Discussion paper

Breaking brown: gas and coal plant breakdowns in Victoria

17 Jun 2019

The Australia Institute founded Gas & Coal Watch in December 2017 to monitor the National Energy Market's fossil fuel power plants for breakdowns, particularly during high heat when generating units are vulnerable. Victoria remains highly reliant on its three brown coal fired power stations for its electricity. Victoria is responsible for around 20% of the National Electricity Market’s gas and coal capacity, but 35% of its gas and coal breakdowns. That is largely due to its three brown coal plants, particularly Loy Yang A and Yallourn W.

Victorian coal is responsible for around 13% of the National Electricity Market’s gas and coal capacity but 32% of its gas and coal breakdowns. All three of Victoria’s coal plants burn brown coal using “subcritical” technology. Coal plants in other states burn black coal only, using either subcritical or “supercritical” technology.

This special report summarises the breakdowns at Victoria’s brown coal power stations and compares them to rest of the NEM. It is released in response to the recent long-term breakdown of Unit 2 at Loy Yang A.

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