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Coal: Bigger Than The Elephant In The Room

By SEEChangeIncCanberra 1 February 2012 136

What is even bigger than the elephant in the room?  Find out next Tuesday – 7th February, 6.30 pm at the Finkel Theatre, John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU.

Jeremy Tager is stepping down from his post as senior political advisor to Greenpeace Australia.  Before he leaves Canberra, SEE-Change has arranged for him to deliver a talk about our coal industry.

This talk will present the anomaly of massive government subsidies to the coal industry and Australia’s responsibility as a major coal exporter to other countries at a time when we are ostensibly committed to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions.  Questions will be taken after the talk.

To reserve your place, please vist our event page here.

What’s Your opinion?


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Coal: Bigger Than The Elephant In The Room
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SEEChangeIncCanberra 1:35 pm 13 Feb 12

For those who are interested:
Slides from the talk are available here: http://www.see-change.org.au/node/588
Audio will be available at a future date to be advised.
Thanks to those who came along, and to all those who contributed to the very impassioned debate around this subject on TheRiotact. Always good to know what everyone is thinking.

Diggety 1:30 am 11 Feb 12

@ SEEChangeIncCanberra, any video of the lecture yet?

Diggety 7:41 pm 10 Feb 12

HenryBG said :

Diggety said :

So, shauno says something tangibly real and worth consideration (wether it is private or public

No he didn’t.

He juxtaposed the words “27 GW peak” “light winds” “around 1GW” in order to convey a false sense of the intermittence of wind power generation.

It was not an honest statement.

And you’ve blown your cover by supporting his blatant anti-renewable propaganda.

Don’t blow my cover Henry, I’ll concede George Bush fudged the data showing 27GW of German wind down to 0.6GW.

And all that nuclear and fossil fuels they’re burning to compensate was obviously John Howard’s doing. Bastards, eh?

HenryBG 3:00 pm 10 Feb 12

Diggety said :

So, shauno says something tangibly real and worth consideration (wether it is private or public

No he didn’t.

He juxtaposed the words “27 GW peak” “light winds” “around 1GW” in order to convey a false sense of the intermittence of wind power generation.

It was not an honest statement.

And you’ve blown your cover by supporting his blatant anti-renewable propaganda.

Diggety 11:25 am 10 Feb 12

OpenYourMind said :

Diggety I wasn’t for one moment suggesting that PV solution. I was just demonstrating that even using an expensive and resource intensive renewable solution (PV) the estimate in the BZE criticism you cited was ridiculous.

And you’re surprised at the cost? OYM, that is because
– PV is much cheaper than the solar thermal used in the BZE plan.
– they believed it could deliver baseload power.
– The plan includes transport
– Massive land purchases
– Far more structural materials than a PV roof system
– Transmissions, etc.

So costs when trying 100% renewable can be much greater than extrapolating PV home roof systems.

OpenYourMind said :

I’m happy to be proven wrong, Diggety, but pls list the 14 nuclear plants under construction in USA you referenced. I will concede that yesterday two new nuclear plants (Vogtle) were approved in USA for construction at an initial estimated cost of $14billion with an $8billion government loan guarantee. I’ve already spoken at length about the poor economics of nuclear and these numbers speak for themselves.

Well we were both wrong (and my previously link was faulty. There are 4 reactors well under construction in Georgia and South Carolina.

Not bad considering the technology was only approved last December.

Costs, $7B for 1200MWe reactor is not the best. But considering it is a FOAK, it’s expected to get much cheaper.

You haven’t “spoken at length about the economics of nuclear”, you just picked a worst case scenario (Finland), a reactor type I never advocated for, and ignored the rest. You’ll just have to wait till China and the USA complete their AP1000’s. Then we’ll get a good idea.

P.S. If you think the critique is bullshit, go over to http://www.bravenewclimate.com and let the authors know. There is always good discussion over there both pro-nuke and anti-nuke. But, be warned, you need to quote sources for your claims and that PV scenario just won’t cut it. Try anyway.

Thumper 11:24 am 10 Feb 12

Okay, I’ve been waiting ages to say this but….

Elephants are much larger than lumps of coal.

Diggety 10:40 am 10 Feb 12

HenryBG said :

All Shauno highlighted was the he is prone to recycling dishonest nonsense from the anti-renewables lobby.

So, shauno says something tangibly real and worth consideration (wether it is private or public investment), you agree with his figures, then turn around and say “…recycling dishonest nonsense from the anti-renewables lobby.”

You’ve demonstrated a simple understanding of a Capacity Factor now, so tell us how would you make up for that lost energy when the wind isn’t blowing hard enough?

By the way Henry your accusation that Deisendorf is a ‘right-winger’ is wrong, and would be laughed out of the room. In fact I reckon if you told that to his face he would whack you with a daffodil.

P.S. The Soviet Union didn’t supply an energy system by rubbing hammers and syckels together. But nuclear has just got to be a right wing conspiracy, eh Henry?

OpenYourMind 8:59 am 10 Feb 12

Diggety I wasn’t for one moment suggesting that PV solution. I was just demonstrating that even using an expensive and resource intensive renewable solution (PV) the estimate in the BZE criticism you cited was ridiculous.

I’m happy to be proven wrong, Diggety, but pls list the 14 nuclear plants under construction in USA you referenced. I will concede that yesterday two new nuclear plants (Vogtle) were approved in USA for construction at an initial estimated cost of $14billion with an $8billion government loan guarantee. I’ve already spoken at length about the poor economics of nuclear and these numbers speak for themselves.

HenryBG 7:25 am 10 Feb 12

Diggety said :

HenryBG said :

shauno said :

It simply wont work. Not yet anyway.

I refer you to Germany with the greatest amount of wind power in Europe around 27 Gw at peak or equivalent to 14 2Gw coal power stations. Now for the last couple of weeks the amount of power produced by those has only been around 1Gw because of light winds or lack of wind. .

27Gw is the *installed capacity*. It doesn’t describe any “peak” production, not even remotely.

shauno highlights a sobering reality of wind farms, Henry.

So now you’re starting to scratch the surface of energy generation understanding. We call that capacity factor- every form of electrical generation is less than 100%. So next time public discourse ventures into $/W nameplate (installed) capacity, you can ask them “what is the capacity factor”.

Revert back to comment #97 for more tips, any questions- just ask.

All Shauno highlighted was the he is prone to recycling dishonest nonsense from the anti-renewables lobby.
When I invest in a wind farm, my economic modelling doesn’t use the installed capacity for any purpose whatsoever. Nobody does.
But fossil fuellists just can’t help themselves – dishonesty is their modus operandi.

With 27GW, I assume Germany’s average production would be something a little under 2GW.
27GW installed in South Australia would probably be expected to give an average production of 10GW.
And so forth. *That* is the reality, and it has nothing to do with the right-wing bollocks you lot are regurgitating.

Diggety 2:05 am 10 Feb 12

OpenYourMind said :

Being simplistic but let’s just take Diggety’s (BZE Criticism) most extreme figure of $4trillion

Well, I can tell you we don’t have $4.7 trillion to buy a energy system every 18 years. So your point is moot.

OpenYourMind said :

Now, not that anyone would install solar this way, as there are better ways to do solar, but let’s use a home solar PV system as a model and work on a figure of $2k per installed kW. $4trillion would buy 2billion installed kWs of panels. Canberra tracks on about 1464kw per year per domestic PV installed kW. 2billion installed 1kW systems would produce 2trillion kWs per annum or more than 8 times Australia’s entire annual electricity production. I understand that BZE includes all sorts of other goodies such as transmission lines etc. I’m not suggesting a 2billion kW PV system as a solution, my point is that even a quick sanity check on the $4trillion figure Diggety gave can be shown to be bollocks.

But let’s go through OYM’s plan anyway:
– There is not enough raw material on Earth to manufacture 2TW of residential systems (using currently avail. Tech)
– 2 billion installed kW (2TW) of PV in Canberra would produce ~1,890TWh in a year.
– Output intermittency would collapse the grid within a day.
– No residential circuitry would be operable on such a system
– There would be no power in low insolation conditions (e.g. nights, clowds)
– There isn’t enough suitable home roof space to accommodate the solar panel space required for the system.

Need I go on?

OYM, please revert back to comment #97 to at least start to get an idea of what we’re talking about.

OpenYourMind said :

First hand I’ve seen domestic solar PV reach the point where without subsidies, it is competitive with commercial power.
http://www.carbonetix.com.au/news/plummeting-solar-pv-prices-a-sustainability-game-changer/

In my employment I’ve seen some amazing steps forward that can be made with smarter energy use eg data centers utilising natural outside air ventilation (with greater airflow) for much of the year rather than 24/7 AC.

That’s lovely, but it doesn’t mean anything. Every individual is welcome to pay for a PV system- no one is stopping them.

We are however talking about a national energy system. For your PV system to be operable and the economy to stay afloat, you need a reliable energy grid…

Diggety 12:29 am 10 Feb 12

OpenYourMind said :

Diggety, I see you have changed course a little. You are now talking about commercial Gen3 reactors (AP1000) and not pipe dreams like IFR. Interesting. I’d also suggest you check more carefully on nuclear construction in USA:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prospective_nuclear_units_in_the_United_States

Not changed my course, just opened up discussion. Remember, I never rejected GenIII+, I have suggested GenIII+ reactors as cheap/safe start up for a nuclear industry, with a view to GenIV development collaborations and up-scaled reactors in the future.

P.S. You’ll note, AP1000 reactor construction is well under way, don’t rely on Wikipedia for the latest news, OYM!

Diggety 11:44 pm 09 Feb 12

HenryBG said :

Your polished regurgitation of pseudo-factual strawmen is witnessed a couple of times each decade when the Nuke industry and its right-wing fanclub try it on with their periodic PR-push which inevitably fizzles out for lack of interest.

We won’t be conned.

Henry,

Who is “we” exactly? If you have a problem with the work of the top experts in their field, let them know.

Your pace of keeping up to the science and economics is about the rate of a spastic in a magnet factory, and trying to make sense of your crack-pot conspiracies make me look as frustrated as a Chinese wicket-keeper.

Good day sir.

P.S. As a general rule, never quote a source we have not read and comprehended in it’s entirety.

Diggety 11:07 pm 09 Feb 12

HenryBG said :

shauno said :

It simply wont work. Not yet anyway.

I refer you to Germany with the greatest amount of wind power in Europe around 27 Gw at peak or equivalent to 14 2Gw coal power stations. Now for the last couple of weeks the amount of power produced by those has only been around 1Gw because of light winds or lack of wind. .

27Gw is the *installed capacity*. It doesn’t describe any “peak” production, not even remotely.

shauno highlights a sobering reality of wind farms, Henry.

So now you’re starting to scratch the surface of energy generation understanding. We call that capacity factor- every form of electrical generation is less than 100%. So next time public discourse ventures into $/W nameplate (installed) capacity, you can ask them “what is the capacity factor”.

Revert back to comment #97 for more tips, any questions- just ask.

OpenYourMind 10:36 pm 09 Feb 12

Diggety, I see you have changed course a little. You are now talking about commercial Gen3 reactors (AP1000) and not pipe dreams like IFR. Interesting. I’d also suggest you check more carefully on nuclear construction in USA:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prospective_nuclear_units_in_the_United_States

Post Fukushima, I certainly don’t think I’ll be betting the farm on the so called nuclear ‘renaissance’!

Being simplistic but let’s just take Diggety’s (BZE Criticism) most extreme figure of $4trillion. Now, not that anyone would install solar this way, as there are better ways to do solar, but let’s use a home solar PV system as a model and work on a figure of $2k per installed kW. $4trillion would buy 2billion installed kWs of panels. Canberra tracks on about 1464kw per year per domestic PV installed kW. 2billion installed 1kW systems would produce 2trillion kWs per annum or more than 8 times Australia’s entire annual electricity production. I understand that BZE includes all sorts of other goodies such as transmission lines etc. I’m not suggesting a 2billion kW PV system as a solution, my point is that even a quick sanity check on the $4trillion figure Diggety gave can be shown to be bollocks.

First hand I’ve seen domestic solar PV reach the point where without subsidies, it is competitive with commercial power.
http://www.carbonetix.com.au/news/plummeting-solar-pv-prices-a-sustainability-game-changer/

In my employment I’ve seen some amazing steps forward that can be made with smarter energy use eg data centers utilising natural outside air ventilation (with greater airflow) for much of the year rather than 24/7 AC.

HenryBG 8:14 pm 09 Feb 12

Diggety said :

4. I don’t want Governments to waste money on overpriced renewable energy projects like Solar Dawn that only give renewable energy a bad name.

Your conflation of “renewable” and “wasting money” and your assertions about “unreliable electricity supply” are a tired old PR refrain.

I don’t know where “100% renewables by 2020” would come into it (bedtime story, perhaps?), although it sounds very much like the kind of study Sir Humphrey Appleby would be keen to sponsor, were this some sort of a comedy show. (100% in just 8 years? You’re going to have to tell your right-wing freinds to supply you with *much* glossier brochures in future).

At Yale, Dr William Nordhaus’s economic modelling gives us 22 Trillion $ of climatic damages over 50 years.
He shows that spending 2 trillion will save 5 trillion of those damages.

http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

So the question is how we spend Australia’s share of that 2 trillion.
Spending it on a technology that relies on a non-renewable fuel source and carries uninsurable risk and no known safe way of disposing of its waste is not – in my humble opinion – a good way to spend our money.

Your polished regurgitation of pseudo-factual strawmen is witnessed a couple of times each decade when the Nuke industry and its right-wing fanclub try it on with their periodic PR-push which inevitably fizzles out for lack of interest.

We won’t be conned.

7

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