JoNova

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


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40 year old coal plant sold for $1m makes $100m profit and will run another 30 years

Old coal plants don’t have to die, they just need to be fixed

Vales Point, Power Station, NSW, Australia

The Vales Point Coal plant (Part B) was built in 1978. It was sold for $1 million in 2015 by the NSW government. It’s now making a bumper profit. If it gets a $750 million renovation it could keep running til 2049 when it will be 70 years old. Vales has a nameplate capacity of 1,320 MW.

On the other hand, we could follow South Australia and spend $650m and get a 150MW solar plant that only works half the time.*

When is an old coal plant on death’s door a better bet than the worlds largest solar plant? — Every hour of every day. Plus you get free fertilizer.

Profits to keep Vales Point coal-fired power station going for another 20 years

John Stensholt and Perry Williams, The Australian

The Vales Point power station near Lake Macquarie, which supplies about 4 per cent of power for the national grid, could receive a $750m injection to ensure it runs until 2049, making it the nation’s last standing coal station, with the country’s other facilities due to [...]

Just like that: 200 years of gas for Australia discovered in NT

Australia now has 200 years of frackable gas to add to the 300 years of coal

And yet we are still buying Chinese solar panels. The big question is how much of our our gas and coal can we use before nuclear energy makes them irrelevant? h/t GWPF

In April the Northern Territory lifted its ban on fracking. The Beetaloo basin may have a whopper 50 to 100 trillion cubic feet of gas, and it appears to be a “stacked play” in layers (like Texas).  To put that in perspective, the largest gas project in Australia in the Bass Strait has produced 8 trillion cubic feet so far with another 7 trillion to go. Shale turned the USA from an energy dependent state to the worlds largest fossil fuel producer.

Geoscience Australia estimates the NT has about 257,000 petajoules of shale gas

[Australian Associated Press]

The Northern Territory holds enough natural gas to supply Australia for 200 years-plus and is comparable to the shale resources that have revolutionised the US energy sector, Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan says.

Senator Canavan described Beetaloo, located southeast of Katherine, as “a world class shale resource [...]

Engineers warn 55% renewables will add $1400 to electricity bills in Australia

Green genius: Pay $1400 a year to not stop any storms

Finally some veteran engineers checked the Labor Party 50% renewable plan and the AEMO “65% scenarios”. Unlike others, their study that did not involve magical assumptions that the cost of renewables would dramatically fall. Instead they used “actual costs” and found the price of electricity will rise “84%” and cheap coal power will be forced out of business (just like what we also found here). The engineers include Barry Murphy, former managing director and chairman of Caltex. Robert Barr, an electrical engineer and academic at University of Wollongong. If only Kevin Rudd had asked them in 2007.

Engineers warn of bill shock under green energy surge

Adam Creighton, Economics Editor, The Australian

Electricity bills will soar and gas and coal-fired power stations will close if the share of wind and solar generation increases dramat­ically, engineers have warned after analysing the nation’s ­energy supply.

It found bills were likely to soar 84 per cent, or about $1400 a year, for the typical household, if wind and solar power supplied 55 per cent of the national electricity market.

A quarter of Australian rooftops have solar, and [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

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Renewables hit record “high” of 3.6% of total global energy production

The world still runs on coal and oil

After 20 years of subsidies, intermittent renewables account for just 3.6% of total energy generation. That’s the tiny purple sliver in the graph. Global power means not just electricity, but also fuel used in transport. And this is where wind and solar power are respectively old and slow, or modern but useless.

Someday solar powered planes might make their first round world trip in 48 hours but at the moment they need 16 months. There’s a a bit of hitch in the global energy transition.

Hello fossil wonder fuels:

Global Primary Energy, Graph, 1965-2018

Intermittent renewables are pretty useless everywhere:

Global Primary Energy, Graph, 1965-2018

 

Solar energy might have “made waves” and increased by an astounding 100GW last year, but it’s still irrelevant:

Oil remains the world’s dominant fuel, making up just over a third of all energy consumed. In 2017 oil’s market share declined slightly, following two years of growth. Coal’s market share fell to 27.6%, the lowest level since 2004. Natural gas accounted for a record 23.4% of global primary energy consumption, while renewable power hit a new high of 3.6%.

– Spencer [...]

Modern Victoria — where 5,000 volunteer knitters help the poor stay warm

Once upon a time we could afford heating.

Volunteer knitters in high demand as soaring power prices leave people cold

A national army of knitters is in desperate need of more volunteers to help them meet the growing demand for winter woollies.

Victoria returns to the Victorian era

Knitters can not keep up with demand

“Some people say it has been a colder winter — I actually don’t think so,” Ms Rogers said. I think it’s been milder than what we’ve had, it’s just the need that’s so much greater unfortunately.

“Even if people have got heating, they can’t afford to run it, so they need the warm clothes or the blankets.”

Can you knit to keep a poor Victorian warm?

UPDATE from Beowulf:

I hear Audrey Zibelman, boss of AEMO, is a dab hand with a set of needles. Here’s her favourite pattern ladies: plain one, pearl one, skip 10, repeat.

It makes a jumper full of holes that must be plugged with other materials, but it saves heaps on the cost of wool and we don’t need to breed any more sheep to make our jumpers. [...]

Guardian journalist tries to understand “deniers” by interviewing… himself

Who needs interviews when you know all the answers?

Greg Jericho, of The Guardian, can explain why the government is in “denial” and spends 15 odd paragraphs doing psychoanalysis of himself.

Has he met a skeptic? Not likely.

This government is not even pretending to act on climate change any more

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly I have a degree of sympathy for members of the public who are climate change deniers. I have this sympathy because I was once one of them.  …doing my level best to deny it was happening. Because it scared the bejeezus out of me.

… so I understand why people choose to believe those who say climate change is not the issue, that the issue is power prices and thus we need to fire up the coal furnaces.

Denial is a very easy way out of guilt that your lifestyle is leaving your children and grandchildren an awful legacy. Denial is a good way to throw away concerns that you might have to actually wear a cost – either through lifestyle changes or monetary loss.

It is a scary thing to hear talk of the impacts [...]

Eco-psychology: NEW Free helpline, handbook, for climate change mental illness

After thirty years of Green-Blob disaster porn, there are casualties.

Climate change [propaganda] takes a toll on our minds

Psychologist Susie Burke tells the story of a woman who came to her for counselling after having her first child. Not because she was suffering from post-natal depression, but because she was “struggling with the enormity of what she had done.” She felt she had brought her child into a “world she knew was going to be a lot harsher and a lot less safe,” Burke told DW.

“She came to me when she was overwhelmed by this distress; questioning whether she had done the right thing. The fear she had for his future was really huge.”

 Look out for the new hotline (Can someone find this number?)

Burke is an Australian psychologist and academic who specializes in eco-psychology. She treats people suffering mental illness as a result of climate change, and also recently set up a free hotline called the “Climate Change Psychological Support Network,” where Australians can call a qualified psychologist to talk through their feelings about environmental change.

Look out for the handbook:

‘The Climate Change Empowerment Handbook’ is a handy guide [...]

Weekend Unthreaded