To compare the efficiencies of electricity generators the capacity factor is calculated. That is what is dispatched over what is theoretically possible if the efficiency was 100%. This is measured in megawatt hours. 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 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 (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 when they occurred is listed. Even though they are quite extreme the media and public in general are oblivious to this fact. The explanation being the shortfall is easily met currently by existing fossil fuel electricity generators. It is energy droughts which creates the need for energy storage and shows 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 from 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 are 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 5 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 want can specify a 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.
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. When you do the sums, Australia has a contribution of 0.8 ppb. Many believe at least they function as if they do that changing the quantity of that using renewables and other means that the climate can be changed for the better.
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.
There is an urgent need to present this information to the voting public in a form that can be understood. All charts on this website use that AEMO data which is a snapshot of all generators power output in hourly increments for 10 years.
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, 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.