New low mark for production from brown coal on Saturday 28th August 2021

Over the weekend I noticed Dylan McConnell had tweeted about this new low mark for aggregate generation from brown coal on Saturday:


Following from that tweet, yesterday Giles Parkinson wrote about ‘Brown coal output hits record low in Victoria, …’ on RenewEconomy.

As a bit of a distraction this morning, opened up NEMreview v7  and took a quick look at what I could see:


(A)  Longer-term trend

Scanning back to the start of 2011 (i.e. so encompassing a bit over 10 years) we see the following trend:


Those with a licence to the software can open their own copy of this trend here.

We can clearly see the drop in aggregate supply from brown coal that occurred with the closure of Hazelwood at the end of March 2017.   As that article notes, the closures of Northern (in SA) and Anglesea and Morwell (in VIC) came before that – but these were not as large a contributor to the energy mix, so don’t really show as clearly on the trend from 2011 to 2017.


(B)  Looking just at August 2021

Using NEMreview v7 again to ‘zoom into’ August 2021, here’s a trend of the same data sets:


Here’s the query, for those who want it.

I’ve also added the VIC dispatch price onto the chart to highlight how the negative prices typically coincide with lower coal unit output … understandably.

No time to delve any further, other than to add in this snapshot from ez2view at the 12:35 dispatch interval on Saturday, showing what else was supplying ‘Grid Demand’ at the time of this low point in Brown Coal generation (1,908MW metered output at 12:35) from the Latrobe Valley:


Plenty of generators showing changes in bids for this dispatch interval (might have been previously scheduled, being first dispatch interval in the trading period).

This new ‘low point’ record is apt, given last week’s release of the ESB’s ‘final’ advice to the Energy Ministers … and also tomorrow’s scheduled release of the AEMO ESOO 2021.

When we finally find time to work through what’s required to finalise GenInsights21 for release (won’t be Q3 2021!) I will be interested to see what this meant for aggregate provision of synchronous inertia in the Victorian region at the time.

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

1 Comment on "New low mark for production from brown coal on Saturday 28th August 2021"

  1. What was keeping the lights burning in SA and Victoria on Sunday evening?

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