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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When your subsidies undermine your subsidies

For forty years, people have tried to get Solar to work.  Now, the worst possible thing for the industry has occurred: The Left are serious about trying to help it.

The Large-Scale Solar Subsidies are bountifully generous on an unprecedented scale that involves taxing everything else that moves, but even that generosity is not enough to compete with…wait for it… the even more insanely lavish Small-Scale Solar Subsidies. Who would have thought? Remember these are the same people who tell us that the “free market solution is best”. They offered three times the going rate for rooftop solar electricity, and through utterly predictable market mechanics, created a glut in rooftop solar panels as every man and his dog rushed in to get free electrons from their roofs, and on good sunny days, even cheques in the mail. Now, the large-scale projects are struggling to get major electricity retailers to sign long-term contracts.

 

THE federal government has delayed issuing key grants under its $1.5 billion Solar Flagships program after a preferred applicant, the Moree Solar Farm, failed to meet a December 15 deadline to reach financial closure on its project.

Solar projects have struggled to secure contracts with retailers, who have taken advantage of a supply glut created by the high take-up of solar rooftop panels.

Mr Ferguson said the government remained committed to large-scale energy technologies.

“However, we must also ensure that taxpayer money is spent prudently.”

[The Australian: Government Eases conditions for it's large-scale solar program]

The Greens with their usual acute insight into economic affairs know exactly why the inefficient large-scale solar projects are failing:

The issue has sparked attacks from the Greens, who have accused Mr Ferguson [Labor Minister] of mismanaging the process to maintain coal’s dominance.

If only Mr Ferguson were a Green and knew the true evil of C.O.A.L.  He would not allow those aromatic hydrocarbons to give up so much energy so cheaply..

They just don’t do numbers well do they?

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When your subsidies undermine your subsidies, 8.9 out of 10 based on 79 ratings

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164 comments to When your subsidies undermine your subsidies

  • #
    Popeye

    Jo – correction

    “They just don’t do numbers well do they?”

    They just don’t do ANYTHING well do they?

    Cheers,


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    • #
      Bob Malloy

      To abbreviate even further, They just don’t do.


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      catamon

      They did numbers well enough to get the Carbon Price Bills through both houses.


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      • #
        brc

        Yes, they paid off a bunch of independents with our money to secure their vote, after lying to the Australian public about their intentions.

        The numbers they used to put the bills through the houses are our tax dollars wasted on electorates who would probably return the money if they could just get a say in how their members act.

        The next lot of numbers to be counted with either be caucus or electoral votes. And those who promoted the carbon tax are going to come up very short of the numbers indeed.

        Another number for you : less than 50 days to the QLD election. When the Labor government goes, and the LNP government comes in, wait and watch for the high court challenge to the carbon tax. That will be three eastern states with conservative state governments, all deciding to push back on massive devaluation of their electricity assets. More numbers to count.

        And while we’re on the carbon tax and numbers – how many PPM of co2 will it remove from the atmosphere? Will it be a measurable amount? I can certainly already count the jobs that it is destroying. But you’d be happy about aluminium smelting closing down, wouldn’t you? After all, that’s the whole reason for it, isn’t it? To close down ‘derdy polluders’?


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        • #
          KinkyKeith

          “”less than 50 days to the QLD election”"

          Now that is exciting for everyone who takes an interest in good government.

          :)


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        • #
          Michael

          I have 2 questions if you don’t mind. If the Queensland did oppose the Carbon Tax via the high Court would anyone know if they have a good chance of winning the case,and what would the results of a successful challenge do to the carbon tax? Would it be the end of it,or just a severe knockback while they drafted new legistation?


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          • #
            brc

            It would be the same type of thing as the high court challenge on the Malaysia people swap deal.

            They would either have to rewrite the legislation, and re-pass it through the houses, or just abandon it in the same way they abandoned the Malaysia deal.

            I don’t think there is anyone who could tell you if it would be successful or not. I presume the challenge would have to do with federal laws interfering in state business, or somethign like that, but I’m just speculating here. Someone else could weigh in. Clive Palmer certainly seems optimistic about it.


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          • #
            Michael

            The government’s package of legislation – the “backbone” of their scheme – contains key bills that are mutually-dependent, and mutually-contradictory (internally inconsistent), with respect to their differing definition/s of what exactly the imposition of a “charge” for a carbon “unit” (permit) actually is, under the Constitution:

            The main bill – Clean Energy Act 2011: Exposure draft, Part 4, Division 2, Section 100 – says that the imposition of a charge for carbon permits is not an act of imposing a tax.

            Note (a) of that Clean Energy Act 2011, Section 100 references the proposed Clean Energy (Charges—Excise) Act 2011, Part 2. Which says that

            (1) it is an Act that is “associated with the Clean Energy Act 2011″, and that
            (2) the imposition of a charge for carbon permits is an act of imposing “a duty of excise”.

            But …

            Note (b) of that Clean Energy Act 2011, Section 100 references the Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge—General) Act 2011 Section 8. Which says that

            (1) it is an Act that is “associated with the Clean Energy Act 2011″, and that
            (2) the imposition of a charge for carbon permits is an act of imposing a tax, and is not an act of imposing “a duty of excise”.

            In order to impose their desired legislation, the burden of proof is on the government to show that their proposed new “charge” is in accordance with section 55 of the Constitution:

            COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – SECT 55

            Tax Bill

            Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.

            Laws imposing taxation, except laws imposing duties of customs or of excise, shall deal with one subject of taxation only; but laws imposing duties of customs shall deal with duties of customs only, and laws imposing duties of excise shall deal with duties of excise only.

            By use of the word “unitary”, the government’s Regulatory Impact Statement clearly affirms that the package of legislation necessarily functions as one.

            Therefore, given that the bills within that one package are both mutually-dependent, and internally-contradictory, and are so on that very point of definition (what is the charge? a tax? a duty of excise? neither? both?), then the legislation package is clearly unconstitutional.

            The only question remaining … who will finance a High Court challenge, if this government will not drop the scheme scam?

            There’s also section 114 which states that “The Commonwealth shall not tax the States, nor shall the States tax the Commonwealth”
            Seeing that some of the states still own the power stations that the carbon tax is targeting..


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    • #
      Robert

      Based on Cat’s comment I would have to venture that they do lying well. Since they aren’t our bunch (who we in the states know do lying well) that’s just my observation.


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      • #

        I disagree. Those who are good at lying would carefully cover their tracks. Those who don’t plan ahead can’t answer questions when asked for data, methods, and straight answers later. In a politicians case, they would have phrased their commitments with caveats to give them an out. Clumsy not too. JG has zero cred left. There is no way she could run for another election.

        While they might not be good at lying, some are very good at audacious bluster, and are apparently not shackled with a conscience or scruples.


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        • #
          Llew Jones

          As I see it the problem with Gillard is that apart from being an inveterate public liar she is absolutely clueless about the impact of the hare brained policies she supports and which her coalition of Greens, Independents and equally technically clueless ALP parliamentarians get into legislation.

          Noticed the little contrived hissy fit when Abbott suggested the carbon tax would lose jobs. That is a truism and will affect all manufacturing industry in Australia in varying degrees. The morons she relies on as experts of course are to blame for these economy destroying policies but she shares culpability because of her apparent ignorance of how industry works. At the very least the carbon tax sends a psychological message to all businesses that Gillard is absolutely ignorant of the impact of her policy when a carbon tax is imposed on power generation.


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          • #
            Cookster

            Llew, the more I know about JG, the more I am led to the conclusion she is intellectually not up to the job. Her motivation is not based on science, economics or good reasoning but upon her ideologically socialist background and a lust for power above what is good for Australia.


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          Robert

          Hi Jo, hope you are well and feisty as ever. Tough times ahead for all of us it seems.

          Rather than claim “semantics” let me rephrase that to “they are accomplished liars” which (in my opinion) does not necessarily mean that not getting caught is one of their accomplishments. ;-)

          Perhaps they believe their own b.s.? Good a guess as any I suppose. I always wonder of the things we have caught them lying about how much more is their that we haven’t caught them at yet? 8O


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  • #
    Andrew McRae

    we must also ensure that taxpayer money is spent prudently.

    Hey genius! Fergie, here’s an idea! If you want “taxpayer money” to be spent prudently, why not cease taking it away from the taxpayers, and then they can spend their money prudently!


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    NotMyRealName

    For a humorous take on carbon tax etc
    http://www.wireless77.com/?p=6917


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    KinkyKeith

    The current system of “doing” renewables is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Hundreds of thousands of small solar / electric units are tokenism at its worst.

    One large Solar unit in a paddock is many times more efficient than the same power sourced from home roof tops.

    Similar for roof top water gathering as seen in the onerous basix of NSW.

    The construction of one large dam is the economic solution.

    Wind power was used very successfully in the past all round the world on very small scale.

    But it cannot generate electricity cheaply. It is not even “Green”.

    Nowhere in Australia needs Desalination plants. And so on.

    The ONLY way to go is this: Give CSIRO Research new leadership, then give it all the taxes that would have been wasted on crazy vote getting schemes like the above and let them do the “Science” on renewables.

    Then we will get somewhere.

    The result will be cheap electricity for consumers and businesses and useful renewable discoveries, especially for isolated rural ares that at present use home generation units.

    Another good idea I read yesterday somewhere in here, is to do an audit on the IPCC.

    The waste and abuse of privilege is appalling.


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    • #
      Fred Allen

      Give the CSIRO a bucketload of money? And you are sure the result will be cheap electricity? That’s a lot of faith in a scietific organisation to pull rabbits out of a hat. Maybe, the result might be a huge government organisation with minimal output and an expansive communications division devoted to publicly justifying its existence while wasting an enormous amount of money. The big problem with solar is that it generates DC, loses even more efficiency in converting to AC in order to travel any distance, doesn’t have the supporting electric grid to sustain it, is subject to the vagaries of weather and day/night cycles, can’t be stored and costs a bomb…whether on a rooftop or in a large field. Throw all the money you like at it. There is nothing in the research pipeline that will significantly alter the fact that photovoltaic panels are an inefficient and over-priced solution to an over-hyped, non-issue (AGW). Photovoltaic panels are only economically justified on a large scale in urban areas, and will only ever be so, with enormous government subsidies and regulations that stiffle competition. In 15 years time…maybe less…there’s going to be a growth industry in removing PV panels from rooftops, repairing water damage in attic spaces from 15-20 years of leaks at mounts, and re-roofing homes. It won’t be cheap. The cost to the insurance industry will be enormous and I don’t doubt for an instant that insurance companies will already be factoring these matters into their calculations.


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      • #
        KinkyKeith

        Hi Fred

        “Give the CSIRO a bucketload of money?

        And you are sure the result will be cheap electricity? ”

        I did say when the management was changed. :)

        Also the cheap electricity was simply the coal fired power we used to have without the

        stupid green subsidies for costly rooftop generation in small units.

        That’s totally independent of CSIRO.


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      • #
        KinkyKeith

        I agree with your comment Fred and personally would like to see Nuclear Power as the backup

        for coal fired but I was just looking at

        1. Getting back to cheap power (coal fired) and

        2. getting some real value from a potentially great unit : The CSIRO.

        I didn’t picture CSIRO being involved in basic power generation, just future systems IF

        they could be made financially viable (No subsidies).


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    • #
      val majkus

      KK just re ‘audit of the IPCC’
      I’m not too sure what that would achieve
      here’s what the Auditor General does in Australia
      http://www.anao.gov.au/About-Us
      essentially I understand an audit investigates accountability and performance not accuracy and fairness
      But I may be completely wrong
      I’d be interested to hear what you think


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    • #
      Paul79

      Give CSIRO Research new leadership … ???

      With the government and establishment’s current views how could new leadership with another (i.e. sceptic) view function? ‘Tis difficult to replace all of the establishment.

      Subsidies on subsidies and from both state and federal governments skew the economic reality of all renewables. As residential electricity customers can negotiate discounts with suppliers, to be able to do so for domestic PV units rates may be a good way of removing the problem from the realm of politics.


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    • #
      Hasbeen

      The only way we will get a new power source will be private enterprise develop it.

      A couple of years ago it was all doom & gloom, peak oil would have us all walking by the end of the decade. Now the US is awash with cheep energy, as will Oz, & the UK be, if we can sit on the greenies heads long enough to get it developed. I didn’t notice any tax payer money involved in this development, just as you would expect.

      The once great CSIRO is a waste of space that we would be better off without.


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    • #
      Patrick

      Unfortunately CSIRO has become part of the problem. It has been seduced/coerced by dependence on government …er…that is taxpayers’ money and worships at the altar of the IPCC, paroting the government line “the science is settled; it’s all caused by CO2 and humans are to blame”.
      Accordingly CSIRO has blown its reputation as a source of credible science. It now marches in lockstep to the tune of “post-modern science” which is not to be confused with real science.


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    • #
      brc

      I’ve got an even better idea. Give us all back the money, and then let us decide what to do with it. If some smart guy comes up with a way to create cheap energy, then we’ll buy it off him, he’ll get rich, and we’ll get cheaper power. The politicians will finally have one less problem on their plate and can turn to other genuine problems. Everyone will win.

      Currently, the government takes our money, and wastes it on projects that are doomed to failure. THe people who get the money only get it for a short term until the cash dries up, we get nothing for our money, and the government loses ever more credibility. Everyone loses.

      The big mistake conservatives in Australia continually make is that they accuse Labor of wasting the money on the wrong things, and come up with the ‘right’ things. When the correct response is to stop collecting so much money, and let the people decide what to spend it on. I for one would like to have my old electricity and water bills back. From what I can see, I haven’t actually got any better electrons or h20 molecules for all the money that was wasted. I could, however, have spent that money at local businesses and benefited myself from new products/services, and they could have spent the money how they liked.


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    • #
      A Lovell

      ‘Wind power was used very successfully in the past all round the world on very small scale.’ How true.

      We didn’t come out of the stone age because we ran out of stone, and we didn’t stop using windmills because we ran out of wind.


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  • #
    gnome

    I was very heartened, driving past a windfarm on the eastern side of Lake George on Tuesday, to see that two of its rotors were lying at a very queer angle to their towers, while all the others were turning freely. Heading back yesterday, same thing.

    Can these things generate enough electricity while they are working, to pay for their repairs? Are they so hastily knocked together to get the subsidies, that a big percentage will fail, or are they all just crap?


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    • #
      memoryvault

      No, yes and yes.


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    • #
      brc

      The worst part Gnome, is that the entity that ‘owns’ them will be a special purpose vehicle setup to milk the subsidies and protect the asses of the people who put them up.

      When their inevitable failure comes along – the entity will go bankrupt leaving a trail of nothing. And then you and I will either have to look at the rotting wreckage left behind, or we’ll have to pay extra taxes to get them cleaned up.

      A drive through the desert outside of Los Angeles is quite edifying in this regard. There are hundreds, if not thousands of dead windmills spoiling the hillsides. The wreckage will be there for a long time until some enterprising souls work out a cheap way to knock them down and cut them up for scrap.


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  • #
    Speedy

    One from the vault. NB: NOT Clarke and Dawe.

    If the ABC was Relevant, Part 15.

    [Scene: John and Bryan are in the studio after the show. Feet on the table, ties off and waxing philosophical over a beer or three.]

    Bryan: ….And that’s why Peter Garrett’s job is a safe as houses.

    [There is an awkward silence.]

    John: [Changing subject] I see Penny’s in the news again.

    Bryan: Yeah?

    John: Got up on her hind legs and went into bat for the climate scientists. They’re not coping well with the skeptics.

    Bryan: Inquisitive types, aren’t they?

    John: True, Bryan. But it’s a given that the weatherologists have been taking a bit of stick lately. Look at Al Gore…

    Bryan: Brilliant scientist. Did a movie.

    John: Say no more Bryan. But nevertheless pilloried by the skeptics on a simple matter of interpretation.

    Bryan: How so?

    John: He only tried to say that sea levels would rise by 6 inches – suddenly there was this communication problem, and somehow the public gets the idea he said 20 feet…

    Bryan: Clearly misquoted.

    John: In his own movie.

    Bryan: You can’t be too careful John.

    John: And Professor Pachauri. He’s just at home, doing his tax…

    Bryan: As you do.

    John: As you do Bryan, and making a very earnest attempt to declare a net income of 3 million. But…

    Bryan: But?

    John: Owing to a typographical tragedy, he only managed to put himself down for 30 grand that year.

    Bryan: Missed off a couple of zeros?

    John: What’s a couple of zeros?

    Bryan: Nothing!

    John: Nothing at all Bryan. Not that you’d ever guess it but. The critics went off like a pork chop – just like they did with that glacier business.

    Bryan: What was that?

    John: Well, the good Professor had just finished informing the Indian Government they had about 30 years to find themselves a new set of Himalayan glaciers…

    Bryan: And?

    John: And that they were a collective pack of duds, Bryan. When a quick glance at the notes revealed that the existing glaciers would be in the hands of the said government sometime north of the year two thousand and never.

    Bryan: At least he got the thousand bit right.

    John: Despite this, the gratitude of the Indian Government was distinctly underwhelming. And as a token of their appreciation, I now believe he’s about to be given the Khyber Pass.

    Bryan: Khyber Pass?

    John: Home of the Vegemite Valley Bryan.

    Bryan: Not good.

    John: A little like Professor Jones. Doing a little spring clean around the climate laboratory one day, when he inadvertently discards the greater part of the 20th century temperature record.

    Bryan: Desperately unlucky, John. A brilliant scientist but.

    John: Just not very well equipped for the collection, retention, analysis and reporting of large data sets Bryan.

    Bryan: No-one’s perfect…

    John: Quite true Bryan. So you can see where Penny is going with this Bryan.

    Bryan: Yep, there’s nothing wrong with the Climate Science.

    John: It’s only the numbers that are dodgey.


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  • #

    Its worse than you think. Who is likely to invest in a roof-top panel? Those with money to invest. Who pays? The indebted middle.
    In Britain, anyone installing a roof-top panel until the end of the month will get 43.3p subsidy (about for A$0.65) every kwh produced by the solar panels. This is tax free and index-linked for 20 years. This subsidy is added to utility bills. With the top-rate of income tax 50%, and the basic rate 20%, who gets the greatest advantage?
    Further, in Britain we have July temperature average of 17C, and January averages of around 5C. So energy usage is around 2-3 times higher in January than July, when the daylight is half as long. So the poor subsidize the rich for an energy source that is optimized for the opposite end of the year when it is most needed. At least in a month the subsidy is to be reduced by 50%.


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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      The other good thing is that they won’t generate that much power, owing to the UK being a bit far north for that sort of thing.

      Although some “smart” people in Spain managed to get subsidies for PV power generated in the night!


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  • #
    Geo

    any competitive economy relies on a competitive source of energy for industry and households.

    its not wind farms for obvious reasons

    its not large scale solar for less obvious reasons but mainly guarantee of power supply and cost

    its gas. Conventional gas fracced or not. CSG. Shale gas. Look at the US with power prices near all time lows in real terms. It could well be the very thing that has raised the American economy out of the GFC.

    It frightening to think how the carbon tax removes one of the pillars of a competitive source of energy. Add that to inflexible labour market laws and you produce disincentives to investment. And when that happens the consequences are unpleasant.


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    • #
      theRealUniverse

      The cheapest must be hydro (except the greenies dont like dams!) NZ hydro was real cheap BEFORE the Gov stuffed up the supply by splitting a 4mill population country up into so many power generation companies that the mind boggles! What happened? Price went through the roof!


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  • #
    Luke Purse

    Well, considering I know of a number of households that can function off of their rooftop solar array without problems, I don’t quite understand your point, once again, Jo.

    To me, it would make more sense to stop wasting time bashing and berating the left, because lets face it all sides of government exhibit inconsistancies and failure. Maybe offer up some “fair and balanced” opinion?

    In the past when it comes to the cost of power, and how households are unable to cope, I have been confused. What exactly do people do in their homes? Well, I guess the big three power consumption device are 1)heating/cooling 2)lighting 3)the plasma television (which could conveniently heat the house in many senarios). Hot water is trick because many people are on gas, or at least on demand style instant hot water.

    So, firstly, it looks as though the top two problems could be solved with just the smallest amount of thought when it came to house design/construction, and perhaps some legislation to make it uniform and effecient. For starters, no home in Australia should have awnings less than 1.5meters deep.. Got the Austrlian sun beating down on your poorly designed, poorly insulated house? No wonder you need to crank tha AC 6 months of the year. Sky lighting, or other light harvesting techniques, would remove the need for internal lights during the daylight hours on all but the darkest of days.. and when the lights were turned on, they would not be halogen downlights or designer incandesants, they would be high efficiency lighting, preferably run off a battery system charged by the homes solar array! Rain water can be harvested for the garden and washing the car, grey water collected and recycled from the shower/laundery to use in the toilet, etc.. Sorry, gone a little off track there.

    The plasma television is an amazingly inefficient piece of junk, and lets face it TV is just a tool to control and influence the masses anyway, correct? :)

    So, it looks to me like Australias energy and water problems could have been dealt with in legislation decades ago, and we’d have no need to be build retarded systems like the Sydney de-sal plant with more coal fired power stations, (although you don’t care about that do you? Climate change is just a hoax, after all.. Whatever the case may be, the far greater point in such an argument is actually pollution in general, and the health of the earth in general.) we’d be all paying less for power, placing less pressure on the grid, living in more comfortable homes anyway(!), and I can’t yet see a loser..?

    But, all governements, across the globe, have failed at this. “the economy!! OMG the economy!!” Well, you’ve gone and dug your own graves with that one, really. Whos idea was it to build a system of economy that is prone to crashing and destrying peoples lives? That just does not make any sense. Why do I need $500,000 to buy shelter in my neighbourhood? It is insane. Inflation is a joke especially when my pay packet does not reflect such inflations.

    I guess I am just an “lost utopian”, but I take no ownership nor responsibility for the world I was born in to and so feel free to dream, and feel free to build the life I see for myself and my community outside of this mess that people like yourself, Jo, seem happy to perpetuate with snide commentary and narrowminded, short sighted, ideology.

    It is not as though you’re a dumb person, obviously. I just can’t understand your point. You’ve got no perspective to your writing. Short sighted opinion to go with short sighted politics, I guess.


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      • #
        Luke Purse

        Please start somewhere, I am actually very interested.

        My tone stems from a frustration directed in every direction. I am genuinely interested in what people in this sphere think.

        Just don’t be an elitist prick :)


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        • #

          Rather than go on at length here, take this link to a Post of my own on the subject of rooftop solar power.

          It goes into much more detail than I could write at length here.

          Also, sorry about the first comment, I really was wondering where I should start as there are just so many things I could comment on. I just wanted to indicate that there would be incoming comments, but I was just getting them all together.

          Household Solar Power – Don’t Believe The Hype

          This Post is from January of 2010, and has been updated to reflect more recent costings.

          Tony.


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          Gee Aye

          Tony’s comment came from frustration that he needs to explain this yet again. His commentry is well grounded so don’t worry about the content being right biased or whatever. You weren’t to know this but abuse is hardly going to make people want to help.


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            Luke Purse

            Ahh yes Gee, but it doesn’t actually address my points on energy efficency, and it does not talk about a system using battery storage, which is the only method I have actually ever encountered.

            I guess I am coming from a position that is pointing out that it is not actually a problem of suitable options, it is that the options that are implemented are implemented poorly and ineffectivly. i.e poor architechture, creating the NEED for heating, cooling, and lighting. (once it is dark though you obviously need lights).

            My other angle is that maybe, just maybe, people need to adjust their poor habbits when it comes to their energy usage, and general life habbits. Shock horror!

            Shelter, food, and water. Beyond that, everything is a bonus and a blessing and should be treated as such.

            Thankyou for the link Tony, It raises many points that I had neglected and/or forgetten.

            More generally, it is absoulutely astounding how radically different peoples out looks on life can be, evidently a result of expereince and upbringing. No wonder society can never agree on anything!


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          gnome

          I had one of those systems with batteries. One of the batteries failed- work out which one in which bank of batteries! I went away for awhile and ants built a nest in my inverter. Guess what happened when I turned the system on again.

          I don’t know anyone who isn’t on the grid who wouldn’t rather be on the grid.

          If their solar systems are so good why don’t they disconnect from the grid? I dare them.

          Electricity supply is one of those things which can best be done as a social activity. I can generate electricity with a diesel generator at the same running cost as I can buy it off the grid but that doesn’t cover the capital cost, and I usually can’t use all the electricity my generator supplies while it is running. I can’t run the generator economically when I am only using a base load (refrigeration only).


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          brc

          Luke – you may very well know someone who has an off-grid solar system. And if it is at all remotely useful, it will have very high installation costs. And is only useful in very niche residential applications.

          The thing that people keep forgetting, and that Tony keeps having to bring up, is that residential usage is only a small part of the picture. You have to build big power stations to power industry, so you may as well make them that little bit larger and power all the homes as well. Coal is a dirty power source, for sure, but it’s also the cheapest and best we have in this country, so we’d be stupid not to use it. Nobody cuts the lawn with scissors while they have a power mower in their service.

          What so many people fail to realise is that cheap energy is what raises standards of living. For everything that runs on power, is something we don’t have to have human or animal power to do. You can’t have modern life without affordable power.

          You call it wasting power. I call it living a happy and healthy life. As a society, we ‘waste’ many things every day. We waste productive man hours by having more leisure than any society in history. We waste most of the foods we produce, only eating the good bits and throwing the rest away. Some people go apoplectic about this. Why? What does it matter? Where’s the evidence that any of this is doing any harm? We already have strict environmental standards for air pollution, ground pollution and water pollution, all of which I support and believe should be made progressively stronger. But that has nothing to do with wasting power. No generation before us has ever even stopped for a minute to think about anything but the here and now. And yet here we are, living even better than they did. Are we the generation that is about to fall off the cliff? Only a perpetually frightened doomsday numbskull would come up with that solution. If each generation builds upon the knowledge of the one that went before, then each generation is smarter. If each generation is smarter, it’s foolish to try and solve the problems of people in the future. You make your life worse now, and probably make no difference then. By your arguments, everyone should have stopped using horses or at least taxed their manure into submission. But it wouldn’t have made any difference to the future, as the horse was destined to be replaced as a source of motive power anyway. You would have made people poorer for zero affect on the future. This argument about shutting down coal powered stations despite no obvious replacement is exactly the same.

          You may want a simple life – you’re free to have it. However, kindly refrain from suggesting what sort of life I would like to have. I like my lights, air-conditioning and engines. If I can produce enough that the world will freely exchange these things with them, then that’s what I’m going to do. And I’m not going to apologise for it either, because I didn’t put anyone out. Indeed, as I create all my own wealth, I actually made other peoples life better, or they wouldn’t have gladly exchanged with me. And that’s what the economy – of which you clearly dislike – is. There is no ‘system’, apart from that organised by centralised banks. It’s just a mass of people, exchanging with each other whatever they produce and want to consume. Stop trying to animate it with a caricature – the economy is the collective life of all of us. There’s a reason why large-scale power and water systems are constructed – it’s because it’s the most efficient. Yes, that’s part of the economy. If our basic needs are taken care of on a large scale, efficient system, then we can devote the fruits of our production to other thins, making everyone better off. Home water tanks are much more likely to fail, become empty, breed diseases, as are home sewage systems. And home power generation makes no sense unless you’re away from the grid.

          If you’re intellectually honest, you’ll read the linked article that Tony provided. And you’ll learn something. But if you’ve just come here to call names and beat a dogmatic drum, that wouldn’t surprise me either.


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      memoryvault

      Of course, we won’t need a fridge, since we’re all happy little vegans who don’t eat meat or drink milk, and everything we need for sustenance can be gained straight from the vine from our permaculture organic balcony garden.

      And everybody knows a cold beer is such a petty, bourgeois sort of thing.

      .
      And so, fully sustained, it’s off to work we go. On a bicycle, naturally. The 50 kilometre commute to the city should only take about three hours. What’s that you say – electric train? Powered by what? Oh, I see, solar panels bolted to the roof.

      Well, here we are at the office block. It should only take an hour to climb the stairs to the 26th floor where you work. Don’t forget to pick up your scuba tank in the foyer. There’s a thousand people who work on the same floor as you, and with no air conditioning oxygen is non-existent.

      .
      Oh, and don’t forget your four litres of water for the day. Or your chlorine tablets to purify it. Now that we don’t “waste” electricity on frivolities like producing or pumping potable water, it has to get up to the 26th floor with you somehow.

      Ditto for your poop bags and pee bottle. Remember, with no sewerage, it’s now YOUR waste, and YOUR responsibility to “do” something with it.

      .
      Now let’s see. Where shall we start today in your job in the Ministry of Plenty? Probably with bread allocation. It was balmy all last month, so flour production at the windmills was half what it should be, and there’s a critical shortage of bread. Again.

      .
      As you work, try not to worry about your little girl’s constant headaches. Yes, she’s probably going to die from that suspected brain tumour, but since we still haven’t figured out how to power an EEG with a solar panel, the doctor’s can’t confirm the diagnosis, or pinpoint the growth, so there’s not much we ca do about it.

      Ah, Utopia. Priceless.


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        Luke Purse

        There are obvious ommissions.. I don’t think a few paragraphs is going to cover every facet of my arguement, and to be honest that wasn’t even my point.

        I didn’t actually mention turing off dirty power anywhere as we’re obviously an industrialsed planet and there is no turning back now.

        The fridge was honset mistake, but can still quite easily work in a solar powered arrangement. I have friends houses’ to proove it. Plenty of cold beer!

        Ideally you’d live close to where you work. Do you live 50Kms from your job? That is actually YOUR CHOICE. Nice choice. Feel free to drive, it is your money and time you’re pissing away and no one is forcing you to. I realise that in rural areas it is a completely different story, but for metro areas it is your choice. I shant begin to point out the absurd short commings in terms of town planning and public transport, that is all fairly self evident and actually ties in to the poor housing design and lame archicture in general when it comes to private and public space. Why do we put up with it?

        Officeblocks are another one of architechtures greatest failures, so I would propose that high density multi story buildings be abolished on the grounds of pure stupidity. In a slightly more realistic tone though, I will point out that I once again have not suggested turning off dirty power. Yet.

        Pee and poop? Umm.. that should all function as normal. It is YOUR waste though, so get used to it. If you are serously suggesting that your personal waste, from your shit to your garbage, is not your problem to deal with consiously then you probably need to assess just how you slot in to society.

        I also didn’t suggest abolishing water treatment.. where did that come from? I might suggest we stop poisoning ourselves with flouride, however.


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          Gee Aye

          err and what is your evidence for office blocks being a problem?

          On the subject of density, you might like to compare the costs of heating and cooling for, a row of 4 terrace houses with 4 separate dwellings. And what about the footprint and sky print of each?

          Your arguement needs a bit of direction. Try chopping up the words, throwing them in the air and then reposting what comes down.


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          memoryvault

          From the top, Young Luke (for I am sure you are quite young):

          I live on an island (Bribie), right on the waters of Moreton Bay, and I enjoy the luxury of working from home. I am actually typing this from my “office” (laptop) at my end of the kitchen table.

          My “business partner” (and wife of 31 years) has a similar “office” at the other end of the table. We own a seventeen year old car that has travelled less than 4,000 kilometres over the past twelve months. And yes, we have a vegie garden.

          You see, young Luke, I was not commenting on my own near-idyllic circumstances, but rather on those of most of the other twelve million people currently employed in Australia.

          It was not always this way. When Thumper and I got married over thirty years ago we bought 40 acres and became self-sufficient hippies. That included constructing a house, digging a well, and building a long-drop dunny. We had horses, a cow, pigs, goats, chooks and ducks. And a big vegie garden.

          Let me tell you, young Luke, it was five of the best years of our lives. Now let me tell you something else – it was also physically the HARDEST five years of our lives. Being self-sufficient is long hours of bloody hard work!!

          You missed the point entirely regarding transport, water treatment and sewerage. Like just about everything that constitutes modern civilisation, all these processes consume electricity – vast amounts of electricity.

          Modern civilisation IS abundant electricity, and you are NEVER going to get the amounts required by modern civilisation from any known, existing, or even potential theoretical “sustainable” or “renewable” source. I speak as someone who makes a substantial part of my income from the power generation industry – including geothermal and carbon sequestration.

          What that means young Luke, is that short of some kind of breakthrough in nuclear fusion or similar, in your lifetime you have a choice between fossil fuels, nuclear power, or an end to civilisation as we currently know it. It really is THAT simple.

          This remains the case even if you improve our architecture – both domestic and commercial – with which I entirely agree, by the way, along with many of the other things I’m quite sure you are concerned about.

          The thing is, young Luke, you are NEVER going to be able to get around to tackling any of these worthwhile things, for as long as you harbour this ill-informed, stupid attitude towards what you label “dirty power”. In this country to the best of my knowledge there is only one remaining “dirty” power station, and that is at Gove, in the Northern Territory.

          I can assure you, none of the electricity you use comes from there.


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            KinkyKeith

            Hello Luke,

            I was going to write something but couldn’t work out where to start.

            Now I notice that MV has done a great of job getting to the nub or was it nubs and I can just sit and read his work.

            But the “pee and poop” comment and the fact that you are obviously “green” led me to a vision of many past experiences with tree roots.

            I don’t know why that happened, life can be really weird at times.

            Anyhow the tree roots would often get in the sewer lines and block them up because the local greenies control our council and forbid the pruning or removal of any trees in our urban area.

            Any one who has had sewer reflux all over their property knows what I’m talking about.

            It is unpleasant and for some reason or other reminded me of your comments which are similarly all over the place, smelly and in need of a bit of tidying up.

            I don’t know why this vision came to me, I must be having a bad green day again.

            :)


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            Andrew McRae

            you are NEVER going to get the amounts required by modern civilisation from any known, existing, or even potential theoretical “sustainable” or “renewable” source.

            It is not feasible today, so I agree we cannot make plans assuming some super efficient solar farms and dense energy storage systems will just drop out of the sky right on schedule. That’s a hope, not a plan.

            However it’s going a bit too far to say this can *never* happen from any *theoretical* sustainable source. For all intents and purposes, solar power is a sustainable source, it’s just a question of how much we can harness and whether the technology to do this is itself sustainable.

            I did a ballpark calculation. With some facts, and assumptions, and without using any new technology, what fraction of current world electricity production can be replaced by solar panels? I can explain my data sources and assumptions to anyone who wants to know. (sound of crickets??)
            By my rough calculation we have 25 times more solar power available than would be needed to supply world total electricity consumption.

            The amount of electrical energy needed is theoretically there from a sustainable source. We just can’t get it all yet, and we certainly can’t store as much energy as we need to make an intermittent source like solar useful for civilisation. What key detail did I gloss over in that calculation? Well the fact that to store half the collected solar energy for night time load using any of several known energy storage technologies requires so many storage devices (in 100s of millions) that it is simply not going to happen.

            The geopolitics of critical international cables would stop global distribution quicker than the engineering. Lack of bulk storage again looks like solar power’s Achilles’ Heel. The best option is to have no transmission losses and distributed storage because every building will generate some of its own power on site, connected by grid to sell surplus, and the “power stations” would be connected to it mainly for heavy industry. That is going to take another two generations to build and still the cost would be formidable.

            R&D in energy storage density is thoroughly justified. Again, total solar is not a feasible plan yet, not something we can plug civilisation into yet, but it’s worth pursuing because the payoff if we can solve the storage problem is… energy forever.


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            brc

            Andrew- you’re assuming away too many things.
            -cost of the real estate to cover in panels (think of it as opportunity cost, rather than $ cost)
            -losses in transmission
            -cost of the connections
            -cost of the manufacture
            -lifespan of the systems
            -amount of labor required to build, maintain, secure etc etc

            While theoretically you can build the sort of system you’re talking about, it’s about the least efficient way of making power. And the least efficient makes everyone poorer. What is efficiency? Think of it like this – the amount of days labor that has to go into getting the power back. In reality it’s called ‘energy returned on energy invested’. That’s the number you need to track, and that’s the number that will fail miserably. The highest EROEI figures will prosper no matter what type of economy you end up having, and will make everyone in their orbit better off.

            Everyone talks about the ‘green jobs’ from creating, manufacturing, erecting, servicing solar panels and windmills, but actually, you don’t want these jobs at all. You want as few jobs as possible in energy generation, because all the benefits to the economy from energy come when the fewest amount of resources, capital and labour is used to produce it. The ultimate economy is one in which cheap energy powers an automated robot factory, and the robots do all our dirty and unpleasant jobs for us, while we all sit around and come up with even more brilliant ways to use the cheap energy and endless robots.

            Abundant energy is massive leverage for human productivity, so the more cheap energy, the better everyone will be. The opposite means going back to diffuse energy like animals, or worse, other humans.

            The best solution possible for energy is one big power station that has two people running it, is the size of a telephone exchange and was built in a day. That’s the absurd case, but at the other end of the scale there is the power generation that takes up half the earths surface, and employs half the worlds population in running it and took the better part of a century to build. Now that you have two bounds of absurdity, to work out whether any energy system is desirable, just map it on the line between those two points.

            Whenever a new technology comes along – it doesn’t just gradually improve things – it does so by an order of magnitude. And fooling around with the old technology that has very real bounds just doesn’t make sense. It made no sense to try and improve the valve by throwing resources at it when the transistor and the silicon chip were the next step – you just couldn’t make the valve much smaller or more efficient, so any computer was still giong to be the size of a house and consume too much power. It made no sense to try and make better horses when the car was just around the corner. They were always going to need hay, stables, rest and someone to clean up the waste. It makes no sense to try and improve solar voltaic because the sun will never shine all day, and the power source is just too diffuse that even 100% efficient panels will still need too much land use and labour to maintain it.

            So just sit back, relax, and wait for the technology to arrive. It’s certainly better than wasting your days trying to breed a better horse or minaturise the valve.


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              Andrew McRae

              brc,

              I didn’t assume those things, I ignored them. The loss in transmission was the only thing I did assume (at 40% which is double the normal rate), and only because that was relevant to the point I was making. It was not a business feasibility study. It was purely an estimate of available energy, because the evidence refutes the remark that ‘we will never get the amount required by modern civilisation from any potential theoretical sustainable source’. How anyone can run this profitably is not my concern, I’m just showing it is physically possible.

              You make a good point with EROEI. I was assuming this was still a good ratio for PV, though when I looked it up just now I found it is three times worse than oil, but double the ratio of CSP. That is still 8 times more energy out than is put into it, and IIRC the minimum acceptable is 5, so it can still be done. Perhaps we should see that as just the price of getting an unlimited supply of energy.
              Actually since I posted that comment not long ago I have seen a presentation on uses of nanotechnology which posits energy production as one application. Interesting talk at a TED. He also mentions diminishing EROEI. I note with amusement that PV has a higher EROEI than the shale oil everyone has been rabbiting on about for the last 6 months. If PV has an EROEI too low to be worthwhile then concentrated solar, biodiesel, tar sands, and shale oil are all too weak by the same rule.

              As for assuming too much, well now you are being comical. You assume a magical energy generating technology orders of magnitude more powerful than anything that has been done before is going to materialise right when we need it, and you’re saying I’m assuming too much?? Ah, thanks for the laugh. Energy optimists never cease to impress me.


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            KinkyKeith

            Hi Andrew

            I agree with you.

            We should continue researching for better power supply alternatives and should not give up on the idea of some new finds.

            Coal is best at the moment, gas is looking like the newy, nuclear is here to stay in many parts of the world (thorium next?).

            The main potential for renewable s is in communities where isolation and population size mean unacceptable distribution costs from the base grid.

            The main thing is never say no. There are so many niche situations that aren’t catered for by the large mainline generators.


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            Mark D.

            Sure it won’t hurt to look for better ways. Just don’t hold out dreaming that there is a solar solution that solves all the problems right around the corner, There isn’t.

            What we know:

            Grid tied solar residential is not practical. The sun doesn’t shine with enough reliability and the real load (need) isn’t during the day. Batteries are impractical residential storage method and besides constant maintenance, large storage batteries are potentially very dangerous. I know a fair bit about large batteries and I have a very healthy respect for them. I would NOT want them in my house. Sure you can build a shed for the batteries but then add that expense to the mix. In areas that get cold you have other problems.

            For remote sites with no grid available, solar can and does work but only if the owner is able and willing to maintain both the panels and the batteries. If you don’t have the technical abilities you are taking your life in your hands. Additionally, you have to be willing to cut back on power use for these systems to be satisfactory.

            Large scale solar might be practical for commercial and industrial applications. These would really need to be designed specifically for the end use. When I say practical, I mean that you have commitment for in-house maintenance and a very long payback time.

            While we are on the subject, wind power suffers from similar storage problems. The ONLY way I can see large scale wind working is to directly pump sea water into a naturally formed basin (assuming one can be found) and tap the hydro power when the grid requires it. Or optionally use wind power to pump freshwater in a loop from the bottom of any existing dam back into the reservoir above. Unfortunately, idiot Green Weenies hate dams too.

            One last idea is to break water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis at every windmill. The gasses could be compressed and piped to storage facilities and further to hydrogen powered generators or fuel cells. This could even be piped to existing generation facilities rather than building new power stations or extending grids. Yes pipelines would have to be built but I believe those could be less expensive than power distribution grids.


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            KinkyKeith

            Hi MarkD

            Yep

            The only obvious possibility for simple storage is using daylight to lift water into dams and use the hydro at night but the sun then has to carry two loads, the storage and the usage but if solar can be made to work well enough, maybe.

            “”While we are on the subject, wind power suffers from similar storage problems. The ONLY way I can see large scale wind working is to directly pump sea water into a naturally formed basin (assuming one can be found) and tap the hydro power when the grid requires it. Or optionally use wind power to pump freshwater in a loop from the bottom of any existing dam back into the reservoir above. Unfortunately, idiot Green Weenies hate dams too.”"

            Switzerland mustn’t have greenies cause they use their dams for drinking and power. Smart people.

            :)


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            memoryvault

            Andrew McRae

            I am an engineer. I believe with sufficient commitment, resources and energy, ANYTHING is possible. My comments were addressed to an obviously committed, caring young bloke, who just as obviously would like to see the world a better place.

            That means achieving things in his lifetime, and that was the context in which my comments were made. Here are a few doses of reality.

            With all due respect to TonyfromOZ, when he does his calculations on domestic solar panels, he works on a serviceable life of 25 years. This is crap. But even on this crap figure, current solar panels are simply not cost effective, and never will be.

            Now let’s factor in some reality. I have a colleague who is involved in the servicing of remote solar-powered repeater stations for the mobile phone network. They use industrial-strength, German quality, extra heavy-duty panels, NOT the el-cheapo, made from tinfoil cheap-as-chips units out of China being thrown up on most household roofs around OZ. My colleague’s company changes out their panels every FIVE years because that’s when they’re down to 50% efficiency. And that’s with twelve-monthly servicing.

            My next door neighbour has a huge bank of solar panels. They are on a very steeply sloping roof on top of his two-story house. They face directly towards Moreton Bay and the beautiful sea breeze that blows almost constantly. When they were installed a little less than two years ago, they were capable, on a sunny day, of powering his entire home, including the air-conditioner.

            Today they power nothing. Covered in a fine coating of salty grit, you see. He’s had a quote from a company with a suitable cherry-picker and suitably trained and qualified people with all the necessary fall-arrest gear, to come clean them. $2,000.00.

            He hasn’t bothered for two reasons – first, he’s been told that to maintain reasonable efficiency, he’d need it done every three months. Second, the el-cheapo Chinese panels are already starting to deteriorate around the edges, where moisture has leaked in and killed off cells. Can’t complain to the company that sold them to him – they are long gone.

            My neighbour could replace the failing solar panels with quality German ones. At a cost of $40,000.00. And he’d STILL have to have them cleaned every three months. These are the things the greenies, the government and the bureaucrats don’t take into account, because they haven’t got a clue about the REAL world.

            Trust me on this: The current solar power hysteria will soon degenerate into the same train-wreck as the home insulation scheme, only in slow motion. Complete with burning houses and fatalities.

            I could write much the same diatribe about batteries, but I won’t. Suffice to say, for all the bluff and bluster, battery storage of significant amounts of electrical power hasn’t really advanced very far past the lead-acid battery that started my grandfather’s 1948 Vanguard.

            Much the same scenario can be made for ALL existing “alternative” or “sustainable” or “renewable” energy sources. Not cost or energy efficient, and never will be. That includes geothermal with which I’ve a fair bit to do with, these last couple of years.

            Don’t get me wrong, Andrew McRae. I am an engineer and I fervently believe one day the world will be solar-powered. From what I’ve read of what is being researched “out on the edge”, it will probably be something like this:

            There will be a self-cleaning, polished, parabolic dish on your roof, a bit like the one you may have for satellite TV. The dish will focus light on a ceramic container and make it and the salts it contains, super hot. The molten salts will generate electricity for your home. At night, as the salts cool, they will reconstitute themselves back to their original chemical state, ready to work again the next day.

            Some of the generated power will feed to a box no bigger than your dishwasher, which will contain a crystalline structure capable of storing sufficient power for your home, for three months. Commercial and industrial applications will simply be scaled-up versions of the same thing.

            That is the future as I see it, maybe 50 years or so down the track.

            I’m quite happy to dream the dream – but I digest it with a healthy dose of reality.


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            memoryvault is absolutely correct about the cleaning of those solar panels.

            I have numerous Posts on the residential solar power theme, and early on in them I mentioned just this same thing.

            When a cloud even flits across the face of the Sun, those panels lose two thirds of their power generating capacity, eg, they go down to one third of their power generation, and when the cloud goes away, it doesn’t automatically go back to 100%. That takes time, and in fact, a lot of time. Persistent daily overcast, and the panels could be as low as 5 to 10% of their total generating capacity.

            The same applies for any coating on those panels, be it salty air or dust.

            Hence, those panels should be kept absolutely pristine, and here I mean not by washing them, but by virtually polishing them. Effectively, for best results, this should be once once a week.

            Now, can you imagine every householder with rooftop panels getting up on the roof once a week to polish their panels. It will not happen.

            Now, extrapolate that out to large scale solar PV power generation, and for example here I’ll even go with the proposed Moree Solar Plant.

            This plant will have 64,500 tables that will track the Sun during the day. Each table will have 10 panels on it, hence 645,000 panels, and read that again.

            645,000 solar panels.

            Now, keeping in mind what I have said above, that the panels need to be absolutely pristine to generate at their maximum.

            These 645,000 panels will be washed, and wait for this, twice a year.

            Twice a year.

            Hey, surely I’m just making that up.

            Here’s the link to their site, and it’s a 120 page pdf document.

            No need to read it all, just scroll down to page xii and read at the heading Water.

            These people aren’t serious.

            As to the case where I use 25 years as the total life expectancy. See how I use what is claimed from all these sites, and once explained, it is absolutely bloody ridiculous. Us real life, and it’s even more stupid.

            Consider the large system I quoted above for stand alone off grid connection.

            It will take 56 years to break even, but that’s at the original price. Every seven years, you will need to replace the battery bank (lowest cost around $4000) so that’s 7 lots of new batteries (a further $28K at today’s prices) A new set of panels every 25 years (best case scenario) realistically, every 12 years so there’s 4 complete sets of panels, new inverters, new chargers.

            And then, hey, who lives in the one home for 56 years, and probably to pay it off, that time now approaches 100 years, new everything every so often.

            It will never pay for itself.

            This isn’t right wing political spin. This is actual real life.

            So, one or two panels on your roof. What a joke!

            Consider this. With the absolute explosion of rooftop soalr in recent years, not one large scale CO2 emitting derdy polluding coal fired power plant has reduced its power output. In fact, their power output has increased, every one of them.

            Tony.


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            @Tony

            Is this the type of panel maintanence you speak of?


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            Sorry, all, I left out the link to the Moree Wind Farm pdf document.

            This is it.

            Scroll down to page xii (close to the top of the document)and read the heading titled Water, and see where they are only going to wash those 645,000 panels twice a year.

            Hmm!

            Imagine the work force required for that little task.

            Bah Humbug, great image, and keep in mind that photograph was taken only 18 Months after the plant actually opened.

            Tony.


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            memoryvault

            TonyfromOz @ 11.2.1.1.3

            Your clear explanation of the gerrymandering of “sustainable energy” figures by the selective use of accounting for biomass at sugar cane plants, is but one of many tips on a multi-faceted iceberg.

            If a “derdy, polluding” coal-fired power station incorporates some piece of new technology that increases efficiency, then that increase counts as “clean”, or “green” or “sustainable” energy in the overall calculations, even though the power station reaps no subsidy-style benefit from it.

            So, if a power station changes out the blades on its 30 year old steam turbines, for an efficiency improvement of 3%, then that 3% of its overall output is considered “clean” or “green” or “sustainable” energy. Efficiency increases like this backdated for over a decade are counted this way in the “sustainable” energy budget.

            I strongly suspect that most of the “green” energy people voluntarily pay a premium for on their power bills, is derived this way.


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          memoryvault

          Hi KK,

          Your story of “sewer reflux” reminded me of this:

          http://dailybayonet.com/2012/02/green-pee/

          Lord save us all from greenies with “good intentions”.


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          Popeye

          Luke,

          Just a small point.

          I work in the service industry (in the metro area) servicing satellite systems.

          How do you propose that I (and the tens of thousands of others who work in the many and varied service industries) carry around our 500kg of tools and spare parts that we currently carry around in our cars/station wagons? I’d be interested in knowing your answer to this little problem (which is ALWAYS overlooked by the purist doom sayers who want force their agenda and BS on the rest of us and bring the industrial world to a sudden stop).

          One other point, you mention batteries – nothing new here – we were all raised on a farm (remote) many years ago – we had electric lights etc but no incoming power to the farm.

          We used a windmill, driving a generator, charging batteries and the lights were all 32 volt DC globes. So nothing is new – but windmills just won’t “cut the mustard” in this day and age and why would you when we have AMPLE cheap coal power AND the ability to go nuclear (fission/fusion if possible) in the future.

          Cheers,


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          Bulldust

          Here’s the thing … what is technologically feasible and what is economically efficient are rarely the same thing. Inevitably the tech side gives way to the economic side.

          So sure, we could all live energy-frugal lives and have the best designed homes, but people demand what they demand, and that is usually another thing altogether. Since when is using less energy for the sake of using less energy desirable?

          Every society has consumed more energy as it progressed economically. I am not advocating waste here… just pointing out the obvious. It is Green socialist dogma that energy usage is somehow a sin and to be avoided at all cost. Note the last word in the previous sentence … it relates becak to previous points I have made.

          Markets trump all … as the original post by Jo points out, when arrogant politicians try to warp markets eventually the market gobbles up their ill-conceined policies and spits them out. Another classic example was the wool board or the International Tin Cartel… all catastrophic failures when the market forces came to bear.


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          KinkyKeith

          Hi MV

          A really great outline.

          I think we all agree, yourself, Andrew Mc and I that we shouldn’t stop exploring through science.

          We have to keep looking, humans want to improve things, and I hope we find something, as

          you outline, solar with salts storage perhaps (CSIRO is on to it now) to replace coal

          fired or supplement it in hard to service areas.


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        • #
          Dave

          The subsidies wind will get are are unbelievable!
          Not only generous grants to construct and connect to the grid.
          Also when the wind blows and these things do produce electriclty – they will get paid to turn them off because the grid does not require the capacity. Great – pay not to produce??

          Then on top of this they will get rebates for cleaning the blades of these things by helicopter (bird kill etc) with especially designed grant funded GERNI on a long pole!

          It is becoming crazy – and all subsidies have to stop!


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      • #
        Gee Aye

        Tofu requires cold storage


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    • #
      Fred Allen

      Going by regional locations in the US, the three biggest appliances for power consumption are: AC, refrigerator, clothes dryer. The TV is well down the list. Luke, the wonderful thing about a free market and capitalism is that the worth of a product is evaluated by supply and demand. It’s not perfect by any means, but it works. Start dictating what people are supposed to buy and sell and how they are supposed to design and plan homes and which lighting they are entitled to use and you corrupt the supply and demand process. On homes: dictate that they all have to face north and have 1.5 m overhangs and you have now infringed on the most economic use of a certain space of land.
      Lighting run from batteries and recharged by solar panels? And how much does that cost in money and impact on the environment? Batteries have to be replaced after 7 years. Solar panels have to be replaced after 25 years. Without government subsidies, the electricity generated by the solar panels are at least 4 times or more times the cost of traditionally generated electricity. Solar panels and batteries, and flourescent lighting for that matter, are not pollution free. It’s just that the Greens have targeted fossil fuels, fossil fuel companies, capitalism and traditional energy sources for their image of a new world order.


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    • #

      Luke,

      Point One.

      Rooftop solar will always look attractive while ever the mandatory requirements apply.

      That means that any house with a Solar array, of any size, MUST still be connected to the grid.

      So, there is always the perception that those rooftop panels are supplying all the power.

      The average system, around 1500Watts, and costing around $1500 supplies barely enough power for what the residence consumes during daylight hours, provided the house is not occupied during the day, eg the hot water system and the fridge.

      After hours, (and keep in mind residential consumption is 33/67% Daylight/ after hours) the residence consumes all its power FROM the grid, so even with a solar array, any residence is still a net consumer of power from the grid.

      With the feed in tariff subsidy for larger systems, power not used during the day is fed back into the grid, and for that the panel owner receives a subsidy up to three times what you might pay for electricity.

      The larger the system the larger the pay back.

      However, this means that any system is only REVENUE neutral, because the residence is still a net consumer of power from the grid.

      You may have a system that generates all of what your home may consume over a 24 hour period, but the grid is not your personal battery where you can ‘suck’ that power back after hours, and anyway, you are being paid for that feed back, so effectively, you cannot have your cake, AND eat it too.

      The true measure of whether a residence can use solar power for all its needs is to go off the grid, and just try that ANYWHERE outside of far out rural Australia, as while ever there is grid power available, then the residence MUST be connected.

      Then, by going off grid, storage comes into play. The system generates power during the day, as the cells are generating the electricity, feeding that DC to a (large) inverter to convert it to residential AC. At the same time a small current is being fed to a bank of batteries to charge them.

      After hours, the cells are not generating the DC, so that batteries now equal that DC by feeding it to the Inverter to convert it to AC.

      Someone commented the other day saying that all we need now are cheap batteries.

      Ha!

      I said battery bank, and that’s (at a minimum) 8 large capacity deep cycle batteries capable of lasting through the peak power requirement.

      Those batteries start at around $500 for the cheapies, and go up from there. The cheaper the battery the more of them you need, because your power consumption is a finite thing.

      Power Out must always equal Power In minus losses.

      See now how the price just spirals.

      The true measure of a solar array is if the residence can ‘survive’ with just the panels alone.

      Being (mandatorally) connected to the grid is always the convenient fall back, giving the impression that the rooftop solar system is always supplying all your needs.

      Tony.


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        Luke Purse

        The senarios I refer to are not grid connected. They’re rural systems where the household lives off the power from the Sun.


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          memoryvault

          So, either:

          1) – They don’t drink coffee or tea, or any other hot beverage, or
          2) – They boil the kettle on a a “dirty power” gas stove, or
          3) – They boil the kettle on an even “dirtier power” wood stove, with the additional “benefit” of a stinking hot kitchen all summer.

          Been there,done that,on all three counts.


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        Going along with this, for a large system that is in fact off the grid, then the average daily routine would also need to change, so that consumption is spread more evenly across the day, and that would mane someone would need to stay home during the daylight hours, so for a Residential situation with both adults working would necessitate only one person having full paid employment.

        As I mentioned, residential consumption is on a 33/67% daylight/after hours basis, so, to spread that more evenly during the day, then most of those tasks done after hours with both adults working would have to change, otherwise the batteries would run flat pretty soon during those ‘normal’ Peaking Power periods of 4PM until 10PM.

        Big consumption tasks like clothes washing would need to be done during daylight hours and no dryer, hence the washing would need to be hung out to dry.

        Showering would need to be done during early daylight hours so the water heating could be done during daylight hours and not consuming power for reheating a cold water filled tank during the after hours periods.

        Air conditioning would probably be out of the question, as might space heating in the Winter.

        Cooking the evening meals might need to be started during actual daylight hours.

        Keep in mind that with actual power consumption largest during the period of darkness early in the evening, then the batteries are all you will now have to supply power to run the Inverter.

        What also needs to be taken into account that any extended period of overcast would mean considerably less electrical power, and the batteries would then be supplying what is needed, hence even less power would be available during non daylight consumption.

        I know all of this comes down to the lifestyle change mentioned in the original comment, but you tell me how many people are going to change their lifestyles on this sort of basis.

        This isn’t voodoo speak from any sort of political agenda background. This is the actuality of what is required.

        Also keep in mind that Inverters have a life span, as do the batteries, 7 years or so for good ones, so for the life of the solar system, you are looking at three replacement sets after the original set of batteries for the 25 year life of the panels.

        Keep in mind the output of the panels themselves deteriorates over time as well, and there is some conjecture that at the 25 year mark, those panels might only be generating 50% of the original quoted power.

        Again, keep in mind I mentioned batteries in the form of a large bank, and how Power Out must equal Power In minus losses.

        This link shows the cost of batteries, and remember you’ll need at least 8 of them for a large self supporting residential system.

        See now how the price increases, and increases dramatically.

        Government subsidies lower (somewhat) the cost, but again, keep in mind, those subsidies are paid for by every other consumer of electricity in the form of increased price per unit of electricity.

        Residential rooftop solar is basically all hype, anything to see them at whatever it takes. (Think Pink Batts)

        Tony.


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          Bernard B.

          Tony,

          As someone who’s been living off the grid for several years, I agree with the points you make. Making that move requires a complete change of lifestyle, and unless you’re prepared for it, you’ll sure want to go back to the grid as fast as you can.

          My system consists of solar panels, a windmill, a battery bank and an inverter. Nominal power is about 4 kilowatts. All told, it cost close to 30 thousand dollars (no subsidies involved), even though I installed everything myself. This is NOT cheap.

          Like you say, space heating from electricity is out of the question, and at my location (Canada) space heating is a big deal! It can get to -40 some nights in winter. So to heat the place I rely on a wood stove (two actually, the other is a cookstove). As my property consists of a few hundred acres of wilderness, at least the fuel for heating is abundant, and renewable.

          Even at that, in November and December we may have days on end of no sun and no wind, for those occasions I keep a gasoline-powered generator.

          Like memoryvault said above, self-sufficiency (we also grow/raise most of our food) is HARD work. But the freedom that comes from it is priceless.


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        Sonny

        Let’s not forget that the suns radiation doesnt always hit your solar panels. Clouds can Hang around for a long time (weeks on end).

        Guess what homes off the grid need then? A dirty diesel generator! Expensive, toxic and contributing to global warming!


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      Luke,

      considering I know of a number of households that can function off of their rooftop solar array without problems, I don’t quite understand your point, once again, Jo.

      Thanks for asking. And I do genuinely mean that. I will deal only with your first two lines (we’d need hours to go through the rest). Bear in mind I used to be a member of The Australian Greens, Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society. Until I started asking questions (like you are doing) I thought their policies were useful.

      Here’s the rub, those households who think they are running off their own solar panels are unaware that they are really running off money provided by other people. So others are going without something, in order for those households to have more cash themselves. Sure the electricity comes from their roof, but if the other electricity customers did not pay for a large part of the panels, and then pay more for their own electricity, the solar household would a/ not have those panels, OR b/ would have had to pay so much for the panels that they would not be getting any electricity free.

      Lots of good people put up solar panels believing the line that they were helping the planet. Instead, they are inadvertently sucking money from the poor. They consume resources that in a free market would have been used elsewhere. The NSW govt spent more than a billion dollars to buy expensive roof top solar power that it could have got for $200m from coal. That’s $800m that could have been left in the hands of NSW citizens, or used for better schools in poor areas, research on childhood diabetes, or Aboriginal health programs (not that those seem that effective). Take your pick.

      If solar panels worked well, they wouldn’t need a government subsidy.

      I know it hurts solar panel owners to say it, but they are freeloaders, draining more than their fair share from the rest of society. Even if CO2 was a problem, that $800m spent would have no effect on the environment – except to shift some factory work from Australia to China where pollution (real pollution) is not regulated well.

      The main blame for this rests with government officials who made uneconomic, unenvironmental, no-social-justice offerings like 60c per KWhr for solar panel electrons. But it’s a shame we havent taught people lining up for government “free lunches” that ultimately some other poor sucker is making the “free lunch” and they do it unpaid.


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      cohenite

      considering I know of a number of households that can function off of their rooftop solar array without problems,

      I bet they’re fun households. Good on TonyOz for being so patient; I actually think all feed in tarrif subsidies for solar panels shoulkd be discontinued immediately; the scheme in NSW was projected by the then criminal empire running the state to be $362 million but would have run out to cost over $4billion if O’Farrell had not modified the public funding; as it stands now those smug households ‘living’ off their power panels will only cost the rest of us about $1.75 billion.


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      Luke,

      Point 2.

      Residential power consumption is something that very few people have a concept of.

      The largest consumers are the hot water system and the fridge.

      Lighting makes up barely 8% of average residential power consumption.

      Plasmas are not in every residence, because most are now going for the Liquid Crystal Display units, which consume considerably less power.

      Heating is a large consumer in Winter, and it’s fact that reverse cycle airconditioning is the most efficient space heater wrt electrical power consumption that there is.

      Air conditioning is virtually a requirement anywhere North of the Queensland v border, and probably even further South. It is still more energy efficient than ceiling fans, with their large electricity consumers. the motor driving the fan blades.

      Anything you do at the residential level to economise on electricity consumption is almost at the inconsequential level.

      Do you wash your clothing less (large electric motor) tell your wife not to use the dryer ever, and just see what she says about that. (again, large electric motor)

      Do you cook less. use the oven less, the microwave more, etc.

      Residential power is a finite thing, and despite years and years of Governments saying we MUST use less, residential consumption is in fact rising.

      Tony.


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      Luke,

      Point 3.

      Residential power consumption amounts to 38% of the total consumption. This is around the same everywhere that a constant and reliable source of electrical power is available, eg, the developed Western World.

      Commerce consumes 37% and Industrial 24%.

      There’s grumblings at other sites that Commerce and Industry especially get their power at a subsidised rate that the residential sector is being charged extra to make up, but nothing could be further from the truth.

      Look at your residential power bill.

      Now think of Coles or Woolies (commerce) and imagine the bill for their consumption, and then imagine a Coles and Woolies in every town, and hundreds of them in the cities. They are dedicated absolutely huge consumers, and being such huge consumers, then that price for electricity has to be spread across them all, hence they pay a lower price.

      Industry pays the least per unit of electricity, again because they are monumentally huge consumers of electricity, and again being 24 hour consumers at such huge amounts, they also negotiate a lower price per unit.

      Charge Wollies and BHP what the consumer pays, and before you can say. ‘hey what the’, they will go under.

      As I mentioned, any economies you make at the personal residential level are so inconsequential as yo not even be noticed with a blink at the power plant end of the system.

      You can save say an upper 5%, and that’s one house out of a thousand or so, if a huge amount of people do it.

      So, effectively, that’s a small percentage of a small percentage of 38%, in effect virtually zero.

      Tony.


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      My other angle is that maybe, just maybe, people need to adjust their poor habbits when it comes to their energy usage, and general life habbits. Shock horror!

      Shelter, food, and water. Beyond that, everything is a bonus and a blessing and should be treated as such.

      Who are you to judge poor habits concerning peoples’ rights to power or general life habits? Ever heard of live and let live?


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      Winston

      Lost utopians?-Estimable company you are keeping there. Like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc……all of whom shared the same delusion of perfecting an imperfect world in their own distorted perceptual reality – whether in the form of an Aryan Satanist Verdant “paradise”, an Atheistic Worker’s Industrial and/or Agrarian Cooperative Serfdom, or the current manifestation of the psychosis, an Ecocentric Luddite Animistic Neolithic Nirvana- all amounts to the same flawed logic and repressed desire for oppression of others deemed outside an elite or like-minded clique, distortion of the truth through propaganda, negation of history, perversion of scientific and other principles, and an undying faith in the wisdom of their own thinking and the moral imperative of their actions, no matter how inhuman or vicious or extreme. Utopian beliefs have been responsible for more destruction and inhumanity and suffering in the last century than even greed and corruption have dealt us. So, how you “utopians” can be angry with those who merely suggest that Govt Green schemes lack economic sense, wasting valuable taxpayer funds in an unjustified, inefficient and misdirected fashion, beggars belief.

      No skeptic here disputes the need to minimize particulate or chemical pollution, as Western societies have actively and successfully been doing for 30 or 40 years. CO2 however is not pollution, is not contributing significantly to climate and is only potentially beneficial to the biosphere.

      Shipping jobs and industry to China is illogical, sabotaging your own economy is illogical, undermining your nation’s educational standards is illogical, sabotaging your scientific institutions by making them useless government mouthpieces instead of centres of innovation is illogical, ignoring scientific principles and rigor is illogical, one world government when humanity thrives on competition and cross pollination of cultures is illogical, homogenization of humanity is illogical, suppressing dissent while preaching inclusiveness is illogical……….. The list goes on.

      Some of the measures you suggest are just fiddling at the edges, pretending that somehow watching TV is somehow causing the doom of humanity. If every plasma TV in Australia stopped tomorrow, barely a blip would be noticed. CSG or Thorium nuclear could handle Australia’s power needs for thousands of years, so why is this not being done- safety concerns? Hardly insurmountable, so there is obviously a hidden (?UN) agenda present amongst those of the political class of all persuasions that suggests external threats or inducements are being made to sabotage or suppress Australia’s viability as a sovereign nation. It is the only logical explanation, as unlikely as that may seem to those naive enough to believe that we live in a free, democratic society. Relatively, that may be so, but actually I have the increasing feeling that we are in far more danger from our political masters than at any time in the last 200 years, with prospects of far worse as technological intrusion and suppression of liberty becomes more or less accepted as the norm, or in the public interest.

      We are standing on a precipice right now, with the Eco-nuts dying to push us over the edge, and a government at the ready to stifle us to “protect us” in our best interests. How noble of them!


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      I really am getting sick of people who consider the human race as a mutual exclusive component of the environment.. The health of planet Earth also depends on the health of humanity and not just the Latte sipping leftist socio-politically correct populations of the main urban areas of the planet. The Arrogance is just absurd your comments are welcome but please come back with some substance not just hand waving and conflagration.

      If you want Solar panels and Wind farms tack them onto the roof of your house, home, unit of building but don’t pollute our countryside with them or make me pay for them with a Carbon Tax when it is totally unnecessary!


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        Luke Purse

        I believe that human race is absolutley NOT mutually exclusive to the environment.. I think it is more accurate to say that the health of humanity depends on the health of the planet though, not the other way around. We’re born of the the earth, we did not create it.

        I have read over all of these replies and am grateful for the information – especially considering my rambling and emotional nature. I shant continue this particular conversation as I feel I am lacking the knowledge I need and want to better atriculate my point. Interestingly, there is a lot of similar sentiments between our views.

        So, until the next discussion..! I’ll endevour to be a little more orgnanised.


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          Winston

          Luke
          The health and prosperity of man and that of the environment are not mutually exclusive, in fact I would argue that the greatest impediment to good environmental management is POVERTY. That is what is so disappointing about the environmental agenda being hijacked by those who really seek to inspire an anti progressive socialist totalitarian agenda designed to impoverish all but the very elite and the political classes. This approach will lead to far worse preservation of the planet than has been seen under Western civilization’s auspices most recently since the 70′s. Unfortunately we are prisoners of our past technologies, but change will occur with gentle guidance, not an ill-considered sledge hammer that strikes at the heart of precisely how society functions and prospers. If you are keen to learn as you say, then hopefully you may see that the future you hope for depends largely upon people such as yourself not believing everything you’re fed by unscrupulous and dim- witted politicians, most of whom couldn’t run a business, have no experience in organization other than branch stacking and currying favors, and lack moral fibre to admit their ignorance or to listen to those who have a better perspective than they.


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        Tristan

        Darling, where have you been? We haven’t been sipping lattes for years.

        One Vanilla Rooibos Herbal Infusion please, with an extra shot of superciliousness. Mwaaah!


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      Bush bunny

      Luke, I know farmers or people into agriculture, who have invested from loans they have taken out up to $36,000 and received only a fraction of that back on their bills. That they believe they are doing a good thing for the environment and saving the climate is their choice. But – work out how much interest they are paying on their loans? And really is with price per kw subsidy really a realistic saving.

      The initial cost of panels, their installation and of course reliability in the long term in all seasons, not just summer is not very good. I know some of the earlier panels stopped working, or were only partially effective, needing an electricity back up all the time.

      They do not work well in cold weather, and some of us living at altitude we have snow, frost and cold night temps. Now the council here is planning a tax on wood burners. Or as our English friend noted, and what some people ignore, is parts of Northern Europe and Great Britain (Hebrides and some Scottish islands) have winters like the Arctic and Antarctic.

      Take note up on the Northern Tablelands, our temps drop in parts to minus 15 C during the night in winter. And this summer (errr,well not so summerish) we at night temps are dropping to 7, 8 and 9 C. I’m looking anxiously at some of out door pot plants who normally winter indoors. Summer! Not AGW it is climate change and getting cooler. Well this year, might be different next year, who knows.


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      mobilly1

      For Andrew Mc Rae at #9.2.1.2.2

      Andrew the storage problem was solved many years ago , The Military use Hydraulic Accumulators , Used on Aircraft Carriers they can raise the
      stored aircraft from the lower deck in seconds ,If 20,30 or 100 of these
      Hydraulic Accumulators were used in conjunction with a Coal fired
      Power station , They could Accumulate the Energy during the low energy
      times , Then Crank up at peak Periods ,Thus eliminating the need for the
      Gas powered back up ,See (Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections)
      Tony and Memorybank loved your posts


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  • #

    While this Post from Joanne indicates that the Moree Solar Photovoltaic Plant is having difficulties in finding Private Investors, a plant announced at the same time is also having the same problem as well, that one being the Concentrating Solar (Solar Thermal) Plant at Chinchilla, which also cannot find investors to ‘front up’ with the remaining money after both the Commonwealth and State Governments have ‘chucked in’ their amounts.

    In the case of the Chinchilla Plant, the total cost will be $1.2 Billion, and the commitment from both Governments comes in at Feds $464 Million, and Queensland $75 Million, that total amounting to 45% of that overall total.

    The Moree Plant will cost $932 Million, again nearly half of which will be ‘stumped up’ from the Feds and NSW Governments.

    So, all up cost of both is more than $2.1 Billion, and for what?

    Marginal amounts of power delivered to the grids for consumption, two boutique plants at enormous cost, supplying power for barely part of the day.

    One of the major investors is BP, who have announced that after 40 years in the Solar Industry, are pulling out of that on a Global basis because it is not profitable, their words.

    I know these are both my own Posts, but for detailed analysis here are the links to both Plants.

    The Moree Solar Plant

    The Chinchilla Solar Plant

    Tony.


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      I think GetUp should put their money where their mouth is and invest their money in the Chinchilla project instead of trying to spend it refuting us skeptics could it be they agree with us and believe this is a waste of money?


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      brc

      Isn’t it funny how people spending other peoples money (ie, the politicians and their pet servants) think it’s fun to throw in a couple of million. It will be wasted, lost, gone, oh well, Anna Bligh and co will say.

      Then when they want people to front with the rest – it’s either private investors investing their own money, or people managing money for others – with strict fiduciary standards to keep them honest, and their own reputations to worry about.

      Not even a gullible ‘green investment fund’ manager is willing to put money into these. They’ve done the sums, they know it is a complete loser, and they won’t touch it.

      So we have a case of either (a) the government and public servants are the only smart people around or (b) the people who invest money for a living can see a loser from a mile away.

      Somehow I think it’s not (a).

      If any politicians read this : please stop throwing taxpayers money and the country’s prosperity down the drown on stupid schemes like these. You can do all the stupid token gestures you like, but start messing around with energy supply and it will end in tears.


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      Bush bunny

      Yes Tony, and how many households and businesses are they going to supply. Not many! Work that cost out per person or household. Moree is suffering flooding at the moment, meaning there has been lots of cloud cover. I was watching children’s hour at Parliament House Canberra the other day. (Question and No answer time) Julie Bishop asked Kevin Rudd, as Foreign Minister, how many carbon trading schemes existed around the world and how were they doing? That was cheeky particular as he scrapped the ETS once. Of course, he didn’t answer but raved on about them being negative etc. There is another scheme to erect Wind turbines, but Victoria have changed their legislation to avoid them being built too near residences after complaints of infra sound and causing inner ear disturbances.

      But international pressures seem to be leaning towards scrapping and curtailing investments in wind and solar, so it is a matter of time.
      Tony Watt is leading the chase against Alarmists, and Tory Aardvark in UK. Joanne gets a mention on both their blogs.


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      Tristan

      I thought CSP made use of heated nitrate to continue power generation at night?


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        Tristan,
        They use molten salts.

        Mirrors concentrate the Sun’s light to a focal point to turn a compound into a molten state. The molten compound then boils water to steam to drive a conventional steam turbine/generator.

        Under ordinary conditions, this molten compound can be used wholly to make power, and the best they can do so far is to give around 6 to 7 hours of power generation. The very best they have achieved so far is 250MW for that short period of time. They think that theoretically, they may be able to make that 500MW in another four years or so, but it’s still only theory.

        Now, if they have heat diversion to keep those molten salts as molten as possible for as long as possible, then they have been able to achieve 15 hours of power generation. However, (the no free lunch principle) what this means is that the total power they can generate is reduced to 50MW for that 15 hours and it adds one third extra to the overall cost of the plant, taking that 250MW (50MW in reality) plant out to around $1.5 Billion (Solana Plant, Gila Bend Arizona, which does not have heat diversion)

        Now, there is currently, (with great fanfare) a plant in Spain, that on one really hot and cloudless day, with heat diversion managed to produce power for one full 24 hour continuous period, right through the night in fact, at the peak of the Northern Mid Summer.

        That was 17MW.

        Even so, that huge solar plant in size, producing tiny power, it’s still barely managing a Capacity Factor of 60% year round, and as the Plant has not been operating yet for one full year, even that is still only theoretical. That 60% equates to just under 15 hours, and anyway, who cares. It’s only 17MW. You’d need 160 of them to replace just Bayswater alone, and still be getting less power.

        Tony.


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        Tristan

        Yeah the salt is a composition of two nitrates, KNO3 and NaNO3.

        How long does it take to turn a conventional coal plant on and off? What sort of wastage would you get?

        What I’m wondering: If you were to eschew the 100% solar/wind renewable model, which beyond zero thinks they can set up with $370B and 10 yrs (I consider that the result of some rather hopeful estimates), how well can you couple intermittent generation with full time generation? Is the Spanish model successful?


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    Madjak

    Whenever someone mentions they have installed solar panels here in OZ, I will demand that they thank me for paying for them.


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      Madjak

      Got solar panels?

      yep

      Bludger


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      I’ve got a fire pit generator but alas, it is subsidised by the mining companies. Got to get rid of those worn mining truck tyres somehow.

      Having trouble sourcing whale oil for accelerant so will fall back on the baby seal oil suppliers to maintain my renewable power output.


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        memoryvault

        Polystyrene packing (from the tip) dissolved in just about any solvent (your local painter will probably be happy to give you the stuff he’s washed his brushes in), makes a zip-dandy accelerant.

        Consider it recycled napalm.


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        • #

          Tried home made Napalm before. It blew the boiler and turbine into orbit. Apparently it is in orbit over Korea. Is causing an international incident as North Korea believes it is a spy satellite with a weapons platform attached.

          Only good thing that resulted from the Napalm experiment, it increased the size of the firepit so now I can fit six tyres in at a time and power half the street.


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            memoryvault

            .
            Too much solvent with too little polystyrene.
            You need the consistency of bread-dough.

            And DON’T use petrol – this is supposed to be a recycling exercise, after all, not a course in kitchen sink home-made explosives.
            Besides, pool chlorine is a far better base for that.

            .
            That said, I do hope you get your turbine back sometime soon.
            The waiting time on replacements is getting ridiculous.

            Maybe you could ask Branson to recover it for you with White Knight after it has launched its cargo of space tourists.

            Good luck with the North Korea thing.
            You’d have probably been assassinated by now if the cost of the bullet wasn’t more than their GDP.


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            Bush bunny

            Scraper, why not naphalene flakes, that you sprinkle to kill moths and fleas. Don’t inhale them though. They are pure napalm or almost. What about the company in Queensland that are burning Sugar Cane refuse, unlimited supply, they tried to get subsidies last year from the government or when Penny was in charge, as they give for solar panels. Are they still functioning.


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            Bush bunny,

            currently in Queensland, there are 23 sites burning Sugar Cane Waste (Bagasse) to generate electricity.

            Each one of those 23 sites is a sugar mill.

            In all, those 23 sites are generating around 350MW.

            The power each site generates is enough to cover all the needs of that sugar mill.

            Now why I say this so carefully is that there is something I want you to consider in this.

            Bagasse is counted in the renewable power totals for all Australia. Not much (if any) of that power is added to the grids in the area of each of those sites, as the mill consumes most of the power generated for the daily running of the mill.

            They receive no subsidies, as, well, after all, they are just a Private Company making a product, so, well, they don’t need subsidies do they? (sarc off now Tony)

            However, even while no power is sent to the grid for outside demand, the power they do produce is (conveniently) added to the overall percentage for renewables so that the overall percentage of power from renewables can be boosted.

            Now, some may say that the power being generated by each of those mills is power not being consumed from the grids, but gee, the very first thing a new sugar mill does at the construction stage is to also construct this bagasse burning electricity plant to run the mill, and these mills with their own power plants have been in operation, some for many decades now.

            Now here also, and some may think I’m drawing a long bow here, bagasse emits CO2 during the burning. However, they can (artfully) be called renewable as that CO2 being emitted is only what the cane drew out of the atmosphere during the growing phase for the cane.

            So let me see if I’ve got this right. The CO2 in the atmosphere helps the cane to grow, so more CO2, more cane, better cane. Then they burn the waste cane and release the CO2 back into the atmosphere.

            Call it neutral, but it is still releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.

            The same applies for power plants burning waste paper. They also are counted as renewable. Because the paper was once trees, it is releasing CO2 into the atmosphere that was once in the trees, hence also artfully called Carbon neutral.

            The same for Black Liquor, also classed as renewable.

            Now here’s the drawing a long bow bit.

            Gazillions of years ago, green matter that has drawn CO2 out of the atmosphere, rots down, and is converted over that time to coal. We dig up the coal and burn it, releasing the CO2 back into the Atmosphere.

            Hey, exactly the same principle as for Bagasse, paper, Black Liquor etc.

            Bagasse et al are classed as Renewable.

            Coal is derdy pollution.

            Now, when you think renewable, you think Wind and Solar only, and these two, as flavour of the month do get subsidies, at both the construction phase, and also for selling the boutique power they do generate to the grid. The others do not get any subsidies.

            Now, Wind and solar, the ones the general public think about when the word renewable is talked about provide around 2% of the total power demand in Australia. (and virtually all of that 2% is Wind, as solar would only be 0.02%, with Wind as the remaining 1.98%)

            However, when the overall renewable total is artfully spoken of by the current government, they lump in all of the above, and now, have also added in Hydro Power as part of that renewable total.

            What this does is to take that renewable percentage up to around 7.5%, and hey, surprise, surprise, we actually may seem to be getting close to what they hope for, you know 20% of demand from renewables.

            Without those subsidies, and they are literally huge when everything is added in, not one private funding source will venture into Wind or solar with all the money coming from private sources.

            You, as consumers, pay for all those subsidies for Wind and Solar in considerably higher prices per unit of electricity you use, not just you as residential consumers, but across the board for every sector of demand.

            Tony.


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        Madjak

        Isn’t recycling great? Recycling tyres into heat. Excellent idea. And now we even have a use for that bloody polystyrene we can’t get rid of!

        We should be getting recycling subsidies.

        I love whales -save some whale meat for me.

        I’ll bring it around to the tyre firepit.


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          It’s a date!

          Got some thick and juicy polar bear T-bones. Imported the whole carcus complete with hide, wear it (nothing else) at the our full moon paganistic rituals, dancing around the firepit in devotion to the slaying of Gaia.


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            MadJak

            I think I have some baby seal pup eyes we can use as orderves(?)

            I hear they go really well with some greenpeace acitvist pate.


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            memoryvault

            Greenpeace activist?

            Fair go Madjak, this is a serious conversation about recycling.

            The Orstraaliaan guvmint just had to expend several hundred litres of irreplaceable, dirty, polluding fossil fuel recovering some of those guys from a Japanese fishing boat they’d stowed away on.

            What the hell would they know about conservation and recycling?


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            MadJak

            MV,

            It would’ve been much more environmentally friendly to turn them into Pate and ship them back that way. I’m sure the whaling ship had the facilities to do so.

            I wonder if the hippies will be charged for their carbon footprint?


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            memoryvault

            Sorry MJ,

            You are absolutely right – I just wasn’t thinking.
            Greenpeace activist pate it is then.

            I’ve got a nice Camembert I think will go well with that.
            What do you suggest for wine?


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            MadJak

            Something in Getup Trade union colours, I think


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          Popeye

          Yep – I agree – recycle everything.

          I use an old stainless steel tub out of one of our old washing machines to get rid of HEAPS of “stuff”.

          Boy, is it any good – can get it glowing white hot on some occasions.

          BTW – I have now converted to vegetarian – I only eat anything that eats grass!!

          Cheers,


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          Bush bunny

          If you can stand the smell of rubber. LOL. Don’t inhale the smoke.


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    handjive

    Clean green fraud
    Government’s ethanol mandate invites corruption

    …the bankrupt solar panel manufacturer is far from the only fly-by-night outfit to take advantage of the current “green energy” fad.
    No program is more ripe for abuse than the renewable fuel standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    Such absurdity naturally follows when the government creates an artificial market.


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    SOLAR SUCCESS SANS SUBSIDY.
    It is possible as we have shown at our company which supplies industrial level solar LED lighting. We have never received a penny of subsidy and all our sales are justified by the ROI of the project. Our biggest challenge is to avoid being lumped with all these free-loaders that depend upon government subsidies. When the subsidies end, so will the companies that depend upon them.


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      I feel for you John but this is exactly why Governments should stay away from these industries. You have proved that you can make a living from a legitimate enterprise only to have competition added by a false economy. They should be held account to this as well as all the other things they have touched.


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      memoryvault

      Nice website, John.

      Good luck with the business.


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    Graeme No.3

    Luke,
    well insulated houses designed to avoid over heating in summer are a good idea. My father designed one 52 years ago, and it was very comfortable. My present (bought) one is similar.

    We either have to adopt the moorish idea in Spain of solid, high walls around a courtyard, with narrow streets so the sun doesn’t hit the bottom of the walls, or some variation on the terrace homes such as I saw in Belgium, with 10 houses on a front of 73 feet (22.3 metres). Narrowest was 7 foot wide. They were all 4 or 5 stories high. Obviously both types were partly the product of unsettled times, when they were crammed inside the defensive walls. It leads to small cities where getting about on foot is possible.

    But you won’t get the public to look at them. They want MacMansions (and have for 100 years or more). Cramming them on smaller and smaller blocks means eaves are a thing of the past.
    Your friends with their standalone power want their 5 or 10 Hectare blocks with space and views.

    Everybody is being human, and cheap power lets them. Expensive power is intended to stop choice. One local (obviously inner city living) Greenie expressed the view that country towns should be deprived of services so they became deserted. But the “green” ideas of pedalling to work or using public transport won’t work in cities the size of ours. For a start work out how many bus or other routes would be required. When I was in Sydney I looked into it. To go 13 k took either 2 trains and a bus or 4 buses. Minimum time (with connections working) was 1 hour 50 minutes. But then I wasn’t in the inner suburbs nor working in the city, like 70+% of the population.


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      memoryvault

      Slightly O/T but for Luke

      I remember right back in the early 2000′s the department responsible at the time for Sydney’s urban transport conducted a huge survey over several weeks, of office workers arriving in Sydney and North Sydney for work by train, ferry and bus.

      The gist of the survey was how many people thought they could do some or all of their work from home.

      Turned out nearly 70% of those surveyed felt they could do all or more than 80% of their work at home, with perhaps one or two face to face meetings with key people once or twice a week – not necessarily at work.

      A bit of further digging revealed that, in most cases they reason they weren’t doing it was managerial resistance – managers just HAVE to see bums on seats to be convinced that people are doing their jobs and so justify their own existence.

      I spent fifteen years working fifo to remote mine sites and refineries as a consultant. I would always tell clients there was no need for me to actually be on site – I could do most of the work from home to our mutual benefit. But there were very few takers.

      It wasn’t until I had a stroke and simply couldn’t do site work anymore, that people started to give me assignments to do at home. Now they all love it – no accommodation or travel costs to them.

      My mind boggles at the amount of energy (fossil and electricity) consumed every day just to transport millions of office workers into the cities so they can go to large buildings that consume even more energy to heat, cool and illuminate, so these people can then sit at a desk and complete tasks on a computer screen that they could just as easily – and more happily – be doing at home, apparently for no better reason than to keep a layer of middle-level management gainfully employed.


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        That’s really interesting MV, but I wonder what sorts of unintended consequences that might have.

        Old farts like me already lament the loss of social interaction. We don’t need to leave our homes for entertainment and social interactions anymore, we’ve got the cinema sized TV screens and computers. We even have on-line shopping growing at rapid rates.
        If we didn’t leave our homes for work, or for shopping or for entertainment, what effects might that have on the various factors that make a community just that, a community?

        At one time in the past, most people met their partners at work, nowadays what with political correctness and the fear of offending people, one can’t even look at another with “I like you” eyes let alone utter the words for fear of retribution.

        Automatons we’re not. Automatons we may become. Personally I think it’s a sad state of affairs

        (Clifford D. Simak’s award winning science fiction book CITY becomes more relevant) CTS


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          brc

          Being one that also works from home (most of the time, sadly not right now, yes, it’s managerial resistance to paying consultants that aren’t visible) the loss of interaction is a genuine problem that has to be tackled head on and pro-actively. This is through organising regular catch-ups with friends and colleagues and not relying on spontaneous events. It sounds tough at first but is really no more difficult than organising your commute. On the plus side properly organised social events are much better than water cooler chats.

          Additionally, most people don’t like most of the people they work with, so having this negative energy out of your life is a positive thing.

          Of course, there is a genuine level of social interaction to be had through social networking mediums that a lot of people shun – it’s not substitute for genuine face-to-face interaction, but it certainly beats an odd telephone call or no interaction altogether. It helps in keeping professional relationships with people all over the globe going. Through facebook I get to see photos of friends from all over. Through twitter I get to share interesting articles, thoughts and events with others. There’s no way I would ring a friend in switzerland to tell him I read an interesting article, but twitter makes this a breeze, and everyone gains.

          Finally, more people working from home means more vibrant residential areas. Around me a lot of people work from home or have shift work. As a result, a lunchtime stroll will generally meet with someone I know and a a cheery wave or a short chat is usually the result.

          Yes, I buy a lot of stuff online. I don’t get to meet the salesperson. But then I do get to have a quick chat with the courier that delivers the parcels. Usually they’re more friendly than surly salespeople anyway.

          Bottom line : working from home is just another way of working. The thought that everyone has to turn up every day in a pre-defined spot, work for 8 hours and then go home again is actually crazy when you really look at the absurdity of it all. That is the very definition of an automaton if you ask me. Human creativity and productivity is a fluid and constantly changing thing. It’s madness to try and box that into a fixed time and space just because it was always done that way, for the necessity of lines of communication. Well, those communication lines are freely available for dirt-cheap prices. So the original reason isn’t there anymore. People can gradually move back to a more cottage/village-life way of living, except they have a global market for their skills and goods with precious few middlemen to skim the profits.


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        memoryvault,
        you say here:

        …millions of office workers into the cities so they can go to large buildings that consume even more energy to heat, cool and illuminate, so these people can then sit at a desk…

        People would be absolutely amazed just how much power is consumed by a high rise. It can vary from 2MW to 4MW and even higher. Now look at the Sydney or Melbourne skyline, and then do the Maths yourself.

        When I started out four years ago, I Posted a Series that ended up going more than 50 separate Posts, detailing what it might take to abide by The Kyoto Protocol, and remove that much electrical power from the system, and just in the U.S. alone. As part of that, I canvassed ways to actually try and replace that much large scale coal fired power.

        Along the way, I came across Combined Heating and Power (CHP), and it may not mean much, but everybody has actually seen it, think that famous image of Marilyn Monroe, white skirt billowing , as the steam from CHP came up through the grate.

        CHP has come a long way since the 1880′s in Manhattan, yes that far back.

        Now they have small units, Cogeneration and even Trigeneration.

        I did an exercise on what it might take and that is at the link if any of you wish to read it.

        What Is A Green Building (Part 3)

        Tony.


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    theRealUniverse

    Well we all know that solar produces plenty of peak load capacity when the sun dont shine (sarc) so like place it where the sun dont shine on a politician and CSIRO bandit.


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    pat

    not my fault:

    9 Feb: Australian: Jared Owens and Roseanne Barrett: Qld Water Minister (Stephen Robertson) defends himself on dam report inconsistencies
    ”I think you need to appreciate that by the time these documents get to me as minister they have passed through numerous hands. To think that I would then sit down and cross-reference this document against previous briefings, that’s just not the way it happens.
    “If I had detected a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude that would have set off alarm bells in my head as minister. But at all times, in briefings and discussions I had, the impression I was left with was that everyone was treating this with the utmost seriousness.”
    Mr Robertson said he was unaware of inconsistencies in the evidence until they were revealed in The Australian…
    “What I had an understanding of all the experts – and bear in mind that I am not a qualified flood or dam engineer – what I came away from that meeting with was the impression that the people who were qualified to make these decisions were making these decisions based on information that was changing and they were responding to the changing situation.”…
    “I believe in innocence before being proved guilty. I shall await the outcome of the commission of inquiry’s report.
    “Ministers don’t sit down at their desk comparing documents against each other. That’s not a reasonable suggestion of what ministerial responsibility is all about.”
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/queensland-water-minister-defends-himself-on-dam-report-inconsistencies/story-fn59niix-1226266761968

    whatever happened to “speaking truth to power”, Conal? why not write about Flannery & Co’s CAGW alarmism which led to the severity of the Brisbane flood which cost billions?

    9 Feb: SMH: Conal Hanna: Inquiry or inquisition?
    (Conal Hanna is managing editor of brisbanetimes.com.au)
    A lot of people didn’t have to work during the Brisbane floods. But those of us who did worked hard…
    I can say without doubt it was the hardest I’ve ever worked…
    At what point did we go from having a flood inquiry to a flood inquisition? It increasingly feels as though we’re engaged in something resembling a witch-hunt…
    Asked about the pressures of Test cricket Australian all rounder Keith Miller, a pilot in WWII, gave the immortal answer, “Pressure, I’ll tell you what pressure is. Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not”. I reckon the four engineers in control of Wivenhoe know a few things about pressure too; more than you or I will hopefully ever have to bear.
    The flood inquiry may well find that more water should have been let out of Wivenhoe Dam on the weekend of January 8-9. But we should not forget that torrent of water that arrived the following day. I still get goosebumps every time I see that footage from Toowoomba. The power of that water!…
    When Theodore Roosevelt was US President, he once said that if he could be right 75 per cent of the time, he would leave office extremely satisfied. How our world has changed. Nothing short of perpetual perfection will do anymore.
    We’d all like to live in a world where no one makes mistakes. But we don’t. By all means, have an inquiry. Hold the engineers, the bureaucrats and the inquiry heads to account. But surely we can do so while maintaining some decorum and sense of kinship with our fellow man.
    All of us, we’re only human.
    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/inquiry-or-inquisition-20120209-1rp3p.html


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    It may be due to the glut of solar panels but they have come down in price recently. I got a quote for 8 x 200 watt panels including mounts and rooftop isolator switch for $2200. No subsidy. I’m seriously considering this to add to my 1.5KW solar system(the inverter has the capacity already). This will about make our house electrical energy balanced so even if the feed in tariff ends we should not have to pay much for electricity.
    I did a couple of things, one was install the solar system and two was replace the old storage electric hot water with a new one of same type but larger capacity. We’re now using only 4KW-h a day instead of 7 for hot water. Our electricity bill is only 0.37c per day for hot water . Solar HW doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense for us. Total electricity is down to $400 pa instead of $1200. Yes this includes around $350 per year of feed in tariff.
    Yes I’d rather have large nukes supplying the grid but that isn’t about to happen so if the stupid bogans keep voting for this green crap they can hve their hip pockets hurt.


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    val majkus

    very pertinent and timely

    The attached paper, “Renewable electricity for Australia – the cost”, was posted on the Brave New Climate (BNC) today and from one of my favourite energy experts
    The Summary states:

    “Here I review the paper “Simulations of Scenarios with 100% Renewable Electricity in the Australian National Electricity Market” by Elliston et al. (2011a) (henceforth EDM-2011). That paper does not analyse costs, so I have also made a crude estimate of the cost of the scenario simulated and three variants of it.

    For the EDM-2011 baseline simulation, and using costs derived for the Federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET, 2011b), the costs are estimated to be: $568 billion capital cost, $336/MWh cost of electricity and $290/tonne CO2 abatement cost.

    That is, the wholesale cost of electricity for the simulated system would be seven times more than now, with an abatement cost that is 13 times the starting price of the Australian carbon tax and 30 times the European carbon price. (This cost of electricity does not include costs for the existing electricity network).

    Although it ignores costings, the EDM-2011 study is a useful contribution. It demonstrates that, even with highly optimistic assumptions, renewable energy cannot realistically provide 100% of Australia’s electricity generation. Their scenario does not have sufficient capacity to meet peak winter demand, has no capacity reserve and is dependent on a technology – ‘gas turbines running on biofuels’ – that exist only at small scale and at high cost.”

    Also posted on the BNC web site is an Excel spreadsheet you can download to check the calculations, inputs, data sources and use to run sensitivity analyses.

    Please feel free to distribute this email and the attached paper. Comments, questions and constructive criticisms are welcome – join the discussion here:
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/

    Hope all the links work


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    Timdot

    Sorry all. O/T, I know. Take a look at WUWT. An IPCC AR5 WG1 expert reviewer has resigned from the AGU.


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    And the irony of it all is that this is happening just when the research is starting to appear showing that carbon dioxide has no effect at all because the assumed “backradiation” cannot warm the surface, so the “greenhouse effect” is impossible. http://climate-change-theory.com

    (I know it is interesting but you are going way off topic) CTS


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    Joe's World

    Jo,

    When you subsidize an industry, any new innovation or creation that may be far more beneficial is ignored. R and D is dumped for the greater profitability.

    Science currently is a huge dump of bad information, bad theories and bad science practices. The mathematical calculation by past “observed science” has generated unbreakable laws highly protected by scientists that did NOT change with technological advances.
    The study of motion was the casualty in current science. You do not need a rotating planet for these theories to work in a model!


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    Madjak

    cracks starting to show in germany

    A pioneer of wind turbines in Germany has just written a book exposing the IPCC and the fraud of overestimating the effects of C02.

    Unfortunately he still just can’t let go of the whole ETS thing, but it does look like he has the braincells and the courage to admit that his previous quoting of the IPCC was a result of him being duped -as he put it.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,813814,00.html


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    pat

    and who has foresight, Mark?

    10 Feb: Australian: Jared Owens: Brisbane flood could have been ’50cm lower’ with right dam strategy
    But hydrologist (director of hydrology firm WMAWater) Mark Babister’s new figures, which allow for a scenario where engineers began releasing huge volumes of water pre-emptively, ultimately find the strategy would have been “unreasonable” because such moves “would have required foresight beyond that obtained from a measured consideration of weather forecasts”…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/brisbane-flood-could-have-been-50cm-lower-with-right-dam-strategy/story-fn59niix-1226267234622

    WMA was Webb, McKeown and Associates until 2008. if u search both names, u will find their work for Govt and CSIRO. presumably, this is an example:

    Dec 2010: Kempsey Shire Council
    It is recommended that Council adopt the 2008 WMA Water modelled flood levels for the 1% AEP flood event incorporating IPCC sea level change projections as an interim measure, pending incorporating revised levels in the review of Council’s Flood Risk Management Strategy Policy. Note: The IPCC projections for the 2100 Sea level rise is 910mm which is marginally above the NSW adopted benchmark of 900mm and its is intended to review the results of modelling in conjunction with the review of the Flood Risk Management Strategy Policy in 2011.
    Council now has available to it updated modelled flood data (2008) which incorporates the IPCC sea level rise projections to the year 2100.
    http://www.kempsey.nsw.gov.au/pdfsCnlMtgs/2010/cmeeting141210/141210O%20Goal%201%201.3.1%20Interim%20Policy.pdf

    Hedley Thomas looks at other “experts”:

    10 Feb: Australian: Hedley Thomas: Experts inspire doubt at Wivenhoe inquiry
    THE independence and judgment of a number of experts whistled up for special reports by Queensland’s dam operator over the past year are being examined for the first time by the floods commission of inquiry…
    Inquiry head Cate Holmes must have been reassured that the input of experts on complex questions about hydrology could be accepted at face value. She also had a dam expert, Phil Cummins, sitting to her left as a $2000-a-day deputy commissioner until The Courier-Mail exposed his involvement in a consulting firm on SEQWater’s payroll for a review of Wivenhoe’s manual…
    When one of the experts, Greg Roads of WRM Water, was brought back to the witness box yesterday, he was shown emails highlighting his prejudgment.
    The background to the emails is that on January 17 last year, The Australian quoted Roads in an article, headlined “Water releases too low before deluge: engineer”, in which he made favourable comments that helped balance criticisms from the engineer, Michael O’Brien.
    Dam engineer Terry Malone had written to thank Roads “for the supportive comments”, published the day Premier Anna Bligh held an emergency cabinet meeting and set up a royal commission-style probe.
    The reply from Roads to Malone, copied to the three other flood engineers, preceded his elevation to the top of SEQWater’s shortlist for reviewers of its performance.
    “Looks like you guys did a great job,” Roads wrote…
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/experts-inspire-doubt-at-wivenhoe-inquiry/story-e6frgd0x-1226267161499


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    pat

    surely not the same old baseless “death threats” narrative!

    10 Feb: NZ Herald: Greg Ansley: Inquiry into dam deluge threatens to sink Labor
    Amid reports of death threats and bodyguards for dam engineers, claims of blunders that made the floods worse, allegations of cover-ups and threats of a A$1 billion ($1.23 billion) lawsuit, Premier Anna Bligh is preparing for what is shaping up as her last stand…
    With passions high, dam operator Seqwater has sent engineers John Tibaldi and Terrence Malone on special leave and provided 24-hour bodyguards after media reports of death threats against the men.
    *****Police have said there is no evidence of threats, but Seqwater is keeping the guards on duty “as a precaution”…
    Hundreds of businesses and homeowners have expressed interest in a lawsuit in the event the inquiry supports allegations that the timing and nature of the decision to release water from the dam increased the impact of the flood downstream.
    “There are allegations, or there is evidence, that tends towards a conclusion that insufficient water was released in a timely manner, such that it became imperative to let a lot of water go at the one time, which may have caused unnecessary loss to communities downstream,” IMF Australia executive director John Walker told ABC radio…
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10784530


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    pat

    the sooner we forget CAGW and keep building our economy with low-cost coal power the better, cos the subsidies are being given for the CAGW nuclear faction too:

    9 Feb: Atlanta Journal Constitution: Plant Vogtle nuclear expansion approved 4-1
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s on Thursday approved Southern Co.’s plan to build two reactors at Plant Vogtle, south of Augusta (Georgia) — though the decision was not without dissent.
    Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the five-member NRC, cast a lone vote against issuing a license for the project. He said he wanted but had not gotten a binding commitment from Southern that it would incorporate changes stemming from last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan…
    Georgia Power is part of a group of municipal and cooperative electric companies building the new reactors at Vogtle. The utility is responsible for $6.1 billion of the estimated $14 billion project. Georgia Power customers are already footing the bill for the project, paying down the reactor’s financing costs with a monthly fee on their bills. The project also received $8.3 billion in taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees…
    The U.S. remains without a long-term plan to store nuclear waste. Utilities including Southern store the fuel rods in large pools of water or in dry casks. The utility will use those methods at the new reactors as well…
    http://www.ajc.com/business/plant-vogtle-nuclear-expansion-1340522.html

    James Hansen: Why America Needs Nuclear Energy
    The head of NASA’s Goddard Institute explains fourth generation nuclear power, and harnessing this technology will be pivotal for America’s future
    http://bigthink.com/ideas/17891

    2007: News Ltd: Howard’s nuclear vision unveiled
    Strategy for future of nuclear power unveiled
    Government to lift uranium mining restrictions
    PM says next step is overturning nuclear laws
    http://www.news.com.au/top-stories/howards-nuclear-vision-unveiled/story-e6frfkp9-1111113429896

    Feb 2011: Bloomberg: Simon Lomax/Jim Snyder: Obama Would Triple Guarantees for Nuclear Reactors
    President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget almost triples U.S. loan guarantees for nuclear power-plant construction, funds development of a new breed of smaller reactors and spends more on “breakthrough” energy research…
    A program that guarantees as much as $18.5 billion in loans for construction of nuclear reactors would expand by $36 billion in 2012, to backstop $54.5 billion in lending…
    Obama also proposed a $36 billion expansion in nuclear loan guarantees last year for fiscal 2011…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-14/obama-would-triple-guarantees-for-building-nuclear-reactors.html

    2011: Washington Examiner: Timothy P.Carney: Obama’s friends turn radioactive after Japan accident
    Making things more uncomfortable for Obama, three of his most intimate corporate friends — General Electric, Duke Energy and Exelon — are deeply involved in nuclear energy…
    The close relationship between GE and Obama is conspicuous on the policy front, with agreement on bailouts, stimulus, climate policy, health care reform, high-speed rail, wind energy, electric cars, embryonic research subsidies, export subsidies and more…
    While GE may be the Obama administration’s closest corporate pal, Duke Energy — the No. 3 nuclear power company in the country — is probably the Obama campaign’s biggest supporter…
    Duke, like GE, actively boosts Obama’s climate agenda, and, like GE, Duke stands to profit from it…
    Then there’s Exelon — the country’s No. 2 nuclear company. Obama’s top political strategist, David Axelrod, was a consultant for Exelon, which is based in Obama’s home state of Illinois. Frank Clark, CEO of Exelon’s Chicago-based subsidiary ComEd, was an Obama advisor and fundraiser, and Exelon director John Rogers has also raised funds for Obama.
    Exelon CEO John Rowe is a vociferous and longtime advocate of climate change legislation. In 2009, Forbes reported that if the Waxman-Markey climate legislation — supported by Obama — became law, “the present value of Exelon’s earnings stream would increase by $14 a share, or 28%.”
    Also, the man who brokered the merger that formed Exelon was a Chicago dealmaker named Rahm Emanuel — later Obama’s chief of staff, and now the mayor of Chicago. And this week, a top Obama energy aide left the White House to work at Exelon.
    Obama is bound tightly with these nuclear giants, so he could suffer if the anti-nuclear backlash spreads. A March poll by Pew Research showed only 39 percent of Americans support expanding nuclear power in the U.S., down from 47 percent in October…
    http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/03/obamas-friends-turn-radioactive-after-japan-accident/112336


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    pat

    the Greens have been duped or are duping us, because they surely know by now that base-load energy cannot be supplied by solar and wind.

    it was when John Howard was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News post Climategate 1 and post the failed Copenhagen Climate Conference, that i first understood CAGW involved two factions, a fake “Green” unviable renewable energy faction and a Nuclear faction. Cavuto seemed shocked that Howard did not refute CAGW, after all surely Dubya and Howard were global warming DENIERS!!!! WHAT A SCAM.

    18 Dec 2009: Fox News: Neil Cavuto interviews John Howard
    HOWARD: I think the best way of tackling the issue of global warming is for the world to invest as much as possible, as soon as possible, in finding a technological solution to the challenge…
    HOWARD: I think we have to — I think countries that now don’t have nuclear power, including my own, should focus very heavily on nuclear power…
    I mean, whatever your view is about global warming, we ought to try and play on the safe side. And the safe side is, at every point, to try and reduce pollution, to try and reduce CO2 emissions going into the atmosphere…
    CAVUTO: Well, it might be a focus on the — sir, I’m sorry. It might be a focus on the politics, but, whatever the case, it’s also the focus on a lot of money to address the political concerns.
    And it would be a kick in the pants, wouldn’t it, Prime Minister, if, all of a sudden, we discover, if even half of these climategate memos and e-mails that were released, are typical of information that has been hidden from us or lied about, then we could be chasing a goose here that is not real, right?
    HOWARD: Well, that is possible.
    One of the hexing (vexing?) things about this issue is that we will all be long dead when we actually know the answer to that question, because, if, in fact, the doomsayers are right, it will be a long time before the ill effects of what they’re predicting are felt by everybody…
    If the doomsayers are wrong, and the people who are unfairly described as skeptics are right, it will also be many years before we know the answer to that. So, common sense tells me that what we should focus on is doing things that neither side of the debate can possibly object to, and something that utilizes a clean source of energy such as nuclear power — and it is the cleanest source of energy of all — anything that reduces the polluting impact of the use of coal and gas, things like that, where nobody can really argue…
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,580585,00.html


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    Bulldust

    Meanwhile back in the good ole US of A they are starting down the nuke path again:

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/a/-/world/12861668/us-to-get-first-nuclear-plant-in-34-years/

    There’s a solution any pragmatic CAGW believer (if that isn’t a complete oxymoron) can get behind. Long-life plant, virtually zero GHG emissions and minimal waste per kWh generated. Does it get any better than that?


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      theRealUniverse

      On nuclear check out this guy. The whole US nuclear industry is based on old and poorly operated plants where the NRC deliberately downgrades the requirements so that these old plants “pass” the regulations and operate. A large ‘Fukushima’ accident waiting to happen right inside the USA.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0vXWkQhCrJE
      from
      http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29156

      The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has never turned down the request of a nuclear power plant to be relicensed in the United States. Relicensing is solely a paper process; there is no safety review.


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        Hmm!

        Just wonderin’ here.

        In Harrisburg Pennsylvania in March of 1979, there was that awful disaster, er, middling disaster, er major accident, er, minor accident, er, major incident, er, minor incident at one reactor at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Generating Facility, where, as a result, not even one cockroach or blade of grass died as a result.

        In fact, the Susquehanna River runs past the Plant. The Plant is on one side of the River, and River Road is on the other side, both flush up against the River bank. The local Council had to construct a parking area on River Road to cater for all the visitors stopping to take photographs, barely 50 metres from where the now removed TMI-2 reactor unit once stood.

        I was just wondering how those remaining 104 reactors in the U.S. have performed since then, and how many similar incidents have occurred in that intervening 33 years.

        They are the most regulated and checked Power Plants on the Planet.

        Easing safety restrictions. Well, not really.

        Tony.


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          memoryvault

          Hi Tony,

          As someone professionally involved in the safety aspects of power stations I’m going to go out on a limb here, but maybe, just maybe, after 40 years of continuous operation with recorded and audited daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual rigorous inspections, and no incidents of note, just maybe approving continuing operation of the stations is pretty-much just a formality.


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          Tristan

          Only thing better than nuclear power is more nuclear power.


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          Sometimes, I give the impression of being ardent in my support for nuclear electrical power generation, and that impression needs to be tempered with my belief that it is at least 15 years to a generation away for delivering power here in Australia.

          However, what I can do is point to why I think this is in fact a direction we should take.

          Now, way up in Comment 9.2.1.2.12, memoryvault mentioned the gerrymandering of the data for renewable power, and this can be associated with Nuclear power and I need to explain that quite carefully.

          Notice in an earlier comment I mentioned how the data is manipulated to make it seem that renewable power (which, in the minds of the average ‘guy on the street’ means Wind and Solar) is up around 7.5% of the overall total power demand, by including Hydro and other power generating sources, while in actuality, Wind and solar make up barely 2%.

          The data that should always be used is not that nameplate capacity, (the up front total of the plant) but actual power demand being delivered.

          There’s people out there who are saying that Wind and solar already make up nearly 20% in some places, again, careful cherry picking, without noting other reasons why it may ‘seem’ like that.

          Here’s where Nuclear power especially highlights that selective use of data.

          In the U.S. when you add up the total (up front) Nameplate Capacity for every power plant in the Country, then Nuclear Power makes up 8.9% of the total, giving the impression that Nuclear power is in fact just a bit player in the whole scheme of electrical power demand.

          However actual power delivered for demand (consumption) from Nuclear power amounts to just under 21%.

          It is the third highest deliverer of power demand in the U.S. after coal and Natural Gas.

          Readily available data on the one XL spreadsheet only goes back to 1997, still almost 15 years.

          For every year bar one, the power delivered from Nuclear power plants has risen, and yet (barring Watts Bar) there have been no new nuclear power plants constructed in the U.S. since that Incident at TMI in 1979.

          More and more power delivered from the same number of plants.

          Right now Nuclear power is running at a YEARLY capacity factor of 91%, and in the three Summer Months, that total is up closer to 95%, that’s virtually every Nuke in the Country running at its maximum, sustained for nearly the whole year, year after year, every year. The only down time is for very carefully scheduled refuelling of the reactors.

          Wind Power runs at 25%, and hey, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, and say maybe they can get that up to 30%, less than one third as efficient as nuclear power.

          Solar PV (panels) is running at close to 11% at best, less than one eighth the efficiency of Nuclear Power.

          Concentrating solar is running at around 60% at best, but hey that’s for a plant of 17MW, and the best they can manage is for 50MW hoped for, and the average large scale Nuclear plant is 2000MW forty times that size and still more efficient by a third.

          It seems we are being told that we need to spend a fortune on inefficient boutique power plants that just DO NOT deliver while there is an ideological scotoma to Nuclear power.

          That will go on for years now, probably decades, before someone will say ‘What were we thinking?’

          I actually hope to live long enough to see the day we finally have Nuclear power here in Australia.

          All I can do is to tell people how good it is. Nothing I can do will make it happen any sooner.

          Tony.


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          Tristan

          Obviously nameplate capacity is not a meaningful measurement. I’ll be interested to see the results of the CSP at Ivanpah and the Windlens being developed in Japan. Probably 2 or 3 years at least till we have data from ‘the wild’.


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            Mark D.

            Well, it is as meaningful as the Horse Power of your sporty auto. Rarely do you use all of them and mostly you use a small fraction of the maximum rating.

            WRT generators, if you know that you’ll only receive 30% of the nameplate, you can use those numbers for practical calculations. Trouble is the people touting wind or solar, especially the ones selling the hardware, don’t really want you to think they are going to fail performance wise. They want you to think you’re very smart and fashionable so as to be a willing buyer.


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    tertius

    Thanks all for one of the most informative threads I have read in a long time. Amazingly free of the presence of – and snarky comments by – the resident troll(s),and presenting a wealth of factual, practical information about the real-world realities of power generation including an expose of the follies and myths associated with so-called “renewable” or “green” energy generation. Hats off to Jo, Tony from Oz, memoryvault,etc, etc! And a genuine thank you to Luke, who started out apparently doing his heartfelt bit for “The Cause” but bowed out in response to the clear, well researched onslaught of facts, data and real world evidences provided by the regular commentators above, a much humbler and chastened interlocuter.


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      memoryvault

      Here here to that Tertius.

      It was an excellent thread, and I do so hope young Luke comes back sometime soon with more questions.

      He reminds me so much of myself forty years ago.


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      Fred Allen

      Trolls are having trouble with arguments lately. AGW is crashing in a heap exposing the political incompetence, twisted policies, used car sales “scientists” and gullible policy makers. The trolls have to wait until they’re fed something about aerosols, black carbon or some other pie-in-the-sky reason for imposing their fears and wills on everyone else.


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    Fred Allen

    With the entire premise of anthropogenic global warming falling over faster than Gillard’s reputation; European carbon trading precipitously close to imploding (I shed a tear…not!); Australian manufacturing folding up en masse for overseas destinations in large part due to the impending ETS; this ETS is turning out to be one hell of a big hole that the Labor and Greens have committed us to digging. How do we back out? And the Liberal Party appears to be committed to the ETS if it gains power! The French appear to have had the ideal solution to runaway political incompetence during the French Revolution. I wonder if Juliar Gillard will ever feel a tinge of remorse.


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    Cookster

    Ross Cameron hits the nail on the head on this topic in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (linked). Renewable energy is costing western taxpayers and governments billions as when all taxpayer-funded subsidies are stripped away it is too darned expensive to produce. Even nominally Socialist Germany, France, Italy and Spain are slashing solar subsidies as economic reality beats ‘good’ intentions.

    Secondly as Jo has pointed out previously, wind and solar are not base load power. When the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining remaining energy sources have to take up the slack otherwise you end up with power failures.

    Third, on current technology only Nuclear or Hydro have the potential to produce the volume of base load power needed to meet the global CO2 reductions deemed necessary by the IPCC and alarmist brigade. Yet the powerful environmental lobby oppose new nuclear reactors or dams.

    Based on this, we don’t need to think very far ahead to see where global climate alarmism is taking us. Unless global climate alarmism is either resisted or else new technology greatly reduces the cost of clean energy production, global human living standards are heading down (and fast).

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/good-intentions-but-clean-energy-price-too-high-20120210-1sims.html


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    Cookster above highlights something that HAS to be taken into account.

    Secondly as Jo has pointed out previously, wind and solar are not base load power.

    I was taken to task recently about the way I express wind power data.
    While ever a large scale coal fired plant is running, it is providing its maximum power, flat out all the time. This is for plants actually supplying the grid, not those load following and spinning reserve plants.

    The same applies for those Natural Gas fired plants that cover everything above that absolute physical Base load requirement, Peaking Power, a couple of hours in the morning and from 4PM till around 10/11PM. These NG plants run up to speed, and while ever they are running, they too are supplying their maximum power.

    Wind plants however are variable, supplying their power as the wind blows. While they may be providing bits of their total power spread across any 24 hour period, it is never their full power, as provided by coal fired and NG while ever they are running.

    So, add up all the power provided by wind over that 24 hour block and then divide by the number of hours (24) and what you have is an equivalent time had they been providing their maximum power.

    This is where I was taken to task.

    So, for an example take this following link, and this applies critically to that Base Load requirement.

    Wind Farm Performance February 3 2012

    Some will say I have cherry picked a day when output was low, but again, think of the absolute Base Load requirement. There have been days with even lower output, and also days with higher output.

    This indicates the total output of the 24 most recent technology state of the art wind plants in South Eastern Australia.

    24 Wind Farms totalling 965 huge towers at a cost of $5.2 Billion with a total Nameplate Capacity of 2003MW, around the size of one average large scale coal fired plant.

    All 24 of those plants produced bits of their power spread across the full 24 hour period.

    The total power for that 24 hour period comes in at 7740MW.

    This equates to a Capacity Factor of 16.1%, and, averaged across the day it equates to an average hourly demand of 322MW.

    Now while all 24 Plants delivered bits of their power across the day, the equivalent at their full power is three hours and 52 minutes.

    When I expressed it that way, I was ‘flamed’ for suggesting that’s all they operated at.

    Now note the bottom graph at that link (scroll down a little) and you see Electricity Demand for the same area, the upper black line.

    Note the dip in the early AM when everybody is tucked up in bed. The Power still being consumed while nearly all Australia sleeps still comes in at 18,000MW.

    Everything below that dip point is power that is required ABSOLUTELY across the full 24 hours. In actuality, the Base load requirement is around 21,000MW.

    THAT IS THE BASE LOAD.

    The average for this day from those 24 Wind Plants (965 Towers and $5.2 Billion) was 322MW.

    How many Wind Plants will it take to provide Base Load?

    Truth be told. It cannot be done, no matter what people may think in their greenest of green fantasies, and no matter how much taxpayer money they throw at it.

    Incidentally, that total 24 hour output demand from those 24 wind farms was provided by Bayswater (just the one coal fired plant) in two hours and 53 minutes.

    People will nit pick whenever someone tries to point out cold hard facts that expose wind power, and solar power also, for what it is.

    Something that CANNOT deliver.

    Tony.


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      Tel

      Truth be told. It cannot be done, no matter what people may think in their greenest of green fantasies, and no matter how much taxpayer money they throw at it.

      It could be done with some sort of storage mechanism like batteries or something… but not at a price that any of us could afford. Batteries are very expensive.


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    Brad

    I have a normal car battery, a 175w inverter, and a trickle charger.

    I’ve asked a few people (one was an electrician) if I can:

    Connect the inverter to the battery, thereby giving me AC output,
    and plugin a 4 port power board into the single outlet of the inverter.

    Then plugin the trickle charger into one of those GPO’s of the power board,
    and connect the leads back to the battery.

    The inverter provides the 240V to run the trickle charger, and the
    trickle charger constantly charges the battery.

    Then I have 3x other GPO outlets to run other AC devices.

    I’m not game yet to actually connect it – I don’t want to blow myself up!

    But if one used one other device (say a laptop) in addition to the
    trickle charger, could I run my laptop off the grid all the time?

    Likewise, with another battery, inverter and trickle charger, could I
    run something else?

    Just a thought, and I’m aware of amp drain too, so ….

    I’d love to give it a go!

    Or what would one have to do to have a self-contained, “perpetual”
    power source like that? A closed loop type of affair…

    Thanks!


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      memoryvault

      Brad,

      Give it a go by all means.
      You won’t blow your self up.
      All you’ll end up with is a flat battery.
      Your idea falls down at this point:

      The inverter provides the 240V to run the trickle charger, and the
      trickle charger constantly charges the battery.

      The inverter and the trickle charger will draw power from the battery quicker than the inverter and the trickle charger can charge the battery.

      Or, expressed the other way round:
      The inverter and trickle charger will consume power at a greater (faster) rate FROM the battery than the inverter and trickle charger can supply TO the battery.

      If you connect up anything else (like your laptop), the battery will just go flat even quicker.


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      Tel

      You have stumbled into the Laws of Thermodynamics here. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Thus, if you are removing energy from your closed loop system (e.g. your “3x other GPO outlets to run other AC devices”) then therefore that bit of energy is no longer in the loop any more. Over time, all of the energy will be removed.

      However, if by chance you do get it to work, then you will have proven the Laws of Thermodynamics wrong (only takes one single physical experiment to achieve this) and you will be a very famous man. Actually, the device that you are attempting to build would (if it worked) be so powerful that you could either use it to rule the world, or else you would be killed by someone who stole your device and went ahead to rule the world.

      I’m quietly hoping it does work.


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      Mark D.

      You guys are too polite.

      Brad, if you thought it would be that easy don’t you imagine it would have been done before?

      The first thing you have to remember about any electrical “conversion device” is internal losses. SO your battery trickle charger will draw 1 amp of power and produce a charge current of say .80 amps. The remaining .20 amps is lost as heat (the charger gets warm). Your laptop gets warm from operating, this too is lost energy (outside the “closed loop” Tel mentions).

      The AC inverter is probably the sloppiest and most inefficient part of the loop with efficiencies as low as 50% and as high as 90% depending on load. Usually these devices are designed and specifications are quoted for full load operation. They are also generally more efficient (but never 100%) the larger they are (but still running at full load). So you have lost a significant amount of power through the first conversion (battery to AC), Then more AC to trickle charger DC). All the while you are drawing power out for the laptop.

      The battery charger back to battery is the funny one. If you could do this why have the charger? The battery is the supply and load. If it were to work the battery itself would already be perpetual power device.

      So no your idea won’t work. I’m fearful if the electrician you asked didn’t immediately sack your idea.


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