Australia’s ageing coal fleet has become – as predicted – less and less reliable.
According to data compiled by the Australian Energy Regulator, the reliability of coal plants – brown coal in Victoria and black coal in NSW and Queensland, has weakened dramatically in the last year or two.
The number of outages at NSW coal plants – already the least reliable in the grid because they are the oldest (average age 39 years) – jumped to nearly 17 per cent of capacity in the last financial year, up from just over 11 per cent the previous financial year. That’s a 50 per cent increase in forced outages.
The number of forced outages in Victoria almost doubled, from eight per cent of capacity to more than 15 per cent, while the number of outages from the relatively young Queensland coal generation fleet (average age 24 years) jumped from less than 5 per cent to nearly eight per cent.