the last two to three weeks, and this indicator of the change over will put more urgency into those maintenance plans.
The situation in South Australia
I’m willing to bet that in the coming weeks, you may hear all sorts of claims coming out of South Australia about how rooftop solar power is driving the daytime power consumption lower, because this power doesn’t show up as actual generation anywhere, because it comes from ‘behind the meter’.
I have explained often that Load Curves for power consumption have two profiles of the way they look, a cooler Months profile with the morning peak and the evening peak, and a pronounced dip between the two peaks, and the warmer months profile with its one mid afternoon peak for power consumption.
Over the last two weeks, I have noticed that daytime power consumption in South Australia is lower, and here I mean a lot lower, considering South Australia is a low consumer of electricity, by percentage when it comes to the larger States, with SA only consuming around 6.25% of the Australian total power consumption.
The claims you may hear, probably saying that rooftop solar power is driving total power generation lower will be furphies and can easily be countered.
Now, you may think that because we are moving towards the warmer Months, then it stands to reason that rooftop solar power would be generating more, and that has an element of truth, but be aware that when it comes to rooftop solar power, it works on the light shining on the panels (insolation) and not the heat, eg, there are longer hours of sunlight, and also the peak generation from the panels is ‘slightly’ higher in those warmer Months.
However, over these last two weeks, that daytime period of time between the two peaks for power consumption has been pretty much consistently around 400 to 500MW lower, and that does not happen so quickly as it has happened here. Perhaps rooftop solar might lower it (and be aware that would happen gradually, incrementally lower, probably only noticeable after a few weeks) by 50 to 100MW maybe, and that might even be a stretch, but 400 to 500MW, and that’s just curious.
So then, think a little about it.
What happened a couple of weeks back in South Australia?
Why, the Holden car making factory closed down didn’t it.
Now there goes a large daytime power consumer, a large Industry, with all the backing industries behind it, and that’s when that period of the dip between the peaks started to drop off.
So then, to effectively lower a State’s power consumption, all you really need to do is to drive Industry out of the power consumption ‘business’, and voila, power generation drops, not because rooftop solar has ‘suddenly’ taken over. It may look like it has, because of the hours of when that fall has been occurring, but the power consumption at the low time for Base Load has remained pretty much similar, as has overnight power consumption, but during the main working day period, that consumption has indeed fallen by what seems that large amount, by comparison.
Incidentally, because it was indeed curious to me, I have been keeping a watch on power consumption figures at the AEMO, the NEM Dispatch Overview site and it seems that South Australia’s percentage of power consumption has fallen from the previous amount around 6.25% to only around 5% or so now.
Drive away the large consumers, and you can then make up an argument that rooftop solar is driving generation lower, but there always seems to be a perfectly rational explanation that shoots that theory to shreds.
The State election in Queensland
During the week, the usual election campaign promises started to filter through. The LNP (which is the Conservative side of politics) said that if elected, they would implement lowering of electricity bills for consumers of $150 per year, to be paid for from the dividends being made from the sale of electricity by State owned power generation entities. The Labor Party (the left side of politics) have said that earlier that they would lower power costs by $50 per year, funded from the same source. What needs to be realised here is that the State owns around 80% of all coal fired power generation in the State, and make an absolute fortune from the sale of electricity each year. At any one time coal fired power is generating between 105 and 120% of the total power consumption in the State. That remaining extra power generation is being sold off into the State of New South Wales. It seems disingenuous that either side would offer so little respite from high power costs when they are making so much money from the sale of that State owned power generation.
The LNP also announced that within 100 days of taking office, they would release plans for the construction of a new technology HELE (High Efficiency Low Emissions) USC (UltraSuperCritical) coal fired power plant for the North of the State. Currently, the North of the State relies on other sources for its power, as the nearest coal fired power plant is just outside Rockhampton (the Stanwell plant) and there are significant losses in trying to make that power ‘stretch out’ to the far North of the State, a vast distance to cover. If the State is to expand, especially in the North with all the tourism as a big part of the economy of the North of the State, then that would require significant amounts of reliable power.
As a counter to that release from the LNP, the Labor Party has said that a plant of this nature would not be countenanced in any form, and that the State will be relying on their plans for 50% renewable power by 2030, something that will never happen, as I have stated so many times. For a State currently getting up to 120% of its power needs from coal fired power, the idea that it can reduce that to under 50% in such a short time is laughable in the extreme.
More is expected to come from both Parties in the lead up to this election, now less than three weeks away.
There is so much misinformation being said and written about in respect of coal fired power, and I sometimes wonder if the public is being deliberately kept in the dark, or that politicians and the media just do not know about it, and have not even bothered to check, having been blinded by the supposed threat of Climate Change, and how they believe that it is being caused solely by the emissions of Carbon Dioxide from those coal fired power plants.
Over the near ten years I have been contributing here at this site, I have Posted more than a thousand separate Posts on electrical power generation, and how important coal fired power actually is, and how it cannot be replaced by those two main methods of renewable power, wind power and solar power in its three main forms.
There just is no substitute.
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.