Unreliable Brown Coal Fails Victoria

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    The big claim for coal is that it supplies cheap, reliable, base load power. The reality is that it's now more expensive than renewables, is less reliable and 'baseload' is being replaced with 'on demand' power.

    The report by the Australian Energy Market Operator confirms observations made at the time that its efforts to keep the lights on in the face of a record heat-wave were undermined by a series of failures and capacity reductions at all three of Victoria’s big brown coal generators.

    In contrast, AEMO notes, renewables performed better at the time of the major load-shedding at 11am on January 25 than had been anticipated when modelling for the anticipated hot summer was completed.

    “The contribution from coal generation was significantly less than expected and renewables was slightly more than expected, based on the 2018 ESOO modelling assumptions,” AEMO says.

    It is the poor performance of the brown coal generators that stands out in the events over January 24 and 25, where load shedding was experienced on both days in Victoria, and South Australia escaped only because AEMO was able to call on emergency reserves.

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