To compare the efficiencies of electricity generators the capacity factor is calculated. All power generators have a maximum capacity for the energy they produce. However, this value is rarely reached thus we talk about capacity factor, or efficiency. This is the actual energy produced divided by the maximum possible. On the chart a choice can, be made to compare a chosen coal-fired power station to wind and/or grid solar as a whole. In the case of the latter all renewables are chosen as if they were one generator. Currently the sum of renewables generates more than a single coal-fired power station. But not a lot, so it is a fair comparison. Maximum capacity must be calculated by the day for all generators. The capacity changes throughout the year for wind and solar. Fossil stations may also have one or more turbines switched off.
The AEMO names a lack of wind as a wind drought. The incidence of these for both wind and grid solar (which has a much more regular drought) can be searched for on this page. They can be found by year and capacity factor as well as power in megawatts. The duration and occurrence are listed. Even though this can be quite extreme the media and public in general are oblivious to this fact. The explanation is that the shortfall is being easily met currently by existing fossil fuel electricity generators. Energy droughts and variability create the need for energy storage and show how difficult stabilising renewable energy is. In the data it can be found that wind droughts are frequent, and of long duration. Grid solar droughts can be found but in general these have a regular drought every day. It is this that is the major problem for stability with renewable energy sources.
The fuel sources that supply the electricity are shown via a pie chart. It can be chosen by year and the chart can be rotated to allow the user to change the look of the display. The database has 10 years of data. Comparing the charts from year to year is instructive. The advance of renewable energy and the displacement of fossil electrical energy can be seen. In 2020 renewables gained 3 TW hours but fossil fuels declined by 9 TW hours. Electricity demand decreased overall by 6 TW hours. A more comprehensive chronicling of the changes can be seen in the changes chart (when implemented).
There are some hundreds of electricity generators on the Australian eastern grid. Quite often you will see a chart of the performance of one or more of these. This page facilitates the production of a chart within the date range of this online database. Both capacity factor and power in megawatts are available. The intention is that those who wish can specify an energy source and then choose one of the generators using that. It is a quick and ready way to produce a chart for use in reports. The data is hourly and more than 10 years long.
Here a chart of electricity demand in gigawatt hours is available. If renewables are to replace fossil fuels an understanding needs to be found of what electricity is supplied from existing systems. The ebb and flow of requirement is shown. It can be viewed hourly or daily. This information will be used to show a simulation of the required energy storage in order to stabilise renewables to be the equivalent of baseload fossil energy.
Renewable energy has come to the fore in recent years due to the quest to reduce emissions of CO2. The world anthropogenic generation of CO2 is 3% of the whole and Australia is responsible for 1.4% of that. By their behaviour it seems as though many believe that if you reduce emissions that will change the climate.
The question is, what does this do to the electricity supply in terms of the cost and the reliability of the service? It is a matter of concern that extraordinarily little accessible information about the delivery of electrical energy is readily available to answer that question. In fact, reliable information over at least ten years is available from the records of the AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator.
The aim of this website is to present this information to the public so that the capabilities of renewable energy can be understood using factual information. All charts on this website use AEMO data which is a snapshot of generator power output in hourly increments for 10 years or more.
The evidence is clear that there are too many droughts in the supply of wind and solar power to support a reliable supply. This means that we are sleepwalking into a disaster. While it is believed renewables are a replacement, the Australian population needs to wake up since we are closing fossil generation while the progress of replacement is slow. Will renewables in combination with energy storage be equivalent to the baseload power provided by fossil fuels? If there is a future for us, it must.
The data and resulting information here is provided for information purposes only and not commercial use. The data sources used do not guarantee accuracy but every endeavour is made to verify the accuracy.