AEMO schedules Liddell generation but AGL regards Liddell as worthless junk

There appears to be a huge disconnect here. AEMO schedules 1800MW from Liddell for the next five summers screenshot from AEMO NSW xlsx file.

Yet if you Google “agl liddell” you see a plethora of AGL statements such as.
Liddell power station is “Geriatric” says AGL –
Liddell power station on ‘sliding scale to oblivion’, AGL ays –
AGL has said it is “fighting a losing battle”…at its ageing Liddell power station –
Liddell power station in NSW is seen by its owner as ready to close –
AGL faces a huge daily challenge to keep Liddell coal-fired power station running –
OK, you get the impression. No wonder AGL values Liddell at $0.
Let us get back to the huge disconnect I referred to. Does AGL say one thing to the media and another to AEMO? Or does AEMO just invent scheduled numbers for Liddell? Is there any obligation on AGL to tell the truth to AEMO?

12 thoughts on “AEMO schedules Liddell generation but AGL regards Liddell as worthless junk”

  1. Most if not all the State government-built cfps were constructed with their civil infrastructure basically sound – with maintenance – for 80 years. It was usually envisaged that provided the technology itself (steam generation) didn’t become obsolete due to unforeseen changes (cheaper energy/scale/ etc.), then appropriate refurbishments/ upgrades of the mechanical and electrical infrastructure could keep these places going for close to the same 80 years- along with continued access to coal sources.

    RET combined with the Electricity Market, has now made these cfps unprofitable for investment in refits, so maintenance and expensive refits and refurbishments are deferred until the point at which such a huge catch-up lump sum is needed to keep going, that the best financial decision is to close the plant – e.g. Hazelwood which is said to have had an accrued $400 – 700 million of catch up work to keep going for any length of time, a sum allegedly not affordable for Engie, given that RET/EM would militate against such expenditure ever being recovered. So, even though reports indicated it had coal until 2030, despite a silly minor royalty niggle by the Vic Labour government, it closed in 2017 only about 45 years after its last generators were commissioned. Up until only a few years ago 2030 was going to be the magic date.

    Because gas plant operation can follow demand more readily than coal thermal ps it is of course more profitable in general, for owners of gas plants to fill in the gap when wind/solar isn’t performing, compared to those operating fully maintained and ongoing cfps. Hence, it appears, AGL self interest in promoting gas – even though electricity from gas, which is basically/historically a peaking fuel, is intrinsically some 60% more costly than cfps working full time, even without Australia’s currently inflated domestic gas price. Thus we can expect ongoing increases in electricity costs if cfps continue to close before hopefully new technology – mainly not yet developed/proven – might one day cost-effectively reduce the drawbacks of intermittent-cy and asynchronicity of wind/solar, and the often huge costs and other negatives of pumped hydro and grid scale battery concepts.

    Adding life to existing cfps would, as our masters are beginning to realize, give some very valuable breathing-space for development of such hoped for technologies, or for time to argue for, commit to and fund new cfps, or a mix of the above.

  2. Clearly Jim you aren’t a fan of the “Are you with us?” AGL green washing advertisements?
    Your assessments are spot on, it’s amazing that the ideologically obsessed idiots in government are dumbfounded when their crazy schemes to destroy coal generation actually start to work. Doubtless we’ll soon see more subsidies thrown at coal stations to stop them closing, what an utter absurdity.
    The sooner we exit this dark period of cargo-cult, renewables madness the better.

  3. Warwick, the figures in that table are maximum potential capacity not what is actually available on any day or achievable over one year.
    The baseload coal power stations are Baywaters, Eraring and Mt Piper which are fairly reliable and have good running times. Vales Point and Liddell are swing producers. They are normally run at less than maximum capacity. As I wrote elsewhere, my recollection is that the coal mills at Liddell were under designed for the coal quality (ie the PS can not reach capacity at times) and are a maintenance headache (through use of inferior materials, lack of capital, lack of technical expertise and poor union controlled labour practices). I also believe that the instrumentation and control systems were outdated when installed and have never been improved. Spending some capital with German or Japanese technology could reduce the manning by 50% and improve the capacity and reliability of the power station. AGL management is incompetent and playing politics. I would not be buying shares in that company. They have a very long history as a company. History on stock exchanges particularly in UK and USA show very few companies survive over 100 years. When companies play politics instead on concentrating on sound business it is a sign of problems.

  4. Academics have gone bonkers. This on the radio this morning: “ABC Kimberley
    2 hrs ·


    Three thousand dams scattered across the Kimberley could become the power sources of the future, according to a research project from the Australian National University.

    The plan details thousands of man made resevoirs, which aren’t on rivers, ranging in size from 10 hectares to 100ha. Water is pumped up to a height using wind or solar power. Energy is recovered by letting the water flow back down through a turbine that converts it into electricity.

    Professor Andrew Blakers says hydro power from the Kimberley could also be sent to Indonesia via subsea cable, while Pilbara dams could send electricity to Perth”
    RE100 is the best search for the ANUs cr*p on ‘piped power’!

  5. Tom, Blankers and bonkers go well together. No doubt self promotion with his hand out for more money. It seems he already conned a few people to get a grant to study it this silly idea. He is a member of ACF and “clean energy” groups. He clearly has no idea of economics as just about every Greens supporter. He has a science degree and may know some physics about small electrical currents and semi-conductors as most of his papers in which he is a part author (supervisors and department heads often claim a right as part author even when to do no research). However, it appears he has no engineering qualifications and would have no idea about the pumping and storage of water, Clearly, he does not know about Indonesia which has coal, oil and gas and is planning nuclear power. Indonesia has no need for his second rate and uneconomical dreams.

  6. AGL is now demonstrating to the Australian public that they are incapable of maintaining a power generation facility.
    A poorly maintained facility is unsafe.
    It is about time the Workplace Health and Safety people took AGL to the cleaners

  7. Unfortunately, it is going to take a few ‘load shedding’ blackouts for our ignorant politicians to wake up. When their grandchildren cannot find work, and candle makers are a good investment opportunity, they might finally see the folly of their ways!

  8. The comment from cementafriend September 21 11:30am is accurate – Liddell, especially, was built down to a budget which made light of the known grindability characteristics (Hardgrove Index) of the source coals it was supposedly built to utilise. Government knows best …

    Sadly, AGL is disintegrating into arm-flapping green ideology, buttressed by enormous globs of subsidies.

    Mt Piper as an operating power station per se, is in good nick, with about 30 years of planned life left. It’s fuel source, Lithgow Seam coal from Springvale Colliery, is under threat from environmental legal war based on water discharge conditions. Mt Piper has the infrastructure to handle the waste water discharge and all that is required is a carriage pipeline from the Colliery, which both Springvale and Mt Piper are willing to fund and build. This may be placed directly alongside the long-existing overland belt. So far though, legal nitpickery is winning.

    As an aside, although with longer term relevance, the Lithgow Seam is known world-wide for its’ high quality thermal characteristics (half of Tokyo runs on it) but it has been mined for over 100 years, so the Springvale/Angus Place resource/reserves comprise the last major tranche, economically accessible now only through Springvale. If Mt Piper stumbles, NSW will indeed freeze in the dark.

  9. AGL is cleverly gaming all the financial options and taxpayer funded subsidies it can access, leaving consumer interest and well-being nowhere in sight.

    Our politicians are learning that you cannot privatise public assets / utilities while continuing to insist they be operated for the public’s “greater good”. The greed and profit motive will win every time, and it appears the only way to get Liddell back as a reliable fully functioning cfps, is a government buyback and professionally competent refurbishment.
    The spectacle of remarkably loyal employees leading a bunch of ignorant journalists through what has become a very dirty electricity factory, one that has been flogged to a timeline and allowed to fall to bits, is a sad sick joke.
    The bean counters have seen to it that the maintenance men and cleaners have been paid off, meaning well maintained boiler houses and clean turbine halls are no longer the norm.
    We’ve seen this before when the nation’s fleet of previously well maintained steam railway locomotives became neglected and flogged to death to make way for the diesel locomotives that were being introduced with indecent and inconsiderate haste.

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