Is Mortlake bucking the trend?


One of our regular WattClarity readers pointed out the significantly increased production volumes at Mortlake seen through the month of September – as shown here in this trend from NEM-Review:

Trended monthly output from Mortlake shows a distinctive increase in production during September

In an environment of declining demand (especially Scheduled Demand) and increased production from renewables (such as wind and solar) – such that conventional (especially thermal) plant is being squeezed – the increase in production was obviously noted by some.

It’s possible that the increase in September was a result of seasonal/portfolio factors (we note that there was a similar increase in spring 2012 before production subsided through summer – which asks the question of whether this is because of maintenance outages on other units in the Origin Energy portfolio). 

We’ll see if we can revisit this at a later date…

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

2 Comments on "Is Mortlake bucking the trend?"

  1. Mortlake probably has the cheapest gas of any gas-fired power station on the NEM. Its owner Origin owns the gas pipeline from the Port Campbell gas plant, so it doesn’t need to pay third-party pipeline owners. While it doesn’t own the Iona gas plant at Port Campbell, it does have a majority share in two offshore gas wells. So it’s strongly vertically integrated, and thus not subject to different financial pressures to other operators. Compare that with Tamar Valley, which requires the use of a premium 3-rd party asset to transport gas under Bass Strait, then another premium third-party asset to convey the power back to the mainland. Furthermore, the spot price of gas in Victoria is usually lower than in Adelaide or Brisbane. So Origin have done their sums well in choosing the location.

    In recent weeks, Mortlake has been producing power right through the night, which is unusual for a single cycle gas turbine station. Several NSW generation units at Liddell and Eraring have been out of action, and at night net power import into NSW has been over 1000 MW. So is the cost of coal + carbon tax off-lining some coal-fired generation ?

    • Hi Malcolm

      Thanks for your clear and precise comments – perhaps there’s a role for you in posting on WattClarity 🙂

      The shoulder seasons are normally maintenance periods – but with the overhang of surplus capacity, the incentive to work around the clock to bring units back is not what it once was.

      Regards

      Paul

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