Open Thread 16

The Open Thread is a general discussion forum, where you can talk about whatever you like — there is nothing ‘off topic’ here — within reason. So get up on your soap box! The standard commenting rules of courtesy apply, and at the very least your chat should relate to the general content of this blog.

The sort of things that belong on this thread include general enquiries, soapbox philosophy, meandering trains of argument that move dynamically from one point of contention to another, and so on — as long as the comments adhere to the broad BNC themes of sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and policy, energy security, climate impacts, etc.

You can also find this thread by clicking on the Open Thread category on the cascading menu under the “Home” tab.

Note 1: For reference, the last general open thread (from 16 April 2011) was here.

Note 2: I’m currently inordinately busy (but also having a lot of fun!) at the Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 in Waterloo, Canada. Once I get a chance to draw breath, I’ll post more about the summit on BNC. But we’re currently working intense 14 hour days (I’m not kidding), so I’ve not got much physical or mental energy left in me by the time I get back to my hotel room at night!

However, if you want to follow some of the events, the Canadian television station TVO is covering the whole summit. I was on a panel session yesterday (Benchmarking our Energy Future: see the video here), which also featured four really interesting short animated videos on energy; I will also be part of a 1-hour episode of Steve Paikin’s The Agenda on Friday night (Canadian time — but also available on the TVO website — more details to follow).

More on the WGSI Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 in the next blog post.

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593 Comments

  1. I wonder if anyone has started to look at ways to prevent an earthquake from affecting a nuclear power plant (NPP)? What is seismic equivalent of a jet crashing into a NPP? Do we need to add flooding to the list of threats when evaluating seismic effect on a NPP? Places near bodies of water matter but so do places below dams and near sea level. I wanted to tackle the seismic issue because regulators are demanding standards be met. If seismic events happen infrequent then are regulators justified?

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  2. A friend of mine wrote this to me recently — I thought it was worth sharing:

    There is an important piece in the Oz today: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/u-turn-puts-germany-ahead-of-race/story-e6frg6ux-1226067426329

    Kaletzky is an influential commentator, I think. He argues that the subsidies and general abandonment of trust in the workings of the market that will follow Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power will eventually pay off by making Germany the world leader in replacing fossil fuels. To back this up he makes explicit a core assumption that is usually left unsaid. Here are his words:

    And, by subsidising investment in renewable technologies, the German government will accelerate the reduction of costs through mass production, allowing renewables to displace fossil fuels more quickly around the world.

    There is consistent evidence to show that most people believe this statement, which is the only rational justification for further public investment. On the other hand there is little evidence for its truth, other than wishful thinking and some self-serving tripe dished up by the usual suspect advocates.

    Supporters of nuclear energy must start to convince the public that there is a greater rationale for subsidising the further development of nuclear power than renewables. That is, public investment in the remaining areas of public concern for nuclear power, like improving safety and waste disposal, would bring far greater returns than in renewable energy.

    The predictable counter argument will be that ‘nuclear power can never be made safe’. In my view the proper retort should be ‘renewables can never be made cheap and reliable’. Of course, I can see that there is a degree of dogma in that statement that represents a departure from the usual (i.e. our) scientific standards of caution and balance. The end justifies the means.

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  3. Recently Dear Senator said that “The so-called Climate Commission is a Labor government-appointed committee of known climate alarmists, selectively appointed … to further the cause of global warming alarmism” (from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/make-carbon-tax-hurt-julia-gillard-advised/story-fn59niix-1226061007488).

    I wrote to him and said that I have yet to see a case why we should not be alarmed about the predicted effects of climate change. I asked him to direct me to resources that demonstrate that this risk is so minimal that it can be safely ignored.

    He suggested I read a book by Professor Robert M Carter called Climate: The Counter Consensus, which he claims demolishes the theory of anthropogenic global warming!

    I replied saying I have looked at the Australian Climate Science Coalition website (www.auscsc.org.au) in the past and didn’t notice a case that ‘demolishes the theory of anthropogenic global warming.’ I also wrote that I did not believe that it is possible to make this case and that it would need to point out fundamental flaws in the approach to the science used by climate scientists. Further, I wrote that if this case does exist, many of us would have reason to be relaxed and confident about the future of our planet. Indeed, there would be reason for optimism rather than alarm (provided we ignore other effects of burning fossil fuels such as pollution and acidification of the oceans).

    Senator Minchin replied that he had read Carter’s book at found it persuasive.

    I was wondering if any BNC readers were familiar with the case that ‘demolishes the theory of anthropogenic global warming’?

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  4. A couple of random thoughts without links. Treasury modelling suggests we are headed for renewables nirvana post carbon tax. I think their modelling implies that if a technology ‘needs’ $40 carbon tax then we’ll still get 50% uptake with $20 tax. I think we’ll get zero uptake because it’s a non-linear threshold effect, just like that other well known issue.

    Until shown otherwise I have an open mind on seawater pumped hydro and ‘wind fuel’ synthetic hydrocarbons. Even if calculations are out by 100% ie true costs are double, they shouldn’t be dismissed. Any back of the envelope demolition job would need to be convincing.

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  5. The present German situation will probably last as long as the present German government which is probably not that long.
    In any case the Russians are no doubt having a quiet giggle as the market for their NG appears to be assured for a while yet.Meanwhile they are continuing with their nuclear build.
    I’ll back Ivan over Hans in the Common Sense Stakes any day.

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  6. John Newlands, I would hazzard a guess that Treasury modelling did NOT warn of the GFC which is more in their bailiwick than energy of any sort.

    Even the Greens think that a carbon tax will not be sufficient and further measures will be required.Of course,their idea of further measures would be renewables only.

    BTW,cloudy day here in SE QLD and my 5.4 kw PV system has generated 6.3 kwh for the day. This is about half of what I could reasonably expect for a fairly sunny day at this time of year.

    It’s no problem for me but I wouldn’t like to be depending on this sort of performance for base load power.

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  7. Latest Roy Morgan Poll – Majority of Australians (53%) don’t want the carbon tax

    It seems the Australian public is really starting to wake up to the fact the Carbon Tax will do nothing for the environment but will certainly damage the economy. I wonder if the Labor-Greens government will take notice.
    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2011/4672/

    The Federal Two Party Proffered chart, near the bottom of the page, shows a very clear trend.

    I watched the Treasurer’s speech today to the Press Club. H accuses the Coalition of scaremongering. But the whole Labor-Greens approach is based on its own scaremongering – if we don’t tax carbon the Barrier Reef will die, Kakadu will die, The Murray-Darling will lose half its water and Australia will get no more tourists. What a load of codswallop. A carbon tax will have no effect on world emissions or on the climate. The Treasurer is scaremongering. Clearly people are beginning to recognise this.

    He also dismissed nuclear again with “People have concerns about nuclear safety”. While Labor is intent on continuing its 50 year scare campaign about nuclear, why on earth would any rational person trust them to implement another of their devastatingly bad policies – a policy we cannot easily undo.

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  8. Another potential breakthrough for EV’s — “Cambridge Crude” — a thick black gooey battery fluid that might be as easy to ‘refill’ at a service station as petrol. I miss Better Place’s concept of just swapping out the whole battery on automated servos (faster than you could refill a petrol car!). But Better Place are being cautious because of all these quick charge batteries and now ‘quick fill’ batteries that are coming on the market.

    How bizarre that one possible battery replacement for petroleum looks so much like petroleum!

    http://tinyurl.com/3ee65dn

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  9. EN the article doesn’t say what chemicals are in the flow battery electrolyte, The 4-valent vanadium used in the shed sized battery on King Island is supposed to be particularly toxic. The thing about synthetic hydrocarbons if they burn to CO2 and H2O those products get recycled within the biosphere.

    On the other hand piston engines and gearboxes are inefficient compared to electric drive. I think flushing fresh electrolyte is going to be easier than a Better Place style battery swap, particularly if you can then drive out to the country for a few hours.

    Re Germany I think they are confident right now since their economy grew in the last quarter, If they tank after ditching NP I think they will reconsider as early as next year.

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  10. According to this paper:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1002/aenm.201100152/asset/supinfo/aenm_201100152_sm_suppl.pdf?v=1&s=6d65f2a828fb8bcd85e9dc4705d9cdb238c4ea2f

    The catholyte composition consists of 20 vol% of a iron-containing olivine powder with 1 vol%, in an electrolyte consisting of 1.3M LiPF6 in alkyl carbonate blend. The anolyte contains 6 vol% Li4Ti5O12 and 1 vol% of a 70:30 mixture by mass of 1,3-dioxolane and LiBETI (lithium bis (pentafluorosulfonyl) imide.

    However note too that the parasitic energy loss percentages as a function of flow rate are rather high when the system is pushed to provide higher currents.

    This is many years away from a viable commercial product..

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  11. Kirk Sorensen is an engaging speaker. Various talks and excerpts from talks are available at http://energyfromthorium.com/2011/06/04/adventures-with-gordon/. The very long talk at Protospace includes a broad overview of nuclear power history and options, including a discussion of the technical issues with fast reactors. Comments welcome.

    Also: I guess that 2050-2100 there won’t be a big mix of energy for electricity. Instead the cheapest will dominate, as coal does today, with small bits of other stuff. So I’m trying to get a feel for what that will mean for various options. The rules are: (a) Everything electric, (b) 10 billion people; (c) European level average energy use (80 kWh/d in MacKay SEWTHA units); (d) Assume that we are in a steady state. For your preferred energy source (e.g. IFR): (1) How many power stations for the whole world, and rough cost and how long do they last; (2) what fuel and other resources do they consume; (3) issues like preparing fuel, waste management. Suggest post as comments on this thread or send to robert.kenneth.smart@gmail.com.

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  12. Pingback: Global meltdown animation | Lenz Blog

  13. I see a tweet from our Premier:

    ‘One day last August SA had around 60% of it’s power from renewables!’

    Unfortunately best case scenario type sentiments are enough to distort the real picture. It would be political suicide for someone to have a go at him for these comments though.

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  14. barry:

    if germany goes on a big renewables build (I’m not convinced at all), wouldn’t it have to be connected to desertec, which involves monumental geopolitical hurdles, leaving out the technological and financial barriers?

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  15. Gregory

    I think the Germans are outsourcing their Nuclear Industries to Poland and France. Looking at the economic situation, Germany is ‘currently’ flying high and have taken thier eyes off the ball happy to pay more to let other take the risks.

    Once again the Brits are probably on the money. Plans to build 14 new Nuclear stations and increase renewable capacity, eventually overtime if renewables prove cheaper then they will phase out nuclear in 50-60 years, and they don’t mind either way which technology proves the better. Sounds so completely reasonable it’s hard to believe.

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  16. http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175400/

    Michael Klare is always interesting even though he’s REALLY BAD ON NUCLEAR.

    what this article reveals is the pinch we face without nuclear.

    and I would call attention to one area in particular. That France voted to ban fracking, the first country to do so. But of course, THEY ARE JUST ABOUT THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT CAN DO (assuming countries have anything to frack) SO BECAUSE OF THEIR NUCLEAR SUPPLY.

    Klare does not realize this of course, which is infuriating.

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  17. @Barry

    In my view the proper retort should be “renewables can never be made cheap and reliable.

    To play the devils advocate: nuclear power isn’t cheap either. Who pays for cleaning up Chernobyl and Fukushima? Ukraine
    spends 5% of the national budget on Chernobyl-related issues.

    Despite that, only big heartless companies earn money with nuclear because the profits are privatized and risks are socialized. But everybody can put some solar panels on his house and earn money while saving the planet.

    (I know that nobody is going to save the planet just with solar panels on his house, but I’d like to hear what you say to such people.)

    On the reliability topic, let me quote/translate a typical german TV “discussion”:

    Jürgen Hambrecht [BASF]: “[You know as well as I, that] wind and solar alone can’t produce reliable base load. That’s not possible with current technology because we can’t store the energy.”

    Renate Künast [Greens]: “Right. For that we will stop spending research money on nuclear power and genetic engineering instead we will develop storage technology; if we build something, it will be natural gas plants. That will solve your problem.”

    And Künast received a huge applause from the audience.

    Around 63:40 of this video:
    http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/kanaluebersicht/aktuellste/414#/beitrag/video/1299824/Abgew�hlt-und-abgeschaltet

    Here in Italy the TV discussions are similarly funny/silly (quite entertaining actually :-) and many “commentators”, aka. journalists, consider the german strategy a reasonable model that we should follow.

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  18. Unfortunately the general understanding of Economics in many countries is so deficient that people can get away with comments like these.

    For example, the lack of critique of the Coalition ‘Direct Action Plan’ seems an apt example. Many an ABC journo wants to take them to task but they just don’t understand free-exchange or what the actual costs of interventionist policies can are. Heck, they support one with regard to the MRET and see it as a ‘correction of the failings of the free market’ rather than being releated to the tragedy of the commons.

    Nobody owns the ‘environment’, bar inept governments, so nobody has a real ‘economic’ interest in maintaining it. If you believe in the value of private property, as I do, then it follows that the best use of resources rationalises to those who use it most efficiently. Governments deal in votes and legacies and unknowingly/happily allow environmental degradation to certain degrees if it means taxation revenue, and the pure fact as Hayek put it ‘We can’t understand everything we know’ i.e. the spontaneous order of the market is beyond comprehension of any one individual.

    Over fishing being a classic example. Exclusion zones are seen as the answer but they are completely inefficient. Let someone own the fish farm and those with the more economically viable plan will gradually expand their business. What is more viable, taking all the fish out quickly and losing the revenue overnight, or controlling the numbers taken to ensure repeat business and charging slightly more (I’m thinking premium would be = to the length of the fish reproduction cycle x interest rate pa) as the capitalist wears this cost to save you from delayed consumption and then reinvests it, or if you are a public intellectual, steals it from the worker. Nobody really wins in the government barrier case and in the latter case, bar a few anomalies the market sorts it out.

    So with Nuclear, the more recent Libertarian arguments centre on a critique of ‘Limited Liability’ and how this distorts time preferences. The GFC being a key bone of contention. You can cost Nuclear; you just have to allow class actions for those impacted by an incident. If it’s economic then let the builder of a plant take out proper insurance before letting the project go ahead. If a company can cost the impact of an accident and calculate the premium then the builder must pay this before construction. This would reflect the true cost of Nuclear and perhaps even then it becomes too expensive. Governments and Big Business got together to produce this ‘out of jail clause’ as they themselves want nice positions at $100,000 a year as a retirement gift from lobbyists. If bankers lost all their belongings and not just their jobs and a few million, how much more risky averse would they actually be? Keynesians seem to believe in creative destruction being the answer, but any critique uncritical of the role of government seems a demarcation problem to me and we need to start challenging these assumption.
    Similarly with Coal, until pollution becomes an economic question we are chasing shadows with ‘The Environmentalist Religion’ running rampant. It wouldn’t be such a big issue if these people weren’t so influential as to completely swamp the old left with new hopes of socialist planning and then feed this to politicians. This Clique determines who/what people read in the public press and thus they also frame the debate in the country. The ETS whilst good in theory breaks all the rules in the book, put in trade barriers, is deterministic and provides certainty to Governments who then pick winners and losers. Another one of their favourite things being, not just spending our current money, but also spending future earnings whilst on guaranteed incomes for life.

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  19. @Robert Smart – The Kirk Sorensen videos are great – I was at Protospace and his energy is amazing.

    Barry – I look forward to seeing your presentation in the TVO coverage of Equinox. I note that they only seem to be dealing with electricity. Industrial heat should be in there as well – IIRC it’s the other half of our energy requirements.

    I’ve only started watching the Plugging in the Planet: Building Capacity for the Future video, and am very impressed. The first speaker, Jay Apt, presents results from real studies of time variability of wind and solar electric power generation. This is the kind of ‘ground truth’ I’ve been wanting to see. I think renewables advocates won’t be happy with the research; he says the variability is non-Gaussian with uncomfortably high frequencies of extreme events. The variability also results in strongly diminishing returns when combining output from geographically separate facilities.

    I know Barry will have a lot to report once he’s able, and I look forward to his posts.

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  20. Helmut Eller, on 7 June 2011 at 11:29 PM said:

    Who pays for cleaning up Chernobyl and Fukushima? Ukraine spends 5% of the national budget on Chernobyl-related issues.

    The 2011 National Budget for the Ukraine is about $40 billion.
    http://peoplefirst.org.ua/digest_2011-03_2_en.html

    The 2010 Operating revenue for the Tokyo Electric Power Company was $53.9 billion.
    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/corpinfo/ir/tool/annual/pdf/2010/ar201003-e.pdf

    At this point the cleanup costs estimates of the Fukushima accident are somewhat speculative. Tokyo Electric Power Company has as much financial resource as the Government of the Ukraine.

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  21. Robert Smart a global per person energy consumption of 80 kwh per day or 3.3 kw average times 10 billion people is 33 Tw. Current world energy use is 15 Tw. That’s where the Gen 4 vision starts to mist over; it’s hard to see that many reactors running in a world riven by conflict.

    Sean De Boo SA premier Mike Rann is inordinately proud of the State’s 867 Mw of nameplate windpower. Shame it only contributes 80 Mw or so during runs of successive 40C days when electrical demand is highest. I note in Machiavellian fashion Rann has deposed some of his colleagues. His new minerals industry minister Koutsantonis advocates a uranium enrichment industry. This cannot happen nor can the mining industry expand without a major new dispatchable power source. Thus the major connection between Rann and the wind is that he’s whistling into it.

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  22. Treasurer’s slight of hand?

    The Treasurer used two slights of hand in his Press Club speech yesterday:

    1. He accused the Opposition of scaremongering about the economic consequences of the proposed carbon price. Meanwhile he used scaremongering to say if we don’t implement a carbon price the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu will die and the Murray Darling Basin will lose half its water. This is scaremongering nonsense. The Carbon Tax will make no difference to world emissions and no difference to the climate. So the Treasurer is the one conducting the scare-mongering.

    2. The Treasurer quoted selectively from Treasury modelling to support his argument that a Carbon Price will not do much damage to the economy. However, he did not say the figures he quoted do not apply to the case where Australia achieves the 2020 emissions targets it has committed to, unilaterally. But, not surprisingly, and as a slight of hand, he says the Coalition’s policy would cost more to achieve the 2020 emissions targets. The Treasurer is not comparing equivalent policies. His figures are not the costs of achieving the 2020 targets but he says the Coalitions costs for doing so are higher. This is misleading and dishonest.

    My simple analysis persuades me that the Government’s carbon price would have to force Australia into a deep, 8-year recession if we are to achieve the 2020 emissions targets. The only way we can cute emissions sufficiently to achieve the targets is to cut GDP growth to negative.

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  23. I thought Mackay’s average for Europe was 125 kwh/person/day and not 80.

    Perhaps the difference is that the electricity portion is final use, not thermal?

    Peter Lang: the Jay Apt presentation linked above will interest you.

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  24. ////However, he did not say the figures he quoted do not apply to the case where Australia achieves the 2020 emissions targets it has committed to, unilaterally////
    You *know* it will be unilateral do you?

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  25. Households bear green scheme costs

    Consumers are paying $128 a year for myriad federal and state climate-change programs that already cost more than Julia Gillard’s proposed carbon tax to cut greenhouse emissions.

    New figures, … show that typical customers in NSW are paying $82 a year for federal green schemes and a further $46 a year for state schemes.

    This comprises a cost of $55 a tonne of carbon reduced – far more than the $20 to $40 a tonne expected under a carbon tax.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/consumers-already-paying-to-cut-carbon/story-e6frg6nf-1226071288454

    Ah but …. The deceipt here is … ‘$20 to $40 a tonne is a “honeymoon rate”. That price cannot achieve the 2020 emissions targets. The carbon price would have t o increase to the point where it causes a deep recession, lasting to 2020, if we want to cut our emissions to achieve the 2020 target.

    And remember, this is all pain for no gain. There is no benefit. An Australian carbon price, in the absence of an international agreement between the main emitting countries and in the absence of a strong bilateral resolve to implement nuclear at a LCOE less than coal, will have no effect on world emissions (it may actually increase them) and no effect on the climate.

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  26. Further to my previous comment about this:

    This comprises a cost of $55 a tonne of carbon reduced – far more than the $20 to $40 a tonne expected under a carbon tax.

    The statement is misleading. It implies that if we have a carbon price we will remove the Renewable Energy Targets, Renewable Energy Certificates, Feed in Tariffs, subsidies for solar and geothermal, pork barrelling for marginal electorates and independent Members of Parliament and the rest of the mess of subsidies, tax breaks etc for the political favourites. There is clearly no intention of doing any of this. In fact the Treasurer reiterated yesterday Labor’s 50 year opposition to nuclear power.

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  27. Peter as the OECD’s biggest per capita emitter and the world’s biggest coal exporter (possibly the biggest LNG exporter in future) I think Australia is morally obliged to set an example. It’s like a fat person getting on a bus and hoping all the other passengers are skinny so as not to be inconvenienced. The bus being a metaphor for global emissions.

    At 20 tonnes of annual CO2 per man woman and child Australia can hardly ask other countries with 4-7t to cut back on our behalf. I agree that economic growth is highly correlated with primary energy use and major cuts imply recession. But fossil fuels are going to run out eventually and most of us believe climate costs will continue to escalate. If we don’t to force the process of decarbonising then we will have a worst of both worlds situation, namely energy shortages combined with climate chaos. Thus I agree with carbon pricing just not on the practical details.

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  28. John Newlands,

    Peter as the OECD’s biggest per capita emitter and the world’s biggest coal exporter (possibly the biggest LNG exporter in future) I think Australia is morally obliged to set an example.

    Now we are getting to the nub of the issue. When we have to resort to the “moral” argument, there is no case. Those who resort to the moral argument have no rational argument left. They’ve lost it.

    What is morally right to you is morally wrong to me. You believe it is morally right to wreck the economy, or even risk wrecking the economy, for no gain. I see this as “stupid”. Damaging the economy has enormously serious consequences. We know what they are. We can look at the situation in the poor countries. We can look at what has happened in USA and EU as a result of the GFC. We can look back at the effects of Keating’s “Recession-We-Had-to-Have”. Many will recall the effects of 11% unemployed during Keating’s recession. If we are going to achieve the 2020 emissions targets, the recession will be much worse than Keating’s recession. And that is what you are arguing is morally justified are you? And for what benefit. For some ideological belief? But clearly, the carbon price will have no effect on word emissions and no effect on the climate, or Kakadu or the Great Barrier Reef or the Murray Darling Basin. It is just a moral argument.

    As I said at the top. You’ve exposed the nub of the issue. It is a moral argument by some.

    It is very interesting that no one wants to pursue the approach I posted here.
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/04/16/open-thread-15/#comment-129226

    By the way, we are not the OECD’s largest emitter – not by a long shot – on a properly comparable basis.
    http://www.ipa.org.au/news/2364/we-emit-less-co2-than-combet-gives-us-credit-for
    But it does suit those with a ‘Progressive’ agenda to argue that Australia is the bad guy.

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  29. John Newlands,

    Further to my previous comment, as long as the “Progressives” want to maintain the ban on nuclear, want to subsidise and mandate renewable energy, want to avoid a serious discussion about the economic consequences of the proposed Carbon Pricing need to achieve the 2020 emissions targets, and want to avoid having to admit that a Carbon Price in Australia will have no effect on world emissions or the climate, then clearly the “progressives” are arguing from an irrational point of view. They are, as always, trying to push their morals and beliefs on to those who clearly and correctly are not persuaded by their moralising.

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  30. @Barry Brooks:

    I don’t understand what is wrong with the statement you cited.

    There is clear evidence that the cost of solar per watt has dropped an average 7% per year over the last 30 years.

    http://p.tl/lXeN (Scientific American)

    And it makes only sense that a larger market caused in no small part by the German feed-in tariff subsidies has been one of the reasons for that decline in prices. There is no evidence for that, since we don’t know what would happened without the German programs, but it sure makes sense to me.

    If you oppose subsidies for renewable energy (I don’t), then you can rejoice in the fact that the Germans actually decided to cut subsidies for solar and hope to cut deployment in half from last years’ world record 7.4 gigawatt, because they think the resulting 3.5 euro cents per kw/h are too burdensome.

    Anyway, there certainly won’t be any large-scale subsidies for nuclear power from Germany in the next years.

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  31. As most people who have been following the international progress would realise, Australia committed unilaterally to a 5% reduction to its emisisons by 2020. No other country committed unilaterally as we did. All other countries made committments that had get out clause – their committment was dependent on the committment of others. I suspect no others shot themselves in the foot by continuing their 50 year ban on nuclear as well.

    Here is another point of view it:
    Unilaterla action creates costs without benefits

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/unilateral-action-creates-costs-without-benefits/story-fn59niix-1226013133637

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  32. Just attended a talk by Tim Hartford at the LSE on the GFC, which unfortunately used Nuclear power as a metaphor for the financial crisis.
    The general analogy being that ‘natural’ disasters are unavoidable and come about by two things: Complexity and Rigid Dependency. Hard to argue from control systems commissioning background about the issues with dependencies and unintended consequences. When things go wrong, tightly dependent systems generally aren’t easily recoverable. Just disappointed I didn’t get to make a comment on passive safety or the single mode of failure plans for Nuclear plants.

    I don’t think he is anti-nuclear and he made a few of the following points: Engineers who research safety conclude that additional safety measures can often in fact increase the risk and lead to unforeseen consequences. Thus what Complex and Rigid Systems allow for the least is experimentation. He used the Fermi 1 reactor as the example of a safety system intended to prevent a meltdown causing one. This was an experimental reactor I thought. But it’s fair to suggest that you learn a lot from previous mistakes and the information share and regulatory standards in nuclear do allow for independent eyes to assess other plants.

    (ps. for anyone also interested in his view on the Banks re safety, what occurred was a lot of smaller unrelated American banks purchased insurance for their asset portfolios thinking ‘why not it’s a good safety precaution’ and as such their assets were rated AAA in line with the insurer. Once AIG and others collapsed with massive insurance holdings, the small banks, with nothing to do with casino banking, found themselves rated lower than AAA because of the insurance company failures. Suddenly had to sell their assets to meet regulatory requirements at the same time as just about every other bank in the world was doing the same and we get a credit crunch. Thus -> unintended consequences of tinkering with safety in complex and rigidly dependent systems)

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  33. Peter,
    try dropping the ‘market is God — don’t hassle him or he’ll get angry’ routine for a moment and think about the long term. We need *something* to create more discussion about energy in this country. We need *something* to get Australian’s asking *how* we are going to realistically move off coal. Maybe a carbon price is it?

    Because it is coming, one way or another.

    Based on current industry growth and production rates of about 3.2 per cent a year, the state’s 10,600 million tonnes of coal reserves would be exhausted by 2042, according to calculations done for the Hunter Community Environment Centre in Newcastle. Those figures, calculated by analyst Greg Hall using official resources figures, do not take into account faster production that may result from the expansion of coal-loading facilities at Newcastle.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/reserves-to-dry-up-as-clean-coal-becomes-viable/2007/04/09/1175971023057.html

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  34. ////What is morally right to you is morally wrong to me. You believe it is morally right to wreck the economy, or even risk wrecking the economy, for no gain. I see this as “stupid”.////
    I see not preparing for peak oil, gas, and coal as immoral and also extremely short sighted and ‘stupid’. It’s going to take decades to wean off the coal, and we might not have that long. So where does that leave us?

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  35. New paper in Nature GeoSciences (peer-review) points out that a 6 degree rise in temperature happened as a result of less CO2 emissions than we are currently adding to the atmosphere and at a far greater rate – 10 times higher than the highest rate during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/06/current-carbon-emissions-dwarf-those-of-past-climate-event.ars

    But will the deniers of anthropogenic GW listen.

    Like

  36. @ Moderator — thank you! (Phew! One of those days).
    @ Ms Perps — absolutely!!! When the laws of physics tell us what we will do to the climate AND we know that we are not far off world peak coal, well, it seems strange to constantly whine against a fairly reasonable starting point in the transition off coal! The irony here is that raising the price of coal allows a market based solution set. It’s just sad our *main* tool is still illegal in this country.

    I’ve found a great demonstration for the less-informed Denialists, the type that don’t even acknowledge what Co2 can do as a Radiative Forcing.

    If you want to *see* the Radiative Forcing (heat capturing and retention) of Co2 with your own eyes, please watch the following video. A thermal camera watches a candle and watches the candle in heat mode, much like the Predator off the classic Arnie movie. It doesn’t see light, but heat. A tube of Co2 is filled between the camera and candle. The Co2 traps the heat and eventually the candle becomes invisible to the thermal camera, even though we can still see the *light* through the tube! This mimics the way sunlight penetrates through our atmosphere but the heat bouncing off the earth can’t escape out (as quickly) through the layer of greenhouse gases.

    However, I doubt confusion over Co2 spectrometry is Peter’s rationale for sneering at the consensus of every scientific organisation on the planet!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    Like

  37. Karl-Friedrich, thanks, interestingly, we’ve been discussing solar costs in great detail at the Equinox Summit today (Jay Apt and I had a lot to agree on – he’s an amazing bloke – has been in space 4 times for 35 days total!). Lots to report back on, once the event is over, and at that point perhaps I can address your point with some reasonable comprehensiveness.

    Like

  38. Barry, I’ve been watching the Equinox Summit on TVO. Maybe that is what inspired me to come back to bravenewclimate, which I haven’t been to in a while. Good to hear you are involved. I will watch the panel discussion on Friday’s The Agenda.

    Like

  39. This article seems to contain both some familiar porkies but also some frank admissions
    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-06-07/germany-exits-atom
    The Germans seem to have convinced themselves that gas is no more carbon intensive than nuclear and in any case fracking will unleash new supplies nearby.

    I guesstimate that Germany’s 17% renewable is say 8% 20th century hydro and 9% more recent wind and solar. Merkel wants 35% renewable by 2020, call it 27% wind and solar. Thus Germans want to get from 9% to 27% wind and solar in just 9 years. Assuming total generation is static that’s an astonishing growth rate if feed-in tariffs are to be phased out. Wind and solar would need to double between now and 2016 to be on track. Best of luck to them.

    Like

  40. Nature News Blog: http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/06/equinox_summit_from_organic_ch.html
    Equinox Summit: From organic chemistry to rural electrification – June 08, 2011
    Harvard University chemist Alán Aspuru-Guzik has spent more than two years building up a powerful network of volunteer computers in order to screen some 3.5 million organic molecules for a new generation of cheap solar photovoltaic cells. His team has now gone through 1.9 million of those candidates and has an initial list of roughly 1,000 molecules that could be competitive with today’s silicon panels at collecting photons from the sun.

    “What the pharma people do for drug development we want to do for materials,” Aspuru-Guzik said during the Equinox Summit in Waterloo this week. “We’re really trying to help the experimentalists.”

    He is one of various scientists who have been briefing policy experts and a forum of young leaders at this week’s summit (more coverage here and here). Others have focused on everything from renewables and geothermal energy to superconductors and accelerator-driven thorium nuclear reactors. Organizers’ goal is to start with science and then think about the bigger picture and policy recommendations that could help humanity initiate a viable clean energy economy over the next two decades.

    Aspuru-Guzik’s Clean Energy Project is a crowd-computing partnership with IBM Corporation’s World Community Grid. People can download software developed by Aspuru-Guzik that will crank through a few molecules each day whenever their computers are idle (statistics here). The software characterizes the basic physical properties of candidate molecules in order to identify the best opportunities for subsequent synthesis and research. In a proof of concept that is currently undergoing peer review for publication, the group has identified and worked with other researchers to synthesize one molecule that is even better than originally predicted.

    The vision is to produce flexible, lightweight plastics, fabrics and paints that can be easily applied to provide minimal electric services. They might not last more than five years, but the materials themselves would be cheap enough that the short lifetime wouldn’t necessarily be a barrier. The cost then shifts to the other components of the solar panel system, which must distribute electrons where they need to go.

    Although these solar cells could begin to hit the market within several years, they are likely to remain too expensive to compete with grid power in western markets for some time. But participants in the Equinox summit saw a major role for such technologies in providing basic electric services to the more than two billion people in developing countries who go without today. “We’re talking about first penetration into those markets that have little or no electricity,” says Barry Brook, director of the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide in Australia. “That would be transformational.”

    Aspuru-Guzik says the screening process continues to identify interesting families of molecules in unexpected places. He expects to complete the first phase of his project in the coming months and already has plans to expand his search. The database won’t provide answers, he says, “but it’s a place to start.”

    Like

  41. @Sean De Boo

    I don’t that anybody is likely to find argument that excessive complexity is very often the enemy of correct system operation and safety is one of the critical parts of correct system operation.

    I think it’s also true to say that this has long been recognized in reactor design and there has been a trend to passive safety over the years which depends neither on complex control systems nor on operator actions. In Gen IV reactors such as IFR or LFTR this is further simplified by making safety more passive still and an integral part of the physics of the reactor core. Though it is also true somewhat of PWRs by virtue of negative void coefficient.

    Perhaps one of the core principles underlying the UNIX operating system is widely relevant:

    “As simple as possible, and no simpler”

    It may be the most important reason UNIX has been so enduring and staggeringly successful.

    Like

  42. So, BNC Moderator, how about this:

    But will the deniers of anthropogenic GW listen -Peter Lang etc?

    I’ve found a great demonstration for the less-informed Denialists,

    Aren’t these the sort of comments that are made continuously, one way or another, on BNC and allowed to pass by the Moderator? Doesn’t this show a “Progressive” bias?

    Look back of the comments by a few of the BNC contributors and note how they respond to rational arguments. The response is frequently to resort to name calling and jibes.

    There is a continual stream of anti-Conservative comments, but when a Conservative responds the Moderator names (sometimes bans) the conservative contributor while the ‘Progressives’ comments are allowed through – unless or until they attract a response. You may not see it, but I do and I’d suggest that explains why BNC attracts largely a “Progressive” audience. There are few Conservative contributors. The result is that BNC is devoid of balance and unable to understand why Conservatives find much of the “Progressive” arguments not persuasive. The moralising and name calling, like “Deniers”, is seen by many as simply the call of the ignorant who are devoid of rational argument. Their opinion is seen as religious, ideological and political dogma. Most of them haven’t a clue wah tthey are talking about. They’ve read stuff, learnt it parrot fashion and then assume they understand and anyone who doesn’tr swallow the tripe and dogma they accept they consider to be uninformed.

    I interpret the recent stream of antagonistic comments by some of the BNCers as a response to not having any rational arguments to support their belief in a Carbon Tax.
    MODERATOR
    Peter – I have deleted your name from Ms Perps comment but I see no problem with leaving generalisations about various “camps” in the AGW debate. Please point out where people have in your words “resort(ed) to name calling and jibes.” if this was directed at individuals.
    As to “The moralising and name calling, like “Deniers”” I believe you have, yourself, used similar terminolgy (e.g alarmist) against those who have differing opinions. Indeed, previously you have attacked the blog host in this manner. Have a good look at some of your own comments, including this one- there is considerable bias in them and yet they stand. In response to this from you “while the ‘Progressives’ comments are allowed through – unless or until they attract a response.” I have told you before that I am not constantly on-line(being a part-time volunteer) and may not see comments for some hours – so moderation will be delayed. Naturally, if someone complains that I have missed something, I will immediately check that out first and respond with action if deemed necessary.

    Like

  43. I’m not a scientist just a concerned global citizen. I’m just curious if anyone could point me in the direction of information on the financial situation regarding nuclear power plants. My uncle has told me that every nuclear power plant on the planet is subsidized by the government of the country it is in. I’m just curious if this is true and if so, what people are suggesting to remedy it/the future financial situation of nuclear power. Thanks!

    Like

  44. That’s the thing about green groups. As Tony Blair wrote in his memoir, moderation is not in the lexicon of the NGO culture. Its raison d’etre depends on a continual crisis.

    Nothing the Prime Minister does will satisfy the green groups momentarily supporting her carbon tax. Conversely, anything Gillard does with her tax – short of dumping it – will attract from voters deep scepticism about policy outcomes, not to mention political motives. If the overwhelming majority of people who fly are refusing to pay less than $2 for a carbon offset, you can see why Labor backbenchers are nervous about Gillard’s determination to appease the Greens and press on with a carbon tax. After all, the PM who promised there would be no carbon tax under a Gillard government cannot even claim to have the bad poet’s genuine feeling.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/commentary/mind-the-gap-on-climate/story-e6frgd0x-1226071255005

    This might help to explain the Progressives’ vitreole when their irrationality and avoidance of the substance of the discussion becomes obvious, as has happened in the series of comments about the proposed carbon Tax – e.g. here: https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/04/16/open-thread-15/#comment-129226

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  45. I submit this for education purposes. I urge those with open mind about the consequences of a carbon price – before my two precursors are implemented – to read it. There are many points worth noting, especially towards the end.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/bluescope-thinks-again-as-it-braces-for-tax-bite/story-e6frg9lx-1226071293636

    they simply cannot understand why the government would risk shutting down a steel plant or two in the name of reforms that will not result in anything like a net reduction in the regional contribution to carbon emissions.

    Yes, Europe has held carbon emissions over the past decade, but over that period it has effectively increased imports of CO2 by 47 per cent.
    The Third World, it seems, is carrying the burden of Europe’s increasing carbon footprint.

    Of course, it is within our power to stop that. Indeed, as Kraehe noted recently, the biggest single contribution we could make as a nation to reducing our national carbon footprint would be to ban the export of coal. But we won’t because such an idea would be economic and political suicide.

    Kraehe’s point here is that we want to keep exporting coal but, in the name of carbon politics, we are getting ready to sacrifice all or part of our small but world-class steel industry.

    Like

  46. Not sure where to start with comments and so will make just one. I had a meeting with the local Liberal MP last Friday to talk about nuclear power for SA. I told him lots of truths about the growing world nuclear power industry [despite Fukushima]. He was impressed and especially when I told him that Olympic Dam uranium could power the entire planet, using the coming [10? 20? years] IFR’s for hundreds of thousands of years. The upshot? He’s going to try to organize for his parliamentary colleagues to meet me so that I can educate them on the huge potential for SA when we finally wake up and go nuclear. Failing that, he said he thought he could get a one on one with Isobel Redmond, their leader who is apparently “on side” I’ll keep you posted. I also told him that SA was backing the wrong horse with Rann’s fetish for wind. He agreed. As John Newlands noted, Rann’s whistling in it. Cheers everyone

    Like

  47. Hi Peter,
    when I said ////I’ve found a great demonstration for the less-informed Denialists,/// I was actually trying to distinguish between YOU and the average footy-watching, non-blogging, non-thought-leader average Aussie. So you’re a sceptic — but you at least strike me as a more informed sceptic than the ‘average Aussies’ that I had in mind, the kind who say “But I breathe out Co2, it’s NATURAL so it can’t HURT anybody!” To which I reply… watch the candle.

    So in a way I was paying you a compliment and distinguishing you from the dummie crowd.

    ////while the ‘Progressives’ comments are allowed through ////
    You mean that comments that are sympathetic to climate science are ALLOWED on a climate scientist’s own blog? I’m SHOCKED! ;-)

    Like

  48. Hi Tom, that’s a great article!

    So climate scepticism seems strongest among geologists closely linked to the mining and fossil fuel industries. Perhaps the words of Upton Sinclair shine some understanding on the forces at play here: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

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  49. @ Peter,
    there are Conservatives that accept climate science. I hope you weren’t implying otherwise, or insinuating that a Climate Scientist’s blog had some sort of duty to cater to “Conservative” Denialism as well. Genuine questions of course should always be welcome. But note: the genuine inquirer is usually satisfied with the scientific answer.

    Like

  50. I come from a small town in South Australia (though I don’t live there anymore). Like most rural communities its composition is, as a generalisation, very conservative. That said, I know first hand that many farmers there are extremely worried about climate change – their entire livelihood (and that of their children and grandchildren who will inherit their properties) depends upon being able to grow food or run stock on productive land. How do they feel about a carbon tax? I have no idea – probably mixed opinions, much the same as the rest of the population.

    Trying to boil these questions down to one’s supposed political position is simply lazy argument, by subscribing to an artificial dichotomy which itself was born largely out of lazy journalism and lazy work from political operatives.

    Like

  51. Hi all, check this out! Next Big Future seems to be claiming — if I have done my maths right and I’m very tired — that the ‘sulfur gun’ idea is now 50 to 100 times cheaper than older estimates. Apparently instead of shooting or flying the sulfur up into the air they plan to use a 10 to 50 km long hose held in place by blimps! Then they pump fluid sulfur up the pipe and spray it into the air. 20 to 50 of these ‘sulfur hoses’ would do the trick.

    http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/sulphur-gun/

    Like

  52. @Zach Wegner, Your uncle is categorically wrong, Bruce Power, who owns and operates the largest nuclear power station in the world in Ontario, Canada, is a for profit company that does not depend on subsidies in the least. Nor as a mater of fact are most of the nuclear power stations U.S. dependent on government help, unless you chose to believe that the politically motivated, and highly unnecessary Price-Anderson Act constitutes government support.

    I will remind you that as a matter of policy here, statements like the one you made are expected to be referenced by something more substantial than ‘my uncle says.’

    Like

  53. Thanks for the info, DV82XL. That will help me.

    As for referencing, I’m not sure how I’d reference my statement as the whole point of my statement was that as a lay person I was having trouble finding references.

    Thanks again, though. You’ve given me a good starting point.
    MODERATOR
    The need for refs is relaxed on the Open Threads.

    Like

  54. Except DV* hasn’t given you a reference! ;-) I looked up the wiki and it just didn’t comment on whether or not there were any government subsidies.

    Hey, DV8, maybe something bigger has been built in China because the wiki says it’s the 2nd largest now?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Nuclear_Generating_Station#Construction_Costs

    The wiki did say this about the costs though.

    ////Construction Costs
    Bruce A was projected to cost $0.9 billion (1969), and actually cost $1.8 billion (1978). Bruce B was projected to cost $3.9 billion (1976), and actually cost $6 billion (1989) in “dollars of the year”. [18]/////

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  55. Peter said:
    ////Their opinion is seen as religious, ideological and political dogma. Most of them haven’t a clue wah tthey are talking about. They’ve read stuff, learnt it parrot fashion and then assume they understand and anyone who doesn’tr swallow the tripe and dogma they accept they consider to be uninformed.////

    In the one paragraph you appear to have called climate science “religious”, “ideological”, “political dogma”, “tripe”, “dogma”.

    Please don’t ever complain about the term “Denialist” ever again if you wish to maintain a shred of consistency.

    Even if you’re talking about the Carbon Tax here, it is a policy that Barry seems to support and — as much as you’re about to bust a gut over it and feel it is the end of western civilization as we know it — many others do to. With peak resources on the way we’re going to see the same effects anyway. We’d better get used to it.

    9deleted imflammatory response)I was part of a team that briefed the NSW Legislative Council Cross-Benchers that oil would double. This was way back in 2005. How did I go on that one? How does MY prediction compare to your precious ABARE? Where’s that $40 oil we were all so assured of? Huh?

    So old chum; the people I know called oil better than ABARE and I’m expecting their call on coal will be more accurate than some of the boosters out there. And if you can’t see the relevance of an eventual limited supply of coal and the cost, then who’s pushing ideology and religious dogma (of the free market wins over everything, every time, no matter WHAT resource might be about to vanish!)

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  56. ////I was part of a team that briefed the NSW Legislative Council Cross-Benchers that oil would double. This was way back in 2005.////
    I meant — of course — that the COST would double, not the oil! But you knew that. Just spelling it out for any visitors. Oil had just hit $60 a barrel for the first time the day our team visited the Cross-Benchers.

    Like

  57. 2 issues vis-a-vis the Carbon Tax (CT) and misc issues.

    While Peter Lang may not like my comparison, I find the CT to be a very *capitalist* answer to climate change and promoting of non-carbon/low-carbon alternatives. It’s capitalist because it uses a capitalist method, taxation, to ensure social policy and *accepting*, not challenging, the existence of capitalist corporations and *control* over energy resources.

    But I actually agree with Peter about the problem of the CT and I oppose it outright as something that will generally *increase* the cost of energy, and thus slow down general development since the history of human civilization is based on the development of ever abundant, denser and CHEAPER energy.

    I also think it’s irresponsible on one level as well. It avoids something I know Peter and other would oppose (who have libertarian/free trade perspectives) which is to make carbon effluent *illegal*. I’m for direct gov’t intervention to *mandate* the use of nuclear energy in the same way that government was used to 100% finance most of the worlds hydro units (98% I believe), using eminent domain to acquire right-of-way for rail roads and highways, and to generally be the the general contractor and credit banker for all large civil engineering projects. Capitalism *economically* really didn’t play much of a role in terms of financing civil engineering programs and projects, they simply held the credit and cashed paychecks. Albeit it was *FOR* the capitalist system that the state intervened to save it and provide the needed credit for it’s expansion.

    This is why I think any gov’t should follow China’s example and “just build the f*ckers*. If it’s *that* important, and that reliable, and fulfills the ‘abundent, denser and cheapers’ criteria, then ideological precepts need to be shoved and true national programs need to be discussed and proposed. Of course I’m against the totalitarian Chinese approach in terms of the complete lack of democratic input, but the national will, backed up by state credit and expertise, is simply superior when it comes to great projects like nuclear and hydro. One has to wonder how the Snowy Mountains hydro system could ever of been built using “libertarian” thinking.

    I said all this to to point out that I believe the CT is sort of the “cowards way out” of the climate change debate. If we believe climate change is real (I do…we’ve just experienced, locally in No. Cal rains in June that we’ve never had since 1884, and it’s going to ruin our wine crop if it continues – avoid 2011 Cabs and Syrahs, please) then we need to confront it *directly* and dovetail it with direct national programs around energy.

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  58. Robert Lawrence, on 7 June 2011 at 1:18 PM said:
    “…. I read a book by Professor Robert M Carter called Climate: The Counter Consensus, which he claims demolishes the theory of anthropogenic global warming!….”

    I have not read Bob Carter’s book and I doubt I will. His published comments in Quadrant and elsewhere are quite sufficient to show that he has nothing to offer regarding scientific insight. In-fact, all he does IMHO is cherry-pick the evidence, use flawed logic and repeat debunked myths and cast around false accusations. He is a disgrace to his University and should be ignored.

    Bad signs litter his articles:
    References cited that are misrepresented.
    Look at his references: Watts; CO2Science; GW Beck; Soon, McKitrick; Chris deFreitas the list is long on a peculiar restricted subset favoured by the fossil-fuel industry. But avoids mainstream science, except to misrepresent them.

    Here is a review of Bob Carter’s book. It tells everyone all they need to know about the book.

    ‘This book is a curious read, full of misinformation, straw-man arguments, and poorly-documented assertions. To become immersed in it, we must enter the through-the-looking-glass world of the “independent” scientist, where those such as myself are the ones “…who have dissembled, told half-truths, cherry-picked their data, fantastically exaggerated, and suppressed the circulation of better science” (Prefatory Essay, p. 19). Meanwhile, the ideas put forward by Prof. Carter are portrayed as representing a balanced appraisal of the issues. From where I sit, that’s the opposite of reality….’
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/climate-the-counter-consensus/

    For more about Bob Carter:
    See:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/search.php?Search=Bob+Carter&x=13&y=10

    Like

  59. I agree with David Walters. Except that in addition, I don’t think carbon taxes will work on a global scale because competing capitalists will not be able to agree on a “fair” carbon price.

    if they did, the agreement would likely be merely nominal, and there would be cheating commensurate with competing class interests. It’s no accident that competing nations (national capitals) have not been able to reach an accord. Liberals think we just need to try harder. But I don’t think “political will” can overcome fundamentally contradictory interests. and our unfortunately vague common interests in a liveable planet don’t seem to be sufficiently material to make much of a difference.

    of course, getting all states to make carbon emissions illegal and build nuclear power (and other clean, reliable energies that may develop) would involve mighty struggles, class and otherwise (“We” all won’t just do it, “build the fu**er*, that is). These struggles would be the kind of moral struggles, interfering with the market, that Peter abhors. Though, I would say that the market is always interfered with. there is no interference-free market. which is to say there is no free market.

    One might wonder why it is that scientists from competing nations can genuinely collaborate (and they do, thus leading perhaps to a non sequiter that nations can cooperate in the same way). Because they share many interests in a safer world. But the closer they get to power and policy, the more those antagonistic interests make themselves felt.

    other than that, I agree with Peter Lang.

    (tongue in cheek).

    btw, I think that doing the right thing (at the right scale) on energy given the way things are WILL HURT THE ECONOMY. What if that’s true? What then? Of course, it’s nice to think that all our social and political contradictions can be solved by the right technologies.

    Like

  60. Zach Wegner, on 8 June 2011 at 2:19 PM said:

    My uncle has told me that every nuclear power plant on the planet is subsidized by the government of the country it is in

    Here’s the annual operating budget for Columbia Generating Station is Washington State.
    http://www.energy-northwest.com/who/documents/2011Budget/Final%202011%20Columbia%20Generating%20Station.pdf

    It indeed will receive about $1 million this year in bond subsidies(part of the economic stimulus package) out of it’s $600 million budget Including capital improvements.

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  61. Some nuclear power stations receive subsidies does not prove the original statement that ALL nuclear power stations in the world receive subsidies.

    This is also a subject that has been done to death on these pages before, and it has been shown that all energy sectors receive some form of subsidies, ether direct or indirect, and the argument will eventually boil down to definitions.

    Direct financial subsidies; preferential tax treatments; trade restrictions; energy-related services provided by government at less than full cost; direct investment in energy infrastructure; research and development funds; demand guarantees and price controls; preferential access to resources; failure to impose external costs; depletion allowance, and the list could go on I’m sure if I had more time, all can be considered subsidies, or not depending on where one draws the line.
    Ultimately the debate become sterile, and is not likely to yield any new insights.

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  62. The nuclear future out of Japan right now is very nasty:

    There is a Reuters report today that Japan’s nuclear fleet is running at 37% of capacity and that opposition in the country to re-start of reactors in cold shutdown might keep them that way for some time. Currently, provincial government’s have veto power over reactor re-starts. http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/06/08/idINIndia-57576920110608

    and…

    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/06/3-japan-nuclear-reactors-had-full-meltdown-agency-says/

    I still can’t find where they say containment is breached…none of this is good.

    Like

  63. DV82XL, I just want to make it clear that I was never arguing that all power plants receive subsidies and I think the point of the subsidies in WA was that the subsidies are minuscule/unnecessary. I was just pointing to an argument I was having trouble finding information on and was asking for some links. Sorry to have bothered you so much.

    Like

  64. @Zach Wegner – No bother at all Zach, but I think you can see that it is not an easy subject, and there are no simple answers to the general question. Of course the real problem is that those that oppose nuclear energy are quick to select those factors that support their contention that nuclear is subsidised and debates on the subject tend to spiral down into ‘ how many angels can dance on the head of a pin’ sophistry rather quickly.

    The real issue (I think) is not so much that of how much public support any given mode gets, as much as one of are taxpayers getting value for this support. Here I think it is clear that modes like wind, solar and fossil-fuels are not providing a good return, while nuclear, and hydro are.

    Like

  65. @ David Walters,
    Great post!

    I especially loved…
    ////I also think it’s irresponsible on one level as well. It avoids something I know Peter and other would oppose (who have libertarian/free trade perspectives) which is to make carbon effluent *illegal*. I’m for direct gov’t intervention to *mandate* the use of nuclear energy in the same way that government was used to 100% finance most of the worlds hydro units (98% I believe), using eminent domain to acquire right-of-way for rail roads and highways, and to generally be the the general contractor and credit banker for all large civil engineering projects. Capitalism *economically* really didn’t play much of a role in terms of financing civil engineering programs and projects, they simply held the credit and cashed paychecks. Albeit it was *FOR* the capitalist system that the state intervened to save it and provide the needed credit for it’s expansion.////

    When we’re facing climate change and peak oil, gas, and eventually peak coal, then it is time the State intervened to GET THE JOB DONE! I totally agree that all this wishy-washing Carbon Price stuff is just to avoid having the difficult conversation; which energy sources are going to WORK!?

    The State avoiding that discussion and hiding behind a Carbon Price is just cowardly. Imagine Nazi Panzer tank divisions rolling down the streets of London and Winston Churchhill just stands there shouting, “Don’t worry, let the marketplace deal with it!”

    Like

  66. @ David Walters,
    There’s just one thing I would add to your post though, and that is a Carbon Price would keep up the impetus for energy efficient devices and programs. As I’ve said a million times over, suburbia itself is one of the most energy inefficient city layouts. New Urbanism builds Dense and Diverse and attractive walkable cities, and prevents the energy used in building and maintaining as many long highways and arterial roads, saves thousands of km’s of plumbing and wiring and gutters and footpaths and carparks, and instead puts that money into promenades and parks and playgrounds and public transit. The goal here would be the gradual transition to a society with *less* cars. (Not *no* cars, but giving people the free-market option to at least try a life without a car).

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  67. Here’s what Mackay has to say on carbon taxes (see par three where he agrees with D. Walters on mandates):

    “Solving climate change is a complex topic, but in a single crude brush-
    stroke, here is the solution: the price of carbon dioxide must be such that
    people stop burning coal without capture. Most of the solution is captured in
    this one brush-stroke because, in the long term, coal is the big fossil fuel.
    (Trying to reduce emissions from oil and gas is of secondary importance
    because supplies of both oil and gas are expected to decline over the next
    50 years. [umm: this might be an error–at least on gas])

    So what do politicians need to do? They need to ensure that all coal
    power stations have carbon capture fitted. The first step towards this goal
    is for government to finance a large-scale demonstration project to sort out
    the technology for carbon capture and storage; second, politicians need to change the long-term regulations for power stations so that the perfected
    technology is adopted everywhere.

    My simple-minded suggestion for this second step is to pass a law that says that –from some date–all coal power stations must use carbon capture. However,most democratic politicians seem to think that the way to close a stable door is to create a market in permits-to-leave-doors-open. So, if we conform to the dogma that climate change should be solved through markets, what’s the market-based way
    to ensure we achieve our simple goal –all coal power stations to have
    carbon capture?” [p. 223]

    Then we get the usual.

    The problem is that the law needs to be enforced and generalized, and that requires ultimately global cooperation.

    Carbon trading on the other hand retains the view that competition will motivate people to act first and make big profits, but this takes for granted the regulatory environment is in place–and that’s been the problem; and it retains the view that profit making differentials due to clean technologies would not be guarded, to keep profits from pollution differentials rolling in (and thus to retain pollution differentials). but why would they not be guarded? if a company is making a hefty profit by selling credits to dirtier companies, would it not want to keep these profits alive?

    Like

  68. Thanks for quoting Mackay on this Gregory!

    Meanwhile, check this ‘alarmist’ piece on global warming that Bill McKibben seems to have helped produce. Is it ‘alarmist’ or statistical? Either way, it’s brilliant!

    Like

  69. Dear Moderator<

    MODERATOR
    Peter – I have deleted your name from Ms Perps comment but I see no problem with leaving generalisations about various “camps” in the AGW debate.

    Fine. Now the rules are clear. Since derogatory use of terms like “Denier”, “Denialist”, “Conservatives”, “Liberal Nationals” and many other are acceptable, you should have no trouble with:

    Alarmists
    Catastrophists
    Extremists
    Gullible-ists
    Looney Left
    Progressives
    Green-Labor Alliance Government
    Incompetents
    Or any others that are appropriate to describe, in a word or two, “generalisations about various “camps” in the AGW”.

    That should certainly raise the level of the deabte on BNC. We can return to the level of the debate set by some of some of BNC’s protected species. (grin)
    MODERATOR
    Peter – go for it! But keep it on the Open Thread and restrict your pejoratives to groups not individuals .However, I don’t see words such as Conservatives, Liberal National, Progressives etc as derogatory terms

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  70. European pissants, humbug hypocrisy

    Australians should kowtow to the Europeans on carbon? Not bloody likely.

    SO that’s decided, then, is it? Australia is a pissant nation of tossers, too afraid to throw in its lot with European carbon traders and open its borders to boatpeople.

    Australia’s critics – among them the BBC, The Economist, Ross Garnaut, Julian Burnside QC and Michael Grubb of Cambridge – have really had a field day in the past fortnight.

    Apparently, we are pissants because we are in the middle of deciding public policy responses to two particularly tough issues: climate change and boatpeople.
    Our elders and betters worry we may be coming down on the “wrong side” of those issues.

    By the way, pissant is an offensive term meaning regarded as being of no importance, significance or consequence. And tosser is an offensive term meaning a person (usually male) regarded as unintelligent or contemptible.

    Well, let this pissant tosser explain what is happening in Australia.

    Read on the article …
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/european-pissants-humbug-hypocrisy/story-fn59niix-1226071958175

    Seems our progressive media outlets (ABC, Fairfax press, Crickey, Get up! And many more) have similar views to their UK equivalents. I’d suggest it would be wise to be aware of the agenda of the “Progressives” and at least be open to hearing what the Conservatives have to say, and why they are not swallowing the “Progressives” beliefs.

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  71. @Eclipse Now, on 9 June 2011 at 7:44 AM said:

    . New Urbanism builds Dense and Diverse and attractive walkable cities, and prevents the energy used in building and maintaining as many long highways and arterial roads

    Attractive to some…..I suspect other people work hard and save every penny so they can afford a house in the suburbs because they view suburban living as being a higher quality lifestyle then high density ‘new urban-ism’ living.

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  72. John Morgan, I mentioned Barry’s name to my local MP and he thought it would be good to get him along as well when we speak to the Liberal pollies. Ben Heard would be another useful voice.But we don’t want to swamp the poor b——ers.

    Like

  73. This article I linked in my previous coment is interesting. It illustrates the enormous gulf between what is influencing the thinking ot the “Progressives” and the Conservatives (if I may use those two simplifying terms to label two camps that approach the important policy issues from very different perspecitves).

    For those who didn’t look at the link, I’ll post a bit more, because I suggest it is worth the “Progressives” trying to understand why the “Conservatives” are cautious and not persuaded by the policy solutions the “Progressives” argue for. Continuing from previous comment:

    Well, let this pissant tosser explain what is happening in Australia. Many Australians question the benefit of being part of a nonexistent global carbon-trading scheme and almost all want to control their borders to deter illegal immigration.

    These are perfectly intelligent positions and are of great significance to Australians.

    Australians are aware of the consequences of their actions on both issues. Australia does not want to be at the negotiating table with the important European Union or UN forums when the table involves trading its freedom for few benefits. Australians prize sovereignty. In every conceivable sense of the term Australia is a successful liberal democracy.

    Australians are great joiners but they do not regard themselves as being at the arse-end of the world and therefore desperate to please important forums.

    Many Australians have not been impressed by Europe’s heroic climate change response of far-fetched targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases. Australians know the only way Europe meets its target is through the displacement of manufactures to Asia.

    Europeans may produce less carbon dioxide, allegedly a result of their carbon trading scheme, but Europeans consume increasing amounts of embedded carbon in their goods and services.

    Indeed, it was reported in The Economist last year that emissions made on their citizens’ behalf elsewhere in the world add a third or more to most European countries’ emissions.

    Pissant is Britain, by subsuming the greatest common law jurisdiction in the world under European human rights law.

    Pissant is a Germany that has vowed to close its nuclear power stations – talk about a failure of nerve.

    Pissant is Britain which, while announcing ever-more heroic targets to decarbonise its economy, cannot collectively boil a kettle after the evening episode of East Enders because its own power stations cannot cope. It draws on French nuclear power to fill the load. Swapping power across borders is clever; pretending the source of power is part of decarbonisation is not.

    These are just some selections from an article I’d suggest the “Progressives” could gain from taking note of.

    Like

  74. @ Harrywr2,
    ///Attractive to some…..I suspect other people work hard and save every penny so they can afford a house in the suburbs because they view suburban living as being a higher quality lifestyle then high density ‘new urban-ism’ living.///
    I understand. The idea of living in the burbs has been sold as *the* most family friendly mode of habitation. The meme that the city is ‘bad’ to live in comes from the industrial revolution and the fact that cities *were* disgusting, dangerous, polluted, bad places to be. Everyone wanted to live in a country manor. So suburbia was sold as a country manor for everyone. But what we end up with is a isolated hybrid existence which is neither truly rural with some sort of relationship with the land economy, nor truly city in that everything is so stinking far away! In suburbia, you simply MUST own a car and drive, drive, and drive to everything.

    It’s the Nazism of the car!

    When even right wing bloggers like the Mormon Sci-Fi author, Orson Scott Card, can see that we’ve been HAD by the real estate development package, then there’s hope that the anti-city meme can be changed. Sydney is mixing it up — probably not with the best of New Urban planning, but it is getting there. This is more of a journey than a destination. But there ARE goals.

    Please watch my favourite New Urbanism video “Built to last” which is more like a music video than lecture. (4 minutes)

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  75. @ Peter,
    ///Australians know the only way Europe meets its target is through the displacement of manufactures to Asia.///
    this kind of line ignores the Co2 reduction of France’s nukes..

    It also ignores the FACT that higher EU petroleum taxes have resulted in the average European burning HALF the oil of the average American. (Their historical “Old Urbanism” is also a factor — they have far more walkability than Americans).

    EU = HALF as oil dependent as America. There’s a carbon tax statistic you can bank on! Europeans are twice as prepared as Americans for peak oil. (Which is not much, but is better than not at all).j

    (deleted personal attack)
    Try a calmer, more rationally argued data-driven approach and you might have more influence!

    Like

  76. @Peter Lang https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/06/07/open-thread-16/#comment-129441

    This kind of stuff is just a political rant. eg

    Pissant is Britain which, while announcing ever-more heroic targets to decarbonise its economy, cannot collectively boil a kettle after the evening episode of East Enders because its own power stations cannot cope. It draws on French nuclear power to fill the load. Swapping power across borders is clever; pretending the source of power is part of decarbonisation is not.

    Here’s the numbers – in 2010 the UK had a net import of electricity of 2.67 TWh of 367 TWh of electricity supplied. It is no doubt true that the UK needs to get on with matters to keeps the lights on, but the kind of hyperbole peddled in this piece adds a big fat nothing to debate or understanding. Throw in some ranting about purported “freedom” and EU law and it becomes abundantly clear that the piece is just ideological tosh.

    I can read this stuff any day of the week in the The Australian, why do I want to read it here? This whole thread is right off the rails.
    MODERATOR
    This is an Open Thread – there are no rails. It is the BNC equivalent of a soapbox. Expect rants on ideology – without incivility or direct attacks upon a person, which will be deleted.

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  77. Peter, just to confirm do you actually think that climate change is a concern? I can’t tell if you just think that The carbon tax is poor, or Australia acting alone is poor, or acting in any way is poor policy (as AGW is bunkum). I get (and agree) that regardless nuclear power is a great way to produce baseload power, but if AGW was codswallop then there are a lot of valid arguments for just continuing to use the coal we have in abundance.

    I just want to add that actually no one is claiming that reducing Australia’s emissions by 5% will have any noticeable impact on global temperatures. So it is useless to argue that here. Maybe it is a useful anti-tax tool to use on some random on the street in Tony’s big scare campaign but give folks here a tad more credit.

    The 5% is a strategy to prime our economy for potentially greater emissions cuts at a time when the whole world is acting. It would be fairly reckless to lock our economy in to a carbon-intensive scenario IMO when it is pretty clear that such an international agreement is at least a possibility.

    Now I personally think that our aversion to nuclear locks us in to a high carbon price where a more sensible step may well be “direct action” but not the kind Tony is talking about which is pretty much a joke, but direct action in terms of a conversion to nuclear power. Maybe it will just have to be the next cycle in the debate as the carbon price rises and pretty soon someone will be brave enough to do (or politically back) some modelling that shows just how nuclear power will reduce demand for CO2 “rights”.

    p.s. – Mod – the reply/comment box is wierd today? has something changed?
    MODERATOR
    It isn’t anything we have done at BNC. I suspect WordPress has changed it but I will check with Barry.

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  78. Hi MattB,
    Peter has attempted to spank Barry for daring to be so ‘alarmist’. What he thinks he is going to achieve against the Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change I *don’t* know, but that’s Peter for you.

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  79. It is a conundrum Eclipse Now… If there is one thing that nuclear power needs to get a foothold in Australia it is for alarmists to convince the population that AGW is real. The counter-conundrum is that to get a real solution to AGW alarmists need to embrace nuclear power. Unfortunately most alarmists are passionately anti-nuke and most advocates of nuclear power think AGW is codswallop:)

    One may have thought that Peter had noticed that this blog has moved well beyond debating climate science. There are plenty of other blogs to do that on.

    Like

  80. Arguing against AGW is so passe, I am sorry there are people out there that cannot accept the sheer evidence behind it but they are not the people that need convincing, but rather the sheer mass of people that do not understand why.

    Still I would like this expounded

    “. On the other hand there is little evidence for its truth, other than wishful thinking and some self-serving tripe dished up by the usual suspect advocates.”

    Come on as already mentioned few things drop in price like solar panels, only electronics do and there is similar wafer mass production. I will await the clarification though.

    Like

  81. The counter-conundrum is that to get a real solution to AGW alarmists need to embrace nuclear power. Unfortunately most alarmists are passionately anti-nuke and most advocates of nuclear power think AGW is codswallop

    Perhaps we’re just wired that way. :)

    Like

  82. @ David B. Benson,

    Thanks for the link to that article. It’s hard not to scream “I told you so!” at those who have pushed for the abandonment of nuclear power post-Fukushima. Madness.

    Like

  83. Matt b, If AGW was codswallop there’s plenty of arguments to just keep on burning our abundant coal supplies etc. Well, I reckon there’s one very big reason to stop burning the stuff for electricity production whether or not climate change, global warming ,AGW are real or not. The confounded stuff has killed millions since the Industrial Revolution and still does .24,000 Americans choke to death on the other toxic muck [not CO2] spewed out every year. That’s a good enough reason for me to stop burning coal and to phase in nuclear, and not just in the west but in every developing country as well. National governments have to ask themselves whether or not they want a secure, emissions-free power supply. If they do, they’ve got one option, NUCLEAR. The renewables and still developing technologies have never, will never cut it. I wish we could get that through to our ignorant [they just do not know] leaders. We keep trying.

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  84. Why do people demand governments impose a carbon tax as a way to force the phase out of coal? They are after all governments and as Germany has shown can simply say you can’t build any more coal plants(or nuclear or whatever). Or set limits % wise for utility portfolio reducing them in time. The utilities will have to buy power from other sources. This will increase the demand for those sources thus the price.

    The goal is to cease and desist on coal use for power plants. So, cut out all the schemes and stuff and say “your not allowed to use coal any more, find something else.”

    A good fist step for any OECD country is to set the limit to current production amounts (absolute) and move downward from there.

    Is this too simple of a plan?

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  85. Terry I don’t disagree, but societies with modern coal based electricity systems are also societies with good life expectancy, and where life expectancy is lower it is often other factors (ie generally being overweight such as the USA). The risks of the things that also make our quality of life better (ie electricity) are factored in and accepted.

    We all know how high some claims are for deaths resulting from Chernobyl, so I’d have to do a lot of research to take the claimed levels of deaths from coal power as particularly reliable, but I don’t disagree that they are higher (significantly) than coal. But society is never going to fear coal power enough to seek nuclear, assuming that coal is available and abundant. They may well choose nuclear for other reasons but it is more likely to be cost based.

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  86. The renewables and still developing technologies have never, will never cut it.

    You know, statements like that annoy me.

    I’m not going to try to argue with you that renewables cannot currently cut it – they can’t, and nuclear is our only current real option. (for anything approaching an affordable price, anyway!)

    But to categorically state that renewables and other technologies will never cut it? That’s a big call. I’m sure the same was said of many revolutionary technologies back in the day. Take computers for example – that classic quote about there being a worldwide market for maybe 5 computers. Yeah, sure, the type of computer was completely different (valves vs microscopic transistors), but I have three computers sitting on my desk right now (this PC, my mobile, and a VoIP phone).

    Before someone leaps in saying that computers are nothing like solar panels, or wind turbines, or whatever – I know that. You’re missing the point, though. I’ll tell you what I think.

    I think that human greenhouse emissions are causing one doozy of a problem.

    I think that the calls for a complete ban on burning coal for power are right.

    I think that nuclear is currently our best option for a rapid conversion to low-CO2 energy, particularly with a transition to IFRs, LFTRs, and other promising options. Mainly because I think the CO2 problem is so serious, and so urgent, that it completely overwhelms legitimate safety concerns about modern reactors (note I said ‘legitimate’ – plenty of anti-nuke crackpots out there).

    I also think that we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and that we should keep researching & developing other alternative energy sources. We might find a breakthrough that means renewables *can* cut it, and significantly cheaper than nuclear. Unlikely, sure, but how likely was the development of the transistor? The laser?

    Worth keeping our options open, while making progress with the options we have now.

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  87. Jason Kobos @ 2011/06/09 at 12:41 PM
    What is the point of a government mandating a shutdown of nuclear power when to replace it they have to build 20 new coal fired electricity generators. This is what Germany proposes:
    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,2396828,00.html
    What is the point of a government mandating that all coal-fired generators must close if there is nothing possible and ready to replace them.
    Unfortunately things are more complex than that – we need a workable plan to replace all fossil fuels asap.
    There is no plan – so basically the planet, as we have evolved on it, and most if not all the humans and animals who inhabit it are stuffed.

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  88. @ Bern,
    I’m with you! Great post. Nukes until… who knows what? But the point is it has to be cheaper and more reliable than nukes.

    I just want to see the solar / wind / biomass AND Nullarbor seawater hydro backup idea costed. Realistically.

    Cheers.

    Like

  89. However, this one is awesome! It shows how EV’s will help smooth the grid’s supply and demand, charging off-peak and then dumping when it is peak demand.

    Yes, it’s Greenman, the nuke sceptic above, but he just produces a really good vid.

    Like

  90. Re Bern,on 9 June at 2.26 PM – The sun doesn’t shine 24 hours/day.The wind doesn’t blow 24/7. Just what part of that limitation on renewable energy do you not understand.

    Perhaps you believe in fusion energy as part of keeping your options open as well?

    Like

  91. MattB @ 9 June 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Maybe it is a useful anti-tax tool to use on some random on the street in Tony’s big scare campaign but give folks here a tad more credit.

    You must be joking. Why should I give those who make the arguments you are making much credit at all? I put them in the boat with the “Progressives”. Your comment reveals that is your persuasion too. Your comment is obviously politically motivated, and reveals you did not get the point I was making. I’d suggest anyone accusing Tony Abbott of scaremongering and not recognising that the entire “Progressives” campaign for a carbon price is based on scaremongering by the CAGW Alarmists, is so engulfed in their political and religious ideology, that they deserve little credit.

    I posted this reply to John Newlands a few days ago. I suggest it is a serious argument. It was not given serious responses by anyone. Instead the response has been name-calling (“Denialists” etc): https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/04/16/open-thread-15/#comment-129226

    The substantial case is presented on this thread, including in the comments:
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/

    Unfortunately, this thread was disrupted and closed due to a series of off topic and abusive comments .(inflammatory remark deleted)
    There are also a series of questions here that were posted several times and but never addressed seriously:
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-112962

    1. How high will the carbon price have to go to achieve the 2020 emissions targets (5% below 2000 emissions levels, which amounts to a cut of 160 Mt/a)?

    2. What would be the effect on the economy?

    3. Where will the emissions cuts come from (e.g. 12 Mt/a from replacing Hazelwood Power Stations with combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) and wind power from the total cuts required of 160 Mt/a to achieve the 2020 target)?

    4. By how much would world emissions be cut if Australia achieved the 2020 targets?

    5. By how much would this change the climate?

    6. Would our trajectory of emissions cuts (and other benefits to society) be better served (i.e. deeper emissions cuts attained by 2030 and beyond) by taking the policy decision to remove the impediments to low-cost nuclear now, so we can rollout nuclear earlier, faster and cheaper?

    7. Should all potentially viable alternatives be analysed, in a proper option analysis, before deciding on and committing to a policy and legislation?

    These are intended to be sensible, responsible questions, not intended to be rhetorical. I suggest, and I presume you would agree, it would be negligent to support carbon pricing if you cannot answer these questions quantitatively.

    These questions have never been answered or even seriously addressed.

    I just want to add that actually no one is claiming that reducing Australia’s emissions by 5% will have any noticeable impact on global temperatures.

    So why on Earth are people arguing Australia should impose a carbon tax now (see my twoe precursors written on numerous previous comments)? Is it purely from a moral / emotional perspective? Don’t any of these people realise the consequences of damaging the economy, especially when you have admitted it is for no gain? How can people be so irrational? That absolutely baffles me. That is why I give the “Progressives” little credit. They do enormous damage with the policies they inflict on society. It seems they cannot think beyond their single interest to the broader perspective of the consequences of the policies they advocate.

    MattB, your comment reveals to me that you have not listened to the message I am trying to send. The Progressives are locked in repeating their mantra to each other. But they are not trying to understand the concerns of the Conservatives. The reaction on BNC is typical. I’d argue that instead of trying to harrangue the Conservatices it would be much more valuable for the Progressives to a) understand the Conservatices’ concerns, because they are rational concerns, and b) put your efforts into trying to convert Labor, the Greens, and the ‘enviornmental NGO’s to support a rapid transition to low-cost nuclear (LCOE cheaper than coal). That will require a deep soul searching about many of the Lefties’ policies and deeply held beliefs. But it is necessary if we are going to implement economically rational policies, low-cost nuclear, and all the benefits for mankind that go with these.

    I’ll leave you and the other “Progressives” to ponder the wisdom of my points. Enjoy :)

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  92. quokka, on 9 June 2011 at 11:00 AM said:

    This kind of stuff is just a political rant.

    Quokka, most of the CAGW debate is political rant. Most of what is posted by the “Progressives is a political rant. You don’t see it because you agree with what the “Progressives” believe. I am attempting to expose the concerns the Conservatives have with the Progressives policy prescriptions. But the “Progressives” fight back, not listening, and instead posting ever more of their links to the Progressives’ political rants. The problem is that you do not read, nor understand the rational polices. It’s as if you just don’t want to know. When exposed to rational arguments the chant comes back from the Progressives “Oh, just ignore him, he’s just a ‘Denier’. You do it too.

    As I said above, your effort would be better expended trying to change the policies of Labor, the Greens and the environmental NGO’s than in attacking the Conservatives – who, by the way, are justifiably concerned about the Progressives’ policy prescriptions.

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  93. Quokka said:

    This kind of stuff is just a political rant.

    Here is an example of a typical argument from a Progressive about what should be done with “Deniers”:

    Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.

    Not necessarily on the forehead; I’m a reasonable man. Just something along their arm or across their chest so their grandchildren could say, ”Really? You were one of the ones who tried to stop the world doing something? And why exactly was that, granddad?”

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/the-dangers-of-boneheaded-beliefs-20110602-1fijg.html#ixzz1OQ1Upj12

    Sound’s familiar. Isn’t that rather like what the Nazis did, before taking the next step?

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  94. Podargus, there *are* options available for storage of solar & wind energy that *will* allow it to provide baseload power.

    At the moment, they are prohibitively expensive on a per-kW basis, compared to nuclear (especially when you consider the required overbuild in nameplate capacity).

    That doesn’t mean they do not exist.

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  95. MattB,

    I’m still thinking about your comment:

    Maybe it is a useful anti-tax tool to use on some random on the street in Tony’s big scare campaign but give folks here a tad more credit.

    I wonder just how much credit you (and the other Progressives) give to those who do not agree with your beliefs and policy prescriptions?

    Judging by by the tone of many of the comments on this thread, I’d say not much.

    It shouldn’t be hard to join the dots and see why Conservatives react the way they do to the Progressives’ continual name calling, irrational policy prescriptions, and demands for legislation to force their beliefs on everyone else.

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  96. Sorry I annoyed you Bern. Will concede that one day the renewables might cut it. But if nations want a secure emissions-free energy supply then everyone will need to get stuck into a massive worldwide nuclear build because it is the only option if we want to make adequate emissions reductions within the time we would appear to have.That’s some ask I know but it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of vision in this matter. Sadly, government and opposition visions extend only to the next election instead of the next generation. When I speak to the SA Liberal politicians I’ll be challenging them to stop using the nuclear issue to wedge the ALP, to declare for nuclear and offer to work with Labor in a spirit of bipartisanship and together do something good for the country. There are already nuclear supporters on both sides and my local member is well aware of that. I just hope he can pull off a meeting with his parliamentary colleagues. On Australia going nuclear score, could I draw everyone’s attention to a report handed down in Feb 2010, “Australia and the nuclear fuel cycle” by former head ANSTO, Keith Alder and John Reynolds ,executive director of the Victorian Chamber of Mines” in which they concluded, ” Nuclear offers immediately, electricity supply that is reliable and continuous, cleaner and safer than others, generally competitive and alleviates CO2 emissions. With advances in fast neutron reactor technology and the capability to “breed” fuel, it should become the world’s major energy source for a long period. Australia should now position itself to benefit to a much greater degree from its massive uranium resources through active participation in the rapidly expanding nuclear fuel cycle industry. We should not forego the opportunities it offers and simply remain a supplier of the basic raw material for this very important global industry” HEAR HEAR did I hear you say??

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  97. Peter Lang
    Progressives (thanks for the label – like that one) may indulge in a little satire as with your quote re tattooing CC deniers but surely threatening to kill/injure/maim scientists for their research, when it doesn’t accord with Conservatives/Denialist opinions, is far more sinister and dangerous.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/australian-national-university-scientists-moved-to-safe-location-after-threats/story-e6frg6nf-1226069184389

    I know Barry has received these threats too.

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  98. Peter Lang: Godwin’s Law – you lose! :-P

    But seriously, if you can’t tell the difference between an expression of frustration and a real plan to ‘brand’ climate deniers, you really shouldn’t be debating people on the internet…

    Could be worse. Could be people hacking into deniers’ email accounts, lifting incriminating phrases out-of-context (Interesting thing about that – Sarah Palin’s email account was hacked, the FBI found the perpetrator within days, followed by arrest & charges for illegal hacking. Climate scientists accounts hacked, and 18 months later they still have no idea who did it…) Could be people leaving dead animals on the doorsteps of prominent deniers. Could be death threats over the phone. Could be prominent media personalities publishing the names & addresses of deniers, alongside comments that they should be taught a lesson.
    Could be prominent politicians calling for fraud investigations into deniers’ activities. Could be people bombarding deniers with hundreds of FOI applications for data that’s been in the public record for years.

    Could be people accusing them of being in a worldwide conspiracy, with thousands of members, colluding with governments & left-leaning politicians to ‘rig’ easily verified data, without a single shred of evidence being put forward to support that conspiracy theory, other than “we don’t like what you’re telling us, so you *must* be lying!”

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  99. Peter Lang said:

    It shouldn’t be hard to join the dots and see why Conservatives react the way they do to the Progressives’ continual name calling, irrational policy prescriptions, and demands for legislation to force their beliefs on everyone else.

    I suggest you re-read your own comments – talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    Surely government policy is predicated on the understanding that you are producing legislation which is approved by the majority. As things stand in Australia at the moment the majority elected what has effectively turned out to be a Labor/Greens/Independents coalition. That’s democracy – live with it!

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  100. Terry Krieg: Hear! Hear! :-D

    Seriously, good luck talking to the politicians about it. I think you’ll have your work cut out for you there, trying to get them to cooperate with their opponents on anything. But if there was ever an issue that truly did need a bipartisan approach, then this is it!

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  101. @ Ms Perps,

    ///Peter Lang
    Progressives (thanks for the label – Ilike that one) may indulge in a little satire as with your quote re tattooing CC deniers but surely threatening to kill/injure/maim scientists for their research, when it doesn’t accord with Conservatives/Denialist opinions, is far more sinister and dangerous.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/australian-national-university-scientists-moved-to-safe-location-after-threats/story-e6frg6nf-1226069184389///

    Aint that the truth!

    Like

  102. MODERATOR
    I posted the link as well as embedding the video, as it was my first attempt at embedding and I wasn’t sure it would work. You can delete the link if you wish.
    MODERATOR
    I left the link as it shows that it did come via Climate Crock of the Week.

    Like

  103. @ Peter,
    Look at this graph.

    As a percentage of GPD, Australia’s tax rate is down with Switzerland, Ireland and the USA.

    Above us are Canada, the UK, Norway, Finland and right at the top is Sweden at about 50% of GDP!

    We are way down at 30%. What has you foa(deleted imflammatory remark([worried] about a little carbon tax? It’s just a price on energy that will make coal less attractive. Families will be reimbursed. Big deal. You act as if we are about to move into a fully Socialized economy.

    (deleted attribution of a person’s motives)

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  104. @ Ms Perps,
    thanks… I’ll have to look into how he addresses that. Otherwise I think Peter could learn a thing or 2 if he bothered to look through all Greenman’s videos. They might challenge some darling belief’s of Peter’s, but the truth ultimately sets us free. ;-)

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  105. Hey Peter I’m not trying to have a go, I was at this thread late and basically asked you to clarify your position as I was not sure I’d got it straight. Personally I consider I engage as constructively with sceptics as possible and I have no problems with someone who doesn;t agree with my personal position.

    You quoted this comment of mine “I just want to add that actually no one is claiming that reducing Australia’s emissions by 5% will have any noticeable impact on global temperatures.”

    and replied “So why on Earth are people arguing Australia should impose a carbon tax now”

    But the paragraphs afer my quote gave my answer already in that:
    “The 5% is a strategy to prime our economy for potentially greater emissions cuts at a time when the whole world is acting. It would be fairly reckless to lock our economy in to a carbon-intensive scenario IMO when it is pretty clear that such an international agreement is at least a possibility.”

    I’m even pretty open that while I support the tax (as the political alternative is denial) I do have concerns that it is something that would be better coming after (or with) steps to decarbonise in terms of large scale and planned transition from coal to nuclear power.

    But one of my pooints was, and you may car to discuss, that in Australia nuclear is dead in the water if there is no such thing as AGW. There may well be demand for our exports but coal ain’t going nowhere if AGW is not real.

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  106. Have just been reading the following paper: “Environmental and economic effects of the Copenhagen pledges and more ambitious emission reduction targets”, by Petersen et al, in Energy Policy 39 (2011) 3697–3708
    ( http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030142151100276X )

    It states that Annex I countries (of which Australia is one, I believe) will experience a reduction in 2020 GDP of 0.13%, if they adopt a blanket CO2 reduction target of 30% w.r.t. 1990 levels, when compared to BAU 2020 GDP. The figure increases to 0.48% when you look at all countries.

    If we assume that Australia would experience a 0.5% reduction in GDP compared to BAU, by adopting a 30% cut in emissions, then, using Productivity Commission projections for GDP, that would mean Australia would go from a GDP of $971B in 2011, to $1,204B in 2020. That compares with a BAU figure of $1,210B in 2020. So the net ‘cost’ in GDP would be a mere $6B, to cut CO2 emissions by 30%. And even that figure represents a growth of 24.0% over 2011 GDP, or 2.42% per year. Compared to 24.6% in the BAU case, or 2.47% per year.

    Now, Australia’s ‘drop’ in GDP growth might be much larger, due to the reliance on coal mining for both domestic use & exports. I’m sure I saw a number somewhere (perhaps in Garnaut’s recent publications?) of 0.1% per year, which is twice the 0.05% difference above. That would put 2020 GDP at $1,199B, or only 23.5% higher than in 2011.

    Maybe it’s just me, but that looks affordable, if it means preserving a climate that we can live with. “Only” 2.37% growth per year, instead of 2.47%.

    Thoughts? Comments?
    (Yes, I know that this kind of work relies on a lot of assumptions, which may differ substantially from one economist to the next)

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  107. @Peter Lang

    Quokka, most of the CAGW debate is political rant.

    No it isn’t. You spend too much time reading The Australian.

    There is the science and then there is the political rant. Every national academy, scientific society or professional scientific association of international standing that has issued a public position affirms the basic reality of the science. Never in the history of science has anything come under such intense scrutiny.

    If one is not equipped to attempt to understand the science, or one is not prepared to put in the effort, there is only one honest response – and that is to accept the scientific opinion. There is no essential difference here to accepting expert medical opinion on matters that once does not understand.

    Rejecting that huge body of expert opinion of world science can only be based on crackpot conspiracy theories. And this is the logical dead end in which deniers find themselves.

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  108. Also Peter if no one listened to conservatives and the loony left progressives ran the roost then the target would be zero emissions by 2020 and total conversion to solar power and wind. I think you fail to see just how middle of the road a 5% target is… it is a sensible 1st step, as they say it is like driving a bit slower in poor visibility conditions, or taking out insurance. It is not going to cripple the economy.

    Unless of course you think AGW is codswallop – then of course why would we make any cuts whether alone or as part of a global treaty. I get that but I am confident it is not codswallop… at which stage we move to solutions… and a tax/ets is a sound solution, as is nuclear power (the latter making the former much more sensible and lower cost but I think maybe it is just a necessary step and sooner or later people will realise what afolly it is to try and do it without nuclear).

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  109. Hi MattB,

    Thank you for further comment. You said:

    “I just want to add that actually no one is claiming that reducing Australia’s emissions by 5% will have any noticeable impact on global temperatures.”

    and I replied “So why on Earth are people arguing Australia should impose a carbon tax now”

    But the paragraphs afer my quote gave my answer already in that:

    I did see your whole comment, but my answer was presuming you had seen the comments I had made previously on this thread: https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/ and this comment at the end of “Open Thread 15”: https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/04/16/open-thread-15/#comment-129226

    “The 5% is a strategy to prime our economy for potentially greater emissions cuts at a time when the whole world is acting.

    I disagree. The cost of the 5% emissions cuts, before the main emitters have reached an international agreement and while we are still opposed to the most important technology (nuclear) for cutting emissions at least cost is, in my opinion, reckless and grossly irresponsible. The costs are enormous, and few Progressives seem prepared to even discuss it. It seems to me they want to ignore the cost consequences and just hope it will be solved somehow. Why else would everyone duck, weave and avoid the substantial questions about the economic consequences each time I bring it up? I’d argue we don’t need to commit suicide, economically, now. What we need to do is implement the policies I’ve laid out in the links above.

    It would be fairly reckless to lock our economy in to a carbon-intensive scenario IMO when it is pretty clear that such an international agreement is at least a possibility.”

    I disagree. I do not believe the carbon price is the correct way forward at this time. I believe it is avoidance. It is avoidance of tackling what we need to tackle. I’ve laid out what I believe is the correct way forward (see links above). I certainly cannot condone applying a carbon price while we maintain our opposition to low-cost nuclear.

    I’m even pretty open that while I support the tax (as the political alternative is denial)

    I disagree. My retort to the “Denial” bit is that it is the progressives who are in denial. Denial about the economic consequences of their proposed policies.

    I have laid out a plan for cutting emissions that is economically rational. It will not achieve the 2020 targets, but neither will the carbon price unless it is high enough to forces a deep and sustained recession. That will not be politically sustainable, so the whole carbon price argument boils down to politics – to save the Prime Minister’s political neck. I am convinced the approach I suggest (see links above) will achieve far deeper cuts sooner than the carbon price. Had we not denied nuclear for 50 years our emissions would be far lower now. Had the developed world not slowed progress on development of nuclear for 50 years, world emissions would be 10% t 20% lower now. We need to bite the bullet. The Progressives need to spend their energy trying to convert their mates, rather that abusing the Conservatives.

    But one of my points was, and you may car to discuss, that in Australia nuclear is dead in the water if there is no such thing as AGW. There may well be demand for our exports but coal ain’t going nowhere if AGW is not real.

    I don’t agree. The Progressives want to cut GHG emissions no matter what the cost. The Conservatives want to cut emissions but do not want to wreck the economy in doing so. The Conservatives also see a much bigger picture. It is world emissions, not just Australia’s emissions, that have to be cut. We are a small player. We have to participate in what the world does. We cannot lead. It is naive to think we can lead the world. We can best help the world to cut emissions by implementing low-emissions electricity cheaper than coal so that we can pass the expertise on to developing countries. (Furthermore, it is all externalities that should be considered in a properly balanced way, not just picking the Progressives’ issue of the decade).

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  110. Quokka,

    No it isn’t. You spend too much time reading The Australian.

    What a silly comment.

    And the Progressives spend too much time reading, listening to, and quoting the Progressive media outlets – e.g. ABC, BBC, Fairfax press, Get up!, Crickey, the Drum, and a host of Alarmist web sites.

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  111. Peter: “The cost of the 5% emissions cuts, before the main emitters have reached an international agreement and while we are still opposed to the most important technology (nuclear) for cutting emissions at least cost is, in my opinion, reckless and grossly irresponsible. The costs are enormous, and few Progressives seem prepared to even discuss it.”

    to be honest there is enough debate about this in the general political arena and media that I’m not interested in debating this here other than to say that I stuggle to believe that the Australian treasury and productivity commission have been so duped as to miss the fact that this is reckless and grossly irresponsible, with enormous costs. Nor do I see that it is not being discussed. I certainly don’t support any grossly irresponsible policies and would appreciate you linking to the material that leads you to this conclusion so I can consider them alongside Garnaut, Productivity Commission and Treasury, and general economic theory re: low cost abatement via pricing.

    That said I don’t disagree with your post in Open Thread 15, but maybe this tax is the step towards public realisation that the way to avoid costs is nuclear power.

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  112. @ Bern,
    don’t worry about our coal exports.
    A/ It will run out one day anyway, so we may as well prepare our economy now.
    B/ Educating overseas students brings in 3 times what our coal export does. We should boost our education services to replace coal.

    So I totally agree with you Bern when you say:
    ////Maybe it’s just me, but that looks affordable, if it means preserving a climate that we can live with. “Only” 2.37% growth per year, instead of 2.47%/////

    Here are TODAY’S 2 great reasons for a CarbonTax.

    1. Tony Abbott said the immortal words on the ABC News this evening.
    “The problem with a Carbon Tax is that it will kill the coal industry!” Hang on a minute Mr Abbott, haven’t you been claiming it won’t do a thing about emissions? Now we hear the PROBLEM is that it will be too effective! Hooray! I want one NOW!

    Ha ha, I never thought Tony Abbott would come up with the BEST reason for a Carbon Tax.

    2. Much of the world already has some form of price on carbon.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/09/3239817.htm

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  113. @ Quokka,

    ////If one is not equipped to attempt to understand the science, or one is not prepared to put in the effort, there is only one honest response – and that is to accept the scientific opinion. There is no essential difference here to accepting expert medical opinion on matters that once does not understand.

    Rejecting that huge body of expert opinion of world science can only be based on crackpot conspiracy theories. And this is the logical dead end in which deniers find themselves.////
    So true so true!

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  114. //// host of Alarmist web sites.////
    Um, Peter, just think for a moment who’s website you are scribbling comments on? Do you know how inflammatory you’re being? *All* the time?

    You also haven’t answered my questions. Why are you SO terrified of Australia crashing into a Greater Depression when other countries already have much higher tax brackets?

    And Peter,
    what do you make of TODAY’S 2 great reasons for a CarbonTax.

    1. Tony Abbott said the immortal words on the ABC News this evening.
    “The problem with a Carbon Tax is that it will kill the coal industry!” Hang on a minute Mr Abbott, haven’t you been claiming it won’t do a thing about emissions? Now we hear the PROBLEM is that it will be too effective! Hooray! I want one NOW!

    Ha ha, I never thought Tony Abbott would come up with the BEST reason for a Carbon Tax.

    2. Much of the world already has some form of price on carbon.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/09/3239817.htm

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  115. You said it Peter,

    ////Try answering the questions I’ve posted and stop the avoidance.////

    Oh, I forgot, only you get to play Yoda while we all have to be Luke Skywalker, sitting at your feet in awed silence while YOU lay out the rules.

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  116. I’m unsubscribing. PL’s as revolting as ever. I’m out of here. Take it easy everyone else.(deleted personal comment about another)
    MODERATOR
    Remember this is an Open Thread, specifically to allow dissenting opinions to be aired without disrupting or diverting the discussion on threads with a specific subject, and not as closely moderated as the other threads. Inflammatory comments/incivility directed specifically towards an individual are still deleted but general attacks on groups etc are not. We value your input and hope you will return on a thread with a definitive topic.

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  117. MattB,

    I’ve linked the material consistently. You sday you are not interested in the most imporatant policy decision we are about to make. So there is no point in me linking it again. I’ll continue posting comments and linking as we go forward. If you want to catch up, I’d suggest you read the comments on the “Alternative to Carbon Pricing” thread.

    Just to remind you, The treasury analysis is not for the case where Australia achieves the 2020 targets. So, what the Treasurer has annolunced so far is grossly misleading.

    Furthermore, we will have to be dilligent at looking at what assumptions the Treasury uses for it’s analyses. For the CPRS they assumed the world would agree to an economically efficent ETS. What a grossly optimistic assumption that proved to be.

    This might provide some perspective:
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/02/reality-check.html
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2010.36.pdf

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  118. links are appreciated Peter – I’m interested but I’m just not interested in getting in an economic debate. I agree with your preferred solution, we just disagree with the current proposal. I’m entirely comfortable with a price on emissions and think it is perfectly mainstream economics. I agree (if I’ve got you right) that given the state of our energy infrastructure a tax/ets is a strange thing to apply when there are simple yes significant decisions to be made on baseload power… ie you don;t need a price signal to shift from coal to nuclear. I tend to think that an ets/tax now, however, will accelerate the realisation that nuclear is something that is so bloody obvious and doable (ie people will soon be looking for a power source that avoids the cost of carbon).

    I just don’t see the demons that you do, sorry.

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  119. @Mrs. Peps. The point to shut down coal plants is to shut them down. Weather or not the prices of the replacements are favorable, or if there are any replacement plants under construction is not the point. When you know that coal plants will be shut down, then replacements will be found. The problem with a carbon tax is it still allows a country to run 75% coal, but pay a whole lot more for it. When you simply ban coal power plants the only options are to run out of electricity or to build something else. You also have to be realistic. I’m not advocating shutting down 50% of the coal plants next year. But the governments of the world need to control coal power the same way they do many other aspects of or lives, with laws, permits and limits. They don’t need to go scheming around with taxes so they can funnel the money out of the energy sector into what ever else they want to waste our money on.

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  120. Eclipse, it’s exactly this kind of dialogue that is unique to BNC and what is required. You can’t always talk, debate and argue with those that agree with you or you won’t get anywhere (It’s called “dialectics” and Peter is a good dialectical although he’d probably take offense at the label).

    I want to address 3 issues.

    1. Politics. What many of us in the U.S. have as an stated goal is to de-partisan nuclear energy from the totally a-political mud wrestling known as “American Politics”. We want the political goal posts shifted to what it was in the 1960s, where parties could fight over who were the best builders and promoters of nuclear energy. We want to remove the “I own nuclear” of the conservative Republicans and the “I hate nuclear” from our “other” conservatives, the Democrats. This is why many, well over half of the active nuclear bloggers are slightly the left of what passes for ‘center’ in the U.S.

    The logic of US conservative politics is to support nuclear because “conservatives” want corporations to make profits. It’s as ‘base’ as that which means they only use free market/libertarian arguments when it suits them. See our Defense Budget if you don’t believe this. The “liberals” are all, for the most part, and all, in Congress, throughly ignorant Luddites who live in the renewable fantasy world. “Yes, Dear, Green Energy does provide More Jobs because it’s F*ING LESS EFFICIENT…!!!”

    ’nuff there….get the your Labor and Conservatives and even Greens (only kidding there) to BOTH support nuclear by educating the public.

    2. On the interesting video above about electric cars. Unfortunately I disagree. Although I’d love ALL vehicles to be electric their illusions about the “grid” are so much fantasy. The person doesn’t really understand the ‘mouse graph’ of a day’s energy. There is no ‘wasted’ energy as “load” (what we use) is always the same as “generation”, what we produce. You can’t have a (generation) not equal b (load). Well, you ‘can’ but then you get all sorts of nasty things like high amps on your transmission lines and low voltage everywhere else and the system trips off line.

    The problem in fact is that you WANT large central power stations to stay on line, especially nuclear but configured in such a way as to allow for very low loading. It does work, after all, in a lot of places or we wouldn’t have a grid. Modern Gen IV reactors will have very low minimum load floors…BTW…the mitigating factor here is NOT the reactor but the turbines.

    Nuclear plants now can be built with at least some low load capability and they should be regulated to do so as part of new builds (you pay these operators to run at low load as a ‘product’ they offer in order for them not to lose money). All such services as low load capability, rapid loading up and down are all “ancillary services” under a de- or partially regulated market for energy.

    Of course a thoroughly nationalized energy sector can do this by fiat and avoid all this ‘regulatory debate’ entirely…because they “could just do it!”… like the French-may-the-gods-bless-their-socialist-souls… :)

    3. In Defense of Peter Lang. Folks here on the left…and I’m probably the most left as I’m a Marxist (Quick! Hide the children!). Peter is important here. Not because he’s a Libertarian, which like Marxism, is rather small component of the general popular feelings but because he’s an economist. It doesn’t matter what kind, he looks at the bottom line.

    He can parse costs… Especially the CARBON TAX and it’s effects, under Australia’s (and other countries) generally capitalist system. He understands the implications economically for such actions. In this, this Marxist agrees with him, both from the developmental perspective under globalized capitalism that Australia and Amercia functions under but also on the individual effects such carbon taxes would effect, and badly at that.

    This is because we both, I think, oppose “de-development” and “anti-consumerist” incentives as a way that punishes people for using energy when the use of energy is is, and never has been, the point. The biggest problem, IMO, I can’t speak for Peter on this, is the “Progressive” believe that people are the problem, that “we use too much”, etc etc. This needs to go if we are “win the masses” to the cause of the atom. More later…

    David

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  121. According to Wiki there was 335.8 GW of coal power in the U.S. in 2006. If you reduce this number by 1% per year for 100 years. That is 3.4GW per year. This is a manageable number. The economy is not going to crash if over the course of the next 5 years 17 Gw of coal is shut down and replaced by a combination of nuclear, gas, wind, solar, hydro or other tech. The biggest reason why we use coal is that it is cheaper than everything else. This does not mean that all the other options are expensive. They are more expensive than coal, but when view relative to what else people spend money on some are still relatively cheap.

    The reality is if you want to eat cheap low quality food then you can. If you want better tasting higher quality food it will cost more. The same goes for electricity. If you want to use fuels that are cleaner than coal and oil you will have to pay more. Electricity has to get more expensive. Either governments have to allow the consumer to choose their power source, or they have to tell the suppliers what they can and can not use. My view is the regulation the industry will provide better results than taxation. Simply because history shows that countries where nuclear is banned, there are no nuclear plants. Countries where cigarettes are taxed into absurdity smoking is still prevalent.

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  122. The U.S. had at one point some 10 nuclear reactor starts in one year. We can do that again…and more. We can, and this is just with LWRs as the real “transition bridge technology” to Gen IV, do better. We could within 10 years build enough component infrastructure, along with plugging into to world wide expansion of same, start 1 reactor a month. 12 reactors a year equals about 15 GWs or more a year. In 20 years at that rate we could probably shutdown all coal plants in the U.S. What a victory that would be.

    Each site would be mandated to save a smaller space for various Gen IV reactors that could be build/started/deployed on the same brownfield space, saving on BOP costs and grid connections. Also, each one can function as a peaker unit as well.

    I believe this is a very conservative forecast. The *only* thing holding this perspective up is politics.

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  123. Well DW, when you say the only thing holding up a rapid nuclear build in the u.s. is politics, I would agree with you, except for your adverb “only,” as if this is a small issue.

    Is the difference between France and the U.S. here “only” politics?

    Where is class interest in all this? or what is the connection between class interests and “only politics”? if you’re a marxist (me too david), you should say that the ruling classes in the two countries had different interests, such that a nuclear build in one country (France) was more likely than a massive nuclear build in the other.

    These different interests might connect to a far more powerful fossil fuel lobby in the U.S., different resource endownments, and thus different potentials for “energy independence.” [in many ways a bogus notion as Robert Bryce shows though it certainly motivated France].

    Most green progressives in the U.S. are green capitalists (Robert Kennedy Jr., Van Jones, etc.) but they are contradictory, melding anti consumerist, conservationist rhetoric with gushing tributes to green profits and green jobs (whose multipllicity is as you noted connected to all the inefficiencies of renewables).

    I don’t know why you call the French socialists. More accurately, they would be called social democrats. Nationalization and socialism are not the same thing.

    BTW, I’m for nuclear energy because it’s the only energy source that is for all practical purposes renewable, clean, and reliable. And I share your distrust of “de-development,” but on the other hand, I would not equate development with exponential growth or even necessarily growth (not saying you do either necessarily).

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  124. I was not trying to give a treastie on Marxist political economy but a simplified aspect of it. The “only” was a facetious use…it’s is of course all about politics and how each ruling class mediates the disputes among the players: finance capital, manufacturing, transportation, etc. That discussion is not for here. I don’t, for example, support, ever, either the Dems or the Repubs in elections and would prefer a labor party of some sort to develop out of the current fightback against budget cuts. But again, it’s not for here.

    The so-called “Green Capitalism” is, of course, something that I don’t believe will even meet their goals let along the “green perspective” on What Is To Be Done. It’s a bogus hype for a segment of some manufacturing capital, namely Westinghouse, GE, Siemens, etc.

    But my distrust of greenie capitalism perhaps strikes at a big difference we have over ‘growth’ which is quite germain to this and many other forums and goes to the heart of all these debates over energy.

    Where are you located, Greg?

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  125. David Walters, on 10 June 2011 at 1:50 AM said:

    The U.S. had at one point some 10 nuclear reactor starts in one year. We can do that again

    In the 1970’s and 1980’s in the US we overbuilt baseload generating capacity and utilization rates ended up being poor…nuclear utilization rates didn’t exceed 90% until the late 1990’s. Coal fired baseload utilization rates still don’t exceed 80%. The bulk of new capacity in the last 20 years has been natural gas peakers.

    Without a high utilization rate nuclear is expensive.

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  126. Re Bern,on 9 June at 4.20 PM.

    You missed the point of my brief comment.I will rephrase it.

    Many (but not all) things are possible.A considerably lesser number are probable.
    While energy storage on the scale required for base load renewables is possible the technology for this to be built on an economical,let alone an environmentally friendly scale does not presently exist and it is highly debateable whether it ever will be.

    There is an urgent requirement for a carbon free energy system to replace coal fired generation in Australia and elsewhere.Regardless of all the smoke screen arguments from various parties(some on this site) re carbon trading,carbon tax,what renewables can/can’t do etc ad nauseum this is the basic fact. Nuclear power is that energy system and it is the only proven one we presently have.

    Here is a little analogy – you need to get from Brisbane to Sydney ASAP.There is a viable direct road.Would you advocate driving via Darwin,Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne as an alternative?

    If you think the direct route is the way to go then cease floating dreams about the alternative.There is no time for such nonsense.

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  127. Jason Kobos, @ 10 June 2011 at 1:41 AM

    Clearly, from the preceding discussion, I agree with you that carbon pricing is the wrong approach for Australia to take at the moment.

    However, I must signal my disagreement with this point you made:

    If you want to use fuels that are cleaner than coal and oil you will have to pay more. Electricity has to get more expensive. Either governments have to allow the consumer to choose their power source, or they have to tell the suppliers what they can and can not use.

    I suspect you are thinking of only the developed countries when you make this comment. But what we need to recognise is that 90% of the emissions growth between now and 2050 will be from the underdeveloped and developing countries. So the solution we propose must be to provide clean electricity generation for those countries. Raising the cost of electricity generation in the developed countries will not reduce world emissions. It will have the opposite effect.

    Therefore, we must reduce the cost of electricity. If we want the underdeveloped and developing countries to build clean instead of FF generators, we, in the developing countries, must develop low cost clean electricity generation.

    We can certainly do that. But we must throw off many of the constraints we have imposed. I’ve listed some of them in the comments linked here:
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-111936

    1. Nuclear cheaper than coal in Australia. How?
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-109491

    2. Some impediments to low-cost nuclear
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-86256

    3, Subsidies that encourage fossil fuel use in Australia.
    http://www.isf.uts.edu.au/publications/CR_2003_paper.pdf

    4. Impediments to low-cost nuclear – Industrial Relations
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-110185

    5. The excessive cost due to regulatory ratcheting
    http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html

    6. Suggested Terms of Reference for a “Productivity Commission” Investigation into the impediments to low-cost nuclear
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-109732

    7. Once we legislate a carbon price we’re stuffed
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/#comment-112726

    This is what we need to tackle.

    Taxing energy and carbon pricing in the western democracies is exactly the wrong policy to reduce world emissions.

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  128. I wonder if two agencies of the federal government, the Treasury Dept. and the Productivity Commission, are at odds with each other. The PC has said (link behind a Business Spectator paywall) that renewables subsidies and quotas must cease when carbon tax is introduced. In that respect they repeat Garnaut’s recommendation. However the wind industry itself has said they need $40 carbon tax not $20 but they seem very confident RECs will stay for many more years. Someone in Canberra must have given them a discreet nod. RECs are essentially a market valuation of the 20% renewables quota.

    Treasury have said renewables will go gangbusters after $20-$30 carbon tax. I’m not so sure. Assume that RECs do wind up in July 2012 and State feed-in tariffs
    also phase out . If wind and solar then stop dead in their tracks somebody has got it badly wrong. Instead of heading towards renewables nirvana it could all fizzle out.

    FWIW I agree with both Garnaut and the Commission; we can’t have both a carbon price and then extra help for renewables on top. If renewables end up ‘double dipping’ there should be an outcry. That will add to the other anomalies like China getting our coal and LNG without paying carbon tax the locals have to pay.

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  129. The surest path to eternal energy provision is from Nuclear Fusion! Containment and control are the biggest problems in harnessing nuclear fusion on Earth, but why overlook the biggest fusion reactor in our vicinity, our sun, and all of the ways to provide more than adequate energy from it? I know that it is diffuse and dispersed, but having pondered the problem in the year after my heart had stopped for 10 minutes while having surgery to repair a gashed forehead while under a general anesthetic, I would like you to view my conclusions at http://www.greenmillennium.eu

    I recovered the abilities to walk, speak, remember and do all that we first learn as infants by staggering, walking and jogging more than 330 miles, the 3.6 miles home from work 92 times, in that first year. Along the way, my mind was very infantile, so it both imagined and accepted many new ideas, which now form the basis of my website.

    The components of our genes have always existed in different combinations and recombinations, and will continue to exist as long as our descendents have children, making sex and the roles of women far more important than they are at present! And, we must begin to design a 100% sustainable infrastructure, or better, for those components in the Years 4000, 20000 and 20000000 as the Earth will certainly continue to exist at least that long!

    Please get in touch if you would like to discuss the implications of the above and the material on my website!

    Mr. Kim Gyr
    Director, Green Millennium, humansolutions@greenmillennium.eu

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  130. John Newlands,

    There is no way the Greens are going to back off their demand that Renewables be mandated and subsidised heavily.

    Wind requires at least $120/MWh to be viable. That is about $90/MWh above the current average wholesale price. the $90/MWh has to cpoe form a mix of RECs and carbon tax.

    Whatever way you try to spin it we are subsidising it aby about a factor of three.

    Productivity Commission says roof top solart is costing us up to $1000/tonne CO2-e avoided.

    If you cut through the political spin, the whole argument is just polain nuts. the carbon price policy is as bad as the 50 years of anti nuclear policy, 30 years of renewable energy support, mandatory renewable enegy targets, masses of other energy market distortions.

    Add on top of all this the cost of monitoring and reporting emisisons. That cost would bot be required if we adopted th policy I’ve been proposing – remove the impediments to low cost nuclear.

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  131. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/greathomesanddestinations/30your.html

    Living off grid is what I’d like to do. I realize its not at all practical for all situations, but I think it will become more popular as energy rates climb. I’d like to see legislation requiring large corporations to cleanly produce some percentage of their own energy, and that required percentage grow over decade-timescales until it is saturated. In the meantime, I’m supporting celebate priests and homosexuals… as the energy problem and the climate problem is in reality a population problem in disguise. (deleted pejorative)

    Like

  132. (Have to re-subscribe to ask this… will just ignore PL’s posts if I can).

    Hi Barry,
    I’m wondering what the latest on Richard Lindzen is? I can easily write off Roy Spencer as he’s also a (deleted pejorative) Creationist — and even amongst Sydney Anglican theological circles this automatically makes someone very suspect — but am wondering what Lindzen’s game is? He seems like a fairly solid character. How can he ignore the solid evidence for the Co2 forcings the way he does, and play into the old myth of ‘natural variability’ as if the IPCC didn’t even bother to think about all the other climate forcings. (Which is a laughable suggestion).

    I’m just confused as to how someone of his calibre can go along with the Denialists.
    MODERATOR
    Please be aware that Barry is working long hours at a conference in Canada and is not able to spend much time on the blog. It may be a while before questions are answered. He arrives back in Australia on Sunday.

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  133. Hi all,
    what capital costs would be involved in a nuke that could run the whole of Australia for 10 hours? Forget the time factor then, that’s like asking what it would cost to replace baseload coal with nukes. 40 reactors wasn’t it?

    This Nullarbor hydro dam thing has me going. The report says 2 billion dollars (without the 7k diameter floor being concreted… let’s add another billion if that is actually required). So let’s say $3 billion for a dam that could theoretically run Australia for 10 hours, if the guy has done his maths right. That’s cheap capital. Now we need to calculate how much it would cost to pump all that seawater up the pipes when the wind’s-a-blowing and the sun’s-a-shining.

    Add in the cost of a nationwide super-grid that can shunt power quickly from SA across the continent.

    Then — in case of terrorism — add another dam? What about peaking power — these dams hold a LOT of energy.

    I’ve never seen these analysed without an extremely critical attitude brought to bear. I encounter the same scepticism about GenIV nukes. “Bring em to the table when you’ve got them! Until then, we’ll go with technology we KNOW works today mate — wind and solar and pumped hydro storage!”

    Seriously everyone… if these seawater pumped hydro dams are THAT cheap to build and can run the whole friggin country for 10 hours, don’t the BZE teams have a viable plan again? I mean, when is the WHOLE COUNTRY likely to be without SOME renewable power? Seriously?

    Storage is the key. Intermittency has always been the thing that blows renewable energy costings out, but if a truly nation-wide grid can be built linking to a few of these ENORMOUS ‘batteries’, then surely…. it’s possible? And it might not even be *that* much more expensive than nukes? Page 50 or so for the Nullarbor dam that could run Australia for 10 hours. His figures for a $2billion costing don’t include concreting the floor.
    http://energy.unimelb.edu.au/uploads/Australian_Sustainable_Energy-by_the_numbers3.pdf

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  134. Eclipse Now, on 10 June 2011 at 12:05 PM — Glad you are back already. [Just ignore comments posted by Peter Lang; I successfully do that.]

    Briefly, Richard Lindzen has gone Emeritus as the saying is these days. He is also to be ignored.

    Like

  135. EN given the dead money that has been thrown at geothermal and CCS I think some of the carbon tax billions could be spend on a pumped seawater trial, neither too small nor too large. Say 300 MW (as per the Hawaii proposal) for 10 hours or 3 Gwh. A 7km diameter tank would take too long to build and the doubters would be in hysterics after a few months. A smaller reservoir with higher elevation may be the trick. I think it would have to be near existing transmission which rules out the desert coast.

    If the reliability was good and the average cost was acceptable (under 10c per stored kwh?) others could follow. Seawater pumped hydro has the advantages of not requiring rainy mountain geography and it could just as easily store surplus nuclear output as renewable energy.

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  136. //Briedly, Richard Lindzen has gone emeritus as the saying is these days. He is also to be ignored.//
    Sure, but to the mindset of the paranoid Denialist he adds weight to the idea that there is a ‘debate’. I’m just wondering what motivates the guy?

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  137. ////and it could just as easily store surplus nuclear output as renewable energy.////
    Exactly! Or it could store wind and solar. Indeed, if these things are *that* good, could building BIG and centralised lower the cost per unit to the point where solar thermal just FORGETS about molten salt storage? Generate as much heat electricity as they can while the sun shines, and pump that seawater where it can be stored for days, weeks, months…

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  138. MattB,

    Our discussion seems to have drawn to a close. So I will provide my summary and a suggestion.

    The discussion started with your comment @ 9 June 2011 at 11:08 AM:

    Maybe it is a useful anti-tax tool to use on some random on the street in Tony’s big scare campaign but give folks here a tad more credit.

    I replied:

    You must be joking. Why should I give those who make the arguments you are making much credit at all? I put them in the boat with the “Progressives”. …

    https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/06/07/open-thread-16/#comment-129472

    The discussion ended with your comment:

    MattB, @ 9 June 2011 at 9:11 PM:

    links are appreciated Peter – I’m interested but I’m just not interested in getting in an economic debate.

    I tend to think that an ets/tax now, however, will accelerate the realisation that nuclear is something that is so bloody obvious and doable

    I just don’t see the demons that you do, sorry.

    My response to this is that you have a belief and are not prepared to test it.

    It reveals you do not want to consider in depth the very important policy decision Australia is about to make. You just want to believe what the Progressives believe. So your belief is based on your ideological alignment.

    The fact that most of the BNC contributors did not get involved in debating the most important policy issue of the moment, either this time or in the previous times it has been raised, suggests to me that they, like you, would prefer to run on belief than on the basis of rational decision making.

    This suggests that much of the “Progressives” agenda is based on belief.

    This is the reason why, from my perspective, the Progressives have little credibility. They have done enormous damage to society by forcing their opinions and policy prescriptions on society. The 50 years of anti-nuke and 30 years of pro-renewables policy prescriptions are two obvious examples and there are many others. This is why I am very cautious about Progressives’ policy prescriptions. I give little credibility to most of the “Progressives” beliefs.

    Sorry, but that is how I see it. This courteous discussion with you has reinforced for me that the Progressives have little credibility – they simply run on their beliefs. It was further reinforced in the previous discussion with John Newlands (towards the end of Open Thread 15), which also was courteous. In that discussion, John Newlands ended up by admitting, in effect, he had no rational argument for his support for Carbon Pricing; he resorted to a moral argument.

    Suggestion to Progressives: get rational. Be prepared to listen and take note of what the Conservatives are saying. Try to understand why they are cautious and not persuaded by much of what you believe. (inflammatory remark deleted) I’ll leave it at that unless there is anything substantial added to the discussion.

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  139. Re current electricity pricing – a quick look at the AEMO site reveals annual averages for many states are often above $50/MWh, with SA having a particularly bad year in 98-99 with $156/MWh, but hitting $73/MWh in 07/08. No wonder that they’re so keen on wind in SA, combine the RECs with a wholesale price of $70+ and wind is better than break even… (and that’s the annual average, mind you – there would have been periods when it was significantly higher, although I’d almost be willing to put money on that being the periods when the wind wasn’t blowing and they had a shortage of capacity as a result! :-)

    Podargus: no, I’m not ignoring your point. I know that nuclear represents the best current path. I’m just saying you shouldn’t ignore the possibility that a *better* path does exist, we just haven’t found it yet. If you do, you’re in “why would anyone want to replace sail?” territory.

    Note that I’m not saying that we should avoid building nukes because a better option will come along. I’m saying we should build nukes now to reduce GHG emissions, while keeping an eye out for other options that might get the job done as effectively, without the potential downside of nuclear (though the risk is small, it nevertheless is a real risk).

    I’m also in complete agreement with this comment by Peter Lang:

    If we want the underdeveloped and developing countries to build clean instead of FF generators, we, in the developing countries, must develop low cost clean electricity generation.

    If the only option developing nations can afford is coal, that’s what they’ll use, no matter the environmental cost. After all, that’s what the developed nations are still using, despite being able to afford better.

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  140. This is verifiable objective data that must be engaged in the Carbon Tax conversation.
    http://tinyurl.com/3qkzbx8

    Countries with much higher tax regimes than ours have thriving economies that are competent, prosperous, competitive, and trading with the world. Why aren’t they all in Recession, or Depression, or Mad Max as some Conservatives seem to fear?

    Australia’s taxation per unit GDP is already amongst the lowest in the developed world.

    I can only conclude that a refusal to deal with this data indicates someone is running a Conservative belief system that automatically filters out inconvenient truths. This kind of blinding belief has propelled the Denialist movement into mainstream politics, delayed action on climate change and set back our independence from oil, gas, and coal. It’s a ‘piss-ant’ anti-action policy that just can’t engage with real world data, either from the climate or the economy, and ultimately I pity people who hold this small mindset.

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  141. My guess is that there will be a few years after the Carbon Tax is introduced in which the government liberally hands out the income tax rebates to families and people laugh at all the old Carbon Tax fear-mongering.

    Then peak oil will hit and who knows WHAT that will mean for fuel taxation policies? We’ll be into *rationing* then.

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  142. Peter – yes I have a belief. Just like you, I believe what I think is backed up by credible science and economics. My unwillingness to get in to an economic debate is not that I’m not prepared to challenge my beliefs, and believe something else if I see warranted. I’m simply not an economist and would take too long to see your post, follow sources, review them, and post a reply. But I will do it if the argument is well made and referenced. Regardless economics is not a science in that there are genuine truths to be discovered, and I tend to think that whatever your ideology there is an economic model that suits the ideology and actually works (rather than science where there is a scienitific argument that suits all ideologies but only one can be correct, although both can be wrong).

    I have yet to see any what I would consider to be credible or persuasive economic argument that a carbon price will demolish the Australian economy. Where is it?

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  143. Hi Bern:
    ////If we want the underdeveloped and developing countries to build clean instead of FF generators, we, in the developing countries, must develop low cost clean electricity generation.

    If the only option developing nations can afford is coal, that’s what they’ll use, no matter the environmental cost. After all, that’s what the developed nations are still using, despite being able to afford better.////

    Please watch this 4 minute TED video.

    The Open Source Hardware movement will soon have a plan for a do-it-yourself 50kw wind turbine. Intermittent electricity is better than NO electricity to the African villager, especially if it lets your kids study at night or wife cook around dinner time.

    Can you imagine nuclear power plants in the D.I.Y. Open Source movement? I didn’t think so. Sure this movement is about empowering the *local village*, not a whole developing economy. But with free plans for home made tractors and drill presses and water tanks and water purifiers and the 50 top inventions that allow a comfortable modern life, what if this takes off? What if some enterprising company comes out with even cheaper mass produced versions of the ‘Lego’ like modular components that make all these tools? It could prove unbelievably attractive, cutting out all the marketing middle-men and built in obsolescence and the price of a shiny logo on your tractor. And it will all be powered by small scale wind turbines and solar built at the local level from scrap metals (and probably cast off silicon! I’m REALLY going to be interested in where they got that silicon from!)

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  144. Pumped seawater storage now,eh? No wonder Jesus wept.

    I happen to live within a few kilometres of a major pumped storage power station which uses Wivenhoe Dam on the Brisbane River as the lower storage.The pumped storage reservoir is about 100 metres above the twin unit power station on the shore of the lake.Each unit has an approximately 3 metre diameter tunnel leading to the inlet in the pumped storage.

    The pumped storage reservoir was a major engineering task with a long rock fill dam on the principal original watercourse and several smaller rock fills on saddles.Because of the terrain this storage has minimal surface area relative to capacity.There are not many sites in Australia with these advantages.

    Folks,these structures cost a lot to build.They invariably have a large footprint like all dams.The Wivenhoe power station has the advantage of being within 50 km of of the market (Brisbane) and is close to HVAC transmission lines from the Tarong coal burner to the North West.

    Where,in your wildest dreams,are you going to build a facility as efficient as this for storage of renewable energy? As for storage of nuclear excess capacity,why bother? I get the impression that modern nuclear plants of even Gen 2 vintage can load follow to some extent. Gen 3 & 4 are presumably much better at this.

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  145. Peter if I can sneak in to the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) Conference in Perth later this month I will be able to hear why the tax will bankrupt Australia from the world’s foremost economic thinker the good Lord Monckton of Brenchley! 9am on the Thursday for 1.5 unadulterated hours!
    http://amec.org.au/events/convention/convention-industry-forum

    I see on other sites the title will be:

    “A Carbon Tax will

    BANKRUPT AUSTRALIA

    THE SCIENCE DOES NOT JUSTIFY IT”

    I can;’t wait:)

    I mean seriosuly surely if there is a real economic problem then there are more reliable people than Chris to trot out on the stage?

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  146. Podagarus,

    ////Where,in your wildest dreams,are you going to build a facility as efficient as this for storage of renewable energy?////
    I never said ‘efficient’, I said possible! It’s about as efficient as sticking hundreds of km’s of solar mirror’s up to collect diffuse solar energy! But it’s possible. The renewable energy fans like Beyond Zero Emissions are costing HVDC lines across the country to connect wind and solar to their hypothetical super-grid. Overbuilds come with the territory, so ‘efficient’ is not the word that comes to mind!

    So I agree up front that it will cost more than a simple plug&play nuclear grid.

    But how much more? So many of Peter Lang’s articles include ridiculous levels of overbuild precisely because he doesn’t ‘believe in’ storage capacity. But here it is, all the storage capacity we need! The whole NATION for 10 hours at — let’s round it up — $3 billion! If in doubt, add another one somewhere else! That’s 20 hours for the whole country at $6 billion!

    There’s AMPLE room across the Nullarbor for as many of these 7k diameter suckers as we want. And we’ve got more engineering experience running hydro than we have GenIV nukes, so please don’t tell me we’ve never done this sort of thing before.

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  147. Found a nice aerial photo plus some details of that Okinawa pumped-seawater storage here (one of the links from the Wikipedia page): http://www.hitachi.com/rev/1998/revoct98/r4_108.pdf.

    Using their numbers, plus the total storage volume from the wikipedia article, I get the following:
    7.76 hrs to fill, total power used 246.6 MWh
    6.03 hrs electricity supply @ 30MW, total supply 189.2 MWh.

    That suggests 77% ‘storage efficiency’ – i.e. the system losses are 23%. That a pretty high loss, but the capacity is pretty huge, and only limited by the size of your reservoir & the number of pumps / turbines.

    Actually, just looked up the data for the Splityard Creek unit that Podargus referred to above.

    It’s 500MW, 10 hour generation capacity, so 5 GWh of storage. Not bad at all!
    Takes 14 hours to fill, so we’ll assume it has a nominal 71% efficiency.
    Found some more info here[pdf]. That flyer states a maximum output of 625MW, cost $1.2billion, though it’s not clear if that was in 2008 dollars (date of the flyer) or 1984 dollars (date of commissioning).

    As I understand it, it’s used for load-levelling, primarily to allow Tarong & Swanbank Power Stations to run at close to constant output, with the pumped hydro picking up a large chunk of the demand peak.

    If the concept is economical to use for load-levelling for uber-cheap coal power, why is it not even possible it can be used for reserve storage for wind & solar?

    Again: possible, not necessarily optimal or economical.

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  148. While most countries claim to support huge carbon caps, in practice they have resisted implementing them. The reason is simple: fossil fuels provide nearly 90% of the energy we use–the cheap, abundant fuel that powers modern farming, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and hospitals. The use of fossil fuels is directly correlated to quality and quantity of life, particularly through the generation of electricity ; in the past two decades, hundreds of millions of people have risen out of poverty because energy production has tripled in India and quadrupled in China, almost exclusively from carbon-based fuels. To drastically restrict carbon-based fuels, countries have conceded in practice, would be an economic disaster.

    The world demand for energy is rapidly increasing. We need energy to warm our homes, to cook our meals, to travel and communicate, and to power our factories. The amount of energy available to us determines not only our standard of living, but also how long we live. Detailed statistics from many counties show that in countries where the available energy is 0.15 tons of coal equivalent per person per year the average life expectancy is about forty years, whereas countries in Europe and America where the available energy is a hundred times greater have an average life expectancy of about seventy-five years. It is well to remember that a shortage of energy is a minor inconvenience to us, but for people in poorer countries it is a matter of life and death.

    The world energy demand is increasing due to population growth and to rising living standards. World population in doubling about every thirty-five years, though the rate of growth is very different in different countries. The world energy use is doubling every fourteen years and the need is increasing faster still. One of the main energy sources is oil and the rate of production is expected to peak in the next few years. There are still plentiful supplies of coal, the other principal energy source, but it is even more seriously polluting than oil, leading to acid rain and climate change. This combination of increasing need and diminishing supply constitutes the energy crisis. The world urgently needs a clean energy source that is able to meet world energy needs.

    The people who are suffering and dying from the effects of the energy crisis and climate change are billions of the poorer people in Africa and many other countries elsewhere. Drought due to climate change is leading to destitution and widespread starvation. Even if the rains come, they have no money to buy seeds and livestock. With more energy available they could begin to rebuild their lives. The imposition of worldwide controls on greenhouse gas emissions is understandably resented by the underdeveloped countries. They point out that the developed countries industrialized without caring about the pollution they caused, and so it is unjust to prevent the poorer nations from developing in the same way.

    It is pointless to rehash the renewables argument here: those that believe in these sources do so out of faith, those that reject them do so because of math. Real-word data, from projects already in place, demonstrate clearly that these diffuse and intermittent supplies simply have not met initial expectations. Nor is there any evidence that they can overcome their inherent handicaps in the time that is left.

    The criteria used to assess viability of various energy sources are their capacity, reliability, cost, safety, and effects on the environment. One single source satisfies all these criteria: nuclear energy. It is the only technology that is currently available that can meet the twin demands of high potential growth, and low environmental impact, and it can be designed and built to meet the others.

    I wrote the last two paragraphs, not to present the facts, since most reading this will be familiar with this position, but to to strip the argument down to the fundamentals to show how simple it is. Our choices are limited: we poison the planet, destabilizing various sub-systems resulting in what will certainly be negative impacts, we free ourselves form our dependency on high energy technologies, manumitting the majority of the population to starvation, exposure, and death, our we face the fact that the only other thing we can do is embrace nuclear fission.

    In fact the only real question, is why we haven’t already.

    The logic for a rapid adoption of nuclear energy is so simple, the shortcomings of the other options so clear, that it beggars the imagination that those in the halls of power are unaware of them. We can also dismiss out of hand the suite of imaginary issues that have been fabricated as objections to nuclear energy, it can, and has been shown that these are at best overreactions, and at worst false.

    So what is standing in the way?

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  149. EN:

    Your link to http://tinyurl.com/3qkzbx8 consisted of a graph showing tax take as percentage of GDP over a period of time for several first world nations. I think your use of it to attack conservative objections to raising taxes( in this case carbon taxes) amounts to misuse/abuse.

    MattB, at 2.23 pm today, made the very valid point that science should be used to define the optimum solution to the types of problem that are discussed on this site. The implementation of the said solution can thereafter be achieved by using one of a range of economic models which may differ according to national characteristics (authoritarian/democratic – left/right).

    IMO, we are facing a multi-faceted global crisis which includes global warming, peak oil, population overgrowth and threatened first world financial collapse. Its solution is predicated upon a copious supply of concentrated energy which can be provided at a cost less than that which can be provided by fossil fuels. The optimum scientific solution currently seems to come from nuclear fission. The transition from fossil fuels to nuclear will initially involve extra infastructure spending, but, in the longer term, there will be net benefits from the use of a cheaper and more efficient, less polluting and sustainable system. How the finance is raised to achieve the transition is a matter of politics. I think that, on this site, more will be achieved by the accumulation of good data, making the case for an optimum solution (be it nuclear, nuclear/renewable or anything else that turns up) than by falling out over its method of implementation.

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  150. @ DV8

    ///The criteria used to assess viability of various energy sources are their capacity, reliability, cost, safety, and effects on the environment.///
    You forgot politically acceptable and popular with the population.

    ////One single source satisfies all these criteria: nuclear energy.////
    Agreed, but it remains illegal in this country. A year ago I said that just one nuclear accident (or incident) would really slow uptake of nukes in this country. After Fukishima we’ve got buckleys chance.

    So capacity, reliability, SAFETY = renewables + Nullarbor hydro storage. This is POSSIBLE — but I remain agnostic as to cost. I’d want to see peer reviewed papers reliably assessing the sheer costs of this without all the anti-Communist paranoid and ridiculous overbuild assumptions Peter Lang injects into every paper, or conversations that are ONE WAY and not a real 2 way exchange of ideas.

    I’d want to know that every jot and tittle had been explored. Because basically, renewables + hydro back up seems to be the way Australia is headed.

    ////Our choices are limited: we poison the planet, destabilizing various sub-systems resulting in what will certainly be negative impacts, we free ourselves form our dependency on high energy technologies, manumitting the majority of the population to starvation, exposure, and death, our we face the fact that the only other thing we can do is embrace nuclear fission.////
    Our choices are Gen3 nukes with the hope of Gen4 at an estimated half the cost of renewables, or renewables + backup (like the hydro storage).

    ////the shortcomings of the other options so clear////
    I’m sorry but Peter’s ideology has become so apparent, so THICK across everything he writes, that I no longer trust his judgement. I’ll have to put more work into other authors here as I no longer trust a single thing Peter says to be objective.

    ////We can also dismiss out of hand the suite of imaginary issues that have been fabricated as objections to nuclear energy,////
    Australian HATRED of nuclear energy is NOT imaginary. I’ve almost come to blows at parties over it!

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  151. Douglas Wise,
    ////Your link to http://tinyurl.com/3qkzbx8 consisted of a graph showing tax take as percentage of GDP over a period of time for several first world nations. I think your use of it to attack conservative objections to raising taxes( in this case carbon taxes) amounts to misuse/abuse.////
    Do you have a rational, objective reason as to why? Or are you only interested in hurling misuse/abuse of an objective FACT you just don’t like?

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  152. http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/koroteev-at-heart-of-russias-megawatt.html

    Apparently, Russia is planning to build a GAS-COOLED FAST REACTOR for use in space. Gas-cooled fast reactors have not been built so far, but they are the most promising fast reactor technology, combining attributes of the Very-High-Temperature Reactor (VHTR) and a conventional fast reactor design (high actinide burnup, possibility of breeding fuel).
    If they solve the material’s problems associated with this reactor and create a prototype for use in space, the technology may be used here on Earth as well.

    Go Russian Space Agency!

    Like

  153. My problem with hydro storage (or all renewable+storage strategies) is that I can’t imagine 6 hours being a relevant amount. Imagine a Capacity Factor time series. For any target CF below the long-time average, you can find the time interval over which the power generation deficit is maximized. That largest integrated deficit (with a healthy safety factor) is then your target storage capacity.

    For example, if Germany’s Solar CF yearly average is about 10%, producing at about 2% in winter, then the target storage capacity if we want the Solar to be generating at near 10% is on the order of 2000 hours. I did not randomly add a 0.
    On the other hand, we could accept a CF of .02, at which point the target storage capacity would drop to time spans of heavy cloud cover, probably on the order of a week or 3 (300-500 hours). I don’t begin to have a handle on the numbers for wind, although the 10 day gap noted in the videos above is, shall we say, not confidence inducing.

    There probably are 2 local optimums: low CF (massive generator overbuild)+low storage or high CF+high storage. Once a reasonable statistical model for renewable output is in hand, one could take renewable costs, storage costs, gas plant costs and a target CO2 reduction-compared-to-coal and find the optimum mix and its cost (and finally, produce a cost/CO2 reduction plot, /drool). I really, really want to see such an analysis, and find it… problematic… that I haven’t seen one.

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  154. @ Douglas (again).

    ///MO, we are facing a multi-faceted global crisis which includes global warming, peak oil, population overgrowth and threatened first world financial collapse.///
    Agreed.

    /// Its solution is predicated upon a copious supply of concentrated energy which can be provided at a cost less than that which can be provided by fossil fuels. ///
    WRONG! Why does it *have* to be cheaper than fossil fuels? There are a thousand and one ways cultures prioritise different things.

    * Why would we pay millions of dollars to rescue some old rust bucket of a ship from completely dissolving? Because we want to make a museum out of it and turn it into a tourist attraction.

    * Why do we want to maintain a democracy based on Federation (and redundant State legislation that just constipates our legal and economic system) when modern communications and a free press long ago ruled out the necessity of Australian ‘States’? Because us Australian’s seem to think that inefficiency in government is some form of guarantee of ‘freedom.’ I think it is codswallop and we could SAVE $50 billion dollars annually if we just had a National / Local system of government representation. But Aussies value their States, and so we stay with it. It’s an economic burden but a reflection of our cultural values.

    * Why do we spend money on parks, monuments, political white elephants, museums that much of the population might only visit once every 10 years, blah blah blah? Why do we spend money on SPORTING VENUES! (I shudder at the moronic past time of chasing a bit of pig skin up and down a grassy field). Because apparently we value it culturally.

    So when we are so inefficient and go to such expense in such silly areas of life, why on earth do you think that we *have* to have a source of energy that is cheaper than coal? We are so wasteful of our money in so many other areas — and seem to be suffering some collective sense of national guilt — that many Aussies would gladly pay a *little* extra for their power to know that it came from clean, SAFE**, renewable energy.

    **I’ve argued blue in the face about built in passive safety systems like “moderator leak” in Gen3 reactors and “Neutron Leak” in Gen4 reactors. I’ve been met by blank, horrified stares. Aussies HATE nuclear at the moment. The busy, working, footy watching kind of Aussie just doesn’t have time to overcome the media representation of nuclear, the fearmongering. It’s programmed deep into their cerebellum! They hate it with a passion.

    So don’t give me simplistic pat answers to energy and cultural trends I’ve been watching closely for 6 years now! While I agree with you that….

    ////The optimum scientific solution currently seems to come from nuclear fission.////

    ….it may not be the optimum *cultural* solution.

    Until I see 10’s of thousands of Australians marching in the streets DEMANDING nuclear power, I’m going to modify your ‘solution’ sentence to read….

    ////Its solution is predicated upon a copious supply of *some sort* of energy which can be provided at a cost *that does not bankrupt the nation*.////

    In other words, I’m sick of trite diatribes. I’d like to see a peer-reviewed energy panel like the IPCC debate these matters, and cost a renewable energy plan for Australia —  including the seawater hydro-storage idea — and find out what they say. I’m convinced 40 nukes could do the job far cleaner and cheaper and easier than renewables. I’m just not convinced it’s going to happen, and would LOVE to know that everyone at BNC had minds open enough to investigate the *possibility* that renewables might be able to do the job but simply costing a little more. The guess is… what? 20% more? 50% more? What?

    These videos raise some very interesting points. The first one discusses grid stability with wind and how when a conventional coal plant goes down, it can suddenly fail in milliseconds but the grid has to be stable! Wind farm energy — spread over a wide enough area — can decline in output over half hour cycles or longer.

    In this next video Peter Sinclair (Greenman) quotes the Stanford university study that concludes an reliable baseload average of 30% of the grid could be supplied by wind. So the hydro-backup would ‘only’ (and I use that term a sarcastically because I’m still a fan of cheaper nukes) have to cover 70% of the power.

    I just want to know that I’m reading material that is objective, not ideologically driven. I feel like the climate ‘sceptic’ (not denialist) who feels genuine confusion at a perceived debate.

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  155. Kray
    A german 60%wind/40%pv solution would need 7 days of storage.
    Last week the Bundesrat (all partys) has invited Dr. Eduard Heindl and his consortium to talk about the Hydraulic Hydro Energy Storage.
    They will be part of a 200Mill. € storage project.
    http://eduard-heindl.de/energy-storage/index-e.html

    This storage could power Germany for 24h.
    Double it in size and it works for 16 days.

    German nuclear will run for another 7-10 years anyways.

    There will be new wind technologies like the kitegen.
    PV is getting cheaper all the time.
    Desertec is on its way to the first plant in Marokko.

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  156. Great post, DV.

    David, I’m on the other coast. In Greensboro N.C.

    Just read Kenneth Deffeyes’ new book on peak oil. He rejects breeder reactors in one sentence based on an innuendoish reference to one guy (the guy is Ted Taylor, interviewed by John Mcphee) about the proliferation dangers of plutonium.

    Deffeyes says: “breeders frighten me.”

    We have to rely on experts, and we want to know generally what these experts think, but that’s where the danger is. We tend to think (the reverse of guilt by association–a kind of credibility by association) that if someone really knows what she is talking about in one area where a complex and subtle intelligence is manifest, that it might carry over to other areas.

    Not exactly.

    This instance is complicated by the fact that Deffeyes does have some real familiarity with nuclear. but not about fast reactors. I am reminded of Mahaffey’s Atomic Awakening, where a nuclear expert dismisses fast reactors in a sentence, no sources.

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  157. EN:

    You are correct in pointing out that it was remiss of me not to explain why I considered your link had no bearing on the point you were trying to make, which, crudely, appeared to be an attempt to demonstrate that, because quality of life was not well correlated with tax rate at a national level in rich nations, a carbon tax might be benign. As I really don’t want to get dragged into this sterile debate, perhaps it would be easier to apologise than to go into a lengthy explanation as to why I don’t think your link was as helpful to your argument than you thought it was. All I’ll say is that nations compete and those that handicap themselves with taxes that are not applied by their competitors are, all other things being equal – which,of course, they aren’t- unlikely to thrive long term. The rise of China and the fall of the West (relatively) can be taken as an example.

    On your second point, that, given Australia wastes money on museums and sport, there is no reason why it shouldn’t waste money on having an inefficient and costly energy infrastructure so long as it comes with a feel-good factor, I’m not sure, as a non Australian, how to respond. I can see why a small and unindebted population sitting on a lot of resources might justify this view, certainly in the short term. However, I’m a UK citizen. Our public and private debt are three times greater than our annual GDP. This debt is made possible by loans from other nations and is largely used to fund unaffordable lifestyles (health, education, welfare) apart from past debt servicing. This is unsustainable. The situation in the States and in many other European nations isn’t much different. It hardly behoves us to adopt profligate energy policies while we attempt to wriggle out of trouble by debauching our currencies before creditor nations wise up.

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  158. EN: the jay apt wind presentation that is part of the canada conference is a devastating rebuttal to the claim above about supposed wind farm stability (relative to coal in above example).

    He shows a graph from U.S. northwest of all wind farms falling flat for ten days.

    Like

  159. @Eclipse Now – The point I am trying to make is that this is not anyone’s local issue. There is a world of people out there living on the edge that are going to be more severely impacted, and impacted sooner than most of the West. However decisions that they make now, in these poorer regions will ultimately have a much more profound impact on us than is being considered.

    This debate needs to be widened to encompass the fact that there are no islands anymore, and that we in the West have farther to fall if these pending issues are not addressed with more than what people believe, or what appeals to some ascetic. It is just not ethical on any level to continue to demand that the poor of this world pay such a high price for our dithering on nuclear energy and dilettantism with unworkable renewables.

    ***

    Frankly I have little patience with white-bread middle-class posers living ‘off-grid.’ My sister-in-law and her husband were one of those, and were insufferable about how superior their lifestyle was compared to ours. Pointing out that their solar array was the product of a modern factory, and that both it and the aluminium and other metals in their wind generator would not exist without the sort of energy that only comes from major sources, fell on deaf ears.

    However the real hypocrisy came when they turned sixty and their health started to decay. Using their government pensions (they were both public employees) they have moved to a townhouse, near medical facilities, proving that their minimalist philosophy was one of convenience, not commitment.

    Like

  160. A general appeal…I make this once every few months to pro-nuclear climate activists: you need to go to the where the antis are…

    This means going into their dens: the Dailykos.com; Huffington Post, Grist, etc. You must make a concerted efforts to go into these Dens of Darkness and take them on. Yes, it’s *annoying* to deal with them. It is not a question of convincing *them*, the ones who will be yelling “Poison!” “Shill!” but those that are unspoken; those that listen and read but don’t comment.

    They are often in utter shock that their obvious self-righteousness is challenged by someone. Do it, do it soon, please.

    Like

  161. Bern, on 10 June 2011 at 5:41 PM said:

    Pumped storage

    Pumped storage is fine for intra-day load leveling. Wind and Solar not only have intraday variability, they have seasonal variability.

    There is also considerable annual variation. In the US PNW. Wind averaged 449 MW in December ’08 but only 259 MW in December ’09 despite a 60% increase in nameplate capacity.
    http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/Winter0809_vs_Winter0910x.xls

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  162. Pump storage is not cheap. PG&E built the second largest pump storage facility in the U.S. at Helms in California in conjunction with Diablo Canyon NPP. 1100 MWs which can, without pumping, run for 2 weeks. This is a dual lake concept with very little make up water (streams, mostly) up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. There is a 1,630 ft. vertical drop from top of head to turbine/generator set intake. A M A Z I N G is the only way I can put it as it’s dug out through a solid granite and serpentine rock mountain, not your usual dam-and-penstock set up. If you have a chance to visit it, I highly recommend you do. I don’t know if it’s open to visitors (I got in because I worked for the company at the time).

    It cost, in 1981 dollars, about $336 million to build. It was part of the same rate-base proposal that the DCNPP was built with.

    The PGE ‘brochure’ PDF on this is here:

    http://www.nwcouncil.org/energy/wind/meetings/2008/10/ManhoYeung.pdf

    The pumping part of this can absorb 900MWs of energy from the grid. This could only be built because of the unique…very unique positions of the two lakes.

    Pump storage, ironically for renewable advocates, is better deployed with nuclear than intermittent wind and solar. IF one were to spend the huge amount of money creating artificial pump-storage like proposed here, or…cheaper, retrofit much of, say, the US hydro dam system for pump storage, then many of the problems associated with expanding baseloaded nuclear could be solved. This is true for ALL storage methods proposed by anti-nuclear pro-wind/solar activists from batteries (seriously, this is proposed by them), to molten salt to the use of HVDC…all better for nuclear and employed in a far more efficient manner.

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  163. “Because of the terrain this storage has minimal surface area relative to capacity.There are not many sites in Australia with these advantages.”

    Really? these sites are nowhere near developed, if in the entire world there was sufficient sites for 20% of all electricity being hydro, I am sure there is enough sites for the needed storage that needs NO reservoirs built.

    Not to mention the capacity factors of current existing dams would drop, allowing for more storage potential of a 777GW storage plant.

    Still the argument asked is if was perfectly scalable and it is, seawater pumped hydro is, the question is the price since it does have to build one reservoir.

    Storage is now beginning to be considered a solution for the NW US and Hawaii, states that are going for wind.

    “As for storage of nuclear excess capacity,why bother? I get the impression that modern nuclear plants of even Gen 2 vintage can load follow to some extent. Gen 3 & 4 are presumably much better at this.”

    If you use peak following plants you are making nuclear much more expensive, you would need plants rated for certain peak power operating for most of the day to a percentage of peak. The capacity factor would easily reach .6 or .7 instead of the commonly refereed to .9.

    Pumped hydro is married to baseloads and renewables, there is no avoiding each other, it competes today with NG peakers and that is it, and probably an unfair competition because of LCOE calculations that completely discards infrastructure that lasts for hundreds of years, in favor of miopic operating costs.

    @Peter Lang

    The libertarian argument against governemnt is inherently unatural, human beings want well moderated governement and it is inscribed in their biology, and they want renewable energies even if the costs are higher than FF because it makes them happy
    http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2011/05/27/aps-study-shows-customers-willing-to.html,

    and even though there are a few libertarian stragglers that will always opposed even the slightly more expensive solution, they will eventually be shamed into falling in line, no doubt they will argue they were correct but in a soft tone.

    STILL I still think 24/7 Solar energy in places with seasonal stability is the cheapest solution, but it follows this formula.

    (Price per panel/capacity factor + grid related infrastructure (inverters, lines etc) + storage)/watt

    Now you can argue that the later is too expensive, but it really is not! inverters are generally 0.6 dollars of peak watts,

    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&client=ubuntu&hs=JGP&channel=cs&q=SOLAR+INVERTERS&um=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=809&bih=440&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=559602075817212043&sa=X&ei=5zjyTeepMtO4tgeLq-CRBg&ved=0CIIBEPMCMAI

    lines can be minimized if on rooftops (nuclear needs lines too not everything is a perfect location for a NPP) and last but not least Storage 36 hour storage could be as low as 1.25 dollars a peak watt.

    http://www.sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2011/04/gridflex-plans-grid-scale-power.html

    SO in the end solar could look like this using todays technology

    (0.75 $/watt from first solar / 0.19 capacity factor) + 0.6 $/watt inverters + 1.25 $/watt in storage =>

    (3.94 + 0.6 + 1.25) $/watt =>

    5.79 $/watt FULLY NORMALIZED (ie you do not need to divide by the capacity factor I am sure some will inmediately claim)

    Compared to Oilkuliotto which is 5.55 $/watt FULLY NORMALIZED.

    So what prevents this from happening today? obviously First Solar is still in it to make a profit so their prices currently shaddows its more expensive competitors, but this is just a market imbalance once competitors use the same technology there will be progress for final price per panel to comoditize, Still you can clearly see that it is the price of the panels that DRIVE the price of solar, everything else is actually cheap and could be made cheaper (avoiding inverters and just using DC water pumps from local panels) depending just how low solar panels gets cheaper per watt.

    In the future (perhaps 20 years) you could very well see, in places with seasonal stability, highly distributed pumped hydro plants being the ONLY source of power, with very cheap solar panels simulating the rain with DC pumps. (aka perfectly scalable hydropower) This would be perfect for poor countries like India in that it would limit the need for power lines reaching the rural poor. Since the reservoirs are small (compared to high scale hydro) and marine life is protected with grates the environmental impact is minimal only taking up land really.

    Like

  164. I have to agree with you Peter that what the developing countries do will play the larger role in energy policy the coming century.

    I argue back that it is not the job of the developed to bankroll all these other techs to bring prices down. What will happen is what has happened for the past 40 years(from clothes, to cars, to just about everything else). The developing countries will bring the costs of these technologies down on their own, and the U.S. will simply buy the parts from them.

    When I talk about electricity must become more expensive i’m talking about coal. Coal is the cheapest option right now. If the goal is to stop using coal, then all the other options are more expensive. That is all I am saying. I’m not saying rates must double or triple. The people in these countries need to decide that they don’t want to buy the cheapest dirtiest option in coal. So they decide to buy a cleaner more expensive option.

    I am saying if we restrict coal and gas market share then people are forced to buy alternatives. Only when they have to start paying for this stuff will they realize how cheap nuclear is. As long as coal is an option, it will be used. Even if a carbon tax makes coal more expensive than wind people will still buy the expensive coal over the cheaper wind because of reliability and grid concerns, and the vastly cheaper nuclear will still be banned because of ignorance.

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  165. Jason Kobos, on 11 June 2011 at 1:49 AM said:

    When I talk about electricity must become more expensive i’m talking about coal. Coal is the cheapest option right now.

    For the very small club of countries that have significant amounts of inexpensively extractable coal then coal is the ‘cheapest option’.

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  166. Of course electricity becomes more expensive but that shouldn’t be because we want it to. Incremental and ‘natural’ inflationary pressures are to be expected.

    The goal is to make energy cheap as possible, dense as possible, abundant as possible. This is why I’m pro-nuke. It can allow for for this sort of view point and be low carbon to boot.

    I’m against making it more expensive, less available, and more diffuse. We need LOTS more than we have now. I’m against making it more expensive as function of climate change argumentation; to wit, I’m against making it a speculative commodity that it’s becoming where only those in the higher income brackets can use it.

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  167. @Environmentalist

    Look, 36 hours of storage for solar is a joke in most of the places that matter right now (it might not be THAT large a joke on the equator). You need somewhere between hundreds and 2-odd thousand hours of storage in Germany. Going the low route means you need more panels because your effective CF is lower…

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  168. @ Environmentalist. First off the problem for solar and/or wind grids is seasonal storage, not daily storage. Second if you truly care about the environment you must care about the crazy amounts of metals and concrete that are used for the solar and pumped storage as their environmental footprint is considerable.

    Solar is about 10 to 20x nuclear in metal and concrete use. The pumped hydro makes that worse because nuclear only needs 5-10 hours whereas solar needs more like 500 to get the same level of load carrying capacity.

    The Japanese seawater pumped hydro system is not cheap at all, 30 billion Yen for 30 megawatt peak, this is around 10 dollars per Watt peak. For 5 hours full load this is 0.21 capacity factor, it thus costs 48 dollars per average Watt compared to 6 dollars per average Watt for Olkiluoto. This is 8x as expensive as Olkiluoto, just for the storage (ie solar panels cost nothing assumption!).

    http://www.ieahydro.org/reports/Annex_VIII_CaseStudy0101_Okinawa_SeawaterPS_Japan.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_Yanbaru_Seawater_Pumped_Storage_Power_Station

    http://www.sustainability.ie/pumpedstoragemyth.html

    The dismal reality does not add up.

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  169. Any analysis of pumped seawater storage should include these factors
    – reduced curtailment of wind
    – converting surplus cheap baseload to premium value peaking power
    – possible use of unregulated power eg from nearby wind farms
    – an alternative to gas backup when gas is prohibitively expensive.

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  170. Just to put the seawater pumped storage a little bit in perspective –

    Sure,the ocean as a lower reservoir has superficial attractions but you would need to site the pump/turbine facility in a place where it accessable and not subject to damage from waves and storms.This place has to be compatible with construction of a sufficient size upper reservoir at a sufficient height above the generator.How many sites in Australia would be suitable under those criteria alone not even taking into account environmental impacts.

    The use of highly corrosive seawater in a pump/ turbine/pipe system raises expense,maintenance and longevity problems.

    The pumping of seawater onto land raises problems with salination of that land and of the related groundwater.

    The proposal to build enormous pumped storage reservoirs on the Nullarbor ignores the fact that this area is flat and there will have to be enormous excavations made to provide the building materials for the walls.This entire region is limestone which is porous.That is a rather problematic building material to hold water.

    Hundreds of kilometres of the coastline in this area is sheer cliff which,being limestone,is rapidly retreating.It is not called The Great Australian BIGHT for nothing.Just where are you going to site your power station?

    If you solve all of the above problems you still have these facilities a long way from the market for the power generated.

    Dream on.

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  171. A few things that amaze me about some people who claim to care about the environment –

    They readily grasp at technological “solutions” without thinking the real issues through,especially the environmental impacts of their proposals.

    Apparently technology is seen as the be all,end all of the solutions to problems which we face.It is manifestly obvious to any reasonably intelligent person who thinks from first principles that this is not the case.In fact,a lot of fancy techno solutions cause more problems than they solve.

    A good example is the energy storage ideas proposed above.Another recent one is the Greens pushing for a very fast train link between Sydney,Canberra and Melbourne.A long standing example is the building of dams to supply irrigation water or hydro electricity when this whole process is known to cause grave damage to fragile riparian systems and salination of the irrigated land.

    I am not against technology per se.However it must be applied with care to avoid collateral damage as far as possible.This is one of the reasons why I favour nuclear energy.In spite of all the ridiculous propaganda to the contrary,nuclear can be built at a reasonable cost,uses existing sites and infrastructure and has a very small to nonexistent footprint on what is left of our much abused ecosystems.

    Fundamentaly,what is needed more than anything else,is an across the board rethinking of how the Homo Saps plague relates to Spaceship Earth.

    I’m not holding my breath waiting.

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  172. @ Douglas,

    /////All I’ll say is that nations compete and those that handicap themselves with taxes that are not applied by their competitors are, all other things being equal – which,of course, they aren’t- unlikely to thrive long term. The rise of China and the fall of the West (relatively) can be taken as an example./////
    What a narrow, right-wing, ideologically driven paragraph full of cliché responses and catch-phrases. It also ignores enormous sweeps of geopolitical forces in the attempt to narrowly define unique historical junctures as mere ‘economics’ to fit your world-view. Look again at that link and look at all the countries higher on the tax / GDP ratio, and try and convince me that those countries are all ‘falling’. ;-)

    Like

  173. David B Benson,I am well aware of the meaning of “bight” and that it does not necessarily mean an iron bound and eroding coastline as exists on the Great Australian Bight.

    That part of my comment was just a little play on words to emphasise my point about the questionable suitability of that part of Australia for pumped seawater storage hydro.

    You do have a sense of humour,don’t you?

    Like

  174. @ DV8

    ///Frankly I have little patience with white-bread middle-class posers living ‘off-grid.’ My sister-in-law and her husband were one of those, and were insufferable about how superior their lifestyle was compared to ours. Pointing out that their solar array was the product of a modern factory, and that both it and the aluminium and other metals in their wind generator would not exist without the sort of energy that only comes from major sources, fell on deaf ears.///

    Agreed — they can be really annoying. But I forget, is this in response to the “Open Source Hardware” movement? It’s about obtaining the top 50 tools of industry at a smaller scale, and they build tractors and bread ovens and harvesters and drill presses and stuff at about 1/8th the cost. My point was that African villagers can start to do that now, and that *some* weak intermittent electricity is better than *no* electricity. Africans are doing it tough. Having the wind blow half the time to run electric lighting at night so their kids can do their homework, well, that’s paradise.

    Like

  175. @ Harrywr2,
    ////Wind and Solar not only have intraday variability, they have seasonal variability.////

    But some overbuild for seasonal variation is factored into their reports? I’ve heard them — extra few hundred meters of mirrors for their solar thermal plants to cover winter, etc.

    Also, what on earth happens on the grid when a CONVENTIONAL plant suddenly switches off! That’s a gig or 2 gone right there! Even conventional plants have overbuild to cover such contingencies.

    Like

  176. @ David Walters,
    If it’s so expensive, why does the PDF I quoted above say $2 billion (un-concreted) for 10 hours of storage for our whole country of 21 million people? Is this one of those exponential economy-of-scale things?

    Like

  177. Podargus, on 11 June 2011 at 9:39 AM — Of course, and I smiled at your (over)emphasis. But I wasn’t sure what the word actually meant and so assumed others might also appreciate a quick definition.

    This is a low bandwidth communication medium, one which requires a fairly thick skin. I’ve learned to let all sorts of minor irratants just slide by in order to concentrate on the main topics.

    With regard to the Nullarbor plain it is clear that other locations ought to be considered first. Several seaside hilltops south of Sydney come to mid as potential seaside pumped hydro locations, for example. [Not that such will ever be more than boutique players…]

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  178. @ David Walters,
    ////I’m against making it more expensive, less available, and more diffuse////
    Some utility experts say the spreading out of electricity supply makes it less likely to crash the grid. The 2003 blackouts across North America were quoted in the video’s above. In that case, ‘diffuse’ is an advantage, not a disadvantage, according to those utility experts anyway.

    Like

  179. @ Podagarus,

    ////Sure,the ocean as a lower reservoir has superficial attractions but you would need to site the pump/turbine facility in a place where it accessable and not subject to damage from waves and storms.This place has to be compatible with construction of a sufficient size upper reservoir at a sufficient height above the generator.How many sites in Australia would be suitable under those criteria alone not even taking into account environmental impacts.////
    All sorted mate — check out the Bite!

    ////The use of highly corrosive seawater in a pump/ turbine/pipe system raises expense,maintenance and longevity problems.////
    Again all sorted by using the right materials.

    ////The pumping of seawater onto land raises problems with salination of that land and of the related groundwater.////
    They make it water tight. They don’t want to lose their precious energy storage medium!

    ////Hundreds of kilometres of the coastline in this area is sheer cliff which,being limestone,is rapidly retreating.It is not called The Great Australian BIGHT for nothing.Just where are you going to site your power station?////
    This is just silly. The dam itself can be hundreds of meters inland as the pipes go down through the rock.

    ////If you solve all of the above problems you still have these facilities a long way from the market for the power generated./////
    Absolutely. Not very much about renewable energy is efficient, is it? But it is seeming more and more possible. They allow for seasonal overbuild, backup from hydro, and continent wide super-grids. In the future there may even be backup from electric vehicles that sell back during periods of peak demand. Weird, inefficient, yet somehow the public seem to love this stuff.

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  180. @ Podagarus,
    ///A good example is the energy storage ideas proposed above.///
    If these 7km diameter hydro dams stop us mining hundreds of km’s of coal…. let alone the Co2 impacts? They’ll be located in the DESERT Podagarus. I’m not talking about HUNDREDS OF KM’s being wiped out. We can spare a few of these $2 billion (or say $3 billion with concrete lining) dams out in the desert. We’ve got enough of that.

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  181. @ David Benson,

    //// Several seaside hilltops south of Sydney come to mid as potential seaside pumped hydro locations, for example. [Not that such will ever be more than boutique players…]/////
    National parks and real estate costs on the coast? The (non-park) Nullarbor area is ideal for low real estate value, elevation, and being on the hypothetical super-grid from Melbourne to Adelaide and Perth.

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  182. The just-released Productivity Commission report Carbon Emission Policies in Key Economies provides plenty of ammunition to shoot down the truly awful waste of public wealth associated with the renewables subsidies and mandates. The avoidance costs quoted for wind and solar are of course understated, as there is no accounting for the true cost of intermittency compensation. Unsurprisingly, nuclear does not get a mention (except in references).
    Is there any leadership capable of using the facts on offer to deal with the zombie subsidies?

    Like

  183. Peter Lang
    Here is a link to an article by the author of the remark you got so het up about i.e. tattooing deniers – do read it and see what vitriol he was exposed to by others with no sense of irony – particularly bad from American deniers – who is surprised by that?
    However, the article has been highlighted and spread on the net by folk such as yourself and this has induced a wave of threats and hate mail. Why is the right-wing more likely to re-act like this? Their denialism is based on fear – they can see what is happening but are so afraid of the future they prefer to deny it. As if that will make one iota of difference!

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/a-climate-change-wave-of-hate-20110609-1ftix.html?from=smh_sb

    Like

  184. Hi Steve,
    ////no accounting for the true cost of intermittency compensation.////
    Isn’t that what we are discussing with the Nullarbor hydro-storage facility at $2billion to run the whole nation for 10 hours?

    Like

  185. Eclipse Now, on 11 June 2011 at 10:09 AM — Well south of Syndey: Moruya Heads? Toross Head?

    My one trip down that way certainly gave the impression of plenty of room for some pumped hydro.
    Altho’ Depot Beach & Pebbly Beach was as far south as I went…

    Like

  186. @ Gregory Meyerson.

    ////EN: the jay apt wind presentation that is part of the canada conference is a devastating rebuttal to the claim above about supposed wind farm stability (relative to coal in above example).
    He shows a graph from U.S. northwest of all wind farms falling flat for ten days.////
    See, right there is an example of what worries me. When I hear things like that it almost sounds to me like Helen Caldicott saying “But we don’t know what to do with nuclear waste!” Come on Gregory, let’s have everyone doing their best to be honest and with complete integrity address what the other side is saying, otherwise aren’t we just like (deleted pejorative) anti-nuke Helen?
    As far as I am aware, the NorthWest is NOT really on the ‘wind-map’ of America! The MAJOR wind corridor is right down the middle! Show me the T-Boone Pickens wind map of America and show me an area of THAT that was quiet for 10 days.

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  187. @Eclipse Now – I hate to break it to you, but anyone living in the Third World on your idea of appropriate technology, is doing so because there is no other choice. It is certainly not paradise, and they will give it up in an instant for better. Personally I find your type of attitude insufferably arrogant; in essence saying that it’s so cute that they are trying to be like us, with whatever crumbs we deem ‘appropriate’ for them to have. Meanwhile, we don’t care if we have left a light on in some empty room of or house.

    The price of not helping these people into a semblance of our prosperity is to have them damage our collective environment to the point where we will lose what we have now. If any logic were at work here the West should be giving the Chinese and Indians as many nuclear reactors as we could produce to stop them burning coal, because the impact of CO2 on the planet will know no borders.

    Not very much about renewable energy is efficient, is it? But it is seeming more and more possible.

    So what? Going to the Moon is possible – but there is no point to it given the returns. You would support technology that will do damage to the local ecology on a huge scale to avoid the use of nuclear energy which has a much smaller footprint, and produces a lot more energy. This is part of the ‘anything but nuclear’ cry of the renewable zealots as they see their precious world-view fall apart as more and more of these idiot projects fail to meet expectations. It looks to me like a case of wanting to move on to the next stupid idea and start promoting it as the solution, rather than admit that the whole damned concept of trying to concentrate usable amounts of energy from nebulous sources like wind and sunshine is deeply flawed.

    And by the way, as a courtesy to the rest of us, please use the blockquote function

    Like

  188. Here’s one for the BNC community – some may already know about it. http://www.chrismartenson.com

    My name is Chris Martenson. I think the next twenty years are going to look very different from the last twenty. I want you to understand why.

    New here? Start with the Crash Course. This series of videos clearly explains how our economy, energy systems and environment face increasing challenges, and explores likely implications for the future.

    All the videos, including live recordings, are at Chris Martenson’s YouTube channel. The aptly named Crash Course videos are all organized on the Crash Course playlist and on ChrisMartenson.com. I started at the beginning, but my selection for a starting point and viewing order is

    Chapter 17b Energy Economics

    Chapter 17a Peak Oil or “When Demand Exceeds Supply”

    Chapter 17c Energy & the Economy

    In Part 18, The Environment, Martenson talks about resource extraction. One of his examples is uranium; he states that the USA and France have already passed peak production of their own uranium from high grade ores. He includes a clipping in the presentation showing uranium being depleted “in 30 to 40 years at current rates”. He seems to be accepting early studies that underestimated uranium supply and were based on U235 burning only. In his summary he therefore lists “peak uranium” along with peak oil and peak coal as a matter of concern. I think he’s ready for some BNC education – I’m going to look further at his site and see how it might be done.

    His summary is this: “The choice seems clear: either we undertake voluntary change now or face involuntary change later.” He draws this conclusion without even needing to consider AGW, carbon emissions, and ocean acidification. His economic discussion is based on the USA but IMO is far more general; I expect that all of our Western or Westernized, credit driven economies have exactly the characteristics and issues.

    Martenson also says: “I’m an optimist and I want a better future of our own design.”

    One of Martenson’s most effective arguments, for me, comes from his discussion of EROEI and its importance in Chapter 17b Energy Economics. It articulates my position exactly, and I wish that I had written and illustrated it. In one segment (I didn’t take note of what video it’s in, and where – sorry) he illustrates MacKay’s concept of energy as servant/slave:

    One kilowatt-hour per day is roughly the power you could get from
    one human servant. The number of kilowatt-hours per day you use is thus
    the effective number of servants you have working for you.

    The illustration is very effective and he uses the visual metaphor in several places in the presentations.

    One minor quibble that he acknowledges: he’s showing “hockey stick” and “exponential” graphs more or less interchangeably. The mathematically fastidious might nit-pick this – but it doesn’t invalidate his arguments.

    ChrisMartenson.com looks like a very deep site. I haven’t explored too much; I wanted to get it in front of the BNC community for more evaluations. I hope it might tone down some of the squabbles I see in comment threads – we need action, not bickering. It does have a catch – full access, including access to his thoughts on what an individual can do (Part 20 of the video), requires a paid membership.

    Martenson advocates facing the future unflinchingly and setting budgets and priorities for taking constructive action. In his opinion political and business leaders have dropped the ball; I think most people here agree. I think we can all agree that we need all of the nuclear technologies – the problem is that big.

    Kirk Sorensen, in one of the videos on his post Excellent Adventures in Calgary (with Gordon) notes that we are now a generation after the pioneers of breeder and thorium reactors. We’re the generation that looks back at them and says, “You knew all this. Why didn’t you do it?” He doesn’t want his children (and Rod Adams doesn’t want his grandchildren) to look back at us, thirty years from now, and say (paraphrasing Kirk) “You knew all this. Why didn’t you do it?” (It’s in the first video, shot at Mount Royal University, starting at 1 hour 30 minutes 30 seconds into the video.)

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  189. EN: apt’s point was that phenomena like the 10 day fall off in wind is not all that unusual. it’s nothing like caldicott.

    do you think all the work done on this site on wind’s unreliability amounts to caldicott?

    as for this:

    ////I’m against making it more expensive, less available, and more diffuse////
    Some utility experts say the spreading out of electricity supply makes it less likely to crash the grid. The 2003 blackouts across North America were quoted in the video’s above. In that case, ‘diffuse’ is an advantage, not a disadvantage, according to those utility experts anyway.

    Diffuse is not the same as robust or well buffered.

    Like

  190. @Cyril

    We keep debating in circles, yes I made it perfectly obvious that seasonal variation stability is key, it would not work In Germany, but it would work in a LOT of places, a LOT more places than those in the Equator, it could work in Japan for example

    Irradiation unit is defined as kWh/ meter^2/ day

    Tosashimizu,Japan has a very good standard deviation of 0.44 with the worst month is 3.84 irradiation units 84% of the average. 5.58 summer peak

    Frankfurt, Germany gets 0.86 irradiation units in winter (27.4% of average) and 5.04 in summer standard deviation of 1.55 that is the type of variation they deal with and they STILL go through with subsidies, respect. They need both wind AND solar AND storage.

    Darwin,Australia has 5.12 (84% of average) in the winter and 6.79 in the summer.
    Standard deviation is 0.58

    All from here
    http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/calculators/PVWATTS/version1/

    So you can see most of the world can make it work, sadly not Germany nor Scandinavia but they are the exception, wind has to pitch in.

    Seawater storage has a lower enviromental impact than nuclear IGNORING ACCIDENTS OR WASTE, it uses freshwater as a heat sink creating local heat and thirst for fresh water resources.

    Capacity factor for hydro is irrelevant, its generally 0.3-0.4 and it is still the cheapest source of power, the reason being is that turbines are pretty cheap relatively speaking, the cost is in the massive cement containment.
    (Comment deleted – please re-submit with substantiating refs.)

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  191. Bravo Barry!!! You spoke well on the Friday discussion. The panel was reasonably supportive of nuclear. It was disappointing to see how some have settled on the idea that nuclear energy is too expensive. They actually believe that nuclear energy will take too long compared to renewable forms of energy. There is a serious lack of awareness in my opinion and it makes a lot of sense that it’s momentum and maintaining a low cost energy source that needs to be emphasized to these renewable supporters. I am sorry that you don’t see Thorium MSRs as more exciting than you do but you have all the other matters in perspective and that is great.

    Like

  192. DV82XL,

    Endorsing your argument to EclipseNow, I was watching an excellent documentary on the National Geographic channel about medical services in a certain African country. Just in passing they mentioned what had been done at some of the outlying clinics using roof top PV installations.

    Finally they were able to provide enough power to maintain a small refrigerator at the proper temperature to preserve drug stocks. In addition they were able to keep one light bulb burning through the night. During times of heavy cloud it was necessary to do without the light bulb.

    Quite accidentally, Nat Geo brought home to me the futility of renewable power sources. When will we stop putting obstacles in the way of affordable electric power for the third world? This is a serious moral issue relating to what John Cristy is talking about here:
    http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com/2009/07/morality-of-climate-change_26.html

    Please forgive me for mentioning a prominent sceptic (denier?) on this blog.

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  193. Alright here we go.

    Visualize the typical demand curve if you will, a load following NPP would have to be able to have the safety requirements to allow for peak production to meet peak demand otherwise without FF or pumped hydro you have a brownout, this is certainly problematic in the first place as you would require redundancy in case of unpredictably high demand, otherwise brownout.

    However peak demand occurrs only a few hours a day, meaning that this nuclear plant that is rated for peak output has to either cut back its power output costing it lost earnings, again the plant would be operating at lower capacity for most of the day thereby reducing its capacity factor.

    The exact figures I cannot give you unless you give me data on daily demand you wish for me to check. In short the Integral of the demand curve/(peak production*24 hours)

    This fall in capacity factor is more expensive than the 1.25$/watt of quoted pumped hydro. if it is .7 then Olkiluotto becomes 7.15 vs 5.55 normalized ergo its cheaper with pumped hydro.

    As for the cost of fuel the same NPP will use using these prices for uranium fuel
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html

    1600MW * 24 hours *365 * 60 years = 841 TWh

    841TWh/360,000 kWh/Kg = 2.3 MKg

    2.3 MKg * 2767 $/Kg = 6.46 Billion dollars / .92 = 5.951 Billion $ in fuel costs

    The plant cost 8 billion $.

    Its 42.6% of the TOTAL costs of the plant
    and 74.35% of the capital costs of the plant

    So I was technically wrong but the real numbers makes nuclear far more expensive than I thought, in the battle between capital costs and operational costs nuclear is down the middle, FF and coal on the side of operating costs and renewables are almost all capital costs.

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  194. Thank you also DV82XL for your comment on 10 June 2011 at 5:50 PM.

    By far the most thought-provoking, intelligent comment I have read on this thread. The answer to your final, assumedly rhetorical question, is of course politics.

    There’s no doubt fossil fuels have provided a huge benefit to a lot of people, and been the back bone of industrialised society, and all the benefits that have come with it, since the industrial revolution. It’s clear now though that use of fossil fuels are well and truly on the downward slope in the utility they provide – similar to what microeconomists call the law of diminishing marginal utility. The difference here is that there’s no optimal level to be using them at – they need to be cut, and nuclear fission is the only viable, environmentally sound way of replacing them.

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  195. @ Environmentalist,

    Try actually reading the article you referenced for fuel costs. It also includes a nice table with actual OECD generating (levelised) costs.

    0.77 c/kWh total fuel costs – uranium, conversion, enrichment and fabrication. Using the lowest OECD LCOE of 2.9 c/kWh in Korea fuel accounts for (0.77/2.9)*100 = 26.5 % of LCOE. Using the highest LCOE in Hungary, 8.2 c/kWh, we get (0.77/8.2)*100 = 9.4 % of LCOE.

    So in OECD nations (under the assumption uranium prices do not differ significantly across these nations), fuel accounts for 9.4 % – 26.5 % of LCOE.

    Fuel costs are not an issue for nuclear.

    You still have not provided a reference for your claim about nuclear needing hydro backup.

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  196. I’m a bit surprised at the lack of discussion of the Australian Productivity Commission report. This important eight-country study directly addresses many of the central energy policy issues that have been discussed on BNC. In particular the study reveals the high cost of bad energy policies – how similar GHG abatement could be obtained for a fraction of the current spend. I’ve written a short summary post, leading with this teaser from the report:

    (…) policies encouraging small-scale renewable generation and biofuels have generated little abatement for substantially higher cost. (…) The relative cost effectiveness of price-based approaches is illustrated for Australia by stylised modelling that suggests that the abatement from existing policies for electricity could have been achieved at a fraction of the cost.

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  197. @ DV8,
    you’ve really got me all wrong. I’ve had a sponsor child in Africa for decades, and really care about various aid projects over there. You’re really ignorant about my dreams for Africa. It’s all there on my website! Point 5.
    http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/reform-world/

    I’m ALL FOR them having a “United States of Africa” with political stability and a functioning Federal democracy in which a stable nuclear program could be established. How long away is their “USA?” How’s African stability right now? Sure I want them stable and prosperous and committed to the rule of law, anti-corruption, a unified marketplace and strong African dollar. Sure I’m all for them having a successful nuclear program and energy independence. But it requires security and stability across the continent. It might still even require some aid programs, if only we can prevent the money being sucked into lining the pockets of dictators!

    How long is a prosperous successful African Federation going to take?

    @Eclipse Now – I hate to break it to you, but anyone living in the Third World on your idea of appropriate technology, is doing so because there is no other choice. It is certainly not paradise, and they will give it up in an instant for better. Personally I find your type of attitude insufferably arrogant; in essence saying that it’s so cute that they are trying to be like us, with whatever crumbs we deem ‘appropriate’ for them to have.

    Yeah, well, great, you just dictate to them that they can ONLY make it with nukes. Tell me, how many African village workshops can whip up a nuke? Hmmmm? How long will they have to wait to do it YOUR WAY!??

    You would support technology that will do damage to the local ecology on a huge scale to avoid the use of nuclear energy which has a much smaller footprint

    You’ve got me so wrong. It’s not that I’m against nuclear energy but that I am realistic about their levels of poverty and that they just can’t afford it yet! I’m not talking about African villages buying a Vestas wind turbine to stick up, but an even smaller, more immediate scale of D.I.Y. power so they at least have some power.

    Watch this youtube clip — it’s only 6 minutes, and shows what a big difference a *little* weak, unreliable renewable electricity can make over having NO electricity!

    Open Source hardware frees them from a sick dependence on hardware multinationals. They can source parts from scrap metal and junk yards and local workshops and build their own tools for themselves. So where the heck am I being patronising about ‘crumbs from my table’. I’m encouraging them to do it themselves!

    I hope I’ve got you wrong, but YOUR attitude seems to be the one that tells an African village NOT to develop what they can, but they must wait until they can afford to buy YOUR approved products from YOUR approved multinational corporations. Who is the one being patronising, even Imperial?

    Maybe their self determination at the local level scares you? I’m just cheering on ANY progress for these poor bastards who have been so raped and abused by the West for so long.

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  198. Gregory,
    you have completely missed the point. I hope it was not intentional? The POINT mate is that apt’s 10 day fall off is not in the right spot! I could make all sorts of points about nuclear safety from discussing Fukishima, but that’s ignoring Gen3.5 and Gen4 passive safety schemes isn’t it? If some idiot is going to jump up and down about a 10 day wind drop in an area OUTSIDE the main wind corridor of America, then I’m just going to ignore him, period.

    So I’d appreciate it if you could tell me exactly which part of the NW of America died for 10 days. Because on this map, we have a few areas right on the West Coast that are graded “Outstanding” through to “Superb” wind, but just a little to their right a whole VAST region that is graded white — a no go area for wind. The vast bulk of the NW corridor across America is not even listed for wind. So some guy comes along and points “Look, no wind!” Even the wind boosters would smack their hands to their foreheads and yell back, “Ya think?”

    But right down the guts of America there’s fair to good wind across hundreds and hundreds of km’s. As the wind boosters say, build the wind grid big and wide enough and the wind approaches baseload for about 30% of your power requirements. (From one of Peter Sinclair’s video’s above, and I don’t have the time to go back and check his source. Sorry).

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  199. @ Galloping Camel,

    Endorsing your argument to EclipseNow, I was watching an excellent documentary on the National Geographic channel about medical services in a certain African country. Just in passing they mentioned what had been done at some of the outlying clinics using roof top PV installations.

    Finally they were able to provide enough power to maintain a small refrigerator at the proper temperature to preserve drug stocks. In addition they were able to keep one light bulb burning through the night. During times of heavy cloud it was necessary to do without the light bulb.

    Quite accidentally, Nat Geo brought home to me the futility of renewable power sources. When will we stop putting obstacles in the way of affordable electric power for the third world? This is a serious moral issue relating to what John Cristy is talking about here:
    http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com/2009/07/morality-of-climate-change_26.html

    Oh really, I’m the one preventing African development? See my reply to DV8 a few posts back mate, because it’s equally relevant to you. EVERY word!
    https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/06/07/open-thread-16/#comment-129642

    As for Cristy’s “Greenie conspiracy that hurts the poor”, this is a piece I wrote about that 3 years ago in response to that great bastion of lies and misinformation and stupidity, “The Great Global Warming Swindle”.
    http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/greenie-conspiracy-that-hurts-the-poor/

    Indeed, I wish you Denialists could make up your minds and sort out which conspiracy theory you believed in! While “Swindle” would have you believe global warming is a conspiracy to ROB the poor and prevent them getting power and development, Monckton shouts paranoia about a Communist world government taking all our hard earned cash and spreading it around the poor countries to support their modern energy programs! So which is it — a conspiracy to rob them, or give them too much of our money? When are you Denialist’s going to make up your minds?

    Do check my link, because Monckton was partially right.
    http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/greenie-conspiracy-that-hurts-the-poor/

    There ARE organisations talking about an ETS / Carbon pricing scheme that might reward the poorer nations and help them develop. But it’s no great “Communist Conspiracy” as far as I can tell, just good old fashioned Centrist “Social Liberalism”.
    You’ve been had mate. I thought you were smarter than that!

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  200. Steve Darden I agree that the key message of the Productivity Commission report seems to have gone over people’s heads, namely that most trendy energy policies have been a waste of money and effort. Yet I think we’ll get more of them as the fateful day draws near when/if carbon tax becomes a reality. When the wind and solar crowd insist they not only need existing support to continue but to increase we must remind them — both the PC and Garnaut say it begins and ends with a carbon price. No RET, no RECs, no feed-in tariffs.

    I suspect the first half of 2012 will see frantic lobbying to cut special deals. Even Combet has hinted at transitional arrangements. The Treasury Dept may wish to redo their optimistic modelling. Alas I fear that not only will the carbon tax be watered down with exemptions and offsets but renewables support will be increased, not cut. The only saving grace is that I don’t see any new conventional coal plants being started.

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  201. @Environmentalist

    That calculator is fun. Unfortunately, Darwin is not particularly important from an emissions POV. Places like Europe, US, China and India, are important. According to that site, Germany sees about a factor of 5 in seasonal variation: over 25% of a year storage needs, or over 2000 hours. Bombay (only 19 in latitude!) sees almost exactly a 1 month average generation deficit over months 6-9, which means 720 hours of storage (with no safety margin). Shanghai actually does about 10% better. These numbers do not include power leakage due to the need to store energy, not for hours, but rather for months. Losing .1%/day (I have absolutely no idea what the number should be) amounts to 10% over a half-year. .5% day->40%/half year.

    Of course, you can remove the seasonal variation storage needs by building your renewables assuming the lowest seasonal CF. This increases the generator costs (but those are much cheaper than storage) and still doesn’t solve the “small” time-scale fluctuation problems.

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  202. @ Eclipse Now – Oh I understand you all right; better now too with your sponsor child and ‘United States of Africa’ fantasies that tells me that, true to form, you have absolutely no idea of what is going on there, or what it will take to change it. (deleted inflammatory comment)

    Apparently you also only read into my remarks what you want – I am not suggesting that Third-World villages make nuclear reactors, but that WE should supply nuclear power to a region so that it can electrify and raise the standard of living so that first they will stop misusing local resources, (deforestation for fuel, as an example) second when the do start to develop, in the urban centers, they will not turn to fossil fuels.

    The crux of my argument is that if we do not help them raise their standard of living, then the impact from their activities, as they do it themselves, will adversely affect us.
    MODERATOR
    DV8 and EN – please cool it. This is an OT but standards of civility still apply.

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  203. @ DV8

    WE should supply nuclear power to a region so that it can electrify and raise the standard of living so that first they will stop misusing local resources, (deforestation for fuel, as an example) second when the do start to develop, in the urban centers, they will not turn to fossil fuels.

    I of course agree with your concerns. Indeed, I’d take them further. Only when they are living comfortable modern lives with all their needs met will they have a Demographic Transition which will lower their population explosion. That could have the greatest impact of all.

    So, how many nuclear power plants have we donated to the 3rd world so far? (deleted inflammatory remark)
    In the meantime I’ve passed on the Open Source Hardware links to various aid and charity groups, who will build little home scaled wind turbines and solar cells with — or without — your permission.
    MODERATOR
    DV8 and EN – please cool it. This is an OT but standards of civility still apply.

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  204. More to DV8:
    Indeed, only last week I received a quite encouraging email back from the CEO of a large AID group who appeared *very* interested in the Open Source Hardware movement. They have various projects around the globe, and are looking into it as we speak. Check it out. You might even find something there for your ‘off the grid’ friends! ;-)

    Here is my copy and paste rave about Open Source Hardware. Enjoy.
    *****

    * Do you know people who need FREE PLANS for D.I.Y. (Do it Yourself) CHEAP industrial equipment to run a farm, bakery, or local workshop?

    * Do they need FREE plans for tractors, bread ovens, a Drill Press, Torch table, Earth Brick maker, Tractor, Harvester, String Trimmer, Soil Pulveriser, and dozens of other farm and industrial tools that could revolutionise village life?

    * In short there is a new movement called “Open Source Hardware” that is just like the “Open Source Software” movement that believes information should be FREE. The information is free, but you must supply the parts and materials yourself.

    * Parts are bought from the local village workshops or recycled metal scrapyards — so the money stays in the local African village or town in Kosovo or farm in the American deep south. The money isn’t sucked overseas into some giant multinational, but stays and employs local people where it does more good.

    * They give away FREE plans for the top 50 industrial tools that make modern civilisation possible!

    * Designed for built in longevity — NO built in obsolescence!

    * Finished products are to be as functional, durable and safe as industry standards.

    * Even with sourcing local parts and labour it is 8 times cheaper than buying new ones!

    * For example, to buy a new tractor in America can be anywhere from $25 thousand to $120 thousand. The OpenFarmTech.org tractor was only $12,000 — and that money largely went to local suppliers.

    * It’s all free. Just like Open Source Software they might hope that *some* fame and fans will donate towards it, but for YOUR town and YOUR project, it is FREE!

    * Once you have built it you know how to repair it! They are built for life — no built in obsolescence — and the parts are interchangeable.

    * So you are freed from the tricks of multinational farm equipment, and are not locked in to expensive servicing contracts and agreements.

    * When you can build all the bits you need locally, there’s no ordering expensive stuff in from overseas.

    * There’s also no waiting for overseas parts — fix it today instead!

    * Parts are fairly interchangable. That might make for some unusual looking stuff, but at least it works!

    * It’s like a giant Lego set, so once someone has built the Drill Press they can probably gain the confidence to move onto the egg incubator, earth-brick maker or the truly awesome, military looking Tractor!

    * Includes plans for some cheap local renewable energy systems, so it is better for an African village to have some wind power rather than no electricity at all!

    * By the end of 2012 they are hoping to have all 50 items on their website (and a DVD you can download and burn and take on a cheap laptop to some African village that might not have the internet yet).

    * Please pass this on to any Aid Workers or Missionaries you know in poorer parts of the world that might need a little help getting started, or even recovering from a natural disaster!

    4 minute TED talk

    Video site and blog
    http://opensourceecology.org/

    Wiki that links to plans and other resources
    http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/Main_Page

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  205. @ Eclipse Now – If you’re going to choose to act like an idiot, and pretend that you do not understand the points I am trying to make, then further communication with you is a waste of my time.

    Moderator – is this sort of schoolyard taunting in lue of a counterargument the sort of debate that is wanted here?
    MODERATOR
    See my comment upthread to both of you.

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  206. @ DV8,
    you started this mate. I’m very concerned for Africa and you insisted that I’m just an idealist with no clue about the situation on the ground. Then you propose we’ll just give them all the nukes they need to develop! Wow. Seriously, I’d be interested if you had some mechanism for this to happen! In the meantime there IS a mechanism worked out for the gradual integration of African political and economic systems, there’s a pathway worked out over the next 15 or so years (if you bothered to read up on it).

    So who’s the idealist? Free nukes or African integration and solidarity?

    What are you talking about?

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  207. So, how many nuclear power plants have we donated to the 3rd world so far?

    It would seem that I have not stated my position clearly. First is that we should make nuclear power technology available to these places, not necessarily giving it away, but certainly clearing the way.

    Second, I am well aware of the endless, and wasteful ‘appropriate technology’ efforts that are out there. They are not doing the job fast enough, and they are burdened by a lot of ideology that is predicated on the belief that some white bread. middle-class, university student that has never known a day of hunger in his life can dictate what he thinks these people need, at least as long as his gap-year funding holds out.

    These are not long-term solutions to the energy issues of the Third World. Nor is the interference of those that think that they can arrogate themselves the right to chose how these people develop of any long term value. While groups are pushing what they hope will be the model for a low energy West on these people, they are at the same time lobbying many Third World governments not to accept GM seed. Apparently in their deep wisdom, they think starving is better than letting poor people use what they have deemed inappropriate technology.

    Thirdly I can make a case that not helping the poor raise their standard of living will have a serious impact on ours down the road. We done it before. Much of the drive to inoculate great numbers of the Third World population was not driven by altruism or kindness, but by a very practical motivation which was to reduce the wild pool of these contagions lest they evolve and become a danger to us.

    Lastly I do not care what sort of feelings you have for Africa, it does not validate your position. If it leads to supporting wrongheaded ideas, the Africans are better without it.

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  208. @Eclipse Now

    If this DIY open hardware stuff can make an immediate real difference in some parts of the world then it deserves support. There is no denying the benefit of some electricity from cobbled together wind turbines, spray on PV material or whatever.

    But that should not lead to a conclusion that a modern electricity infrastructure is not badly needed. I don’t think you are saying that, but others surely will. Even worse, they will then draw entirely inappropriate conclusions about future energy demand and all the implications that has for the climate/energy problem. This is very dangerous territory.

    I’m pretty skeptical about “open hardware” stuff. There have been sporadic attempts over the years to do this sort of stuff in computing. eg I seem to remember an open Sparc project. But as a whole it has amounted to not a lot. It’s easy to see why – you can do top class software engineering on a PC that costs a few hundred dollars, but to develop virtually any hardware of any sort you need relatively expensive R&D resources.

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  209. The problem with open source hardware (not in the electronic meaning of the term) is that the tolerances have to be kept rather low, and this limits the size and power of the final product.

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  210. @John Newlands

    (…) No RET, no RECs, no feed-in tariffs.

    The “good news” is the Productivity Commission report gives the pols who may argue your point a well-reasoned foundation – even slides for their deck. But who will make the case? Who is Australia’s David MacKay?

    (…) Alas I fear that not only will the carbon tax be watered down with exemptions and offsets

    I won’t take the contra bet; the little I’ve learned of political economy says that democracies progress in smaill, fitful increments. I’m prone to think in terms of bold policy initiatives, like the trade of a revenue-neutral carbon tax for elimination of all subsidies/mandates. But that is unlikely. The polity of France is a special case: an elite technocracy administering a highly centralized government. That platform executed the bold nuclear build.

    Speaking of MacKay, I’ve been hoping that BNC would take an interest in MacKay’s DECC 2050 Calculator Tool. That is a good effort towards educating both voters and politicians. Yes, it is simple, like Without The Hot Air the simulator ignores economics, just focuses on making sure the pathways all add up. But that is probably a good teaching strategy. See also Public debate about 2050 Pathways.

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  211. Eclipse Now said:
    ////We can also dismiss out of hand the suite of imaginary issues that have been fabricated as objections to nuclear energy,////
    Australian HATRED of nuclear energy is NOT imaginary. I’ve almost come to blows at parties over it!

    So true. In the (audio) book “7 habits of highly effective people” by Steven R. Covey I listen to now and again, has a very good section on “conflict resolution.” The jist of his explanation is that there is a balance with emotions on one side and intelligence on the other. When 1 is high the other is low.

    So, when people are highly emotional about a topic, they are low in intelligence on that topic. Not that they are dumb, they just resort to name calling and stuff rather than speaking the information and statistics.

    It is not just a matter of getting the public information on what nuclear really is. You also have to calm them down so that they can actually hear what you are saying. Not an easy thing to do.

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  212. The path to nuclear in the developing world is already being aided by Russia (India, China, Turkey, Vietnam, ..) and France (China, India), and Japan in the form of Westinghouse (China). Later the third world will be helped by primarily India and China.

    So, this is going to happen whatever arguments are going on in Australia, the US, or Europe. To be honest in a short time it won’t matter what the ‘white breads’ of the world think. The world is moving East, nuclear is just one sign.

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  213. @Eclipse. “Spreading out the load”??? You mean spreading out the generation, right?

    “Diffuse” refers to both the area and low KW per meter squared vs density. But it depends on what “plan” one talks about. If people talk about massive solar fields in North Africa and in Arizona, it’s a highly concentrated geographic plan where one “wheels” power 3000 miles. How is this at ALL “diffuse”? It’s diffuse only from the point of view of watts per amount of material and spread out over vast areas but the grid hook up is usually just that, ONE hook up to a LONG transmission line.

    The answer to the problem of the NE black out was the SCADA system that failed. But lets say I agree: more nukes spread out over a larger area would work for me.

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  214. @Eclipse…the 2 billion bucks to supply 10 hours of power seems rather low. Also, Helms and other pump storage facilities last *days* and *weeks*. 10 hours won’t work. I wouldn’t want my *entire nation* relying on a few pump storage facilities that can only last 10 hours.

    You build around 12 nukes to start but taking 70% of your defense budget and that would be that. You could close an equivalent amount of coal plants. Carbon footprint goes down.

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  215. EclipseNow,

    Oh really, I’m the one preventing African development? See my reply to DV8 a few posts back mate, because it’s equally relevant to you. EVERY word!

    Yes, you and greenies out there have a callous disregard for the millions of people in the third world who are harmed by the lack of DDT, affordable electricity etc.

    Based on your comments here I regarded you as harmless and clueless. However, since you gave me those links to your website I find that you are quite dangerous. Your political ideas would do justice to Maurice Strong and George Soros. I just hope you don’t have access to the kind of resources that they have.

    Bad energy policies can harm many millions of people but the implementation of the kind of authoritarian government you advocate is 100 times worse. Just look at the death toll in the 20th century alone. It starts with simple coercion “for the good of the people”, it proceeds through the burning of books to imprisoning dissidents and then “eliminating” them. You really need to read Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”.

    Like

  216. Eclipse Now, on 11 June 2011 at 5:21 PM said:

    If some idiot is going to jump up and down about a 10 day wind drop in an area OUTSIDE the main wind corridor of America, then I’m just going to ignore him, period.

    The wind turbines in the Pacific Northwest are exceptionally well sited. My wife and I have driven past most of them on our motorcycle and keeping the bike on the correct side of the road due to the relatively high winds is a lot of work in the area of the wind turbines.

    In addition due to the amount of hydro on the Columbia river there is good proximity to transmission lines. Transmission towers are not inexpensive. The Pacific Northwest also has more then it’s fair share of hydro in order to load balance the wind.

    Roosevelt Lake, the body of water sitting behind Grand Coulee Dam is the 6th Largest reservoir in the US with 11.9 cubic kilometers of storage capacity. Grand Coulee has the highest ‘nameplate’ capacity of any hydro dam in the US.

    The point being that the wind turbines themselves are not the only cost and the Pacific Northwest already had substantial infrastructure in place to support wind turbines.

    When the wind turbines first started being built Bonneville Power estimated they could accommodate 6 GW of wind turbines on the grid without incurring substantial additional cost . They were wrong.

    I personally would like the local coal fired electricity plant to close as it creates a haze that ruins my view of Mt Rainier and every couple of years I have to spend a weekend cleaning soot off of my house. The Governor just granted it a 10 year license extension with some weasly language about eventually converting it to natural gas.

    We have 3.5 GW of wind on our grid growing to 6 GW by 2013 and the 6th largest reservoir in the US and we can’t manage to close one stinking coal fired plant.

    I’m all for wind if it can manage to replace our stinking coal fired plant…I’ve given up hope that it will ever happen.

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  217. Let’s not pursue this, gc.

    You will cite sources viewed as absurd by others and vice versa.

    You’ll have me read Hayek and I’ll have you read Istvan Meszaros on Hayek.

    Off list is a better place for this discussion.

    EN would not be persuaded by Hayek, I can assure you.

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  218. Gregory Meyerson,
    Having read some of your political commentaries I feel ill equipped to argue with you. I will say no more on Mega deaths.

    I agree that this is not the place to discuss politics other than what applies specifically to energy issues.

    I will be teaching in Raleigh next week. I am planning to meet with a certain senator who is influential on energy issues. Any possibility of meeting you in person?

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  219. Eclipse Now,I must confess that I did breathe a sigh of relief when you got huffy and cancelled your subscription.

    But I see that you are back,with a vengeance.As the conversation is becoming even more remote from reality I,for one,will withdraw and give you some more space.

    It seems that you are approaching the red giant stage of a dying star.

    Like

  220. @ DV8
    You are spanking me for positions I do not hold. I actually agree with much of what you’re saying, but don’t really feel like ticking the paragraphs where I do — given your attitude. I’m done discussing Africa with you — as you will not give 1 millimetre of ground over attacking a straw-man position that I never actually voiced or hold. It’s all in your head. I’m done.

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  221. @ Quokka,

    But that should not lead to a conclusion that a modern electricity infrastructure is not badly needed. I don’t think you are saying that, but others surely will. Even worse, they will then draw entirely inappropriate conclusions about future energy demand and all the implications that has for the climate/energy problem. This is very dangerous territory.

    Agreed — thank you for actually bothering to hear what I was saying, and not forcing some preconceived biases about ‘off the grid hippies’ distort the message.
    Cheers.

    I’m pretty skeptical about “open hardware” stuff.

    People were skeptical about Open Source software, yet the market penetration of Linux servers for web apps is skyrocketing and look what software we are using to have this conversation! Did you watch the Open Source Hardware video? The guy running this is no dummy! (He has a Phd in Fusion energy. Anyone here got one of those? Put up your hands now…)

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  222. Eclipse Now, on 11 June 2011 at 10:52 AM — As harrywr2 pointed out above, the Pacific Northwest has considerable 32% wind potential. That means the maximum capacity factor for wind generation is 0.32, which is quite good. [Montana only reaches 38% wind.]

    Like

  223. @ DV8,

    The problem with open source hardware (not in the electronic meaning of the term) is that the tolerances have to be kept rather low, and this limits the size and power of the final product.

    Agreed — so the harvester is family farm scaled not the enormous wide super-structures where the driver lives in what looks like an airline cockpit! But the point is to give industrial productivity to the family farm scale, which is the scale of much of the world’s ventures, be they farmers, bakers, or the local workshop..

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  224. @ SteveK9,

    So, this is going to happen whatever arguments are going on in Australia, the US, or Europe. To be honest in a short time it won’t matter what the ‘white breads’ of the world think. The world is moving East, nuclear is just one sign.

    So true!

    Like

  225. @ David Walters,

    @Eclipse. “Spreading out the load”??? You mean spreading out the generation, right?

    Oops, tired and rushed. Thanks for catching that one.

    The answer to the problem of the NE black out was the SCADA system that failed. But lets say I agree: more nukes spread out over a larger area would work for me.

    And it would work for me as well! I’m not doing the nuclear V renewables thing here, I’m sold on nukes! I’m doing the “Are renewables *possible* if Australians are willing to pay an extra 40% (or whatever) for their power?” That’s honestly all I’m asking. If you see this blog-page of mine change to being pro-renewables, THEN assume I’ve lost the plot and dropped nukes as the “Silver Bullet” OK?
    http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/refuel/

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  226. @ David Walters,

    @Eclipse…the 2 billion bucks to supply 10 hours of power seems rather low. Also, Helms and other pump storage facilities last *days* and *weeks*. 10 hours won’t work. I wouldn’t want my *entire nation* relying on a few pump storage facilities that can only last 10 hours.

    The paper it’s based on doesn’t include concreting the floor of the 7km diameter hydro dam. At a guesstimate, do you think that would add another billion?

    Like

  227. @ Camel,
    you have failed to reply substantively to a single argument I made over the Denialist “They’re trying to kill the poor!” myth, neither the statistics I quoted, the funding policies, or the actual arguments themselves. One day you’ll wake up and hear Monckton going on about the GLOBAL COMMUNIST CONSPIRACY to take all our money and give it to Africa and you’ll smack your forehead and wonder how you could have believed the other conspiracy theory where we are trying to rip them off and prevent their development. But of course, when your mind is made up for you by irrational denialists, it’s easy to be blown here and there by every wind of teaching.

    Like

  228. @ Camel,
    I actually AGREE with much of what DV8 was saying about Africa! What he has failed to prove is that our 2 goals are incompatible, especially as I see local Open Sourced Hardware as a temporary solution UNTIL they can upgrade infrastructure and afford to install clean nuclear power.

    Imagine the following scenario in a small African village.
    Little girl runs in: “Mumma, Mumma, at school today they said one day Africa might have nuclear power.”
    Mum: “That’s nice dear.”
    Little boy runs in: “Dad, Uncle Joe has finished his wind turbine! It works most evenings! He’s got the light running and is even charging a few radios!”
    Dad: “Everyone, we’re going out. I’ve got to have a chat with Uncle Joe!”

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  229. @ Camel

    When it comes to body count the Marxist inspired authoritarian rulers make Hitler look like an under achiever.

    Relevance? Who are you calling a Marxist? Are you changing your tune and siding with Monckton now? Are us “Greenie Conspirators” giving too much money to Africa now rather than too little? ;-)

    Like

  230. @ Gregory Meyerson,

    EN would not be persuaded by Hayek, I can assure you.

    I actually thought Hayek had some good points about information feedbacks in a market economy. It’s why I’m into “social liberalism: Civil rights, Social Justice and State funded welfare in a Market Economy”.

    Like

  231. @ David B Benson

    As harrywr2 pointed out above, the Pacific Northwest has considerable 32% wind potential. That means the maximum capacity factor for wind generation is 0.32, which is quite good. [Montana only reaches 38% wind.]

    So by Pacific Northwest you mean the narrow band of superb wind power along the coast, not the vast dead chunks inland from there? Because the vast majority of the Northwest of America is NOT on the wind map. That’s all I was trying to state — and I still haven’t had a reply as to where this ’10 dead days’ actually occurred.

    Like

  232. @ Eclipse Now, You and I are very far apart on the subject of Africa, because you are imagining scenarios that fit with your ideological predilections. You have a very shallow grasp of technology, and how various dependencies work, and I believe that you, like many who are pushing for low-tech solutions for the Third World think that these will serve as living proof of how the whole world can live on short energy rations. As a consequence many have taken the stand that we should encourage these low energy ideas, and deflect criticism by saying that nuclear will come someday. I am willing to bet that to the contrary they fervently hope that nuclear will be shown to be unnecessary.

    According to IEA (2009) worldwide 1.456 billion people do not have access to electricity, of which 83% live in rural areas. In Sub-Saharan Africa only 12% of the rural population has access to electricity. Worldwide rural electrification progresses only slowly. Due to high population growth the number of people without electricity is expected to rise in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    What I am pushing for is some plan similar to the Rural Electrification Administration in the United States. Consider the parallels.

    Before 1936, a small but growing number of farms installed small wind-electric plants. These generally used a 40V DC generator to charge batteries in the barn or the basement of the farmhouse. This was enough to provide lighting, and some limited well-pumping. Wind-electric plants were used mostly on the great plains, which have usable winds on most days but it was a far cry from the advantages (notably refrigeration) enjoyed by those on the grid.

    Of the 6.3 million farms in the United States in January 1925, only 205,000 were receiving centralized electric services. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was created by executive order as an independent federal bureau in 1935, authorized by the United States Congress in the 1936 Rural Electrification Act, and later in 1939, reorganized as a division of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. It was charged with administering loan programs for electrification and telephone service in rural areas. Between 1935 and 1939 – or the first 4 ½ years after REA’s establishment, the number of farms using electric services more than doubled. By the early 1970s about 98% of all farms in the United States had electric service, a demonstration of REA’s success.

    [Source for above paragraph: Beall, Robert T. (1940). “Rural Electrification.”

    It is this sort of program that is needed in many parts of the Third World, and for the same reason: the New Dealers knew that if they did not raise the standard of living across the board in the US the growing discrepancies between the haves and the have nots would ferment revolution, thus having a negative impact on the former in the long run.

    As for Open Source solutions, they are not likely to work. Open Source software was something that evolved naturally as a consequence of the inherent properties of computer code, not the least of which was the fact that it can be duplicated without limit, cost, or loss of integrity. In the physical domain it is made and modified by a single universal tool, which it fact it also where it is used. These features are unique to this application, and are not present anywhere else, which is why Open Source has never caught on in other areas.

    There have been attempts which all have failed to come close to the utility of the software model because in the end they are too limited to compete at any level with dedicated design and manufacturing. As always, wanting something to be because it suits some ascetic, or belief of how the world ought to be, never survives real-world implementation.

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  233. Eclipse Now, on 12 June 2011 at 9:42 AM — The Columbia Basin (including the Columbia Gorge) is not on the coast. That’s the 32% part but eastern Oregon and in to southren Idaho is windy enough with current subsidy practices.

    Your wind potential map is deficient; we have at least ~4.5 MWp of wind turbines so far with much more under construction.

    Like

  234. @ DV8

    @ Eclipse Now, You and I are very far apart on the subject of Africa, because you are imagining scenarios that fit with your ideological predilections. You have a very shallow grasp of technology, and how various dependencies work, and I believe that you, like many who are pushing for low-tech solutions for the Third World think that these will serve as living proof of how the whole world can live on short energy rations. As a consequence many have taken the stand that we should encourage these low energy ideas, and deflect criticism by saying that nuclear will come someday. I am willing to bet that to the contrary they fervently hope that nuclear will be shown to be unnecessary.

    Look at my blog. Have I changed my stance on nuclear power? No. For all your protestations to the contrary you’ve just confirmed exactly what I thought you were saying — that you begrudge small scale local African development because that’s just not doing it your way! So quote a bunch of national statistics as if I’m unaware of the sheer SCALE of the challenge. Be my guest. You’re just re-stating the need for nuclear power across developing nations, which I already agree with! But your paragraph above just confirms everything I feared. It’s ideology speaking, banning them from doing whatever they can, village by village, to improve their lives a fraction.

    What I am pushing for is some plan similar to the Rural Electrification Administration in the United States. Consider the parallel

    Boy, that sounds like it might need some sort of Pan-African security agreement, maybe even a Federation?

    Before 1936, a small but growing number of farms installed small wind-electric plants. These generally used a 40V DC generator to charge batteries in the barn or the basement of the farmhouse. This was enough to provide lighting, and some limited well-pumping. Wind-electric plants were used mostly on the great plains, which have usable winds on most days but it was a far cry from the advantages (notably refrigeration) enjoyed by those on the grid.

    Agreed! A good analogy! I’m with you so far. This is roughly how I’m imagining the village-by-village system to work, except fridges with icing systems have been developed for intermittent power: but that’s another subject.

    Of the 6.3 million farms in the United States in January 1925, only 205,000 were receiving centralized electric services. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was created by executive order as an independent federal bureau in 1935

    This is where we part company. What Federation? You’ve already called an African Federation a ‘fantasy’. You’ve totally lost me here. It’s a dream for the next 15 to 20 years, but not now. It’s a worthy goal, but it’s a long way away. Are you saying they have to wait for that?

    Your 2 paragraphs about Open Source are not worth responding to. You really seem to just be using meaningless words to dismiss something you don’t like. Have you even watched the TED.com talk? Their monthly donations are growing exponentially and the whole movement is taking off because it can deliver useful tools at 1/8th the price, in a simple, no frills design with no built in obsolescence from the manufacturer. So far, from the few cases I have seen online, it just seems to work, and frees users from the ongoing costs of complex servicing agreements. These items are simple, robust, modular, and cheap. If you wish to disprove the claims for pricing try the tractor, for example. You’re far more technically educated than I am, but even I can tell when someone’s just mouthing off.

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  235. @ David Benson,

    Eclipse Now, on 12 June 2011 at 9:42 AM — The Columbia Basin (including the Columbia Gorge) is not on the coast. That’s the 32% part but eastrn Oregon and in to southren Idaho is windy enough with surrent subsidy practices.

    Was the Columbia basin the subject of the ’10 dead days’ or are you talking about your home area? Cheers.

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  236. EclipseNow,
    While I no longer consider you to be harmless, you are still clueless in technical matters.

    In respect for Gregory Meyerson I will say no more about the way authoritarian regimes murder their own citizens.

    Let’s get back to the much smaller matter of how misguided energy policies harm the poorest people on the planet.

    Like

  237. @ John,
    that’s a very interesting report you’ve found there! It smashes rooftop solar, but had some interesting things to say about wind.

    Dennis Wellington, the deputy mayor of Albany, which has 12 wind turbines on its outskirts, said despite the price of generating renewable energy, the wind farm was a fantastic resource.

    “It’s a very clean resource . . . and it works basically 24 hours a day, unlike solar power,” Mr Wellington said.

    “Obviously they are expensive and they are a wearing item. They last 20 years before they’ve got to be replaced. But we’re in the process of extending ours.”

    There are plans to put in another six turbines in Albany that would bring the total generation capacity to more than 70 per cent of the city’s electricity.

    Like

  238. I get the sense that the Africa issue flaming between DV and EN boils down to timeframe … and would not be surprised if the two would actually agree on key issues.

    I do not see EN advocating that low technology energy solutions be pushed on Africa and then that’s it.

    Cheap, abundant grid power is the goal for the 1.5 billion people-or-so currently off-grid … absolutely.

    The issue is that that will take years, and years and years … these folk have not been a priority in the eyes of those who make the generation/distribution investments … and are likely to remain so.

    But, it is possible to bring low cost, low tech energy solutions to them NOW and these will bring immediate & direct benefits and lift them up the energy totem. I believe this is what EN is saying.

    I have volunteered for some years with a group which funds solar LED lamps which can be put into the hands of villagers for A$25 … replacing a kero lamp which consumes A$75 pa. It’s paid for in 4 months; saves the household on kero; cuts down health hazards and promotes child learning, home businesses and local entrepreneurs who distribute the lamps. Micro-finance is offered to villagers who don’t have the cash upfront.

    We have distribution channels setup in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda & Vanuatu. The manufacturing channel can spit out 100,000 lamps per month.

    Now this isn’t the be all and end all. But it is an immediate, certain positive.
    Experience shows that once a cluster of households have switched off kero to solar lamps for lighting, it becomes economical to install some PV equipment to run more extensive lighting (community halls, market precincts and so on). This may become economical quite quickly.

    But experience also shows that when a whole village (effectively) has effectively switched off kero lamps, it makes LESS sense to create a “village grid” using solar PV; it’s actually more economical to install a diesel generator. While this reverts to fossil, it is what the village can best afford at that time; they have saved money coming off kero; more savings moving to clustered PV panels; and even more when they can afford a generator.

    And when they get to the generator the energy benefits expand – they can run cooking appliances and dump the grubby stoves for example.

    This cheaper energy journey takes just a few years for a village. It’s not the desired end point, of course. But it happens a lot quicker than waiting for the grid; and the benefits are immediate and material. Switching off kero can ‘save’ a household 10% of their income; the kids education & health are enhanced etc.

    It works for me as simple, direct, immediate affordable action … and in parallel I can still agitate for the realisation of the grid build-out with the nice cheap (but clean) energy that I enjoy.

    It is not either-or.

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  239. @Eclipse Now – The fact that you will not respond to what I wrote on why there are no parallels to Open Source in the physical realm is a clear indication that you cannot find a counter argument. If you can show examples please do, unreferenced statements are not permitted here. Do so and I will show you just why these are not Open Source in anything but name.

    I showed an example of something that worked, you are countering with imagination. Wind generation DID NOT WORK in the States in the Twenties, that is why the Rural Electrification program came into being.

    (deleted inflammatory comment)
    Rural Electrification programs are happening all over the world.

    In 1981, 54.9% of Brazilian households were served by electric power, according to the IBGE’s PNAD survey. In 2000, the Brazilian Federal Government, under the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, launched the Luz no Campo program to expand the distribution of electricity in Brazilian domiciles, with a focus on rural households; from 2003 on, the program was reinforced and renamed Luz para Todos by the Lula administration. The results are as follows: according to the PNAD: by 1996, 79.9% of all households had access to an electric power supply; that proportion rose to 90.8% in 2002 and 98.9% in 2009.

    In Jamaica, The Rural Electrification Programme (REP) was incorporated in 1975 with the specific mandate to expand the reach of electricity supply to rural areas, where the provision of such services would not be economically viable for commercial providers of electricity. The REP extends the national grid through the construction of electrical distribution pole lines to un-electrified areas and provides house wiring assistance through a loan programme to householders.
    REF: http://www.rep.gov.jm/

    These are real programs, supplying real power to depressed and rural communities, run by governments. (deleted imflammatory attack)
    I never wrote that electrifying and Third-World community was going to be a village-level project, but the efforts that you support are pointless, worthless, and create the illusion that something is being done when it is not.

    (deleted personal opinion of someone’s motives)
    MODERATOR
    Enough! I have let this conversation between you and EN progress without moderation but it has descended into vitriol and invective and become quite unpleasant. Continue in a civil manner or stop altogether. That goes for both of you.

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  240. I get the sense that the Africa issue flaming between DV and EN boils down to timeframe … and would not be surprised if the two would actually agree on key issues.

    I do not see EN advocating that low technology energy solutions be pushed on Africa and then that’s it.

    Cheap, abundant grid power is the goal for the 1.5 billion people-or-so currently off-grid … absolutely……

    ……But, it is possible to bring low cost, low tech energy solutions to them NOW and these will bring immediate & direct benefits and lift them up the energy totem. I believe this is what EN is saying

    Thank you Alan! I said as much but I’m glad someone else picked it up!!!

    I have volunteered for some years with a group which funds solar LED lamps which can be put into the hands of villagers for A$25 … replacing a kero lamp which consumes A$75 pa. It’s paid for in 4 months; saves the household on kero; cuts down health hazards and promotes child learning, home businesses and local entrepreneurs who distribute the lamps. Micro-finance is offered to villagers who don’t have the cash upfront.

    That’s it! You said the ‘solar’ word! Look out mate… you could be accused of using this first step towards renewables as eventually denying the benefits of nuclear . ;-)
    (Nice example by the way).

    This cheaper energy journey takes just a few years for a village. It’s not the desired end point, of course. But it happens a lot quicker than waiting for the grid; and the benefits are immediate and material. Switching off kero can ‘save’ a household 10% of their income; the kids education & health are enhanced etc.

    Excellent description! It’s most definitely a journey we are describing, from hand-planted and harvested crops to tractors and harvesters, from peasant life to education and plumbing and fresh water and their first electricity ever and finally the internet! This is why they hope to boil the whole “Global Village Construction Set” down to a “Civilization starter kit on a DVD” so that a mobile laptop (solar powered in “deepest darkest Africa”?) can show all the schematics, costings, parts required and even video animation tutorials.

    Cheers!

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  241. @Eclipse Now – To restate, in less inflammatory terms what was redacted by the moderator, I believe that centering your argument on the concept of ‘Federation’ is a deliberate attempt to obscure the issue. This has nothing to do with the existence of a federation in Africa or anywhere else, and is sophistry at best to attempt to confound the issue with the name of an American agency. Furthermore this is not an issue limited to the African condition.

    Small scale projects conceived in First World countries are often uncoordinated and piecemeal, with little long-term planning or follow-up, initiated by those that are not stakeholders in these regions, and are often driven by ulterior motives like mounting social experiments, or providing PR for NGO’s

    I also find your stated support for nuclear energy at odds with your continued defense of alternate/low energy and thus I am forced to conclude that the former is not a complete truth.

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  242. In 1981, 54.9% of Brazilian households were served by electric power … that proportion rose to 90.8% in 2002 and 98.9% in 2009.

    I wonder how sound those statistics are. I was in Brazil in 2007, and (without being able to provide a reference here) I can almost certainly say that less than 98.9 % of people there have electricity. This may be due to some 25 % of the population (54 million people) living in favelas, which are generally considered “illegal” settlements and therefore probably aren’t counted as households. Though a lot of people in favelas do illegally tap into the grid too.

    I realise this isn’t that germane to the electrification program argument, but not totally off topic if we’re talking about poverty and access to electricity.

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  243. “Of course, you can remove the seasonal variation storage needs by building your renewables assuming the lowest seasonal CF. This increases the generator costs (but those are much cheaper than storage) and still doesn’t solve the “small” time-scale fluctuation problems.”

    Actually this is done with the normalization, the price of the panels is .75$/watt but the capacity factor normalizes it, in short you do not install panels for peak output but rather for average output. With Germany it is difficult not because of the average, as that would be taken into account during normalization (ie .75/.11 vs .75/.19) but sadly the severe seasonal variation. Cyril loves to point out just how weak the solar irradiation is during the winter, and he is right 0.86 is very very weak. If it were stable like almost every other place solar could work alone, but prices per watt would have to be roughly half of what they are right now assuming .75 it should be .35 for it to work there, BUT its not stable, its a thought experiment so thankfully wind is there to pick up the slack they can share storage and wind has a better capacity factor during the winter months.

    The most severely cloudy days roughly halves max power output, its never 0, check the daily solar site from Germany, don’t go back to November when its almost all night, but check out the good days, solar irradiation due to earths position is constant if the days are close, and you can clearly see which days were cloudy (June 8) followed by sunny ones (perfect bell curve like say june 4) In Germany it also never reaches nameplate power peak. As that is rated for the sunniest sites.

    http://www.sma.de/en/news-information/pv-electricity-produced-in-germany.html

    “So in OECD nations (under the assumption uranium prices do not differ significantly across these nations), fuel accounts for 9.4 % – 26.5 % of LCOE.”

    Its still just an LCOE, a financial crapshot used to deny capital intensive works, yes in a perfect world where investments return 10% every year will fuel costs just be 10-26% of the LCOE, but in the real world inflation works for fuel prices too, and 10% yields are a fantasy. In short 6 Billion (2011 $) are spent in fuel for its entire life. Paid in 60 yearly installments of course…

    Again renewables are almost by definition ALL capital costs, nuclear is around half and half and FF is almost all operating costs. But I still want to prove that renewable capital costs are competitive with well regulated nuclear capital costs. Its getting very close.

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  244. The fact that you will not respond to what I wrote on why there are no parallels to Open Source in the physical realm

    I’ll agree that it is physically impossible to download a tractor off the internet for free, if that’s what you’re after! ;-)

    If you can show examples please do, unreferenced statements are not permitted here.

    This will be the 3rd or 4th time I have referenced them.

    4 minute TED talk

    Video site and blog
    http://opensourceecology.org/

    Wiki that links to THE FREE PLANS and other resources
    http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/Main_Page

    Remember, JUST LIKE Open Source software, the INFORMATION IS FREELY DOWNLOADED OFF THE NET! But OF COURSE the basic tools and materials must be sourced locally.

    It empowers a local economy. This really is happening! No amount of denial makes it go away.

    (Indeed, I could say I HOPE it goes away because it would mean some magic new nano-manufacturing had arrived that proved even CHEAPER than Open Sourced hardware, rendering it useless to these off-the-grid D.I.Y. types. But at this stage that’s dreaming!)

    All it takes is some scrap metal, one African workshop with a few drills and other *basic* tools, and a little power (off-grid solar, diesel, or even wood fired steam generators). Then you can kick start a civilisation.

    Your pathetic attempt to try and center the argument on the applicability of the word ‘federation’ would be laughable if it was not such an insult to my intelligence, nor (despite your constant attempts to do so) is this limited to an African context. Rural Electrification programs are happening all over the world.

    Can you do me a favour and quote where I have disagreed that rural electrification would be a good thing and then show us all? I’ll be interested to learn where I wrote that, because I certainly don’t remember doing so!

    The main reason I am focussing on Africa is because I already agree with you that these programs are happening at an enormous velocity throughout South America and Asia. China and India are bringing more peasant populations into the modern world faster than we’ve ever seen in human history! That’s why even though some of their farmers and workshops might enjoy the benefits of the Global Village Construction Set, I’m not suggesting that THEY will have to use local wind. Before they can build it there’ll be a local grid.

    But Africa? Africa’s improved a lot in past decades, and there are many stories of development and hope. So there will be rural electrification in some areas — FANTASTIC!

    And right next door there are still areas of unimaginable suffering and political instability and organised rape and persecution and deprivation. Wars flare up, die off, and the New Boys become the Old Boys that then also need to be overthrown. Do you see rural electrification programs happening in THAT specific context?

    These are real programs, supplying real power to depressed and rural communities, run by governments. They are not hair-brained schemes thought up in some coffeehouse by a bunch of Green idealists that will put up a few windmills in a village or two, milk it for what it is worth as a photo-op and fodder for academic papers, and leave it forgotten.

    Can you please offer a reference to support your CLAIM that Open Source hardware projects have been adopted and then dropped? The main projects I have referenced above are growing exponentially. Remember:

    If you can show examples please do, unreferenced statements are not permitted here.

    I never wrote that electrifying and Third-World community was going to be a village-level project, but the efforts that you support are pointless, worthless, and create the illusion that something is being done when it is not.

    No, but I did, because that’s what is happening when they get sick of waiting for the super-grid to arrive. So they do it themselves.
    This is the TED interview with young William Kamkwamba again — who built his own wind turbine out of a bicycle and some wood panels, and gave his home lighting and radios! Maybe in a decade or so they’ll have such increased productivity because of listening to the radio and working and reading at night that they might be able to pool resources and create a local grid. But right now, it’s as I said in my first post — it’s better than nothing.

    When you see my blog change from being pro-nuclear to exclusively pro-renewables, then come and yell at me. But until then, I’m like Barry: I’m for *both*!

    Why are you so personally threatened by all this? Is it Marcin Jakubowski’s Phd in Fusion energy and then him going all hippie and off-grid? Is it some carry-over from your hippie family you mentioned? I just don’t get why you’re so foul on this idea.

    Like

  245. Ha ha! Even with his Phd in Fusion energy Marcin stuffs up now and then. Check out his earlier 2008 ‘Life-track’ tractor.

    In keeping with his goals of making things ‘modular’ and multifunctional, he tried to attach a back-hoe to his earlier, smaller model of the ‘Life-track’ tractor. This video is not one of his ‘how to’ instructional video’s, but just documenting his journey in experimenting with this project. Sometimes things don’t work. No wonder the Tractor has become larger, wider, with more support steel beams and a chunkier design.

    I say good on him for trying!

    Like

  246. @ DV8,

    @Eclipse Now – To restate, in less inflammatory terms what was redacted by the moderator, I believe that centering your argument on the concept of ‘Federation’ is a deliberate attempt to obscure the issue. This has nothing to do with the existence of a federation in Africa or anywhere else, and is sophistry at best to attempt to confound the issue with the name of an American agency. Furthermore this is not an issue limited to the African condition.

    I think I have addressed this in the larger post above, but I reject your characterisation. Sure I’d prefer a ‘Federation’ for Africa, but basically my core argument — if you read all my posts in context — was about security. War and political instability and social upheaval busts stuff up. An integrated African Federation is my particular dream for Africa, I’m sure you have some of your own when you watch the news and sigh. However, I’m delighted if rural electrification programs can spread like wildfire throughout that continent before the inevitable Federation occurs.

    Small scale projects conceived in First World countries are often uncoordinated and piecemeal,

    (Sighs). I’ll say it again. William Kamkwamba built it *himself* because he got fed up waiting.

    Like

  247. Hi. Could someone help me debunk this conspiracy theory?:

    “Yesterday (3 June 2011) in a press conference, NISA admitted that they had suppressed disclosure of the finding of radioactive tellurium (Te-132) at 6 km offsite of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The finding was in the morning of 12 March (i.e. at the wake of the quake) and the detected concentration was 73 Bq per cubic meters.

    The release of Te-132 indicates that the temperature of the nuclear fuel rods were over 1000 degrees Celsius at that early stage of the accident. It is significant that the finding was BEFORE the emergency ventilation of the Unit-1 reactor containment. The tellurium detection is a good, decisive proof that the Fukushima reactors went through LOCA (loss of coolant accident) and the meltdown actually started very soon after the quake shock.”
    http://fukushima.greenaction-japan.org/2011/06/05/nisa-confesses-suppressing-crucial-information-at-early-stage-of-accident-magpie-news/

    Some people are saying that this was proof that the fuel was melting, but NISA was saying that the fuel was ok (so the government was lying and so on). I haven’t been able to find information about this, not even about the June 3 press conference…

    Like

  248. The well-publicised Productivity Commission report into carbon emission policies provides one of the few recent government-funded reports that is prepared to honestly examine the carbon abatement policy measures in operation internationally, and should be required reading.

    http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/study/carbon-prices/report

    Paul Kelly’s (The Australian) analysis provides an excellent snapshot and perhaps suggests a pivotal moment when the efficacy of renewables begins to be challenged within the broader community. For example

    The entire issue is about the most efficient and equitable means. This report shows both the anti-carbon pricing Coalition and pro-renewable energy subsidising Greens have got the core policy response wrong. So has much of the media, both the talkback radio industry that rejects carbon pricing and its cultural opponent, the ABC, with its polemic in favour of the renewable industry special-interest subsidies.

    The international comparisons in the Productivity Commission report are stunning in the bizarre outcomes they show across different nations and cultures.

    The report argues that high abatement subsidies do not equate to efficient results: witness Japan and South Korea. The abatement subsidy in these two nations is easily the highest in the group, yet their actual abatement achieved is the weakest. This logic allows only one conclusion – serious policy failure in both nations.

    The country most conspicuous overall in this analysis is Germany. The report, in effect, offers a study of how different are Germany’s values to those of Australia.

    Germany is beloved by the Greens for its energy initiatives and Chancellor Angela Merkel has just announced a timetable to shut down nuclear power in favour of renewables. Driven by domestic politics, this testifies to how much price damage Germans are willing to tolerate for cleaner energy.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/commentary/report-a-mixed-blessing-for-labor/story-e6frgd0x-1226073260714

    Like

  249. @jesus r.

    It is quite possibly true. If we go back to the beginning of this saga, people were debunking several so called conspiracy theories on melt-through, meltdown or whatever one likes to call it. The fact is that as time goes on we slowly realise that we are not being given information that quickly. I don’t feel that the situation is that transparent even now although I am pleased to see more technical reports on NHK regarding the actual events as they happen. There is so much commercial, environmental and political pressure around the world to make this disaster not appear to be a disaster that nothing would surprise me.

    Like

  250. @Environmentalist

    You are (somewhat) missing the seasonal point. Let us say (for point of argument) that we want a solar+storage unit that can, reliably, output a given amount of power. Now, Germany has a yearly-average CF around 0.1, which is kind of ugly, but to be able to output at a *constant* CF of 0.1, we need about 2k hours of storage. This is absurdly uneconomical (and un-environmental too, for that matter). On the other hand, if we claim a CF of about 0.025 or so, then we can output that, year-round, without any *seasonal-variation* storage (we still need shorter-term storage). But while a CF of 0.1 is already quite ugly enough, a CF of 0.025 is laughable, so that won’t work either.

    So what is happening now? Well, the 2k hours of storage are being provided by coal (seasonal fluctuations are conveniently slow), which means you get your full 0.1 CF, as long as the amount of solar is low. How low? Well, imagine 20% energy from solar. So around the Equinoxes, you are getting 20% power from Solar, which… is already a problem for the grid. But at peak, you are getting more like 40%, which means during peak-daytime, you are getting around 100% of your power from Solar… and as the CF numbers average over weather, peak-high noon-sunny weather will be well over 100%. You clearly need storage (short term, 10-20ish hours) to be able to claim your full CF, because otherwise power is getting wasted. As solar pushes past 20%, you need week-order storage to be able to move sunny-weather solar into cloudy-weather time because the surplus is greater than the night-time deficit. As your Solar percentage pushes past 30 odd%, you need seasonal storage to be able to claim your full CF because even moving to power into cloudy-solstice time still leaves a surplus. Seasonal storage is prohibitive, so you have to instead accept a lower CF.

    So if we have several days worth of storage (because cloudy weather can linger something fierce, call it 10), we maybe can provide 30% of Germany’s power from solar at a CF of 0.1. Any more, any we need either a LOT more storage, or a lower CF. 10 days worth of storage is, already, a major, major, major issue. Heck, 10 hours is already a major, major, major issue, it just doesn’t quite involve flooding northern Germany with salt-water, which 10 days comes close to, and 2000 hours does.

    Solar: it might just be workable as a 20% solution, it’ll be an absolute nightmare as a 30% solution and beyond that? *giggle*

    Like

  251. This is truly crazy stuff. It’s an act of desperation. It is like the false belief that EVs can balance the load at night. There is, if done like the French did, which was to encourage a generalized space and electric water heating deployment, which did work to a certain extent, for load balancing. But one had a larger penetration of electric heating anyway in France. As so many water heaters are gas fired, I’m wondering what is going through their brains.

    David

    Like

  252. David Walters writes,

    going into their dens: the Dailykos.com; Huffington Post, Grist, etc. You must make a concerted efforts to go into these Dens of Darkness and take them on.

    Yep.

    Well, not so much take them on; their tactic is to try to get you down into the mud, or more specifically, the replies to comments that are hidden, only visible if the reader clicks on a “There are more comments” button.

    Like

  253. @Marcus

    Um. Yeah. Uh huh. Now I haven’t looked at it very very carefully, but:

    a) 7 days storage is no where near enough if you want to go pure wind+solar.

    b) 1600GWh is only about 1 day’s storage.

    b) forget about the fact that he is talking about pumped rock. Rock buys you very, very little (rock just isn’t that dense). While it does depend on what you do with the water, pumped rock generally loses you energy storage for rock below 2g/cm^3, and nets you a bit for rock above that density. Granite is around 2.7, so there is little gain there.
    Instead, what I think he is trying to do is claim a 1km (or so) head by digging 1km down. This raises all *sorts* of questions, including “how the flip are you planning on pumping this”? And “what happens if the thingies keeping all that pressure at bay fail??!” Small question, is he seriously talking about a single piston? Oh, um, is the water (under absurd pressure) going to… stay there? The whole geothermal-energy plants assume that the water starts to move through the rock. I don’t know the details of course, but it is something to think about. And we *are* planning on fluctuating the pressure on the excavation, a lot, often. Rock *can* flex and bend and crack and generally behave in a plastic fashion if you force it enough. If you need your piston to move smoothly, having the rock flex is bad.

    High head hydro does NOT work by having a very, very, very deep reservoir. That would be dumb. Instead, you have a shallow reservoir, and a nice, loooooong pipe that water can *tamely* enter, and *excitedly, but there isn’t that large a flow so its ok* exit. Do something closer to high head hydro if you really want. Dig the tunnels (you’ll be deep in energy debt of course, but that’s life) and then make an artificial underground lake (and an artificial above ground lake). That would be a whole lot safer and easier. And make clear how laughable the whole idea is, of course.

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  254. Kray
    Sorry that you can`t get the function even when you are presented easy to understand illustrations and calculations.
    Go back and watch it again.
    http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/heindl-958931-hydraulic-energy-store-system/

    If you double the size of the cylinder you get 16 times the capacity.
    Thats 16 days of storage.

    There has been extensive research in Germany that 7 days of storage is sufficient for a 60%/40% wind/pv solution.
    You should do your homework if you are not aware of these papers.
    You get a hint in Heindls presentation.

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  255. The Heindl proposal for an underground hydraulic piston reminds of the solar updraft tower proposed for Australia a few years back. In both case it seems necessary to spend billions to get the average cost per kwh down to an acceptable level. That’s nearly 3bn euros for the hydraulic proposal. Something that is less scale dependent (eg cliff top seawater) would allow a smaller pilot project to test the bugs. Heindl seems optimistic about containing the 300 bar water pressure given all the leakage problems we know with shale gas fracking and granite geothermal.

    If this is Germany’s great white hope for an all renewables future it is a hell of a gamble. I suspect the public would rebel against spending €3 bn on an experiment.

    Like

  256. It`s 200 bar, you need 300bar to press the cylinder free.
    You can not compare that to fracking pressure situations. You can spread the pressure around the seal on multiple sealing levels.

    You can built a smaller version for demonstration purpose, it would just not be economical.

    3bn is not the world…SNR-300 was a much more expensive adventure.

    Like

  257. That hydroulic storage sysyem is massively impressive, I always argued that storage is simple compared to power but this takes it to another level.

    We are talking almost 12.1 TWh of storage for just 2.8 Billion Euros. Storage this cheap makes Solar the ONLY choice really in the long run, as price per watt keeps going lower and lower, eventually it could even work in Antartica if you cared for such a thing. (not that I would support it there)

    Of course its a massive project with massive physics/enginieering involved that has to be proven, but at the national scale level it starts to make a lot of sense.

    “Heindl seems optimistic about containing the 300 bar water pressure given all the leakage problems we know with shale gas fracking and granite geothermal.”

    Even if everything is coated in sealant? Frankly even if 300 bar is too much you could easily design it for less, the fall in costs is TWO orders of magnitude superior from 50$/kWh for pumped hydro to 0.33$/kWh with hydraulics.

    “If this is Germany’s great white hope for an all renewables future it is a hell of a gamble. I suspect the public would rebel against spending €3 bn on an experiment.”

    3 Billion Euros is nothing on the national scale investment. Thats less than Olkiluoto #3.

    Like

  258. Definition of “actinides” in each post would assist intelligent laymen to understand which elements are being discussed. In the adjacent article Critique of MIT … fuel cycle , is not clear if “actinides” is the term is used in inorganic chemistry , being all elements of Z greater than or equal to actinium at 89, including thorium and uranium. If so, it could be phrased as: “actinides (89+)”, or in the context of this article, “actinides (92+)”. As the article continued, it appeared to me that author Tom meant “actinides (94+)”.

    The confusion occurs often in discussions and literature. For example, the term “minor actinides” has been used mainly to mean “actinides (95+)” . However the useage of the term in discussions sometimes blurs and we read the term “higher actinides”, unsure if the author means “actinides (92+)”, “actinides (94+)”, “actinides (95+)”, or even just plain higher than actinium itself, “actinides (90+)”.

    What may be blindingly obvious to an author and his closest readers could be shared with a more general audience by adding that number in brackets!

    Like

  259. I have been following the Equinox Summit a bit (when the TVO video service actually works) … they have released their communique which highlights their views on the energy technologies to focus on through 2030. The 5 page pdf is at:

    http://www.equinoxsummit.org/

    Barry was one of the group which produced this … and I can see his fingerprints.

    Thumbs up from me.

    Key question – how is this respectable piece of work going to be used to inform and influence policy makers?

    Like

  260. Roger;

    In a nuclear engineering context, with a U-238 or U-235 fuel cycle, “actinides” basically means Z=92+, because Ac, Th and Pa are not present in any significant quantity in the fuel.

    In the context of a Th-232 fuel cycle, it basically means any actinide other than Ac, I suppose.

    It basically means any actinide (Z=89+) that is actually present to any significant degree in the particular fuel you’re talking about.

    The “minor actinides” are basically any actinides present in the fuel other than those which are the major constituents of the fuel cycle, which basically means anything other than U and Pu, in a U-238 or U-235 fuel cycle. (Not Th, because there is no Th present, but including Np, Am, and anything trans-Americium.) In a Th-232 fuel cycle, the “minor actinides” would not include Th, U or Ac, but I suppose that Pa and Pu would be included in the definition of the minor actinides, along with Np and anything trans-plutonium.

    Like

  261. hi Alan,
    I just checked one of the Equinox opening animated introductions. It made the claim that a super-battery would only need to store 5 to 8 times more energy than today’s batteries to be truly revolutionary. What are your thoughts on that claim? A ‘super-battery’ that was just 5 times more powerful would — if cheap enough — transform our oil dependence almost overnight. Why wouldn’t most drivers switch to electric cars when electricity is about half the price / km?

    Kray above would not agree because of seasonal variation in Germany forcing the need for 2000 hours of storage. I’m imagining renewable proponents would argue they’ll “Just” (like this wouldn’t be economically *interesting* for Germany) ‘outsource’ Germany’s energy requirements in winter. “Oh, they’ll generate what they can but buy in most from Africa etc”.

    But when it comes to shorter term energy storage, what about these heat gravel batteries? Gravel’s quite cheap. Apparently it can retain the heat for up to 3 years?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/26/gravel-batteries-renewable-energy-storage

    Like

  262. Marcus, on 13 June 2011 at 4:26 AM said:

    Kray
    You`ve maybe missed my post about the geo-hydraulic storage Germany is working on. Its a 1600GWh storage that can be scaled.
    They have specifically set up a research program for massive storage technology.
    This idea is one of the most promising.

    Marcus, the Heindl concept has many obvious engineering issues to sort through. Cutting & excavating the huge volumes of earth isn’t really one of them. Sealing a piston head 500m to 1,000m in bore at 280 bar will be a huge issue; sealing an earthen cyclinder of similar bore and several times the stroke will be a huge issue.

    I don’t know if Heindl or you have any experience with high pressure hydraulic cylinders. One thing I learned very early on is that the proportions of the piston head (the relative dimensions of the piston diameter to the distance between the piston head ‘support’ points) are critical if piston head ‘jamming’ is to be avoided. Basically if the piston head diameter is relatively too big the piston jams … and this can happen on cylinders just a few inches in diameter where both the bore and the piston head are machined to .001 ins concentricity.

    This proposal calls for machining a bore 500m – 1,000m in diameter and fitting a piston head to it which would have to be 1,000m – 2,000m in height if jamming risks could possibly be managed – assuming they could machine the mating parts precisely enough (which is a huge assumption).

    In engineering terms, my first reaction is that this piston will jam before it has moved a meter.

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  263. @ John,

    The Heindl proposal for an underground hydraulic piston reminds of the solar updraft tower proposed for Australia a few years back.

    But come on… you’ve gotta admit that would be a fun thing to visit hey? Apparently this beast is one of the closest things to baseload the renewable camp has got. They call it the ‘hydro of the land’. Now, while I remain a fan of mass-produced IFR’s, I just want to see ONE of these Solar Updrafts built just for the sheer engineering required and the atmospheric dynamics we might experiment with.

    Deserts might enjoy them, as apparently there’s LOTS of water condensation as well!

    I don’t think it would do well in snow though! That’s a lot of area to attach wind-screen wipers too! ;-)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_updraft_tower

    Like

  264. Woah! I haven’t checked these babies in a while. Have you seen the Namibian proposal?

    In mid 2008, the Namibian government approved a proposal for the construction of a 400 MW solar chimney called the ‘Greentower’. The tower is planned to be 1.5 km tall and 280 m in diameter, and the base will consist of a 37 km2 greenhouse in which cash crops can be grown.[29]

    http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article.php?a_id=137580

    If we build it first, WE get the eco-tourism! ;-)

    Like

  265. I just got back to Adelaide (well, yesterday, and then crashed for 17 hours!). I see the dialogue has been ‘hot’ here as usual, in my absence. Please remember to play the ball, not the man — we all want the same thing from BNC discussions: evidence, logic and courtesy.

    More from me later on the Equinox Summit.

    Like

  266. “In engineering terms, my first reaction is that this piston will jam before it has moved a meter.”

    But this is not an ICE piston per say by rather hydraulics, the coefficient of friction * the piston area surface * velocity (very slow) determines the efficiency due to heat loss, but it jamming is really not that relevant because not only is there continuous pressure but it actually builds during the jam.

    Like

  267. Eclipse Now, on 13 June 2011 at 12:05 PM said:

    hi Alan,
    I just checked one of the Equinox opening animated introductions. It made the claim that a super-battery would only need to store 5 to 8 times more energy than today’s batteries to be truly revolutionary. What are your thoughts on that claim?

    Can’t comment, I’m afraid … way too much that I do not know in the energy sphere and time shortages make it very difficult to get across more than a couple of things.

    At the moment I just want the Equinox video feed to work better for me … the stream stops after a few minutes so I have only seen a couple of people speak. Jay Apt speaking on renewables issues was fantastic.

    Like

  268. @ David,

    Eclipse Now, on 13 June 2011 at 12:39 PM — Sure its not jusy a graft-n-corruption boondoggle?

    Ha ha! That’s a great word, boondoggle! Anyway, I guess I just have sympathy for things I see on the ABC. Boy, this show was going way back — when our science show “Catalyst” was “Quantum”. Anyway, I’d just like to see one built, just so the engineering boffins can get the costings, do the math and report back to us all.

    Like

  269. @ Environmentalist:

    We are talking almost 12.1 TWh of storage for just 2.8 Billion Euros. Storage this cheap makes Solar the ONLY choice really in the long run, as price per watt keeps going lower and lower, eventually it could even work in Antartica if you cared for such a thing. (not that I would support it there)

    Hydro might not work so well down there. ;-)

    Like

  270. @ Alan,

    If only emotional energy could be tapped … problem solved!

    I hear ya! It’s a shame. I respected that member’s far superior technical knowledge — with my humanities background, most here have a vastly greater level of technical expertise. But that doesn’t excuse straw-man character and motive attacks.

    Like

  271. If oil suddenly becomes abundant again we could have a tourism industry of visiting failed energy experiments. They have a mock ‘hot block’ on stilts at Cloncurry Qld. They would have focussed mirrors on it but it seems the aviation industry objected to the glare. The grand tour could take in ZeroGen, the King Island battery, Innamincka hot rocks and so on.

    I think any energy experiment should be able to show its merits with only a modest expenditure. That way massive losses are avoided if it bombs. With energy storage just a few Gwh capacity should demonstrate reliability issues and likely average cost. In the case of something like pumped seawater that means not using the best large sites first up but saving them for later. We should feel confident a bigger project cannot increase average costs because the gremlins have already been identified. Any project that wants to supersize first up is too much of a gamble.

    Like

  272. harrywr2, on 12 June 2011 at 1:25 AM said:
    We have 3.5 GW of wind on our grid growing to 6 GW by 2013 and the 6th largest reservoir in the US and we can’t manage to close one stinking coal fired plant.

    I’m all for wind if it can manage to replace our stinking coal fired plant…I’ve given up hope that it will ever happen.
    David Benson provided a link to show wind,(0-3GW) hydro(11-12GW) and thermal power output in Pacific NW. Since local demand is 5-6GW its clear that about half of the hydro and all wind and thermal is going for export, so all coal-fired could be closed, and certainly present wind is capable of replacing about 1GW of hydro.
    What appears to be occurring in 2011 is a very wet year so that a lot more hydro is available for export taxing transmission infrastructure.
    In a more normal year, up to 6GW of wind would be able to be absorbed by local demand, with another 6-12GW of hydro available for export depending upon wind output and transmission capacity. The end result is that an average of 2GW additional hydro would be available for export with 6GW wind capacity. The Pacific NW hydro storage capacity is more than enough to buffer weekly variations in 6GW wind capacity output, except when the dams are at full capacity and transmission capacity is fully utilized..

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  273. @ Alan,

    At the moment I just want the Equinox video feed to work better for me … the stream stops after a few minutes so I have only seen a couple of people speak. Jay Apt speaking on renewables issues was fantastic.

    Do it in iTunes, it will download and store on your computer and work seamlessly.

    I went into iTunes / Store
    Looked up Equinox Summit
    Found a podcast called “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”
    Started downloading the first one
    Then went into Podcasts (where all my subscribed podcasts are in iTunes)
    Found “The Agenda” up the top, and hit the subscribe button to see the other episodes on energy.

    Like

  274. EN the gremlin in the original Spanish tower was corrosion
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_updraft_tower
    These projects never seem to be like mp3 players when suddenly everybody wants one. I suggest key factors are subsidy dependence, expected plant life well beyond payback period and capacity adjusted cost. These weren’t enough to interest potential investors. The Spanish govt seems to have lost interest in making the bigger tower, also partly built as a mockup.

    Lovely old coal is always there for us however. Despite cloudless skies my PV is down today, perhaps due to high level Chilean volcanic ash or the approach of the solstice. Good name for a conference.

    Like

  275. It’s why I like the term Eclipse myself. Of course it conjures images of darkness with light on the other side, but I also like the sense of urgency. We can all too easily be eclipsed by other nations and our own environmental and resource dependencies.

    Like

  276. David B. Benson, on 13 June 2011 at 2:29 PM
    You have failed to take all the constraints into account. The fact is that there is probably too much wind generation in the Pacific Northwest already.
    Thanks for the link to the link to the Columbia river high water operations. Certainly is a complex interaction. Note that from June 11-13 when nuclear was reduced to 20% capacity because of high flow rates on rivers, almost NO wind power was being generated, so you could infer that the problem during that period was too much nuclear generation.

    A simpler interpretation is that high flow rates had not occurred for last 10 years, and additional transmission infrastructure was not in place to allow all hydro power and additional wind power to be fully utilized with the constrains of preserving salmon and using storage for flood control. It seems that problems will continue during high flow periods with or without wind and nuclear until more transmission capacity is built, after all in excess of 50% power is being exported. Not sure what happened in past high river flow periods?

    It would seem that until transmission capacity is improved some wind power should be spilled as well as nuclear operated at less than 100% capacity during these short duration high river flow periods.

    Like

  277. Last night we reviewed the Chris Anderson interview of Bill Gates at the Wired Business Conference 2011. The link is to the 56 minute video at Fora.TV. You can watch the video free. If you wish to download you need to join – we are members because there is so much valuable content (such as Long Now Foundation).

    We highly recommend the Gates talk. Bill have made a huge investment of personal effort required to really understand energy and climate change. And he is putting his money where is mouth is. This is not more feel-good projects; definitely not about political correctness. This is about getting to zero emissions.

    This is the best talk on energy policy that we’ve heard since the Gates TED Talk 2010.

    Like

  278. What is the best path to a low-carbon future? Should the government actively plan the energy sector, as it did in France in the past when it was decided to expand nuclear power, setting yearly targets for the build-up of low carbon energy production, or should it be left to the free play of market forces, with only the distributive net remaining in the hands of a government agency, leaving the technology choice entirely to private sector utility companies? An example for this “hands-off” approach would simply be taxing carbon dioxide emissions.

    So what do you think is the way to go in the electric power sector, central planning or the market?

    Like

  279. “Any project that wants to supersize first up is too much of a gamble.”

    Everything is a gamble of sorts 2.8 billion euros, is half a nuclear reactor. I don’t want to get too excited over something so energy dense and cheap storing all the power you need, a pilot project is still needed to prove the technology but I have a hunch that the pilot project is still going to be many gigawatts-hours of stored energy by itself.

    Like

  280. Neil Howes, on 13 June 2011 at 4:53 PM said:

    It would seem that until transmission capacity is improved some wind power should be spilled as well as nuclear operated at less than 100% capacity during these short duration high river flow periods

    Once again this year in the Pacific Northwest we have wind curtailments. The local nuclear plant has been offline for maintenance since April 1st. The hydrodams are spilling at close to the maximum legal rate. I.E. Spilling water over the top rather then thru the turbines.

    The transmission problem is a difficult one…the question becomes of ‘where’.

    British Columbia to the North already has 90% hydro generation as an annual average…so they don’t have much need for excess Washington/Oregon/Idaho/Montana power. California spring off peak is 19 GW and the PNW has been averaging sending California 5.5 GW for at least the last month.

    California also has it’s own hydro and wind. So there is a limit to how much they can absorb off peak.

    Here is a report done at Berkley analyzing the cost of a transmission lines. According to this report one 500kv line will carry 1.5 GW. In this report 84 miles of line was estimated to cost $250 million.
    http://ciee-dev.eecs.berkeley.edu/piertrans/documents/TCAM_Final_Report_AppendixF.pdf

    So if I work out all the math transmission lines cost around $2 million/GW mile.

    California population is centered on Los Angeles which is 700 miles from Southern Oregon. Going east the nearest population center is Minneapolis which is 1,500 miles away.

    Multiple GW’s of transmission capacity will be required to ‘fix’ the spillage and curtailment problem.

    Unfortunately, the way our regional renewable energy law works, utilities are required to purchase 20% renewables by X date. Hydro and nuclear weren’t counted as ‘renewable’. So we have the situation where from a utility perspective replacing 20% hydro with wind is the same as replacing coal with wind.

    So the cheapest option is to locate a bunch of windmills next to existing hydro dams and just spill over the hydro dams when the wind blows. Then everyone will clap and cheer and proclaim how ‘green’ we are by achieving our 20% renewable’s goal.

    Like

  281. Surely a Mwh of wind doesn’t get counted towards the 20% quota unless it goes into the grid. That won’t happen if there is a direct private line from the wind farm to the hydro. In Australia hydro built before 1997 ( ie almost all) counts towards the 20% quota but doesn’t get subsidies via renewable energy certificates. That may be irrelevant if RECs finish this time next year when carbon tax comes in.

    Also couldn’t some hydros in the US southwest (eg Hoover Dam) do with higher average water levels? Spillage may not be a problem.

    Like

  282. I wonder how that wind-balloon storage concept is unfolding?

    A new approach for wind: these wind turbines will float far off the coast and not be visible from land.
    They will compress air, not generate electricity.
    The compressed air is stored in large rubber balloons deep under water, about the size of your house.
    These balloons use the pressure of deeper sea water to maximise the pressure that the air is stored at, making the rubber materials cheaper.
    With good wind, the turbines blow the compressed air straight into generating electricity. When the wind is low, the balloons take over supplying the compressed air to move the turbines.
    It’s cheaper than any storage so far: Batteries are at about $500 thousand per mWh, Pumped hydro is about $80 thousand per mWh of storage, but these compressed balloons are only about $1 thousand per mWh!
    Claims that the whole UK could run on wind without Brits even seeing the turbines because they are all so far off-shore!
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2010/2952227.htm

    Like

  283. Max (13 June 2011 at 7:51 PM):

    I’d favor using mostly the market and a carbon tax to control CO2.

    But what would be the best approach for implementing a carbon tax–starting small at, say, $5 per ton of CO2 (5 cents per gallon of gasoline) and then gradually ramping up to $20 per ton; or starting at $20 right away?

    Like

  284. @EN,

    Wake me up when these gadgets are really working in a commercial wind farm and doing what it says on the box and what it all costs. I recall somebody here raising issues with thermal losses in these things.

    In the mean time I think the UK Climate Change Committees “The Renewable Energy Report” and supporting documents are a very good read to understand the options for the UK if it is to have any chance of meeting it’s very ambitious emissions reductions targets:

    http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/renewable-energy-review

    A couple of core conclusions – it must be nuclear+wind and nuclear is projected as cost competitive with the cheapest renewables (on-shore wind) right through 2040. Unlike some of the rather wild eyed zero carbon schemes, this one is written by a team that is very much accountable and whose findings are likely to form the basis from which national energy policy is derived.

    Like

  285. @ Quokka,

    http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/renewable-energy-review

    A couple of core conclusions – it must be nuclear+wind and nuclear is projected as cost competitive with the cheapest renewables (on-shore wind) right through 2040. Unlike some of the rather wild eyed zero carbon schemes, this one is written by a team that is very much accountable and whose findings are likely to form the basis from which national energy policy is derived.

    Awesome news mate!

    Like

  286. there is now an axis stretching through the middle of europe, with countries leaving nuclear energy or not having reactors. (Italy, Swiss, Germany)

    Quite so. An axis. Don’t forget Austria, Denmark and Norway.

    It seems that there is also an alliance of countries intent on continuing with nuclear power. These include Russia, the US, the UK, France, China, India and other players.

    Like

  287. It seems that there is also an alliance of countries intent on continuing with nuclear power. These include Russia, the US, the UK, France, China, India and other players.

    And over time they’ll end up making money selling their surplus back to those countries that went with wind! But how long will it take the non-nuke countries to work that out! ;-)

    Like

  288. @EN

    Awesome news mate!

    Yes, I think the UK CCC reports are really important, because they come from a credible and authoritative source and are probably the only basis of a plan in existence that could potentially decarbonize the electricity supply of any nation by 2030. They are worthy of more attention than they are getting.

    Like

  289. I seem to recall an episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil asks ‘what’s the bleedin’ point?’ My thoughts exactly when the Federal Energy Minister tells coal miners they’ll sell even more coal to China when Australia has a carbon tax.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/carbon-tax-will-cost-4000-coal-jobs/story-fn59niix-1226074780231

    This issue could be a sleeper ready to awake violently. That and double dipping by renewables. Not unreasonably generators and steel producers will ask why should foreigners get our coal and LNG cheaper than locals who have to pay carbon tax. The solution is to slap c.t. on fuel exports and make foreign govts plead the case for a tax refund to sponsor their own CO2 abatement programs.

    Like

  290. I sometimes get so despondent about our weaning off coal before it’s actually *gone* that I wonder what other geo-engineering tricks we’re going to have to employ to cool a cooking planet. EG: Massive biochar schemes across the globe that cook up agriwaste and plough biochar back into the soil where it grows fungi and sequesters even more carbon. (Apparently 5 times the carbon of the actual charcoal itself).

    Then there’s the sulfur-gun — or is that sulfur-hose — which seems to be getting even cheaper!
    http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/sulphur-gun/

    Like

  291. Can any of you guys help me with a question / peeve of mine – “everyone” says Bill McKibben wrote the first book on climate change for the general public (or words to that effect) in 1989 – I disagree.
    I read John Gribben’s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gribbin 1982 book “Future Weather and
    the Greenhouse Effect” in 1983 and it covered all this. Looking at the wikipedia entry of his works, it would appear that his (1978) What’s Wrong with Our Weather? The Climatic Threat of the Twenty-first Century book might have mentioned it too.
    Anyone care to comment?

    Like

  292. Hi Lawrence,
    my guess is it is about popularity. What were the print runs of the respective books? If McKibbens sold a few orders of magnitude more books, then maybe it is correct to say it is the first book on climate change that the general public actually *read*.

    Cheers.

    Like

  293. Eclipse Now, on 14 June 2011 at 11:52 AM said:

    “I sometimes get so despondent about our weaning off coal before it’s actually *gone* that I wonder what other geo-engineering tricks we’re going to have to employ to cool a cooking planet.”

    We could just burn all the empty cities to the ground. All that particulate matter blocks out sunlight and has a thermal lowering effect. Not to mention all the jobs it would create!

    Like

  294. Neil Howes, on 13 June 2011 at 4:53 PM — Before (much) wind power was also before the new minimum flow requirements which seriusly affect BPA’s springtime operations.

    harrywr2 already mentioned the problems with more transmission capacity (although we left out front range Colorado as a potential sink).

    John Newlands, on 14 June 2011 at 8:31 AM — The 20% refers to nameplate power connected to the grid, opeating or not. The Colorado River flow is seriously oversubscribed; levels in Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam are almost inoperably low. Down there possibly more solar PV will be helpful.

    Like

  295. Environmentalist, on 12 June 2011 at 5:10 PM said, re SPV:

    “… the price of the panels is .75$/watt but the capacity factor normalizes it, in short you do not install panels for peak output but rather for average output.”

    OK, assuming that I agree about the unbelievably low price of panels. Add to that the cost of the remain der of the PV system, ie the other 60%. That makes $2.12.

    Then, allow for the capacity factor, say 5 but in Germany, 9:

    Capital cost for PV = $10.60 to $19 per (average) watt. NB: No comparison with 75 cents, which is nowhere near a true indication of the magnitude of the capital need.

    Comparison EPC capital costs for NPP of 3 or 4 cents per kW.
    Real comparisons should be on the basis of LCOE, which for nuclear in Germany is 8 cents. Both figures are from here:
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html

    Environmentalist repeatedly spouts unbelievable nonsense about comparative costs – that 75 cents figure above is one such. It is nonsense, because it covers only a tiny fraction of the capital requirement for an unrealisable dream, so I am progressively becoming less likely to plow through this contributor’s frequent, repetitive and long-winded contributions. Please, Environmentalist, don’t bother coming to this site quoting an unsupported ex-factory manufacturing cost, which isn’t even a market price, for a panel and pretending that the remainder of the PV installation is irrelevant. Even these figures indicate that money will be wasted in huge piles if ever the dream was realised and that is before we consider backup power supplies for the annual half-year (Germany) when solar is essentially asleep, or for batteries, or for grid costs, or for the admin costs and profits of the other players in the PV daydream system.

    A guide: Australian experience is that the NEM wholesale pool price for power is about 7 cents per kWh; the domestic tariff about 3 times that. See the recent Federal report for examples.

    For solar to displace other sources in a rational system (Get that? Rational, not Emotionally and Politically Mandated) the power must be available at a price that can win a bidding war against NPP and all other non-carbon fuels.

    Solar PV, even if the panels were to cost Zero cents per kWh, doesn’t come close and on current indications re costings of interconnectors, storage and gas powered GT’s never, ever will.

    As for one other contributor here, I will say two things:
    1. I no longer read EN’s and Enviro’s contributions unless somebody else’s rejoinder indicates that there might be something new in them; and
    2. DV82XL’s passion is understandable, even though our Moderator frequently chooses to intervene for the good of this site’s public face and the emotional health of several of its most prolific participants.
    Perhaps, Respected Moderator, the emotional spiral would be less intense if each contributor was limited to, say, 3 posts per thread per day. I type this full knowledge that the limit would apply to me also.
    MODERATOR
    Too difficult to choose which three posts would stand if more than that number were to be submitted.

    Like

  296. Below is an article on Wind Power and CO2 Emissions. It is on THE ENERGY COLLECTIVE website.
    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/57905/wind-power-and-co2-emissions

    The article includes a comparison of the capital costs and owning and O&M costs of a Wind Facility plus Cycling Facility versus a CCGT Facility and Increased Energy Efficiency.

    The latter alternative is significantly more cost effective than the former.

    Please let me have your comments

    Like

  297. the price of the panels is .75$/watt

    That’s a unit cost factory floor price. It doesn’t include return on investment for the owners of the factory, shipping and handling ,connection equipment, installation, permitting, site prep etc etc etc.

    As with many things, the factory floor price ends up being around 10% of actual price.

    Like

  298. The equipment cost of the proposed Topaz solar farm, from First Solar with 0.75 per Watt peak panel manufacturing cost, is 1200 million for 550 MW peak. $ 2.19 per Watt peak, about 10 dollars per Watt average. So most of the cost is actually not in the panels.

    http://topaz.firstsolar.com/downloads/TopazEconomicStudy.pdf

    The problem with many of the solar enthusiasts here is that they don’t look at actual project data.

    The Japanese seawater pumped hydro system is not cheap at all, 30 billion Yen for 30 megawatt peak, this is around 10 dollars per Watt peak. For 5 hours full load this is 0.21 capacity factor, it thus costs 48 dollars per average Watt compared to 6 dollars per average Watt for Olkiluoto. This is 8x as expensive as Olkiluoto, just for the storage (ie solar panels cost nothing assumption!).

    http://www.ieahydro.org/reports/Annex_VIII_CaseStudy0101_Okinawa_SeawaterPS_Japan.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_Yanbaru_Seawater_Pumped_Storage_Power_Station

    http://www.sustainability.ie/pumpedstoragemyth.html

    Now add 10 dollars per Watt average for the PV installation. This is 58 dollars per average Watt for the solar – seawater pumped hydro idea using real project data. Now add the cost of 100x as much seawater storage to take into account long term weather fluctuations (yes even in the tropics you get long periods of bad weather in rainy season, so only areas with lots of sunshine and lots of of hydro already built would be applicable – very much a limited market).

    The dismal reality does not add up.

    Like

  299. Willem Post the next step in this kind of analysis seems to be looking at the effect of gas prices and CO2 taxes if any. I note Exelon in the US seem confidant that gas prices will be low for many years hence no other kind of thermal plant or renewable needs to be built. I wonder if Australia’s 2012 carbon tax sort of worked and Obama got re-elected then the US could also get artificial carbon pricing. Presumably US wind power would then no longer get renewable portfolio standards or tax credits.

    There must come a point when gas prices (with or without carbon taxes) are high enough to clearly favour some wind power in the mix, say by year 2020. That is the least cost combination includes both expensive gas and wind. A longer term question few are asking is what happens to wind power when there is no gas.

    Like

  300. Eclipse Now, on 16 June 2011 at 9:00 AM said:

    Interesting ABC report on this Maunder Minimum all the Denialists

    The Maunder Solar minimum coincided with a particularly cold period that began in 1650. It’s correlation without causation.

    Sometimes correlation without causation is a result of random chance, sometimes it’s because there are mechanism’s we don’t understand.

    We don’t understand the mechanism for changes in stratospheric water vapor according to NOAA .
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100128_watervapor.html

    Like

  301. Hi Harrywr2,
    that’s an interesting article! I’ve often hoped that the peer-reviewed science would come up with a climate ‘safety valve’. But this mysterious change in water vapour in the stratosphere has only slowed warming by about a quarter. It’s still happening. The other thing to consider is we know how catastrophic prehistoric warmings have been for earth, with everything from huge extinctions to anoxic oceans. And the sun is 2% hotter than these dinosaur-age events! So the ‘safety valve’ is looking less and less likely as climate science progresses.

    Like

  302. Tom… since Italy didn’t have any nuclear power before the referendum, it’s not a big loss for nuclear power. Maybe Italy restarting on the nuclear road would have been a win; but even then, not a big win. Germany and Switzerland may yet change their policies, although I doubt it.

    Like

  303. This is so sad, from Mark Lynas (he really is doing stellar commentary): New IPCC error: renewables report conclusion was dictated by Greenpeace
    The bottom line:

    The IPCC must urgently review its policies for hiring lead authors – and I would have thought that not only should biased ‘grey literature’ be rejected, but campaigners from NGOs should not be allowed to join the lead author group and thereby review their own work. There is even a commercial conflict of interest here given that the renewables industry stands to be the main beneficiary of any change in government policies based on the IPCC report’s conclusions. Had it been an oil industry intervention which led the IPCC to a particular conclusion, Greenpeace et al would have course have been screaming blue murder.

    Additionally, the Greenpeace/renewables industry report is so flawed that it should not have been considered by the IPCC at all. Whilst the journal-published version looks like proper science, the propaganda version on the Greenpeace website has all the hallmarks of a piece of work which started with some conclusions and then set about justifying them. There is a whole section dedicated to ‘dirty, dangerous nuclear power’, and the scenario includes a complete phase-out of new nuclear globally, with no stations built after 2008.

    How is this achieved whilst also reducing carbon emissions at the same time, which is after all the supposed point of the whole exercise? By assuming a totally unrealistic global consumption of energy, with total primary energy use in 2050 actually *less* than the baseline of 2007. The magic trick of getting rid of nuclear whilst generating 80% of the world’s energy from renewables is performed by making an absurd assumption that primary energy use will fall (from 469 exojoules today to 407 in 2050) even as population rises from 7 to 9 billion and GDP per capita more than doubles. I doubt this is even thermodynamically possible, let alone the basis for good policy.

    Why do I feel the world is creeping further from reality every day? *sigh*

    Like

  304. Yup. Thanks for that post, Barry. It sure reinforced what I was seeing at Greenpeace Japan and Greenpeace India. Just hallucinating.

    and I have to say that at least half the panelists, Caron and Patterson for sure, were on board with this kind of “absurd assumption” that Lynas worries about.

    Like

  305. Wow. Lynas is doing a great job but the way this is snowballing in the blogosphere – and i’m sure eventually more mainstream media – is going to do hell for the whole IPCC not just WG 3. This is a huge blow for peoples’ faith in climate science and to the energy debate alike. At least in the latter case peoples’ bullshit radars might begin to kick in. Above all, Lynas’ question “how did this happen?” definitely needs answering.

    Like

  306. Gas fired power station CCS was supposed to have been demonstrated at Peterhead in Scotland http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10552954 but years later nothing seems to be happening. Not sure of the economics but I doubt carbon taxes at the $20 mark will be enough. It also wastes a lot more gas for the same net output. There’s little evidence it will ever become a commercial reality.

    CO2 separated from raw (unburnt) gas is pumped underground at Sleipner in the North Sea but a bigger proposal is Barrow Island WA. Up to a cumulative 120 Mt will be pumped into brine below the island and the govt will pay the bills if anything goes wrong.

    Like

  307. Anyone following up the flurry of “radioactive air filter” and “infant mortality” blog posts that are showing up many places? I’ve seen many copypastes of claims supposedly referring to numbers found in somewhere in MMWR from CDC.

    Here is an actual cite to a real MMWR page source (the writer is anonymous, unfortunately; this is a UCB nuclear program site, but the commenters could be anybody, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of adult supervision going on in the blog).

    However, for whatever it may be worth

    This says the MMWR numbers cited do not support the claims being blogged: http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/4550

    Like

  308. >” absurd assumption that primary energy use will fall (from 469 exojoules today to 407 in 2050) even as population rises from 7 to 9 billion ”
    .
    That comes out to
    .
    “that global primary energy use will fall from 14.8 TW today to 12.9 TW in 2050, or 2.12 kW to 1.43 kW per capita”.
    .
    Sure is absurd. Primary energy use for Australians about 7.5 kW per capiat, Americans about 11 kW per capita. (ABS stats )

    Like

  309. More generally, this page explains how anyone who is checking an air filter with a Geiger counter can determine what they’re counting :
    http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/4126

    Also, if you’ve got a Geiger counter, check your dryer lint — it gives the same kind of information about naturally occurring radioactivity and you can see the decay curve described. That short half-life is how to tell what’s normal radioactivity in your house from anything long-lived enough to have crossed the ocean or gone ’round the planet.

    The epidemiology issues about birth rates and mortality I’ll leave to a real epidemiologist capable of looking at statistics and identifying cherrypicking. One will turn up eventually.

    Like

  310. Hank:

    that material you cite is very valuable. Sherman attributes to the fukushima accident a 35% increase in mortality among infants in west u.s. from weeks pre fukushima to weeks post fukushima.

    but the rate of increase is nearly the same in 2009 and 2010 and the infant mortality rate in 2009 is significantly higher than in 2011 for the key period–15/wk, compared to 12.5/wk.

    This sort of journalism makes one despair, especially when coupled with the greenpeace story.

    Like

  311. Letter sent to all Members of Parliament and Senators today:

    2020 CO2 Emissions targets cannot be achieved without a deep recession

    Australia’s 2020 CO2 emissions targets should be reviewed.

    The only way Australia’s CO2 emissions could be cut to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 is with a deep, long recession.

    Cutting GDP growth rate to negative for 8 years is the only way the targets could be achieved.

    Four factors define the rate of change of CO2 emissions, and only one of them can be changed fast enough to achieve the 2020 targets. The one that can be changed significantly is GDP growth rate. And that is what the Carbon price would have to do. The carbon price would have to be raised high enough to cut GDP growth rate to negative.

    The four factors that, multiplied together, define the rate of change of CO2 emissions are:
    1. Population growth rate
    2. GDP per capita growth rate
    3. Energy intensity rate of change
    4. Emissions intensity rate of change

    1. Realistically, we can’t cut the population growth rate.

    2. GDP growth rate is the only one of the four factors we can change sufficiently to achieve the 2020 targets. That would require an 8-year recession; much worse than Keating’s recession

    3. We can’t cut energy intensity much faster than we already are without shifting energy intensive industries off shore. For example, we can’t replace all our buildings, across the country, with energy efficient buildings in just 8 years. Labor made a token gesture with the Pink Bats home insulation program and we know how that turned out. That was supposed to be the easiest and most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and look what a mess that turned out to be. Therefore, realistically, we cannot increase the rate of improving energy efficiency of the whole economy by much in just 8 years.

    4. We can’t cut emissions intensity much faster than we already are. To cut emissions intensity we’d have to replace coal power stations with nuclear, but that is not politically possible at the moment, and couldn’t be achieved by 2020 even if there was bi-partisan support for it. Changing from coal to gas will make some improvement, but at enormous future cost and not much is realistically achievable by 2020. We cannot improve the rate of reduction of emissions intensity from transport by much in 8 years. Therefore, we cannot increase the rate of improving emissions intensity of the whole economy by much in just 8 years.

    Conclusion

    The 2020 emissions targets are impossible to achieve without a deep, long recession. A carbon price can achieve that, but is that what the population would want if they knew the consequences of the carbon pricing policy being offered to them

    The 2020 targets should be reviewed (and dumped)

    Reference

    This paper by Roger Pielke, Jr, an economist from the London School of Economics, provides the background to what I’ve said above.

    Summary: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/02/reality-check.html

    Paper: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2010.36.pdf

    Like

  312. > This sort of journalism makes one despair,

    It’s not journalism yet, near as I can tell; it’s blogging.

    > especially when coupled with the greenpeace story.

    That’s a full-teacup tskandal grown from a headline malfunction in a press release. Like that hasn’t happened before, heck, it seems to happen more often than not. Read the press release, read the actual work, wonder how the PR people did _that_. They often do cock it up somehow. Scientists have been complaining about that kind of misrepresentation by press release for a long time.

    Neither one is in the newspapers as far as I’ve noticed.

    Like

  313. Hank: the al jazeera article is journalism. dahr jamail is a respected anti war reporter.

    the article by Sherman is in counterpunch. Two articles, the basis of the blogging is my guess.

    as for greenpeace, the headline about renewable energy (up to 80% of our energy can be supplied by renewables, etc.) was based on an outlier scenario, at best, among dozens in the report itself. The median scenario had renewables supplying 17-27 % of energy by 2050 (don’t recall if this was electricity or all energy).

    Like

  314. Laura: I admit to having made the anti fracking arguments, without really knowing much about it.

    thanks for getting me to look closer.

    of course, I made them from a pro nuclear perspective.

    what about france’s ban on fracking? is this misinformed?

    Like

  315. “The electric power industry is the last industry in the western world to moderize itself through the use of sensors, communications and computational ability.”
    — EPRI’s Estimating the Cost and Benefits of the Smart Grid

    Like

  316. Apart from using Greenpeace as ghost writers another major criticism of the IPCC was the implausibility of the ‘A’ emissions scenarios. They show man made CO2 increasing beyond 2050. Turns out that path was correct in the last year or two
    http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2011/06/peak-what-peak-greenhouse-emissions.html
    However many are expecting a Peak Everything downturn starting soon. I believe Rutledge from Caltech spoke on this a couple of months ago at Adelaide Uni but it seems to have been glossed over.

    There is no way the world of 2050 can happily see 8 or 9 billion people equitably sharing less than the present 15 Tw of power. We’ll need desalination, electric transport and extreme weather conditioning. I’ll believe in efficiency when politicians give up their limos and VIP jets. I think we’re going to do it tough. As Peter Lang says we’re going to take some pain if we stick to the plan. However I think there will be worse pain within the lifetimes of most of us if we don’t take immediate steps.

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  317. The word “realistic” is key there Eclipse Now. Perhaps population growth rate could potentially be reduced, but population growth itself is pretty much inevitable.

    Further to the discussion, I haven’t been presented with any evidence that we’d need to cut GDP growth in order to achieve emissions reductions. Peter Lang cerainly hasn’t presented any, just asserted it.

    Here’s a logical counter-argument:
    In 2007, landuse change (deforestation) accounted for 9.4 % of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Yet forestry accounts for just 1 % of Australia’s GDP, which is substantially less than annual GDP growth. Legislation could (theoretically) be introduced overnight to stop deforestation, and introduce afforestation programs. Not only would this be a feasible way of cutting emissions, but it would also make good economic sense by directlyprotecting and promoting biodiversity.

    Now I’m not going to comment on the viability or “moral” implications of this scenario – that’s not the point. What I’m trying to illustrate is that cuts could be made without resulting in negative growth (a.k.a. a recession). And this is just one scenario. There are other areas too – agricultural processes, what people eat, transport use, etc.

    Like

  318. John Newlands

    However I think there will be worse pain within the lifetimes of most of us if we don’t take immediate steps.

    I am not sure I agree with this statement. IMO it is better to take no steps and defer action than take the wrong steps.

    We’ve taken the wrong steps many times before – Kyoto; mandating and subsidising renewable energy; and blocking progress of nuclear over the past 50 years are excellent examples of bad policies. If we had not blocked the development of nuclear over the past 50 years, we’d be in a far better position now. For example,

    1. World GHG emissions would be some 10% to 20% lower than they are

    2. We’d be on a trajectory for much faster reduction in world emissions

    3. Nuclear would be safer now than it is (because of the development; c.f. safety improvements in the aerospace industry over the past 50 years)

    4. Electricity would be much lower cost than it is now (c.f. France, with 75% of its electricity generated from nu clear power has near the lowest cost electricity in Europe; and c.f. cost reductions in air travel over the past 50 years).

    Therefore, I’d prefer to wait and concentrate on getting an appropriate policy rather than another bad policy. As you know, I am convinced that implementing a carbon price in Australia, at this time, is bad policy. In fact I believe it is very bad policy.

    As you know, I believe we should focus our efforts on removing the many distortions in the energy market in Australia. If we did this, we could have low cost clean electricity generation (as I’ve explained in comments on the “Alternative to Carbon Pricing” thread).

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  319. Tom Keen,

    Peter Lang cerainly hasn’t presented any, just asserted it.

    Clearly you didn’t bother to read the link I provided!

    Furthermore, clearly you haven’t exercised your mind on the equation provided in the paper nor considered by how much the four rates of change could be improved, realistically, in 8 years.

    I look forward to what you come up with after you have done so. Furthermore, I look forward to your substantiation of your claims that we can achieve the 2020 emissions targets without a severe cut in real GDP.

    Like

  320. Hi Tom,
    great point on deforestation and biodiversity! It seems PL hasn’t done the math on that one just yet — but it might click in a minute — if he *bothers* to look at *your* links for a change. Remember Peter, reciprocation = conversation. If you don’t reciprocate, aren’t you just insisting on playing Yoda while asking Tom to play Luke Skywalker, your ‘Young Apprentice’?

    Furthermore, clearly you haven’t exercised your mind on the equation provided in the paper nor considered by how much the four rates of change could be improved, realistically, in 8 years.The word “realistic” is key there Eclipse Now. Perhaps population growth rate could potentially be reduced, but population growth itself is pretty much inevitable.

    Population growth is the one consistent theme in all old civilisation melt-downs that Jared Diamond analysed in “Collapse”. If we can’t stabilise it here in Australia where we have already passed through the Demographic Transition, then we’re in trouble.

    There were 24 great civilisations before us that all reached a peak in power, affluence, population and then consumption. This resulted in peak IMPACT on their local environment.

    The one difference with our civilisation is that it’s global. When this baby pops, we’ll plaster Easter Island across the planet!

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  321. The Kaya identity is used to calculate the level of energy related CO2 emissions, Peter.

    You said

    The only way Australia’s CO2 emissions could be cut to 5% below 2000 levels by 2020 is with a deep, long recession.

    [emphasis mine] and have not substantiated it. I gave you an example, using numbers, which could be achieved contrary to this. Neither the Environmental Science & Policy paper or the Pielke blog article support your conclusion of a deep, long, 8 year recession.

    However, if your central point is that emissions reductions will be both minimal and difficult to achieve without nuclear, then I agree. While I don’t buy your economic catastrophe argument, 5 % is not a big reduction.

    Like

  322. Tom,

    You are giving examples from a botton up approach. This is of no use. The only way you could make a bottom up approach meaningful is to identify ALL the emissions savings and all the emissions increases throughout the economy and total them. So, simply giving a few examples is of no use and not convincing at all.

    What I am suggesting you need to do is to understand the paper I linked to, understand the equation, understand the inputs that give the projectred BAU emissions in 2020, then understand how much you would need to change the inputs to achieve the 2020 targets. Having done that, look at what is realistically achievable for the four rates of change.

    Here are the four rates of change you need to come up with for the two scenarios: 1) BAU projections to 2020 and 2) to achieve the 2020 targets:

    1. Population growth rate
    2. GDP per capita growth rate
    3. Energy intensity rate of change
    4. Emissions intensity rate of change

    The change is in % pa

    The units are:

    1. population
    2. real GDP/capita ($)
    3. GJ/$ (GDP)
    4. t CO2/GJ

    You would also need to provide sources for the factors you use in your analysis.

    Like

  323. Tom Keen,

    While I don’t buy your economic catastrophe argument, 5 % is not a big reduction.

    That is an example of the sort of unsubstantiated, wishful thinking that destroys the credibility of Climate Change Alarmists and Catastrophists :)

    Like

  324. @ Geoff – the forestry emissions figure is from 2007, I’m unsure how that compares to now. I believe at least some positive developments have occured in Tassie, but quantitatively I don’t how much that has added up to in terms of emissions reductions.

    Like

  325. Peter, I made it quite clear that I don’t think Australia has much to gain in terms of emissions reductions from the energy sector without nuclear energy, so I don’t know why you’re insisting I play around with the Kaya equation.

    As for my “unsubstantiated, wishful thinking” in the sentence you quoted – I didn’t make any statement there that needed substantiating. I simply stated that I don’t buy your deep, long recession argument because you had not substantiated it. And still haven’t!

    Like

  326. @ Gregory Meyerson

    what about france’s ban on fracking? is this misinformed?

    I don’t know the situation in France. I’m in New York State, where the hysteria and wrong accusations against fracking are flying everywhere. A lot of people seem to think that because it’s in a movie (Gasland), it must be true.

    From what I’ve heard from reputable sources like Science magazine, the actual water contamination hazard is not from the fracking itself – but the plastic-lined pits containing fracking solution may leak, or it might otherwise leak when it’s above ground.

    Fracking can be done safely from what I’ve heard, with adequate regulation. Maybe with their nuclear power, France can afford not to do it.

    That Ausubel article I mentioned suggests a synergy between nuclear and natural gas: nuclear energy can be used to convert methane into hydrogen – stripping the carbon out before it can get into the atmosphere. At night when electricity isn’t needed, the nuclear reactor could be converting methane to hydrogen!

    Like

  327. Laura:

    I read about the Ausubel article in new scientist following one of your links but I could not access the article itself.

    if you have a pdf copy, could you send to gmeyerson@triad.rr.com?

    Looking just at what you say, the distinction between fracking itself and the plastic lined pits may not, pun intended, hold water.

    How difficult a problem is this? perhaps it is not. I agree that one should actually find out about such things and not just believe a movie, any more than we should just believe what greenpeace says or arnie gundersen–radiation expert that he is.

    Like

  328. Sorry, the link to the Ausubel article on “Renewable and nuclear heresies” is http://www.inderscience.com/storage/f251118124910673.pdf
    How did that come out wrong?
    The state regulatory agencies in the United States have allowed fracking so far, with permits. Which I take to mean that it can be done safely.
    If fracking is an unacceptable health hazard in spite of what the state regulatory agencies say – this would mean they aren’t doing their jobs right, that they’re in the pockets of the gas companies. Real evidence is needed to support that. So far I haven’t seen any. What I’ve seen has been factually wrong statements and people trying to make harmless consequences of fracking sound really bad.
    The fracking fluid may be spilled, occasionally. When there is an industrial process there are accidents sometimes. I haven’t seen any evidence that occasional mistakes make fracking itself unacceptable.
    By the way, one thing the anti-frackers talk about is nasty chemicals in fracking fluids. I’ve wondered why the drillers can’t just avoid adding any carcinogens like benzene or endocrine disruptors, to the fracking fluid. I don’t see why any such thing would be necessary. The drillers’ secret fracking recipes sound very much like recipes they come up with ad hoc, that seem to work.

    Like

  329. @Eclipse Now, on 11 June 2011 at 10:52 AM said:

    He shows a graph from U.S. northwest of all wind farms falling flat for ten days…..As far as I am aware, the NorthWest is NOT really on the ‘wind-map’ of America!

    There have been various reports out of the UK that their wind turbines experienced extended periods of inactivity as well.

    http://rredc.nrel.gov/wind/pubs/atlas/maps/chap2/2-01m.html

    The US PNW makes for a reasonable ‘test bed’ for Wind Farms, as much of the storage and transmission systems that a simple ‘back of the envelope calculation’ would indicate were needed already existed.

    The wind farms in the US PNW produce fairly close to ‘as advertised’. The numbers I’ve seen(sorry no link) are 28-34% on an annual basis.

    If you view this wind map…there is a ‘dark section’ along the Washington, Oregon border…this area is the Columbia River Gorge where the Columbia River cuts thru the Cascade Mountain Range…that’s where the majority of windmills are located. It’s an exceptionally good site as it is a wind tunnel.
    http://rredc.nrel.gov/wind/pubs/atlas/maps/chap2/2-01m.html.

    It is true that the best wind in the US goes down the east side of the Rocky Mountains.

    According to the specification sheet for GE Wind Turbine operating temperatures are -4F to 104F with a ‘survival’ limit of -22F to 104F
    http://energyfacilities.puc.state.mn.us/documents/19766/Application%20Appendix%20C.pdf

    It gets colder then -22F in Wyoming.
    http://weather-warehouse.com/WeatherHistory/PastWeatherData_CasperNatronaCntyIntlArpt_Casper_WY_January.html

    Wyoming, Montana and the Dakota’s are not particularly hospitable to man or machine.

    The point being that ‘how much wind’ is available is only one of the determinants for suitable siting. A place with long hard Winters with long sustained periods of sub freezing weather is going to pose additional challenges to Wind Farms.

    It is true that T. Boone Pickens built a 10 GW wind farm in Texas.

    Here are the 2009 Texas Generating Capacity Statistics.
    http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/electricity/st_profiles/sept04tx.xls

    9,600 MW ‘other renewables'(wind) generating capacity.

    9,600 MW * 8760 hours = 84,096,000 MWh per year at 100% capacity.

    Here are the 2009 Texas Energy Generation Statistics
    http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/electricity/st_profiles/sept05tx.xls

    21 million megawatts of ‘other renewables’ was what was actually generated. A 25% capacity factor. If I use end of year 2008 wind generating capacity then the capacity factors rises to 31%.

    Slides 14,15 and 16 from the Texas Grid Operator are interesting.
    http://www.ercot.com/content/meetings/ros/keydocs/2011/0113/08._PDCWG_Report_to_ROS_January_13_2011_rev1.ppt

    Excellent wind in the spring when system loads are load low and not very good wind generation in August when system loads are high.

    It would appear that the Texas seasonal problem coincides with the Pacific Northwest seasonal problem.

    Like

  330. The downturn in the Tasmanian logging industry could be ascribed to a number of factors both supply and demand related, for example the paperless society. I give more weight to the sustainability argument than carbon sinks. It doesn’t make sense to rely on 400 year old trees. Builders who say the timber is more fine grained than plantation wood should go back to the 1600s in a time machine and plant more seedlings.

    Sustainability is also why I think using less fossil fuel is a good each way bet. At the moment Australia may be in a ‘perfect calm’ ie
    -food prices low due to the La Nina
    -petrol prices modest due to weak N. Hemisphere demand
    -mineral exports high due to Chindia demand.
    That could all change very quickly with say $150 oil, a severe El Nino and a Chinese downturn. Then we’d realise our economic system is not configured for the long run. I think it is on the cards we will get a major economic shock within the next 5 years. If this is right then we should get ready for a more difficult future, not just let it hit us unprepared. I think carbon pricing is a key element of that though just how it should be done is arguable.

    Like

  331. harrywr2, @ 18 June 2011 at 2:29 AM:

    This is a very informative comment. You’ve put a lot of work into it and argued a strong case. Ypu’ve also included many valuable links as part of the case you’e presented. I suspect people may want to refer back to this comment, and to the links you provided, in the future.

    Could I persuade you to repost the comment on the “CO2 Avoidance Cost with Wind Energy …” thread: https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/21/co2-avoidance-cost-wind/

    My reason for suggesting this is so the comment can be found again in the future. Comments on Open Treads are virtually impossible to find to refer back to.

    Like

  332. Tom Keen made several statements in comments yesterday. I reply below.

    @ 17 June 2011 at 3:41 PM said:

    I haven’t been presented with any evidence that we’d need to cut GDP growth in order to achieve emissions reductions. Peter Lang certainly hasn’t presented any, just asserted it.

    I replied to this comment here: https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/06/07/open-thread-16/#comment-129957

    @ 17 June 2011 at 3:41 PM said:

    Here’s a logical counter-argument:
    In 2007, landuse change (deforestation) accounted for 9.4 % of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Yet forestry accounts for just 1 % of Australia’s GDP, which is substantially less than annual GDP growth. Legislation could (theoretically) be introduced overnight to stop deforestation, and introduce afforestation programs. Not only would this be a feasible way of cutting emissions, but it would also make good economic sense by directly protecting and promoting biodiversity.

    Emissions from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) are projected to be 47 Mt/a in 2020 (Business as Usual projection) (Table 3.8, http://www.treasury.gov.au/lowpollutionfuture/report/html/03_Chapter3.asp ). We need to cut 160 Mt/a from the BAU projection to achieve the 5% target. So, clearly, expecting we can get all the required emissions cuts (160 Mt/a) from LULUCF is not a realistic expectation. Focusing on LULUCF is another example of how easily we can get diverted into chasing the wrong policy options when we don’t like to consider what is staring us in the face.

    By the way, your comparison of emisisons from Land Use Change with GDP from Forestry is misleading. You have compared 9.4% emissions from Land Use Change with 1% of GDP from Forestry. But Forestry accounted for -3% of emissions, not 9.4%. You need to compare like with like.

    I smiled at this comment “Legislation could (theoretically) be introduced overnight to stop deforestation, and introduce afforestation programs.” This looks very much like advocacy for “direct action” – something most of the Green-Labor supporters, like yourself, have scoffed at. :)

    @ 17 June 2011 at 6:13 PM said

    Peter, I made it quite clear that I don’t think Australia has much to gain in terms of emissions reductions from the energy sector without nuclear energy, so I don’t know why you’re insisting I play around with the Kaya equation.

    We need to focus on energy because energy is responsible for 70% of our emissions – since energy contributes most of the emissions, cutting emission from energy is where most of our effort should be focused. (The BAU projection for emissions from LULUCF is just 6.5% in 2020).

    Secondly, as Will Stefan and Ross Garnaut claim, it is the emissions from fossil fuels that must be cut. Emissions from fossil fuels increase CO2 concentration in the atmosphere over the long term whereas emissions from LULUCF are simply playing with the recycling of CO2 in the biosphere over the short term. I expect you are across these reports.

    @17 June 2011 at 4:57 PM said:

    While I don’t buy your economic catastrophe argument, 5 % is not a big reduction.

    Wow! That statement demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the magnitude of the task.

    @ 17 June 2011 at 6:13 PM said:

    I simply stated that I don’t buy your deep, long recession argument because you had not substantiated it.

    I did explain and I guided you on how to do it yourself, but apparently you have not understood, or not wanted to delve into it, for whatever reason. That is unfortunate. It is unfortunate you make dismissive comments and apparently do not want to know what the real cost would be of trying to cut emissions to achieve the 2020 targets. I’ll try a different tack.

    Firstly, look at the chart here. http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/02/reality-check.html . This chart is from the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Notice the sharp change of direction of the emissions trajectory that would be needed to achieve the 2020 targets. Anyone not in denial would realise such changes of emissions trajectory are not realistically achievable.

    Secondly, this is what Treasury said on 10 September 2010 about what would be needed to achieve the 2020 targets:
    http://www.treasury.gov.au/documents/1999/PDF/100910_Email_Size_of_Abatement_Challenge.pdf

    As an indication, the task of achieving Australia’s unconditional emissions-reduction target of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 would be roughly equivalent to:

    • removing emissions associated with all cars on the road, and nearly half of Australia’s electricity generation, in the year 2020 (pg. 77, IGR);

    • planting new forests equivalent to four times the area of Tasmania by 2020 (pg. 77, IGR).

    • two-thirds of Australia’s total current emissions from the generation of electricity (speech by Martin Parkinson, March 2010)

    • twice our road transport emissions (speech by Martin Parkinson, March 2010)

    • the emissions displaced by 35 snowy hydro schemes (press release from Greg Combet, June 2010)

    Surely, it must be clear by now. It is virtually impossible to achieve the 2020 targets without a severe recession.

    Like

  333. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is chirping “Once we, the Labor-Greens Government has legislated a Carbon Price, the Coalition will not be able to undo it without incurring enormous cost” (deleted inflammatory remark)

    I agree it will be very costly to repeal the legislation once it is passed.

    But what a disgracefully irrsponsible approach to take. Her approach is to impose bad policy despite the cost to the country.

    How could any responsible government take such an approach?

    It is apparent to most that the reason is primarily to save her political neck.

    Why is she not prepared to take the policy to the electorate – as John Howard did when he took the proposed GST policy to an election and asked the electorate for a mandate to legislate it.

    Like

  334. (deleted inflammatory remark)
    Sustainability is also why I think using less fossil fuel is a good each way bet. At the moment Australia may be in a ‘perfect calm’ ie
    -food prices low due to the La Nina
    -petrol prices modest due to weak N. Hemisphere demand
    -mineral exports high due to Chindia demand.
    Awesome post John. In other words, there are bigger things to worry about than just a carbon tax. Also, lets remember that correlation does not equal causation. If Peter Lang is so worried about a carbon tax, why isn’t he worried about peak oil? Does he just think we can pump it forever? What does declining oil supplies in an age of ever more demand mean for prices?

    Again, if Australia does pass a carbon tax and then oil prices go NUTS worldwide, then surely the carbon taxes can be just as easily reversed in the mad scramble to scribble legislation that will some how deal with the physical reality that we have constructed an entire civilisation dependent on a vanishing resource.

    Like

  335. I did not unpack this thought…

    ////Also, lets remember that correlation does not equal causation.////
    In other words, a carbon tax comes through and starts to have a little impact on Australia’s economy, but then oil prices worldwide hit $150 a barrel. What’s going to have the bigger income and be the REAL cause of the inevitable recession that’s coming?

    Like

  336. However, this is really interesting.

    From the wiki on intermittency. Again it gets me wondering about the economics of a few really big Nullarbor plain hydro dams…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Intermittency_and_penetration_limits

    Pumped-storage hydroelectricity or other forms of grid energy storage can store energy developed by high-wind periods and release it when needed.[32] Stored energy increases the economic value of wind energy since it can be shifted to displace higher cost generation during peak demand periods. The potential revenue from this arbitrage can offset the cost and losses of storage; the cost of storage may add 25% to the cost of any wind energy stored, but it is not envisaged that this would apply to a large proportion of wind energy generated. For example, in the UK, the 2 GW Dinorwig pumped storage plant evens out electrical demand peaks, and allows base-load suppliers to run their plant more efficiently. Although pumped storage power systems are only about 75% efficient, and have high installation costs, their low running costs and ability to reduce the required electrical base-load can save both fuel and total electrical generation costs.[33][34]

    Also interesting:

    A 2006 International Energy Agency forum presented costs for managing intermittency as a function of wind-energy’s share of total capacity for several countries, as shown:

    Increase in system operation costs, Euros per MW·h, for 10% and 20% wind share[7]
    10% 20%
    Germany 2.5 3.2
    Denmark 0.4 0.8
    Finland 0.3 1.5
    Norway 0.1 0.3
    Sweden 0.3 0.7

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  337. @ Peter Lang,

    There’s no point in continuing this. I made it quite clear that I think we have very little to gain in terms of energy-related reductions (until nuclear is on the cards). I don’t know why you’ve tried to get me to look at the Kaya equation again, in spite of this. The only point I made is that there are other ways of reducing emissions that wouldn’t have enormous impacts on productivity. If you’d rather make stupid political accusations (as per usual) than consider this, there’s no point continuing.

    Like

  338. Tom Keen,

    I agree there is no point in you and I trying to discuss this issue, but not fo rthe reason youi give. You are dodging the real issue.

    The real issue is emissions from energy. They make up 70% of total emissions, and nearly all the new C being added to the atmosphere (as explained by Garnaut and in the Will Stefan report). Emissions form LULUCF are secondary importance. As I explained, they cannot realistically cut our emissions by 5%, even with the “direct action” approach you propose.

    Attempting to pull out a negligible opportunity as you have done and then try to say that is an example of many things that could be done is not worthy of you. It si a good example of FUD.

    This is the sort of diversion tactic that was done by various advocates of energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy in the 1990’s. It has been going on ever since. I am very familiar with the tactic. It works on politicians and has continued to derail good policy for decades.

    Like

  339. @ Tom,
    please don’t reply — you’ll just end up feeding the Troll. Let Peter Lang have the last word. He’s BEGGING someone to disagree with him so he can keep ranting and ranting and ranting about the boring old Carbon Tax.

    Will it get through? Will Julia — the most unpopular Labor leader in 40 years — completely stuff it? I don’t care either way. There are bigger issues to discuss. (Deleted inflammatory comment)

    Like

  340. @Eclipse Now, on 18 June 2011 at 12:02 PM said:

    Again it gets me wondering about the economics of a few really big Nullarbor plain hydro damms

    Here are some calculations for probably the largest ‘proposed’ pumped storage projects in North America.
    http://www.xylenepower.com/Hydraulic%20Energy%20Storage.htm

    Lake Ontario and Lake Erie have a 100 meter altitude difference…allowing the water level in Lake Erie to vary by 5 meters between ‘pumped full’ and ‘low’ would yield 10 GW for 1,800 hrs at a cost of about $30 billion.

    It’s one of the few proposed projects that even attempts to address the scale of ‘seasonal renewable generation’ imbalance.

    Like

  341. 150 MW solar at Moree NSW costing $923m and a smaller solar plant at Chinchilla Qld that will be ‘85% emissions free’.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/industry-sectors/solar-power-future-set-for-nsw-queensland/story-e6frg97o-1226077596870
    The article doesn’t describe the technology or mention overnight storage. Note the feds are kicking in $300m towards the NSW plant which underlines that initial capital subsidies have been a big help to renewables, not just ongoing per Mwh subsidies. We need to know what is the capacity adjusted cost per Mwh assuming it paid commercial cost of capital.

    This all seems to have a 1970s feel to it. I wonder if society is divided into 98% empty and 2% full types. The latter see these plants as a sign to to a big new future. Others like myself wonder why these kind of projects didn’t hit the ground running 30 years ago so they now replace coal fired stations everywhere. Absent details on the Chinchilla plant I also fear it is a greenwash for coal seam gas.

    Like

  342. If the 150 MW is peak for the Moree installation and there is storage that may give a dispatchable 25 MW average around the clock. If we want 5 GW total output from 20 of these plants by 2020 we need to spend 20 X 0.9 bn = $18 bn. That’s $2 bn a year for the next 9 years. Piece of cake.

    Like

  343. Hi Harrywr2,

    Lake Ontario and Lake Erie have a 100 meter altitude difference…allowing the water level in Lake Erie to vary by 5 meters between ‘pumped full’ and ‘low’ would yield 10 GW for 1,800 hrs at a cost of about $30 billion.

    So… have I got this right… you’re saying they can do 18 TWh at $30 billion? Is that right? Which would mean they get 600GWh / $billion where we only get 100 GWh / $billion. ($200GWh for $2 billion in the study) Australian Sustainable Energy by the numbers.

    Like

  344. @ John Newlands,

    150 MW solar at Moree NSW costing $923m and a smaller solar plant at Chinchilla Qld that will be ’85% emissions free’.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/industry-sectors/solar-power-future-set-for-nsw-queensland/story-e6frg97o-1226077596870

    So that works out at $6153 / GW — and not even baseload! Woah!
    And how much are we expecting an S-PRISM to cost? A cluster of S-PRISMS would deliver what capital cost / GW? It’s just GOT to come in cheaper than that, AND be baseload.

    Like

  345. Confessions of a TV addict. Today ABC Landline acknowledge the measurement problems in ‘carbon farming’, particularly taking into account methane, nitrous oxide and the chances of supposedly permanent soil carbon becoming oxidised. It was suggested rather than repaying a spoiled cash carbon credit that farmers go into moderation or rehab or something.

    Tonight 9.35 AEST SBS One ‘Cutting Edge’ with the promo asking ‘can we take the risk on nuclear power?’.

    The Treasurer tells us renewables will save the day
    http://www.international.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1252:wayne-swan-on-clean-energy-future-investing-in-research-the-year-in-numbers&catid=36:news&Itemid=74
    I see elsewhere that the $0.9 bn 25 MW average power solar plant will be up and running by 2016. That’s not 200 such plants by 2020 if we’re to get a modest 5 GW new renewables. I sometimes wonder if politicians fully grasp what they’re saying.

    Like

  346. @ John,

    Confessions of a TV addict. Today ABC Landline acknowledge the measurement problems in ‘carbon farming’, particularly taking into account methane, nitrous oxide and the chances of supposedly permanent soil carbon becoming oxidised. It was suggested rather than repaying a spoiled cash carbon credit that farmers go into moderation or rehab or something.

    What sort of permanent sequestration were they discussing? Did biochar get a mention? There are some HUGE claims for biochar — which I’m a fan of — but would love to see more peer-reviewed work on the claims. The International Biochar Initiative is submitting work to the IPCC, and says that a majority of the biochar can stay permanently sequestered in the soils for thousands of years, permanently reducing the need for nitrogen fertilisers by something like a 3rd. That’s a HUGE reduction in energy use to make the fertiliser, and also reduces the nitrous oxide releasing into the atmosphere which of course is far more powerful than Co2.
    http://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/replenish-the-soil/

    Like

  347. EN I think they are mainly talking about plowing in stubble which of course uses a lot of tractor diesel and CO2 as well off-farm phosphorus and synthetic nitrogen. However the future looks difficult for prairie type farming due to declining supply of inputs. That includes rainfall in our biggest wheatbelt.

    My problem with biochar is that it harvests carbon that would have fallen in situ somewhere else (like a forest) then plows it in again using more diesel. Since I have all the free firewood I want I use charcoal as a soil amendment and it does seem to work in high rainfall years. Phosphorus and potassium is continually removed by crops and animals so has to be replenished, hopefully not so much in carbon rich soils,

    When there is no diesel to run tractors and urea is too expensive since natgas is almost all burned in power stations there will be a food crisis. Throw in some unhelpful weather in major farming areas. I think we have little choice but to grow more food in climate controlled enclosures near cities using sewage to close the nutrient loop. Mutant E. coli a bonus.

    Like

  348. My problem with biochar is that it harvests carbon that would have fallen in situ somewhere else (like a forest) then plows it in again using more diesel. Since I have all the free firewood I want I use charcoal as a soil amendment and it does seem to work in high rainfall years. Phosphorus and potassium is continually removed by crops and animals so has to be replenished, hopefully not so much in carbon rich soils,

    Yep, it only reduces the wash-off loss of nutrients but we still need to recycle that NPK out of our sewerage somehow hey? I’m with you there. We’ve got to plug this one way nutrient leak out to sea. (See more on that below under Village Towns)

    But as for firewood from the forest… most of the biomass is meant to come from agriwaste? Instead of raking stubble back into the ground where it quickly breaks down and rejoins the atmospheric Co2 cycle, they biochar it and put it back in. Bigchar (linked to on my page) have a mobile biochar cooker on the back of a truck for on-site processing of some farmer’s crop waste into biochar. I’m not sure if they’ve also got the syngas capture on the back of the truck yet, but they’re working on it.

    Catalyst reported that the nitrous oxide emissions were radically reduced so might be worth the liquid fuels it takes to spread it.
    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s2012892.htm

    Also, I remember reading that the microfungi growth around the biochar is so significant it ultimately sequesters about 5 times the weight of the charcoal itself in organic carbon, sucking 5 times the Co2 out of the air as the value of the biochar itself.

    Also, some forestry waste and off-cuts might be a good idea. This is especially so where the trees are being cut down anyway and then the allotment replanted and left for a decade or so as they regrow, allowing leaves and other nutrients to build up on the forest soil in the meantime.

    As for all the oil required to do this, if the rest of society moves towards nukes + fast rail + electric cars + New Urbanism, are you really that pessimistic about our ability to ration liquid fuels to our most important sector, food production?

    ***Now to the BILLION dollar investments in Village Towns.***
    Local food, car free villages, extreme walkability, and yet all the benefits of modern life.

    Check out the introductory videos on the right hand column… if you have 20 minutes, do the TEDxSydney 2009 talk, but if you have 40 minutes watch the video above it.
    http://villageforum.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=97&Itemid=104

    This is NOT hippie eco-village stuff but a mainstream developer trying to reinvent how and WHY we deploy ourselves in the landscape. It’s extremely thought provoking and has a LOT of unusual quirks that just might work! The 5 minute introduction cannot possibly give anyone a clue just how radically Village-Towns will smash today’s concepts of what the “good life” really is.

    Like

  349. “Peter Lang, on 18 June 2011 at 8:27 PM said:

    Labor’s Euro vision provides the smoke and mirrors for a carbon tax

    This is article is spot on. I agree with all of it.”
    ————-

    sorry Peter. that article is horrible. if you agree with all of it, then you are simply wrong.

    “The Australian” is a paper, that has a really bad history of stories about climate change. Tim Lambert has done a very good job in exposing this, in a series of posts. (“The Australian’s War on Science”, now in 63rd episode..)

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/05/the_australians_war_on_science_63.php

    the central part of the article you linked above is this:


    “And of course it embodies a central paradox. If it is so overwhelmingly clear that the best way to respond to the still uncertain science of climate change is through a carbon tax, then why is the Gillard government so hopelessly incapable of winning the argument through its own powers of persuasion?”

    for a start, the science of climate change is much less uncertain than The Australian thinks. and a carbon tax obviously is one of the best, because being market based, ways to fight human caused climate change.

    but the real problem with the “central paradox” is a different one: “If it is so overwhelmingly clear that the best way to respond to (Tobacco and alcohol use) is a (tax), then why (governments all over the world) so hopelessly incapable of winning the argument through its own powers of persuasion?”

    looks like the central paradox in the article is not a paradox at all?!?

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  350. @ Sod
    NOoooooooooooooooooo!
    What are you doing?

    As Luke Skywalker said,
    “You can’t do any more good back there — pull out!”

    Some people just refuse to discuss climate or taxes rationally — or politely — and I’m afraid you’ve just fed the troll.

    There will be 20 or 30 more posts as ideologically driven and irrational as the one above, guaranteed, and most here just ignore it. So if he replies with bluster and attempted arguments and attempts to Bulverise you, my advice is just to ignore.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulverism

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  351. Eclipse Now, on 19 June 2011 at 12:57 PM said:

    So… have I got this right… you’re saying they can do 18 TWh at $30 billion?

    The Lake Ontario pumped storage project has a number of challenges, the most serious being the amount of wildlife that nests at waters edge..impact on them could be substantial if ‘waters edge’ keeps moving.

    The natural elevation difference between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and their huge size, 19,000 km2 for Lake Ontario and 25,000 km2 for Lake Erie, makes then good candidates for pumped storage.

    The project has been proposed with a number of scenario’s for varying the water level in the lakes, from 30 cm to 5 m. Always the same price…$30 billion.

    So cost per GWh of storage for this proposed project is mostly conditioned on how much lake level variance is environmentally acceptable.

    At 5 meters it’s a no-brainer no matter what…summer peak load requirements are a fact of life. At 30cm it really doesn’t address seasonal imbalances.

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  352. Just noticed this, via the Canadian Nuclear Association’s TalkNuclear blog:

    2011 INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR ENERGY OLYMPIAD

    26 – 30 September 2011, Seoul, Republic of Korea

    A unique competition programme for students interested in nuclear power technology and policy

    “A plan for gaining public acceptance of nuclear energy in my country”

    The plan is for teams of up to three university students from each of about 10 countries to prepare plans for, as it says, gaining public acceptance of nuclear energy in your country. Deadline for application submissions is July 3. Student readers of BNC, hop over to the Olympiad site, download the entry form (.doc format), and enter your team!

    The form asks your age but I don’t see any age restriction… just that you have to be a student.

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  353. More on Moree. It is not solar thermal with storage, just single axis tracking PV
    http://www.moreesolarfarm.com.au/Project.htm
    A nice paddock that could be used to grow crops will be covered with $923m worth of panels giving 150 MW peak. I estimate that is roughly 150/6 = 25 MW average output over the 24 hour summer cycle giving an average cost of 923/25 = $37/w. A claimed objective of the project is to demonstrate grid integration. Whether it will get RECS on top of an extraordinarily generous capital subsidy is not clear, noting that per Mwh subsidies are supposed to finish when carbon tax starts.

    Sen. Brown claims credit for creating funding for this project. God help us if this is the thinking that supposedly takes us forward. Ignoring the cost of overnight energy storage if we wanted say 20 GW of average power using this approach it would cost the nation $740 bn. The project will grid connect in 2015 yet we are supposed to find several GW of additional renewable power by 2020, not just tiny amounts by 2015. We’re living in dreamworld.

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  354. Looks like the Leader of the Opposition here in Australia is calling for a referendum on the proposed carbon tax.

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/tony-abbott-will-introduce-motion-for-public-vote-on-carbon-tax/story-e6frea6u-1226078140050

    Ah referendums…such a great way of setting policy. We should have them more often – we could bring back capital punishment and introduce intelligent design in to school “science” classes. Or ban nuclear power in Italy.

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  355. And Tom Keen tries to pretend he’s apolitical. What a joke. H’es as part of the “Progressive” advocacy of an economy-destroying Carbon price as are most of the Progressive “Greens-Labor” supporters.

    The problem with the whole Climate and Carbon Tax tebate debate is that is 85% politics and ideology and only about 15% honest, un-spun, un-distorted, factual material.

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  356. I think carbon tax is a learning exercise we have to do. We’ve had the GST now for 13 years and it generates 30% of Commonwealth revenues. It nearly didn’t make it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goods_and_Services_Tax_(Australia)

    We have to see what happens post carbon tax. I predict a lot of hollering over what I think are the two biggest anomalies, that foreigners get our coal and gas without paying c.t. and that new renewables will stop dead in their tracks without additional subsidies. Perhaps this is a new thing with solar that the taxpayer pays 30% of the cost upfront. There will have to be major changes early on. However carbon tax represents something, not just indefinite dithering or denial.

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  357. John Newlands,

    I think carbon tax is a learning exercise we have to do.

    That is simply an opinion based on your beliefs. It ignores the economic consequences. It ignores that it will not change the world’s emissions nor change the climate. It is an irrational position to hold.

    The GST was a totally different situation. It was a tax to improve the economy, not damage it. The GST removed many of the taxes (like narrowly based wholesale sales taxes) that imposed costs on inputs to business. It removed the cost imposts of these distorting taxes on exporters. It allowed income tax and company tax to be reduced massively thus improving Australia’s competitiveness and allowing the most productive and innovative Australian’s to stay in Australia, rather than being forced to move overseas. It was a tax Keating originally supported and tried to implement but was thwarted by Kim Beasley, the unions and the Labor caucus.

    The carbon tax is a very different animal. It is another case of a serious policy retrograde step (like the winding back of 25 years of Industrial relations reform).

    John, your support for a carbon tax is based on nothing more substantial than your belief. That has been demonstrated in your numerous statements of support which amout to nothing more than moral arguments (your moral argiuments).

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  358. @ John Newlands

    I wonder if the initial response to a carbon tax will be similar to that of the GST introduction; i.e. negative growth immediately following introduction, followed by a quick return to normal (i.e. increasing rate of) consumption.

    Not that I’ve ever been able to understand the logic of advocating continuous growth of consumption on a finite planet with a rapidly growing population. But that’s an argument for another day…

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  359. John: The Moree Environment Assessment report claims 404 GWh per annum (capacity factor about 30%). Seems high to me, no detail on how it
    was calculated. There is also an interesting discussion on the prospects of
    flooding … looks like they are making decisions based on the past and
    not on the possible future. Rather expensive to flood-proof such a large piece of
    equipment.

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  360. A plausible scenario is that by 2013 or 2014 carbon tax is well established but not much is happening on the ground. As if we thought we were getting steroids but they turned out to be sugar pills. Renewable show projects like the Moree solar are seen as absurdly expensive and inadequate white elephants. Throw in high fuel prices and extreme weather (maybe incl. floods at Moree) and the public could be ready for serious decisions.

    BTW I thought SBS Cutting Edge was reasonably even handed on Fukushima
    http://www.sbs.com.au/documentary/program/nuclearmeltdown

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  361. Tom Keen and John Newlands,

    You guys’ hypocrisy amazes me. You talk incessantly about “Deniers” and yet you are doing exactly that regarding the economic consequences of a carbon price that is sufficient to achieve the 2020 targets.

    Tom says:

    I wonder if the initial response to a carbon tax will be similar to that of the GST introduction; i.e. negative growth immediately following introduction, followed by a quick return to normal (i.e. increasing rate of) consumption.

    Isn’t that just wishful thinking? Isn’t it just hope? Isn’t it simply ignoring the facts because they don’t suit what you want to believe? Isn’t it denial?

    Why do you want a carbon price anyway, given it won’t change the world’s emissions and won’t change the climate?

    Are you simply wanting another symbolic gesture?

    Do you believe it is morally right that you should impose your symbolic gesture on society, given it will achieve no environmental benefit and seriously damage the economy?

    (All my statements have been explained, justified and substantiated in previous comments; both of decided to pull out of these discussions – having been shown to have no grounds for your position other than hope and belief!)

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  362. Seeing as you bring it up, I think the word ‘denier’ is a perfectly vaild term for people who ignore the vast body of peer-reviewed literature on climate change and impacts. But I have never used that word to describe anyone on this site or any other – not once. Which is more than I can say for you.

    It is precisely these types of constant repetitious/false tirades from you that have made me (and no doubt others) pull out of any discussion with you, and for no other reason.

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  363. @ John,
    I find your work interesting so where do I subscribe to your magazine!? ;-)

    A plausible scenario is that by 2013 or 2014 carbon tax is well established but not much is happening on the ground. As if we thought we were getting steroids but they turned out to be sugar pills. Renewable show projects like the Moree solar are seen as absurdly expensive and inadequate white elephants. Throw in high fuel prices and extreme weather (maybe incl. floods at Moree) and the public could be ready for serious decisions.

    Great post. I love the image of ‘sugar pills’. Expensive, sweet, not much good at solving the problem but sure makes you feel good. Deceptive as well.

    Yup, we’re in for an interesting ride.

    ********

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  364. Hi everyone, I might be seeing things but did Peter Lang REALLY say this to John Newlands?

    That is simply an opinion based on your beliefs

    …. I did a double take, and then laughed out loud. It’s truly priceless.

    Then this?

    You guys’ hypocrisy amazes me

    Oh the humanity! Peter Peter Peter… (shakes head).

    @ Tom

    Not that I’ve ever been able to understand the logic of advocating continuous growth of consumption on a finite planet with a rapidly growing population. But that’s an argument for another day…

    Finite planet? Peter will have to talk to Tony Abbott and see what he says before Peter knows what he thinks on that one. ;-)

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  365. The moderator must be in bed …

    I know this is the OT, but how wonderful it would be to debate the issues and the policies without the political histrionics. Maybe the Moderator will bang some heads together in the morning.
    MODERATOR
    Political histrionics tend to be part and parcel of the Open Threads – the purpose of these is to provide a “soapbox” away from the threads on a particular subject so as to prevent hijacking and off topic incursions. As long as the exchanges do not become rudely personal they are left in place.

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  366. Sorry, tired, and I just can’t stand trolling. I LOVE a good strong informed exchange of political world-views, it’s the sort of thing I got HD’s for. I’m just not finding it in this particularly sterile exchange from one particular side.

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  367. Turnages, @ 9:00 pm

    I know this is the OT, but how wonderful it would be to debate the issues and the policies without the political histrionics.

    OK. Good point.