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Windmills for all – cut us off the grid.

By richardh9935 - 18 November 2008 52

Can the people of the ACT reduce their CO2 contributions?  Yes, and here’s a plan.

Firstly, what are the sources of CO2?  They are:

1. Electricity generated for us, for our goods, for our services, and for our jobs.  That’s about 80%. 

2. In winter, another chunk comes from our heaters. 

3. Then there’s a bit from biology – us, our rubbish dumps, our pets, our compost bins.  Plus a bit from our vehicles and gas stoves.

How can we affect this production?  Very easily, with the following rules.

  1. Convert coal-fired power stations to gas, at least, and Thorium at best.
  2. Choose used goods – NOT NEW.  eg a new aluminium boat may weigh 90 kg, and that’s probably responsible for several tonnes of CO2.  The USED aluminium boat has paid its carbon tax, and is no longer responsible for any CO2.

And with these two simple rules, you will also save a lot of money, because price is proportional to CO2 production.

We in the ACT rely on the NSW power grid, with its coal-fired power stations.  They are responsible for about 80% of our greenhouse gas production.  (Coal companies claim 38%, and they are often 100% wrong…. so 80%!)   We need to cut ourselves off the grid, so that we’re not responsible for that CO2.

We could change to gas-fired power stations – that would halve the CO2.  However, even though the technology and the chemistry is the same as our own domestic gas stoves, and there’s no health threat from a gas stove,  there are spoilers who will prevent their construction.  People who would rather continue poisoning many other people, in the mistaken belief that they are not poisoning themselves.

Assuming the selfish anti-gas fired power station people win, I insist we cut our connections to the national grid.  This will force each household to seek its own energy.  We will innovate.

I will install a windmill.  It will be about 50 metres high, with 25 metre radius blades.  I think I can tune it to generate enough electricity for me.  I’ll also need a much bigger water tank, a significant header tank for water pressure, and several solar collectors for hot water.

Canberra will be a different place, and the technologists will survive.

What’s Your opinion?

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52 Responses to
Windmills for all – cut us off the grid.
seekay 9:45 am 18 Nov 08

It’s sixties, John. Retro. Cool.

RuffnReady 9:42 am 18 Nov 08

OP, if only you had a clue… try doing some research before you spout next time. You entirely forgot the transport sector, which is responsible for roughly 40% of GHG emissions, not “a bit”. Electricity is another 40%, and the rest comes from agriculture, landfill, and off-grid power generation.

You also forgot that it is essential to site wind farms properly, but that’s okay because there are 10 farms in various stages of development across the Southern Highlands.

There is one good idea in there though, namely buying used (or repairing) things, which does indeed save on the resources necessary to make the object again.

BTW, “price is proportional to CO2 output”/energy content – no it’s not! It should be, but it’s not. And you are wrong about the threats from gas – a gas-fired pp produces lots of nitrous oxides (which trigger asthma and other respiratory problems), and also carbon monoxide.

As for thorium breeder reactors, they are yet to be used commercially and produce lots of plutonium. Have to wait a decade or two to see how that one turns out.

If you’d actually like to look at a real proposal, yesterday I did a little calculation in my head about what we would have to do to significantly add renewable power generation to the grid. Since wind is the cheapest, let’s start there:

*Denmark runs 20% of its grid off wind, so let’s aim for that – 20% of the grid in a decade.
*Current grid capacity is 47.4GW, expanding at about 4%pa. The first thing we have to do is level out this ever-increasing demand for power (roughly DOUBLING EVERY 20 YEARS!), so let’s assume we do that (through conservation, efficiency and pricing) and the grid levels out at 50GW capacity – thus, we need 10GW of wind farms in a decade.
*The big towers produce 2.1MW (for ease, let’s say 2MW) and have a capacity factor of about 1/3 (ie. they are producing about 1/3 of the time).
So, 10,000MW/0.33=30,000MW of towers necessary to produce 10GW at all times.
30,000/2=15,000 2MW towers.
15,000/10yrs=1500 towers a year to meet the 20% of grid in a decade target.

If we were serious about going renewable this could be done, but it would take a real commitment from government and the private sector, and people would have to accept that their power will be a bit more expensive.

I highly suggest that anyone who wants to spout off about energy/water and other sustainability matters actually does some RESEARCH before doing so, because then you actually know what you are talking about rather than looking like a crackpot.

johnboy 9:39 am 18 Nov 08

seekay said :

Guys… the solution is easy. We can break away from dirty coal power.

There’s that little bit of the ACT at Jervis Bay that already has the foundations for a nuclear reactor in place.

Generate clean, green nuclear power at Jervis Bay send it up the wires to old Canberry.

A 1970s reactor foundation would be worse than useless for a 2008 reactor design. They’ve moved on a long way.

poptop 9:33 am 18 Nov 08

This won’t be the most bizarre rant until someone suggests mining our own poo for the methane.

Oh, hang on.

seekay 9:25 am 18 Nov 08

Guys… the solution is easy. We can break away from dirty coal power.

There’s that little bit of the ACT at Jervis Bay that already has the foundations for a nuclear reactor in place.

Generate clean, green nuclear power at Jervis Bay send it up the wires to old Canberry.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 9:06 am 18 Nov 08

That is… that 20% of the effort gets 80% of the result. (Maybe I should have put more than 20% of myself into that post).

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 9:05 am 18 Nov 08

I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule, that is, that 20% of the effort gets 20% of the result, and vice versa. I think we need to be applying this approach to environmental management. What are the few big things we could do that would significantly improve our environmental impact? As opposed to some of the microscopic measures people take that make zero real difference.

Thumper 9:03 am 18 Nov 08

As rants go, it’s about as bizarre as they can possibly get…

Mr_Shab 9:02 am 18 Nov 08

What an odd little rant.

Though, I think it’s not a bad idea for Canberra to pursue some of its own energy generation capacity. Not to mention the bit opposing the whole anti-powerstation nimbyism (which I’ll probably get flamed for mentioning).

RandomGit 8:57 am 18 Nov 08

I’m assuming the tongue is firmly within the cheek in this article…

Thumper 8:50 am 18 Nov 08

I will install a windmill. It will be about 50 metres high, with 25 metre radius blades.

Have fun getting that through ACTPLA.

Better still, let’s revert to living like neolithic Britons. That would work as well. Oh, that’s right, 3000 years BP the temperature was actually a lot warmer than it was today. Silly me to think of such a thing…

pug206gti 8:42 am 18 Nov 08

Wiki: Thorium (pronounced /????ri?m/) is a chemical element with the symbol Th and atomic number 90. As a naturally occurring, slightly radioactive metal, it has been considered as an alternative nuclear fuel to uranium.


housebound 8:40 am 18 Nov 08

50m by 25m windmills would present problems in some new developments as the blades would have to be perfectly timed in their rotation so as to avoid clipping each other.

poptop 8:26 am 18 Nov 08

I’m trying to imagine Canberra with backyards full of 50m by 25m windmills, vast watertanks (mainly empty as there is insufficient rain to fill them) and CO2 exempt boats.

I can’t imagine Margaret being happy . . .

Ralph 8:20 am 18 Nov 08

Here’s a thought, numpty. Cut yourself off from society and live by your own socialist paradigm.

Never mind cutting ACT off from national grid will cripple the economy.

Never mind the link between CO2 and global warming is tenuous at best, and temperatures haven’t risen in nearly 10 years.

Never mind any action in the ACT will have 0.000000% effect on global CO2 output.


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