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Save Liddell Coal: Event Thursday in Singleton with David Archibald 6:30pm

Liddell Coal Plant, NSW.

Liddell Coal Plant, NSW.   Image: Webaware, Wikimedia

UPDATE: 6:30pm for a 6:45 start.

AGL has promised to close the Liddell Coal generators early. Why won’t they sell this generator? Perhaps they want to save the planet (Corporate Saints?!), or maybe is it better for business not to have another cheap coal plant competing with their profitable gas and subsidized-renewables generators in Australia? Perhaps they like to feast off million dollar power price spikes and forced subsidies from the Renewable Energy Target?

How screwed is our free market when the cheapest form of generation is so “worthless” corporates buy it to “throw it away”?

Archibald is a take-no-prisoners presenter. If you can get there, do!

Save Liddell and keep the Hunter Valley working (not to mention our national grid).

Thursday 22nd February, Singleton Diggers Club, cnr York and Church St Singleton, NSW.

  1. The Science of Climate
  2. Power Prices
  3. The true story at Liddell
  4. The Lesson from the US
  5. What’s needed for the Hunter

Presented by David Archibald, Geologist, climate scientist and energy analyst.

Contact David.archibald AT westnet.com.au

Ph 0410 664 853

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Rating: 9.1/10 (69 votes cast)
Save Liddell Coal: Event Thursday in Singleton with David Archibald 6:30pm, 9.1 out of 10 based on 69 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/y8t8garl

56 comments to Save Liddell Coal: Event Thursday in Singleton with David Archibald 6:30pm

  • #
    Leonard Lane

    Hope he makes some progress against the $green blob.

    151

  • #
    Serp

    If common sense economics influenced populations the green movement would not exist. I’m sure David Archibald knows what sort of obliviousness he’s up against. I suppose he enjoys the odd futile exercise of his debating skills.

    132

  • #
    PeterS

    AGL would not like it to be saved for obvious reasons. I would suggest we let it close down to see how resilient our grid really is. If it’s as bad as we all think it is then our political leaders at all levels will have so much egg on their faces they might have to leave the country to avoid certain punishment by the people. I would love to see that happen. I for one had enough of the leaders we currently have. They are a severe danger to the future of this nation. They need to be exposed, and the failure of our grid as a result of the closure of Liddell would be a simple and effective way to do it. Nothing beats reality.

    330

    • #
      el gordo

      You’re hankering for realpolitik.

      40

      • #
        PeterS

        I don’t have much time or faith in realpolitik or political realism (oxymoron). They hardly exist because they are always hindered by incumbent politicians who are so divorced from reality that their version of reality is still a fake. I was banking on most people eventually waking up once reality bites their behinds. Then and only then can we have a completely new strain of leaders, and the old ones disappear in the dust – at least till the next time as history keeps repeating.

        50

        • #
          Kinky Keith

          The average busy person/worker doesn’t have the time or skill to assess what is going on.

          The media is a complete non-event as far as communicating reality to voters and politicians are so snowed by the party pressure groups that they are confused and uncertain.

          So now we have Kurri aluminium smelter being dismantled, Tomago probably can’t last much longer and the proposed Liddell closure.

          The Hunter is being treated like dirt but because it’s happening in slow motion, the voters don’t know who to blame.

          All they need to know is one thing, that;

          THIS IS NOT NATION BUILDING!!

          Our society is being destroyed by the people we voted for.

          KK

          160

          • #
            PeterS

            Then the obvious solution at hand for all voters is to turn on their brains and stop voting for the major parties. Otherwise, nothing will change and this nation will crash and burn, and the real ones to blame are the voters.

            70

      • #
        Glen Michel

        The only way to go. Thank you Otto Bismarck

        10

    • #
      Robdel

      The quicker we face an energy crisis and the lights go out, the sooner will the madness end. Then politicians beware!

      30

  • #
    Amber

    Australians are being had . They aren’t alone however .
    Export coal to China so they can use their slave wages and
    low cost energy to steal Aussie jobs . I always thought Australia
    looked after the interests of workers .

    Brilliant ! Well as long as you remain good consumers of crap
    you are probably OK for a little while .
    Wake up !

    150

  • #
    peter

    It’s getting too expensive to maintain Liddell. AGL know that it’s too old to keep repairing. They plan to replace it with a windfarm and solar farm on site. So instead of 2000MW it should have a capacity of say, 20MW – on a good day! On the bad or ordinary days – ZERO!

    230

    • #
      tom0mason

      Now that’s a plan that has legs.
      What a coup! Get rid of Liddell and out virtue signal Germany with all that ruinable energy from unsustainable wind and solar.

      Excellent plan, Australia needs more politicians running important industries (comrade).

      ~~~~~~~
      do I really have to put /sarc-off?

      120

  • #

    There are three immediately critical matters for Australia:

    1. Coal

    2. Coal

    3. Coal

    Oh, and I should mention coal.

    Also…
    COAL.

    180

  • #

    Here’s just two of AGL’s power generating assets.

    Macarthur Wind Plant was opened in 2013. so it’s only 4 years old. It has a Nameplate of 420MW and is currently generating 150MW, and barely three hours ago, that was only 25MW.

    Liddell coal fired power plant, that ancient relic is now 46 years old. It has a Nameplate of 2000MW so four generators of 500MW each, designed in the late 60 early 70s, and now barely able to make around 425MW each, still not pretty bad, considering the problem is probably in the boilers themselves and not the generators, as they are pretty much cast iron solid.

    The problematic Unit 2 was off line for more than six Months, came back up for a week or ten days and managed 150 to 170MW and is back offline now. So, that ancient relic that is now Liddell is only delivering 1250MW from its three operational Units.

    1250MW from coal fired power and 150MW from wind power.

    I wonder which form of power generation of those two is currently contributing the most towards AGL’s bottom line.

    Tony.

    300

    • #
      robert rosicka

      You told us a while ago Tony how much AGL made out of coal fired power and it was quite a sum but I can’t remember how much it was .

      60

    • #

      Tony from a visit to Liddell a few years ago, I believe the reason the unit capacity is below the original is the coal mills which were under designed at start up and with poor quality coal are now more below capacity. Also, when I visited the run time of the mills was well below that at other comparable power stations with similar vertical roller-bowl mills. They were using poor materials for both the rollers and the bowl liners. The internal classifier was a poor inefficient design and they did not understand the necessity of classifier control. I suggest replacement of the mills (can be obtained from Chinese suppliers of well known German brands such as Loesche or Pfeiffer MPS).
      One would need only eight mills (two for each boiler) at a cost of about $5million each installed. Might need some improved feeders and computer control. I would expect $100M would have the plant running at above capacity (ie about 105%) with an annual runtime of about 92% (which is around the performance of the Qld power stations.
      I would suggest it could be necessary to get rid (early retirement) of 1/3 of the work force (all union members) and maybe 50% of staff. That would already improve run time and profitability.
      If a company like Kepco (South Korea) bought the Liddell, AGL would be shown up for being fools who are incapable of running a power station. Also, a better running Liddell could produce power at less than Bayswater and undercut windfarms.

      320

      • #
        ivan

        Unfortunately it is impossible to undercut windfarms because of the subsidies and preferential purchasing.

        The unreliables have to come first by government diktat and coal is seen as a backup in the eyes of the green blob.

        IF, and that is a very big IF, the federal and state governments actually had a couple of brain cells between them they would insist that the producers of unreliable energy stated and guaranteed their output for set periods of time and were fined for any shortfall of that output. Oh, and no subsidies so giving a level playing field. That would lead to a reliable grid supply for all. Sadly that will only happen when there is a total breakdown in power supply and people lose their lives because of it.

        150

    • #
      crakar24

      Never fear Tony we here in SA have fine tuned the process of burning dead grass to generate 15MW and we are prepared for a cost to export this technology throughout the nation

      10

  • #
    Ve2

    Take a good look at what assets AGL own 60km away near Glouster.

    40

    • #
      Peter C

      What assets would they be?

      10

      • #
        beowulf

        2 open cuts, Duralie and Stratford, but owned by Yancoal not AGL. I don’t think AGL has any shareholding in them.

        30

      • #
        beowulf

        Fracking around Gloucester was shut down a few years back after the exploration phase if that is what Ve2 is referring to instead????

        30

        • #
          Dennis

          The council there arranged for those gas sites to be checked after local agitators claimed there were environmental issues.

          The result of the checks was that there are or were no issues.

          30

      • #
        Ve2

        The largest gas deposits in Australia.
        Convieniently close to Liddel and the Lake Macquire coal fired power stations scheduled for closure/conversion.

        40

    • #

      With the failure to modernise our coal gen and the problems over AGL’s fracking at Gloucester (operation abandoned last I heard) NSW could soon be faced with the inevitable “solution”: a certain black imported fluid.

      Amazingly, we’ll still be gouging coal to send o/s so we can fund…the war on coal! If this makes sense to you, you are probably the guy who is holding all those Geodynamics shares worth 0.015 cents each. (Or should that be 0.015 of one cent? We should ask Timmy. He has an arts degree.)

      110

  • #
    Antoine D'Arche

    I think the reality is that Liddell will have to close, in order that the grid fails and we have massive shortages, before the broader public will GET it.
    And I think that fate was sealed a few years ago, given the lead time required to bring a new coal plant on line, from decision to electrickery production.
    So the sooner the better.
    And then watch retail share holders dump AGL stock like it’s toxic waste. Which they are really.
    People are SO stupid.

    160

    • #
      TdeF

      No, just trusting. Since electricity became a Federal political football along with the internet, nothing has worked properly. When it was a state issue, we had none of these problems.

      110

    • #

      I would not be buying AGL shares -poor management similar to poor governments take a while to take effect but then it takes a long time to turn around. Anyone think SA will get back to the performance of the Playford government days soon even if the ALP gets thrown out in the coming election? Maybe Zimbabwe is a better comparison as Rhodesia it was the richest country in Africa. That is where are the Greens supporters should be sent to live.

      20

  • #
    beowulf

    There is quite a contingent of Newcastle-based useful idiots who chain themselves to the coal loaders and block the local rail lines periodically. I’m certain Newcastle Uni will rustle up a team. It’s only a 90 minute drive for them to Singleton and if they get wind of this I’ll be surprised if there aren’t picket lines and a blockade against anyone trying to attend. We’ll probably have to run the gauntlet.

    I know one hippie family from nearby Maitland that specialises in coal protests – mother, father and 2 adult daughters. One daughter appeared nude on the steps of NSW parliament with a pile of coal a few years back. Her mother was oh-so-proud when shown the photo of her offspring on the front page of the SMH the next day. Both daughters are of a feral disposition: unwashed, cheesecloth dresses, a snotty-nosed baby resting on each hip. They look like an ad for Nimbin circa 1973.

    There is always the delicious prospect of the locals — who are reliant on mining for their existence — giving the greenies a bit of their own medicine. I’d attend just to watch that. Miners are not given to mincing their words I find.

    The local papers at Newcastle, Maitland and Singleton (and Muswellbrook??) are all Fairfax-controlled so there will be no joy there, and the Newcastle TV station — NBN, whose weather man is an acolyte of Flannery’s near as I can figure, is a veritable bastion of greenhouse ideology. Expect sarcasm and derision if they even report the event at all.

    200

  • #
    TdeF

    It was interesting this morning from Bill Shorten to read that coking coal, a booming export, was considered reasonable. “Thermal” coal however was not and only established mines were to be considered. Adani was not in favour. Still that’s slightly better than Richard Di Natalie pronouncement that Whyalla could keep making steel as long as they did not use coal.

    There used to be a time when engineering decisions were made by engineers like Sir John Monash, not by utterly engineering and chemistry ignorant people with law degrees and a GP. Their ignorance is profound, as always. Then there’s Jay Weatherill and his battery. Daniel Andrews who spent over a billion dollars of our money not building a road everyone wanted and everyone needed.

    To say the current crop of politicians, from Jacqui Lambie to Malcolm Turnbull are a disappointment is an understatement.

    171

    • #
      TdeF

      As for Barnaby Joyce, the Nationals leader who has backed Malcolm totally, whatever Barnaby’s faults he has also been thrown under the bus. Maybe politicians should be all gay and ignorant? At least we would not have to worry about staff pregnancy.

      71

      • #
        Neil Crafter

        They already have the ignorant part down pat.

        30

      • #

        BJ’s biggest fault was when he agreed to work with Turnbull but he was greedy only thinking of himself to become deputy Prime Minister. While BJ remains leader of the Nationals they will lose seats at the next election except for WA where they do not want him.

        10

  • #
    Serp

    How incongruous is it that di Natale sports Lucifer’s face and hates coal?

    51

  • #
    pat

    AFR’s “gossip” columnist Joe Aston obviously doesn’t like coal!

    20 Feb: AFR: Joe Aston: Roy Green’s second coal-linked appointment raises sooty eyebrows
    Since stepping down last year as dean of the UTS Business School, Roy Green has wasted little time topping up his dance card. In the shadows of Christmas, the emeritus professor accepted the chairmanship of the Port of Newcastle, the world’s biggest coal terminal.
    You might say this appointment raised quite a few pairs of sooty eyebrows in the black lung industry, given another of Green’s gigs. See, the good professor also chairs the Queensland Competition Authority, a small regulatory quango that sets the pricing and access regime for the Queensland government-owned, Brookfield-operated Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near Mackay. Self-evidently, Dalrymple Bay competes with Newcastle for its fair share of Australia’s booming coal export business.

    And unsurprisingly, quite a few wags in the Queensland coal industry are wondering how the bloke regulating prices and access at their biggest terminal can, at the same time, sit atop its fierce southern competitor. Hasn’t Green heard of State of Origin? Maroon and Blue are never compatible.

    A stickler of a fellow, Green himself recognised the potential conflict of interest of his dual roles, writing to the Queensland Integrity Commissioner Nikola Stepanov for advice on the matter, and indicated he would “not participate in any decisions where a perception of bias or interest, however unlikely, may arise.”

    The commissioner’s response was eminently sympathetic, concluding: “I do not believe that a reasonable member of the public, properly informed, would consider that a conflict … had arisen simply because you hold the two positions.”
    Unfortunately for the good doctor and the good professor, Australia’s coal industry is full of unreasonable people. And, Lord knows, so is Queensland.
    http://www.afr.com/brand/rear-window/roy-greens-second-coallinked-appointment-raises-sooty-eyebrows-20180220-h0wdrz

    40

  • #
    NoFixedAddress

    AGL used to be a fine Australian company.

    BHP used to be a fine Australian company.

    No longer.

    As far as I am concerned the sooner that ALL Coal Fired Power Stations are shut down then the better.

    AGL are now just a pack of folk led by an Enron accolade.

    Folk in Australia that do not have solar panels should only have to pay year 2000 electricity rates.

    60

  • #

    UPDATE: Apologies, the event is at 6:30pm for a 6:45pm start.
    h/t AndyG

    20

    • #
      AndyG55

      Its not too late in the evening, I might be able to find the time to go for a drive :-)

      31

      • #
        beowulf

        Keep an eye out for roos up and back Andy. On the new expressway you will be fine, but when you get onto the highway you need to be vigilant. A lot of roos have been getting hit lately as they are on the move due to the drought.

        20

        • #
          Geoffrey Williams

          Thanks beowulf, I shall be driving up the Putty road and I shall have to be vigilant.
          GeoffW

          20

        • #
          Kinky Keith

          On one drive up to Wollombi from cessnock there were 4 dead roos/wallabys and one Wombat.

          Sad stuff.

          Thankfully there were a lot of live black Rios and a live wombat in Wattagan creek area.

          10

    • #
      Geoffrey Williams

      Thanks Jo, I intend to be there . .
      GeoffW

      10

  • #
  • #
    Colin Davidson

    AGL is obviously aiming to game the system, so that there will be many more days when the wholesale price reaches $14,000 per MWh – to the great advantage of the power producers, but to the great detriment of everyone else.
    The NSW Government should compulsorily acquire Liddell from AGL and provide them with zero compensation.
    This would send the message that if unscrupulous profiteers want to take the public to the cleaners, then the public might do the same to them.

    60

  • #
    pattoh

    Guys

    I have been wondering about the status of Wallerawang.

    I recall there was some noise at the time the slated demolition[vandalizing] of the cooling towers a while back.

    However, notwithstanding the bogus reasons for shutting it down, the situation of station :-

    1. was sited for & on a coal resource

    2. all environmental & developments hoops have been satisfied

    3. the existing reticulation infrastructure is still in place.

    &

    4. the necessary water & service ancillaries are still in place.

    Obviously the site at the VERY least is perfect to plug in a Chinese Style/tech USC thermal power plant.[ over to you Tony]

    Surely it would be incumbent on a responsible government to preserve the opportunity to re – activate a viable & cheap option.

    I would dearly love to know what the NSW Resource position is on this.

    What is the status of the coal resource?

    What is the status of the land tenement of the site?

    What is the status of the related water resource?

    Has the “MacDonald/Obeid” ethos already precluded any possibilities to let common sense reign?

    The resident cynics here will probably poke me for using “responsible government” & “common sense” in the same paragraph, but I do live in hope.

    For starters, it is high time a list of VERY specific questions was circulated to ALL elected representatives at all levels of government irrespective of any party political membership, alliance or association.

    All responses should be continuously displayed & updated on a dedicated web site.

    That way at least if you cannot keep the bastards honest, you can question & track their convolutions.

    We, those who get the politicians we deserve & history can treat them appropriately!

    & lastly

    GO HARD DAVID!

    30

  • #
    observa

    They’re still peeing money up against the wall scrabbling around trying to fix their feast or famine unreliables while still parroting how they’re going for 100% renewables by whenever the poor can afford it. This time round it’s thousand bucks per swimming pool for another trial.

    00

  • #
    cohenite

    Damn, I won’t be able to get there. John Smeed has authorised me to release this private email which is self-explanatory:

    As you know I was Chairman of Bayswater and Liddell power stations from 1996 till 2008 . During this time we spent millions on up grading facilities to ensure that their life was extended and we also did a study on building a third plant called Bayswater 2 . The govt. did not strip maintenance funds from us . We had a $300M per year, depreciation figure which we used to enhance the future continuation of the business . In fact the treasures both Michael Egan and Michael Costa were very supportive to us improving the business .
    In 1996 the biggest problem facing Liddell was their control systems . These were replaced with a DCS system over two years .
    This system was state of the art and good for another at least 20 years . We spent some $30M on this and there is not a plant in Australia that has a more modern system . We went from 4 control offices to one .
    Next we upgraded the Dust Collection system to the best standard .
    In approx.. 2002 we upgraded the 4 X 500Mw turbines with new state of the art Turbines that paid for themselves with efficiencies .
    From memory we increased them to 6ooMw and improved efficiency by 7% .Which is a lot in this type of equipment .This production improvement and coal saving per Mw produced gave us something like a 5 year payback . Again with regular care and maintenance { R&M ] this plant could last 20 to 25 years .
    The boilers are a different problem they are old but again we tackled the main problem areas . Boilers by nature are self-destructive and require costly and regular attention . However what we did we re-engineered many of the regular trouble spots such as Ash-handling .
    Ash-pumps , water treatment so these areas had the best gear available .
    Boilers did have some internal changes to reduce repair costs .
    In my opinion if you had the WILL to keep this plant running it can be done . The cost is easily off-set by current power prices . We had this plant making handsome profits with a dispatch price of $27 /Mwh .
    Today’s dispatch price is in excess of $100/Mwh .
    Added other plant to reduce costs of production for Bayswater and Liddell and make provision for a new ” Clean Coal Plant of
    2000 Mw with the following additions .
    1 To ensure that the plants were Drought Proof we
    increased pumping capacity at the cost of $60M
    2 To ensure that increased coal demands in the
    future and reduce current day costs we put in a coal unloader that could take the largest of Coal Trains at a cost of $100M
    3 Started two new coal mines to provide ample coal
    into the future . I believe AGL is aiming to sell this coal to an exporter and so make millions of profit . At the time of sale these contract between buying and selling were worth in the order of $3 Bil .
    4 The new ” Clean Coal ” station was to be on existing land held by our company . It would be what we call a ” Brown Fields ” site . This site had Geo-Tech testing and approved . EPA provisionally approved the air quality . So all the major impediments had been covered . On a dispatch figure of $30/ MWh and allowed to run at full performance 24 X 7 Hrs it had an investor return of 30% ROI. The idea is that you would run the new more efficient plant to full capacity and flex the older plants like Liddell .

    John , I believe that the management of AGL are conspiring to close coal fired plant to make power cost go much higher and improve their personal well being . One of the Power Engineers did a brief estimate of how many Wind Turbines are required to replace Liddell’s Power capacity . He said if you placed all the turbines in the most favourable place for breeze ie on the coast then if you put them starting at Sydney North Head and inland as far as Strathfield . You would need to extend the field as far as Byron Bay . The shear cost of the Turbines and the subsidy will send Australia broke .

    60

  • #

    The first wave of collaborative economy companies pioneered new ways to access talent, goods and services. Early companies garnered much visibility and growth. Yet, these first movers were funded by venture capital whose eye is on performance, ultimately leading to a big payday for investors. There is nothing wrong with that approach. I myself have invested in several private companies over the years and have been a beneficiary of the process. That said, in the case of collaborative marketplaces and peer producers, the time has come to align the value created with how it is shared. Business models and governance practices are largely still hanging onto last century’s prevailing themes. Well, we’re moving on.

    00