COAL FIRED GENERATION UNDERPINS ENERGY SECURITY

Last Friday on 10 February, NSW faced record temperatures for February across many parts of the state, placing considerable strain on energy demand as households, industry and public services dealt with the conditions.

Peak demand at 14,108 MW fell just short of a record level of 14,649 in 2011. At one point the state had less than 1000MW spare capacity.

The total NSW supply of electricity for Friday was 243,870 MWh (not including imports from the coal dominated Queensland and Victoria).

So what did the mainstay individual generation sources provide through the day?

  • Black coal = 179,724 MWh or 73.7%
  • Hydro = 27,369 MWh or 11.2%
  • Gas = 21,203 MWh or 8.7%

Therefore, conventional generation accounted for 93.6% of requirements, while weather dependent renewables produced just 6.3% of electricity:

  • Solar (small and large) = 8,661 MWh or 3.5% 
  • Wind = 6,797 MWh or 2.8% 
  • Liquid fuel = 116 MWh or .04%

Self-evidently, renewable energy plays a niche role in the larger eastern seaboard states and is not able to deliver a reliable supply in maximum demand periods.

It is misleading and unachievable to move away from coal fired generation; it remains the lowest cost and reliable option. 

Once again the residents of NSW have been able to rely on coal to do the heavy lifting as it has done for decades. However, there is now a need to modernise and add low emission HELE technology to expand capacity.

Download complete article