How close did NSW come to load shedding on 14 Dec 2023? (part 2)

This is the continuation of part 1 on lack of reserves in NSW on 14 Dec 2023

which culminated in:

Fig 20: Actual LOR2 notice

This meant that eg. the failure of one of the Eraring units (to be retired in 2025) would have required load shedding of 690-678=12 MW

Power imports/exports

Let’s stack the generation from the graphs/tables in part 1 and compare it to demand:

Fig 21: Components of generation vs market demand
Data from AEMO’s demand and price dashboard

The semi-scheduled generation includes wind (Fig 16) and solar utility (Fig 17) generation. We see that NSW generation exceeded NSW demand at 15:45 for 1 hour, providing exports to Victoria (mainly hydro power).

Fig 22: NSW power imports and exports (below horizontal axis)

Energy guzzler NSW is usually living beyond its means and regularly imports from Queensland and Victoria. At 15:40 imports from Queensland were ramped up but re-exported to Victoria.

Why? Because there was a sudden drop in both solar (- 400 MW) and wind power (-600 MW) in Victoria

Fig 23: Victoria’s solar utility generation

Fig 24: Victoria’s wind power generation

There was also a drop at the brown coal power plant Loy Yang (-200 MW) at 15:30

Fig 25: Victoria brown coal generation

It took 3.5 hrs to ramp up generation for the evening peak. Around 300 MW were exported to NSW after 7 pm  as shown in Fig 21.

We can now add the net imports to the generation by fuel type graph (Fig 13):

Fig 26: NSW power generation by fuel, market demand and price on 14 Dec 2023

Note that rooftop solar is estimated and reduces market demand. Weird: during the period of NSW net-exports prices went shortly negative, not a testament of a stable system.


  • In some suburbs in Sydney, temps went up to 40 degrees as per weather forecasts (Fig 7)
  • There were many advance LOR 1 and LOR 2 warnings from AEMO (Fig 9-10)
  • Yet, the response of generators came only at the last minute (Fig 11)
  • AEMO had to enter into a contract to provide emergency power
  • Coal fired power was maxed out at 7 GW
  • The failure of only 1 unit of these aging coal plants would have resulted in load shedding
  • Hydro plants reached registered capacities (Fig 14)
  • Gas peaking plants were running at 86% of registered capacities (Fig 15)
  • Wind power had a bumpy ride downhill (Fig 16)
  • Solar power peaked at around 4 pm after a previous dip (Fig 17)
  • Batteries were running flat for 2 hrs but did not really replace solar power (Fig 19)
  • NSW depends on what is happening in the neighbouring States. In this case, drops in brown coal, solar and wind generation in Victoria resulted in NSW hydro power being exported, not being available in NSW
  • Power prices are highly volatile indicating the system is instable


It is clear that on hot days the power supply system is on the brink of load shedding. Previous load shedding was done by the Tomago alu smelter. This is actually a no-no.

Fig 27: Load shedding at Tomago alu smelter

Rather the aircons should be turned off in those offices where energy blind decisions were and are still being made, namely to plan for perpetual growth of everything, including from immigration.

Just look at the 2nd Sydney airport plus aerotropolis, new road tunnels which assume growing traffic from millions of EVs and 100s of additional apartment towers with associated new metros to move future migrants, a completely unnecessary task Australia is loading upon herself.

This is an example:

Fig 27: What is the peak power demand for this fantasy project (Camellia) in Parramatta?

But that’s not enough. The NSW government wants another “mini city” on the race course (shown above) with 25,000 new homes – equal to sixty 36-floor towers with 400 units each, to justify an additional station costing $500m, on the $26bn West Metro under construction.
7 Dec 2023

The Parramatta Council itself has estimated peak demand for its CBD:

Fig 27: Peak power demand for Parramatta CBD

But this analysis of the sustainability department has been largely forgotten and/or disregarded. Moreover, the NSW government is forcing “developments” onto Councils which communities don’t like.

Hopefully, office workers will finish off early to avoid the 6 pm summer crunch, but only to contribute to another peak at home. Then we have winter, too, when the sun sets much earlier. Here are previous power crisis episodes in various seasons:

Vivid Sydney 2023: Power price spikes during lack of reserve condition
31 May 2023

NSW power supply on 16 March 2023 so tight that AEMO had to issue emergency response direction

Lack of reserve on hot day in NSW as Liddell power plant is scheduled to close

8 Mar 2023
Can NSW replace Liddell? (part 1)

30 Jan 2023
When the sun sets in Queensland, energy guzzler NSW is on its own

Sale of Vales Point: How will Czech brown coal baron Pavel Tykac with
business registered in Liechtenstein impact on NSW coal and energy markets?

And here is the Federal government’s backup plan, strategically published shortly before Xmas:

15 Dec 2023
The Orderly Exit Management (OEM) Framework will allow governments to temporarily seek an extension to the closing date of thermal generators to maintain energy reliability and security.

“thermal generators” stands for coal fired power plants.

Good luck. The boiler leaks are waiting.


On 3 Jan 2023 Wattclarity published a list of  maintenance/outage periods of Yallourn

It shows that

  • YWPS1 (360 MW) had come offline on 6 Dec 2023 with many previous forced outages and
  • YWPS2 (360 MW) was under ‘major rectification’ from 2 Nov 2023 to 19 Dec 2023 (47 days)

Fig 28: On 14/12/23 only 2 units (3 and 4) were actually working 

So we need to keep this in mind as NSW depends on power imports from Victoria