Australia’s largest coal-fired power station, Eraring Power Station at Lake Macquarie, is running out of coal.
In an update on operating conditions and earnings guidance yesterday, owner Origin Energy said ongoing challenges with coal supply have been impacting Eraring throughout the 2022 financial year.
But, in recent weeks the situation has worsened with an under-delivery of coal particularly from Centennial Coal’s Mandalong mine. The mine has notified Origin of further constraints associated with “geological features at its Mandalong mine”.
That is expected to have an impact for the remainder of this financial year and into 2023.
As a result, Origin have had to purchase black coal for the 2880-megawatt generator at significantly higher prices which in turn keeps electricity prices high.
Coal prices have been rising sharply with the energy crunch combined with utilities not wanting to take Russian supplies in a bid to starve the country of some revenue that it needs to fund the war in Ukraine.
The energy market is already very volatile with the cold snap this week pushing customers to use more.
This week’s polar blast has led to a forecast spike in gas wholesale prices of more than 50 times normal levels.
There are calls for the Albanese government to invoke a mechanism which reserves an amount of gas that must be sold domestically to combat the increase in usage.