Why is QLD short of generation capacity, on Tuesday 1st February 2022?

With the forecast tight supply/demand balance for the QLD region this afternoon/evening, it’s no surprise that people are asking the ‘why is Queensland so short of generation capacity?’ question.  This is something that will take a couple articles to address fully:

1)  Remembering the various fuel types in the mix, and the idiosyncrasies of each; and

2)  Not forgetting the impact of whatever constraints will be active on interconnectors (QNI and DLINK) at times of tightest supply/demand balance; and

3)  Notwithstanding that demand is going to be very high, so this is exacerbating the challenge.

For now, let’s start with this snapshot from ez2view this morning for the 10:20 dispatch interval (NEM time) including the ‘QLD Schematic’ widget, which includes AEMO data … but also (as an optional extra) inter-zonal transmission flows metered in near real time by Powerlink:


A couple quick notes:


(A)  Coal units offline

There are 22 coal units still operational in Queensland at this time (of the 48 coal units still operational across the NEM – the performance of which was explored in a variety of ways in GenInsights21).  Of these units, we see above that 3 units are offline and 19 units currently online and operational (and, even this morning, running fairly hard).

How each reader interprets these stats will depend partly on whether they are ‘glass half full’ (or, more technically, 86% full) or ‘glass half empty’ (14% empty, based on # units out).

Let’s look at the three units that are offline … and hope that the 19 still operational don’t experience any dramas today:

(A1)  Callide C4 offline

There have been plenty plenty of articles written here about C4 following the ‘Callide C4 catastrophe’ of May 2021.   That unit’s offline for a long time.

(A2)  Kogan Creek offline

Kogan came offline at the end in the evening of 23rd January 2022, as shown in this snapshot from ‘Bids & Offers’ widget in ez2view:


In this real-time view (at 11:45) of the ‘MT PASA DUID Availability’ widget in ez2view, we see that Kogan Creek is expected to be offline out until 12th February 2022 … and that this outage was announced by the operator (CS Energy) sometime between 15:00 and 18:00 on 20th January 2022:


So the outage of Kogan Creek was announced to the market 3 days prior to the commencement of the outage … which is not long enough to classify as a (fully) ‘planned’ outage using the methodology used in compiling Appendix 20, an analysis of coal unit Forced Outage Rates, in the GenInsights21 release of 15th December 2021.

In GenInsights21 we classified anything announced greater than 48 hours but under 7 days in advance as a ‘Maintenance Outage’.

(A3)  Callide B2 offline

Callide B2 came offline at the end of the day on Tuesday 25th January 2022, as shown in this snapshot from ‘Bids & Offers’ widget in ez2view:


In the real time view of the ‘MT PASA DUID Availability’ widget in ez2view (under Kogan Creek above) we see the current expectation is that the unit is back sometime before Sunday 6th February, but we don’t exactly know when … the AEMO data set now only starts at Sunday 6th February because we are past Sunday 30th January.

Time-Travelling the window back to 17:50 on Saturday 29th January shows us that (at least at that time) the expectation was that the unit would be back for Thursday 3rd February … and that this RTS expectation has been largely the same since 15:00 on Friday 21st January 2022:


(B)  Other fuel types

This will have to wait for a follow-on article(s)…


(C)  Changing status of LOR alerts

Oh and, by the way, the LOR3 warning has been cancelled at 10:49 in Market Notice 94342 as shown here:


From :              AEMO
To   :              NEMITWEB1
Creation Date :     01/02/2022     10:49:05


Notice ID               :         94342
Notice Type ID          :         RESERVE NOTICE
Notice Type Description :         LRC/LOR1/LOR2/LOR3
Issue Date              :         01/02/2022
External Reference      :         PDPASA – Cancellation of the Forecast Lack Of Reserve Level 3 (LOR3) in the Qld Region on 01/02/2022


Reason :


The Forecast LOR3 condition in the Qld region advised in AEMO Electricity Market Notice No. 94334 is cancelled at 1030 hrs 01/02/2022.

Manager NEM Real Time Operations

Fun times in the QLD roller coaster.

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.

3 Comments on "Why is QLD short of generation capacity, on Tuesday 1st February 2022?"

  1. I’ll be provocative here Paul and say that your 86% / 14% split is very creative accounting. It’s capacity that counts, not number of units. On that measure something more like 75% / 25% which is not great for the height of summer.

  2. Ok. This pains me, but you need to add the GT26, most thermally efficient major generation station absence generating 325MW over the last two days too. I cannot bring myself to name the station. What is the state government trying to do. Get themselves voted out on a Eastern seaboard blackout?

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