Last hot summer day in NSW: ALL 12 coal powered units running at combined 90% of capacity

Continuous power price spikes on hot summer day in NSW – yet again.

Fig 1: Temperatures in NSW on 29 Feb 2024 (ABC News/BOM)

Fig 2: Temperatures in Sydney on 29 Feb 2014 (ABC News, BOM)

The public is well informed about heatwaves but not about day to day power supplies.

Fig 3: NSW power generation by fuel on 29 Feb 2024

1) Very little wind as is usual on sticky summer days
2) Problem is during and after sunset
3) Hydro and gas come to the rescue while….
4) Coal is maxed out (as happened in the past many times)

In this quick post, we focus on the last point. There are 4 coal fired power plants with 12 units of 660 -720 MW each, totaling a registered capacity of 8,240 MW.

Fig 4: Generation of Bayswater at 7 pm

Fig 5: Generation by Eraring 7 pm

Fig 6: Generation by Mt Piper at 7 pm

Fig 7: Generation by Vales Point

Fig 8: NSW coal generation capacity vs generation 29 Feb 2024

The table shows that coal generation was between 90% and 92% of capacity during the critical hours of the day.

Fig 9: NSW price spikes on 29 Feb 2024

Let’s zoom into the peak demand period:

Fig 10: NSW price spikes during power demand peak

These were 11 spikes > $12,000/MWh over a period of 1.5 hrs with demand >13,000 MW.
So peak demand must come down.
What is the NSW government’s plan to do this? Just the opposite of what you think. Departments are planning new skyscraper cities:

Fig 11: Promotional video showing new “city” in Sydney’s west

Look at this visionary concept: when air conditioners don’t work anymore in future summer brown outs residents can walk down the stairs in their apartment towers and take a cooling bath at an artificial beach on the side of the Parramatta River (left). Or is it? The shallow pool will have warm water and that without a sea breeze!
Good luck.