Australia East Coast Power Crisis (Part 2: NSW coal plants maxed out)

15 June 2022 by Matt Mushalik (MEng)

The Australian public is finally waking up. Not because of academic debate in the social media but by the threat of power cuts.

Power uncertainty hits multiple states as AEMO makes moves to cover shortfalls

We continue to analyse power generation for June 2022

NSW coal plants

Fig 14: NSW scheduled coal plant capacities 2022-2026

Closure dates are highlighted by cells marked red, sums added by author.

The spreadsheet is from here:

Fig 15: Graphical presentation of table above


Fig 16: Liddell actual generation 628 MW from LD01 and LD02

Liddell LD03 closed in April 2022. AGL had announced:

Liddell’s first unit closure marks another major step in AGL’s energy transition

LD04 had gone offline May 21st and did not return since then. This has contributed to the current problem.

Fig 17: Liddell generation measured in MWh dropped 62% from May 18th to May 22nd – May 25th

The remaining 2 units LD01 and LD02 should have generated 2×420= 840 MW. Instead, actual output was 75% of that.

Generation data are available here:

Liddell is scheduled to close in April 2023 due to aging and unreliable equipment which caused load shedding in May 2021

NSW power spot price spikes May 2021 become regular (part 1)

Tomago and Alcoa’s Portland aluminium smelters forced to curtail production


Fig 18: After 10 June Bayswater has been running on 1 cylinder: BW01 at 658 MW

Fig 19: Bayswater 2 units went off-line BW02 on June 7th and BW04 on June 9th

BW03 stopped working beginning of March.

 Mt Piper

Fig 20: Mt Piper was running at 100% during peak hours. MP2 back again Sun 5/6/22

The picture was different a week earlier:

Fig 21: Mt Piper actual generation in week 22 was around 700 MW (only MP1).


Fig 22: AEMO’s plea to generate more power has worked: Eraring has ramped up to capacity

Eraring is scheduled to be shut down after the winter of 2025, only 3 years from now.

Vales Point B

Fig 23: Vales Pt also generated up to capacity

Eraring and Vales Pt are the most variable coal plants in the whole system.

All together:

NSW coal plant performance evening peak 14 June 2022
Power plant Scheduled (MW) Actual (MW) % Notes
Liddell 3×420 = 1,260 628 50 % LD03, LD04 off
Bayswater 2×660, 2×685 = 2,690 658 24 % Only BW01 working
Mt Piper 700 + 730 = 1,430 1,427 100%
Eraring 2×720, 700, 680 = 2,820 2,774 98%
Vales Pt 2 x 660 = 1,320 1,292 98%
5 power plants 9,520 6,779 71%


Fig 24: NSW power supply by fuel type in week 23/24

The maximum coal plants could deliver during 7 days was 7,240 MW 8 June 2022

It is very clear that the power supply problem starts in the afternoon as solar output declines. That was entirely foreseeable. As output from coal plants is limited, there is wind, hydro, gas and imports to cover peak demands. On days without wind and imports (when there are problems in neighbouring states), it’s only hydro and gas.

To be continued

Previous post:
10 Jun 2022
Australia East Coast power crisis (part 1: NSW demand peaks)