How wind energy matched brown coal in last week’s hot spell

February 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

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Further to the story we have written about the role that solar played in the January heatwaves in Australia’s southern states, here’s a fascinating graph showing the contribution of wind energy versus brown coal in the latest hot spell last week.

Check out the first graph below. It shows the contribution of various sources of electricity on January 28, last Tuesday, when temperatures in the state soared above 43C.

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The most striking part of the graph is that all through the daylight hours, the supply of wind energy in the state was equal or greater than the contribution of brown coal.

Even at operational peak, which occurred at 5pm local time, wind was contributing 400MW, just short of the 454MW of brown coal. Earlier in the day, wind had been contributing nearly half of demand, and was the biggest single contributor for much of the morning.

In Victoria (see graph below), the story was different, with the grid again relying on its massive brown coal generators, and gas and hydro, and little in the way of wind.

Interestingly though, the AEMO had to be quick to react. The weather forecast the day before had underestimated temperatures by some 4.8C –which meant that more than 1GW of extra supply was needed (more than forecast) as the thermometer shot to 42C in the Melbourne CBD.

That extra supply appears to have come mostly from the inter-connectors – most likely Tasmanian hydro, and some local gas.

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