Leigh Creek Coal Train - The End Is Nigh

 
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I propose that the final train on the 27th be hauled by NR locos. Such a rare working of those locomotives on that line will be a historic opportunity for all the spotters who will attend.
....or tow V544 along for sentimental reasons. RazzWink
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  Bob K Station Master

Location: East of Port Pirie
Further info re the points off the main line, it looks like both set of points, onto and off the main ARTC line will be removed and continuous welded rail put in to reduce maintenance etc.

Also, most, if not all of the coal wagons will be scrapped, they are well past their use by date and not needed elswhere, and as a very unusual thing, Alinta still have a contract to maintain the coal line for several more years, but I suppose contracts can be re negotiated.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

… and as a very unusual thing, Alinta still have a contract to maintain the coal line for several more years, but I suppose contracts can be re negotiated.
Bob K
It won't be hard for Alinta to "maintain" it to the same standard which GWA "maintains" their BG and SG lines in SA.
  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
RIP Leigh Creek 'Coalie' (1940's-2016). Left to die by Pathetic Politics, Stupid Shenanigans & Dumb Decisions made by certain parties. Most importantly hope the workers affected can get new jobs quickly.

SadCrying or Very sad
  Smacks Station Master

RIP Leigh Creek 'Coalie' (1940's-2016). Left to die by Pathetic Politics, Stupid Shenanigans & Dumb Decisions made by certain parties. Most importantly hope the workers affected can get new jobs quickly.

SadCrying or Very sad
"greasyrhys"


Apart from the loss of jobs the closure of the plant is a positive. We should be moving away from using coal to generate power; especially brown coal.
  CPH8 Junior Train Controller

RIP Leigh Creek 'Coalie' (1940's-2016). Left to die by Pathetic Politics, Stupid Shenanigans & Dumb Decisions made by certain parties. Most importantly hope the workers affected can get new jobs quickly.

SadCrying or Very sad


Apart from the loss of jobs the closure of the plant is a positive. We should be moving away from using coal to generate power; especially brown coal.
Smacks
Leigh Creek coal is not brown coal, and never has been. It is black coal, albeit of lower grade than in other States. The bottom line is that we are now dependent upon Victorian brown coal generated power at much greater cost and less reliability, which is why Leigh Creek was established in the first place. I lived in the old Leigh Creek from 1969 to 1973, and it is sad to see it all go
  nscaler69 Deputy Commissioner

Location: There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.
Looking at the news footage of this last train it wasn't that loaded. Did it actually originate from Leigh Creek or was the previous train not fully unloaded.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Looking at the news footage of this last train it wasn't that loaded. Did it actually originate from Leigh Creek or was the previous train not fully unloaded.
nscaler69
Well it was collecting the last of the old mine stock pile
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Sad in a way for south Australia who as a state have very high electricity prices due to an unrelenting push for green energy through wind farms which have a much higher generation price than coal. South Australia has sold out cheap power in favour of expensive green wind power. The price on power in the state has negatively affected industry.

Coal might be dirty but it is cheap to industry who are struggling.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Sad in a way for south Australia who as a state have very high electricity prices due to an unrelenting push for green energy through wind farms which have a much higher generation price than coal. South Australia has sold out cheap power in favour of expensive green wind power. The price on power in the state has negatively affected industry.

Coal might be dirty but it is cheap to industry who are struggling.
freightgate

I'm not sure the cost of power generated by wind is higher overall.

Because the infrastructure is new it needs to be amortised and the rate per kWh for this is therefore higher.

I believe that in the long term the cost of wind power will be lower.

The turbines around Red Hill seem to work well and I believe the whole of SA demand has been met by wind power at times.

When I was in Port Augusta recently they appeared to be building a solar-thermal power station just to the south east of the coal fired stations. That would allow it to be connected to the same transmission lines.

Using aero-derivative gas turbines burning natural gas provides a cleaner back-up to wind and solar that can be shut down and restarted very quickly.

M636C
  Bob K Station Master

Location: East of Port Pirie
M636C,

The solar/thermal power station you saw is on Sundrop Farms, a large scale private greenhouse enterprise, mainly growing tomatoes. I do not have the technical knowledge to explain the tower, but the top receives concentrated sunlight from an array of mirrors, the heat from this desalinates seawater so as it can be used in the greenhouses as fresh water. The heat also is used to power the heating and cooling for the green houses.



My neighbour is the electrical engineer there if you need more info.


There has never been any talk of connecting to the existing nearby high voltage transmission lines.
  M636C Minister for Railways

M636C,

The solar/thermal power station you saw is on Sundrop Farms, a large scale private greenhouse enterprise, mainly growing tomatoes. I do not have the technical knowledge to explain the tower, but the top receives concentrated sunlight from an array of mirrors, the heat from this desalinates seawater so as it can be used in the greenhouses as fresh water. The heat also is used to power the heating and cooling for the green houses.



My neighbour is the electrical engineer there if you need more info.


There has never been any talk of connecting to the existing nearby high voltage transmission lines.
Bob K

At least I recognised it as a solar thermal plant...

It sounds more sensible than some desalination plants built elsewhere in Australia.
And it avoids using electric power and probably has a very high efficiency.

But if that works, a bigger solar thermal electric plant in the same general area could provide "green" power for much of the day. There would be a lot of spare space when all the coal fired power stations in the area are demolished.
Port Augusta isn't short of sunshine very often (except when I'm there to photograph trains, of course).

I'm pleased that some industries in SA are moving ahead and aren't waiting for the Federal Government to hand them money, too.

M636C
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
I'm pleased that some industries in SA are moving ahead and aren't waiting for the Federal Government to hand them money, too.

M636C
M636C

They got $6m from the state government. This is only a small portion of the amount invested, though.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

It sounds more sensible than some desalination plants built elsewhere in Australia.
And it avoids using electric power and probably has a very high efficiency.
M636C
The Desal plants were built to deal with serve water shortages that had the drought continued would have seen Brisbane dry within 18mth with Sydney not that much better off. Desal was one of the many countermeasures and most of these counter measures are now idle, ie inter-tie with the GC, extra dams and recycled water systems all not currently being uterlised.

Currently most of the major Desal plants on the east coast are mothballed due to a series of very wet summers thus they in effect peaking water supply systems that prevented vast tracks of mostly high quality farm land from being permanently flooded.

Perth has a longterm water supply issue and desal was one of the limited options available and they built wind-farms to off-set the energy need.

With the growth in solar/wind/alt power, the east coast desal plants are in effect being run on these sources of energy.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
The problem being the cost to the environment to  produce the wind farm or solar farm.   The energy required to build them outweighs the energy they produce.
  nm39 Chief Commissioner

Location: By a road taking pictures
The problem being the cost to the environment to  produce the wind farm or solar farm.   The energy required to build them outweighs the energy they produce.
Donald
Not true. This may have been the case with early solar panels but since then efficiency has come forward in strides and bounds. Wind turbines probably return the full energy used to manufacture them on a good breezy day.
  5915 Chief Commissioner

For those interested in power generation in real time go to http://reneweconomy.com.au/nem-watch

Currently, South Australia is generating 817 MW with wind (2135 hrs) but I have seen it at 1000 MW.  This is a challenge to manage and will be more so when the current 500 MW of coal fired generation goes off line shortly.  This will leave SA heavily reliant on gas back up and the interlink to Victoria where they will source power from brown coal in addition to Victoria's other generated sources.

On solar, this will test the system during winter months with shorter daylength and heavily overcast days typical of areas where roof top solar is installed.

Solar and wind is great on hot, windy days when demand spikes with air-conditioning but not so on cold and windless nights! And yes, SA does have the highest grid electricity cost in Australia and is right up there with the most expensive in Europe. Some of this is unavoidable due to the extensive network and sparsely distributed population outside major centres.

5915
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The number one cost for wind and solar is and always not the cost to build this capacity but the cost to build and transmit power from other sources when it is both not windy or sunny.

You might build a 1000MW wind farm, but you need a 1000MW peaking gas plant to act as back up. Also building a 1000MW solar farm reducing the need for the gas plant, but you still need it.
  prwise Locomotive Driver


....... Currently, South Australia is generating 817 MW with wind (2135 hrs) but I have seen it at 1000 MW.  This is a challenge to manage and will be more so when the current 500 MW of coal fired generation goes off line shortly.  This will leave SA heavily reliant on gas back up and the interlink to Victoria where they will source power from brown coal in addition to Victoria's other generated sources.........


5915
5915
Wind and mild weather not doing Alinta any favours over this weekend as they run out the last of coal stocks. Pool price in the duldrums most of the day at just above zero. Forcast to go minus $50 for a fair bit of time overnight to rub salt in the woundo. Normally these guys would have shut down till market improved, but at this point of time  probably on a fixed trajectory to shut down
  brianph Locomotive Driver

Location: Bethany
The number one cost for wind and solar is and always not the cost to build this capacity but the cost to build and transmit power from other sources when it is both not windy or sunny.

You might build a 1000MW wind farm, but you need a 1000MW peaking gas plant to act as back up. Also building a 1000MW solar farm reducing the need for the gas plant, but you still need it.
RTT_Rules
Both of these paragraphs are misleading.

As wind and solar is being added to systems with fossil fuel generated capacity already - there is no extra cost in adding wind or solar.  These plants have probably been amortised years ago as has the grid.

Backing up a 1000MW wind farm with a 1000MW gas turbine would apply in a micro grid.  If your dealing with a grid the size of the NEM - the wind will be blowing somewhere else or hydro can be switched in.  UniNSW studies based on real time analysis of actual wind and solar resources demonstrate that only a few gas turbines would be needed for emergency back-up in what would be a close- to 100% renewable NEM.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
If you're dealing with a grid the size of the NEM - the wind will be blowing somewhere else or hydro can be switched in.  UniNSW studies based on real time analysis of actual wind and solar resources demonstrate that only a few gas turbines would be needed for emergency back-up in what would be a close- to 100% renewable NEM.
brianph
The NEM is currently a very 'long' grid that has few strong interconnects. SA only interconnects with Victoria, for instance - one interconnector has a 650MW transfer capacity (Heywood, recently upgraded) and the other (MurrayLink) has a 220MW capacity. Extra transmission lines from 'renewables-rich' areas to populated ones would be required - a very large and real integration cost.

AEMO's 100% Renewable Grid study indicated that 100% renewables required a nameplate renewables capacity double the maximum forecast peak demand.
  brianph Locomotive Driver

Location: Bethany
The NEM is currently a very 'long' grid that has few strong interconnects. SA only interconnects with Victoria, for instance - one interconnector has a 650MW transfer capacity (Heywood, recently upgraded) and the other (MurrayLink) has a 220MW capacity. Extra transmission lines from 'renewables-rich' areas to populated ones would be required - a very large and real integration cost.

AEMO's 100% Renewable Grid study indicated that 100% renewables required a nameplate renewables capacity double the maximum forecast peak demand.
LancedDendrite
No argument with this LD.  

The significant thing about the AEMO report - and others - is that we could have a 100% renewable electricity supply.  And there would not be the need for 1:1 gas turbine back-up for each wind farm (or solar farm) as confidently stated by RTT-Rules in the post above.

The UniNSW study doesn't require the renewables to have double the capacity of forecast peak demand - because it does allow for a few gas turbine generators.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
The significant thing about the AEMO report - and others - is that we could have a 100% renewable electricity supply.
brianph
And we could have a cheese-powered electricity system too!


The UniNSW study doesn't require the renewables to have double the capacity of forecast peak demand - because it does allow for a few gas turbine generators.
brianph
Incentivising gas turbine owners to only turn on during times of high demand and low renewables supply isn't going to get you a very free market.

As South Australia is finding out, adding more and more renewables to a 'weak' grid (that is, one without much grid frequency inertia from steam turbogenerators) creates loads of headaches. Solar panels and wind turbines don't add inertia to the system, so it becomes less inherently stable. Gas turbines can help plug the gaps in supply, but they do little to keep the grid stable because they're not running all the time.

Solar thermal plants that use steam turbines do add grid inertia, but they're looking much more expensive than solar PV and wind turbines as the latter technologies move down the cost curve. They're also more expensive that gas turbines - and fundamentally it's all about how much such a high % renewables system would cost (relative to CO2 abatement as well, natch)

To stay on topic for this thread, I'd like to point out that Alinta's study of a gas-backed solar thermal power station for Port Augusta didn't exactly look like a money-maker.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

One thing which must be remembered about wind power is that it only reliably generates an average of about 35% of its nameplate capacity. Sure it can peak near that and the connections have to be designed for that peak. A project like the proposed 600MW Ceres scheme is that if will really only deliver on average some 35-40% of the 600MW.
I have a professional background in this particular field so can speak with some authority; in fact I have been the authority on a significant wind farm project.
The other downside of most renewables except hydro is the lack of fault generating capacity which make network stability under fault conditions quite problematic. The closure of the Alinta generation at Pt Augusta adversely affects the stability of the power supply to Roxby Downs and Olympic Dam.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The NEM is currently a very 'long' grid that has few strong interconnects. SA only interconnects with Victoria, for instance - one interconnector has a 650MW transfer capacity (Heywood, recently upgraded) and the other (MurrayLink) has a 220MW capacity. Extra transmission lines from 'renewables-rich' areas to populated ones would be required - a very large and real integration cost.

AEMO's 100% Renewable Grid study indicated that 100% renewables required a nameplate renewables capacity double the maximum forecast peak demand.
No argument with this LD.  

The significant thing about the AEMO report - and others - is that we could have a 100% renewable electricity supply.  And there would not be the need for 1:1 gas turbine back-up for each wind farm (or solar farm) as confidently stated by RTT-Rules in the post above.

The UniNSW study doesn't require the renewables to have double the capacity of forecast peak demand - because it does allow for a few gas turbine generators.
brianph
Ahh yes but you need to set the context. In reference for 1:1 I was talking an isolated net work.

If you want say SA to close the bulk of its thermal systems and have only a few back up peak gas plants then you need to be able to basically run SA off the inter-tie from Vic minus what ever gas out put there is. Having coal and gs plants sitting on idle waiting for a cloudy windless day is not free even if the stations are long paid off. The workforce is basically the same running or on stand-by, the plant also needs to be maintained and upgraded from time to time.

If you are now going to have a variable load from Vic, you need to make sure Vic/NSW has the capacity to supply. Don't treat it as a bottomless pit and its not free, do you pay them to be ready to dump X many MW into SA based on the weather? Vic also has large wind farms, if its not blowing in SA, its probably not blowing on Vic's wind farm rich coast line.

Yes the Snowy and Tas with large hydro systems has the ability to dump power for short periods when there is no wind and yes most of the time I'm sure the thermals have spare juice. But right now, Tas is nearly dry and Bass Link is off-line anyway, thus limiting the variable load available from hydro to the SE grid.

I am all for practical cost effective renewable, but no state can go it alone in any of this as none has the infrastructure or local conditions to enable it.

Coal is here for many years to come and its a shame SA chooses to be so dependent on other states for power when it could have at least have a large cheap base load thermal coal power plant, say 2000MW providing local jobs. The wind, solar and newable gas coupled with battery storage in the Snowy could take care of the rest. You can also couple thermal solar to a coal fired power station for greater output.

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