September 10, 2020 Read More →

Report finds Queensland’s newest coal plants are among least reliable in Australia

Renew Economy:

Queensland’s newest and most ‘modern’ coal-fired generators have ranked amongst some of Australia’s least reliable, in a new assessment that raises yet more questions around the judgement of the Morrison government, which is pushing for a new coal plant in Queensland’s north.

The Australia Institute says in a new report that there were 93 unplanned outages across Queensland gas and coal generators across 2018 and 2019, which accounted for more than 40 per cent of all unplanned outages across the entire National Electricity Market.

The report, the latest in a series of assessments that track outages at Australia’s thermal generators, found that Queensland’s worst performer in terms of reliability was the modern ‘high efficiency, low emission’ (HELE) plant at Kogan Creek, with 13 unplanned outages over the period at its single generating unit, which is the largest unit in the country.

The ageing Gladstone and Stanwell power stations recorded higher overall outages during the two year period; the Gladstone power station recorded 19 unplanned outages across its six generator units, and Stanwell recorded 18 outages across its four generator units.

Three additional ‘supercritical’ black coal generators that were all built within the last 20 years – the 850MW Millmeran power station which was completed in 2002, the 810MW Callide power station built in 2001 and the 443MW Tarong North power station, which was commissioned in 2003 – rounded out the top ten in terms of Queensland’s least reliable thermal generators, recording 17 outages between them. The report found that while Queensland is host to around one-third of the National Electricity Market’s fossil-fueled generation capacity, it suffered 41 per cent of all outages.

“It comes as no surprise that Queensland’s newest coal power stations are also its more unreliable, the Australia Institute’s climate and energy program director Richie Merzian said. “These new so-called ‘high-efficiency, low-emissions’ coal power stations in Queensland are all hype and spin. Our research shows that in reality, they ought to be dubbed ‘high emissions, low reliability’ stations for their high pollution levels and high breakdown numbers.”

[Michael Mazengarb]

More: Newest coal generators rank amongst Australia’s worst for reliability

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