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Open Thread 8 – BNC Christmas and New Year 2011

So, the year that was — 2010 — comes to a close, with 115 more BraveNewClimate blog posts in the archives, 13,500 more comments and 430,000 extra hits.

Thanks to all the many BNC guest posters (Gene Preston, Geoff Russell, Peter Lang, John Morgan, DV82XL, Marion Brook, Tony Kevin, John Rolls, Paul Babie, Jim Green, Tom Wigley, George Stanford, Len Koch, Rob Parker, Michael Goggin), numerous regular (and irregular) commenters, and the thousands of readers (including RSS subscribers and general lurkers), for keeping this online community as a thriving and interesting place to visit.

Here’s a toast to another interesting and productive year in 2011!

I’ll be taking a blogger’s holiday for a few weeks over the period 25 December 2010 to 8 January 2011. It’s as good a time as any for a writing break, given that this is a traditionally quiet period in the World of WordPress. From past experience in 2008 and 2009, the blog’s hits and comments dwindle to a trickle over this holiday period, as people go offline and get a life — or else burn their candles at both ends in merriment, partying, relaxing and [in Australia] taking summer holidays. So it’s a good time for me to also recharge my intellectual batteries. Not that I’ll go away entirely — I’ll still be hanging around online and commenting here and there, as the mood takes me. The conversation never dies, it merely quietens!

Still, that certainly doesn’t mean that YOU can’t have your say, about anything to do with climate change or energy, really. That’s what this Christmas and New Year Open Thread is for…

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

324 replies on “Open Thread 8 – BNC Christmas and New Year 2011”

bryen there is no way that new Victorian wind farms purpose built to ‘offset’ the Wonthaggi desal can be CO2 neutral. Without new wind the brown coal dominated Vic grid could average something like 1.2 tCO2 per Mwh. Using UK data wind displaces about 0.4 tCO2 per Mwh therefore we want 3 delivered units of new wind to displace every old system unit. But wind itself may only have 25% capacity factor so we really want 3/.25 or 12 times as much windpower nameplate to achieve CO2 neutrality.

I understand the Wonthaggi desal will draw about 100 MW at full tilt in a dry year. Thus Victoria will need about 1,200 MW of new nameplate windpower to achieve CO2 neutrality just for this one plant.

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John Newlands :

Thanks, thats what I thought. The same with Capital wind farm in Canberra & the desal in Sydney. I was just making sure, as I’m not familiar with that project, that someone had’nt suddenly invented some large scale wind storage… :)

How about this one from Diesendorf’s sub p11/12:

4.4 Wind power can substitute for coal power

….. For example, 2700 MW of wind turbines may have an
average power output of about 850 megawatts, which is about the same as the average power output of a 1000 MW coal-fired power station. Therefore, such a power station could be retired at the end of its operating life (or never installed in the first place) and replaced with 2700 MW of wind power, which would generate the same annual average quantity of
electricity.

—–

!!!!

This is a submission to a Senate Inquiry. Anyone here agree with those statements ??? I dont.

At the last Inquiry, NSW 2009 on wind farms, he trotted the same stuff out, and they believed him! The reset of us on the other hand were labelled as confused or mis-informed by the committee report…. I hope the outcome of this Senate Inquiry will be better than 2009.

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Bryen,

You quoted Diesendorf’s submission to the Senate enquiry as saying:

4.4 Wind power can substitute for coal power

….. For example, 2700 MW of wind turbines may have an average power output of about 850 megawatts, which is about the same as the average power output of a 1000 MW coal-fired power station. Therefore, such a power station could be retired at the end of its operating life (or never installed in the first place) and replaced with 2700 MW of wind power, which would generate the same annual average quantity of electricity.

Such a statement demonstrates desparation. Diesendorf would know this is not true. It would seem he is intentionally misleading the senators.

Is there no end to the dishonesty that renewable energy advocates will go to to push their beliefs. This dishonest, over-the top, advocacy reflects more widely than just renewable energy believers.

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The PM has said there will be a fixed carbon price starting 1/7/12 followed by an ETS in 2015
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/labor-to-impose-carbon-tax-next-year-ets-in-2015/story-e6frg6xf-1226004719022

If I recall the Rudd govt was elected in 2007 on a promise to begin an ETS in 2009, later postponed then cancelled. However there seems to be little detail on the Gillard scheme
– initially $x per tonne of CO2. What is x?
– is petrol included?
– can big users deduct carbon credits?
– will PAYE tax and pensions be adjusted?
– is it additional to RET?

Apparently generators and big power users like aluminium smelters will be compensated. What is the purpose of that compo? Maybe it is to fund a switch in technologies such as combined cycle gas instead of coal. Or maybe they can exit the industry and leave the money in the bank.

We need a lot more detail on the net costs and avowed aims of the compensation. However I believe even a measly $10 per tonne sends a clear signal that big emitters are on notice and the future may be tough.

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John Newlands,

However I believe even a measly $10 per tonne sends a clear signal that big emitters are on notice and the future may be tough.

I see it differently. Emitters will pass on the price increase. The Australian mentioned today that the initial carbon tax is expected to be $20/t and it will increase at 4% pa (real); ie 4% plus inflation so about 7% pa.

That is on top of the other increases coming through caused by 20 years of government interventions and never ending policy and regulatory changes.

$20/t amounts to about a 50% increase in wholesale prices and abouit 25% increase in retail prices.

It will entrench gas generation, so the costs will increase by probably another 100% over a relatively short period due to the increasing gas prices.

And what is all this for. It will do squat all to cut world emissions and squat all to change the climate. It is a symbolic gesture to appease those who can’t think clearly.

I post this again and urge readers attempt to understand it:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/climate-adviser-misses-the-point/story-e6frg6zo-1226003951163

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Clarrification:
“$20/t amounts to about a 50% increase in wholesale prices and abouit 25% increase in retail prices.

That statemet refers to electricty generated from coal. Coal’s contribution is about 80%, so the figure for the whole system would be around 90% of the figures quoted above (very roughly, of course).

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They say everyone talks about the weather, but no-one does anything about it. Well, someone is.

More details on “Big Ideas” sampler show: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/stories/2011/02/15/3136810.htm I will be on for 1 full hr on Sat 5 hours ago

Watch me on ABC TV’s “Big Ideas” show, next Tuesday 15 February at 11am, details here: http://goo.gl/YWl7b

One hour of intelligent interrogation is a great communication opportunity, Barry. This is a good gig.

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Thanks John. According to my sources, the Short Cuts show on Tues, Feb 15 at 11am features excepts of TCASE #4. The one hour version of the event will show on ABC News 24 at 1pm on Sat Feb 19, and is basically the whole kaboodle. I’m excited that they’ve decided to show this on national TV!

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(Australian) pollie watch. ALP Senator for South Australia Annette Hurley in the Senate on 9 February:

Finally, I want to talk further about the proposed carbon tax and what we are going to do about the climate change debate. I was very pleased to hear the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, talk this morning on television in very practical terms about reducing pollution and making our industries more carbon efficient. I just want to mention a quote by James Fallows in the Atlantic, December 2010, in an article entitled ‘Dirty coal, clean future’. He said:

“Overall, coal-burning power plants provide nearly half (about 46 percent this year) of the electricity consumed in the United States. For the record: natural gas supplies another 23 percent, nuclear power about 20 percent, hydroelectric power about 7 percent, and everything else the remaining 4 or 5 percent. The small size of the “everything else” total is worth noting; even if it doubles or triples, the solutions we often hear the most about won’t come close to meeting total demand. In China, coal-fired plants supply an even larger share of much faster-growing total electric demand: at least 70 percent …”

In short, coal is here to stay. Although we will put a lot of effort into alternative power sources, we need to face the fact that we need baseload power. We need coal and we may well need nuclear power in the future. I think that, more and more, we should concentrate on how that is going to work—looking at not only other forms of renewable power but how coal and nuclear power are going to continue.

Now that Ferguson has well and truly come out and laid his cards on the table, it will be interesting to see how many more ALP MPs will now feel emboldened to follow suit.

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Then in the same debate, Liberal Senator for Queensland Sue Boyce:

I thank Senator Hurley for her suggestion that nuclear energy is an issue that must be addressed and properly assessed and properly debated by this house. This is not a view that is shared, I know, by a lot of her colleagues but, if we are to go to a low emissions, energy efficient future, nuclear energy must be on the list. More and more of the research that is becoming available suggests that this can now be done, given rising power prices, at comparable cost to the ongoing use of coal….

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Mark Duffet,

There is certainly a change in the air :)

There is no way we would ahve seen so many positive references to nuclear even a year ago, let alone before the Howard commissioned UMPNE report (chaired by Ziggy Switkowski) hit the streets in December 2006.

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