On average, that’s one gas & coal plant breakdown every 2.4 days.
Above: Yallourn W Power Station, image used under Creative Commons license.
The Australia Institute’s Gas & Coal Watch has been tracking gas and coal power plant breakdowns, and as of 2 September 2018, has recorded 100 such breakdowns this calendar year.
So we crunched the numbers and took a look.
So far this year, there have been 100 major breakdowns at gas and coal plants in the National Energy Market — including at every coal-fired power station in the NEM bar one (Mt Piper).
With 100 breakdowns recorded over just 243 days this year, this equates to, on average, one gas or coal power plant breakdown every 2.4 days.
If we look at the number of gas & coal power plant breakdowns per state, we see that Queenslanders suffered from more than twice as many breakdowns than their New South Wales counterparts.
While Victorians also experienced double the number of gas & coal power plant breakdowns than NSW, critically, Victoria has only 19% of coal power stations yet Victorians suffered from 41% of coal power breakdowns, due to their heavy reliance on brown coal plants.
Brown coal plants have broken down 34 times so far in 2018, meaning that together, coal plants have been responsible for 83 of the 100 power plant breakdowns.
While black coal plants broke down a total of 49 out of the 100 times, it was the newer supercritical so-called ‘HELE’ coal plants which proved to be even more unreliable. For every gigawatt of capacity, the newer supercritical plants broke down 3.8 times — while older subcritical black coal plants broke down 2.5 times per gigawatt of capacity.
Gas power plants aren’t off the hook either — they have still broken down 17 times so far in 2018.
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