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Australia: where governments spent thousands to irrigate prime land, then subsidize a solar farm on top

Obviously, if you are a thirsty solar panel, Australia is the place to be. We have ready-made irrigated high quality agricultural land set to be covered with an uneconomic and unreliable solar panels.

Only collective-coerced taxpayers are stupid enough to pay for this.

It’s so silly, groups of unconnected farmers of all different kinds are rallying together to oppose the flagrant waste.

Prime agricultural land loss or booming future energy? That’s the solar planning conundrum for Victoria

Residents near Shepparton are concerned that farmland the Victorian Government has invested in under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan will be lost to agriculture as the state undergoes a solar farm boom.

Four applications for solar farms in the Greater Shepparton region that could produce up to 243 megawatts of electricity have been proposed for Tatura, Tallygaroopna, Lemnos and Congupna, and have been ‘called in’ by the Victorian planning minister.

Critics say there has been no thought put to where the solar farms are being placed and how much prime agricultural land is being lost, and while there is suitable, more arid land available close by.

At least two of the solar farms have recently been the subject of a massive investment under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Tens of thousands of dollars were invested to install new irrigation gates — which can cost an estimated $50,000 to install — and century-old irrigation channels were upgraded to bring the farms into the 21st century.

It is rare to get orchardists, dairy farmers, livestock producers, retirees and residents to agree on anything in a small farming community, but this group does not want a 100MW, $175 million solar farm built on prime agricultural farm land.

If the world cools, which will we want more: food or green electrons?

UPDATE #1: It’s no accident that solar “farms” will be built over prime agricultural land rather than arid desert. They need to be near transmission lines to make the investment viable (even a subsidized one). Obviously there are more transmission lines near populated productive land than out in the desert.  h/t Pat who found other examples near Warwick in Queensland and WesleyVale in Tasmania. El Gordo names another in the Hunter Valley.

UPDATE #2: TonyfromOz calculates that this 100MW plant costing $175m will produce one hundredth of the power of Bayswater coal fired station. Since the lifetime of a solar plant is half of a coal station, it would take 200 of these plants to replace Bayswater’s yearly output in the long run (and that is ignoring the need for backup and battery storage for the solar option). The starting cost of replacing Bayswater with solar is thus $35billion (and then some).

 

 

h/t Pat

PS: I’m looking forward to the fantastic Friedman18 conference I’ll be speaking at in Sydney with Ian Plimer in a few weeks.  Join us! You can get a 10% discount with the code Nova18. See an amazing line up of speakers this year on May 25-27 in Sydney. Meet, laugh and share with sane people!

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Australia: where governments spent thousands to irrigate prime land, then subsidize a solar farm on top, 9.7 out of 10 based on 53 ratings

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124 comments to Australia: where governments spent thousands to irrigate prime land, then subsidize a solar farm on top

  • #

    What’s the problem? It’s a solar farm. Just imagine all those little silicon cells sprouting after a good rain, followed by a warming sun.

    70

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    Riots in australia in 3….2…1…..

    60

    • #
      Ve2

      You overestimate the intelligence of the average voters.

      180

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        My take on it is that as the power system becomes less and less reliable, people with cold houses ( and corresponding sick kids ) dont have to be intelligent to work out things are crook.

        Give it time. As the average mug punters get sick of it all, it will spill onto the streets. This is also likely why the powers that be have invested so heavily in fortifying public buildings and have so many police-state enabling laws on rhe statute books. They are expecting trouble and have prepared for it ahead of time…..

        Logic says you dont “pump” a crowd and not then take advantage of it….im sure they have new tech/ weaponry honed in Iraq ready to use on people…..

        21

      • #
        Mary E

        But – never underestimate the power of a hungry belly. Once the crops are gone and the imports start, prices will go up, and the shortages and having to choose between food and rent/mortgage will make it hard to fill up. Hungry people are angry people.

        40

    • #
      Just Thinkin'

      Take away the payments for not producing and see how many you get….

      If these ruinable power outfits are producing power at a much cheaper
      rate than coal, take away the government money (let’s look at Germany)
      and see how many hang around.
      You have only got to look at any time there is a government rebate (our money)
      the price of the product goes up by the “subsidy”. Take the gas conversion
      for vehicles…and then, the price of gas also went up….

      140

    • #
      Yonniestone

      Out of interest an ABARES overview of the Shepparton region in the article.

      Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from the November 2017 Labour Force Survey indicate that around 63,700 people were employed in the Shepparton region. The region accounts for 2 per cent of total employment in Victoria and 14 per cent of all people employed in the Victorian agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

      In 2015–16, the gross value of agricultural production in the Shepparton region was $1.7 billion, which was 13 per cent of the total gross value of agricultural production in Victoria ($13.1 billion).

      ABS data indicate that in 2015–16 there were 2,345 farms in the Shepparton region with an estimated value of agricultural operations of $40,000 or more. The region contains 11 per cent of all farm businesses in Victoria.

      So as TdeF says below if Victoria needs half its land area covered in solar to match current needs how much productive arable land is sacrificed to the renewable gods?

      Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.

      170

      • #
        Another Ian

        Yonnie

        There is an alternative take on that -

        “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make confident”.

        Read Bill Bryson’e “One Summer: America, 1927″ and read the fate of quite a few who were confident in 1927.

        60

  • #
    Hanrahan

    Does madness never end? Our local paper is trumpeting the solar projects in Townsville and the Burdekin delta. The Burdekin is prime agricultural land where a lot of money has been spent on drought proofing and irrigation including building the Burdekin Falls Dam.
    They talk about jobs but what there are is a one off sugar hit.
    Meanwhile, when the sun don’t shine we get our power from the south, a long way south.

    210

  • #
    RAH

    Goodness, you folks have plenty of arid desert to put those panels on and the government decides it needs to ruin a patch of the limited prime agricultural land? The more I have read this blog the greater the impression is that your government is dead set on making Australia an economic basket case!

    320

    • #
      el gordo

      It may have something to do with proximity, energy is lost over long distances, Tony should be able to clarify.

      40

      • #
        RAH

        I understand that but man oh man. Nations that can feed their own populations and are net exporters of foodstuffs to other nations have great economic and security advantages over those that cannot. There is no where else that comes close to allowing for access to the grid and distance to end users than prime agricultural land?
        Tried to look up information using this source:
        http://stat.abs.gov.au/itt/r.jsp?RegionSummary&region=22830&dataset=ABS_REGIONAL_LGA2017&geoconcept=LGA_2017&measure=MEASURE&datasetASGS=ABS_REGIONAL_ASGS2016

        virtually useless for answering the questions and very slow to load.

        120

        • #
          yarpos

          we have many strategic advantages and fail to take davatgae of any of them really

          coal, gas, iron ore, uranium etc all exported in bulk to the advantage of a few and the overseas customers

          p\Potential to have some of the cheapest power in the world and we have some of the most expensive

          It is unsurprising that as well as destroying industry that we find a way to inhibit agriculture as well

          Australian politicians world view is limited to somewhere bounded by the end of their nose, the next election and whenever their outrageous retirement benefits kick in.

          Not sure how it came to this , we did have builders and far sighted people in the past however it seems to be a fairly global disease. We just have so much more to loose, it will probably be a big surprise to the public when the realise its gone and they have nothing to show for it. I thought the recent gas shortages wuld highlight it, but the people shrugged and moved on.

          140

          • #
            el gordo

            The whole thing is an unmitigated disaster, ‘but the people shrugged and moved on.’

            Leasing the land for solar is something that can be remedied in the future, stealing the gas from beneath the farmer’s feet is another matter and I support Lock the Gate.

            35

            • #
              Ve2

              Do you honestly believe the company that builds these monstrosities will remove them at the end of their working life?
              The farm will be sold to an offshore shelf company which will declare bankruptcy as soon as the end of the supply contract ends.

              50

      • #
        ivan

        el gordo,

        The simple answer to long distance transmission is to use DC (the Chinese have a couple of long distance DC lines) and since these panels produce DC that has to be converted to AC for use it doesn’t matter where the conversion takes place – the nearer to where it is to be used the better.

        120

        • #
          el gordo

          Thanks Ivan.

          10

        • #
          jpm

          Ivan
          The DC from the solar farm must be converted AC so that it can be stepped up, through transformers, to a very high voltage for long distance transmission. Then it can be converted to high voltage DC. I believe that the greatest losses are due to resistance in the conductors, not reactive. High voltage allows the power to be transmitted with less current and so less restive losses. Converting to DC gets rid of the reactive losses, only used in long distance transmission. There are, however, losses in the conversion processes.
          This ability to transform the voltage up and down is the main reason that AC is used rather than DC for our electricity supply. If you look at the power poles in your streets you will see that the high voltage lines are the highest ones on the poles. Here and there you will see a link feeding that high voltage to a transformer, located between the upper and lower wires, with its output connected to the lower wires, 240 V which is distributed to the houses in the area.
          In areas with the power lines in ground you will see the surface mounted transformers here and there.
          In the early days of electricity supply DC & AC were competing to supply for the population. AC won out because of the ability to transform it up and down.
          John

          81

          • #
            ivan

            John,
            I know all about the up/down DC/AC conversion losses but you must consider the overall losses. At the moment they are converting from DC off the panels to HV AC for transmission over the HV grid lines and then converting that back to LV AC for domestic use. With all the conversions long distance DC has slightly lower losses than short distance AC.

            I think you might be describing the US ‘power on poles’ distribution network which is rather backward to what I am used to here in France. My very small mountain village has all power and telephone lines underground, even the 1.6KV main power line from the 33KV grid (up on large steel towers) stepdown transformer that supplies several villages is underground.

            I am afraid that I smile when I see pictures of US cities with all the wires dangling off poles lining the streets and wonder why the people put up with such an eye-saw.

            50

            • #
              jpm

              Ivan
              I was describing the situation here on the southeast coast of Australia. My street went to underground for the high voltage lines a few years ago but the 240 volt lines are still on poles. By the way, the 240 V should have alerted you to the fact that I was not describing the USA as they are on 120V 60Hz AC and not 240V 50Hz as we are.
              By the way in your first comment you mentioned : ” since these panels produce DC that has to be converted to AC for use it doesn’t matter where the conversion takes place – the nearer to where it is to be used the better.” That sounds as if you wanted to send the DC from the solar farms directly over the long distance cable. Possibly you were wanting to keep it simple but the AC conversion is essential in order to transform the voltage to a suitable level before converting it to DC. There are considerable losses end to end in any case.
              John

              50

              • #
                Graeme#4

                Many US residences now also have 220Vac feeds for higher power use.

                20

              • #
                jpm

                Graeme#4
                Over 60 years ago 220V 60 Hz power was available in Canada where I lived and I suppose the USA as well but not the norm for residential home as almost all residential electrical appliances were 110V 60Hz. 220V was usually used in industrial or commercial applications, as far as I can remember. Of course back then I wasn’t all that interested in such things.
                John

                10

      • #
        Graeme#4

        Looking at the Wikipedia article on HVDC lines, these have losses of around 3% per 1000 kms, 30-40% of HVAC lines. Naturally HVDC lines also have additional converter losses at each end.

        20

    • #
      manalive

      That’s right, the Shepparton area is not Arizona.
      At best even the most technologically efficient solar panels work only 5 in the 24 hours and according to the BOM cloud maps, annually at 3pm, 50% or more of the sky is covered by cloud in the area discussed.
      Solar PV is the least viable generating technology of all on an energy return on invested basis even allowing for storage, I don’t understand it, politicians in this country are certifiable.

      130

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Collaborators….

        10

      • #
        PeterF

        You have misread the Map it is 5%. There are many solar farms throughout the world that are averaging 30% capacity factor. Shepparton district would not be that high so assuming 28% that is equivalent to 6.7 hours.

        00

      • #
        PeterF

        You have misread the Map it is 5%. There are many solar farms throughout the world that are averaging 30% capacity factor. Shepparton district would not be that high so assuming 28% that is equivalent to 6.7 hours.
        By the way you solar figures are out of date according to Imperial College London EROI on solar is between 14 and 20

        00

        • #

          Thanks for this PeterF, and this is just amazingly good news.

          28% Capacity Factor from Solar PV Plants.

          So, with a Nameplate of 217MW of solar PV plants planned in the Shepparton area, then, and hey, let’s even use your CF of 28%, (and good luck with that) that gives us 532.6GWH of power across a full year.

          So, with Bayswater delivering 17,500GWH of power a year, that means we only need 33 of these Plants proposed for Shepparton.

          Those Shepparton plants are proposed to cost $316 Million.

          So just to equal the power delivery of Bayswater, that’s 33 times $316 Million, or $10.4 BILLION.

          Hmm!

          Perhaps, PeterF, you might tell us again how cheap solar power is.

          Tony.

          00

          • #
            PeterF

            Well Tony a new Bayswater would cost about $8.5-9bn so you are right the capital cost for solar is higher however at current cost for 5,500 kcal coal is about US $60 /tonne. Bayswater needs about 400-450kg to deliver a MWh to the grid i.e. A$32-36/MWh for fuel and $20/MWh in O&M, $8.5b spread over 45 years at a WACC of 7.5% (very optimistic) generating 17,500 GWh works out at $38/MWh. i.e. total cost of power using intermediate grade coal is $90-94 plus water + waste disposal cost+ site remediation.

            The solar farms have a lower weighted cost of capital because they can’t be affected by future fuel price shocks, carbon prices, water availability, lower construction risk, shorter delivery time risk (see Dateln 4) etc so spreading $10.4b over 35 years at 7% WACC works at $46/MWh. Solar farms have a O&M cost of about $12/MWh total cost $58/MWh.

            Thankyou for the opportunity to show that new solar is far cheaper than new coal

            00

  • #

    Here’s the deal. Say yes to the project if the solar panels are manufactured in Australia using solar power only. In fact, they can make ‘em in China using solar power only.

    Of course, everybody knows they’ll be manufactured in Asia…probably using the Aussie coal the solar panels are meant to replace. And everybody knows we’ll keep burning our coal here in ageing clunkers, thus consuming much more coal than we need to consume, because the War on Coal means we have to waste coal.

    And everybody knows we’ll keep manufacturing less while we waste. And everybody knows that revenues from production will be replaced by revenues from busy-bodying, bilking and skimming…called a service economy, because that sounds better than busy-bodying, bilking and skimming.

    Everybody knows. But the War on Coal grinds along in its all glorious absurdity. And if we kick up we’ll just be given a Deutsche-flavoured PM instead of a Goldman-flavour PM…or, God help us, a Shorten.

    210

  • #
    robert rosicka

    Not sure why they didn’t choose Boomanoomah or Upotiponpon instead ?

    50

  • #
    RAH

    OT but a valuable general reference. The CIA puts out a “world Fact Book” updated every year and some of the publications of the book from previous years are also available on-line. I find I use this as a quick reference frequently when looking for specific facts about any nation in the world. Much better that using Wikipedia because it’s generally more comprehensive and easier to find the specific information one may be looking for:
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

    60

  • #
    Gee Aye

    the biggest solar farms are already over the best agricultural land… and will continue to be for some time because they cannot return to agriculture.

    Sydney

    Melbourne

    80

    • #
      el gordo

      Sydney had terrible agricultural land and building a city was the best option.

      50

      • #
        Annie

        Melbourne spread over orchards in Mitcham and Templestowe…

        61

      • #

        Rose Hill/Parra, sure. But Sydney for agriculture? Have to be kidding. Real estate only. If Sydney didn’t have the great waterways you’d chuck rocks at it.

        100

  • #
    wal1957

    [Snip.]

    It amazes me that we have people this dumb in our parliament. Is it now a prerequisite that your I.Q. has to be under a certain level to qualify for preselection? it’s no wonder that there is a growing level of anger in the community about the level of incompetence and/or corruption that we are seeing in all levels of governance in the country. The outright lies that we seem to be fed on a constant daily basis are simply breathtaking in their audacity.

    You would think that MSM journalists would pick up on a lot of this wouldn’t you? Of course not. They are a part of the problem. They are enabling all this rubbish to go on without any serious questions being asked.

    251

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      wal1957:

      Calm down, it is deliberate policy. Those in Fairyland on the Molongo are quite happy and thankful that people like you (and me) have no way of getting at them. My blood pressure went through the roof early this week when I got a parcel of plant seeds which I had ordered in January from England. Two and a half months later the Biosecurity people decided to impound several items as “of unknown hazard” and then 2 weeks later I got a letter with the rest of the order and a warning.
      And what was the hazardous material?? Carrot seeds. Packed with the botanical name as well. True they were labelled Carrots yellow and purple, but both types are available already in Australia (as carrots have been for over 200 years) but were improved strains (e.g. the purple ones are purple right through not orange in the middle).
      I imagine the Biosecurity Guardian came out of his office about 10.50am and flicked through maybe 3 parcels and arbitrarily rejected some, then after a hard day’s work (10 minutes?) retired to a cup of tea. The sheer stupidity and incompetence left me furious, but nothing will happen about the protest I lodged (except to ignore it until it is forgotten) and the Department will continue preening themselves as Guardians of the public and worthy of their inflated salaries and conditions. In the meantime how would they recognise a genuine hazard?
      No, this is the belief in Canberra that they are our superiors and we peasants have to put up with them. Slowly more and more Australians are starting to realise why Trump got elected.

      170

      • #
        RicDre

        “Fairyland on the Molongo”

        Nice turn of phrase.

        Being a Yank, I had to look up Molongo”. I assume this a reference to the Molonglo River which flows through Canberra.

        90

        • #
          Graeme No.3

          Correct. Canberra was set up because neither Sydney nor Melbourne – the 2 largest cities – would agree with the Capital being located in the other city. Nowadays they would probably have fought to get rid of it.

          60

          • #
            RicDre

            That is pretty much the same reason that Washington DC was set up in the US as a district that is not part of any State. It was originally swamp land and, metaphorically speaking, things haven’t changed much there in the last 200+ years. We call it a city surrounded by reality.

            40

          • #
            OriginalSteve

            Part of the reason Canbeera was created as it sits ob an Occult Ley Line.

            Burley Griffin who designd the city also may have been geomancer, and was sacked once the committee to build canberra realized. His wife apparently used to see and talk to “fairies”…..

            Yeesh….

            21

      • #
        yarpos

        I like the threatening tone of the very first letter you get from Customs if there is any anomaly in something you are importing. They leap straight into strident language and mention of penalties in a long winded form letter before getting to the point of what they want.

        70

      • #
        Wombat

        Calm down yourself Graeme. Some people have more to lose than fancy carrot seeds. For example, their lifetimes work. Foot and Mouth disease turned Britain’s livestock industry upside down 17 years ago. Entire herds and flocks on 2000 farms were destroyed. 3.1 Billion Pounds Sterling lost from the food industry. The fires burned for weeks. It broke a lot of good people.
        It sounds like Border Security was doing it’s job. Your product was obviously novel in nature and probably accompanied by inadequate documentation. Therefore a red flag.
        Your ad hominem criticism of AQIS staff indicates your perspective is limited to the size of your garden bed.

        [Careful there. Is it really ad hominem or is it an opinion he's legitimately entitled to have based on his experience?] AZ

        41

        • #
          Roy Hogue

          When I last drove back into California from Arizona we were stopped at California’s agriculture check point just over the Colorado River. We were not even allowed to bring back the several apples left of what we had taken into Arizona from California in the first place to eat on the road. We had eaten and tossed the remains of everything else we took with us (approved trash cans in Arizona or our son’s trash) or would probably had that confiscated too.

          Many places are very careful that you don’t bring in food crop destroying pests. Australia is not alone. And it is very frustrating. I can’t see how those apples could have picked up anything in Arizona.

          30

          • #
            ROM

            Not just australia Graeme No3

            Back in the 1980′s my brrother who I was in a farming partnership with, helped start an american program on breeding a medic pasture species suited to american soils and climate using the base stock medic species that have been developed in Australia by our very small coterie of pasture plant breeders..

            In this case a small parcel of seeds with some quite specific species of medics was directly shipped from the Global Medic Seed Bank located in Adelaide was stopped by quarantine at the Los Angeles airport.

            [ A very low profile beneath the radar exchanging of seeds and genetic material for cross breeding and genetic incorporating of specific characteristics for better yields, disease resistance, easier harveting , better qualities and etc and etc is always ongoing in the world food grain and food crop industries,.
            Even amongst countries that are nominally enemies, these exchanges of seed genetic material is ongoing amongst researchers
            . The relevant authorities and politicals are aware of the exchanges but feeding their people and preventing famine from new diseases and pests is paramount so there is little or no interfence by the politicals and bureaucrats of nearly all nations with the practices and exchanges of genetic material by the international brotherhood / sisterhood of the world's food crop breeders and geneticists ]

            As my brother was the instigator and contact with the relevant pasture seed researchers in the USDA, the first that he knew of the quarantining of what was a very important transfer of species and gentic material which would enable the american pasture seed breeders to make a more rapid advance in breeding medic pasture species, was a e-mail informing him that the seed parcel would be destroyed within the next 24 hours thus losing what was some quite rare geneticly important species for the American agricultural industry.

            Fortunately my brother had dined with and knew quite well the. scientific head of the USDA pasture research projects and also with the Undersecretary of State for Agriculture in the USA on a couple of his trips over there.

            Some frantic phone calls in the middle of the night and a very strong USDA resoponse to the Los Angles quarantining outfit was handed down in literally minuts and the seed parcel was immediatly onsent to a very relieved group of American pasture researchers and breeders.
            australians and would do almost anything to create trouble for them.

            It turned out in the end that just one bureacrat was involved in this potentially very serious international debacle and that his prime reason for quarantining and promptly intending to destroy this parcel of genetic seed material from australia, that had ALL of the required clearances , it came straight from the Global Seed Bank for Medics located at then Waite Institute in Adelaide which ships seeds and genetic material around the world on an almost daily basis, was that he hated Australians and would do almost anything to cause any Australian outfits grief at any level.

            Of such are so many trouble we all have to endure at various times in our lives.

            50

        • #
          Wombat

          Thanks for posting my reply. In answer to your question I quote Graeme in my defense “I imagine the Biosecurity Guardian came out of his office about 10.50am and flicked through maybe 3 parcels and arbitrarily rejected some, then after a hard day’s work (10 minutes?) retired to a cup of tea. The sheer stupidity and incompetence left me furious”. His “parcel of plant seeds which I had ordered in January from England” would have been processed in a port of entry mail room. His experience was postal not personal. Legitimate? Maybe. Reasonable? I doubt it. Thanks for the forum. Cheers.

          10

          • #
            OriginalSteve

            How the EI virus escaped into Australia :

            https://www.aht.org.uk/skins/Default/pdfs/equine_vol4_2_focus.pdf

            “The Callinan report concluded that grooms, farriers and vets who attended horses potentially infected with EIV at ECQS could have carried EIV out of ECQS and transmitted the virus to the general horse population. The report indicated that personnel left ECQS without following appropriate bio-security procedures such as showering, however the vets did wear overalls and wash their hands and faces prior to leaving. The inquiry also revealed that no records were kept of personnel movements to and from the quarantine station. The grooms at ECQS did not work with horses outside of the station however vets and farriers did. No individual has been held responsible for the escape of the virus, however it is thought most likely to have occurred via this route.

            The findings of the report indicate that a failure of fundamental bio-security measures occurred at ECQS. Some of the reasons given for the failures included chronic understaffing, lack of appropriate training of staff and lack of adequate funding. Recommendations have been made and action is to be taken to address these issues as well as reviewing the whole pre- and post-import system of quarantine for horses entering Australia.”

            20

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          Whoops…didnt mean to post all of the article….

          00

  • #
    Ve2

    In the old days they would spend a fortune building a new road and 3 weeks later dig it up to lay water pipes, repair that, wait 6 months and dig it up again to put in gas pipes. Glad to see nothing has changed.

    150

    • #
      Another Ian

      Like railway lines in Qld that get upgraded just before closure

      100

    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Ve2:

      In the 70′s there was such an outcry about this that a Public Service “coordinating committee” was set up in SA. Their first ‘triumph’ was when Tapley’s Hill road was resurfaced for some kilometres of smooth surface. It was dug up within 2 weeks by a Commonwealth authority at every second house to lay an underground line right across the road.
      I haven’t heard of the committee since.

      70

  • #
    pat

    1 May: TheScotsman: Ilona Amos: Outrage at bid to build tallest onshore turbines on (Isle of) Lewis
    The proposed structures would stand up to 200m high, making them the tallest onshore turbines in the UK and towering 70m above Scotland’s highest building.
    They will be built on the isle of Lewis at two wind farms being developed by Lewis Wind Power (LWP), a joint venture by energy giants EDF and Wood Group.
    The firm has already been granted permission to build a total of 91 150m-tall turbines – 45 at Uisenis, on Eishken estate in the Pairc area of Lewis, and 36 at the Stornoway scheme, on the outskirts of the main town…

    Calum Macdonald, former Western Isles MP and developer of the three-turbine Beinn Ghrideag community wind farm, described the scale of the proposed turbines as “simply staggering”…
    Talking to ***Hebrides Writer blogger Katie Laing, he said: “These are the same size as the gigantic offshore turbines that are now being built in the North Sea.
    “They are out to sea for a good reason, which is that their enormous size is thought to make them unacceptable anywhere onshore, far less near a town like Stornoway or near an iconic location like Loch Seaforth.”…

    The Tories have ended subsidies for onshore wind schemes, but in their 2017 general election manifesto said an exemption would be made for developments in the remote Scottish islands as long as they “directly benefit the local communities”.
    This means LWP could bid for subsidies under the “contract for difference” scheme, which guarantees a minimum price for electricity…

    Scotland’s tallest building is the 127m tower at Glasgow Science Centre. Edinburgh’s famous Scott Monument stands a mere 60m…
    https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/outrage-at-bid-to-build-tallest-onshore-turbines-on-lewis-1-4733225

    ***Hebrides Writer blogger Katie Laing. a MUST-READ:

    2 May: HebridesWriter: Katie Laing: Other key players and kingpins in EDF’s Lewis wind projects
    Here in Lewis, we’re still reeling from the news that EDF Energy are planning to install offshore-sized turbines in their two wind projects on the island.
    For nearly two years, I have been blogging about the fight between the French multinational and the group of crofters who have their own plans for developing renewables – but I was blindsided like anyone else when I learned about their scaled-up ambitions on Monday.

    What made the timing of it quite strange was that, just three days previously, I had posted a blog entitled ‘Digging up the council leaders’ family ties to EDF’ (LINK).

    The local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has a huge role to play – rightly – in managing renewables development in the Hebrides and I have been particularly intrigued by the connections that exist between the council leaders (past and present) and the big developers, particularly EDF.
    But I am also very interested in some of the other connections that exist across pretty much all the parties involved in the development of renewables here in the isles.
    Since Alex Thomson broke it in the Channel 4 news story, it is a matter of record that the son of the current council leader works for EDF…READ ALL
    http://www.hebrideswriter.com/2018/05/02/other-key-players-and-kingpins-in-edfs-lewis-wind-projects/

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    pat

    in jo’s ABC link, it states being near the transmission lines is key.

    Geraldine Christou, director for sustainable development at the City of Greater Shepparton, says:

    “We have flat land for solar panels, also investment needs to be close to transmission lines, which we are. So Shepparton is very well placed.”

    in the following, we have:

    ***Mr Bartel said both sites had been picked because of the ease of integrating with current TasNetworks infrastructure:

    20 Apr: ABC: Tim Morgan: Solar farm plan for Wesley Vale in Tasmania’s north has some locals offside
    Tony Peirce has spent every one of his 65 years living at the family’s Wesley Vale farm with paddocks and the ocean for a backyard.
    Soon that landscape will be covered with about 40,000 solar panels as the neighbouring property becomes Tasmania’s largest solar farm.
    Australian company Epuron has proposed to build a 12.5 megawatts facility in the state’s north-west, capable of providing power to almost 3,000 homes

    For the Peirce family it’s a source of concern, Tony’s daughter Erin said if built their property’s value will take a hit.
    “It’s sort of an end of an era for our family and it’s really sad,” she said.
    “I don’t think it will be very enjoyable to wake up and look at a heap of glass panels and steel framing.
    Of more concern to the Peirce’s is the potential impact on the neighbouring land caused by the shade of the solar panels.
    “We’re in one of the best spots on the coast for … beef production, food production, and it would be great to see green energy go ahead but maybe on more degraded land sites,” she said.

    “It’s just lost of unknowns, we might lose lots of insects, we’re going to lose the meadow flowers that the bees pollinate from that help … our minor crops that we have here and help our pasture grow with the beef cattle.
    “So I suppose there are just so many roll-on effects that we potentially don’t know how far that will degrade.”

    The Peirce family has raised its concerns with the Latrobe Council, which is expected to vote on the project in the next two months.
    Mayor Peter Freshney said the feedback was being taken on board as part of the planning process, as well as any impact the solar farm may have on the nearby Devonport Airport…
    The Wesley Vale project is one of two solar farms proposed by Epuron in Tasmania.
    On Wednesday night the George Town council approved plans for a smaller 16,000 panel farm in the municipality, which will provide energy for about 1,200 homes and ***potentially decrease wholesale energy prices.

    ***Mr Bartel said both sites had been picked because of the ease of integrating with current TasNetworks infrastructure, while the decreasing cost of solar technology has allowed Tasmania to become more competitive with the mainland.
    “The capacities you get from solar panels in Tasmania versus Queensland are significantly lower, but the newer technology that is coming out now increases that,” he said.
    “Now with tracking technology and an overall decrease in prices it’s becoming more and more competitive.”…

    Big solar not the answer: consultant
    The Epuron proposals are two of three large-scale solar projects being considered across the north coast, with a third planned at Latrobe.
    However energy consultant Marc White said he did not believe it was the start of a large influx of solar farm investment in the state, given solar’s optimal production is not when Tasmania needs it most…
    “We think the jury is probably still out on the economics, the main problem we’ve got in Tasmania is that the solar output in summer is not well matched up with our winter demand for energy for heating purposes.
    “What that means in effect is the value of that energy produced is less in Tasmania and so that makes the business cases harder to stack up.”
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-20/large-scale-solar-farm-at-wesley-vale-faces-local-opposition/9677312

    two good reporters found at the ABC today! wow.

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      robert rosicka

      Without even looking I would imagine the insolation figures for Tasmania would be terrible and always love the phrase “capable of powering XX amount of homes” .

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    pat

    ***”the reason why they want to put it there quite frankly is financial, being adjacent to a substation makes it easy to tap into”:

    4 May: Daily Advertiser: Renew Estate to host ‘drop in meeting’ about proposed Bomen solar farm at North Wagga Hall
    by Stephen Mudd
    Neighbours of a proposed $164 million solar farm at Bomen will voice their concerns at a public meeting on Monday night.
    Developers Renew Estate will host the meeting at the North Wagga Hall from 5pm to 7.30pm and invited the public to view the environmental impact statement, ask questions and find out more about the massive project.

    Eunony Valley Association president Bill Schulz said his group was concerned about possible glare and the impact on land values that the development might have and would be in attendance.
    “I want to be absolutely crystal clear we’re not against renewable energy, but the challenge we’ve got is softening the visual impact of the solar farm,” Mr Schulz said.
    “You’d need a vegetation plan to mitigate that – if you plant enough trees in the right pattern you might do it – but it takes 10 years to get a reasonable tree height. We question the visual impact, the noise impact, water runoff and the impact on land values.”

    The Bomen development was just one of more than $750 million worth of solar projects slated for the region, with work underway on the state’s largest solar farm near Coleambally and Griffith’s solar farm already operational.
    Documents submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment revealed Renew Estate’s plans featured 400,000 solar panels on 276 hectares at Bomen, which could generate up to 120 megawatts of electricity if approved.

    But Mr Schulz said there should have been more consideration about the location of the solar farm.
    “There should be national guidelines from the government about the distance these things should be from homes and screening the visual impact,” he said.
    “Our view is they should be pushed away from main roads and houses, ***the reason why they want to put it there quite frankly is financial, being adjacent to a substation makes it easy to tap into. If they’re so beneficial the cost of running a line from the generation point to a substation or the grid is something that should be dealt with.”

    However, the federal government’s recent National Energy Guarantee proposal meant there was an increased focus on renewable energy technologies and companies were rushing into the space, particularly in the Riverina.

    The NEG aims to walk the line between reducing emissions, including more renewable energy generation while preparing the grid – and the poles and wires – for a rapidly changing energy network that is bringing in more solar, batteries, wind, and other future technologies…
    https://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/5380789/bomen-solar-farm-developers-to-host-public-drop-in-meeting/

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    pat

    can’t copy, but no need to say these will all be on prime agricultural land:

    28 Apr: Irish Independent: Pair of Castlelyons solar farms given the green light
    Amarenco Solar have now been granted permission for nine solar farms in Cork
    by Bill Browne
    https://www.independent.ie/regionals/corkman/news/pair-of-castlelyons-solar-farms-given-the-green-light-36845128.html

    came across another excellent website worth visiting:

    MothersAgainstTurbines.com
    https://mothersagainstturbines.com/category/noise/

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    Joanne has this in the body of her text: (my bolding here)

    …..but this group does not want a 100MW, $175 million solar farm built on prime agricultural farm land.

    How good is this. It shows EXACTLY just how cheap solar power is becoming.

    A 100MW Solar PV plant. It will have an average Capacity factor of around 17.5%, but hey let’s pretend it is really really really good, and, unlike anywhere else on Earth, this one actually does generate lots of lovely CHEAP power.

    So, at that 20% CF, that gives us 175GWH a year.

    And only %175 Million. How cheap is that eh!

    So, Bayswater generates 17,500GWH of power per year.

    Then, to generate the same amount of power as Bayswater, that means 100 of these solar PV plants.

    That’s $17.5 BILLION.

    Oh, almost forgot, the Solar plant only has half the lifespan, so the new cost is ….. $35 BILLION.

    How cheap is that, eh?

    I’m so glad solar power is just SOOOOOO much cheaper than coal fired power.

    200Solar plants. They have enough trouble lining up their ducks for one of them, let alone 200 of them.

    Give me strength.

    Tony.

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      Kinky Keith

      Got right to the point there, thanks Tony.

      Reality strikes.

      Hard.

      We are essentially a nation of good, decent people but what I can’t comprehend, is why we have such an abusive, self serving leadership.

      Perhaps we all need to take responsibility for checking out the candidates at every election from now on and only voting for the person, not the party.

      We’ve seen Brexit and Trumpit, now we need Auxit, away from the Libs, Labs and Gre$ns.

      KK

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        PeterS

        Thanks Kinky Keith, finally someone agrees with me. If people want to put a stop to this madness stop voting for LNP, ALP and Greens and vote for ACP. If not possible then vote those three parties last. Otherwise prepare for the crash and burn.

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        Yonniestone

        “an abusive, self serving leadership.” that’s because real leaders are filtered out of a now childish clique that are spoilt by the system they are gifted into.

        Upon leaving home they are given a house an office and paid well above the average worker for doing less by the people that nurtured them.

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          ivan

          Yonnie

          I have always assumed that having anything above a single digit IQ was an automatic disqualification to bring a politician or a political adviser. Your governments are just roving that assumption correct or they are no better than the Mob.

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      Latus Dextro

      The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
      Marcus Aurelius Augustus

      ….where to escape to?

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      • #
        Kinky Keith

        Currently we are the insane.

        Trapped and no readily apparent place to go.

        As Australians we must adopt a stance that reflects an understanding of the old adage: that if you are not prepared to stand up and lead, you will most likely end up with a leader who is less competent, less honest etc, than yourself.

        At the moment Australia seems to have hit rock bottom with our leadership.

        All they have done for us over the last ten years is to spend on themselves and borrow more money on our national credit card.

        We need to move along to a better place.

        KK

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          PeterS

          Again you agree with me. How refreshing. I’m not alone after all. Yes the problem is not the governments but the voters who put them in and keep them in power. Wake up Australians! Your vote is precious to the future of our once great nation so use it wisely not stupidly as though it doesn’t matter. It does matter! Your life might eventually depend on it. The two major parties think they have the majority of the public on their side with regards to renewables and climate change. To prove they are wrong stop voting for them. Can it be any simpler than that?

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            el gordo

            ‘Can it be any simpler than that?’

            The most likely scenario is that the Coalition ginger group seize the Treasury Benches before Xmas and a stunning victory at the next election.

            We have only six months to educate them on the science of real climate change, any suggestions?

            Down the thread I mentioned the Brewongle solar farm and how grass roots effort by the farmers and graziers stopped it going ahead.

            This is democracy working efficiently, yet not a word in the MSM of our great victory. Its Orwellian.

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      Another Ian

      Tony

      Related

      “The tower of power falls short -produces only 30% of capacity”

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/05/05/the-tower-of-power-falls-short-produces-only-30-of-capacity/

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      • #
        Another Ian

        And comments there

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      • #

        Another Ian,

        the more I see, the more I am thankful.

        I don’t often say that I have been ahead of the game, as I’m not that pretentious, and anyway, as long as the facts get out there, I’ll be happy with that.

        I wrote about the failure of CSP (Concentrating Solar Power, also called Solar Thermal Power) almost five years ago now, at the article linked to below, and that details all the CSP plants in Spain, at that time, because they have constructed even more of them.

        The combined CF for all of them at that time was only 28.7%, and they all had varying levels of heat diversion, and it wasn’t a small cherry picked total, as it was all of them, and there were 25 of them at that time.

        28.7% Capacity Factor is only on par with Wind Power.

        Not very much has changed since that time 2013, five years ago, the CF, the Nameplate, and about the only thing which has changed is the cost, and they have become MORE expensive, not cheaper at all.

        It’s how I can be so confident when I say that if CSP is the answer, then someone is asking the wrong question.

        Take that plant proposed for Port Augusta in SouthAus as an example.

        It has a Nameplate of 125MW and hidden away in the text so that they don’t need to show the CF, they claim a yearly power delivery of 495GWH, boldly stating it’s enough for 90,000 homes, the usual standby. That works out to a CF of 45.1%, and umm, good luck with that!

        Let’s actually assume they can get that CF of that 45% and do generate the claimed total of 495GWH.

        So, just to equal the power delivery from Bayswater (17500GWH) then they’ll need 36 of them. The CSP Plant will have half the life of Bayswater, so they’ll need 72 of them, just to EQUAL the power delivery from Bayswater during its life.

        The cost for this CSP Plant is $650 Million, so 72 of them comes in at around $47 Billion, and that’s using their own data and costing.

        There’s no new tech HELE USC coal fired plant on Planet Earth that costs anything even remotely close to that, and keep in mind here that this is just the construction cost.

        Cheaper, yeah right!

        Link to article of mine from November 2013 – Solar Thermal Power (Concentrating Solar) Fail – Just Look At Spain

        Tony

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          RAH

          Yet over at WUWT we have people arguing for solar in Spain. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/05/05/the-tower-of-power-falls-short-produces-only-30-of-capacity/

          “Javier May 5, 2018 at 8:46 am
          Gemasolar, the first commercial molten-salt solar plant in operation since 2011 is a 17 MW (registered electric power) plant located in Seville, Spain. It achieves a 55% capacity factor providing 80 GWh/year, energy for ~ 25,000 homes for ~ 4500 hours per year (6 month total), significantly better (1.5-3 x) than other intermittent renewables. At 171 million € it was quite expensive. [snip photo] For sunny places where a lot of electricity is required in the summer for air conditioning, I am sure they will be a nice addition once the cost is brought down.”

          These damned things are terrible bird murderers. Insects are attracted to light even in the day and birds chase them and get fried and some even become flamers complete with smoke trail as they are instantly fried.

          They are in fact “solar death rays” for both insects and birds. And the kicker is if the sun doesn’t shine for a few days or they have a shut down for what ever reason they have to take current from the grid to keep the salt molten and circulating or it will solidify and then they really have a problem.

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      Allen Ford

      A few more stats would make an interesting comparison. What is the output per hectare of electricity generated by a piddling, solar 100 MW outfit compared to a real coal fired generator of 1000-2000MW?

      Also, what are the relative economic returns, compared to agricultural usage, versus power generators of both above sorts?

      What’s the bet that our genius planners haven’t bothered to get these data before rushing in to decide?

      Where are the engineers of the calibre of Monash or Bradfield, employed or consulted our pollies and bureaucrats?

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    Peter C

    PS: I’m looking forward to the fantastic Friedman18 conference I’ll be speaking at in Sydney with Ian Plimer in a few weeks. Join us! You can get a 10% discount with the code Nova18. See an amazing line up of speakers this year on May 25-27 in Sydney. Meet, laugh and share with sane people!

    Book Here:
    http://www.alsfc.com.au/

    I will be there. I hope to meet some others

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    pat

    21 Feb: WarwickDailyNews: SOLAR THREAT: From picturesque valley to industrial eyesore
    by Marian Faa
    Australian solar farm developer Terrain Solar intends to soak up the Southern Downs sun with a huge 154-hectare farm that will produce 170 gigawatt hours in a calendar year.
    But Mount Tabor residents are flaring up at the proposal, saying the expansive farm would all but ruin the stunning countryside vista they paid a premium for.
    Meryl Strand barely had six months to take in the view from her newly built Mount Tabor home before a letter appeared in her mail box, announcing the development…

    “This valley is the gateway to the Southern Downs,” she said.
    “Everyone who travels in from Brisbane and Toowoomba drives over Allen’s Hill and now, the first thing you will see is a big ugly field of solar panels…
    “There is plenty of unused, infertile land around this region, why wouldn’t they be using that instead?”
    Mrs Strand referred to the Southern Downs Planning Scheme, which states the region’s “visual character” which includes a “patchwork of cropping, pastures, orchards and vineyards”, should be “maintained or enhanced”.
    “It just seems to me the people who are doing the development are just trying to minimise their cost as much as possible to make a bigger profit, with no consideration to the residents,” she said.

    ***Terrain Solar director Simon Ingram said the site had been chosen for its high solar levels and close proximity to the Warwick Substation.
    ***”It allows connection to the national electricity grid so clean renewable electricity can be generated for Warwick and even surrounding areas,” Mr Ingram said…

    But other residents have raised concerns about the impact to agricultural land.
    Trudy Brown, whose property sits adjacent to the proposed development site, said she couldn’t understand why the company would choose to place the farm on some of the region’s most fertile agricultural soil…
    Mount Tabor home owner Thomas Shew was also concerned hot air would rise off the farm and be swept right into his front door.
    Scientific studies have shown temperatures around solar farms can increase 3-4 degrees.
    https://www.warwickdailynews.com.au/news/dont-steal-our-sunshine/3341765/

    16 Apr: WarwickDailyNews: HOT TOPIC: No formal consultation for Warwick solar farm
    by Elyse Wurm
    RESIDENTS are up in arms after discovering the development application for a proposed solar farm in Freestone Valley will not be required to undergo a formal process of public consultation.

    ***Terrain Solar notified residents the development was made code assessable to align with changes to the Queensland Government Planning Act applied in mid-2017…

    Mark Pierce lives next to the proposed site and claimed council told residents to wait until a formal objection period began, but then were not notified of the application changes.
    He has now submitted his own formal objection to the council, saying he is not against solar energy but is concerned about the impact of the farm on agricultural land, tourism and the value of his property.
    “People are sitting waiting for a notification period that wasn’t coming,” MrPierce said.
    Mount Tabor resident Meryl Strand questioned the transparency of the project if formal public announcements were not required…

    1 May: WarwickDailyNews: ‘MAJORITY DON’T KNOW’: Residents want light on solar farm
    by Marian Faa
    SLADEVALE residents are trying to promote a chance for locals to talk to councillors about a multi-million-dollar solar farm for Freestone Valley…
    Southern Downs Regional Council notified Sladevale residents it would hold a public meeting on May 14 at 5.30pm at Warwick Town Hall.
    But residents are urging the council promoting the opportunity for input more widely.

    ***A SDRC spokeswoman said the council had no obligation to advertise the meeting.
    “Development applications which are code assessable do not require the council to undertake any formal public consultation or community engagement process,” she said…

    lawyers see an opportunity!

    26 May: Cooper Grace Ward, Lawyers: Can your agricultural land be used for a solar farm development? What would the implications be?
    The Queensland Government has recently begun the community engagement stage of preparing the Solar Farm Guidelines, which it hopes to finalise in the second half of 2018.

    With 16 large-scale solar farms already under construction across the State and more than 40 potential projects in the pipeline, it appears the solar farm industry in regional Queensland is about to explode.

    The development of solar farms on agricultural land is a new way for landowners to diversify their income stream. However, you need expert legal and taxation advice before entering into any arrangement with a solar farm provider.
    Not all land is created equal; only some land is zoned to allow this use. Where zoning does allow solar farms, you need to consider of the following issues…
    https://www.cgw.com.au/publication/can-your-agricultural-land-be-used-for-a-solar-farm-development-what-would-the-implications-be/?utm_source=Mondaq&utm_medium=syndication&utm_campaign=View-Original

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      el gordo

      Simply appalling, good catch.

      ‘Trudy Brown, whose property sits adjacent to the proposed development site, said she couldn’t understand why the company would choose to place the farm on some of the region’s most fertile agricultural soil.

      “I know solar is necessary but I think they need to chose properties where it is not good agricultural land.”

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      glen Michel

      Time for a bumper sticker that says,”FARMS NOT RENEWABLES”

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    TdeF

    For the talk, I wanted to make a point rarely made. Environmentally friendly power.

    Wind is free. Solar is free. Tides are free. Coal is free. Gas is free.

    However the impact on the environment of coal and gas is the lowest of all three. Consider the area required. To power Victoria with solar, you would have to cover half the state in solar panels, as calculated by Climate Commissioner Prof Will Steffen, who said solar could supply twice the energy we needed per year. Consider the impact on the environment of half the state covered in solar panels! The cost is beyond imagining. Where would we live? Where would we grow food?

    Then the real estate for Wind. You cannot live next to one of the things and they have to dominate the skyline, ugly things. Forests have to be cleared around them. So the thousands required use thousands of acres of room and the many power lines take tens of thousands more, across the landscape. The investment in native land is huge, all of it with a short use by date for these replaceables which have to be totally replaced every 20 years.

    Coal power stations are remarkably small in area. Few people have even seen one. They nestle in valleys and use a single power line which already exists. Their impact on the environment can be positive, as with the cooling lake at Hazelwood, now all the fish are dead. Also a coal power station can be maintained forever, like a factory. Despite the pretense of age and totally unlike solar panels and windmills, they can last as long as we want. How many windmills and solar panels will be running in fifty years? None.

    So on environmental grounds, the worst, most short term, most wasteful and most expensive and the most ugly and invasive power is wind and solar. Renewables? Every 20 years. It will never end and there is no hope it will ever be enough and we make nothing in Australia, so we import diesel engines and diesel from overseas where we used to have cheap, adequate, reliable and local power.

    Where is the actual benefit and who is going to take down these windmills and dispose of the millions of solar panels? China has stopped taking our rubbish.

    Then the sheer cost. Hepburn Springs private windmill, paid entirely by robbing our electricity bills has been paid off ten years early but our money keeps flowing to them, tripling their income. They now get up to twice the energy sold in cash from LGCs because their random power is somehow better. Still they cannot turn a profit with the world’s highest electricity prices without our cash. It makes them rich at our expense, but how long will their free windmill last? How much longer do we have to give them our money? Why?

    Where is the caring for others, or is this just a way to get rich, like the rest of the environmental story. Wind and Solar are the greatest disaster to our countryside and our envinroment. Ugly, expensive, wasting huge amounts of land, devastating bird populations and utterly short term and disposable. An exercise in National madness at our expense.

    So we are being fed nonsense. The most environmentally damaging, short term, ugly and invasive power is from replaceables.

    Then how much have they lowered CO2? Isn’t that the point, the only point, the whole point? What good has it done? Why are they still licenced to take our money? When will someone cancel the RET and stop this nonsense that wind and solar are in any way environmentally friendly. This self flagellation by our Green Liberals and Labor has to stop. It is an outrage. It is theft. There is no environmental benefit.

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      PeterF

      To power Victoria with solar you need 44 TWh. Using fixed tilt panels you can get 1 MW per Ha and about 20% CF. To generate 44 TWh you need 25,000 MW of such solar panels or 250 square km a little bit more than the area of Lake Hume or about double the fenced area of the Latrobe power precinct. However that would be a silly way to provide all the power so the maximum we would expect from utility solar is about 25% of demand so we need about 1/3rd the area of lake Hume for solar farms
      Alternatively NREL calculated that California could get 73% of its power using rooftop solar with 16% efficiency solar panels. California has a similar economic structure to Victoria and the best solar panels are approaching 22% efficiency so Victoria could get 85-90% of its power from rooftop solar alone but for the sake of the argument we will work on 40%

      To power Victoria with modern wind turbines in the 3.5-4.8 MW class you need about 3,400 wind turbines. Each of these wind turbines needs about 350 square metres of space including access tracks substations etc. i.e. they would use about 2 square km of land. But as we only expect about 30% from wind then the new wind turbines will use less than one square km
      Then there is the issue of storage. We already have about 2.3 GW of hydro including our Snowy entitlements with about 150 days storage behind it. It could be reconfigured to provide 3.5 GW with no new dams. If we added a dozen 300 MW pumped hydro systems with 100 Ha ponds that would give us a total of 7 GW peak capacity. Then 600,000 customer 5 kW batteries is another 3 GW giving a total 9.5 GW despatchable capacity not including imports from SA, NSW or SA. Peak demand last summer was 9.1 GW the summer before 8.4 GW so in effect a completely renewable energy system would need 1.2 square km for pumped hydro, 1 square km for wind turbines and about 60 square km for utility solar i.e. about 60-65 square km. The area of the Latrobe power precinct, old mines, working mines, future mines and power stations etc is about 130 square km.
      In other words the area for a renewable power system will be less than the area currently used for coal and gas

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    pat

    lengthy…good read:

    4 May: SanGabrielValleyTribune: Edison alliance with City of Industry on solar farm project collapsing over concern about costs
    by Jason Henry
    Southern California Edison quietly joined the City of Industry’s efforts to build Los Angeles County’s largest solar farm late last year, but only months later the partnership began to unravel, according to newly released documents.
    Edison agreed to design, build and operate two electrical substations to connect the project to the grid, as long as San Gabriel Valley Water and Power — the developer working on Industry’s behalf — would foot the $20 million bill.

    With that agreement, Industry’s controversial project suddenly had the support of the region’s largest utility. But since December, the city has stopped paying SGVWP, and, by extension, SCE, according to emails and invoices provided by the city.
    Now it’s uncertain whether the substations, expected to come online by the end of 2019, will meet their deadlines. Beyond that, Industry might not move forward with the solar farm at all…

    Work on the proposed 450-megawatt solar farm began in early 2016. Industry leased land to San Gabriel Valley Water and Power for $1 a year and began loaning the company millions of dollars to study the feasibility of building solar panels on a 2,450-acre former ranch known locally as “Tres Hermanos.” In exchange, Industry was set to receive an annual fee, as much as $4 million, over the life of the 65-year lease and would have the first right to any energy produced…

    “A majority of the Council members have been questioning a lot about the wires and asking for details and progress regarding the $millions (sic) paid to SGVW&P,” Paragas wrote. “So the more information I can provide them, the better.”

    Industry asked for copies of environmental and feasibility studies commissioned on its behalf, but SGVWP has yet to turn over the records, according to Councilman Newell Ruggles. The city needs the documents not only to comply with the lawsuits from Diamond Bar and Chino Hills, but to verify that work is taking place…READ ON
    https://www.sgvtribune.com/2018/05/04/edison-alliance-with-city-of-industry-on-solar-farm-project-collapsing-over-concern-about-costs/

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  • #
    Lionell Griffith

    What you call success depends mostly upon your goal. Given that, the politicians met their goal stupendously: to spend as if there was no tomorrow.

    To say they spent like drunken sailors would be an insult to drunken sailors. Drunken sailors spend their own money while politicians spend other people’s money.

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    kevin george

    Lawrence Solomon explains how Doug Ford (Rob’s older brother) can end this sort of madness in Ontario.

    http://business.financialpost.com/opinion/lawrence-solomon-how-doug-ford-can-end-ontarios-suffering-from-expensive-electricity-instantly

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      Kinky Keith

      A great article.

      It goes boots and all in detailing kickbacks and “party specific support” aka cash, in backgrounding the renewables industry.

      It clearly states that each family in the province is paying a huge amount to support the dwindle.

      As someone here has said, think it was TdeF, “no taxation without representation”.

      Nothing useful is being done with the hidden taxes filched from Canadians or Australians through electricity price rigging.

      Enough.

      KK

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    PeterS

    Let’s face the truth. Both major parties are dead set on closing down the coal fired power plants and forcing Australia to rely totally on solar and wind farms to appease the public and gain votes. Even if the last bit is not true it’s what they believe otherwise they wound’t be doing it. 2+2=5 so get used to it, at least in the view of both major parties. If on the other hand enough people believe 2+2=4 they better put on their thinking caps and vote for a party that believes 2+2=4. Otherwise, it’s all just a waiting game for the crash and burn scenario to play out. It’s that simple.

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      el gordo

      What if Tony gets his old job back by Xmas, purges the pseudo Marxists and sends them to the backbench?

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        Kinky Keith

        A really great scenario, has he got the guts to push for it.

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        PeterS

        If that happens and after he has flushed out all the leftists/globalists in his own party, including Turnbull, he would have to change a few things to be of any useful value:
        1. Do not waver no matter how much pressure is inflicted on him by the leftists in the MSM news fakers and the like. In other words, be more like Trump.
        2. Scrap the Paris accord, again like Trump
        3. Scrap all rennewables incentives, such as RECs, RETs and the like.
        4. Scarp all disincentives placed against coal fired power stations. These last two creates a level play field, which Turnbull is supposed to support but really doesn’t.
        5. Change the syllabus in the education systems, from kindergarten to Universities/colleges to give equal time for both sides of the science for climate change arguments (no opinions allowed; only real science). This leaves the students to decide for themselves to decide. If necessary introduce laws punishable by massive multi-million dollar fines on the institutions for not giving roughly equal time. Whenever a particular scientific interpretation is shown to be false, it must be removed from the syllabus.
        6. Give the ABC a year to get their house in order and provide news and commentary on all sides of science of climate change as above and all sides of politics, not just from far left. If the fail to reach that goal within a year then sell it off or close it down if no one wants to buy it.

        If he succeeds in doing all that (any more will be a bonus) then he would have an excellent chance of saving this nation. Otherwise, forget it.

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          PeterF

          You mean the Trump That has presided while slightly over 10% of coal capacity has announced closure. I like that

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    Andrew McRae

    Jo, aside from the opportunity to buy $600 T-shirts, do we have any indication of what events are taking place at the Friedman Conference?
    A ticket grants access to “all conference sessions”, and a veritable conga-line of speakers are listed, but my attempts to locate a timetable of sessions and events have so far proved fruitless.
    Do you have any inside info about the conference programme?

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      el gordo

      Further to that, according to my neighbour the farmers and graziers held a meeting in Kelso and stopped the nonsense before it got off the ground.

      So this agrarian revolt produced a victory, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

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    pat

    5 May: Bolt blog: FAKE FACTS: ELECTRICITY BOSS TRASHES COAL
    How can we trust the Turnbull Government’s Energy ­Security Board chairwoman, Kerry Schott, when she makes such false claims…
    No wonder Resources Minister Matt Canavan is astonished (LINK):

    (excerpts) Resources Minister Matt Canavan has demanded an explanation from the architect of Malcolm Turnbull’s signature energy policy after she declared there was no longer an investment case to build new coal-fired power stations in Australia.

    Senator Canavan has told Energy Security Board chairwoman Kerry Schott he wants to see evidence to back up her claims that new coal-fired plants could no longer compete economically with pumped hydro, gas, wind and solar…
    “Ms Schott’s comments do not reflect the advice that has been provided to the government, including through the Finkel review,” he said.

    “The Finkel review concluded that today solar with storage was 70 per cent more expensive than a new coal-fired power station.
    “I have asked Ms Schott to explain what evidence she is relying on to make these conclusions…
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/fake-facts-electricity-boss-trashes-coal/news-story/86242276ec169e486577395034ba7bb3

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      glen Michel

      I think Albrechtsen’s article in [The Weekend Auatralian’ says it all. Schott is way above her station. When do we start to get sensible people in positions…yeah,I know..

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        GreatAuntJanet

        There is no commonsense in use any more. Where I live in outback Qld, the council has just turfed the (formerly dirt) racecourse and is now flushing it liberally with our drinking water from the Great Artesian basin via an expensively installed irrigation system. Cost $750,000 (gov and rates funding it, nobody consulted) – the mayor crowing in today’s ABC, says that, when the ‘good seasons’ come it will practically look after itself – let’s not mention the current six year drought. All lies and vanity.

        Even worse than that, they also have ‘funding’ to dig a half km long hole next to the town, and fill it with yet more water – a lot more – (from the heavens?) so that a few water-skiers can make a lot of noise going up and down. The one consultation meeting held ended without informing anyone of anything. Who approves these things? No sense at all. Our evaporation rate here is so high, I foresee a mud hole blighting the landscape, blending nicely with all the solar farms we already have surrounding us.

        Living out bush looks like it is going to get even more expensive.

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        PeterF

        Another distortion. In most years there is not enough water to irrigate all the properties laid out for irrigation in the Goulburn valley so taking some land out of production doesn’t affect production at all. In any case even if 500 MW of solar farms are built around Shepparton, they would use 1,100 ha out of 210,000 Ha of irrigated land in the Goulburn Broken catchment a whopping 0.5%
        If the solar farms go ahead depending on the technology they will use between 1 and 2 Ha per MW. the 2 Ha variety allows grazing so farm income is reduced less than 20%. A dairy farm in this area earns a gross income between $3,000 and $6,000 per Ha. minus around $4,000 in operating costs.
        With no subsidies a high density solar farm will generate about $100,000 per ha at current prices with operating and maintenance cost of $20,000 per year.
        A low density tracking solar farm will generate about $80,000 per year + grazing income
        Which do you think is the better investment, irrigation land with insufficient water or a solar farm.

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        PeterF

        And Albrechtson would know. Doesn’t have any qualification relevant to the debate but loves to pontificate

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      PeterF

      She just reported what every power economist knows, new coal is too expensive. That is why Germany, UK, US, Canada, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands are closing them down. Oh I forgot Germany’s new one GW plant that was supposed to open in 2013 now might open in 2020. In the meantime they have closed 2.8 GW in 15 months and 6 GW are awaiting permission to close oh and in 2015 coal generated more than twice as much power as wind and solar in Germany. Year to date it is down to 1.3 times.
      In the US since Mr. Trump was inaugurated 26,800 MW of coal plants have announced closure and 40,000 MW of wind power is being developed

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    pat

    reminder how Fairfax responded to Monash Forum:

    3 Apr: SMH: Nicole Hasham: A new coal-fired power plant would cost $3 billion, drive up energy prices and take eight years to build
    A director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Tim Buckley, said the Monash Forum’s claims on energy prices were “nothing short of ludicrous”.
    He said any government serious about meeting Australia’s obligations under the Paris climate deal “will have to bring in a carbon price or emissions reduction program” which would further inflate the cost of coal-fired energy.
    Mr. Buckley said a new coal plant with stringent emissions controls would take at least eight years to be approved and built, and cost around $3 billion…

    meanwhile, in pounds sterling, but behind paywall:

    5 May: UK Times: Taxpayers on the hook for £15bn Hitachi nuclear plant
    by John Collingridge
    The entire £15bn-plus cost of Hitachi’s nuclear power station on Anglesey could land on the government’s balance sheet, even though taxpayers are expected to hold only a minority stake.
    The Japanese industrial giant has warned it will walk away from the 2.7 gigawatt plant at Wylfa unless it secures UK state support.

    Hiroaki Nakanishi, the chairman of Hitachi, met Theresa May and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, last week to urge progress on the project after more than two years of talks. The final deal may see taxpayers take an equity stake in the Horizon plant, possibly as much as 33%, alongside Hitachi and the Japanese government.
    Ministers have insisted the plant must substantially undercut the £20bn Hinkley Point plant in Somerset, built by EDF…
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/taxpayers-on-the-hook-for-15bn-hitachi-nuclear-plant-qnbx0s9xm

    Jan 2018: World Nuclear Assocn: Plans For New Reactors Worldwide
    Nuclear power capacity worldwide is increasing steadily, with about 50 reactors under construction.
    •Most reactors on order or planned are in the Asian region, though there are major plans for new units in Russia.
    •Significant further capacity is being created by plant upgrading.
    •Plant lifetime extension programs are maintaining capacity, particularly in the USA.

    Today there are some 440 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries plus Taiwan, with a combined capacity of over 390 GWe. In 2015 these provided 2571 billion kWh, about 11% of the world’s electricity.
    About 50 power reactors are currently being constructed in 13 countries (see Table below), notably China, India, UAE and Russia.

    Each year, the OECD’s International Energy Agency (IEA) sets out the present situation as well as reference and other – particularly carbon reduction – scenarios. In the 2017 edition of its World Energy Outlook report, the IEA’s ‘New Policies Scenario’ sees installed nuclear capacity growth of over 25% from 2015 (about 404 GWe) to 2040 (about 516 GWe). The scenario envisages a total generating capacity of 11,960 GWe by 2040, with the increase concentrated heavily in Asia, and in particular China (33% of the total). In this scenario nuclear’s contribution to global power generation increases to about 14% of the total…

    It is noteworthy that in the 1980s, 218 power reactors started up, an average of one every 17 days. These included 47 in the USA, 42 in France and 18 in Japan. These were fairly large – the average rated power was 923.5 MWe. With China and India’s nuclear sectors growing, it is not hard to imagine a similar rate of reactor construction in the years ahead.
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/plans-for-new-reactors-worldwide.aspx

    but Australia can’t build a coal-fired plant?

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      PeterF

      it is noteworthy that China hasn’t ordered a new nuclear plant for nearly two years. India has reduced its planned 63,000 MW of nuclear capacity to 22,000 while increasing its planned wind and solar to 220,000 MW. i.e. the reduction in planned Indian capacity is more than the increase in the Middle east, Russia and Turkey combined
      In the US 33 Nuclear plants planned under Obama has fallen to two, while at leas 10 will close before the two open. There are 5 nuclear plants under construction or on order in the whole of Western Europe and Scandinavia. In the next seven years at least 12 will close.

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    David Maddison

    It should come as no surprise that prime agricultural land is being removed from service to satisfy the Green gods. Afterall, Greens want most people to die so they can worship nature.

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    pat

    hmmm. no English-language version of the following as yet, but it is in plenty of French media.
    maybe the silence is because it involves MP who is a member of “dear climate leader” Macron’s party!

    google translation:

    5 May: Challenges France: with AFP: Greenpeace continues MP suggesting “shoot” at militants during (nuclear) plant intrusions
    “Why we would not do a bit like in the United States? With a security by watchtower and possibility actually not to ask questions and when there is an intrusion, to draw”, had wondered on March 22 Perrine Goulet , member of the parliamentary inquiry committee on nuclear safety. Greenpeace filed a complaint against MEP LREM.

    “In no case did I say that it was necessary to kill the militants of Greenpeace”, had assured Perrine Goulet on March 23rd at France 3 Bourgogne. “The word ‘shoot’ for me was not shooting to kill but shooting in the legs for example, as is done in the United States.”

    The complaint, filed by the lawyer of Greenpeace France, Marie Dosé, targets a press offense, and will lead to the appointment of a judge of instruction. According to the lawyer, if the remarks made before the commission of inquiry, “are likely to benefit from parliamentary immunity”, the statements in the press of Mrs. Goulet, they, they can be criminally prosecuted.

    The lawyer also sent a letter on April 9 to the President of the National Assembly François de Rugy “to ask him to implement its disciplinary sanction”. According to the online biography on her website, Perrine Goulet was recruited in 1999 by EDF-GDF and worked until her election at the Belleville-sur-Loire Nuclear Power Plant (Cher). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).

    Eight Greenpeace activists were sentenced in late February to suspended prison sentences or imprisonment for entering the site of the Cattenom nuclear power plant (Moselle) in October. Its activists also entered the Cruas-Meysse (Ardèche) nuclear site in November. Their trial will take place on May 17 in Privas, according to the NGO, which calls to protest that day before the court of this commune
    https://www.challenges.fr/france/greenpeace-poursuit-la-deputee-perrine-goulet-qui-suggerait-de-tirer-en-cas-d-intrusion-dans-les-centrales-nucleaires_585296

    Wikipedia: Perrine Goulet is a French politician representing La République En Marche! She was elected to the French National Assembly on 18 June 2017, representing the department of Nièvre.

    Wikipedia: La République En Marche! (LREM)
    LREM is a centrist, liberal and social-liberal political party in France. It was founded on 6 April 2016 by Emmanuel Macron, a former Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, who was later elected President of France in the 2017 presidential election by a landslide 66.1% of the second-round vote. Macron considers La République En Marche! to be a progressive movement, uniting both the left and the right…
    The party ran candidates in the 2017 legislative elections including dissidents from the Socialist Party, The Republicans and minor parties…
    La Gauche Libre (The Free Left), the think tank for the movement, was declared as an organization on 1 March 2015…
    The initials of the name of the party (En Marche) are the same as the initials of Macron’s name…

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      pat

      (excerpts from Le Monde 4 May)
      The intervention of MP (LRM) of the first constituency of Nièvre, Perrine Goulet, March 22, had frozen the blood of the militants of Greenpeace France. Member of the parliamentary commission of inquiry on the safety and security of nuclear facilities, hearing the Interior Minister Gérard Collomb on that day, the parliamentarian had suggested “to shoot” in the event of intrusion into a central nuclear.

      While several of its activists have entered, in the fall of 2017, two nuclear power plants in order to, according to Greenpeace, “demonstrate the extreme vulnerability of used fuel storage pools, highly radioactive, facing risks. external attacks “, the environmental organization filed, on April 25, a complaint with constitution of civil parties against Mrs. Goulet for” provocations to a crime and a misdemeanor not followed of effect “with the court of high instance of Paris.

      At the hearing of March 22, broadcast live on the video portal of the National Assembly, Gerard Collomb had pointed out that NGOs, especially Greenpeace, take “the precaution of displaying their name from afar on the banners, which, of course, elicits the same kind of reaction only if someone unknown entered the sensitive sites. LRM deputy of the Somme and rapporteur of the commission, Barbara Pompili, had then objected: “At that moment, the good little terrorist will take the greenpeace banner”, thus inspiring Mrs. Goulet.

      Shoot in your legs
      “Why would not we do a bit like the United States? With security by miradors and possibility, indeed, not to ask questions, and when there is an intrusion, to shoot?, had asked the latter. I think that at some point it will be necessary to no longer distinguish, since it is a crime to enter a nuclear plant.”
      http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2018/05/04/greenpeace-porte-plainte-contre-une-deputee-pour-avoir-suggere-de-tirer-sur-les-intrus-dans-les-centrales-nucleaires_5294518_3244.html

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    robert rosicka

    Haven’t heard the outcome of the complaints and rejection of the solar plant proposed at Glenrowan but believe the other one just down the Freeway near Wangaratta is near final approval.

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    ROM

    Once again we are seeing the real ethics and morality free renewable energy industry doing what it does best and that is farming subsidies.

    The fact that some solar panels might generate a bit of electricity now and then when the sun deigns to shine on them for about 8 hours a day, the other 16 hours a day uses gas and coal to keep the power up , a fact that of course is NEVER revealed in the solar farm propaganda. ] provides the excuse to as was said about that political party , the Country Party a few decades ago, the renewable energy industry has developed a very sophisticated propaganda campaign that is geared totally towards “Capitalising its Profits” and “Socialising its Costs”.
    .

    A few years ago the now almost forgotten Solar Updraft Tower proposal , [ not the solar heliostat towers which are arguably an even worse solution to renewable energy than the potential of the Updraft tower ] another renewable energy boon doggle of multi million dollar benefits to the promoters fortunately never quite getting off the ground literally.
    The Updraft Tower promoters claimed to have a considerable amount of research to find the latitudinal band across Australia that provided the most consistent sunlight after taking clouding and etc into account.

    They figured that a east / west band across Australia running a hundred or so kilometres north of Mildura was the optimal area for sunlight and a comprimise between the clouding from the southern frontal systems and the clouding from the semi-tropical northern regions during the summer cyclone and monsoon seasons,.

    And they did put their money [ our money? ] where their mouth was by buying a station property not far from Wentworth so as to build the Solar Updraft Tower, a location very close to the optimal solar radiation band and which is some tens of klometres downstream and west of Mildura.
    .

    I have no doubt that a couple of the criteria that is used by the renewable energy company promoters as with the location of most of the wind turbine farms here in southern Australia , had as one of the prime reasons unsaid and unwritten at least in public, being the ease of acess and closeness to the city elites , political, business, legal and financial and green to the politicals and the big city financiers and green elites who, few of which actually knows how the basic infrastructure that they take for granted actually workss in our civilisation to maintain the luxurious facilities by world standards that they take for granted, would all be a bit awed at the scale of the renewable energy project.

    After all , a chaffuered limousine and a nice drive up the freeway for an hour and half, [ have a look at the location of all these renewable energy projects to see that the driving time to them from Melbourne and Adelaide rarely exceeds two hours ] plus some nice vintage wine growing outlets nearby and some good eateries that cater for the well heeled elites from the city out on a day trip to somewhere, a good welll oiled meal at the promoters expense , all expenses of course picked upby the promoter off course, and then a pleasant and somewhatwell oiled chaffauered drive back to the city arriving there just before knock off time and what is there to lose for the promoters.

    So what if there is say a ten percent drop in the lifetime output from the solar farm because it is built in a far from optimum location ,solar exposure wise such a well south of the optimum solar exposure band and in an area where there is often considerable cloud cover is small beer compared to the profits to be made from the subsidies and conning the politicals and the elites and the green outfits to allow you to build close to all the facilities and with ready access by those important persons, the directors of the company and the profits to be made from the state and federal mandated subsidies and all those other perks, AKA’ incentives’ that Councils and council members and local politicians and the odd brown paper bag handout to get your solar farm on their patch.

    If the local councils had any cojones when it comes to solar and renewable energy installations of any type such as this one, they would be demanding that the government include a requirement in the license that the solar farm builders / owners/ operators be required to provide an actual and very large sum of money escrowed with say EPA as an example from which the clean up moneys for the site will be deducted when the solar farm reaches the end of its life in about 18 to 20 years maximum.

    Or very considerably less than then 18 to 20 years life if the small solar farm on Ballarat airfield, opened with great fanfare in 2009 but now apparently derelict and covered with tall weeds and grass even a couple of years ago from my irregular observations when visiting the Ballarat airfield.

    If the subsidies are truly cut off all of these fly by nighters, Capitalise the Profits, Socialise the Costs renewable energy promoters will disappear over the horizion leaving acres of dangerous glass covered with what are quite high concentrations of quite toxic chemicals in most cases and probably stray very high currents from the odd and unidentifiable still generating panels to be cleaned up by the local councils and local people.

    Its no contest in trying to imagine that the state and federal governments who approved the various renewable energy parks ever taking the resonsibility for cleaning up these installations after the promoters have creamed all the profits and subsidies and shot through.

    The government authorities will simply wash their hands of any clean up demands and leave the eyesore to be cleaned up by the local councils.

    And most probably will bring in coercive requirements on councils to do the cleaning up but without the government and bureacrats who approved the renewable installations in the first place, taking any resonsibility for the cleaning up of the outcome of their flawed and biased decisions.

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    Thanks to many commenters for excellent points. I’ve added a couple of them as updates. Links in the post.

    UPDATE #1: It’s no accident that solar “farms” will be built over prime agricultural land rather than arid desert. They need to be near transmission lines to make the investment viable (even a subsidized one). Obviously there are more transmission lines near populated productive land than out in the desert. h/t Pat who found other examples near Warwick in Queensland and WesleyVale in Tasmania. El Gordo names another in the Hunter Valley.

    UPDATE #2: TonyfromOz calculates that this 100MW plant costing $175m will produce one hundredth of the power of Bayswater coal fired station. Since the lifetime of a solar plant is half of a coal station, it would take 200 of these plants to replace Bayswater’s yearly output in the long run (and that is ignoring the need for backup and battery storage for the solar option). The starting cost of replacing Bayswater with solar is thus $35billion (and then some).

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      robert rosicka

      That may be so but it’s green and therefore by default good for us and our economy and meets our energy needs for a few hours on some days ,think of all the high technology jobs cleaning the panels .

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      Thank Joanne,

      and then just above this, is a comment by pat at Comment 28 which mentions this: (my bolding)

      3 Apr: SMH: Nicole Hasham: A new coal-fired power plant would cost $3 billion, drive up energy prices and take eight years to build

      So, to generate just the equivalent power, you would need 200 Solar Plants, costing $35 Billion, and a new tech coal fired plant is too expensive at $3 Billion.

      Makes you think, eh!

      Tony.

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        David Maddison

        The Chinese can build such plant in 18 months. Only 8 years or more in over-regulated heavily unionised Nanny State Australia. In fact it is likely more.

        Worse still, Australia doesn’t have 8 years or even one year to sort out its problems.

        Venezuela, here we come…

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    Greenies should be aware how landscape-eating the renewable
    energy alternatives are. Just to supply the current 300
    million or so inhabitants of the US with their present power
    demands, as Matt Ridley points out in ‘the Rational Optimist,’
    would require:

    *solar panels the size of Spain

    *or wind farms the size of Kazakhstan

    *or hydro-electric dams the size of Russia and Canada combined.

    Not much land left over, greenies, for growing crops or forests
    that support the wild-life that you say you care for or gobble
    up the evil CO2 that scares you so.

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      Mary E

      Very good points Beth. But the rabid defenders of faith in renewables are clever.

      I’ve been treated to green responses like – Use the parking lots and building roofs for solar; Put smaller windmills on the roofs of factories; Line the freeways with wind and solar plants. And etc. No bother that we’ll all be blinded and deafened (and maybe run insane) by the glare and droning, that storms will knock the installs about, the edges of many urban freeways have little room for cars to pull off so where will the urban power plants go, what sort of damages can be expected if (when) the winds pick up and rip the power plants off the roofs? And then there are the calm days, the too windy days, the cloudy days…

      I have also been subject to the snarky reply “What do you think Oklahoma is for?” Like a series of plants in one place – such as Oklahoma – will be able supply reliable power to California or Vermont – that’s quite a bit of distance to cover and the loss would be pretty high, not counting the people in-between pulling down what they need.

      Sigh.

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    robert rosicka

    Of the two solar plants being built/ proposed near where I live one is on top of an old landfill site and the other is on reasonably good farm land .

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    Geoffrey Williams

    Solar idiocy. Green stupidity is all I can think of to say.
    GeoffW

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    DonS

    Hi Jo

    I heard that solar panels lose efficiency when they get hot. If this is right then access to water for cooling may also be a reason for building these “farms” in prime agricultural regions. Agriculture usually requires good water supply too if I remember rightly.

    Are there any solar panel power farms in arid regions? And does the variation in efficiency due to temperature changes in the panels add another factor to the instability of their power generation?

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      observa

      Your taxes do put solar farms in arid areas although they do get better returns.

      Yes solar panels work best around 25C as you quickly come to understand with peak outputs at midday with that temp on a bright sunny day in spring and autumn. Nothing at night naturally and with an overcast day in suburban Adelaide today a glance at the inverter readout at midday showed 211 Watts from a 2100 Watt capacity system so you work it out.(I’m on reshiftable power bills with the original FIT scheme and it’s every citizen’s fundamental right to claim every tax clawback going around) Wind power is just as useless without storage to try and run a modern industrial economy but the Green brains trust figure sooner or later they’ll be able to disprove a fundamental axiom of engineering, namely you can’t build a reliable system from unreliable componentry. Duh!

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        PeterF

        Coal, nuclear and gas plants also lose efficiency at high temperatures. You can look up the US plants by capacity and thermal plant summer capacity is reduced by 5-15%. In hot humid conditions OC gas turbines can lose 30% of their rated power.

        Surprisingly little thermal power is required in a renewable grid. California and New York are aiming for 50% not including large hydro ( almost 75% including large hydro) Spain and Germany are already over 40%

        So our coal plants which have about 95% availability and trip about twice a week over summer and still deliver 65% of our electricity manage to help reach 99.95% reliability. How is that the system is in fact more reliable than its parts. Perhaps if you are an engineer you should revisit you textbooks and look up the difference between reliability, redundancy and parallel vs serial

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    observa

    But.. but.. this subsidy mining is good mining isn’t it and much better for the grand-kiddies than cow farts?

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