Graph of the Day: Brown coal generation hits record low in Australia

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Brown coal generation hits record daily and weekly low in Australia due to outages and impact of wind and solar.

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The level of brown coal generation in Australia hit a record low over the weekend – falling to just 2146.4 MW at 1.05pm on Saturday, as numerous generation units remained out of service.

The absence of so many units – at Loy Yang A and Yalllourn – were due a mixture of long term outages, short term problems and schedules maintenance.

According to Dylan McConnell, from the Climate and Energy College in Melbourne, it was also the lowest week of brown coal generation since the formation of the National Electricity Market two decades ago.

Loy Yang A was basically running 1 out of four units for the week (it is now back to two units after short term pipe leak problems were repaired), and Yallourn was running on three most of last week – but only two over the weekend, and early Monday.

By contrast, Loy Yoy Yang B was pretty much running flat for the whole time, except for a dip at around 12-1pm on Saturday, presumably because of solar and wind in Southern Australia, which pushed prices into negative territory in South Australia for most of the day, and also in Victoria and NSW at times.

And, as David Leitch reports in this detailed analysis, a total of 11 different coal units were offline at various times during the past week. And the main grid coped just fine. Still, the regulators and rule-makers need to get on with the job of preparing the grid for the growing share of renewables.

See also: Australia’s main grid copes just fine with minimal amount of coal

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