It’s Ever-Reliable Coal-Fired Power That’s Powering Australia & Will Be For Years to Come

Another burst of calm weather has proved the point: anyone who believes wind power is a meaningful power source, is delusional.

The wind and solar cult keep telling us that we’re a heartbeat away from an all wind and sun powered future. The same crowd also claims that coal-fired power is dead as the dodo. Except, whenever the sun sets and/or calm weather sets in, it’s ever-reliable coal-fired power that keeps on delivering the goods in Australia.

For the numerically challenged RE zealot, we should give our trigger warning here and now: this post contains numbers which may tend to cause conniptions amongst true believers.

In, by no means its worst performance ever – around noon on 31 March – the Australian wind power fleet connected to the Eastern Grid managed to deliver a risible 267 MW out of its entire 8,132 MW notional capacity – a shade over 3% thereof.

It’s a ‘performance’ that it repeats dozens and dozens of times each year: Situation Critical: Massive Wind Power Collapses Threaten Australia’s Entire Eastern Power Grid

For those perplexed by the staggering variability in the wind industry’s output data, here’s a hint – it’s all related to the weather.

Across the grid, however, Australia’s coal-fired power plants just kept on keeping on, delivering between 75 and 86% of the energy needs of Australians connected to the Eastern Grid ie the residents of QLD, NSW, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

We’ll cross over to Rafe Champion for some more details on just how pathetic wind power is; in stark contrast to our ever-reliable fleet of coal-fired power plants.

Thanks to South Australia we have a glimpse of the future power supply
Catallaxy Files
Rafe Champion
31 March 2021

Contemplate the future prospects for hot dinners and industrial development.

What do we see? Today we had a wind drought across the southern states. Queensland was not affected as much as the others, and in the afternoon the two wind factories in Queensland were producing as much power as the rest of the SE windfleet combined. By the way, in WA the output from the mills was running as low as 2.5% up to lunchtime.

The chart below shows the wind supply for the NEM (all the states in SE Australia) and also for South Australia alone. The source is found at the Wind Energy tab on the Aneroid Energy site.

The coloured lines are the individual wind farms in SA. The lines indicate the wind power delivered at the time expressed as per centage of the installed or plated capacity. The heavy line that reached 50% in the night, then runs along the bottom of the chart for most of the day is South Australia, ending at 2.4% at 5.10 Sydney time. The other line that ends at 8.1% is the whole of SE Australia.

The wind situation in Victoria was practically the same as SA although the decline started yesterday and the line was below 10% from midnight, hit the floor at 10am and ended the section at 1.3%.

At 6.30pm in Victoria brown coal was accounting for 74% of generation while the wind was kicking in 0.88%. Thanks to brown coal they could spare 480MW, almost half a GW, to support the South Australians where the wind was delivering 8% of local generation, gas 75%, and the battery 2%.

In NSW coal was providing 86% of the power compared with 4% from the wind, while we were taking 500MW from Queensland where coal and gas combined to deliver 90% of the generation compared with 4% from wind.

South Australia shows that the problem with being the wind leader and blowing up your coal power stations is that you end up depending on coal power from another state that is also determined to blow up their coal power stations.  Almost invariably at breakfast and dinnertime SA imports power, even when the wind is up to the average level (29% of plated capacity.)

When the wind supply is flat on the floor they import all day, even with the substantial contribution from rooftop solar that drives down the demand to a level that threatens to wreak havoc on the grid.  People with panels on the roof may have to stop feeding the grid when the situation is critical and it can only get worse as more solar power is installed.
Catallaxy Files

Oh, and in Australia’s wind power capital, South Australia, its 2,142 MW of capacity managed to deliver nothing much at all for 8 hours or so. Welcome to your wind ‘powered’ future!

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Rafe Champion says:

    Ten years ago Paul Miskelly predicted that this situation would arise when he and Quirk published the first serious survey of the intermittent input of wind power.
    In recent years “Tony from Oz” has provided a running commentary on the wind supply.

    There is no excuse for the planners to ignore the public information on wind droughts. In case they are too busy to check the Energy Realists cooperative is sending regular briefing notes to all state and federal members to signal the emerging crisis in unreliable energy.

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