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The renewable energy industry is, unsurprisingly, interested in plans for a large scale solar facility

By kepayne - 16 April 2012 45

solar power

This might be stating the obvious but the ACT Labor Government’s solar plan is receiving plenty of interest from the renewable energy industry, as Simon Corbell announced yesterday. Forty nine separate prequalification proposals were received, showing that the nation’s capital is keen to get started on a large scale solar facility.

“This level of interest from the renewable energy industry is clear evidence that the ACT Labor Government’s plan to make Canberra Australia’s solar capital is working, and is absolutely achievable” Mr Corbell said.

Though the closing date for proposals was the 10 April, twenty seven proposals are already being considered for the fast-track assessment stream. This efficiency, which is usually unheard of in government, shows just how serious ACT Labor is about renewable energy and sustainability for the future.

As Simon Corbell says:

“Solar has to be at the centre of any sustainable energy strategy in the ACT and it is the Labor Government that has a clear, legislated plan, to ensure that we move towards cleaner alternatives to power our city into the future.”

[Photo by Green Prophet1 CC BY 2.0]

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45 Responses to
The renewable energy industry is, unsurprisingly, interested in plans for a large scale solar facility
Dragon 1:59 am 18 Apr 12

Martlark said :

Solar power comes free from the sun and so does coal free from the ground and oil free from under the desert and hydro free from the clouds. All you need to do to use any of these free resources is dig it up, collect it, drill it, or build a giant dam. Then send it somewhere to be burnt or used or descend through a turbine. Easy! Solar is no different then these other free resources that are just lying about. The problem is the storage and transmission of the electricity made by solar and how to deal with the night time, clouds and shadows that prevent smooth generation.

The distinction here is renewable vs non-renewable. Fossil fuels are non-renewable (in any practical sense). They required millions of years to form and we’re burning them up like there’s no tomorrow.
Renewables are the only way forward but it’s more than likely too late. Peak oil will bite soon, and I’d like to know how the global economy is going to function when it relies on constant growth supported by cheap and abundant fossil fuels. ‘Limits to Growth’ have it all well documented. The world will be a very different place as early as 2030.

OpenYourMind 10:42 pm 17 Apr 12

Even renewable energy studies have not been able to keep up with the plummeting cost of solar:
http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/solars-super-price-cut

It isn’t inconceivable that not too far off and solar will reach price parity with grid power without subsidies. This will change the landscape dramatically.

As for those who say solar is unreliable, solar is about the most reliable source of energy you will find. Canberra’s sunshine per annum can be predicted with incredible accuracy.

Despite all of this, solar’s contribution to the grid in the forseeable future is small enough for daytime/nighttime differences in power generation to be negligible in the bigger picture of total power generation. Going into the future, the biggest challenge we will face won’t be generation of electricity, but rather storage of it.

Ironically, another green technology threatens to increase electricity demands markedly and that technology is electric cars.

Oh, and Diggety, do you honestly think Nuclear can ever happen in a Western country without Government protection/subsidies? Really? No private company can afford to take the kind of risks associated with nuclear. Just the liability insurance alone cannot be handled by private industry. Even in the US, the nuclear industry is underwritten by Govt insurance. This insurance is far from adequate as Fukushima has demonstrated. Fukushima cost may well exceed $1trillion. When I talk about risks, I don’t even need to talk about nuclear risks, but simply political risk of nuclear construction, risks in serious delays (for Oz, think Collins Class subs), hell we can’t even get a simple GDE bridge right.

Diggety 8:41 pm 17 Apr 12

HenryBG said :

Diggety said :

HenryBG said :

Diggety said :

The question I asked you before (why is it that renewables have not replaced our energy sytem?), ….

…is a question that reveals that the terms of this discourse are being dictated by the obvious vested interests.

Consider this scenario:

It’s the 23rd of November 1859. Charles Darwin is talking to his parish priest about his new book due to be published the next day.

“Your ideas are rubbish”, says the priest, “why is it that evolutionary biology hasn’t replaced our creationist system?”, he adds, displaying all the logic of a 21st-century apologist for the fossil fuel industry.

And when people asked Charles Darwin questions, he didn’t change the subject. He answered them.

I’m sure we can all agree we benefitted from that.

Why is it that fusion power hasn’t replaced our energy system?
Obviously, all research into fusion technology should cease forthwith.

Charles Darwin treated stupid questions with the contempt they deserved.

Think about asking logical questions in future rather than trying to air transparent rhetorical devices devoid of logic.

You’re talking about R&D, where the discussion is on a commercial large scale plant (well large for solar anyway).

Reread the story in full, along with Corbell’s announcement please.

milkman 7:52 pm 17 Apr 12

HenryBG said :

Diggety said :

The question I asked you before (why is it that renewables have not replaced our energy sytem?), ….

…is a question that reveals that the terms of this discourse are being dictated by the obvious vested interests.

Consider this scenario:

It’s the 23rd of November 1859. Charles Darwin is talking to his parish priest about his new book due to be published the next day.

“Your ideas are rubbish”, says the priest, “why is it that evolutionary biology hasn’t replaced our creationist system?”, he adds, displaying all the logic of a 21st-century apologist for the fossil fuel industry.

You realise Charles Darwin was a devoted Christian, right…?

HenryBG 7:29 pm 17 Apr 12

Diggety said :

HenryBG said :

Diggety said :

The question I asked you before (why is it that renewables have not replaced our energy sytem?), ….

…is a question that reveals that the terms of this discourse are being dictated by the obvious vested interests.

Consider this scenario:

It’s the 23rd of November 1859. Charles Darwin is talking to his parish priest about his new book due to be published the next day.

“Your ideas are rubbish”, says the priest, “why is it that evolutionary biology hasn’t replaced our creationist system?”, he adds, displaying all the logic of a 21st-century apologist for the fossil fuel industry.

And when people asked Charles Darwin questions, he didn’t change the subject. He answered them.

I’m sure we can all agree we benefitted from that.

Why is it that fusion power hasn’t replaced our energy system?
Obviously, all research into fusion technology should cease forthwith.

Charles Darwin treated stupid questions with the contempt they deserved.

Think about asking logical questions in future rather than trying to air transparent rhetorical devices devoid of logic.

HenryBG 7:26 pm 17 Apr 12

Bramina said :

I think the answer you are looking for HenryBG is that renewables cost more. There is no conspiracy. It is just market forces at work.

You appear to have ignored the link I posted above which provides data to show that the facts are not in agreement with your assertion.

What’s more, please confirm – do you actually deny that energy companies lobby government to maintain their subsidies and to prevent competition from renewables?

I think somebody above made a pretty good call on your grasp of what’s going on here, Bramina. You’re not among your brainless Bolt-worshippers here, you know.

HenryBG 7:22 pm 17 Apr 12

PeterLang said :

PeterLang said :

Although my comment above applies for the whole National Electricity Market (NEM) and for 100% renewable energy, estimates for smaller proportions of renewable generation shows that any amount of renewables is very expensive. The CO2 abatement cost is also very expensive.

Oh look, the disinformation merchants have turned up.
This one is another unqualified self-appointed crankxpert on climate change. Needless to say he’s a retiree, needless to say he’s never published any research on climate, and needless to say, he thinks climate change is a left wing conspiracy theory.

Your “comment” is a load of utter crapola which applies to a non-real-world situation and all you can say about the real-world-situation is a few made-up words and unreferenced claims about “renewables is expensive”.

A sensible comment would compare the costs over the next 50 years of the zero-renewables energy mix you are advocating for, and something more sensible.
Oh look, somebody from Yale who is actually qualified in these areas has looked into this kind of thing:
http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

Turn out, the cost of following Peter Lang’s cranky pensioner advice will add up to the billions. Lucky we’re not going to listen to him then.

I notice you spruiking Warwick Hughes’ website. Warwick Hughes is a card-carrying crank, which woudl rather diminish your credibility, if such a thing were possible.

Tell us something Peter, are you, like Bob Carter, being paid by american oil companies to spread misinformation? Or are you doing it for free?

Bramina 6:15 pm 17 Apr 12

Bramina said :

milkman said :

Bramina said :

[strange post]

This is quite possibly the strangest post I have ever read.

What is even stranger is suggesting that something represents good value solely because because a component of it’s cost is zero. Such a belief is truly bizarre.

It is also quite strange to thing that something that a means of producing a commodity is effective and efficient is it is highly unreliable, especially when that commodity must be consumed instantaneously.

Gah that should be: It is also quite strange to [think] that a means of producing a commodity is effective and efficient [when] it is highly unreliable, especially when that commodity must be consumed instantaneously.

HenryBG said :

Diggety said :

The question I asked you before (why is it that renewables have not replaced our energy sytem?), ….

…is a question that reveals that the terms of this discourse are being dictated by the obvious vested interests.

Consider this scenario:

It’s the 23rd of November 1859. Charles Darwin is talking to his parish priest about his new book due to be published the next day.

“Your ideas are rubbish”, says the priest, “why is it that evolutionary biology hasn’t replaced our creationist system?”, he adds, displaying all the logic of a 21st-century apologist for the fossil fuel industry.

I think the answer you are looking for HenryBG is that renewables cost more. There is no conspiracy. It is just market forces at work.

Bramina 6:09 pm 17 Apr 12

milkman said :

Bramina said :

[strange post]

This is quite possibly the strangest post I have ever read.

What is even stranger is suggesting that something represents good value solely because because a component of it’s cost is zero. Such a belief is truly bizarre.

It is also quite strange to thing that something that a means of producing a commodity is effective and efficient is it is highly unreliable, especially when that commodity must be consumed instantaneously.

Diggety 2:37 pm 17 Apr 12

HenryBG said :

Diggety said :

The question I asked you before (why is it that renewables have not replaced our energy sytem?), ….

…is a question that reveals that the terms of this discourse are being dictated by the obvious vested interests.

Consider this scenario:

It’s the 23rd of November 1859. Charles Darwin is talking to his parish priest about his new book due to be published the next day.

“Your ideas are rubbish”, says the priest, “why is it that evolutionary biology hasn’t replaced our creationist system?”, he adds, displaying all the logic of a 21st-century apologist for the fossil fuel industry.

And when people asked Charles Darwin questions, he didn’t change the subject. He answered them.

I’m sure we can all agree we benefitted from that.

PeterLang 2:25 pm 17 Apr 12

Although my comment above applies for the whole National Electricity Market (NEM) and for 100% renewable energy, estimates for smaller proportions of renewable generation shows that any amount of renewables is very expensive. The CO2 abatement cost is also very expensive.

Guess who pays?

PeterLang 2:17 pm 17 Apr 12

The cost of renewable electricity for Australia
By
Peter Lang *
10 February 2012

Researchers at the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM), University of NSW, did a desk top study called “Simulations of Scenarios with 100% Renewable Electricity in the Australian National Electricity Market” (Elliston et al., 2011).

The authors claim their study demonstrates that renewable energy could supply 100% of the Australian National Electricity Market’s electricity and meet the demand with acceptable reliability.

However, they did not estimate the costs of the system they simulated. I have critiqued the paper and made a crude estimate of the cost of the scenario simulated and three variants of it

Using costs derived from the Federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET, 2011), the costs are estimated to be: $568 billion capital cost, $336/MWh cost of electricity and $290/tonne CO2 abatement cost.

That is, the wholesale cost of electricity for the simulated system would be seven times more than now, with an abatement cost that is 13 times the starting price of the Australian carbon tax and 30 times the European carbon price. (This cost of electricity does not include the costs for the existing electricity network).

Although it ignores costings, the study is a useful contribution. It demonstrates that, even with highly optimistic assumptions, renewable energy cannot realistically provide 100% of Australia’s electricity generation. Their scenario does not have sufficient capacity to meet peak winter demand, has no capacity reserve and is dependent on a technology – ‘gas turbines running on biofuels’ – that exist only at small scale and at high cost.

A PDF copy of the critique is attached. The critique (excluding the appendices) is posted on the Brave New Climate web site (Hosted by Professor Barry Brook on University of Adelaide) and receiving interesting comments:
http://bravenewclimate.com/2012/02/09/100-renewable-electricity-for-australia-the-cost/
It is also available on Dr Warwick Hughes’ web site which is also receiving interesting comments.
http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=1339

An Excel file is provided at both sites which people can download, change the inputs and do their own sensitivity analyses.

PeterLang 2:14 pm 17 Apr 12

How much will the solar plant cost?

What will be the operation and maintenance cost?

How much will it add our rates and electricity bills?

What is the CO2 abatement cost?

Chop71 10:04 am 17 Apr 12

HenryBG said :

Diggety said :

The question I asked you before (why is it that renewables have not replaced our energy sytem?), ….

…is a question that reveals that the terms of this discourse are being dictated by the obvious vested interests.

Consider this scenario:

It’s the 23rd of November 1859. Charles Darwin is talking to his parish priest about his new book due to be published the next day.

“Your ideas are rubbish”, says the priest, “why is it that evolutionary biology hasn’t replaced our creationist system?”, he adds, displaying all the logic of a 21st-century apologist for the fossil fuel industry.

…and then the following day we have a massive volcanic eruption to be placed into an ice age and all that global warming talk is quickly forgotten.

Now get back to work

HenryBG 9:50 am 17 Apr 12

Diggety said :

The question I asked you before (why is it that renewables have not replaced our energy sytem?), ….

…is a question that reveals that the terms of this discourse are being dictated by the obvious vested interests.

Consider this scenario:

It’s the 23rd of November 1859. Charles Darwin is talking to his parish priest about his new book due to be published the next day.

“Your ideas are rubbish”, says the priest, “why is it that evolutionary biology hasn’t replaced our creationist system?”, he adds, displaying all the logic of a 21st-century apologist for the fossil fuel industry.

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