JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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We can lower Australian CO2 emissions by… (wait for it) building new coal plants!

A joint writing project: Jo Nova & Tony Cox,

based on an idea and research by Anton Lang (who writes as TonyfromOz at PAPundits)

Hazelwood coal power, environment, CO2, carbon tax,

It’s the paradox that will torture the Greens. What if the best way to achieve their environmental aims as well as providing jobs and power was to build more coal fired power stations? Imagine if we could reduce CO2 emissions by more than 5%, supply 24 hour baseload electricity, create jobs, and save thousands of square kilometres of Australian bush from industrial domination. Imagine if “New Coal” turned out to be the lowest cost alternative as well? Anton Lang has researched it, and Tony Cox has confirmed that the big numbers make sense with an Australian electricity company (who shall not be named). Selling the Carbon Tax in Neverland is already a public debate that’s pretzel tied in impossible contradictions, so what’s one  more unlikely twist? Possibly, just enough to get us out of a knot, or at least enough to expose the real aims of the carbon reduction plan. Old existing large scale coal fired power plants in Australia are all twenty to forty years old. Major advances have been made in coal-powered technology, and new coal plants are, incredibly, much more efficient, so much more efficient that they produce up to 30% less CO2. Who would have thought there was such a bonanza-cherry there, ripe for the picking?

“New large scale coal fired plants have generators that can produce considerably larger amounts of power, they use better turbines to drive the generator, have better boilers to make the steam to drive the turbine, and have better furnaces to make the heat to make that steam, and most importantly in this case, they burn less coal, do that more efficiently, and in the process emit less CO2.

They are already using these new coal fired plants, especially in China, where large scale plants of this nature are being brought on line delivering power for consumers at the rate of one new plant a week.

So, if those older plants here in Australia were to be replaced with these new plants, there will be an overall reduction in the current emissions of CO2, and the most surprising thing in all of this is that those reductions could be in the vicinity of 25 to 30%.”

Those who want to reduce CO2, could have their low-carbon cake mix, and the electricity to cook it with too. You can see here that a new coal fired plant produces about 30% lower emissions than a conventional one, it costs $4-$5 billion to set up (instead of $20 billion… or $200 billion!) and uses less coal to run. Comparatively, wind costs something like 2- 5 times as much and solar, a budget breaking, hock-the-nation 5 to 20 times as much (or worse). Not only that but solar and wind occupy vast areas, and don’t produce base-load reliable power. (See here for the lower best case estimates of renewables costs from the Victorian Auditor General.)

Comparing the cost of different power generation plants. Cost “A” is the initial capital outlay, Cost “B” is the lifetime cost. TWH: TeraWatt Hours.

For the notes (see the end of the post), and for more info on the table: See Climate Sceptics.

Why aim for 5% when you could get 13%?

The Greens would accept a 5% reduction in Australian emissions by 2020 (and due to our high immigration rates that’s harder than it looks). Because coal produces about 40% of our emissions, so a reduction of 30% of those emissions from all our major coal fired stations would give us a total national reduction in emissions of 13%. It’s possibly achievable by 2020 with proven technology). According to Tony Cox, the word from the local industry is that an upgrade costs about $2 b, and a new modern station about $4 billion.

This single idea solves all the ineluctable paradoxes of Neverland Economics at once

The First Paradox of the Neverland economy, is to use less fossil fuels, reduce coal emissions, and guarantee that “coal workers will have a bright future”. Obviously that doesn’t make any sense. The Second Paradox is that nuclear power is “clean and functional” but no go, and wind and solar — the perpetually nascent renewables — will save us. The plan is to put $10 billion into developing them (not to mention subsidizing them by charging artificially high prices for their competitors). If coal is the source of all evil then wind and solar are the Peter Pan and Tinker Bell of energy; they never grow up. Roger Pielke Jnr studied the Australian energy situation and found that we could meet our 5%, 2020-target if  we used just 35 nuclear power plants or 8000 solar ones.

Wind and solar turn — hundreds of square kilometers of land into industrial factories

The failings of renewables are manifest. Here’s another one: Energy Density. Coal, gas and the even more “evil” nuclear, are energy dense: their energy is concentrated; their  power plants can be measured in acres. But the ephemeral energy of wind and solar is literally blowing in the wind, or sparkling in sunbeams; they take a lot of room to be to be captured. (Magic is like that.) The price for low energy density is the sacrifice of vast kilometers of wilderness. A new solar farm proposed in California, poetically named Brightsource, will cover 5.6 square miles, or 9 square kilometres, for a theoretical “Installed capacity” of 370 MW. But the much lauded “installed capacity”  is not what these farms supply, which is more like 20% of that and sometimes is as low as  5%. These depressingly low numbers are known as the capacity factor.  That promising 370MW from Brightsource only turns out to equal 74MW. By comparison a medium sized, evil coal power plant like Bayswater, which along with Liddell supplies about 40% of NSW’s electricity, will deliver 2640MW; because it works day and night, wind, hail or rain, it’s capacity factor and installed capacity are one and the same. Bayswater therefore delivers about 35 times as much power as Brightsource, which will henceforth be known as Dimsource. To make a top notch, technologically up-to-date equivalent to the Bayswater Coal Power Station would cover 315 square kilometres. Not surprisingly Green activists are objecting to Dimsource because of its size. Those cute solar panels blot out the even cuter nature; ditto for those big windmills. Those trees, birds and furry mammals were after all, living off the sunshine, and Dimsource is stealing it from them.

Could it be that we have a choice, we can burn coal and keep the wilderness,

or keep the coal and burn the wilderness…

And worse — the more wind and solar we use the more CO2 we emit;  the intermittent nature of wind and solar mean they have to be backed up by evil coal and gas. The fossils are kept running to back-up the power spikes and troughs. It’s inefficient to power these stations up and down and that increases emissions of CO2more than if W&S were not used.

Solar power, a chance to incinerate money with rays from the sun

solar power, costs, renewable energy comparisons

Is it cheaper to just burn money?

According to Anton Lang, once you account for the actual output of proposed solar plants, and the hours they work for, there are few better industrial projects for vaporising cash that modern solar power. He has estimates Bayswater could be upgraded for $1billion. Who knows, Tony Cox heard $2billion. Even so, coal wins every way you can look at it.

“The Government recently announced that they have approved a new Concentrating Solar Plant, the Solar Dawn project at Chinchilla in Queensland. That plant will cost $1.2 Billion, half of that in subsidies from the Federal and State Governments. Solar Dawn will deliver 550GWH of power each year, and that is at the theoretical best case maximum. So let’s then go with the solar plants absolute maximum of 550GWH and Bayswater expansion minimum of 14,000GWH For less money than what the solar plant will cost, Bayswater expansion will deliver nearly 13 – 26 times the total power. Bayswater will deliver that power 24/7/365. Solar Dawn might deliver its power for 6 hours a day. So, to even equal what Bayswater expansion will deliver, you would need to construct 26 projects similar to Solar Dawn at a cost of $31.2 Billion, and you still only get power for 6 hours a day. Solar Dawn will have a life span of 25 years. Bayswater … another 50 and 75 years. There just is no comparison.”

How much money can we waste?

We could replace Bayswater with a new more efficient power plant which costs a lot, or we could hock ourselves for a generation and spend 5 times to 16 times as much to replace it with solar or wind. For all the extra money we’d lose wilderness, and get unreliable, intermittent not-so-base-load power. Who could be this dumb? Oh yeah… The bible for enthusiasts of renewables is Beyond Zero Emissions Stationary Plan which argues that we can replace coal and gas in Australia by 2020 [I queried this, it sounds as likely as adding a second moon, but it is true]. It has “only” two problems. We have to use 50% less energy per capita and it will cost somewhere between $855 and $4191 billion.

As a matter of interest, if Beyond Zero made a global plan it would only cost $76 trillion.(!&%^) That is NeverLand stuff. Back in the real world Russell Skelton, CEO of Maquarie Generation which owns Bayswater and Liddell power stations, has dragged himself away from the perpetual litigation against his company by Rising Tide, to do the sums on the carbon tax. Basically the tax will cost MacGen about $580 million, per year, about three times its annual profit. MacGen will not be compensated and while there are no plans to close it down like its Victorian equivalent, Hazelwood, what business could survive under conditions like that?

So, with existing coal power facing the chop and wind and solar not up to the job are power shortages the price we have to have? Carbon capture is not an option; Dr Brown has ruled it out and it is both a dud idea and an indictment of the coal industry’s cowardice in not arguing against the ideology and pro-global warming science directed against it. Clearly, if we have to reduce CO2 (we don’t), we need to copy China and upgrade our coal power. China is developing vastly more efficient coal powered turbines. These turbines burn around 30% much less coal to achieve equivalent power to the old generation plants. Thus, Australia’s most sensible shot at meeting our 5% CO2 reduction by 2020 is by using new coal technology.

Anton Lang also makes the killer point that the contracts for running the coal fired stations have already been signed and for far into the future. The cost of choosing “renewables” means paying compensation to coal to produce less electricity and accept lower profits. Now all we need is a commonsense-policy. Back to Never Land, eh?

PS: Of course, we all know that the Greens won’t rush to take up this “pollution” reducing opportunity, because, it’s not really about pollution is it?

——————————————-

Notes for Table 1. [Source]

Note 1. These plants will consume around 4 million tons of coal each year, hence 16 million tons, and at the average 2.86 multiplier, will emit 46 million tons of CO2, so the saving on emissions from current plants will be around 40% of that original 80 Million tons. Cost A is just the up front construction cost. Cost B includes one refurbishment to take it out from 50 years to 60 years, site clean up, and also 60 years of coal supply of thermal coal at $60 per ton, which is almost double the existing cost of $30 per ton.

Note 2. Refuelling takes place every 18 months, so expired rods can be replaced with new rods. Expired rods are stored on site for the life of the plant, in cooling pools for a further 2 years, and then in dry storage, again, all inside the main reactor concrete bunker which contains the Containment Vessel. If there was a nuclear reprocessing facility, those cooled and dried depleted rods could be sent to that reprocessing facility after those 2 years. Cost A is the up front construction cost, and Cost B included one refurbishment from 50 out to 60 years and site clean up. It also includes the cost of the fuel for that 60 years.

Note 3. As you can see, the enormous up front construction cost is because to supply that 69 TWH you will need 210 of these plants at that $1.4 Billion. Cost B is the equivalent for Coal and Nuclear which have a life span out to 60 years while these Solar Plants have a life of only 20 years, hence you will need three times as many over that 60 years.

Note 4. This is at the 150MW firm basis, hence only 62 of these plants are required, at that $1.4 Billion. The trade off here is the on site Natural Gas fired part of the plant so it can provide that firm 150MW for the full 24 hours. This means an effective emission of just on 350 tons of CO2 per plant per day, hence 128,000 tons of CO2 per annum, and with 62 plants, there will be an emission of 8 million tons of CO2. Cost A is just the construction cost for those 62 plants. Cost B is also an extrapolation out to that 60 years as these plants also have a life span of 20 years. Cost B here will also have added to that figure the cost for the Natural Gas, a significant cost that I HAVE NOT included here, as I don’t have that information, as to the cost of that Natural Gas, but a plant of this type would consume around 5,700 mcf of Natural Gas each day. (mcf is 1000 cubic feet of Natural Gas)

Note 5. This is for the construction of plants that will supply that 69 TWH, although it will only supply that at that 25% Capacity Factor, on average 6 hours a day. Cost B again takes it out to 60 years because these also only have a life span of 20 years.

Note 6. This is for the Nameplate Capacity equivalent, but again, I stress it will not supply that full 69 TWH replacement power, and will only deliver 20 TWH. Cost A is for construction only, and Cost B takes it out to that 60 years equivalent with new coal and Nuclear power.

Anton Lang writes as TonyfromOz at PAPundits

He deserves a big thank-you for researching and crunching many of these numbers.

More of  my posts on renewable energy

Hazelwood Image: Original Simpsons fan 66.

The Greens would accept a 5% reduction in Australian emissions by 2020 (and due to our high immigration rates that’s harder than it looks). Because coal produces about <a href=”http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/australia-can-meet-its-2020-targets-with-just-35-nuclear-power-plants-or-8000-solar-ones/”>40% of our emissions</a>, so a reduction of 30% of those emissions from all our major coal fired stations would give us a total national reduction in emissions of 13%. It’s possibly achievable by 2020 (at least the technology is already proven). According to Tony Cox, the word from the local industry is that an upgrade costs about $2b, and a new modern station about $4b.
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We can lower Australian CO2 emissions by… (wait for it) building new coal plants!, 7.2 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/3pcsk2r

235 comments to We can lower Australian CO2 emissions by… (wait for it) building new coal plants!

  • #
    oeman50

    Unfortunately, the scheme you have proposed only addresses lowering the CO2 output. It does not accomplish the real goals of killing off coal use and controling people’s lives so that they live like progressives want them to.

    Otherwise this is an amazing idea to confront greens and find out what they really want. The new, more efficient boilers operate at supercritical pressure and temperature. And on the horizon are the ultra-supercritical boilers that are even more efficient. Before replacement of older units is finished, you may even be building those for even more CO2 savings.


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    Chris Korvin

    Would it be possible to forward this post/article to Chris Huhne , UK Climate Change Minister, with a copy for David Cameron ? I would like to but dont know if I am authorised to..copyright and all that. Cheers, Chris Korvin


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    Jon

    The real aim is to recreate a plansociety with the means enviro/climate propaganda.
    They want enviro-socialism or -communism.


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    Greg, San Diego

    Kudos to the three of you for a great article. This whole concept will put the squeeze on the Greens so that their Red comes through – the watermelons!

    Keep up the good work and good luck to all my Aussie friends to stop the madness of the Gillard group.


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    Owen Morgan

    Chinchilla? It looks like a rat, probably smells like one, too, and produces a tiny amount of fur at eye-watering prices.

    You couldn’t make it up.

    @ Chris Korvin: did you see that Cameron actually congratulated Julia Gillard on her carbon tax? Of course, Cameron does have quite a track record, when it comes to the lack of connection between manifesto commitments and actions undertaken once in office, so it’s hardly surprising that he sees Gillard as a kindred spirit (although I imagine he thinks she’s a bit too right-wing).


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    Joe V.

    Yes but… It’s not just about CO2 any more. It’s a ‘clean energy future’, and coal is still nasty black stuff , not to mention the low carbon economy & the perception of getting away from reliance on fossil fuels altogether.
    So it’ll be a struggle to get anything in this report taken seriously & how to overcome the charges of ‘well Big Coal would say that, wouldn’t they ?


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  • #
    DougS

    Jo: ….It’s the paradox that will torture the Greens. What if the best way to achieve their environmental aims as well as providing jobs and power was to build more coal fired power stations?….

    Last year in a BBC radio discussion a question was put to an audience of 200 ‘deep greens’, words to the effect; “I’m the carbon fairy. If I wave my wand, CO2 will be reduce to 280ppmv and stay there. BUT, everyone can carry on driving SUVs, flying long haul on holiday and burning fossil fuels to their heart’s content – how many of you would like me to wave my wand?”

    TWO people put their hands up!

    Says it all really.


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  • #
    Joe V.

    It’s a great report by the way. Thanks for all the time & effort you’ve all put into it. Now to see what can be done with it, to make it stick.


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  • #
    pattoh

    This should be pushed into every regional paper in Victoria.

    Nailed it!


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    pattoh

    Shame it was not out there before the green love-in on the SBS Insight program last night.

    It was “educational” to see & hear the BZE dreamer in action though.


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  • #

    This study, if accurate, needs to be sent to coalition members as it would make very good GHG policy.
    The average Joe in the street would understand it and comparisons with what the Green Labor alliance is offering are easy to make.

    GHG reductions are straightforward. The money savings are straightforward and technology availability is straightforward.

    In short it’s a no brainer policy that would be hard to counteract.

    Voters living in electorates containing coal power generators and coal mines get to keep their jobs as well as lots of new jobs in capital works. This is guaranteed seats for the coalition at the next election. They only need a couple extra to win government.

    I think Jo should write this up as a newspaper article and send it off to local papers in the above mentioned electorates. They’d lap it up, it means a ray of hope for their readers, it will sell papers.

    Start sending folks

    [Yes, Baa, my thoughts exactly. Help me and road test the numbers. I think we have about 10 (?) large coal fired power plants, so that's $20b to upgrade them all (or $40b to replace). It's still not cheap, but Gillard is spending $2b a year on renewables (at least) - at that rate, we'd get our major plants upgraded by 2020ish anyway. --JN]


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    Hukia

    Excellent article! Id also be interested to know exactly what sort of Bucks and Time we would need to use Thorium.


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    Les Gain

    Good article, but….

    will cover 5.6 square miles, or 9 square kilometres,

    doesn’t look right. Maybe 14.3 square kilometers?


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  • #
    John Trigge

    By itself, this would not achieve a reduction of 80% below 2000 levels by 2050, as proposed in Section 3 of the draft Clean Energy Bill 2011.

    It may/could/might/possibly (had to get in all of the warmist weasel words) be a way of reaching the short-term targets and allow further research into more cost-effective alternatives. Immediately below the stated target is the object to “take that action in a flexible and cost-effective way” so this could be used as a further debating point.

    I can’t see the Greens being flexible on this matter but, given Julia’s back-flips and her eagerness to bend over backwards to gain the Green vote in Parliament, she may be lithe enough by now to see some sense in it.


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  • #
    val majkus

    Great article and thanks to each of the authors; Bob Brown is always spruiking about the new clean Chinese energy so its relevant to that claim as well; so Bob how about we go ahead and do what China is doing?

    In all the excitement I might have missed it but how many power plants would need to be built to achieve the 13% target

    And the other thing is where’s the money coming from; I think it would be brave private investment who would take a chance at this type of investment at least while the current Govt is in power

    Also Peter Lang mentioned this article a couple of days ago

    “Climate pragmatism – innovation, resilience and no regrets”
    http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/Climate_Pragmatism_web.pdf

    and it’s certainly worth a read


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  • #
    AndyG55

    Seeing that Hazelwood is probably produces a largish chunk of CO2, what would be the percentage drop in Australian CO2 JUST by replacing Hazelwood with a new high efficiency power station?

    Certainly the Liberal Party should be made aware of this possibility.. so that when they win the next election they can say,”build new coal power stations”, easily exceed the 5% CO2 drop, and put all the extra money back into hospital, roads etc where it should have been used in the first place.


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    scott

    I am getting Tired of this government and the destruction of my country.

    This report makes sense to me… pity it won’t make it near the mainstream as it would be too damaging


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  • #
    Bulldust

    Once again I think it is useful to reference this link:

    http://www.orer.gov.au/publications/energy-flows2006-07.html

    Eyeball it for a while. There is no medium-term (think decade or so) solution in Australia that does not involve fossil fuels, especially coal. Thanks for the common sense article Jo et al. Unfortunately, as with most common sense and pragmatic approaches, it carries no weight with the fanatical Greens.


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    Bulldust

    This is the insanity that has become entrenched in Europe:

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/9962966/euro-wind-power-tipped-to-treble-by-2020/

    Need I repeat my story about travelling between Barceloa and Andorra (6 times no less) last year, and never seeing a single windmill actually generating, despite good winds?


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  • #
    Ross

    John @ 12

    There is a good piece on Andrew Bolt’s blog today that answers your http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/the_great_carbon_cutting_con/

    Val @ 13 — it may not need any new stations to be built –just upgrade those already in existence. ( obviously there could be other reasons why a new station would be better than an upgrade)


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    Bob Malloy

    Great article. A condensed version with a link back needs to be published in the national media. Have you considered approaching the Australian to get it out to a wider audience?


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    Bruce of Newcastle

    Since our green friends have said that aerosol emissions from China’s coal fired power stations are the reason for the temperature not rising, I’d have to say this is an excellent idea. Why we could control the temperature simply by mandating that the power stations use coal contain a certain amount of sulfur plus turn off all those expensive FGD units.

    On the other hand the world temperature may be cooling because climate sensitivity is too low to overcome the natural solar cooling cycle. In that case we can build more coal fired power stations because CO2 is harmless.

    I think this is called a win-win. Or in greenspeak a catch 22.


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  • #

    As was mentioned in the Post, new stand alone Plants would be more expensive.
    Building the new infrastructure at existing plants would be cheaper because of the existing access to the coal, either at the mine site, or by rail access, considering a large scale plant not near a mine gets its coal via rail. (5 locomotives hauling 100 hoppers each holding 100 tons of coal, hence 10,000 tons of coal, and on average one to two of these train loads a day)
    Building the new infrastructure at existing plants might also alleviate that second major point, that being that currently existing coal fired plants have legally valid contracts to supply electricity, some out to the 2030′s.
    It could be done in the form of an upgrade, and once complete it would be a sideways move to run up and then turn on the new plant, and then turn of and run down the old plant.
    It would also lengthen the employment benefit, one part of that being in the construction of the new infrastructure, and the second part in the cleaning away of all the old infrastructure.
    The contracts would still be in place, or even extended.
    As was also mentioned in the Post, with any move towards the ramping up of the favoured renewables, Wind and Solar, the problem with that will be closing down those coal fired plants and having to buy out those contracts with compensation.
    Constructing new coal infrastructure, in a way, neatly avoids that need for that compensation.
    Victoria is still a problem though as it uses Lignite (brown coal), and the new technology would work at its best efficiency with bituminous and sub bituminous coal grades.
    Tony.


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  • #
    AndyG55

    Tony @22:

    Once our old er coalowered stations are decommissioned, we could ship the old turbines to 3rd world countries to help them with their electricty supply ;-)


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  • #
    AndyG55

    typo.. should read “older coal powered”


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  • #
    System

    A nice twist – it makes sense. Of course the Greens will not see the logic.

    (To be technical, in your table you may want to change the column “POWER DELIVERED” to “ENERGY DELIVERED”. TWh is a unit of energy, not power. Also, the proper unit of energy is the joule (J), although watthour (WH) is commonly used, so to be fully pedantic, you could change the “69 TWH” to “250 PJ” or 250 petajoules and “20 TWH” to “72 PJ” )


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  • #
    val majkus

    TonyfromOz there’s a comment at http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/tips_for_wednesday_august_3/P20/
    addressed to you in case you miss it
    Responding to a question by TonyfromOz re my sources of costs for brown coal power.

    I asserted that brown coal power costs were in the order of 3.5 cents kWh in order to compare these with nuclear power costs of 1.6 cents kWh.

    The actual costs of running Victoria’s brown coal power stations (generators) are closely guarded secrets, however anecdotal evidence suggests the following:

    Hazelwood costs, the cheapest power generator in Australia, are estimated at 2.8 cents kWh, source Australia’s Electricity. This cost was used in the recent, Melbourne University Cost Benefit Analysis to justify the extension of Hazelwood’s life to 2031, which was approved by the Brumby Government.

    Other, newer brown coal generators costs are more expensive than Hazelwood and 3.5 cents kWh is regarded as an appropriate commercial value, even though they rarely get this revenue via AEMO. Private, not mine, expert opinion.

    These costs are supported by revenues received by generatoirs via the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) which are market driven. In 2010 – 2011 RRP prices for Victorian power generators were between 2.7 and 3.4 cents kWh.

    Some generators have contracts with large manufacturing organisations which are negotiated separately and 4 cents kWh seems to be the going rate.

    Hope this answers the question.

    terrarious (Reply)


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  • #

    System at comment 26,
    thanks for that.
    I left in ‘WattHours’ and its multiples in powers of ten, KWH, GWH and TWH as the average person would recognise that more easily from their electricity bill, quoted in KWH
    Tony.


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  • #

    Thanks for that Val at comment 27, and the thing most people would like pointed out in that comment, and especially those Greens calling for the closure of Hazelwood, is that they have a legally binding contract to supply electricity until 2031, still 20 years off.
    There would need to be a healthy compensation package to cover that closure, and my guess would be that Hazelwood will still be supplying power for a very long time yet.
    Tony.


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  • #
    Crakar24

    Good work guys, great post.

    Unfortunately this will fall on deaf ears as the government are hell bent on buying foreign permission to emit 80% of our emissions by 2050 under the guise of saving the planet. Most people are retards so it will happen regardless of the facts, after many years of failed attempts to indoctrinate the populace they have resorted to trying to gain control of the media to exert their will on the people.

    Whats next? suspension of democracy so they can stay in power?


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  • #
    AndyG55

    I still reckon they should turn off power to Parliament house for the resumption of sittings. Give the politicians a taste of what it could be like if this craziness goes ahead.


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  • #

    From Val’s comment at 27 regarding the follow up comment from terrarious where he says:

    Hazelwood costs, the cheapest power generator in Australia, are estimated at 2.8 cents kWh, source Australia’s Electricity.

    Closing down Hazelwood would remove that cheap power from the Victorian grid which would drive up the wholesale price of electricity sold to the grid, and that would then drive up the retail price consumers pay.
    As well, any move to renewables would then also drive that wholesale price up, and drive it up considerably, also spinning off to considerably larger costs for consumers.
    Look at your most recent power bill where it quoted the unit cost per KWH, around 19 to 20 cents per KWH. Remove Hazelwood’s cheap power and replace it with expensive renewable, and then note how many KWH you consumed in the last quarter, and you can see that even a few cents would result in a considerably higher electricity bill.
    Tony.


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  • #
    Ross

    Tony @ 22 & 28.

    Given these generators have contracts for the next 20+yrs then it makes sense for them to convert to the new technology because the alternative is to just pay out the tax ( the Greens can call this a success,if they like). But then the Gillard plan has problems because the revenue from the tax is reduced and there is less money for compensation which will effectively be locked in. Tough !!!
    I’m not sure how it works but if the plan gives the power station carbon units at the start ( based on their current emmission levels) to help mitigate their increased costs but they then invest in new technology maybe they could end up with units to trade –make money from the stupid scheme !!.

    For those commenting above that the idea will not be listened to , I would say that at the very least, it is a very credible idea that the Gillard/Greens Govt. would have to publically address and their decisions defended ( if the idea can get wide spread “coverage” which I’m sure is entirely possible thanks to the Internet)


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    Ross at comment 33,
    with respect to the legislation, there will be an issue of a percentage of free credits to existing coal fired power plants when (if) the legislation comes to pass.
    However, and here’s the kicker in that, those free permits will only be issued if the coal fired power plant submits an approved clean energy plan to show they are moving in that direction of clean energy, and once submitted, that clean energy plan has to be adhered to, or else no more free credits and the earlier ones issued will be rescinded and the extra paid for.
    I wonder if a coal fired plant submitted a proposal to update to the new coal fired technology, would that be acceptable.
    Well, I’d like to see it anyway, just to watch Bob and Christine’s heads explode.
    Tony.


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    AndyG55

    @Ross #32
    “I’m not sure how it works but if the plan gives the power station carbon units at the start ( based on their current emmission levels) to help mitigate their increased costs but they then invest in new technology maybe they could end up with units to trade –make money from the stupid scheme !!.”

    yes, its a delicious idea isn’t it.:-)

    I really hope one of the big coal powered generators can figure out how.


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    Graeme

    “It’s the paradox that will torture the Greens. ”

    No greens will be tortured – they don’t need no stinkin’ cost benefit analysis – they just know what they believe is right!


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    Grant (NZ)

    We have to use 50% less energy per capita

    On this side of the Tasman we have an expression “Yeah Right!” that fits right next to that. Can anyone imagine, firstly, the current generation doing without the cellphone, portable music device, and portable computing. Secondly, can anyone foresee marketers voluntarily stop peddling new devices, that require energy, in order to help achieve a reduction in power consumption. More and more consumer goods are going to be produced (and consumed) and and each new consumer will mount the perpetual upgrade treadmill. Marketers will continue to convince people that it is in their best interests to spend more on their entertainment and leisure. “Buying the next generation i-whatever will save power” – maybe in use but not necessarily in manufacture – but alongside of the 10 other devices there will be an increase in per capita demand.


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    Graeme

    Paul Ehrlich hates this plan.

    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy… would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

    Of course – we’re all idiot children who must obey our learned betters.


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    Patrick

    Yes, let’s see the response of the watermelons to this eminently sensible proposal.


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  • #

    “Bayswater therefore delivers about 35 times as much power as Brightsource, which will henceforth be known as Dimsource.” – I actually LOLed.

    Great post.


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    perturbed

    Granted that with modern coal-fired plants we would be shoving a reduced physical mass of coal into the boilers and making better use of the steam that comes out. This is all to the good. But let us assume for simplicity’s sake that we’re burning pure carbon (not an entirely accurate one when it comes to the Latrobe Valley, it’s true) and that we’re burning it to completion (no carbon monoxide generated) in the reaction

    C + O2 —> CO2 + energy.

    In saying that these new plants can generate “less CO2 for the same energy”, we have to draw distinctions as to which energy we’re talking about, and make it clear to our audience that the “energy” we’re talking about is gigawatts coming out of the stations, NOT heat energy generated in the furnaces. We have to make clear to them that the efficiency of conversion of one to the other is NOT perfect and never CAN be perfect but can certainly be improved, and that the reduction in CO2 generation is achieved by decreasing the proportion of heat energy required to attain the necessary output at the powerlines.

    IF WE CAN TURN A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF HEAT ENERGY INTO USEFUL WORK AT THE TURBINES THAT DRIVE THE GENERATORS, WE CAN BURN LESS COAL AND GENERATE LESS CO2 FOR THE SAME USER DEMAND. This is what clean coal is about, and this is why it works.

    This is the simple message we have to get across to the public. Sadly, the media are addicted to sound-bites. We need effective sound-bites that are scientifically accurate and can be defended to the unscientific layperson in easy-to-explain terms. We need more engineers on our side.


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    MattB

    I see Peter Lang posted on another thread recently, I hope he can hop over here and compare this thread to his own comprehensive thread at Brave New Climate http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/

    Is Peter Tony’s brother?

    The thing with the BNC thread is it looks at actually achieving long term emissions cuts, not just 5%… the reality of the 2 Tonys and Jo analysis is that it locks us in to coal fired tech for the next 40 years which do not deliver the emissions cuts required. It also ignores the costs of severing contracts and decomissioning plant that has many years of life left. But yeah I’m interested in Peter’s thoughts.


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    Colin Henderson

    While I like the idea that more efficient coal power is “green”, I don’t like playing into the orthodoxy that CO2 needs to be reduced in order to prevent non-existent consequences.


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    Bob of Castlemaine

    Anton, Tony, Jo
    Thanks for a great article. It cuts through the fairynomics that our watermelon government is currently brainwashing us with.
    To replace coal generation plants before they reach the end of their useful life does not seem rational. But then nor does wasting countless billions on windmills, solar and gas turbines to only arrive at a power system that provides unreliable, hideously expensive power. Maybe there is some gain in retiring old stations earlier, i.e. the reduction in real pollutants like particulates, NOX and SOX. That the pretext for doing so is CO2 emission reduction, the holy grain of the quasi religious man made warming orthodoxy does grate somewhat. Perhaps the mandated subsidies currently wasted on windmills and solar could be directed to better use in subsidising the cost of early commitment of capital to new plants before rational economics would justify it.
    As, inevitably, it becomes apparent to the average punter that the Emperor has no clothes, the new coal plants would continue to be useful assets. An infinitely better legacy than a countryside littered with tens of thousands of grotesque monuments to our stupidity.
    Sadly however I think the deep seated ideological zealotry of our Green masters in Canberra makes it unlikely such a logical approach would ever be approved.


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    MattB

    Also how many existing coal power stations could realistically be replaced and achieve 30% efficiencies… they are not all hulking behemouths of the past.


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    Tom

    As far as I can work out, the believers continue to live in an alternate universe. This today from a zombie named Josh Dowse at businessspectator.com.au, a left-wing business commentary site aligned with the Greens voters at Crikey.com.au, is truly breathtaking:

    “Side X (believers) is not just the IPCC, but NASA, CSIRO, BOM and every national academy of science. That’s not a global conspiracy, it’s just that almost every new bit of science backs up the consensus. Some new science raises questions, and that’s a good thing. But those doubts are being well answered. The science quoted by the IPCC is conservative: it has to be approved by 180-odd governments, including formerly sceptic nations (there are none left at the national level), and as a review body the science is 2-4 years old when the IPCC publishes it. That’s why each consecutive IPCC report (there has been 4) has underestimated the empirical evidence of changes in climate that followed it.

    “Climate change” is not preferred to “Global warming” because of any cooling. The global trend is still upwards. “Global warming” as a term was an easy target for those people in particular locations for whom the trend may indeed be cooler. The earth’s biosphere is warming. Current average temperature is 14degC. A warming of 2degC is significant; a warming of 4degC is severely damaging. More energy to the system means more and different activity in climate systems, bringing more heat to most but more cool to some.

    My view, anyway.”


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    MattB

    Lol I get a thumbs down for cross referencing to a post by Peter Lang who thinks AGW and reliance on renewable energy is the biggest scam since sliced bread, but has a track record of hard-nosed analysis of the capacity of various energy sources.


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    MattB at comment 42,
    No, Peter and I are not related. I only became aware of him after going to the BNC site.
    As to locking us into Coal fired power for longer time periods, I do have a response to that.
    Wind cannot, and never can be made to provide large scale 24/7/364 power, and at best it will always be closely around than that 38% maximum theoretical level, which equates to barely 9 hours of power a day, tops.
    Solar PV (panels) will struggle to ever reach even 40%, and currently it stands at barely 15%, barely three and a half hours a day on average year round.
    Concentrating Solar (mirrors heating the compound) is touted as the future, and, to much hype, the odd plant here and there has actually achieved generation from solar process alone of 24 hours, for a day here and there, and at frightfully tiny amounts of power. Even so, even those concentrating solar plants quote a best case scenario themselves of barely 60% Capacity Factor, which is still only 14 hours a day at best, and that is using heat diversion which reduces the plants overall 250MW to barely 50MW, and at an added horrendously huge cost.
    Concentrating solar theory is that they May, just may be able to generate 400 to 500MW in a further ten years at the most sanguine best case scenario, and even that for the full 24 hours then reduces considerably to a much lower total power delivery.
    Now pragmatism says that Nuclear power (if ever) is at least 20 to 30 years away.
    This plan for converting from old tech coal fired to new tech coal fired actually fills that time gap until a reliable 24/7/365 LARGE SCALE power generating process can come into being.
    That’s why I suggested it in the first place.
    Tony.


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    Bill Burrows

    Re TonyfromOz@22
    “Victoria is still a problem though as it uses Lignite (brown coal), and the new technology would work at its best efficiency with bituminous and sub bituminous coal grade”. Hang on, aren’t we sending hundreds of millions of tonnes of bituminous coal overseas each year to fuel Power Stations? Surely we could spare a little of Queensland’s reserves for our Victorian mates? Go wash your mouth out you might say. Funnily enough one of the earliest instances of shipboard transport of coal in Australia was the transport of coal from the Callide coal mine in CQ to Victoria in the early 1950′s. My old man was the member for Port Curtis (Gladstone) in the Queensland parliament at the time and made several trips to Melbourne (with Harold Hopper, Secretary of the Gladstone Harbour Board) to help open up the trade. The mine was one of the early ventures of Theiss Brothers who went on to open up the Moura coal mine and many bigger things. (The Moura- Gladstone railway line was the first purpose built coal carrier line in Queensland).


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    Ian Hill

    Minor correction Jo,

    The price for low energy density is the sacrifice of vast kilometers of wilderness. A new solar farm proposed in California, poetically named Brightsource, will cover 5.6 square miles, or 9 square kilometres

    5.6 square miles is about 14.5 square kilometres.


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    Ross

    Matt B

    I know you are a fan of nuclear and that’s fair enough. But at the moment that is a political “no-no”

    If it was decided tomorrow to build a nuclear plant how long would it take and how much would it cost ? How many nuclear would be required to replace all of Australia’s coal fired power plants? That is , is it a realistic option.


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    cohenite

    MattyB, why are you so worried about who likes you?

    If every coal fired power plant is replaced by the Ultra Supercritical technology you would get a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions across the industry; see here:

    http://www.worldcoal.org/coal-the-environment/coal-use-the-environment/improving-efficiencies/

    Of course I don’t care about the CO2 reduction because I know AGW is a scam but the efficiencies of the new technology would reduce power costs, extend the life of the coal reserves and enable cheap power to go to the third world. Being “locked in” to that technology would be a good thing.

    And there is no reason why new technology would not improve the efficiency of coal further.

    All this begs the question; even if there were no CO2 emissions from coal would the Greens still object to the use of coal?


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    MattB

    Just an observation Cohers. I’m sure there are greens who would not be happy, I’m not one of them, I just want clean and reliable energy.


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    Crakar24

    To MattB in 41,

    You stupid, simple, idiotic, easily fooled, gulible moron.

    You said

    The thing with the BNC thread is it looks at actually achieving long term emissions cuts, not just 5%… the reality of the 2 Tonys and Jo analysis is that it locks us in to coal fired tech for the next 40 years which do not deliver the emissions cuts required. It also ignores the costs of severing contracts and decomissioning plant that has many years of life left. But yeah I’m interested in Peter’s thoughts

    Firstly to emission cuts you beleive if we travel down the road of improving CFPS we will lock ourselves into that technology for many years to come and will not be able to achieve the promised cuts………..are you aware that under the ETS we will reduce our emissions by very little and instead we will buy permission slips from foreign bankers to emit CO2? You know this, i know you know this but yet you still type absolute tripe….piss off with your crap MattB.


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    Ellen

    I did send this to my local – Labor – member. Do you think she’ll be excited?


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    MattB

    Cohers the thing is if AGW is a scam then you’d just leave existing plant to run its course, and then when you need new plant or replacement plant then you use what is available that makes the most economic sense at the time. I’m not sure how that isn’t business as usual. There is no logical reason to decommission existing plant which has years left to operate and replace with new plant if it is not the economically sensible thing to do. If it is the economically sensible thing to do then there are no impediments in the way at present regardless.

    If it is all so easy to replace old with new then why are we wasting time and money on Carbon Capture and Storage?


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    Crakar24

    To MattB,

    You often claim to be a supporter of nuclear energy because you think it is a “clean” alternative, a clean alternative to what? Once again your studity knows no bounds. Tell Matt how is Nuke cleaner than coal? Please remind me amd whilst you are at it maybe you can tell the Japs why as well. You are an idiot of the highest order and everytime you post crap i am going to call you on it.


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    val majkus

    o/t (sorry MV)
    Here’s a copy of an e mail I’ve received from the Galileo Movement with some suggestions on what to do with the carbon tax brochure:

    THE RETURN TO SENDER CAMPAIGN IS A GREAT IDEA

    ALTERNATIVE SUGGESTIONS HAVE ALSO BEEN CIRCULATED BY EMAIL

    Please DO NOT simply mark Gillard’s Carbon Tax propaganda brochure (arriving in your letterbox soon) “RETURN TO SENDER” or post it with a stamp to Greg Combet.

    ALP politicans will just bin them and no one will ever know!!!!

    Here’s a better idea!

    Post the brochure with postage stamps to
    Mr Jacques Laxale
    CATA (Consumers and Taxpayers’ Association)
    7 Hunt Street, Schofields NSW 2762.
    CATA is helping to organize the August Canberra rally. The brochures will be delivered back to Paliament on that day – along with a video crew.
    (I have spoken to Mr Laxale and confirmed the above details.)

    Alternatively, consider forwarding your brochure with a brief note to -
    * your nearest federal Liberal/National MP or Senator; or
    * newly elected DLP Senator John Madigan. Electorate Office:
    17 Albert Street, Ballarat Vic 3350

    SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE
    There have been many suggestions over the past week to Return to Sender the CO2 pamphlet about to arrive from the government.
    However, we’d rather you send your CO2 pamphlet to us! You’re welcome to read it first if you wish; mark it with a protest message if you like and then mail it to us at

    Galileo Movement PO Box 71, Ashgrove West Qld 4060
    (please write “AXE THE TAX” on the envelope)

    My preference is the CATA proposal esp if delivery is accompanied by a video crew


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    MattB

    Crackar just posting to let you know I am no longer engaging with you on this blog.


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    bananabender

    I have long wondered why coal power stations aren’t built as the centrepiece of large petrochemical plants. You have a huge amounts of waste heat and useful chemical feedstocks in abundance. You could make syngas, diesel, polymers, fertilisers etc in situ.

    Any chemical engineers here to enlighten me?


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    cohenite

    Carbon capture and storage is a dud idea MattyB; see the link and explanation in the essay. The reason why the coal industry is wasting time on CC is also mentioned; they’re gutless.


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    MattB

    I completely agree CCS is a dud don’t worry about that. What I want to know is why the coal industry would promote it when it has supercritcal plant ready to roll with 40% efficiancy gains. Gutless doesn’t sound too plausible to me, my gut feeling is that replacing existing plant is cost prohibitive.

    Even if it was not a genuine solution to climate change, I’d imagine it would be a highly politically favourable option at the moment.


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    DavidH

    I find myself agreeing with MattB – if the existing coal fired plants aren’t at the end of their economic lifetimes, then there would seem to be no need to upgrade to the new technology before then.

    But maybe the economically literate out there can set me right. I calculated that the savings in coal usage would be some 6.8 million ton(nes?) annually or $204m at $30 per ton. As the upgrade cost is given as $4.8b, the payoff time is 23.5 years. Of course that ignores financing costs, nor takes into account other economic factors (future discounts, NPV and other terms I don’t really understand), nor rises (or falls?) in the future cost of coal, nor the cost of losing part of the service lifetime of the old plant. Does it become beneficial to switch over now rather than later? And if so, why isn’t it already happening?

    Don’t get me wrong, I generally like the idea. If – as seems probable – we will be forced to spend anything at all to satisfy demands that CO2 emissions be reduced, then Coal V2.0 will cost us (a lot) less than the other schemes, as well as providing on-going reliability of power supply.


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    MattB

    DavidH – I guess while a plant may have an “economic lifetime” of 40 years… in reality a plant reaches the end of its economic lifetime as soon as an alternative exists that can do the job for less money (all costs not just fuel use). But if that was the case it would happen anyway.


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    Brett_McS

    I look forward to the time when people are demanding we release more CO2 into the atmosphere. Let’s really help make Australia green! Literally!


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    Bruce of Newcastle

    MattB at #62

    Matt are you thick? Exactly which private corporation is going to build any type of coal fired power station in a country where (a) approvals are unlikely to be given (b) there is a mad mandated 20% renewables target causing the building of vast amounts of stupid windmills and solar PV capacity and (c) where Greenpeace, WWF the Wildness Society and the Greens are going to queue for the chance to chain themselves to anything that moves within 10 km of the proposed plant. Not to mention the sovereign threat of forced closure eg Hazelwood.

    The NSW Government is building two coal fired brownfield units – very quietly approved by the ALP last year – because it is that or blackouts. But they would never have happened if supercritical were required because the publicity would’ve made the ALP bleeding even worse.

    When the Federal Goverment gives firm guidelines for power capacity – supercrit coal, nuclear or whatever, and guarantees no sovereign risk issues, then you might just see a few projects appear. Meanwhile risking capital right now on Julia’s whims is a losers game.


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    [...] We can lower Australian CO2 emissions by… (wait for it) building new coal plants! [...]


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    Bruce of Newcastle at comment 69, and all of you, especially those in NSW,
    This image shows why in NSW, those units were given approval.
    http://papundits.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/nsw-demand-master.jpg?w=594&h=435
    If this image does not make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, then you’re immune to fright.
    Without that approval for an expansion at Mt. Piper, then it’s plainly obvious that rolling brownouts would be the result, and as early as 2015/16.
    And also, look what happens each year thereafter if there is no 24/7/365 power forthcoming.
    All the wind and all the solar cannot fill that gap.
    The ‘toss up’ for Mt Piper, (and also the approved Bayswater expansion)is between 2 X Ultra Supercritical new technology Coal fired turbine/generator units or 6 X Combined Cycle Gas Turbine/generator units. (CCGT)
    New coal fired would be an extension at both plants, hence not as expensive as new ‘green field’ plants.
    If they ‘plump’ for the CCGT, that would then necessitate pipelines to bring the Gas to the plant, probably from as far afield as Queensland.
    You guess which one would look the most attractive in this ‘green climate’, and it won’t be the coal fired option, but the horrendously more expensive and complex CCGT option.
    Look again at that image.
    Tony.


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    Bob of Castlemaine

    Re Bill Burrows:@ 51
    The initial decision to base Victoria’s power generation industry on local brown coal was always more to do with politics than economics. The decision, made in the early part of last century, was based largely on maintaining an independent coal supply, free of the vagaries of political and industrial relations in the state of NSW. Obviously the provision of local employment has also been an important plus for the region ever since.
    While the brown coal is dirt cheap, literally, the capital expenditure associated with coal handling and boilers is very much higher than for black coal. So much so that economic evaluation done some years ago, based purely on life cycle costs per MW concluded it would still be cheaper to build local (Victorian) black coal stations and import black coal from interstate.


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    Graeme

    @69.

    Tony – so the greens hit the reality wall in 2014/15.

    The 2016 elections will be interesting.


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    janama

    The second largest Lignite (Brown Coal) power station is the Jänschwalde Power Station on the Germany/Poland border.

    http://www.vattenfall.com/en/ccs/janschwalde.htm

    It is currently undergoing a refit to add new efficient boilers and Carbon Capture and storage. It’s in the same position as our Victorian power stations at Hazelwood and Loy Yang. If the Germans can do – why can’t we.

    The advantage of the project you are proposing is that these new power stations could be built where the coal is as our electricity grid now covers the whole of the east coast region.

    BTW did you hear that the coal seam gas people have now admitted they can’t guarantee they won’t harm the aquifers!! I’d say it’s curtains for them.


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    John Watt

    In the big picture the debate is clearly being run by Gillard and the Greens. Why for example is time being devoted to discussion/investigation of power station technology when it has not been established that CO2 emissions are “harmful”? Surely a diversion of just a small portion of the effort being spent wrestling with Gillard and the Greens would be enough to establish the basic physics/chemistry of the behaviour of CO2 in the presence of infrared radiation! Once we understand those basic processes then we will be in a position to give CO2 in its proper ranking as a driver of climate change. Then we will be in a position to have meaningful debates eg

    Is a climate change a problem?

    Which of its causes can we control? What is the net benefit of such control?

    What impacts of climate change do we have to learn to live with? What are the required strategies?


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    cohenite

    MattyB and DH; you may well be right that there is a cost issue in replacing the existing coal power plants with the new technology. There are several dimensions to this. The first and most important is that we are discussing this in the context of the false spectre of AGW; if your ‘solution’ to AGW is to initially lower emissions by 5% and you want to do that in the most cost effective way [as the new legislation declares] then there is no question but replacing some or all of the existing coal technology with the new Ultra Supercritical. That is unassailable by any criteria except Green fanaticism.

    If you take ‘solving’ AGW out of the equation then it is matter of the usual financial comparisons. From a business viewpoint would you continue with the less efficient, existing coal plants, or invest in the new and offset the capital cost with the savings from the greater efficiencies?


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    John Watt at comment 74,
    my position all along has been to concentrate on the implications that this ‘blind faith’ in needing to reduce CO2 will have, most especially on that electrical power generating sector.
    So while people have been concentrating on the ‘Science’, I have been attempting to show what that will ultimately lead to.
    I can’t ‘fight’ against that Science, but an understanding of electrical power generation is my way of trying to show that you can believe all you want to about the Science, but until you are aware of what that will lead to, then you’re not getting the whole story.
    Tony.


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    Anton’s articles on power generation are always practical and well focused. Many have been recommending and linking to them for some time. (For what it’s worth, I sent a link some time ago to Abbott.)

    It is clear that we will go on using coal. It is clear that our domestic consumption will be needlessly wasteful and expensive, while expatriated Australian coal burns cheaply in ever greater quantities.

    Modernised coal power, a continental-scale revolution in bushfire management, nukes and hydro would all work effectively to reduce the problems envisaged (or imagined) by our Green Betters. The fact that every one of these solutions is a matter for indifference or hostility on their part shows clearly that this was never about CO2 or methane or true conservation.

    I’m an optimist. Communism used to be posh in the 1930s. I think the Greens are now having their 1930s: a period wherein self-loathing and misanthropy are being successfully disguised as upper-crust benevolence toward a vaguely defined victim or victim-class. At least for the moment, all the very best people think that Green is the new black. But those who are idly Green will soon be idly Something Else. (The media attention given to Christine Milne will achieve more than a thousand Andrew Bolts to hasten that shift.)

    I don’t think the Greens will go away, but they will soon lose their posh appeal, which is far more critical to them than they will ever confess. They will still be around, like Ken Done prints or pineapple fritters, but right now may well be the peak of their middle-class appeal. Of course, they could turn into a brutal, amoral political force of the Left. Come to think of it…


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    Crakar24

    MattB in 61,

    Said

    Crackar just posting to let you know I am no longer engaging with you on this blog.

    I guess its easier to say that than answer a few simple questions, anyway thats fine with me MattB but remember every time you gob off bullshit i will be there to point it out to you.

    Here is an example of your crap, you claim we need to reduce emitting CO2, Tony here has explained a way to do it. Your response is why get rid of old coal power stations if they still have 30 to 40 years of life, its just a waste of money? Ummm because you want us to reduce emitting CO2?

    You then claim nuclear power is clean power…..what a crock of shit Matt, i dont need to go into detail about spent fuel rods etc do i?


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    Ross

    It looks like the Germans would support comments made about solar power in the above article

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,776698,00.html


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    Remember? The left will pick evil over good, wrong over right, and behavior that leads to failure rather than success on principle.

    Hence, the proposal will be rejected by them on the grounds that:

    1. It is good because it promotes a prosperous and healthy future.

    2. Its consequences are right for the environment and the people living in it.

    3. The increased lower cost energy will lead to a successful more productive economy.

    It doesn’t have a chance if it depends upon the left’s supporting it. You say this is absurd? Well, it depends upon what you are after.

    I suggest that you not question the absurdity until you determine what it accomplishes. When you find that, you will have discovered its purpose. After that, the only question remaining is what to do about it.


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    janama

    Here’s a list of the Australian Coal Power Stations greater than 1000MW

    Bayswater Power Station
    2,640 MW Hunter Valley , NSW

    The four generating units were completed progressively over 1985 and 1986.

    Callide Power Station 1,720 Hunter Valley, NSW

    Callide A has been in storage since 2001, except for Unit 4 which is being used for the Callide Oxyfuel project.[3] Callide B was commissioned in 1988 with two 350 MW steam turbines.

    The Callide Power Plant (a.k.a. Callide C) was commissioned in 2001 with two 450 MW advanced cycle steam tubines.[4] Callide C uses a more efficient “supercritical” boiler technology to burn coal to generate electricity.[

    Eraring Power Station 2,640 Central Coast NSW.

    The first turbo-alternator was brought online in 1982, with the second and third in 1983, and the fourth in 1984. There are plans to upgrade generating capacity of each of the four turbines.

    Gladstone Power Station 1,680 Near Gladstone, Queensland.

    Power from the station was first generated in 1976 with six coal powered steam turbines

    Hazelwood Power Station 1,600 Latrobe Valley, Victoria,

    a brown coal fueled base-load power station built between 1964 and 1971. The station was listed as the least carbon efficient power station in the OECD in a 2005 report by WWF Australia. There is an estimated 500 years of easily accessed coal reserves remaining in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

    Liddell Power Station
    2,000 the Hunter Valley, New South Wales,

    4 x 500 MW GEC (UK) steam driven turbo alternators.

    Loy Yang Power Station 3,150 Traralgon, in south eastern Victoria

    Commissioned 1985 4 x generating units.

    Mount Piper Power Station
    1,400 Portland, in the Central West of New South Wales.

    coal powered with two steam turbines 700MW each. Commissioned 1993. In 2007 & early 2008 there was public talk of ‘completing’ the power station but using modern super-critical, dry-cooling tower, coal-fired units of up to 1000MW capacity which uses much less water from surrounding rivers.

    On the 7th of April 2010 the New South Wales Department of Planning announced that approval had been given to Delta Electricity to ‘complete’ the station by installing 2000MW of new generating capacity.

    Tarong Power Station 1,470 Nanango, in Queensland,

    total of four turbines. Commissioned 1984

    Vales Point Power Station 1,320 Vales Point Central Coast NSW.

    It has two steam turbines, Commissioned 1978

    Yallourn Power Station 1,450 Latrobe Valley, Victoria.

    Brown coal powered, Built in the 70s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_coal_power_stations

    Clearly it’s the 3 Victorian Brown Coal stations that need to be upgraded.


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    Lionel Grffith @ 80

    You’re right. The end justifies the means – there are certain ‘Protocols’ that the ‘Symbolic Snake’ must follow.


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    AndyG55

    Crakar24 @78

    It should also be noted that wind turbines are by no means a sensible environmental solution.
    They get scattered everywhere, ruining scenary, injuring birds, installing them often means chopping down trees and similar, and all this WITHOUT a whisper from the Green environmentalists…. and don’t get me started about the mess in China from rare earth mining and processing.

    How and person with any environmental leanings can in any way accept wind turbines as a solution is something I really can’t understand. It is VERY OBVIOUS that the Greens and Labor DON’T CARE about the environment.. AT ALL.


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    Thanks janama,
    in Queensland, you’re also looking at:
    Stanwell – 1440MW
    Milmerran – 850MW
    Kogan Creek – 750MW
    All three are ‘considered’ medium large scale for Australia, and all add considerably to the Queensland grids.
    Tony.


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    Louis Hissink

    Kevin Moore @ #22

    Coal is believed to be buried and compressed vegetation. This means psychologically it can’t be all that dangerous. The problem is that the amount of radionuclides being emitted from coal is impossible to explain as a vegetative source; this problem is explained by supposing that those radionuclides were somehow scavenged out of nearby sediments that the coal occurs in.

    An alternative theory is that coal, black coal, is a carbon deposit formed from the deposition from mantle t methane. A mantle origin for coal carbon also easily explains the existence of radionuclides in these coals. Note that lignite does not contain these radionuclides, only the black coals.

    This scenario is dismissed by mainstream science because itthe means coal isn’t recycled atmospheric carbon and hence the carbon cycle is wrong.

    Depends on what your science is based on, empiricism or consensus. Empiric science points to a mantle origin the carbon in coal. Consensus that it’s buried vegetation using the logical fallacy of arguing the consequent.


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    [...] We can lower Australian CO2 emissions by… (wait for it) building new coal plants! [...]


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    Bill Burrows

    janama@81
    The Callide power stations are adjacent to Biloela in Central Qld, not in the Hunter Valley. They use black coal(once exported to Victoria for power generation in the early 1950,s and which I referred to @51). Obviously the Victorians stopped using it in favour of their nice brown coal, as noted by Bob @71. More coal left for Qld I guess, although we have more than enough to go around.


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    Bill Burrows

    Louis Hissink @85
    I’m not trained to argue with your contention. However I would love to show you the magnificent fossilised tree trunks I have in my front garden. The specimens came from coalfields at Blackwater in CQ.


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    Louis Hissink @ 85

    In my opinion if coal were a fossil fuel then the fossils would have had to have been stacked stories high.

    Thorium power generation would be the way to go from what I read.

    There is more energy left in the flyash that what the same coal produced when combusted.


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    Bill Burrows, you need to read some of Tommy Gold’s books. He explains the tree trunks in coal quite easily. It isn’t as simple as you think. You need to go back to the formation of the solar system and the element distribution in the dust and gas cloud when you think about this.

    TonyfromOz: We already have a clean source of large scale power but we have the equivalent of sacred cows in Australia. Maybe nuclear needs rebranding as “genesis” power or something. After all the heavy elements were all made and spread in the flare of a supernova long before our solar system was formed. So was the gold you wear in jewellery. Awesome when you think about it.


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    Madjak

    So how much of our hard earnt would it cost to upgrade the stations to meet the target above?

    Would this be a cheaper option than the temporary tax bribe with the tax on the letter C?

    If comparable, this could be a fall back position. Whilst I am not a fan of pollution, I a even less of a fan of participating in a command economy.

    And to think this report came about without theneed for a nanny knows best tax.


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    janama

    Thanks Tony – Kogan Creek is an example of a modern super heated, air cooled coal power station, as is Milmerran.

    Small, (750MW) highly efficient power units. Low CO2 – output ratios etc. We need to build heaps of them wherever there is coal.

    Thank you Bill Burrows – my mistake.


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    JuergS

    Good news for coal!

    Beside I agree with Kevin Moore and Hukia: Liquid Fluorid Thorium Reactors (LFTR) are a VERY promising source of energy. Watch this Google Tech Talk on Youtube:

    Energy From Thorium: A Nuclear Waste Burning Liquid Salt Thorium Reactor
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZR0UKxNPh8&feature=relmfu


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    Crakar24 @ 78:

    Nuclear power is clean. The spent fuel rods of yesterday’s nuclear power technology are the fuel source for tomorrow’s nuclear power technology. With the addition of the prospect that tomorrow’s nuclear power technology can consume weaponized plutonium, it’s a very ignorant and misanthropic position to believe nuclear power is dirty.

    A forward looking analysis of energy generation reveals only five contenders; oil, coal, methane, nuclear and ocean thermal. The rest are simply not abundant enough or cost effective as anything other than boutique options.

    If you are looking for C02 free power generation and don’t want to go the nuclear path then OTEC is the only choice. It still has significant technical problems to overcome but, being able to harness solar energy from a third of the planet’s surface whilst delivering a supply of fresh water is a no-brainer.


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    Peter Lang

    MattB @ 44, 49,

    I do not appreciate your intentional misrepresentation of my position:

    Lol I get a thumbs down for cross referencing to a post by Peter Lang who thinks AGW and reliance on renewable energy is the biggest scam since sliced bread, ….

    You know better than this; you know my position. You left out the “C” from CAGW. Such misrepresentation is dishonesty. It is this sort of dishonesty that CAGW Alarmists practice frequently. It is this sort of dishonesty that is discrediting their whole case about catastrophic consequences of AGW. Who’d trust anything they say?

    For the record:

    1. I accept man is having some influence on the climate, but I am not persuaded we know how much.

    2. I am not persuaded that global warming is as bad as the Catastrophists would have us believe. I’ve posted several times on this in previous threads here and elsewhere.

    3. I am not persuaded that the CAGW Alarmists’ policy prescriptions are rational.

    4. I do not believe Australia should implement the Green-Labor carbon pricing and climate control legislation. I feel this government has proven to be incompetent at managing the country and I would not trust them with any such policy that will have such a massive effect on Australia – in many ways

    5. I am far from persuaded that Australia applying a carbon price, ahead of our major trading partners and competitors, will reduce world CO2 emissions nor change the climate. However, I do believe it will severely damage our economy and disadvantage Australia. That will make Australia less able to afford the appropriate policies in the future (not just for climate but for everything).

    6. I strongly believe we need due diligence before we commit to a policy that will make major changes to Australia, will be difficult and costly to unwind and will cost us dearly. What is needed is well explained here: http://joannenova.com.au/2011/07/spending-billions-why-not-do-a-due-diligence-study/

    7. As TonyfromOz pointed out, #50, we are not related and only became aware of each other recently. We have different backgrounds, knowledge and experience. I had no input to the article.

    8. I have sent my comments about the article to TonyfromOz by email.

    9. The article you pointed to “Emission Cuts Realities” http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/ remains valid although some figures would be updated if I was to rerun it now.


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    Bill Burrows

    Mike Borgelt @89

    Easy Mike. I was providing a real world observation, not making a dogmatic statement. Tommy Gold was obviously an interesting character and a polymath. Good for him and us. But the little I could quickly Google on this suggests the science supporting his origins of coal theory is certainly “not settled”. Perhaps my fossilised wood specimens are merely markers of when the associated coal material came into contact with my “trees”. Or maybe they are both simply accidentally juxtaposed? In any event a reference to the most relevant Gold book would be appreciated.


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    Peter Lang

    Bill Burrows @51,

    Thank you for that intersting bit of history.


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    MattB

    Peter in 93, sincerely I apologise. My leaving out the “C” was not intended to misrepresent you in any way. I was simply hoping that you may be able to cast your eye over this article, as I have read many insightful pieces by yourself on the subject of electricity generation and supply, and felt that this article was in conflict with that. I was simply, and genuinely, interested in the opinion of someone that I know has a wealth of knowledge in the field.

    Your points 1-7 are all fair enough and sorry for making you feel you had to clarify your position.

    Thanks for your comment in point 9.

    Is there any chance you can share your comments in point 8, in the spirit of the blogosphere. I think many would benefit, as otherwise this post will become an accepted norm.


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    Joe V.

    OT: An admission from an old worthy in a Lefty think tank, that Politics is failing to take the people along, in it’s pursuit of climate change and why the carbon tax is failing in Australia.

    Not withstanding the shameless dishonesty of it all , he does seem to be grasping that the Irksome electorate are waking up and aren’t going to be conned by smart talking politicians with global ambitions .

    I give you:
    Democratic Challenges in tackling climate change, by Barry Jones


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    I concur with every one of Peter Lang’s points at comment 94.
    He mentioned to me that I should better explain the Levelised Cost Of Electricity. (LCOE) This is the extrapolated cost of each unit of electricity over the life of the Plant.
    Where possible I extrapolate out that LCOE, and that is explained, to a degree, in Notes at the bottom of the original Post in reference to the chart used in the middle of the Post.
    I have found that with some LCOE sites I have visited, they paint the worst case scenario for that LCOE with respect to coal especially, and the bast case scenario with respect to the renewables.
    With respect to coal, they add on the Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) impact, something which will never be achieved on the scale required. This adds an extra 40 to 50% onto the cost of the plant, and because it sucks up around 40% of the power generated by the plant, which then lowers the total power produced over the life of the plant by a significant amount.
    So, greater cost and less power leads to a much higher initial unit cost, or unite cost for the electricity, be that Nameplate Capacity, or, more importantly, the power for consumption.
    Then they add on the cost of the steaming coal at the highest amount they can.
    They also give the plant a life expectancy of barely 40 years.
    All these worst case scenarios lead to a higher unit cost.

    WRT to the renewables, they quote the best case theoretical data for power they can generate, again something not achieved anywhere, and then they give those renewables the same life expectancy of a coal fired plant, again something none of them will be able to achieve.

    So, even while I leave out CCS and its implications the figures I use are as close as I can get to a true LCOE, and in each case I explain that.

    Even using those sanguine figures at those LCOE sites, coal fired power still works out cheaper than any of the renewables of choice.
    You may think it convenient that I have left out CCS to ‘seem’ like that would give me figures for coal fired power that look better than what they should be, but for those of you with any queries about CCS, then refer to this Post.
    Clean Coal Hole In The Ground – Just Throw In Money
    Read the Post carefully, especially with regard to the amounts of CO2 emitted, and the need for the process to be accomplished ‘AT THE SAME RATE’ as the CO2 is being emitted from the plant.
    Those extrapolated costs are indeed more accurate than you might get by visiting most LCOE sites, especially those at the Wiki site which are, er, amended, to paint as bad a picture for coal fired power as could possibly be painted, and still ‘their’ data shows coal fired power as less expensive.
    I’ have no reason to ‘massage’ data. It’s as accurate as I can work out.
    Tony.


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    Joe V.

    Matt B. @64

    , my gut feeling is that replacing existing plant is cost prohibitive.

    well done Matt B. , but your gut doesn’t tell you anything about fantastically cost prohibitive and ineffective windmills will be at reducing CO2 production ? No, not if it’s in pursuit of some political Alice in Wonderland that’s too cost prohibitive to comprehend ?


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    MaryFJohnston

    Louis @ 85

    Our local coal seams are encased in layers of sandstone, shale, conglomerate and of course the sequence repeats.

    This suggests that beautiful black anthracite is at least locally, sedimentary in origin.

    The fact that it is enriched with radon may simply be due to the common factors that apply to swamps and Radon. Low lying areas naturally attract Radon gas and the vegetation that produces the coal.

    Are there any black coal deposits that seem to be geologically out of character with the commonly found sedimentary sites?


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    MattB

    Joe you get no argument from me there re: wind. I’ve given my gut feeling, and made it clear that is all it is, and then invited/encouraged Peter Lang to comment as I think we all could benefit from that.


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    CameronH

    Janama @ 72, I would say that nobody can guarantee anything. The fact that they can dig big holes with explosions and dig up coal would suggest that it is ok to dig smaller holes and extract gas with only the same risks. I woyuld suggest that the claim that coal seem gas extraction will destroy the great artesian basin is akin to the claim that a small increase in atmospheric CO2 will destroy the great barrier reef.


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    bananabender

    @Louis Hissink:
    August 3rd, 2011 at 4:49 pm
    Comment 85

    One of my mates was a leading coal geologist who made two major discoveries in Queensland. He has told me numerous times that the whole rotting vegetation model of coal seems totally implausible when compared with his observations over decades of exploration.

    Thermodynamics tell us that the only by-products of rotting biomass present after after millions of years of high temperatures and pressures would be simple relatively unreactive molecules such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and and water. You certainly wouldn’t expect complex hydrocarbons of biological origin to survive these conditions.

    Methane and light hydrocarbons are readily created from non-biological materials (eg limestone water and iron oxide) using high temperatures and extreme pressures similar to those found in the mantle.

    As the Russian experts say oil (and coal) is a non-biological material contaminated with biological matter.

    I would add as someone who has experience in industrial microbiology that I can’t imagine any real world situation where biomass can accumulate fast enough to form large reserves coal or oil. The reality is that relatively rapid (a few weeks to a few millenia) and complete degradation of accumulated biological material by microorganisms will occur under almost any conditions that occur in the upper crust.


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    Bob of Castlemaine

    Janama: @ 81
    As far as carbon intensity (CO2 emitted per unit of energy output) both Playford B power station in SA and the Morwell power station in Vic have higher carbon intensities than Hazelwood power station. So Hazelwood does not even have the highest carbon intensity in Australia, let alone in the OECD.
    I don’t think it’s wise to place too much credence on what you read in WWF reports.


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    janama

    CameronH: – digging big holes to extract coal in one area is different to having hundreds, even thousands of drill holes across a wide area of prime agricultural land that may never return to being as fully productive as it is now.


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    janama

    Bob – I haven’t read an WWF reports. I was trying to list the largest power stations we have, where they are and a brief history of their output etc.


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    janama

    I might add it was all gleaned from Wiki.


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    Patrick

    Unfortunately the opposing ideology (not mine) will rationalise as follows viz.

    Any current investment in coal-fired power stations will commit us to a further 20 years of dependence on coal and is money that will be unavailable to fund ‘alternative energy sources’.
    It has been explained to me that Gillard’s long term goal is to make coal-fired power so expensive that the electorate will be more easily ‘persuaded’ (blackmailed) to accept nuclear energy which is the ONLY realistic, affordable alternative capable of meeting base load requirements. The thorium technology, in particular, is attractive because
    (a) thorium is more abundant than uranium
    (b) zero carbon dioxide emissions
    (c) easily controllable (switch off the power and it shuts down – no risk of meltdown)
    (d) no radioactive by-products (the by-product is lead)

    To me the carbon tax and ETS constitute horrific expense and threaten our economy.


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    John Watt

    TonyfromOz @ 76

    My concern is that Gillard and Co are proceeding on a very flimsy assumption about the guilt of CO2 in the climate change arena. The most efficient way to halt the advance of Gillard down a path that will be disastrous for Oz is to attack the flimsy assumption. To me the most incisive way to mount that attack is via the fundamental physics/chemistry of the behaviour of CO2. If it can be conclusively shown that CO2 is incapable of doing the things that Gillard/Gore accuse it of then we have an efficient and decisive end to the matter. To be frank I am surprised that engineers/scientists associated with projects such as CO2 capture and storage, efficient power station furnace designs etc. where the behaviour of various gases is of paramount importance have not sought to think outside the box and focus their expertise on the fundamental behaviour of CO2. It does seem that the blind acceptance of the “evils of CO2″ is diverting such expertise from tackling the core question.


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    MaryFJohnston

    John Watt:

    Great reminder of the core issue @111.

    CO2 is not involved in MM GW so suggesting solutions to satisfy the “Problem” is admitting that the “problem” exists.

    John’s point is very central to winning votes and avoiding the non “solution” of expensive renewables.

    The public must be given a clear and scientifically accurate solution to the CO2 argument before politicians will move in the right direction.

    So far, I’m not aware of any politician in the world who is game to “come out” on the real situation with CO2 and Global Warming.

    The real situation needs to be clearly posed, it can be done.

    Given that for approximately every 3 units of man made CO2 produced there are about 97 units of CO2 with natural attribution, the use of the assumption that man made CO2 is a major player needs rethinking.

    The presence or absence of a Mount Pinatubo in any year can overshadow the human component of CO2.

    That’s even before we start to account for the effect of water in the air.

    As John suggests, go for the heart of the problem and make it understandable for the public.

    This will free the politicians to use some common sense.


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    Peter Lang

    Ross @53 asked MattB:

    I know you are a fan of nuclear and that’s fair enough. But at the moment that is a political “no-no”

    If it was decided tomorrow to build a nuclear plant how long would it take and how much would it cost? How many nuclear would be required to replace all of Australia’s coal fired power plants? That is , is it a realistic option.

    I’ll take a swing at these excellent questions. But first let me address the premise.

    You say nuclear is a ‘no-no’. I agree it is. But that is political. It is an irrational position. It is equally irrational to argue we must cut CO2 emissions but preclude the means to do so. The reason we have such irrational positions is because of 50 years of anti-nuclear scare-mongering and over 20+ years of eco-nonsense scaremongering about CAGW and 20+ years of renewable energy advocacy. So we need to address the anti-nuclear phobias and irrational beliefs if we want to cut CO2 emissions without damaging our economy.

    Nuclear is expensive if we implement it with all the impediments to it that exist in the western democracies. But we should not do that.

    Your questions:

    If it was decided tomorrow to build a nuclear plant how long would it take?

    About 4 years construction time for new plants in Korea, China, Japan. However, we should expect to take another 2 years or so for the first in Australia. We also need to allow time to develop our legislative framework, regulatory authority, and education facilities and go through the planning processes. I’d say, if the Labor Party dumped its anti-nuclear policy at its December Policy Convention and decides it is important to implement low-cost nuclear power in Australia as quickly as practicable, we could have our first nuclear plant operating within 10 years – say in 2021-22.

    how much would it cost?

    That depends. If we implement the sort of nuclear regulatory regimes that exist in the USA, Canada, UK and Europe, and we do all we can to make it near impossible for investors to get a return on their investment, the first plants will cost around $5 billion per GW (1000 MW).

    However, there is an alternative. I explained it on the “Alternative to Carbon Pricing” thread here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-109491 (the thread is slow to load initially because there are over 500 comments).

    How many nuclear would be required to replace all of Australia’s coal fired power plants?

    In 2007 the demand in the National Electricity Market (Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, SA and Tas) was:

    Peak = 33 GW
    Average = 25 GW
    Baseload (winter) = 20 GW
    Baseload (summer) = 17 GW

    Ignoring the reserve capacity margin (to keep it simple) we need to maintain, we could meet the current demand with:

    1. 25 GW of nuclear plus 8GW of pumped hydro, or
    2. 25 GW of nuclear plus 8GW of gas & coal, or
    3. 33 GW of nuclear with load following capability, or
    4. some other mixture.

    By 2030 electricity demand will be substantially higher than now. If electricity is cheap, electricity demand will increase faster. If electricity is sufficiently cheap it would begin to replace gas for heating and oil for land transport (reducing emissions from these sectors). This will be a long process but that is what cheap electricity will facilitate – not only in Australia but all over the world. Raising the cost of electricity is bad policy, for many reasons including reducing emissions.

    That is, is it a realistic option?

    Excellent question. My answer is that, if we want to cut GHG emissions substantially, it is the only realistic option. Renewables are not going to be viable for decades, if ever (probably never).

    France generates 75% of its electricity from nuclear and most of the rest from hydro and pumped hydro. It exports large amounts of electricity to most other European countries. It has about the least cost electricity in Europe. It has by far the lowest CO2 emissions from electricity generation of any country in Europe and any significant sized economy. Frances’ emissions from electricity are about 20% of Denmark’s, – Denmark being the ‘pin up’ country for the renewable energy advocates!

    You might like to look at this excellent page showing the generator types that are providing Frances electricity today. http://www.rte-france.com/fr/developpement-durable/maitriser-sa-consommation-electrique/eco2mix-consommation-production-et-contenu-co2-de-l-electricite-francaise Move your mouse left and right across the stacked area chart and notice how the proportions change in the pie chart below. Notice the proportions of nuclear, hydro, gas and wind. Scroll down to see the CO2 emissions chart. (save the link for future). This chart answers your question. It shows what is realistic. It shows what I believe Australia will have to implement if we want to de-carbonise our electricity generation – without reducing our natural advantage.

    By the way, France commissioned most of its nuclear power plants, far more than Australia would need, over a period of about 20 years. So, yes, definitely nuclear is the realistic (and probably the only realistic) approach for Australia to take if we want to cut CO2 emissions substantially.

    Of course, we would not build the old clunkers that France built in the 1960s to 1990s. We’d build the current stat of the art. Here is a picture of the pressure vessel for the new AP1000. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Major_AP1000_component_arrives_at_Sanmen-2707114.html
    We’d need 25 of these.


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    MaryFJohnston

    bananabender: @ 105

    Very interesting comment re origin of coal.

    The find that your friend made, was it in the usual sedimentary structure?

    Certainly the shale layers near coal have ample leaf & stem impressions but the brittleness, purity and general presentation of coal in situ is amazing.


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    Joe V.

    Matt B. At 101:
    Forgive me, for projecting the collective ignorance of wind activists onto your gut Matt.B. You’re much to valuable a contributor for that.

    You should go with your gut more often though, especia if it’s telling you something.


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    Paul

    MaryFJohnston: @112

    So far, I’m not aware of any politician in the world who is game to “come out” on the real situation with CO2 and Global Warming.

    Vaclav Klaus is an active head of state [President of the Czech Republic] and has been clearly spelling out the ulterior motive behind the CAGW conjecture for years. His outspoken criticism of the shoddy science and unsubstantiated claims marks him out as one of the few honest politicians of our times.

    He has recently been touring Australia but ignored by the MM, still I am surprised that you haven’t heard about him. He’s even written a book “Blue Planet in Green Shackles”, 2007 .

    Paul


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    MaryFJohnston

    Hi Paul,

    Of course, how could I have overlooked that. Probably because I wasn’t surprised that the Czech people would accept his view.

    A very important figure in the GW scene.

    I think maybe I excluded him because he represents a country which has been rising out of communism for the last 30 or 40 years. I suspect the population of Czechoslovakia probably has a very high B.S. Awareness Index unlike most Western populations which are easily led by a good advertising program in the media.


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    Peter Lang

    TonyfromOz @100,

    I think you may have misunderstood the point of my email. The point I was making is that I suggest you should compare the cost per tonne CO2 avoided. (IMO, This is the key figure for comparing technologies when the discussion is about reducing CO2 emissions.) My mention of LCOE was just to explain how to do the calculation in case you had not done it before.


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    Bush bunny

    Two points: There was a progam last year either on ABC or SBS relating to an electricity generator in Northern NSW supplying 500 homes using sugar cane refuse that has a lower green house gas emission. They were complaining they didn’t get any government subsidies. like Solar.They referred it to Sen.Wong at the time? I must research and find out what happened. Sugar cane refuse is literally available. In Denmark they use
    straw. Just for smaller communities to back up their wind turbines.

    Even more interesting was an article in the Daily Telegraph that stated just before the last State election. That 2009-2010 emissions had lowered in Australia and that the use of gas electricity generators was the cause.
    NSW had for 2009 – 2010 lowered their emissions by almost 5%. Now can I find this article on the web? I did inform our Greens candidate at the time.


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    Bush bunny

    Sorry the link is not operational. But you can Google it.


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    MaryFJohnston

    Bush Bunny

    At various

    The reason for the 5% lower Power use in NSW in 09 – 10 was related to the severe business downturn in the State.

    With businesses scaling down activity it’s no wonder power use was down.


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    cohenite

    Peter@120; are you suggesting that the figure of a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions from the introduction of the ultra supercritical coal technology is not accurate? If so, could you please elaborate?


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    Peter Lang

    cohenhite,

    What I am suggesting is that, if we are arguing about the best way to cut emissions, the comparison between technologies should be on the basis of CO2 emissions avoidance cost ($ per tonne CO2 avoided).

    For example, see Figures 11 and 12 here: http://bravenewclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/lang_2010_emissions_cuts_realities_v1a1.pdf

    For the CO2 avoidance cost for options for replacing Hazelwood see Table 3 here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/05/29/replacing-hazelwood-coal/

    The calculation is:
    CO2 avoidance cost = (LCOE2 – LCOE1) / (EI1 – EI2)
    where:
    LCOE = Levelised Cost of Electricity ($/MWh)
    EI = Emissions Intensity (t CO2-e/MWh)
    1 = original plant
    2 = replacement plant


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    Bush bunny

    Mary at 125. Probably so, but I don’t think people were using less
    electricity. Certainly EU carbon emissions lessened in the Global financial crisis but went up again. That is reported that Australia was not effected by the Global Financial Downturn as other countries were. They were referring to the whole of Australia
    and they thought gas being used got electricity was the reason. Could have been a reason to encourage people to ‘warm’ to gas. As at the same time a ALP Minister said they were planning gas generated electricity plants drilling from off shore in Eastern NSW. I have a friend in Ontario Canada, and they use gas central heating (It is cold there) and they said the Greenhouse emissions are less than coal fired electricity or oil heating. Only wood has less greenhouse emissions, and very dear as is gas heating.


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    Bush bunny

    Black coal has less GHG emissions than brown coal. Don’t ask me why. When in UK in the mid sixties we lived in Lincolnshire where there was then no smoke free zones. Around London they burned Coal Lite a smokeless fuel.

    Grades of anthracite (shiny stuff) was 10 pounds for about 4 sack fulls, probably weighed a few cwt, if I remember rightly. That lasted us about four weeks with a low night burner open fire, that also heated the hot water during winter with an electric back up.

    What I object to is the pictures of a so called coal fired electricity generator plants belching out white smoke. Carbon smoke is brown or grey. The white smoke is steam. And the water used to wash coal is now utilised in humic and fulmic acid that is a rich carbon ORGANIC fertiliser. Even Tony Windsor who sold his property ‘Cintra’ to a coal mining company for 4 million dollars then leased it back, said once ‘I’ve got nothing against coal’. I lived near Werris Creek where his property is, and when we bought our 100 acre subdivision it already had a coal and oil exploration license on it. We welcomed this as we were only hobby farmers and brown coal could be seen in the deep (some 10 feet high) water erosion channels
    on our land. This was the natural run offs from the nearby mountains Mt.Cobla

    So we didn’t mind our land being bought for a high price. The license ran out in the 2000s. I left in 1987 so don’t know what has happened since.

    The truth of the matter they want to invest in clean or green energy to disadvantage those who produce coal fired electricity. If you read that
    article I promoted there was fears that the failure to establish the ETS
    by Rudd, was a threat to investments in renewable energy.


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    Ian Hill

    Apologies to Les Gain @ 13. I quickly checked to see if the conversion to square km mistake had already been noted, but missed your post.

    Thanks to Tony for all your hard work bringing this to our notice.


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    Bush bunny

    Peter at 127. The problem I see with nuclear or the improbable nuclear fission with no radio activity. Is that nuclear plants require 200,000,000 liters per DAY to keep them cool. Now James Hansen when talking in Australia reckoned nuclear was the way to go as so called clean energy does not work efficiently and is expensive. However, the water cooling problem he suggested could be solved using sea water from our expansive coastal regions. I know neuclear submarines use sea water, but they have small reactors in comparison to an huge electricity generated neuclear reactor. In around 2003 Europe particularly France suffered a drought and their older reactor feeding Paris was nearly shut down in a heat wave. Wait for it 40 C. People died and temporary mougues had to be provided.

    So the water cooling problem would need to be addressed, because they can’t tap into underground aquifers. As they aren’t renewed from rain.

    I think we should work towards solar thermal electricity. But if you remember the late Sir Mark Oliphant he worked as a science adviser to the Australian government and of course on the Manhatten project during the WWII, he mentioned that he saw Australia able to harness solar and gas for electricity supplies and able to supply most of SE Asia also.
    Not now but in the but no too distant future. Say 2050.


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    Hasbeen

    Jo I’m afraid I have to say, my opinion of you is changing.

    Here I always thought you were a nice kind hearted lady, who would never hurt a soul.

    Yet here you are, with this thread among others, inflicting great pain on thousands of greenies. You are not only spoiling their entire day, you are probably ruining the whole year or even more. Well done!

    It’s a good thing we have you ferreting out all this stuff for us, it’s for sure the media, or government agencies like the CSIRO, who’s job it should be, are not going to.

    [Aww Shucks ;-) --Jo]


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    Speedy

    Good article – thanks.

    If the greens actually believe CO2 is a “pollutant” and if they care about reducing it, then they’d be all over like this article like a seagull on a chip.

    I wonder why they aren’t? Don’t they care about the environment, after all?

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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    Paul

    Bush bunny:
    August 3rd, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Here it is: Sugar cane refuse used to power electricity plant in Northern NSW.

    http://dailytelegraph.com.au/property/sugar-cane-makes-power-in-world-first/story-e6frez0-122576841

    That link should have been http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/property/sugar-cane-makes-power-in-world-first/story-e6frezt0-1225768416177

    The story was dated September 02, 2009 and they hoped that the idea would be copied by other areas. I wonder how this has progressed?

    Paul


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    MattB

    Bush Bunny, I know we are all time poor and another blog will take your time up, but you should pop to Bravenewclimate and just click on the sustainable nuclear tab and read the wealth of information available there regards your concerns about water.

    Peter thanks for that lengthy reply to the questions directed at me. great answers. There is no need to argue the toss about CAGW when looking at energy alternatives and I do appreciate your analysis. I’m still not sure you’ve delved enough in to your point 8 though;)


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    MattB

    p.s. you may have noticed a couple of my posts about not engaging with various posters… that is not really a criticism of them but I’m jsut not interested in the trolling game I’d rather learn from cohers and Peter than argue with MV and crackar. I make no claim of offering greater insight than either of them… I’m just putting a line in the sand as to the standard of my participation in the site.


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    As Peter Lang alluded to, when doing an LCOE for emissions reduction, then there is really only the one glaringly obvious answer, and if you look closely at the chart in the original Post, you’ll see that answer staring you in the face, especially if look at the B Costs I have there, the extrapolated life time cost of each option.
    The reason we have brought this new coal technology to the forefront with this Post is to highlight specifically that renewables are not the answer.
    The only REAL answer is in the long term, and that will be a long and very drawn out debate before that eventuates, and I really do think it will come to pass.
    To actually achieve that, we MUST highlight the fact that these renewable ‘flavours of the month’ cannot fill what is now becoming a looming void.
    In the interim, the best option to fill that void is not taxing coal fired power into oblivion, because in fact, that means oblivion for all of us.
    The answer is not spending an absolute fortune on technologies that CANNOT fill that void, and the Government is not even addressing that in a serious matter, as they are barely tinkering at the edges with boutique photo ops plants supplying tiny amounts of power.
    One answer is what we have proposed here with this Post, something that actually can be done right now.
    At the dawn of the Nuclear age, there was a school of thought that Nuclear electrical power generation was in fact a process that might lead to free electricity for all, or at least too cheap to meter.
    In fact, even now, it’s the closest thing to that ‘free’ total of any process of electrical power generation.
    It’ll come, but in the interim, something like this Post proposes is in fact an attractive option.
    Tony.


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    I have had site access problems…… was it a glitch?


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    Bulldust

    Finally some good news (assuming this has not been linked before):

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/climate-change-department-for-chop-hockey/story-e6frg6xf-1226108027421

    Hockey says he would consider chooping the entire Department of Climate Change under a Lib Government. The bureaucracy that has acreted around this faux policy issue is abhorrent. It is obvious, at the moment, that the Coalition would win in a landslide… let’s hope this holds till the next election, whenever that is, and we can end this self-propagating insanity.


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    Bulldust

    System maintenance I suspect JustMeInT.


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    Bulldust

    Meanwhile the SMH keeps blurting the completely meaningless statistic of Australia being an above-average CO2-emitter, and pretending China is a climate saviour… the inanity of that article is hard to encapsulate without becoming excessively rude:

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/china-set-to-take-lead-on-emissions-from-west-20110803-1ibq2.html

    If you think CO2 emissions per capita is a useful statistic to compare nations then you need to read my blog here about emissions intensity. China is not the solution to this non-problem, they are the biggest emitters and growing rapidly. To contort that into a story stating that we Australians are the bad guys is peurile garbage. But I shall cease and desist… can only get worse from here…


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    MattB

    Tony… it seems Greg Combet agrees with you: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/climate-change-department-for-chop-hockey/story-e6frg6xf-1226108027421

    “Asked about nuclear power on ABC radio in Sydney yesterday, Mr Combet said nuclear energy was “still a lot more expensive than any of the energy options we’ve got available to us”.

    “And in particular in our country we’ve got tremendous resources available that will deliver us cheaper energy whether it be from more efficient generation from coal or conversion to natural gas-fired electricity,” he said. “That’s going to be, I think, the next generation of electricity as an energy source in this country.”"

    Note he didn’t say renewables…


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    is anyone planning on sending to Greg Combet this wonderful article of Jo’s? Or getting the SMH to publish it?


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    cohenite

    Peter@127; thanks; a couple of points; your formula:

    CO2 avoidance cost = (LCOE2 – LCOE1) / (EI1 – EI2)
    where:
    LCOE = Levelised Cost of Electricity ($/MWh)
    EI = Emissions Intensity (t CO2-e/MWh)
    1 = original plant
    2 = replacement plant

    This formula does not take into account, as TonyOz alludes to, the fact that wind and solar do not replace fossil fuels in respect of base load capacity. So if W&S only work, say for 20% of the time, their capacity factor, then wouldn’t any such comparison have to factor that in. For instance:

    CO2 avoidance cost = (LCOE2 – LCOE1) / (EI1 – EI2)

    Would become: CO2 avoidance cost = {(LCOE2 – LCOE1) / (EI1 – EI2)}*5 [being the inverse of the capacity factor]


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    Matt,
    just like you I’m 100% in favour of any move to Nuclear power. It’s the ‘scare’ factor that needs to be overcome here.
    As I mentioned in comment 137, look closely at the chart in the main Post, wrt CostB.
    I read between the lines of what Minister Combet says where he says nuclear more expensive etc, because when it’s extrapolated out, it is far and away the cheapest form of electrical power generation that there can be, but it’s nice to see he’s noticed new technology coal.
    Maybe politicians of every political leaning are beginning to see that those Renewables are in fact unable to do what they may have initially believed.
    THAT is what is encouraging. Now they need a politically ‘safe’ way of actually spreading that message without, er, losing face.
    Peter Lang is the RLE on Nuclear Power, and at every stage I defer to him on those matters.
    What I have tinkers at the edges in an effort to get some of the points across.
    Once the ‘real’ facts about Nuclear power are put out there, then we can (quite literally) power ahead.
    However, in the interim this new coal technology is a relevant point to pursue.
    Tony.
    (Sorry all, RLE is Resident Local Expert)


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    Bush bunny brings up something that not many people might realise.
    This use of sugar cane as an electrical power source is indeed quite common, and has been in widespread use, and in some cases for many decades.
    Most of the many sugar mills dotted along the coastline, especially in Queensland use the process of burning the sugar cane waste, (bagasse) as a source of heat to boil water to steam to drive the turbine which drives the generator.
    This link shows just how many of them there are:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Queensland#Biomass_combustion
    There are a few points I would like to mention in directing you to this site.
    Each of those names there indicates a sugar mill.
    Each of them burns the bagasse to produce the power that is being used by the mill for the process of refining sugar. Any excess power generated is fed back to the grids for that area, but in the main, the power generated is consumed by the mill itself.
    When totalled out, that total power comes in at around 370MW but individual amounts are in fact quite small by comparison.
    Note the power produced, in fact quite small amounts relatively, when the theme of this Post deals with the generation of power on huge scales, 2000+MW.
    Note also the number of turbines at each of those plants and then reference that to the power generated, and from that you can see that the generator is quite a small one by comparison with what is discussed in this Post.
    That indicates the major thrust of what I have been attempting to explain.
    Everything works backwards from the generator as I have mentioned previously, so the weight of that generator is the most important thing. There has to be enough ‘drive’ to make that weight turn over at the speed required to generate the power.
    Hence these Bagasse burners provide enough heat to make enough steam to actually do that.
    These Bagasse burners are considered as biomass, hence in effect can be classed as renewables, but having said that I want you to look at it in this manner.
    The sugar cane grows, and in the process is removing CO2 from the air in that growing process. Then as the sugar is refined, the waste cane, the bagasse is burned to produce electrical power to supply the mill.
    CO2 is still being emitted.
    What difference is there between the CO2 emitted from this process and the CO2 emitted from the burning of coal.
    At one stage in the development of the World, what is now coal has gone through the process of removing the CO2 from the air, and the burning of that coal is now returning that CO2 into the air. The only difference here is the time factor.
    From the tiny canes to the ready to harvest cane to the burning of the cane is one year.
    With coal, it’s millions of years.
    CO2 is CO2, no matter if it has been released from the burning of the bagasse or from the burning of the coal.
    If we really have to remove that CO2 from the Atmosphere at all, because of some perceived problem with that, then why is CO2 producing Bagasse OK and coal producing CO2 not OK.
    Tony.


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    Overseasinsider

    Having spent 6 years operating a nuclear reactor for the US Navy, I WISH we had nuclear here in Aus!!! Good paying easy work!!! But alas……

    On another subject, have a look at what the Wall Street Journal is saying about our joke of a PM!!

    THE WALL STREET JOUINAL.
    WSJ.com
    JULY 17. 2011, 12:15 P.M. ET
    The Last Carbon Taxer
    Carbon cap and trade is dead in America, the Chicago emissions trading exchange has folded, and European nations keep fudging on their Kyoto Protocol promises. But Al Gore’s great green hope still has a champion: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who announced last week that her government will impose a cap-and-tax regime.
    Her Labor Party-led coalition wants 500 of the country’s “biggest polluters” to buy carbon permits issued by the government, starting next year. Canberra would then create new bureaucracies to re-allocate that money to interest groups and selected businesses, to the tune of billions of dollars annually.

    The news has caused a public uproar—not least because Ms. Gillard ran and won last year on an explicit promise not to pursue such policies. She ousted her predecessor in a backroom coup after his popularity tanked because of climate-change boosterism and promises to raise taxes. But Ms. Gillard’s Green coalition partners hold the balance of power in parliament and pushed hard for cap and trade. The PM caved and has now been labeled “Juliar” in the popular press.
    The Gillard government estimates its plan will increase electricity costs by 10% and gasoline by 9%—increases it calls “modest.” That’s easy for politicians to say. In a nationwide poll taken after the announcement, 60% of voters opposed the tax and 68% said they’d be financially worse off
    The plan is economically damaging enough that even the normally timid business lobby—many of whose members originally supported climate-change legislation—is speaking up. Opposition leader Tony Abbott slammed the plan as “socialism masquerading as environmentalism,” and he has a point. The government plans to use some of the carbon tax receipts to triple the income threshold before the income tax hits. In other words, this is in part a scheme to
    redistribute income from energy users to Labor voters. It is an odd kind of tax reform that narrows the tax base.
    .

    because of it. Ms. Gillard’s popularity has plumbed new lows

    All of this for negligible environmental benefits. Australia emits 1.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Even if the country cut its emissions to zero, the move would do little to reduce global emissions. Australia’s per-capita emissions are high compared to other developed nations because it’s a sparsely populated continent blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Aussies have developed profitable, world-class natural resource and energy businesses that have lifted incomes at home and helped supply developing countries like China and India. This is bad?
    It is if you believe in the theology that loathes carbon fuels and wants government to allocate the means of power production. In a speech Thursday, Ms. Gillard vowed to press forward with cap and tax and said that her convictions are “very deeply held.” We’ll see if her government can survive them.


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    janama

    Tony – the sugar mills are actually steam driven – the huge crushers that crush the cane are steam driven, I’ve seen them at Condong Mill near Murwillumbah.

    The Condong and Broadwater mills decided to expand the system and add generation capacity so they could sell the power and make a profit for the mill shareholders. They stopped the normal routine of burning the cane before harvesting that required all the cane harvesters and delivery crates to be replaced or modified to take the additional biomass – they built huge storeage areas for the bagasse and long conveyor systems to deliver the bagasse to the furnaces. Each unit was around 50MW. When they’ve used all the bagasse they intended to burn Camphor Laurel which has become a weed in the area. Unfortunately camphor doesn’t burn very well and they have in fact scrapped the whole idea as it was running at a loss. It was a complete waste of money and effort and let’s face it, it was still producing CO2 yet they don’t mention that on their glossy Green brochures.


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    http://phe.rockefeller.edu/docs/yantovski_gold_future.pdf

    After reading up on Thomas Blood [Mike Borgelt @ 90] I came to the understanding that:

    Methane gas is produced by thousand of giga tons of bacteria feeding deep underground.”…the drilling experiment in the Siljan Ring in Sweden.Microbes were found at a depth of 6 kilometres,eating oil and getting oxygen by reducing Fe2O3 to Fe3O4,thus leaving behind tiny particles of magnetite [fraction of a micron in size] as the product of metabolism. Gold himself observed that the liquid formed by these particles within the extracted oil sample had magnetic properties…”

    That volcanoes are a pressure release valve for the build up of gases.Even the Earth has to pass wind occassionally.

    That as oil and gas are brought to the surface, the space vacated is replaced naturally, which means that oil and gas is a Green self renewing resource.

    That the Greens plan to cull 1.4 million camels is stupid.


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    janama

    I should add – the bagasse when allowed to compost was an amazing fertiliser. We used to buy trailer loads of it for our vege gardens.


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    DavidH

    I noticed a topic on WUWT about UK energy price rises. Someone posted a term for the Green Party I hadn’t heard before …

    Consumers are not allowed to buy low-carbon energy–the Khmer Vert don’t approve of nuclear.

    Just thought I’d share that little gem.


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    Crakar24

    AndyG55 in 83,

    I could not agree more.

    Waffle in 94,

    Nuclear power is clean. The spent fuel rods of yesterday’s nuclear power technology are the fuel source for tomorrow’s nuclear power technology. With the addition of the prospect that tomorrow’s nuclear power technology can consume weaponized plutonium, it’s a very ignorant and misanthropic position to believe nuclear power is dirty.

    It looks like our definition of clean is vastly different, yes nuke is clean if you ignore the water vapour emitted, yes it is clean as it does not emit CO2 but if a truck load of coal tips over you simply pick up a shovel what happens when a nuke tips over? And no dont give me that “but new plants are safe” crap and lets not forget the environmental damage done when we dig it up and process it.

    A forward looking analysis of energy generation reveals only five contenders; oil, coal, methane, nuclear and ocean thermal. The rest are simply not abundant enough or cost effective as anything other than boutique options.

    Australia has one of the highest Thorium deposits in the world, no CO2 very little radioactive waste and it is not a boutique option.

    If you are looking for C02 free power generation and don’t want to go the nuclear path then OTEC is the only choice. It still has significant technical problems to overcome but, being able to harness solar energy from a third of the planet’s surface whilst delivering a supply of fresh water is a no-brainer.

    see above.

    Lets not forget the only reason why we are discussing this is based on a so far false premise that CO2 is the harbinger of death, when you get the premise wrong you invariable get the solution wrong as well.


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    Bob of Castlemaine

    Bush bunny: @ 129

    Black coal has less GHG emissions than brown coal.

    The chemical reactions in the burning of black coal and brown coal are essentially the same. But brown coal, as mined in Victoria, has a moisture of around 60% by weight. So when the stuff is burnt a lot of energy is lost to vapourising the water. Hence in order to produce the same net heat output you have to burn a hell of a lot more, hence more CO2 is produced.


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    Crakar24

    OT but what does it matter

    http://ipa.org.au/publications/1888/tim-flannery-climate-prophet

    Something for all the Tim fans out there.


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    Crakar24

    OT again,

    Got this in an email so not sure of its accuracy (no source) but it is funny

    PETER GARRETT IS DEFINITELY A COUPLE OF CANS SHORT OF A SLAB!
    The Australian Government and the NSW Forestry Service were presenting an alternative to NSW sheep farmers for controlling the dingo population.

    It seems that after years of the sheep farmers using the tried and true methods of shooting and/or trapping the predators, the Labour Government (Peter Garrett – Environmental Minister), the NSW Forestry Service and the Greens tree-huggers had a ‘more humane’ solution.

    What they proposed was for the animals to be captured alive, the males would then be castrated and let loose again.

    Therefore the population would be controlled.

    This was ACTUALLY proposed to the NSW Sheep Farmers Association.

    All of the sheep farmers thought about this amazing idea for a couple of minutes.

    Finally, one of the old boys in the back of the conference room stood up, tipped his hat back and said, ‘Mr Garrett, son, I don’t think you understand our problem, ‘those dingo’s ain’t f—ing our sheep, they’re eatin’ ‘em.’

    You should have been there to hear the roar of laughter as Mr Peter Garrett and the members of the NSW Forestry Service, the Greens and the other “tree huggers” left the meeting very “sheepishly”.

    This is one of the things wrong with this country, the Tree Huggers and Morons are running the circus!

    Jeeesus!

    Someone save us from these idiots…..


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    janama

    Great story Crakar24 – I’m pissin myself !!


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    rjm385

    So Guys, are we saying 3 part time bloggists can come up with such a legitmate plan to replace our nasty coal fired power stations with clean power stations and reduce our Carbon Dioxide emissions by 13% ?

    How can this be true…surely more skeptic hoccus poccus (sarc)

    What happened to the highly paid government scientists that are employed to reduce the affects of humanity on our climate, couldn’t they have thought this up.

    What the hell are we paying them for…Oh I forgot to reprint the IPCC Summary reports for our traiterous incompetent arrogant totalitarian government.. how silly of me.

    They should all be ashamed of themselves.

    Well done guys, a great article and as someone already suggested this should be sent to every media outlet in Australia. They would be well advised to reprint it verbatim.

    Say YES to an election now !!


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    Peter Lang

    cohenhite @144,

    The two links I provided gicve example of how “CO2 avoidance cost” is calculated. You will see that the intermittency of renewables and the backup emissions and costs are included in the calculation. I hope you you can make time to read those two articles.

    Emission cust realities“: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/

    Replacing Hazelwood“: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/05/29/replacing-hazelwood-coal/


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    Bill Burrows: The Gold book I read used to be in the Toowoomba Library but I can’t find it anymore. It may have been damaged in January’s flood which got the lowest shelves in the library.
    I just bought Gold’s “The Hot Deep Biosphere” on Kindle from Amazon for USD 9.99 where he goes into the whole abiotic oil thing. Modern technology is wonderful. Reading on a netbook is great for me, just as convenient as a paperback and it keeps your place.


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    pat

    total uproar up my way over the so-called privatised Allconnex, which took over administration of water services to the council areas of Logan, Redland and the Gold Coast on July 1 2010 as a result of the State Government’s water reforms, which have cost billions for such CAGW-inspired nonsense as the now-mothballed Tugun Desal plant. how the hell could Logan Council have been up for $290 million if they chose to abolish Allconnex people are asking:

    28 July: Albert & Logan News: Logan to stay with Allconnex
    Gold Coast City Council, the major shareholder in Allconnex, decided to withdraw earlier this week and Redlands City Council plans to make a decision tomorrow.
    Committee Chairman Luke Smith said if Logan council decided to divorce itself from Allconnex, it could have to pay up to $290 million in disestablishment and consequential costs.
    $216 million of that is potential stamp duty costs, which Cr Smith said the State Government had not confirmed whether or not it would be applicable…
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/logan/logan-to-stay-with-allconnex/story-fn8m0u8i-1226103384323
    (nearly 70 angry comments)

    nice tone from the Premier and Minister:

    26 July: Gold Coast Bulletin: Bligh will not veto GCCC’s Allconnex split
    Ms Bligh said she respects Gold Coast City Council’s decision and now they need to live with the consequences.
    ”Gold Coast City Council will now have to prove to their ratepayers what they have been saying all along,” she said.
    ”That is, that they can provide water cheaper by taking back the water business under the council banner.”
    Water Utilities Minister Stephen Robertson said ratepayers would be the ”judge, jury and executioner” of the council decision…
    http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2011/07/26/335855_gold-coast-news.html

    26 July: Gold Coast Bulletin: GCCC votes to divorce Allconnex
    Other councillors argued the potential $60 million cost of leaving would put up rates…
    http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2011/07/25/335635_gold-coast-news.html

    possibly more costs due to the Unions!

    28 July: Gold Coast Bulletin: Allconnex jobs may be saved under deal
    After the vote to split from the controversial water retailer, Mayor Ron Clarke said one of the cost savings would be cutting the executives..
    When the water reform that created Allconnex started, unions successfully negotiated a Workforce Framework that protected staff of Gold Coast, Logan and Redland councils’ water businesses for three years, that is until mid-2013.
    Queensland Services Union state secretary Kath Nelson said the union would demand the State Government approve a new agreement for job protection for a minimum of three years…
    http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2011/07/28/336225_gold-coast-news.html

    meanwhile, we still can’t afford to water our veggie gardens cos the water is too expensive. Help!


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    pat

    23 July: ThisIsMoneyUK: Green targets ‘could force companies to leave Britain’
    Industry faces energy price increases of up to 70 per cent as a result of new ‘green taxes’ imposed by the Government.
    Studies by the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents industries such as chemicals and steel, show that the extra costs are so high that many companies may be tempted to move to countries that do not have such extreme environmental laws.
    The group fears that a study by the Department of Energy into the impact of climate-change laws on energy prices for industry will attempt to downplay the impact of the new taxes…
    The Department of Energy last year admitted that environmental policies had already increased average costs for non-domestic users by 20 per cent. This will rise to 28 per cent by 2015 and 43 per cent by 2020. But those figures do not take into account environmental measures that are in the pipeline.
    Business pays proportionately more for its electricity because it is subject to tax through the climate change levy.
    Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, warned that the Government’s estimates for the effect of their policies on domestic fuel bills were highly unrealistic and ‘need to be taken with a bucket full of salt’…
    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2018026/Green-targets-force-companies-leave-Britain.html


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    Peter Lang

    Bush Bunny @133,

    Peter at 127. The problem I see with nuclear … Is that nuclear plants require 200,000,000 liters per DAY to keep them cool.

    Nuclear requires only slightly more cooling than coal and much less than solar thermal (about half). So little difference in th amount of cooling water needed betwen coal and nuclear.

    However, the big difference is that coal generators need to be located near the coal mine. So they are generally located inland. So they use fresh water for cooling. However, nuclear does not need to be sited inland. It can be sited on the coast. So it can use sea water for cooling. Most nuclear plants are sited on the coast or on large lakes. So unlike coal, most nuclear plants do not use fresh water for cooling.

    Just as coal can be air cooled, so can nuclear. There is an efficency penalty and, therfore, a cost penalty and CO2 emissions penalty with air cooling. Kogan Creek and Millmeran power stations in Queensland are examples air cooled coal power stations.

    Here are photos of multi unit nuclear power stations on the coast.
    http://eng.knef.or.kr/nuclear/nuclear3.asp
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/ecsgallery/imageDisplay.aspx?id=10584&Page=19

    Four such power stations with modern nuclear units could power the National Electricity Market. (also need pumped hydro or gas units for peak power generation and some reserve capacity margin).


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    Crakar24 @ 152:

    It looks like our definition of clean is vastly different, yes nuke is clean if you ignore the water vapour emitted, yes it is clean as it does not emit CO2 but if a truck load of coal tips over you simply pick up a shovel what happens when a nuke tips over?

    The whole terrorist target/transport accident is a lie. This is just a precautionary principle argument. Transporting waste is done with containment vessels and besides, fast breeder reactors will consume waste. If transporting yellowcake is not being done safely then that’s an issue for the regulators and industry. So far, I’m not aware of any yellowcake accidents. Your concerns about radiation emissions are unfounded. A quote from the Scientific American

    Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.

    At issue is coal’s content of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements. They occur in such trace amounts in natural, or “whole,” coal that they aren’t a problem. But when coal is burned into fly ash, uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to 10 times their original levels.

    Fly ash uranium sometimes leaches into the soil and water surrounding a coal plant, affecting cropland and, in turn, food. People living within a “stack shadow”—the area within a half- to one-mile (0.8- to 1.6-kilometer) radius of a coal plant’s smokestacks—might then ingest small amounts of radiation. Fly ash is also disposed of in landfills and abandoned mines and quarries, posing a potential risk to people living around those areas.

    In a 1978 paper for Science, J. P. McBride at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and his colleagues looked at the uranium and thorium content of fly ash from coal-fired power plants in Tennessee and Alabama. To answer the question of just how harmful leaching could be, the scientists estimated radiation exposure around the coal plants and compared it with exposure levels around boiling-water reactor and pressurized-water nuclear power plants.

    The result: estimated radiation doses ingested by people living near the coal plants were equal to or higher than doses for people living around the nuclear facilities. At one extreme, the scientists estimated fly ash radiation in individuals’ bones at around 18 millirems (thousandths of a rem, a unit for measuring doses of ionizing radiation) a year. Doses for the two nuclear plants, by contrast, ranged from between three and six millirems for the same period. And when all food was grown in the area, radiation doses were 50 to 200 percent higher around the coal plants.

    I’m not sure what your argument about Thorium is. As far as I know Thorium is a nuclear power fuel, if you can get energy out of it any other way, please tell.

    I do agree with you that the premise is wrong and therefore the solution will be wrong. My personal view is that we should have the goal to dig up and burn all the coal reserves of the world while it’s still the most economically viable option for of baseload power. We are currently in the process of refertilizing the biosphere after a historic C02 death spiral. Coal is a win win. Only a greenie can argue that something that is beneficial for us and the environment is bad. I am, of course in favour of increased efficiencies for the burning of coal. This would lead to cheaper and more abundant energy for us all.


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    MattB

    I vote for a nuclear power thread with a lead article from P. Lang. Maybe a “Peter Lang’s greatest BNC Hits” type compilation.


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    KeithH

    After the recent ABC 4-Corners program and the glowing Labor/Green energy ads, the unthinking gullible masses believe all is rosy in the renewables “garden”! However, I just don’t understand why the opposition doesn’t show the opposite sides of the picture, some of which can be found on a pro-Green website.

    The site freely admits, quote: “Even sources of clean energy can get dirty when they sit around for ten, twenty or fifty years. More often than not, renewable energy power plants are upgraded—or their equipment replaced—because their locations were selected for their excellent renewable resource. But stuff happens: businesses go under; policies and incentives change; more efficient technologies are discovered, etc. And as a result, relics of a renewable past are left scattered across the global landscape.”

    Check these landscape destroying eyesores of abandoned wind and solar plants for starters.

    http://www.webecoist.com/2009/05/04/10-abandoned-renewable-energy-plants

    If the link doesn’t work just Google “abandoned clean energy plants”.

    And how about the rank hypocrisy of the Labor/Greens Govt., having the gall to even show a hydro plant as part of their wasteful “renewable” ads propaganda blitz.

    As a Tasmanian, it’s enough to make one choke when, if it had not been for Brown, Milne and the rest of the Greens ratty-pack, we could have been totally self-sufficient in this cleanest of renewable energies, had surplus power to sell, as well as having drought-proofed the State for the foreseeable future.

    Words almost fail me !!


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    Bruce D Scott

    In the words of the one and only Jackie Gleeson – How Sweet It Is!


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    janama

    Here’s an Australian invention that is currently producing 21kW – I’ve heard an 850 MW Hidro Power Station in Wesley Vale north of Tasmania is approved and in detailed designs stage.

    http://sustainablepowerstation.otmamto.com/

    Does anyone know anything about this??


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    Crakar24

    Waffle in 163,

    Just to be clear, do you think we should replace all our coal fired PS with Nuclear PS if so why?

    Or do you think we should replace coal with any other form of base load power?


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    Peter Lang

    I would like to make a further comment in regard to:

    Nuclear is a political “no-no”

    The statement is true (in Australia at the moment). But that is not a valid argument for avoiding rational energy policy.

    Why should we waste huge amounts of our wealth on irrational policies (carbon tax, renewables, uneconomic upgrades of coal power plants)?

    Surely, the rational policy would be to remove the impediments that make nuclear higher cost than coal generated electricity; then allow investors and industry to choose the least cost option for new generating plant.

    See here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-109491


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    Siliggy

    Oh dear. Some people cannot read the sign at the PO box bins that say “paper only” Seems there are a lot of these unwanted pamplets in them. Even with degradable plastic, it is the wrong way to toss them. So do your local post office a favor, go get them and send them to the above addresses (Post 60).


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    MattB

    “Surely, the rational policy would be to remove the impediments that make nuclear higher cost than coal generated electricity; then allow investors and industry to choose the least cost option for new generating plant.”

    Peter I assue you that you will not get the criticism I copped here when I suggested the same thing here a few weeks ago! (although as we’ve discussed I don’t see that a price on carbon is an obstacle to this).

    I will say that I would rather a committment to install say 30-40% of grid as nuclear than the current ETS.


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    Bob of Castlemaine

    Peter Lang:@ 169
    No problem ideologically or environmentally with nuclear. Perhaps the case can be made in SA, but why generally opt for more expensive nuclear power when Australia has such extensive, readily exploitable coal resources?
    At some point when/if nuclear (be it conventional, thorium or [dare mention] fusion) is bankable then fine?


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    theRealUniverse

    Nothing wrong with coal its a cycle! Compare hydro..
    Hydro, water falls into river goes through dam, to sea, produces power get evaporated goes back up to cloud falls back to river..
    Coal, Trees grow suck up CO2, die back fall down get buried into swamps form coal, get dug up burnt give of CO2..Trees grow suck up CO2, die back fall down get buried into swamps form coal, get dug up burnt give of CO2..Its a cycle isnt it! (sarc) I didnt mention the time scales!


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    val majkus

    Peter Lang; a couple of posts ago I made this comment:

    would anyone be interested in doing a multi person submission re the Clean Energy Bill and its other draft legislation

    Some good reasons for combining our resources would be that there are people here who have a wide variety of backgrounds and expertises. For example in respect to that 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 Peter Lang and Tony from Oz would have lots to say; there are scientists here who could address the question as to what this package is to achieve (other than a money grab); there might be economists here who have read the modelling by Treasury and could address its weaknesses; there would be I anticipate people here whose jobs might be affected and there’s lots of things I haven’t thought of yet

    I’ve got a legal background but I’m no Constitutional lawyer so other legal input would be welcome

    I’m just one person so a submission by me alone would be futile I believe but with a combination of views we could do a wonderful submission

    We’d also need an editor to edit the different writing styles – I think MV said he had journo experience

    You were the only person who responded and I thank you for that but sadly I think we’ll have to cancel a multi party submission for lack of interest

    I’m disappointed – your expertise would have been invaluable to that submission (and TonyfromOz)

    But unfortunately I haven’t been able to round up any economists or scientists (but maybe I haven’t asked the right ones)

    The most substantive submissions in respect to the Qld Flood Enquiry were in my view written by hydrologists and so I hoped in the proposed multi party submission to get renewable experts plus economists plus scientists (as the experts) and then the rest of us just to add comments

    But sadly no time from my contacts and no interest here (except from you)

    But I do thank you for your interest and for the input from other experts on this blog

    I guess I’ll just go back to harrassing pollies

    But message to everyone; don’t treat this blog just as a social network; there’s other important work to be done and we’re not doing it just by talking to each other here


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    Peter Lang

    MattB,

    as we’ve discussed I don’t see that a price on carbon is an obstacle to this

    We’ve been through that to death. As you know, I’ve explained that pricing carbon before two caveats are achieved is bad policy, very bad policy. I’ve made the case here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/

    The case I presented was mostly avoided and definitely not refuted. It stands. Discussion was terminated.


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    Peter Lang

    Some reasons why we should remove the impediments to low cost nuclear electricity generation

    The viable technology options for baseload electricity generation for Australia are:

    1. coal

    2. gas

    3. nuclear

    No renewables are viable now or likely to be viable in the forseeable future.

    Nuclear cons

    1. politics

    2. cost (a result of the politics and 50 years of scaremongering)

    Nuclear pros:

    1. Energy security, reliability of supply, power quality

    2. 20,000 times more energy dense than coal (less transport, many years wothth of fuel storage requires miniscule storage space)

    3. 10 to 100 times safer than coal

    4. Much less mining, transport and waste disposal – less land area destroyed (compare the land that will be disturbed over several decades by Olympic Dam uranium mine versus coal mining in the Hunter Valley, Liverpool Plains and Gunnedah in NSW and the coal mining areas of Queensland and Victoria)

    5. much less fresh water required if sited on the coast

    6. should be least cost electricity generation by far (we’ll get there)

    7. it is the technology that will be the main energy supply this century

    8. The only way we will significantly cut CO2 emissions from electricity generation

    9. Australia to catch up and keep pace with the science, engineering and technology skills that will be essential this century

    10. Export engineering consultancy services in low cost, clean electricity generation to developing countries – like we did for four decades applying the unique skills we developed building the Snowy Mountains Scheme.


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    cohenite

    Val@174; The Climate Sceptics are putting a submission into the Senate Select Committee On The Scrutiny Of New Taxes, Inquiry into the Carbon Tax pricing Mechanisms, which will include, as one submission, an anaylsis of new coal and other alternatives to renewables such as Thorium and LENR technology:

    http://landshape.org/enm/renewables-wake-up-and-smell-the-rossi/


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    Bill Burrows

    Mike Borgelt@159
    Thanks for the reference Mike. Still having trouble in assimilating this ‘new’ (to me) theory. All I know is that Qld’s coal is predominantly found in the Bowen, Surat and Galilee BASINS. But I’m open to new ideas and will follow up. (I still like my petrified wood and when I did elementary geology a long, long time ago I think I recall that fossils were associated with the Ipswich, Qld coal measures too).


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    MattB

    Peter #176 I call it agreeing to disagree, and moving on. I’ll have another look at that link soon to see if anythink clicks in to place in my brain:)


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    Helen Armstrong

    Re nuclear power – I look forward to the day when every vehicle is powered by a battery sized reactor – or even engine sized. I think that would be fabulous for transport.


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    theRealUniverse

    Nuclear cons: I would also include waste disposal which hasnt really been solved well. Requires at present technologies storage of waste rods in some safe area (not onsite as in the disastrous case at Fukushima!).
    There is much better nuclear technology other than the old 40yr Westinghouse ones in Japan and also used in the USA which according to a nuclear engineer commenting after the Japan earthquake a disaster in the waiting.


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    MattB

    Helen how about we just make it a battery powered by a nuclear powered electricity grid.


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    val majkus

    Cohenite @ 177 thanks for that tip


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    Peter Lang

    Bob of Castlemaine @172

    but why generally opt for more expensive nuclear power when Australia has such extensive, readily exploitable coal resources?

    I do not opt for more expensive nuclear power. I advocate we remove the impediments to nuclear that make it more expensive than coal. Nuclear should be far cheaper than coal. It has been prevented by 50 years of scaremongering by the same groups that are now forcing Carbon taxes and renewable energy on us.

    see here: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-109491

    Until the the Greens and the environmental NGOs believe CAGW is serious enough to warant a policy change to fully support and advocate low-cost nuclear (i.e. cheaper than coal), then I cannot see why we should argue for policies, like carbon pricing, that will damage our economy for no environmental gain.


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    memoryvault

    Val Majkus @ 174

    Val, do not feel so bad about the lack of response to your call for help in making a submission. It has nothing to do with a lack of zeal, or even interest. My name was mentioned as a contender somewhere along the line, and in truth, I did consider getting involved.

    However, the stark reality is that inviting such submissions is only part of “the game”. ANY submission made by us, or anyone else, no matter how researched or scholarly will be ignored. The agenda is already decided.

    The ONLY reason for calling for submissions – which will be ignored – is so the government, further down the line, can claim “widespread community consultation” in the “decision making process”. You and your group may well even be named as “examples” of this “community consultation process”. The fact that your submission was totally ignored will not be mentioned.

    At that point waving your arms up and down and screaming “hang on – our views were not even considered” – will be pointless. The MSM – so happy to name you as one of the “input groups” – will never get around to reporting your protestations.

    As such, at the end of the day your “submission”, no matter how well thought out and researched, simply becomes cannon-fodder for the government of the day to push their own agenda.

    I say “government of the day” because the Coalition use exactly the same tactic.


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    val majkus

    MV @ 185 while I accept what you say that of itself is no reason for complacency
    Having said that I’m not saying that you or any other of Jo’s commentators are complacent; we all do what we can in other ways I’m sure
    So I’m not complaining – and this blog is important to me to see familiar friends but I’m saying each of us must make our objection to the carbon tax known and doing it together is the best way
    But the alternative is to do it singly and that can make an impact too
    But don’t just complain to each other – I guess that’s what I’m saying
    There’s a wider world out there and together or singly we can make an impact by addressing that wider world


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    Crakar24 @ 168:

    No. Coal is cheaper than nuclear and every other form of baseload power. We know the ‘carbon pollution’ argument is a lie. C02 is good for the biosphere, the more we emit the better. Having said that, I would like Australia to embrace the nuclear age.

    The advantages of a local nuclear industry, as I see it, are:

    1. Nuclear power is now sold in 25MW units available which is ideal for cost-effectively powering all sorts of rural industries such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture. These units can also temporarily make up for urban baseload generation deficiencies without having to build a large scale power plants.

    2. A local nuclear industry is good for our military. It is strategically superior to be operating large naval vessels on nuclear rather than diesel. In particularly, submarines for stealth and capital ships for sustained theater deployment.

    3. A nuclear industry in this country will give local job opportunities to nuclear physicists making study in this area more attractive. This will help the world’s efforts in developing nuclear fusion technologies.


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    John Watt

    In an ideal world the bulk of the above discussion would be occurring in the planning depts of electricity supply authorities.Due regard would be given to location of population and industry. Consideration would be given to the most cost effective means of utilising available fuel sources and generation technologies to serve population and industry. In particular potential electricity production sites would be prioritised according to the cost effective contribution they could make in meeting the Nation’s electricity needs. In short a fairly rigorous planning process to ensure the continuation of our first class lifestyle. Obviously such a planning process includes a “watching brief” on the sorts of technologies described above. In a “real” world all technologies are in the mix. To be implemented a particular technology simply has to be the most cost effective electricity source available to fill the needs foreseen by the planners ie. a matching of forecast demand by location with generation capability and location. All the “exotic” technologies will have their day when they get to the top end of the cost effectiveness stack!

    Unfortunately this rather well-disciplined process which has served Australia well for decades has been derailed by the “CO2 is evil” scare campaign. Simply discredit that campaign to restore sanity to our vital electricity supply planning process.


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    Peter Lang

    theRealUniverse: @181,

    I disagree with you that this is a separate point. It is covered under politics and scare mongering. Waste disposal is not a technical issue. It is purely a political issue. We are not going to dispose of the once used nuclear fuel. We’vce used only about 10% of the evaialbe energy at most. It will be reused in future to use the remainder of the energy.

    Furthermore the quantities are miniscule compared with the waste from other technologies. So I see this as another advantage of nuclear – that is, the waste quantities are small and readily manageable. The cost of their management is fully included in the cost of electricity generation – unlike other technologies.

    Here is a photo of the canisters that conmtain all the once-used-nuclear-fuel from 32 years of power generation from the now decommissioned Yankee nuclear power station.
    http://www.nukeworker.com/pictures/displayimage-94-5205.html

    To others concerned about nuclear waste, I’d urge you to consider: what do you think the the total quantity of solid, liquid and gasseous waste would be from other technologies that had generated 44 TWh of electricity over their life?


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    theRealUniverse

    Peter Lang: I dont say dont use nuclear, but waste is a problem wether totally used or not. The technology used in the US and Japan highlights the problems that occur. I will post the fission byproducts in a further post later. I dont agree it is only political there IS technical issues with improper storage. Remember the Japanese public were KEPT in THE DARK totally about anything TEPCO did with the waste.

    To others concerned about nuclear waste, I’d urge you to consider: what do you think the the total quantity of solid, liquid and gasseous waste would be from other technologies that had generated 44 TWh of electricity over their life?

    Other technologies DONT produce radioactive byproducts. Also if you do your homework there was just recently danger relating to the SAME storage from recent US floods! And also the recent fire threats at Los Alamos Nat. Lab New Mexico.


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    Aynsley Kellow

    The authors of this post have done us all a considerable service by focusing on the effects of up-grading and/or replacing old plant – and the land-use demands and other impacts of solar and wind. I have only had time for a quick skim read, but the discussion seems sound.

    I must confess that I once did the Work of the Devil, providing advice on greenhouse compliance issues for the newest coal-fired power station to be built in Australia: Millmerran. I was quite clear that the eventual replacement of old plant with conversion efficiencies in the low 30s (%) by supercritical plant such as Millmerran (close to 40% design efficiency) should be a part of the response to climate change. (See: http://www.intergen.com/global/millmerran.php) I have also published a bit on electricity planning issues (Transforming Power, Cambridge University Press, 1996)

    Thinking through the reasons why we have not had a a new coal plant built, it struck me how toxic present policy has been. The analysis provided here shows the cost differentials between the various sources of supply. Why has no new cheap plant been installed? Instead, there are supply constraints and rapidly rising prices.

    It seem to me that we have what the economists call the problem of the second best.

    The first problem is the 20% MRET regulation. Recall that Rudd quietly increased it to 20%, making a bad policy a disastrous one. Existing hydro was not counted as renewable, of course. So renewables must be sourced and the kind of price differential indicated here simply drives up costs of supply. The Productivity Commission has shown just how costly this policy has been, with implicit ‘prices on carbon; in the hundreds of dollars, from memory.

    The MRET regulation is a huge overhang and a significant reason for a lack of investment in coal-fired generation. The demand for electricity supply became – by regulatory fiat – demand for supply of ‘renewable’ electricity.

    Enter the emissions tax (I cannot bring myself to write the ‘Newspeak’ expression ‘price on carbon’). At $23/tonne, it is not high enough to bridge the difference between coal and renewables, so it will simply push up prices without triggering investment in either renewables beyond MRET targets, nor investment in coal. So we face supply constraints (and therefore further rise in prices in the face of rising demand), losing our international competitiveness as a low energy country.

    The problem is the combination of MRET and then emissions pricing: the first stuffs up the impact of the latter, so we get the worst of all possible worlds. We should, rather, be encouraging investment in coal plants – refurbishments or new plants, even Ultra Hypercritical plant. (The only one operational I know of is in China).

    The current policy is a train wreck.


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    theRealUniverse

    For the record: NUCLEAR reaction
    235U + n -> 236U -> 144Ba + 89Kr +3n 177MeV.
    and 236U -> 137Cs + 95Rb + 4n + 191MeV.
    Also 236U -> 140Xe + 94Sr.
    So there Cesium, Rubidium, Krypton and Barium as byproducts.
    Both 137Cs and 90Sr (less common byproduct) are extremely dangerous.

    cesium-137 has the further insidious property of being mistaken for potassium by living organisms and taken up as part of the fluid electrolytes. This means that it is passed on up the food chain and reconcentrated from the environment by that process.

    But..
    It takes only about 3 kg of natural uranium to supply the energy needs of one American for a year.
    Take your pick!


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    My question to those arguing against nuclear power is: How long is the waste from a fast-breeder reactor required to be stored until it is deemed safe?


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    theRealUniverse

    Waffle why would one need a fast breeder unless you were into the nuclear bomb industry?


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    Bob of Castlemaine

    Peter Lang: @ 184
    If Australia can waste so much public money subsidising useless windmills and solar on the basis of the CAGW scam, then I guess it’s a fair point that some level of subsidised nuclear industry can be justified. Particularly if it brings the prospect of seeding viable local processing and long term waste storage industries.

    But fundamentally, if the Arab states figure coal is more economic than nuclear for their power generation needs, how can it not be the more economic alternative here in Australia?


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    theRealUniverse

    I would guess that if Coal power station cost = n then Nuclear power station = A*n, where A >> 1. (Ignoring the relative output in GW for each station) ? Unless anybody can come up with a costing?


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    Peter Lang

    theRealUniverse @190,

    I should have acknowledged in my previous reply to you that the old 1950′s and early 1960′s Boiling Water Reactors (and other reactors of the time) have design flaws as did the analysis of maximum tsunami height. I recognise the problems with the used fuel storage at Fukushima and other plants of similar design. We will have industrial accidents from time to time in all industries and all types of power plants.

    However, I suggest it is not thinking objectively to say “Other technologies DONT produce radioactive byproducts.” That is an indication of ‘nuclear phobia’ in my opinion.

    If you were objective on this matter you would ask yourself and be able to answer questions like this:

    1. how dangerous is radioactive contamination compared with chemical contamination?

    2. which is easier to detect (and therefore deal with appropriately)? (radiation easy, chemical extremely difficult)

    3. How many people were killed due to radiation or radioactive contamination as a result of Fukushima? To get some sense of perspective how many people were killed by:

    - the tsunami? (28,000)
    - hydro dam failures and flooding caused by the same earthquake? (12 at last count)
    - oil fires and the polution from them? (don’t know, that is telli in itself; we are just not interested unless it is related to nuclear))
    - cold and lack of hospital care due to lack of electricity? (don’t know)

    4. You can also compare the projected fatalities that are likely to occur due to radioactive contamination with the fatalities that would result if the same amount of electricity had been generated by coal or gas instead of nuclear.

    (To get some perspective on the Fukushima accident, think back to what aircraft safety was like in the 1960s and think how many people have been killed in aircraft crashes over the years).

    theRealUniverse and other readers, to avoid us getting into a discussion based on ‘nuclear phobia’ can I urge you to please read “What is risk? A simple explanation” to inform yourselves before we discuss nuclear safety and risks any further.
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/07/04/what-is-risk/
    At a minimum look at Figures 1 and 2 and the associates text.


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    Peter Lang

    Bob of Castlemaine @194,

    then I guess it’s a fair point that some level of subsidised nuclear industry can be justified.

    I do not suggest we subsidise any electricity generation (although there is a cost we have to carry to undo the mistakes we’ve made due to 50 years of bad energy policies; these are the catch up costs and the cost to overcome 50 years of anti nuclear scaremongering). I suggest we remove the impediments that make it more costly than coal. I’ve explained all that in the link I provided up thread: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-109491

    Can readers please acknowledge whether or not they have read the links I’ve posted so I can understand whether or not we can move forward or whether I have to keep repeating the same points.


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    theRealUniverse

    3. How many people were killed due to radiation or radioactive contamination as a result of Fukushima? To get some sense of perspective how many people were killed by:

    The radiation from Fukishima is now MORE than Chernobyl regardless of what the MSM try to not tell you.
    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25884

    Things are – literally – heating up again at Fukushima:

    Tepco Says Highest Radiation Yet Is Detected at Fukushima Dai-Ichi
    10+ sieverts per hour means there is direct exposure to fuel rods or spent fuel ponds: Australia’s former top radiation official
    Tepco: Ultra-high radiation levels may be from melted fuel that leaked out of containment vessel
    Paper: TEPCO needs to check if high radiation doses are “spreading elsewhere” — Two more spots appear to be above 10 sieverts per hour, but no plans to actually take measurements
    New indoor radiation dose record at Fukushima … May be higher as it exceeded capacity of measuring device
    New York Times: Fatal Radiation Level Found at Fukushima — “Exceeded” 10 sieverts per hour, measuring device was maxed out
    Experts: Melt-through scenario means even higher radiation readings to come — Likely many more reports of deadly radiation in future
    Tokyo U. nuke expert: Radioactive substances may have “poured” into pipe during explosion — Levels could also be extremely high outside Reactors No. 3 and 4
    Asahi: Latest detection of such high radiation levels is evidence that radioactive material spewed from Fukushima at much higher levels than previously believed

    I suggest you read the real net.
    BUT I will add there is new reactors which DONT melt down but they ARENT being built commercially for cost or other reasons. The status quo IF you read comment by REAL nuclear engineers who actually worked for Westinghouse and others is that the industry cuts corners and Gov arent interested, therefore the nuclear issue isnt worth perusing until the roll out of a much safer nuclear industry.


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    Peter Lang

    the Real Universe @191,

    This looks like you could have got it straight from Greenpeace. It is meaningelsss scaremongering nonsense.

    The important point to understand is that, on a full life cycle basis, nuclear is about the safest of all electricity generation technologies. And that has been confirmed by over half a century of nuclear electricity generation.

    I’ll leave off this discussion until I can see that you have understood the link I provided.


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    janama, the folks pushing that magic renewable hydrolinear stuff ever heard of conservation of energy?


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    Peter Lang

    TheRealUniverse,

    I suggest you read the real net.

    There is no point us continuing this discussion. There is masses of Greenpeace type scare mongering all over the net. You can get what you want from it to support your beliefs. If you prefer that material to the authoritative litterature, then so be it. The links I’ve provided have the references to the authoritative litterature. If you want to begin to learn you can take it from there. However, if you are not prepared to read it, there is no point you and I continuing this discussion.


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    theRealUniverse

    I DO NOT SUBSCRIBE to Green (NAZI) peace.
    So you think that Washington’s blog is Greenpeace..hahahaha wrong my friend.
    So how do explain exploding reactors and and meltdown in the first hours of the event, now admitted by TEPCO under public pressure in Japan.? An old ladies tea party? Why dont you go there and get some free isotopes. If you can get within 30km without being detained!

    And form a nuclear engineer hardly Greenpeace!
    http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2011/06/fukushima-predicted-regulatory-commission-was-warned-years


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    Peter Lang

    TheRealUniverse @198,

    Tepco Says Highest Radiation Yet Is Detected at Fukushima Dai-Ichi

    This highlights the reason there is no point you and I in continuing the discussion. You and I see this quite differently. You are reading material like this from the general media and your reaction is: “oh, this is so bad, so scary, so evil” or whatever.

    But you don’t consider what does it really mean. Just how bad is it? Put it in perspective. How does it compare with alternatives? How many fatalities so far? How many are there likely to be? Are we over-reacting? Do we evacuate people when there is a similar risk from chemical contamination? Can we even detect chemical contamination? Again, I’d ask you, just how serious is all that stuff you’ve copied? How many fataltities (immediate and latent) per MWh of electricity generation? Put it in perspective. I am not suggesting you answer me here. I am suggesting you consider this objectively. Challenge your own beliefs.


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    Peter Lang

    theRealUniverse @202

    What a joke. You’re pointing to sites that are referring you to Dr Caldicott. Enough said!


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    theRealUniverse

    It is a fact Peter that Fukishima was and still is a VERY dangerous event and did have meltdowns. You miss my point entirely! The nuclear industry is full of problems and IF there is an accident with PRESENT systems its all VERY bad news as you should know. Im saying the technology needs allot of improving. And yes the probability of actually dieing instantly from a random reactor is probably less than being run over by a kids bicycle! But if something goes wrong, and theres plenty of near misses, then its all over. I dont have beliefs I dont run on a belief system, not like you!
    Sp Peter why dont you write to the PM suggesting that they import Westinghouse reactors like Fukushima and the ones in the USA?


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    Peter Lang

    TheRealUnijverse @205

    You miss my point entirely!

    My point exactly! You have not understood waht I am trying to say to you. All your statement are emotive. They are not rational and not objective. You say things like “is a VERY dangerous event”. What on earth does that mean? Compared with what? Nothing you have said ahs any sense of perspective. And you did not read the link I gave you (or if you did you clearly did not understand it). You are clearly have a fairly severes case of “nuclear phobia”.


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    theRealUniverse

    1. I dont make emotive statements!
    2. Your wrong about that event in Japan being “safe”.
    3. Your link says nothing.
    4. What part of total meltdown dont you get..as a geologist! Hot rocks!
    5. Fact TEPCO had the 3 reactor as a breeder for the Japanese Govts secretive nuclear program.
    6. Plutonium leaked into the ground!
    Breeders: 238U > 239U > 239Np > 239P Plutonium! T1/2 = 2.4 x 10^4 years, yes I know some nuclear!
    AND I dont subscribe to Calidcot!


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    theRealUniverse

    Cohenite your links are wrong to.
    An engineer that actually WORKED for Westinghouse said that he left because Westinghouse were ignoring safety issues. On record.


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    memoryvault

    Peter Lang @ various

    Peter, let me start by saying I don’t disagree with anything you have posted here – I have no hang-ups about nuclear power – especially thorium-based power generation.

    However, in your fervent support for Australia going nuclear, you skip over some very prosaic, down-to-earth facts. Let’s just consider some of these:

    Both nuclear and coal require fuel. Australia currently produces both. However, we are already producing the coal for domestic consumption for power generation. We are not mining uranium (or thorium) to meet Australia’s domestic energy needs.

    That means the development of new mines, or the expansion of existing ones. This does not happen overnight. Conversely, the coal is already there waiting to be used.

    Uranium, thorium and coal dug straight out of the ground are not readily suitable for fuel. Coal must be crushed and ground into a fine powder. Uranium must be extracted from the yelllowcake ore, reduced and concentrated, and refined into “rods”. I am sure similar requirements apply to thorium.

    Australia is well-versed and knowledgeable in the technology of crushing and grinding coal to feed into a power station boiler. To the best of my knowledge we have little or no knowledge or expertise, let alone the capacity, to reduce yellowcake to enriched uranium fuel rods. Ditto for thorium. This means, before we even consider building our first nuclear power station, we have billions to invest in technology and infrastructure to just supply the fuel.

    Having established an actual fuel supply, it is then necessary to build the power station. Most Australians are unaware, but much of the work to develop super-critical boiler technology originated in Australia. We are experts at building efficient coal-fired boilers.

    On the other hand, we know very little, and have zero expertise, in building nuclear-powered electricity generation facilities. So we have an entirely new technology field to learn, develop and master before we can generate any power.

    I repeat: I am not having a shot at you – I agree and believe in everything you have written.

    But you and Tony insist on presenting an “either – or” situation. Coal OR nuclear.

    The realty is, in a market not dominated by government interference, we would already be moving to super critical steam boilers. This would be followed by updates in turbine and generator development. Eventually, in turn, the actual steam generation would be supplanted by nuclear.

    All driven by market forces.


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    theRealUniverse

    You are clearly have a fairly severes case of “nuclear phobia”.

    And just for the record Lang Im not anti nuclear. Its just you cant read.


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    theRealUniverse

    Just for Peter lang. Reliability of Japan/US nuclear industry..
    Pre 2011!

    In the 1960′s, TEPCO planned to build a reactor outside Kashiwazaki city: nuclear officials told the local community, for example, that radioactivity from the plant would increase rice cultivation and the coloring of the carp (a delicacy): seven reactors were eventually built there. In June 1973, radioactive waste water leaked from a storage tank at Fukushima’s reactor No. 1. In July 1974, Kansai Electric asked Westinghouse Corporation to replace the steam generator of one of Kansai’s two Mihama reactors after Mihama I experienced four major shutdowns in less than four years.

    In September 1974, following the emergency shutdown of 21 of the then 55 U.S. reactors due to radioactive leaks at the Illinois Dresden Reactor No. 1, Japanese officials inspected their six Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs), similar to the Dresden BWR, and they found similar defects at Fukushima I and Hamaoka. Ditto, 1975: emergency shutdown’s in the U.S. prompted inspections that discovered Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) problems at the Fukushima I and Tsuruga BWR reactors. Japan’s Mihama reactors were plagued with radioactive ‘leaks’ and faulty equipment that prompted Kansai officials to demand a refund from U.S. contractor Westinghouse Corporation. The Mihama Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) have been scrammed and shutdown and leaked. The accident at the Mihama Reactor No. 3 on 9 August 2004 was previously considered Japan’s worst nuclear accident: there was no tsunami, and no earthquake.

    Japan’s fleet of white elephant nukes only grew more problematic. From April to September 1977, six of Japan’s fourteen reactors were shutdown. Japanese corporations joined with Westinghouse and General Electric in the 1980′s to export their destructive technology to other countries, mostly targeting the so-called Third World. Before 1979 there were some 25 reactors under construction or completed in Japan, and until last week there were 55 operating reactors. In 2006, GE and Hitachi Corporation teamed up to create three joint venture nuclear companies to expand nukes in North America.

    This from an engineer who studied the industry.


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    Peter Lang

    memoryvault @211,

    Thank you for your comment. I am fully aware of all you say. It is impossible to cover it all in comments in a thread, or even in a single article. The points you make are all fully understood and are covered in the comparitive costs of the various options. It is fully recognised there is a cost for FOAK (first-of-a-kind) in a country and the cost per unit declines after the first builds. All this is covered in the links I’ve provided. Unfortunately, this discussion has decended into a slanging match with at least one commenter slanging off without bothering to read the links I’ve provided.

    You are wrong where you say: “But you and Tony insist on presenting an “either – or” situation. Coal OR nuclear.“. That is a misunderstanding based on having failed to read the background and also not considering the timelines involved. It is not possible to explain it all here.


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    Peter Lang

    memoryvault @211,

    Further to my previous comment, I should emphasise I do agree with the rational people here. That is, what is important is the comparative economics of the various alternatives. What is important is the comparative cost of electricity with all costs and risks included.

    I also recognise that there is an enormous public perception and therefore political resistance to nuclear in Australia. This could change quickly if for example Labor decided to dump its 50 year anti-nuclear policy and actually lead with good energy policy.

    The risks, safety, waste management and other objections are real issues from a perception perspective, but are all covered in the cost of electricity. They are basically furphies. But they are effective anti-nuke scare taking points. Unfortunately, many people lack objectivity and are gullible (not saying you are).

    As I mentioned in an earlier comment, the real issues are cost an politics. I agree with you and Tony on this. That is where the real debate should be. That is where I would like to see the debate continue.

    I believe the cost of nuclear can be cheaper than coal in Australia, eventually – all costs included, once we get past the FOAK stage, and with all the impediments removed.

    I accept it will take a long time to get to this point. I suspect it can be achieved for about $20 billion of taxpayer funding over about 20 years. I justify this on the basis it is the cost of unwinding 50 years of bad energy policy. The cost-benefit analysis is highly favourable.

    By the way, if we had not had 50 years of anti-nuke scaremongering, nuclear would be far lower cost now, far safer now, world CO2 emissions would be 10% to 20% lower now, we’d be on a faster trajectory to reduce emissions, and we’d be doing so with a ‘no-regrets’ policy (that is it would be economically beneficial – we’d all be better off). One way to think about this is that the world has become more prosperous as we’ve moved to cheaper energy sources. Higher energy density means cheaper energy. Energy density has increased as we moved from animal power (cows-pulling-ploughs), to wind and water, to wood, to coal, to oil, to nuclear fission.

    The nuclear fission process use now uses fuel which is about 20,000 times more energy dense than coal; they use less than 10% of the available energy in the fuel. The Gen IV reactors, which are currently in the development and demonstration stages now, will use most of the available energy in the fuel. This process will be about 200,000 times more energy dense than coal.

    So the way forward is to nuclear. The key issues are: cost, politics and the timeline.


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    Peter Lang

    It is clear that people are replying to comments here without referring to the links provided. So I will post here one of the comments I’ve linked to several times upthread. This comment:http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-109491 is posted in full below. There are many more comments on the “Alternative to Carbon Pricing” thread.

    Nuclear cheaper than coal in Australia. How?
    Here is another of my really rough, ‘back of an envelope’ calculations.

    I have argued here http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-105862 why the peoples of the world need low-cost electricity, and why low-cost, clean electricity will reduce the world’s emissions faster than higher cost, clean electricity.

    Below I argue why I believe nuclear can be the least cost way to generate electricity in Australia in the future without resorting to a Carbon Tax or Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

    How?
    Adding a carbon tax or ETS will add more government imposed regulatory burdens on industry, without removing any of the mess of state and Federal government imposed conflicting regulations, tax breaks, subsidies and other incentives and disincentives that exist now. Rather than adding to this mess that is inflating prices we should remove all that are unnecessary or distorting the market. That means cleaning up and removing all the incentives and disincentives that favour one technology over another.

    We will also have to pass legislation that sends a clear message to investors that the rules for new power stations have changed, and the change is permanent. We must convince investors that their investment will be secure and future governments will not renege. By sending this clear message the investor risk premium will move from nuclear to coal, over time.

    To do this we will have to invest in (subsidise) the first nuclear power plants.

    There are several parts to my argument:

    1 Assume, as a starting price, the latest contracted price for new nuclear in a country building its first nuclear power plants, UAE .

    2 Assume the initial price will decrease as a country develops the expertise and as world prices for nuclear come down over time.

    3 Assume the government can move the investor risk premium from nuclear to fossil fuels by the legislation it enacts and the messages this sends.

    4 Assume the community is prepared to contribute (subsidise) the first plants, for:

    a. the long term benefits of lower cost cleaner electricity,
    b. energy security,
    c. because the higher cost now is recognised as a result of bad policy decisions in the past (anti-nuclear) and we have to bear a cost to correct those errors, and
    d. the precedent has been well established by the subsidies for renewable energy and by nationalising the Australian communications network.

    5 The community is prepared to invest in the plants as a means to demonstrate to the investors that the community has a substantial financial investment in these plants. This is necessary to send the message to the investors that their investment is relatively secure against the government changing its mind and reneging on deals. (This is important because of the messages often sent by people who believe it is OK for the community to renege on deals with investors as has happened frequently, and is often advocated by some groups such as Greenpeace and the Greens).

    6 The government will remove all the impediments to a level playing field for electricity generators. (I recognise the conflict with the previous points – needs to be nuanced)

    Assumptions:
    1. New coal power plants would cost $2,100/kW in 2015 under the assumptions used in the analysis (ACIL-Tasman, Table 35, p58)

    2. New nuclear plants would cost $5,050/kW in 2015 in Australia under the assumptions used in the analysis (ACIL-Tasman, Table 35, p58)

    3. The capital cost of nuclear will decrease by 15% in the five years following the commissioning of the first unit and cost reductions will continue at a declining rate (ACIL Tasman, Table 35, p58, Nuclear 2024-25 to 2028-29)

    4. A better current estimate for capital cost for the first nuclear power station in a new country (instead of the ACIL-Tasman estimate) is the recently contracted price for the UAE nuclear power station. For this assumption to be valid we would also have to assume that Australia will adopt a regulatory environment that is no more onerous than UAE’s and we will address the investment risk so that the investment environment for nuclear in Australia will be as attractive as it is for nuclear in the UAE.

    5. The UAE plant is 4 units of 1350MW for a total capacity of 5,400 MW. The capital cost of the UAE plant, including initial fuel load and technology transfer is US$20.4 billion , or $3,800/kW
    6. Investor risk premium in the USA for nuclear compared with coal is 26% (MIT, 2009).

    7. We could expect the investor risk premium to be higher in Australia given that we have no nuclear industry and given the strong anti-nuclear sentiment in Australia.

    8. I assume we will remove the impediments to nuclear and remove the incentives for fossil fuel and renewables so we can develop a ‘level playing field’ for all technologies. There are many regulations, hidden subsidies and other buried incentives that advantage fossil fuels and renewable energy in Australia. Here is a list of some examples: http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-86256 And here is a list of some of the government subsidies for different generation types for the USA, Texas: http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/energy/subsidies/index.php . This does not include the major component of the subsidies for renewables such as feed-in-tariffs, Renewable Energy Certificates, and the higher price renewables receive because the power generated by renewables is ‘must take’.

    9. I assume the community will accept that we need to provide a climate for investors such that we minimise the investor risk premium for nuclear.

    Effect of the policy on Capital Cost on Nuclear and Coal
    Based on the above assumptions I calculate the capital costs of nuclear and coal power stations in 10 years from award of the first contract for NPP in Australia as follows (in 2009 $):

    Nuclear:
    Starting price for nuclear = $3,800/kW

    Reduce by 15% over 5 years (say 25% over 10 years) = $2,850/kW

    Remove the investor risk premium of say 25% = $2,300/kW
    Coal:
    Starting price for new coal = $2,100/kW

    Reduce cost by 1.5% over 10 years = $$2,070/kW (ACIL-Tasman for 2025)

    Add investor risk premium to coal (of say 25%) = $2,600/kW

    How much subsidy would be needed to get nuclear started?
    Starting price for nuclear = $3,800/kW

    Starting price for new coal = $2,100/kW

    Difference = $1,700/kW

    However, nuclear has lower fuel and operating costs than coal, so allow (rough guess) $300/kW.

    Therefore, the subsidy needed for the first plants would be $1700-$300 = $1,400/kW.

    This would reduce to zero by say the 8th reactor, so the average would be $1,400/kW for the first 4 reactors and $700/kW for the next 4 reactors.

    Subsidy for 5400MW @ $1,400/kW = $7.56 billion

    Subsidy for 5400MW @ $700/kW = $3.78 billion

    Subsidy for the first 10,800 MW = $11.34 billion

    References:
    ACIL Tasman (2009) “Fuel resource, new entry and generation costs in the NEM.”
    http://www.aemo.com.au/planning/419-0035.pdf

    MIT (2009) “The future of nuclear power”, 2009 update.
    http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/


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    I concur fully with everything Peter has said here.
    What people are led to believe about any comparison with coal fired power, (be it the existing technology or the new technology) and Nuclear power is the perceived initial up front cost of the plant itself, and when you quote huge prices of $3800 per Kw, just look at what that initial price comes to.
    Consider the ‘normal’ Nuclear plant.
    2 reactors each driving a turbine/generator complex. The generator, effectively, should be a large one, say 1100MW
    So with 2 generators that total is 2200MW.
    So, at $3800 per KW, then the construction cost comes in at $8.4 Billion.
    See, end of story.
    Way too expensive.
    However, there’s always more to it than that.
    Consider an equivalent new technology coal fired plant.
    Initially, it’s way cheaper, (and here I’m talking way, way cheaper) to initially construct.
    This gives the ‘perception of this type of plant being cheaper.
    Both plants will have an expected life span of 50 years, and the plant, after that 50 years can be relicensed out to 60 years and then to 75 years.
    The Nuclear plant can run at a capacity factor of around 92.5% and the average in the U.S. currently stands at around 95%.
    Large scale coal fired power runs at a capacity factor of around 85%, and in the U.S. large scale coal fired is currently running at around 87.5%
    From that it is obvious that over the 50 year life span of both plants, the Nuke will supply considerably more power.
    By far the single most important part of any comparison is not that initial up front cost, but the cost of the fuel over that 50 year life span.
    Typically, a large scale Nuke will very carefully manage the way they use the rod assemblies in the reactor, so that, to keep the reaction going at a rate that will always make the same amount of steam, be that from any of the BWR’s or PWR’s (most common current technology) they can judiciously use those rods so that each reactor will have fuel to run it at its most efficient for around 18 months, from refuel to refuel.
    So every 9 months, one reactor is shut down for refuel, while the other powers on.
    So that means, each year, the plant has to purchase fuel for one of its reactors.
    The total fuel rod assemblies replaced for the whole one reactor contain around 24 Tonnes of processed Uranium pellets inside those rods, at a cost of $2200 per Kg.
    This gives us a total for fuel of $53 Million for each refuel.
    Once every 9 months for the original 50 years amounts to 67 refuels.
    So now, the fuel bill for the Nuke comes in at $3.55 Billion.
    Okay then, now look at the cheaper to construct new technology coal fired power plant.
    It consumes around 4.5 million tons of steaming coal each year.
    4.5 million tons multiplied by 50 years comes in at 225 million tons of coal.
    Steaming coal prices are negotiated from plant to plant, but I’ll go with around $60 per ton.
    The cost of 50 years worth of coal now comes in at $13.5 Billion.
    Fuel cost Nuke = $3.55 Billion.
    Fuel cost Coal = $13.5 Billion.
    Add that to construction cost and now you can see that the Nuke is cheaper over the life span of that 50 years for both plants.
    Now also remember that the Nuke has produced a lot more power for consumption each year and extrapolated out over that 50 years it amounts to a huge amount of extra power.
    It is patently obvious now that the electrical power generated for consumption is much cheaper than for coal, and infinitely cheaper than renewables.
    In fact Nuclear power is in fact far and away the cheapest process for generation of electrical power.
    Again, I’ve taken up an enormous amount of space here, that is if anybody is still reading.
    So when somebody tells you that nuclear power is expensive, that statement is in fact hyperbowl, to quote someone whose name eludes me right now. (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)
    Tony.


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    Incidentally, if the Menzies Government had not canned that original proposal for the construction of our first large scale Nuclear plant, we wouldn’t be having this ‘argument’ now.


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    MattB

    So it is all John Kerr’s fault then.


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    Er,
    Menzies, not Eddie G, or have I missed something?


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    Peter Lang

    Tony and Matt,

    As I recall, it was Billy McMahon that canned the Nowra nuclear power plant, under severe political pressure from the Labor Opposition’s Whitlam and Dr Jim Cairns who were using extreme anti-nuke scare tactics – they won the election and became what, in retrospect, was the second worst governemnt we’ve had in the past 60 years (Rudd-Gillard is the worst).


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    Peter at comment 222
    I stand corrected on the Menzies, Billy Mac ‘canning’. I always thought it was Menzies reacting to anti nuke scare pressure.
    Hear hear on you assessment re Eddie G and Rudd/Gillard.
    I’m nowhere near your level of expertise on Nuclear power, so I’d like your reaction to my comment at 218.
    Tony.


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    Peter Lang

    TonyfromOz @218,

    All good. We have different ways of presenting the information. So we probably get to different audiences.

    My main suggestioinh is that by far the best way to compare technologies is on the basis of their Levelised Cost Of Electricity (LCOE). I didn’t do that in the comment above because we do not have an authoritative LCOE for the UAE electricity yet. I’ve heard it claimed that it will be 1/4 the cost of from gas, but I take that with a pinch of salt.

    We have a number of authoritative studies comparing the LCOE of new entrant technologies for Australia. The best IMO is the 2009 report by ACIL-Tasman (referenced in my comment #216). I’d strongly urge you and others who are interested in this subject to download and save the pdf file or book mark the link for future use. I access it frequently.

    There are more recent reports with updated figures. However, the reports have been done to a political agenda – so for example, the nuclear figures are excluded from the reports where they are published on the government web sites. There is a mass of detail I could provide on these sorts of shennanigans, but that is another story.


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    Peter Lang

    Tony,

    In case you don’t know about it, here is a simple (and somewhat simplified) LCOE calculator:

    http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html


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    Peter,
    the ‘problem’ I have, if it can be termed a problem at all is target readership.
    I love visiting the BNC site, and while the Posts are great there, what I enjoy most are the comments, because they reflect the technical nature of the headline Posts. Sometimes those comments go out past 200 and more, and reading them is a time consuming thing, which I like doing, because besides learning something, it then spurs me to try and find an easier way to explain some of those technicalities.
    However, if I was to start using technical stuff like that, I’d soon get the ‘message’ from the owner of the site I contribute at. Well, the message would arrive sooner than any feedback from him would.
    The readers at that site would just stop reading after a few lines.
    My task then is to try and explain the technicalities of that information in as simple a way as possible, something that the average person can actually understand enough to gain even the tiniest inkling of comprehension.
    As I have said in so many places, the single thing I have had to explain most often is how one ton of coal being burned produces on average 2.86 tons of CO2.
    That Post which I originally made in late 2008 still gets very regular visits almost every day now, and I still have to explain it, and that’s High School Science from Grade 8.
    If I was to start using really technical information, readers would just ignore it.
    That’s why I like sites like BNC.
    One of the things I’m gradually getting across is how those ‘flavour of the month’ renewables fail absolutely to deliver.
    I’m still getting people calling me out saying plants like Solar Dawn at 250MW Nameplate Capacity with barely 550GWH delivered per year ARE in fact the equivalent of plants like Bayswater, that they provide similar power, and do it at 24/7/365 and that in doing so, we can begin to close those coal fired plants down.
    They think that Solar Dawn is up and running, or will be next week, and that we can therefore close down plants like Bayswater as soon as they come on line.
    Trying to explain the difference between Nameplate Capacity and actual power delivered is also a problem, as people think that 1500MW of Wind equals 1500MW of coal fired power.
    Then there’s the Capacity Factor, and trying to explain that, by extrapolating it out to power delivered on a daily basis, eg a CF of 25% equates to only 6 hours a day. I still get called on that one.
    My task is to KISS, and even that fails sometimes.
    Tony.


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    Brian J. BAKER

    Jo,

    I haven’t read all the comments but why aren’t you targetting all the workers in the industry that will be affected by the tax. Hazelwood shut down for day or two perhaps plus as many others as poss. lets see how Canberra can get on with no heating etc.,


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    Peter Lang

    Tony,

    And, you can’t KISS until you’ve done your homework. :) XXX

    The point I tried to make earlier was that if we want to compare options for reducing CO2 emissions on the basis of least cost, then we should compare the technologies on the basis of cost per tonne CO2 avoided. My simple analysis suggests that replacing old coal power stations with newer technology coal will have a fairly high cost for emissions avoidance – higher than gas or nuclear.


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    Peter Lang

    Further to the discussion about safety, this MIT report http://mitnse.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/fukushima-lessons-learned-mit-nsp-025.pdf concludes with the question:

    Are the design basis selections of energy industry structures posing high environmental hazard, such as oil drilling platforms offshore, coal mines and water dams, consistent with those of nuclear plants? If not, are we as a society irrationally accepting higher risks from certain technologies than others.

    That was the point I was trying to make. We are not objective with our assessment of risk of nuclear power compared with the risk of other electricity generating technolgies and in fact with other industries.

    Appendix A of this report is about the “Publich Health Impact of Gukishima


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    Roy Hogue

    Jo,

    I’m glad you’re finally coming to America to explain things to Congress and The President. I understand the red carpet treatment is all set. They’ve really been anxious to talk to you. It’s all over the news. You’re the woman of the century.

    Sudden noise… …must be the @#$!% alarm clock.

    Yawn… …oh no, don’t want to wake up! Sleep some more! No-o-o-o-o-o-o…!

    Slowly drags his behind out of bed and gets ready for another day in la-la land. Maybe coffee will help; hopefully…

    Would the dream were so!


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    Aaron

    Just a question, is there a reason why Hydroelectric power is not included in your assessments? I’ve noticed that this tends to get forgotten about during these discussions. What are the carbon emissions/price involved in extracting and transporting the coal? As this should also be taken into consideration when debating price vs emissions.

    I understand that you wrote this article to promote coal as the ideal power source and as a result it will be biased towards that end point. This is probably the biggest issue either side of the debate as articles will be written with a bias towards the author’s opinion OR if they are completely without bias and a simple research into what would the best be that would also be considered biased. Personally I have no idea on what would be the best approach (except the “Holy Grail” called Cold Fusion), and this is because everyone is out to promote their view rather than a distanced research into what would truly be the best option.


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    BLouis79

    I’m sure the Greens would rather build more new coal plants that lower CO2 emissions than build new nuclear plants.

    Nuclear proponents conveniently fail to allocate any costs to environmental risks and damage, which are clearly significant negative impacts. Australia is large enough that we could put the nuclear power plants in the middle of the desert to minimise risk to people, but that brings a cost of transmission.

    Solar fantasy is that it will make much difference. Solar is unable to contribute *anything* to the size of electricity demand peaks unless one can store solar power – a non-trivial and expensive exercise. So one invests capital in solar without avoiding any capital in baseload capacity (coal/hydro/nuclear/etc) but permit the baseload power generator to run below capacity for it’s life. Then the baseload power generator will last longer before being replaced by something newer and more efficient. Brilliant.
    See for example modelled effects of solar: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/5818/


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    Peter Lang

    BLouise79 @230,

    Nuclear proponents conveniently fail to allocate any costs to environmental risks and damage,

    That statement is not correct. The opposite is the case.

    It is actually nuclear that has most of the damage and risk costs internalised (i.e included in the cost of electricity) [1]. This is the reason nuclear is expensive, i.e unequal internalisation of the risks of nuclear compared with other technologies. As I mentioned up thread, nuclear is 10 to 100 times safer than coal (see figure 1 amd 2 here [2]).

    [1] ExternE, http://www.externe.info/

    [2] What is risk? A simple explanation http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/07/04/what-is-risk/


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    Peter Lang

    Aaron @230,

    The articel above is about baseload generators. Hydro cannot be considered as a baseload generator in Australia (except in Tasmania).

    Only about 5% of Australia’s electricity is generated by hydo and the proportion is decreasing. Our Snowy Mountains Scheme has a low capacity factor – about 14%. So it is used to store water for when it is needed and then used in short burst when it is needed most – such as at times of peak demand and to generate power when one of the large generators fails. The hydro plays a valuable role in balancing the power on the grid to maintain voltage and frequency.

    Australia is a dry continent with low topographic relief. For hydro we need plenty of water high topographic relief (like Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland).


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    MichaelB

    After a quick scan of 233 responses I did not see a reference to the $90m govt. ALDP (Advanced lignite development program) of which proposals closed today. There are several well advanced technologies for the de-watering of lignite from 60+% moisture to around 15% and emissions significantly lower than lignite. Whilst this coal cannot be used straight into the older lignite boilers it can be shandied up to 15% giving in excess of an overall 5% emissions reduction. It can also be used as a black coal equivalent in more modern super critical boilers or developed further for direct injection into internal combustion engines. Estimated reserves of lignite in Victoria is in excess of 100 billion tons!


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    DanielA

    Lol “science”. Zero references for any data, and outright lies. No surprises really. On the upside, anyone stupid enough to believe this crap wouldn’t be swayed by any evidence, and anyone with half a brain can smell the bullshit a mile off.


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