SA sets a 33% renewables by 2020 target

Today I attended a press conference at the University of Adelaide, at which Premier Mike Rann delivered a pre-state-budget announcement of support, to the tune of $800,000 pa for two years, for a new centre focused on RD&D in hot dry rock geothermal energy (HDRGE). There was also a broader target on renewable energy announced, summarised by the Government as follows:

Premier Mike Rann today announced that this week’s State Budget will outline plans to create an even greater renewable industry in South Australia, and to increase the state’s renewable energy production target to 33 per cent by 2020. The first project to be funded from the Renewable Energy Fund will be the South Australian Centre of Excellence for Geothermal Research at the University of Adelaide, which will receive $1.6 million over two years.”

A PDF of the 2-page media release is available here. Below are snippetts describing some of the key features:

Mr Rann, who is also Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change, and Economic Development, announced a new $20 million Renewable Energy Fund to accelerate investment in this sector…

So we’re now announcing an even tougher target of 33 per cent by 2020 which will keep us at the forefront internationally of jurisdictions supporting renewable energy…

South Australia is home to 56 per cent of the nation’s wind power, 90 per cent of its geothermal investment and nearly 30 per cent of its grid-connected domestic solar systems, by far the highest in Australia…

Recommendations on the application of remaining funds will come from the new RenewablesSA Board lead by Bruce Carter, the Chair of the Economic Development Board.”

For reference, South Australia’s current target of 20% of the state’s electricity generation sourced from renewables by 2014 looks set to be met a year early, in 2013.

This is a really interesting set of policy announcents for BraveNewClimate readers, given the recent discussion we’ve had on this website about likely upper limits to the capacity of renewable energy to deliver substantial fractions of a modern society’s total power needs. In this context, I’d be very intriuged to hear people’s views on how realistic they think this state target is, and by what means (energy sources) it will be achieved. There is also the issue of complementarity with the national mandatory renewable energy target of 45,000 GWh of renewable energy to be generated in Australia by 2020.

Will South Australia, by adopting this target, just make the job of the other states easier? It is not clear to me, in reading the draft MRET legislation, on whether each state will itself have a quota of x-GWh per annum (Mr Rann implied this in his press conference speech, but it may have simply been an assumption on his behalf), or whether (in theory) just one state could generate the entire allocation (this was my understanding). This obviously makes a big difference, because if the latter is true, SA could simply end up carrying the load for the other states. I suspect the view of the SA state government is ‘lead and others will follow’, and I hope that’s the case, but with a target as large as 33% by 2020, I suspect there’ll be some major laggards instead…

Anyway, to set the framework for discussion, here is my brief take on what it means. Feel free to disagree…

The funds for HDRGE research are great news. This is an immature technology (the recent well blow out at a Geodynamics rig was an example of early deploment teething problems), but it is also an attractive source of clean energy because of its potential to provide ‘baseload’ power. It warrants serious further development, to sort out issues such as ability to achieve consistent rock fracturing, the  capacity for recycling water through the system without significant net losses [important for desert regions], avoiding overly rapid local cooling and mineralisation of fractured rock strata, and, like other desert renewables, getting power from generation site to point of use. Technically of course, HDRGE is not a renewable energy source, but then technically, no energy source can be considered ‘renewable’ and still abide by the 2nd law of thermodynamics. It’s a source of energy dervied primarily from the natural decay of uranium in the earth’s crust and there’s plenty of it, if we can tap it economically and at sufficient scale. I suspect that the use of HDRGE will always be limited by the accessibility of the resource globally — for some places, such as South Australia, it could well be a major source of future energy. The IPCC Working Group III (chapter 4, pg 277-278) give a crisp overview of the state of play and potential development, and note that “Deeper drilling up to 8 km to reach molten rock magma resources may become cost effective in future“. An intriguing prospect — if this becomes technically and economically feasible, the sky is ultimately the limit.

And what about that bold 33% of the state’s electricity generation sourced from renewables by 2020? If realised, that would be as high as any juristiction has so far achieved, worldwide. Is this possible?

South Australia’s electricity usage, averaged over the year, is currently around 1700 MW — most of which comes from thermal gas (using steam turbines) and coal, with a rapidly increasing contribution from wind (see above). At a growth rate of 2% pa (realistic, even given increased energy efficiency, because of the growing population), demand might rise to around 2100 MW. Around 50 MW of that might come from the Port Stanvac desalination plant. Add in the Olympic Dam expansion and its estimated 570 MW additional draw, and we’re up to about 2700 MW. A third of this is 900 MW.

Let’s say 70% of this 900 MW comes from wind, 25% from solar (hot water system RECs, rooftop PV, and concentrating solar power [CSP]), and 5% from HDRGE, in 2020. Give these capacity factors of 33%, 20% and 90% respectively. That comes to a peak installed capacity of about 1900 MW wind, 1100 MW solar and 50 MW HDRGE, rising from a current (2009) level of 390 740 MW (wind), say 50 MW solar (mostly hot water, some PV, no CSP), and 0 MW from HDRGE. That’s a total of 630 large (3 MW) turbines and some novel build outs of the other techs (largely CSP and HDRGE).

With its vast potential renewable energy resources, my view is that this is an achieveable regional goal for a place like SA. It is most likely to be realised if UHVDC lines can be strung out to the Eyre Peninsula (abundant wind resources) and/or the interior deserts (for CSP and HDRGE). This will require some serious government investments and a re-evaluation of current regulatory problems that causes first-mover disadvantage. It will also require that SA continues to lead the other Australian states in providing the most attractive incentives for renewables deployment. A (potentially large) caveat is that managing the relatively low quality (fluctuating and periodically pulsing) electrical inputs derived from wind will be a big challenge for the utilities, if a 33% contribution is achieved. This makes it tough to maintain a standard and constant electrical frequency and demands micromangement of spinning reserve in order to to dispatch the constant load we expect.

Is a 33% renewables by 2020 achieveable as a national Australian target? In my humble opinion, not a snowflake’s chance in hell.

SA has a relatively small electricity demand compared to the national total, an already well developed renewable energy infrastructure, and some of the best resources in the world to tap into. The other states are way behind in build out, as some of the figures in the press release indicate. But most importantly, SA can reach a 33% level with no requirement for large-scale energy storage, and potentially no further fossil fuel backup. The state is connected to the large east coast grid, powered predominantly by coal, and can draw on this abundant supply via the Murraylink interconnector when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining (being generalised here, but basically, when delivery is well below the nominal 33%). We can also sell to the east coast grid when delivery is near peak. We’ll be the Denmark of the south — with both the admirable and dubious energy connotations that this brings.

For Australia’s total electricty supply, it’s a whole ‘nuther ballgame. Enter nukes.

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30 Comments

  1. Barry, this is a terrible idea! If this scheme is brought to fruition, the only concrete thing it will accomplish is to obscure the poor overall performance of ‘renewable’ power sources by proving a misleading example of a high-renewable power region backed up by baseload from neighbouring regions. “Denmark of the South” indeed!

    So eleven years from now, we may be treated to the spectacle of ‘renewables’ advocates pointing to the shining example of South Australia as a model for the world, which indeed it will be… as an example for greenwashing the fossil fuel industry. The ‘success’ of the scheme would be used to deny the necessity for nuclear, while the reliance on eastern baseload coal would be swept under the carpet.

  2. An additional thought. If any jurisdiction wanted to prove the viability of renewable power to the world, it could do so by undertaking to use a certain mix of renewables within its borders, say the 33% target mentioned, and eschewing backup from outside. Seeing as SA is so well endowed with renewable resources, you might think that this would be one place on Earth with a good chance of success (or more accurately, a better chance than most).

    I suspect that this challenge will not be taken up in South Australia, or anywhere else.

    For the purposes of this comment, I’m excepting regions which have an exceptionally high endowment of renewable power potential, such as Iceland and Norway. They are rare exceptions, and their examples cannot be exported to the great majority of other regions.

  3. As an ex croweater I’m not so convinced this is achievable. I predict dry rock geothermal will not get past the demonstration phase, say 20MW. The ‘solar village’ concept for PV seems to need very generous feed-in tariffs paid for by others. The coal fired plants at Pt Augusta (540, 240 MW) are dinosaurs and should be replaced a.s.a.p. When Torrens Island single cycle gas fired power station (1.2 GW) looked vulnerable to Cooper Basin depletion they built a second pipeline to Victorian gas supplies. Due to gas shortages that baseload capacity will become parlous within a decade.

    I agree that the wind and solar potential of Eyre Peninsula could be enhanced with an HVDC line. Why not go all the way to Perth and make the grid truly national? Even if the achievable number of Mwh’s is x% renewable SA still needs a major baseload overhaul soon.

  4. SA, Heaps Good

    I feel we are finally starting to get some movement from Government and even if it is still baby steps at this stage at least they are now moving in the right direction. The Australian Carbon Trust could be used to boost the gains in energy efficiency in the commercial sector and if we can get some better legislation on new home construction efficiency who knows what numbers SA can achieve.

  5. Barry,
    SA has about 800MW wind capacity, not 390MW. They are about half way to the 1900MW you were proposing. Geothermal may take longer to get into production but should be a good complement for wind and solar.
    The natural gas plants are running at 35% capacity in SA, this could be reduced as more wind and solar becomes available, keeping gas for peak only demand. Long term supplies of CSG seem assured if priced to it’s true value.
    While SA may be soon getting 20% of its electricity from wind, its very different to Denmark, being 20 times larger in surface area, with greater on-shore wind resources and most importantly good solar energy that can load follow SA’s summer demand peaks.

    I see no reason why WA, VIC cannot get 33% of there electricity from renewables by 2020,especially WA because of their expensive NG power and excellent wind resources along 1500km of coastline, but not NSW or QLD until solar is more developed because of the lower wind resources in those states. SA went from 1000MW in a few years. Of course TAS already gets >90% of its power from hydro, but could be a very big exporter of wind power to the eastern states.

    Finrod,
    SA has virtually no hydro resources in the state, linking to the TAS hydro and Snowy hydro is critical for wind power just as it is critical for coal power in NSW or would be for nuclear power.Only NG power can be economic without hydro peak power and as WA shows is more expensive.

  6. Dear Barry,

    “The company is focused on delivering power to the national electricity grid in 2011 with a 50 MW plant and Geodynamics is targeting production of more than 500 MW by 2016.”

    I extracted the above from the Geodynamics website, at

    http://www.geodynamics.com.au/IRM/Company/ShowPage.aspx?CPID=1864&EID=10000000

    In your project scene for SA’s energy supply in 2020 you talk of 50 MW from HDRGE. I know that there were problems recently at Habenero 3 – but they seem to be back under control.

    Additionally Geodynamics is not the only company drilling into hot rock. A much smaller start-up, Torrens Energy,

    http://www.torrensenergy.com/announcements/090414_davenport.pdf

    is drilling near Port Augusta, a couple of hundred metres from the Davenport substation which is on the 275 kV power line between Adelaide and Olympic Dam.

    HDRGE does have a lot of promise – well worth the SA government putting $1.6 m on it. It could be providing a lot of ‘renewable’ energy well before 2020.

    (For the record I indirectly have small shareholdings in both GDY and TEY).

    Kind regards,

    David Murray

  7. I thought it was strange a few months back when a rectifier station for Basslink HVDC overheated due to SA demand. That was the station on the Tas side of Bass Strait which couldn’t cope with 35C. When Adelaide air cons go ballistic in 46C weather I know wind farms like Wattle Pt on Yorke Pensinsula contribute little. However dam levels in Tassie immediately plummet to chase high spot prices. Tas re-imports cheap mainland coal power slowly over autumn hoping the dams refill. Electricity imports were over 20% in 2008 and rising, up from 92% hydro 8% gas 0% coal in 2006. Hardly a triumph for renewables as Finrod points out.

    I’m not sure if Norseman WA and Pt Augusta SA could immediately use an HVDC connector with 2GW capacity. However an energy plant and desal on the Bight could send 120 ML/day and 700 MW to Roxby Downs via a separate corridor then put the surplus power on the Nullarbor connector. The desert coast has plenty of sun, wind and relatively cold (<25C) sea water. Therefore those generating plants could be a mix of wind, solar, old design nukes and new nukes. That way SA could more honestly claim to be self sufficient in electrical generation.

    PS I would love to see the Playford B power station at Pt Augusta dynamited. A dark satanic mill if ever there was one.

  8. In actual fact SA wind farms were contributing 160MW during the Bass-Link breakdown.

    Nuclear will be fine, as well as wind and solar and geothermal, but it’s unlikely to contribute to 2020 targets, best hope that nuclear can contribute to 2030 targets of what >50% non-FF electricity?

  9. Barry,
    This lists the completed farms(739MW as of Oct 2008)) I think I saw 100MW presently under construction(one extension of Hallet by Infigen), note projections of 1500-2000MW by 2015
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_South_Australia
    The SA government had a story on ABC about>50% of Australia’s wind energy from SA.
    This article just came out about the Silverton wind farm in NSW (near Broken Hill), as far as I can determine it’s going to be 400-600MW(over 5 years), it always annoys me that they quote “provide electricity for 200,000 homes” possibly one desalination plant?. A good site to have some solar CSP and combine the output along one set of transmission lines
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/06/03/2588555.htm

    This very optimistic site shows the miss-match between wind resources and electricity consumption, with relatively poor wind resources in NSW, but excellent in WA and SA. Best long term hope for NSW may be nuclear.
    http://www.geocities.com/daveclarkecb/Australia/WindPPotential.html#Potential%20on-shore%20wind%20development%20in%20Australia

  10. Finrod,
    SA has virtually no hydro resources in the state, linking to the TAS hydro and Snowy hydro is critical for wind power just as it is critical for coal power in NSW or would be for nuclear power.Only NG power can be economic without hydro peak power and as WA shows is more expensive.

    Most places on Earth don’t have sufficient local hydro resources. The point I was making was more trying to address the renewables advocates who suggest that they can meet all demand.

    Whatever mix is put in place over the next decade or two,the demand for power will eventually far outstrip the capacity of hydro to balance it out. We are eventually going to need some form of load-following nuclear. I don’t pretend to currently know the best technological option for that.

  11. Barry, this is very interesting stuff, particularly in reference to the announced 33 per cent renewables target by 2020. I am doing alot of work on the politics of climate change with a london-based thinktank, looking at creating a new policy mix for an effective and lasting politics of climate change.

    We commissioned some work recently from the climate change adviser to the Japanese PM who also drew on figures in Australia.

    Maybe worth a look http://www.policy-network.net/politicsofclimatechange

    and will definitely feed it in to a project we are doing on the politics of climate change.

  12. Finrod,
    True, most places do not have local hydro,but almost everywhere is within a few 1000 km’s of very significant hydro, and as in the case of Iowa, Beijing or South Australia they are connected via HVDC or HVAC to that hydro. What’s the problem with long distance HVDC?
    Exceptions would be islands( Japan, UK) but they can build more pumped storage and the UK is installing HVDC connections to Europe. I am sure nuclear will always be cheaper to run at maximum power output even if 20% of the power is lost via pumped storage losses,or 3-5% HVDC losses, rather than shut down and lose income.

  13. I can only see this as positive – a region with abundant renewable energy potential should be actively moving to make use of it. That SA will have coal fired power from elsewhere as backup is an issue, however the geothermal energy will be baseload and I had the impression there is potentially significant amounts of it. Still, $1.6M is not big dollar investment and I would have thought there are no huge technological hurdles to getting it up and running; the bigger issues being water supply in arid regions (although I understand one test drill location might better be called Wet Rock, and produces steam without feeding water in) and grid connections are issues and I hope a small test plant can rapidly be expanded into significant energy supply. I expect it will cost a lot, lot more than 1.6M.

    I think we have to plan for major renewables and see carbon taxes imposed at levels that make them attractive. The limitations (I’m still not convinced that large scale energy storage has really been given R&D resources in line with the enormous future need for it – it’s not currently needed, so not much effort is put into it) will make Barry’s favoured IFR Nuclear option look increasingly attractive but until that’s taken up by mainstream Australia we have no choice but to push renewables as far and as fast as possible. CSP with short term storage (Ausra style?) geographically spread out can smooth out a lot of the day/night variations and Geothermal, as baseload backup and presumably able to respond rapidly to shifting demand looks very worthwhile, deserving firmer plans for it’s large scale utilisation and serious planning of infrastructure to support it.

  14. When Cooper Basin has only a sparrow’s fart of gas left I see the powers that be have it all worked out
    http://www.pipeliner.com.au/map/map.html
    The dotted lines on the map are future pipelines. Thus Moomba could get natural gas from northwest WA or perhaps coal seam methane from Qld. Note the dotted line from Moomba to Olympic Dam.

    I suggest if geothermal baseload doesn’t arrive in five years we try something else. Critics of nuclear say it is expensive and hazardous and critics of wind power say it is unreliable. But they both work unlike dry rock geothermal.

  15. Neil Howes – “This very optimistic site shows the miss-match between wind resources and electricity consumption, with relatively poor wind resources in NSW, but excellent in WA and SA. Best long term hope for NSW may be nuclear.”

    Or solar thermal:

    This is the solar radiation map for July:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/cgi_bin_scripts/solar-radiation.cgi

    and summer:
    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/cgi_bin_scripts/solar-radiation.cgi

    and annual average
    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/cgi_bin_scripts/solar-radiation.cgi

    There is absolutely no reason why solar thermal should not be successful in the west of NSW that can also supply Victoria. We can have large solar thermal plants long before nuclear gets off the ground

    In fact we may get some of our own technology back if Ausra get the nod for this:
    http://www.ausramediaroom.com/press17May09.php

    and
    http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/2009/budmr20090512i.html

    Mind you the money of CCS in my opinion is completely wasted and would be far better spent on more solar, wind or even GEN IV nuclear.

  16. Ender,
    It is probably going to take 5 years to ramp up solar to the rate that wind is being added now, and certainly nuclear could be started within that time.
    Either could work,and in fact considerable wind could be added to NSW and VIC by 2020.
    It would make more sense in my opinion for NSW and VIC to import wind from SA and especially TAS while solar is being expanded, but states have state priorities not national ones. Perhaps they will do with solar what SA did with wind.

  17. There are long-running debates on the issue of the use of fossil fuel versus the need for renewables on blogs by staunch UK environmentalists Jonathan Porritt and Mark Lynas. As I posted to Mark Lynas’s blog “A new Green Era” on 22nd Feb.
    “Over three times as much fossil fuel is stored as methane clathrate as of coal, oil and natural gas combined. This will become the major source of energy for powering economic growth in the 21st century. Countries world-wide (especially China, Japan and India in Asia, Canada and USA in North America and Germany and Russia in European) are keenly interested in developing economic methane extraction technologies. Scientists are developing methods for replacing the methane in ocean sediment and permafrost clathrate deposits with CO2 obtained from fossil fuel exhaust gases. Five times as much CO2 is stored in clathrate as is released as methane and the resulting CO2 clathrate is more stable. China and India expect to be able to begin the systematic mining of methane hydrate within the next decade”.

    As an agnostic regarding human-made climate change I cannot see why we should not be suppporting those energy companies who are eagerly investigating new methods of extracting further fossil fuel from the abundant resources still left. I have reviewed a lot of the debate on both sides of the argument over the past two years since reading Mark Lynas’s scare-mongering propaganda booklet “Six Degrees ..” and have been most impressed by papers by Dr. Roy Spencer, Dr. Tsonis and by Dr. John Nicol’s paper “Climate Change (a fundamental analysis of the greenhouse effect)” see http://www.ruralsoft.com.au/ClimateChange.doc). These analyses strengthens my agnosticism, but in an effort to remain open-minded I searched for any scientific paper that showed in as much detail how Dr. Nicol’s analysis might be flawed. I have been unable to find such a paper. Dr. Nicol tells me that he has invited peer review but has received nothing but supporting comments. It seems to me that it is important for those scientists like Professor Brook who support the argument of human-made climate change through our use of fossil fuels carry out a thorough review of Dr. Nicol’s analysis and show precisely where he has erred (if he has done so).

    Are you able or willing to do this? If not, why not? Until this is done I don’t believe that we lay agnostics, who I guess constitute by far the largest proportion of the population, will change our opinions.

    Regards, Pete Ridley, Human-made Global Warming Agnostic

  18. I welcome the Premier’s higher target and think that it will be exiting to push the envelope on cramming more renewables into the State’s grid and find out just where the upper limitations are, New and different renewable sources such as geothermal based electricity can assist in managing intermittent sources but need to be linked with new and better transmission systems. It seems like just yesterday when people were advising me that the grid could not be managed with more than about 10% renewables from wind.

    I also think that those that will financially contribute to our current target and this new target deserve some recognition. SA claims use for all renewable energy generated in the state as the electricity is used in the state. However, the underlying driver for additional renewable energy is the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target and the need for Renewable Energy Certificates by liable wholesalers and retailers to meet their Renewable Power Percentage that they need when selling electricity to their customers.

    In 2009 the Renewable Power Percentage is 3.64% and some additional voluntary renewables are purchased. The rest of the Renewable Energy Certificates (the major proportion of SA’s renewable energy certificates) are largely purchased by liable wholesalers and retailers in other states.

    I have not seen any concrete state by state contribution targets to the overall Australian target in the expanded RET exposure draft Bill or Regulations and unless someone can point these out to me, I assumes that the expanded RET will work just like the current MRET so it will be a case of investment flowing to where there is a natural and/or business comparative advantage.

    So thankyou other states!

    You are helping SA do great things. We claim use and you pay for most it.

    We can claim that we are doing more than you, and you pay us to make this claim.

    Unfortunately, despite the fact that you pay for much of our renewable energy, your scope 2 emissions are not lower. When emissions trading starts, you won’t be receiving lower carbon costs as a result of the renewables you buy from South Australia under the proposed CPRS framework either, but we in SA can benefit so long as we don’t create a carbon economy that builds in fairness.

    A better approach might be that we acknowledge the National renewable energy drive (and payment), build in a fair ‘user receives benefits’ approach into the market frameworks and then it will be fine to compete on making the conditions favourable to attract investment into regions and states.

  19. Another post of mine (to Jonathan Porritt’s blog “Renewables” on 31st March) would appear to me to be just as relevant with regard to what is happening to the poor old tax payers in Australia. QUOTE:
    What a waste of taxpayers’ money the Climate Change Act was, just to create a smoke-screen for increasing tax revenues. Of course Labour is not serious about a “green recovery package”. The only “green” Labour is interested in is green votes, the rest is all propaganda. Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister Sammy Wilson recently referred to a Labour climate change advertisement as “insidious propaganda campaign” and said that he had no intention of supporting “New Labour propaganda”. (Well done Sammy Wilson). (see my submission to your “Green New Deals” blog on 26th Feb.).
    This dying Labour government cynically signed us up to that ridiculous “Europe-wide process that mandates the UK to source 15% of all its energy (electricity, heat and transport) from renewables by 2020″. They know full well that they’d be out of office and have left an economic mess that was still being sorted out by the Conservatives. By 2020 the world’s politicians will have to acknowledge that significant human-made global climate change was a confidence trick because we’ll be experiencing global cooling. “Ministerial words clearly count for little at the moment” and in the past and in the future. Who trusts them?
    It’s not only Spain’s Iberdrola but also our own Centrica (British Gas) that have pulled back from developing renewable energy sources. Centrica has postponed its giant £750M Skegness offshore wind farm program allegedly due to rising costs but it is worthy of note that they are in talks with the Government about getting more tax-payers money for this work. As the Government has no intention of trying to meet its totally unnecessary and very expensive renewable energy and CO2 emissions targets I doubt very much that Centrica will get significant amounts of extra money. They’ll have to secure their long term future using their own money, not sponging off the taxpayer. With the ready availability of fossil fuels for decades yet these projects can be postponed without any detrimental effect upon global climates or more importantly, upon global economic development. That will be the most pressing issue for us all for years yet, particularly for the UK. Quite simply, renewable energy is currently not competitive with fossil fuels and will remain noncompetitive for decades. It is only taxpayer subsidies that make them appear to be worthwhile, but the world does not yet need them”. UNQUOTE
    I repeat my question of Professor Brook (or any other scientists of similar status) regarding Dr. Nicol’s paper “Climate Change (a fundamental analysis of the greenhouse effect)” available at http://www.ruralsoft.com.au/ClimateChange.doc. Are you able or willing to undertake a thorough review of Dr. Nicol’s analysis and show precisely where he has erred (if he has done so? If not, why not? Until this is done I don’t believe that we lay agnostics will change our opinions.

    Regards, Pete Ridley, Human-made Global Warming Agnostic

  20. Mr Nicol only need submit his paper to a scientific journal and he’ll get his peer review. I wonder why he hasn’t done so, if he believes he’s made a serious contribution to the science. Or perhaps (I am only speculating here), he has, and has had the paper rejected — in which case he would have the reviews. Either way, the avenue for proper evaluation of Mr Nicol’s work is quite clear.

  21. I had a quick look at Nicol’s paper and it struck me as another
    “Gerlich and Tscheuschner” effort.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/10/loons-take-flight-as-halloween-nears.html

    Except that G&T was actually published, as was at least one refutation:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/04/end-of-road-thanks-to-everyone-who.html

    Thermodynamics is deep magic masquerading as common sense .. if Dr Nicol’s
    thinks he’s found a flaw in the usual model, then he should do as
    Barry says and submit to an appropriate journal.

    Pending that, I’d be betting that Nicol’s is wrong, on the
    following grounds (at least):

    1) Hansen’s GISS models use the “conventional” thermodynamics/physics to
    model global temperature.

    2) If Nicol’s is right and a trebling of CO2 would do very little
    (p.24) to temperature, then Hansen’s 1988 predictions would be way off … which they aren’t …

    So Nicol’s is wrong.

  22. Dear readers, I’m continuing this debate over Dr. Nicol’s paper on http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/. Professor Brook’s response does not help the environmenmtalist cause at all.

    Geoff Russel, “I’d be betting that Nicol’s is wrong” is adopting the same approach that the environmentalists and politicians are taking – gambling with the economic well-being of deprived people around the globe.

    Regards, Pete Ridley, Human-made Global Warming Agnostic

  23. Pete,

    You are saying that addressing climate change is, “gambling with the economic well-being of deprived people around the globe”.

    Firstly,not addressing climate change is a risker gamble (on both factors of propbility and impact).

    Secondly, what factors have left vulnerable people deprived? How are you proposing increasing the well being of the vulnerable. I’ve some idea of what is required, do you?

  24. Pingback: Climatico » Australia’s Clean Energy State – SA powers ahead with renewable energy

  25. “Are you able or willing to undertake a thorough review of Dr. Nicol’s analysis and show
    precisely where he has erred (if he has done so? If not, why not? Until this is done I
    don’t believe that we lay agnostics will change our opinions.”

    Pete Ridley, does this mean that you will maintain your opinion as long as:

    1) Someone, anyone, disagrees with the AGW theory, and
    2) You can’t understand their argument?

    If you don’t understand Niocols’ analysis, what makes you think you’d understand a critique of it?

  26. typo in first post: deploment
    —————
    Question about fractured-rock geothermal, having just read this story — what concerns me isn’t the possibility of a problem, but the denial by the TCU geologists interviewed that there could possibly be a problem.

    And there’s that recent blowout mentioned in the first post.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    –excerpt—
    Cleburne quakes probably related to gas drilling, expert says
    12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, June 9, 2009
    By SHERRY JACOBSON and DAVID TARRANT / The Dallas Morning News
    Three small earthquakes that rattled Cleburne in the past six days were probably caused by intense natural gas drilling, the state’s leading expert on earthquakes said Monday.
    “Most people would probably conclude if they looked at the data that they would be related,” said Cliff Frohlich, associate director and senior research scientist at the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin.
    Other scientists, however, were not so certain that any connection could be confirmed.
    John Breyer, professor of geology at Texas Christian University, said residents need not worry that the drilling could be causing earthquakes.
    “Sometimes these things just happen. It’s like the weather,” he said. “Sometimes it rains a lot and other times not at all.”
    The tremors appear to be the first ever recorded in Cleburne, a city of 30,000 about 50 miles southwest of Dallas.
    Cleburne sits near the heart of the North Texas Barnett Shale gas field. Since 2001, more than 200 natural gas wells have been drilled within the city limits.
    Surrounding Johnson County has more than 1,000 gas wells.

    –end excerpt—

    I wonder how much “excess” strength would be expected in any geological strata, given how slow most areas change over time, and whether anyone’s thought through whether fracturing a whole lot of rock in an area doesn’t weaken the structure enough to set off a long process of little readjustments around it. Is there something equivalent to the “angle of repose” for the stability of areas like this

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