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Shane on the solar coaster

By johnboy 13 June 2013 81

Mayor Rattenbury is explaining his plans for solar feed-in tariffs in the wake of ActewAGL’s changes:

“The ACT Greens were critical when the Government didn’t continue to gradually reduce the payments on the old feed-in tariff as the scheme was very generous for PV system owners. But we are keen to see home and small business generators paid a fair price, and one that delivers an incentive for the community to keep installing rooftop solar.

“If the guaranteed payment scheme were implemented, rooftop solar programs would cost the ACT community less than large-scale solar. Given that we have a 90% renewable energy target that we need to meet at the lowest cost possible, it would be short-sighted not to continue with a rooftop incentive scheme.

“While there is a place for large-scale solar developments in our energy mix, rooftop solar comes without the additional challenges of planning approvals, finding sites and having solar auctions.


UPDATE: Simon Corbell wants to put the past behind him on this issue:

Responding to the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision on how ActewAGL Distribution will charge for the use of its network by rooftop solar generators, Mr Corbell said any new policy setting for rooftop solar should reflect the dramatic reduction in price for rooftop PV panels and installation.

“Roof top solar is a much more attractive and affordable technology than it was 3-4 years ago, when the ACT established a premium feed in tariff scheme. At the time it was reasonable to establish a premium price to encourage uptake of new technology, but those times have now changed,” Mr Corbell said.

The ACT Labor Government has clear policy settings for micro (rooftop) and large scale solar generation. Roof top solar policy settings are designed to facilitate households to help offset the costs of their electricity use and switch to renewable energy use as an offset to their own consumption. The Government’s large scale solar policies, such as the large scale reverse auction, are designed to encourage large scale renewable energy supply to meet our target of 90% renewables by 2020.”

“Large scale generation delivers efficiency of scale, and importantly additional greenhouse gas abatement, which is not feasible with small scale roof top installations,” Mr Corbell said.

What’s Your opinion?


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Shane on the solar coaster
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Diggety 12:53 pm 11 Jul 13

howeph (or whoever else is reading my boring rants), have a read of this:

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/want-to-kill-fewer-people-go-nuclear-20130710-2pqbq.html

There are not many cases in Australian journalism that deal with nuclear issues on the evidence, this case is an exception.

howeph 10:26 am 11 Jul 13

Diggety said :

@ howeph, if you really are concerned about climate change and ability to deal with this as a nation, then you really need to start considering evidence – not ideology.

Several times now you have ignored scientific research results showing that the inclusion of nuclear is faster, cheaper and more effective at decarbonising our electricity supply. And you have in each case responded with some sort of off tangent logic.

I’m starting to suspect that you are a Greens voter and/or staffer. Or a similar sort of Ludditism?

Let me know if I’m wasting my time here please howeph!

Hi Diggety,

I am only interested in the truth, as best as it can be determined. I shall fight hard for the things that I believe, but if you can convince me that I’m wrong, I’m perfectly willing to fight hard for the things you believe.

I haven’t ignored the evidence you have presented. I think that I have shown good faith in reviewing the AETA2012 report that you have presented. But you haven’t changed my mind yet. I don’t see where I have gone off topic in our conversation (there is a separate, much more tiresome, conversation going on in parallel with Parle in this thread).

Note that the evidence reviewed so far in this conversation has focused only on costs. I think there are a number of costs, as I outlined previously, that are excluded from the report that you are underestimating.

We haven’t looked into the case that nuclear can bring about change faster.

I am not a member of any political party. I work in private industry. I have voted for every major party at least once in Federal elections. I agree with at least some policies from every party and disagree with at least some policies form every party.

Please also understand that I have a job and family and a life outside of RiotACT. Reading, researching and writing detailed responses takes a lot of time. But this is an important topic.

Diggety 2:26 am 11 Jul 13

@ howeph, if you really are concerned about climate change and ability to deal with this as a nation, then you really need to start considering evidence – not ideology.

Several times now you have ignored scientific research results showing that the inclusion of nuclear is faster, cheaper and more effective at decarbonising our electricity supply. And you have in each case responded with some sort of off tangent logic.

I’m starting to suspect that you are a Greens voter and/or staffer. Or a similar sort of Ludditism?

Let me know if I’m wasting my time here please howeph!

parle 6:53 pm 10 Jul 13

howeph said :

“The author (an accomplished renewables spruiker)” – play the ball not the man.

if he were a real estate agent writing about housing it would be relevant. Talking up renewables is his other job, which giles makes his living from. as you’re using what he’s written as an impartial source of fact it deserves some disclosure, I’m being quite reasonable. I’m not sure why you’re offended that I’ve brought attention to this. You’re welcome to question the integrity of sources I’ve supplied.

howeph said :

“therefore arguments” are quite common at the conclusion of a logical argument. They are less often found in expressing purely opinion.

yes but there just one side of an argument in his article, it’s not critical, it’s practically an advertorial.

howeph said :

The article is about the change in the shape of the demand. The reduction in the peak summer daily demand. Cooler summers would produce this change but have they been cooler?

Okay, I’ll play along, according to the advertorial, from highest peak to the lowest

2011>2009>2010>2013>2012>2008

during the time from 2008>2012 demand is up and down, the only conclusion would be a change in the demand from people using less electricity on appliances. in 2013 the apogee shifts and although solar has been installed in the all years previously supposedly it now makes a difference. er no.

2011 was the highest, sun didn’t come out that year perhaps as it made no changes to the curve from back in 2009, it was real sunny so where’s the rooftop solar impact?.

howeph said :

The last one, included in the figures for the article, was a shockingly hot one.

one buried in the figures you say?

howeph said :

But you are right there has been a decrease in overall demand too. I mentioned as much back in comment #18 when I said: They [grid owners] have been taken completely by surprise by a) the effect of solar PV in reducing [daily] peak demand; and b) reduced overall demand from more efficient energy use and to a smaller extend reduced manufacturing in Australia.

yep, you’re quoting giles, if it were true you would have a statement from the networks themselves. here’s one for you, the only surprise expressed is how little impact rooftop solar has had.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/high-price-paid-for-low-solar-return-20120422-1xfca.html#ixzz2WVeBt0QU

why doesn’t this actew manager explain it like you do?, perhaps you should give him a call and explain his error!

howeph said :

Parle, it is here that I think your confusion is. The Renewable Economy article and I are talking about the daily peak demand. You, and the report you linked to, keep referring to yearly peak demand.Power companies don’t make all their profits from just a handful of peak demand days in the year. They make them from the daily peak demands throughout the year.

what profits?, I didn’t say anything of the sort. stop creating silly arguments

howeph said :

No the point of the article is to look at the *effect* of Solar PV on the energy market in South Australia. You are correct that no detailed production data was included and it would be nice to see such data matched against *daily* demand Such data should exist

like maybe a network operator that has a realtime electronic metering on rooftop solar panels and home supplies?

http://www.ausgrid.com.au/Common/Our-network/Metering/Types-of-meters.aspx

howeph said :

but I don’t know of any analysis of it like this.

Yes, absolutely.

howeph said :

At least I begin my sentences with caps.

caps, as you used them are considered rude, my lack of is just a lazy typer.

howeph said :

The report looked at the five biggest individual peak days for the summer and winter. It does not look at the average daily peaks.

the advertorials “average daily peaks” are only 60 day datasets, so you’re saying 60 day average is okay but the 5 best days taken from meters in the same period is not?

howeph said :

I was trying to emphasise to you that you are trying to argue a different point to the one I’m making. It is a straw man argument, but I don’t think that it is deliberate, just frustrating.

the reason the paper doesn’t detail averages is that the nsw government asked ausgrid to provide them with evidence that rooftop solar could have impact on infrastructure costs. using the best looking data they could, with daily rooftop solar production at it’s highest, they found the contribution of rooftop solar in peak periods was ‘insignificant’. As part of the paper they include data that shows the daily rooftop solar production from meters, down to the hour.

the findings on infrastructure I agree are noteworthy but however irrelevant and it seems, distracting to you.

I provided the paper to you because the giles article you’ve posted is incomplete (only demand data) and the information in the ausgrid paper had data directly relating the production of rooftop solar. when I pointed the data out to you, you sweared at me and told me the it’s irrelevant because it was presented as a list of individual days and not averaged out over 60 days as you’ve provided.

howeph said :

Solar PV produces electricity at or around peak usage

so yes, it does, but it’s so insignificant in the larger supply that it’s barely worth mentioning.

howeph said :

I failed. You still don’t understand.

hehe, you mean like “you don’t understand me!”- storms off to room, bangs door, turns up music…

howeph said :

Nope, I didn’t misspoke, I’m in agreement with you. Ausgrid is a network operator. They build and manage poles and wires.

do they also have metering of the demand and supply from a variety of sources including rooftop solar?

Diggety 2:41 pm 10 Jul 13

howeph said :

Diggety said :

Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ is a good example of the failure of ‘renewables only’ in this regard:

– Emissions: Some of the highest electricity sector carbon emissions (~450g/kWh). France with nuclear energy, has ~70g/kWh.
– Energy prices. The second highest electricity prices in the world. Over 800,000 Germans living in energy poverty, with 1 trillion Euro in subsidy liabilities. Next door, France has some of the cheapest prices.
– Fossil-fuel displacement. Only 20% renewable energy generation in 15 years, with more coal and gas fired power plants being built. France displaced their fossil-fuels in a decade using nuclear energy.

Do you have sources for the above?

Emissions: IEA CO2 Emission from Fuel Combustion Report 2012 (pg. 113)
http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/CO2emissionfromfuelcombustionHIGHLIGHTSMarch2013.pdf

Costs: IEA World Energy Statistics 2012 (pg. 43)
https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/kwes.pdf

FiT’s: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/2/21/policy-politics/growing-cost-germanys-feed-tariffs
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/20/us-germany-energy-idUSBRE91J0AV20130220

New German coal fired powerplants:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-27/germany-to-add-most-coal-fired-plants-in-two-decades-iwr-says.html
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/new-coal-fired-plants-could-be-key-to-german-energy-revolution-a-854335.html
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/08/31/germany-insane-or-just-plain-stupid/

French decarbonisation:
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/France/#.UdzlAJwrOX0

Diggety 1:57 pm 10 Jul 13

howeph said :

Diggety said :

Fuel enrichment and processing facilities are not needed as this can be purchased externally. Disposal costs are nowadays included in the wholesale price of generation, the IAEA puts this at around $2/MWhr.

If we purchase pre-processed fuel then the price of the fuel will be higher. Plus we introduce a lot more risks whilst transporting the fuel by sea – ships sink all the time.

When you say Disposal costs are included in the wholesale price:

a) that is not the case in report discussed. That was explicitly excluded
b) Is $2/MWhr a lot? To me that’s just a number, I need something to compare it against to give it some perspective.
c) What does “disposal” include? Just disposal of the waste; but not the decommissioning of the plant?

Fuel costs for all technologies assessed are included in the AETA2012 report, they fall under ‘Variable Operation & Maintenance’ (V&OM).

a) see above
b) $2/MWh is approx 1.8% of the total LCOE. Disposal costs (<$1/MWh).
c) see above

Diggety 1:49 pm 10 Jul 13

howeph said :

Diggety said :

It is true to point out the differential costs between a NOAK and a FOAK, decommissioning and regulatory factors, however do keep in mind that this also applies to all other energy generation technologies.

Yes, but I don’t think that it is an exaggeration to say that these external costs, to establish a nuclear industry from scratch, are orders of magnitude greater than those of other green technologies.

An extreme but simple example to make my point:

Kids, as part of a school science project, set up their own miniature solar PV system or concentrated solar system to create steam would be a great, educational experiment that could be done tomorrow with no problems.

Kids creating their own operational nuclear reactor (whilst an amazing achievement) – not so good. Nuclear is not a play thing.

Diggety said :

Modern nuclear energy generation avoids a lot of the previous establishment costs that applied to the more archaic practices of yesteryear. Standardisation in reactor design and regulation mean a knowledge based training scheme, and regulatory framework are delivered with the generation unit – previously, nations used to train, design, build and regulate in-house.

As to new technology… maybe – I don’t know enough to make an informed comment. I like IP am wary of such assurances. I do know that a meltdown at a solar, wind, geothermal or tidal installation can’t cause thousands of deaths and contaminate a region for decades or centuries into the future. A failure in a Hydro system could cause mass flooding and associated loss of life – that’s as bad as it gets.

It doesn’t change the fact that setting up a nuclear industry, just to support the power plants, is very expensive and time consuming, especially in comparison to the other alternatives.

Truly advanced technologies, like “TerraPower” being supported by Bill Gates [Ted talk here with Terra Power introduced at about half way] are potentially decades out if they work at all. Worth investigating for sure – but as you are awear we need solutions now, in this the critical decade.

When I refer to new technology – or nuclear technology which if Australia was to decide to use today – is current technology, reactor designs that are being licensed now (GenIII+).

As for GenIV technology like Gates’ travelling wave reactor – there are companies wanting to put similar technology in the commercial market as we speak!

GEH have offered the UK to build a fast-breeder reactor for free, the only cost that they ask for is per unit disposal of the UK’s plutonium stockpile near Sellafield.

Fast-breeders (in this case based on the IFR) use nuclear waste for fuel, burning 99.7% of uranium fuel density, as opposed to 0.7% in old technology. A kick arse piece of kit, disposing of nuclear weapon material and nuclear waste as carbon free electricity. Win all round, and even anti-nuclear environmentalist are getting on board.

(This scenario is illegal in Australia)

Diggety 1:37 pm 10 Jul 13

howeph said :

Diggety said :

Modern nuclear energy generation avoids a lot of the previous establishment costs that applied to the more archaic practices of yesteryear. Standardisation in reactor design and regulation mean a knowledge based training scheme, and regulatory framework are delivered with the generation unit – previously, nations used to train, design, build and regulate in-house.

As to new technology… maybe – I don’t know enough to make an informed comment. I like IP am wary of such assurances. I do know that a meltdown at a solar, wind, geothermal or tidal installation can’t cause thousands of deaths and contaminate a region for decades or centuries into the future. A failure in a Hydro system could cause mass flooding and associated loss of life – that’s as bad as it gets.

It doesn’t change the fact that setting up a nuclear industry, just to support the power plants, is very expensive and time consuming, especially in comparison to the other alternatives.

I had hoped I’d already pointed out CSIRO’s research showing that in inclusion of nuclear power will be faster and cheaper to decarbonise.

Diggety 1:25 pm 10 Jul 13

howeph said :

Diggety said :

It is true to point out the differential costs between a NOAK and a FOAK, decommissioning and regulatory factors, however do keep in mind that this also applies to all other energy generation technologies.

Yes, but I don’t think that it is an exaggeration to say that these external costs, to establish a nuclear industry from scratch, are orders of magnitude greater than those of other green technologies.
[/quote/]

Orders of magnitude? No!

I’ll give you a comparable example of a nation starting nuclear from scratch: UAE

* $20B for 5.6GWe
* Time from decision to delivered power – 8 years
* Fuel, training, regulatory framework supplied as a deliverable (no time or cost lag feature)
* Will displace equivalent capacity of fossil-fuels, lowering emissions and securing energy supply.
* Delivered energy costs will be lower than fossil-fuels
* Decommissioning, waste disposal, regulatory, and insurance costs are all included in wholesale price
* Passive safety system (not ‘Fukushimable’)

If we were talking about archaic nuclear practices, I would agree that timeframes and costs would be prohibitive, but with current generation nuclear that is no longer the case.

Australia really needs to get cracking on nuclear.

howeph 12:30 pm 10 Jul 13

Diggety said :

howeph said :

Diggety said :

The arbitrary exclusion of nuclear power in Australia is likely to result in slower climate action and a burden on Australian competitiveness, that much we now know for sure.

I don’t think that nuclear power has been *arbitrarily* excluded from power generation in Australia.

Nuclear energy has indeed been arbitrarily excluded, see EBPC Act section 140A. Federal law makes it illegal to employ one of the best tools human kind has ever devised to displace fossil-fuels, and consequently decarbonise.

To quote me in full:

howeph said :

I don’t think that nuclear power has been *arbitrarily* excluded from power generation in Australia. I think that the total cost of nuclear (both financial and political) has been deemed, after reasonable consideration, to be too high; especially when there are less risky green alternatives. For countries that already have an established nuclear industry this equation is likely very different.

It is not illegal to assess the efficacy of nuclear energy to de-carbonise the Australian economy, like we are doing now. That assessment has been made, and should continue to be re-assessed as more information is made available.

Global warming is the biggest issue of our time. The environmental concerns surrounding nuclear energy, whilst very real, pale into insignificance next to global warming. If the nuclear industry could put the case that they are Australia’s best hope for de-carbonising our economy then I would switch and support them whole heartedly. They have not made that case.

Removing that single law is nothing compared to all the other changes that would be required to create a nuclear industry in Australia.

howeph 12:14 pm 10 Jul 13

Diggety said :

A couple of points:
1) Australian energy prices are indeed too expensive affecting our manufacturing sector, low income earners and international competitiveness. (you’ll probably hear more about this soon, trust me).

Oh I’m sure we’ll all hear heaps more about it, like we heard that the Carbon Tax would ruin us all. I just don’t think that it’s true.

Manufacturing decline has been a long running trend in Australia driven by high wage rates and recently, the strong Australian dollar; not electricity prices (except for extremely electrical energy intensive industries like aluminium smelting).

Diggety said :

The AEMO report shows a doubling of wholesale prices if we follow 100% renewables, that is even before the land purchase costs of biofuels are included (a surprising and unhelpful omission). We now know that chasing renewables alone will be expensive and slow.

Yes, it will be expensive and it will only get more expensive the longer we delay (which is the objective of the incumbent coal and gas industries). But the costs of the world not acting dwarfs those costs.

I don’t accept that chasing renewables alone would be any slower than if we planned on using nuclear too.

Diggety said :

2) 10 years ago I shared your enthusiasm for what I thought would be a renewable energy revolution, one that could rapidly clean up the environment and deliver affordable and competitive prices. The results are in, and I now admit that I was wrong.

Ha, about ten years ago I was arguing your current position. I couldn’t see how change could happen in time, and because of the lack of demonstrated, scalable green energy or storage options I was arguing that we must consider nuclear.

What changed my mind, and it was only fairly recently was two things:

a) Despite all the obstacles we are seeing, around the world, exponential decreases in green technology costs, with different technologies on different parts of that curve; and exponential increases in the amount of deployed green capacity.

I don’t think I am underestimating the size of the problem. Energy is just part of the problem with transport and agriculture also being major emitters. Energy is however the easiest of the three to fix!

b) Becoming a father meant that it was unacceptable to give up and say that it is all to hard. For the sake of my children and everyone else’s children we must do what needs to be done.

I think that a lot of people think that the change required is impossible and have given up. I’m trying to show that the change is happening. That it is happening surprisingly fast, and that if we give it our full support it might just happen fast enough to avoid the worst of climate change outcomes.

Diggety said :

Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ is a good example of the failure of ‘renewables only’ in this regard:

– Emissions: Some of the highest electricity sector carbon emissions (~450g/kWh). France with nuclear energy, has ~70g/kWh.
– Energy prices. The second highest electricity prices in the world. Over 800,000 Germans living in energy poverty, with 1 trillion Euro in subsidy liabilities. Next door, France has some of the cheapest prices.
– Fossil-fuel displacement. Only 20% renewable energy generation in 15 years, with more coal and gas fired power plants being built. France displaced their fossil-fuels in a decade using nuclear energy.

Do you have sources for the above?

One fifth of all energy in 15 years is a great achievement. How much of that change happened in just the last 5 years? You need to look at how the change is accelerating.

Getting back to nuclear – I agree that the calculation is likely very different for those countries that have an existing nuclear industry. Australia doesn’t.

Diggety said :

I hope you can see my point that renewables AND nuclear is a better option.

For Australia, I don’t think nuclear helps. Aside from the political, and NIMBY issues, It will take too long and cost too much. There are better alternatives for Australia.

To convince otherwise the nuclear industry must provide some very good evidence to support their claims

howeph 11:25 am 10 Jul 13

Diggety said :

It is true to point out the differential costs between a NOAK and a FOAK, decommissioning and regulatory factors, however do keep in mind that this also applies to all other energy generation technologies.

Yes, but I don’t think that it is an exaggeration to say that these external costs, to establish a nuclear industry from scratch, are orders of magnitude greater than those of other green technologies.

An extreme but simple example to make my point:

Kids, as part of a school science project, set up their own miniature solar PV system or concentrated solar system to create steam would be a great, educational experiment that could be done tomorrow with no problems.

Kids creating their own operational nuclear reactor (whilst an amazing achievement) – not so good. Nuclear is not a play thing.

Diggety said :

Modern nuclear energy generation avoids a lot of the previous establishment costs that applied to the more archaic practices of yesteryear. Standardisation in reactor design and regulation mean a knowledge based training scheme, and regulatory framework are delivered with the generation unit – previously, nations used to train, design, build and regulate in-house.

As to new technology… maybe – I don’t know enough to make an informed comment. I like IP am wary of such assurances. I do know that a meltdown at a solar, wind, geothermal or tidal installation can’t cause thousands of deaths and contaminate a region for decades or centuries into the future. A failure in a Hydro system could cause mass flooding and associated loss of life – that’s as bad as it gets.

It doesn’t change the fact that setting up a nuclear industry, just to support the power plants, is very expensive and time consuming, especially in comparison to the other alternatives.

Truly advanced technologies, like “TerraPower” being supported by Bill Gates [Ted talk here with Terra Power introduced at about half way] are potentially decades out if they work at all. Worth investigating for sure – but as you are awear we need solutions now, in this the critical decade.

Diggety said :

Fuel enrichment and processing facilities are not needed as this can be purchased externally. Disposal costs are nowadays included in the wholesale price of generation, the IAEA puts this at around $2/MWhr.

If we purchase pre-processed fuel then the price of the fuel will be higher. Plus we introduce a lot more risks whilst transporting the fuel by sea – ships sink all the time.

When you say Disposal costs are included in the wholesale price:

a) that is not the case in report discussed. That was explicitly excluded
b) Is $2/MWhr a lot? To me that’s just a number, I need something to compare it against to give it some perspective.
c) What does “disposal” include? Just disposal of the waste; but not the decommissioning of the plant?

Diggety 12:08 am 10 Jul 13

IrishPete said :

Diggety said :

Well, to continue the US example, the insurance fund has never been exceded. If a ‘Fukushima’ were to happen (much less likely in the US due to reactor designs and regulation) then yes, the fund would be exceeded as Fukushima costs are likely to be approx $50b.

However, this scenario is not exclusive to nuclear – all forms of energy generation have the potential to exceed their policy cover, indeed in some cases (e.g. oil spills, etc) they have.

It is untrue to say the nuclear industry does not pay for disposal of waste, most cases nowadays they do and the cost is included in the wholesale price (approx $2/MWh). The disposal issue is made far more difficult by politics by the way, there are much better ways of handling the waste by either burning it as fuel or permanent storage – both are technically possible and economically feasible but meet political resistance. Sellafield is a an example of archaic nuclear practices are not representative of modern industry.

On uranium mining rehabilitation, I agree that there are cases of bad practic but again, it would be untrue to say that of all nuclear industry practices. Need to judge that on a case-by-case basis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_nuclear_power_plants#Insurance
Note the statement that if the USA insurance fund were to be exceeded, the state would pick up the bill. (And no, I haven’t just edited the Wikipedia entry!)

If no permanent solution has been found to the waste disposal problem, how can the industry be paying the true cost? Are they paying into a trust fund? This blinding trust in the private sector, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary (it’s probably only minutes since an Australian company folded without leaving sufficient funds for its liabilities), is quite sweet but not very realistic. And people accuse environmentalists of being naive.

Speaking of political, it’s a classic political trick to say “But we don’t do things the same way any more” until caught out, then make some trivial change and say “It isn’t the same any more” until caught out, then make some trivial change etc…

We haven’t mentioned nuclear weapons proliferation, of course, another unacceptable, unavoidable and uninsurable risk of nuclear power.

IP

Some of which you say is true IP, and worthy of mention, however I don’t agree that the points you raise translate to the way we would consider modern nuclear generation. At this point it is probably important to point out that we do share an overlap in concern of how past nuclear practices were dealt with. Mainly, reactor design, regulation, waste handling, decommissioning and public relations.

What I would invite you to do – and by domino your political colleagues – is to consider the evidence in a updated context.

I could sit here and tear shreds off the anti-nuclear movement proving the majority of their fear mongering was incorrect, misleading or out-of-date. Or I can encourage those amoung us to face up to the problems we have and encourage a evidence based debate on the role of nuclear energy in Australia. Happy to do either, but more motivated to engage in the latter.

howeph 2:29 pm 09 Jul 13

For anyone reading along this discussion is in relation to this article that I linked to previously: http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/rooftop-solar-reshapes-energy-market-in-south-australia-18272

The article and discussion relates back to an earlier discussion in this thread on whether or not solar PV is having an effect on the profitability or not of traditional fossil fuel power generation…

parle said :

okay, this is why it’s an opinion piece;

a) The author (an accomplished renewables spruiker) makes a ‘therefore’ argument based purely on demand data.

“The author (an accomplished renewables spruiker)” – play the ball not the man.

“therefore arguments” are quite common at the conclusion of a logical argument. They are less often found in expressing purely opinion.

parle said :

b) The article has no balance as it puts no effort to disprove more likely events in reduction of demand like cooler summers or higher prices.

The article is about the change in the shape of the demand. The reduction in the peak summer daily demand. Cooler summers would produce this change but have they been cooler? The last one, included in the figures for the article, was a shockingly hot one.

But you are right there has been a decrease in overall demand too. I mentioned as much back in comment #18 when I said:

They [grid owners] have been taken completely by surprise by a) the effect of solar PV in reducing [daily] peak demand; and b) reduced overall demand from more efficient energy use and to a smaller extend reduced manufacturing in Australia.

Parle, it is here that I think your confusion is. The Renewable Economy article and I are talking about the daily peak demand. You, and the report you linked to, keep referring to yearly peak demand.

Power companies don’t make all their profits from just a handful of peak demand days in the year. They make them from the daily peak demands throughout the year.

parle said :

c) It has no sourced detailed pv production data which is very odd as it’s the point of the article, the only pv production data he quotes is the generalised 2.4% figure from aemo,

No the point of the article is to look at the *effect* of Solar PV on the energy market in South Australia. You are correct that no detailed production data was included and it would be nice to see such data matched against *daily* demand. Such data should exist but I don’t know of any analysis of it like this. Note that a number of the other articles I linked to do provide more detailed information on installed solar PV capacity.

parle said :

howeph said :

Ausgrid is a network operator responsible for ensuring that the grid can meet THE peak load OF THE YEAR which is a different thing to the DAILY peak loads as being discussed (do you know what we are talking about?).So when you say that solar PV only provided 0.42% on the HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR… well blow me down with a feather; who would have thought. Or more precisely… No shit Sherlock.

okay, thanks for the caps, but you didn’t read the report, you’ve obviously taken my paraphrase and assumed.

At least I begin my sentences with caps. I did read the report, and then I related my response back to your comment. The report looked at the five biggest individual peak days for the summer and winter. It does not look at the average daily peaks. I was trying to emphasise to you that you are trying to argue a different point to the one I’m making. It is a straw man argument, but I don’t think that it is deliberate, just frustrating.

parle said :

the .42 comes from only one DAY, 4pm on an exact DAY, the best pv HOUR on the best pv DAY, not for the year or the full day (nice rant though!). I know you’re thinking it’s because people are using their own pv but that’s not how the meters work.

I failed. You still don’t understand.

parle said :

I think you’ve misspoke here re ausgrids role, maybe you’re thinking of transgrid? ausgrid is sydneys network (same function as actew’s networks division-the first source I used), they don’t do the retail billing but everything else is them, they’re what used to be energy australia until the government broke it up to sell of the difficult bits.

Nope, I didn’t misspoke, I’m in agreement with you. Ausgrid is a network operator. They build and manage poles and wires. The grid must deliver on those few peak days of the year. The larger discussion with respect to climate change is not about those few peak days, it’s what is happening every day.

In response to your “I’m not interested in your opinion”, I said:

howeph said :

Not to put too fine a point on it, but you can go and get stuffed.

The RiotAct is is a public forum for the sharing of news, ideas, *opinion* and information. I don’t care if your interested in my opinion or not. I’m not providing my opinion for your sole benefit. This is a public discussion and others might be interested.

parle said :

I was trying to rattle you enough to get you to stop your unbearable waffle, which it seems I’ve almost done.

Dream on.

Diggety 1:10 pm 09 Jul 13

howeph said :

Diggety said :

The arbitrary exclusion of nuclear power in Australia is likely to result in slower climate action and a burden on Australian competitiveness, that much we now know for sure.

I don’t think that nuclear power has been *arbitrarily* excluded from power generation in Australia.[/quote

Nuclear energy has indeed been arbitrarily excluded, see EBPC Act section 140A. Federal law makes it illegal to employ one of the best tools human kind has ever devised to displace fossil-fuels, and consequently decarbonise.

Diggety 1:09 pm 09 Jul 13

howeph said :

Diggety said :

However, what ATEA2012 (and successive reports) tell us is not good news – decarbonising our electricity sector will add more pain to an already arguably uncompetitive energy system

I’m not sure what other “successive reports” you are referring to, but I certainly don’t see the reports on the energy sector as all bad news. AEMO’s draft report shows that it is both a technically and financially feasible to rapidly switch to a 100% renewable electricity supply.

I don’t accept on face value that we have an “uncompetitive energy” system, nor that de-carbonising it will make it uncompetitive; quite the reveres – failing to de-carbonise risks making it uncompetitive.

What I do see as extraordinarily bad news is the ever growing chasm between what the scientists are saying we need to do, in order to have a decent chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, and what our politicians, economists and industry leaders are planning to do.

That said, there is an undeniable, global renewable energy revolution that has begun. It is already taking place at a terrific speed and it is accelerating. This revolution is taking place largely in spite of the politicians and established industries. We have to hope that it happens fast enough.

A couple of points:
1) Australian energy prices are indeed too expensive affecting our manufacturing sector, low income earners and international competitiveness. (you’ll probably hear more about this soon, trust me).
The AEMO report shows a doubling of wholesale prices if we follow 100% renewables, that is even before the land purchase costs of biofuels are included (a surprising and unhelpful omission). We now know that chasing renewables alone will be expensive and slow.

2) 10 years ago I shared your enthusiasm for what I thought would be a renewable energy revolution, one that could rapidly clean up the environment and deliver affordable and competitive prices. The results are in, and I now admit that I was wrong.

Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ is a good example of the failure of ‘renewables only’ in this regard:

– Emissions: Some of the highest electricity sector carbon emissions (~450g/kWh). France with nuclear energy, has ~70g/kWh.
– Energy prices. The second highest electricity prices in the world. Over 800,000 Germans living in energy poverty, with 1 trillion Euro in subsidy liabilities. Next door, France has some of the cheapest prices.
– Fossil-fuel displacement. Only 20% renewable energy generation in 15 years, with more coal and gas fired power plants being built. France displaced their fossil-fuels in a decade using nuclear energy.

I hope you can see my point that renewables AND nuclear is a better option.

Diggety 12:46 pm 09 Jul 13

howeph said :

I have now skimmed through the report, only concentrating on what it has to say about nuclear power. Some points to consider:

1) “Capital costs are provided on the basis of an Nth-of-a-kind (NOAK)
plant in Australia and, thus, do not attract the cost premiums of the delivery of a first-of-a-kind
plant (FOAK)” pp13

In other words, it is the cost of building “just another” nuclear power plant. It does not include the costs of establishing a nuclear power industry in Australia. For nuclear one would assume that these costs will be significant, and largely borne by the tax payer. Costs would include:

* Development and passing of Regulation – high political risk
* Establishment of Regulator agencies – lots of new skills to be acquired
* Building of nuclear fuel enrichment and processing facilities
* Building of enriched fuel transport capabilities
* Building of fuel waste disposal facilities
* Building of capability to deal with nuclear emergencies
* possibly many more that I haven’t thought of…

I also accept that there are other types of reactors that don’t have some of the more risky fuel issues, but I don’t think these were being considered in this report.

2) “The capital costs to be considered as part of each generation project includes plant and
equipment costs, typical electrical and site preparation costs and fuel and cooling costs inside
the nominal ‘project fence’ that delineates the separation between the project and the grid.
External factors such as electrical connection, fuel pipelines or delivery handling systems … are excluded from capital costs”

So the costs used is just what is inside the fence surrounding the power plant. Re-iterating what is above. Nor are any of these costs include in the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) calculations

3) “Costs associated with plant decommissioning have not been included in the calculation of
LCOE. Decommissioning costs are discussed in individual technology sections where they may
be significant.”

Decommissioning costs of nuclear power stations can be as much as, of even much more than the commissioning costs.

It is true to point out the differential costs between a NOAK and a FOAK, decommissioning and regulatory factors, however do keep in mind that this also applies to all other energy generation technologies.

Modern nuclear energy generation avoids a lot of the previous establishment costs that applied to the more archaic practices of yesteryear. Standardisation in reactor design and regulation mean a knowledge based training scheme, and regulatory framework are delivered with the generation unit – previously, nations used to train, design, build and regulate in-house.

Fuel enrichment and processing facilities are not needed as this can be purchased externally. Disposal costs are nowadays included in the wholesale price of generation, the IAEA puts this at around $2/MWhr.

Diggety 12:10 pm 09 Jul 13

IrishPete said :

Diggety – do you have a connection with the nuclear industry? Perhaps you’re a researcher in the field?
For the record I have no connection with any industry related to power generation, my only relevant connection being to politics.

IP

A fair question IP, deserves an answer: I have no connection with the nuclear industry, nuclear research, political party or any other organisation that would benefit from my comments. None.

howeph 11:44 am 09 Jul 13

Diggety said :

I didn’t know we were yelling… (?) Perhaps I need to start using emoticons 😉

I didn’t know if ‘yelling’ was the right word either, that’s why I put it in quotes, perhaps “talking past each other” is a better description. Please, only use emoticons very sparingly.

Diggety said :

The AETA2012 – as a base – is a very constructive report allowing us to start assessing our future energy options. Previous to this, there was a lot of conjecture thrown around resulting in uncertainty, and allowing vested interests from all sides to obfuscate the debate.

These independent, government funded reports are fundamental to having reasoned debate; but they are not a panacea.

It is tempting, especially when the results match your pre-conceived notions, to just skip through to the report’s conclusion and start using those results in conversations and debate without having a working understanding of how those results were derived. A mistake I have made in the past and likely will again – confirmation bias is really, really difficult to beat.

I have now skimmed through the report, only concentrating on what it has to say about nuclear power. Some points to consider:

1) “Capital costs are provided on the basis of an Nth-of-a-kind (NOAK)
plant in Australia and, thus, do not attract the cost premiums of the delivery of a first-of-a-kind
plant (FOAK)” pp13

In other words, it is the cost of building “just another” nuclear power plant. It does not include the costs of establishing a nuclear power industry in Australia. For nuclear one would assume that these costs will be significant, and largely borne by the tax payer. Costs would include:

* Development and passing of Regulation – high political risk
* Establishment of Regulator agencies – lots of new skills to be acquired
* Building of nuclear fuel enrichment and processing facilities
* Building of enriched fuel transport capabilities
* Building of fuel waste disposal facilities
* Building of capability to deal with nuclear emergencies
* possibly many more that I haven’t thought of…

I also accept that there are other types of reactors that don’t have some of the more risky fuel issues, but I don’t think these were being considered in this report.

2) “The capital costs to be considered as part of each generation project includes plant and
equipment costs, typical electrical and site preparation costs and fuel and cooling costs inside
the nominal ‘project fence’ that delineates the separation between the project and the grid.
External factors such as electrical connection, fuel pipelines or delivery handling systems … are excluded from capital costs”

So the costs used is just what is inside the fence surrounding the power plant. Re-iterating what is above. Nor are any of these costs include in the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) calculations

3) “Costs associated with plant decommissioning have not been included in the calculation of
LCOE. Decommissioning costs are discussed in individual technology sections where they may
be significant.”

Decommissioning costs of nuclear power stations can be as much as, of even much more than the commissioning costs.

Diggety said :

However, what ATEA2012 (and successive reports) tell us is not good news – decarbonising our electricity sector will add more pain to an already arguably uncompetitive energy system

I’m not sure what other “successive reports” you are referring to, but I certainly don’t see the reports on the energy sector as all bad news. AEMO’s draft report shows that it is both a technically and financially feasible to rapidly switch to a 100% renewable electricity supply.

I don’t accept on face value that we have an “uncompetitive energy” system, nor that de-carbonising it will make it uncompetitive; quite the reveres – failing to de-carbonise risks making it uncompetitive.

What I do see as extraordinarily bad news is the ever growing chasm between what the scientists are saying we need to do, in order to have a decent chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, and what our politicians, economists and industry leaders are planning to do.

That said, there is an undeniable, global renewable energy revolution that has begun. It is already taking place at a terrific speed and it is accelerating. This revolution is taking place largely in spite of the politicians and established industries. We have to hope that it happens fast enough.

Diggety said :

The arbitrary exclusion of nuclear power in Australia is likely to result in slower climate action and a burden on Australian competitiveness, that much we now know for sure.

I don’t think that nuclear power has been *arbitrarily* excluded from power generation in Australia. I think that the total cost of nuclear (both financial and political) has been deemed, after reasonable consideration, to be too high; especially when there are less risky green alternatives. For countries that already have an established nuclear industry this equation is likely very different.

Diggety said :

But the policy reality, is that we are relying on carbon capture and storage to see us through this century – a technology I have serious reservations with on it’s ability to deal with fossil-fuel based issues with any kind of economic sense.

I share your concerns over carbon capture and storage. From what I have read it appears to be an infeasible solution. The AEMO draft report, linked above, explicitly excludes carbon capture and storage solutions.

IrishPete 7:19 am 09 Jul 13

Diggety – do you have a connection with the nuclear industry? Perhaps you’re a researcher in the field?
For the record I have no connection with any industry related to power generation, my only relevant connection being to politics.

IP

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