(Especially Pumped Hydro…)
Sundrop farms is good example
Did you know Whale Blubber powered the world for a while. Whales!
Past experience warns me I’m probably talking to a wall here, but I’ll give it a go.
Power demand state-wide is paltry at night compared to during the day. Want to know how i know? Check your power bill. Off-peak (night) power is ridiculously cheap compared to daytime power. Supply and demand, and that’s even though there’s a lot of extra power generation capacity during the day from rooftop solar, which our current (primitive, fossil-fuel-oriented, overcentralised), grid can’t yet store for later use.
So, that neatly disposes of the ‘what about at night?!?’ argument. A bit of investment in pumped hydro storage and some more of the solar thermal plants (like the ones that are coming online this year) will take care of that, especially once we boost wind generation capacity a bit. Peak energy demand is a) during the day when workplaces are all lit up and running, and b) in hot weather when everyone runs their aircon. which is fortunately exactly the time when most solar power is available.
Also, you seem to be completely failing to apply the feasibility tests to coal and nuclear that you are to renewables. Coal power generation causes global warming (this IS the climate change thread). If you like living in a functional ecosystem, in a world where agricultural land remains arable and where cities like Venice and Miami and New York and Shanghai are still above water most of the time, and would like your children and grandchildren to experience the same luck you’ve had, you need to address the climatic affects of coal generation. CO2 sequestration has been tried and failed everywhere, again and again. I know, I was a part of a CSIRO/BHP project on this stuff a decade or so ago, when Howard was spending big govt $ on sequestration, while letting cutting-edge solar companies wither on the vine and go to China for funding. ‘Clean coal’ plants are only 10% cleaner than non-clean coal plants. In the real world where decisions are complex, you can’t just blithely ignore the emissions impact of your power generation. What’s your solution to this problem?
Similar with nuclear. Here’s a quick tip. If nuclear was financially or politically feasible in a post-Fukushima climate, if would have happened by now. (And that’s completely ignoring the environmental impacts of nuclear waste disposal). Nobody wants to live near nuclear plants, no company will risk investing in them, no insurance company will cover them. And the uber-safe meltdown-proof new-generation pebble bed thorium reactors that we’ve been told for the last 20 years are Just Round The Corner and will revolutionise power generation, are still ages off. What’s your solution? Where do the plants get built and who gets to live next to them? What happens to the radioactive waste?
Same with hydro. Snowy stage two is not even remotely big enough to replace coal in any meaningful way, and there just aren’t any big rivers left in Australia to dam (and climate change and overirrigation are screwing up the ones we do have). And as far as I know tidal is still pretty experimental and the geothermal options in Australia are too technically difficult to make work at the moment.
Real solution: Fix up the grid. Smarter, shorter-response switching to allow for the more intermittent nature of renewable generation. A more distributed grid rather than everything going to/from a couple of big generation stations in the Latrobe Valley or wherever. Better interconnectors between the states so power can be sourced from a bigger generation base, to further reduce supply variability. The relatively small overnight power demands to be handled by a combination of wind power, solar thermal, and power drawn from pumped hydro/molten salt storage that gets charged up during the day. Maybe a couple of gas generators sitting around just in case of freakish emergency.
All this tech is already there. The economics are not as decisively there as is sometimes portrayed given the need to update the grid, but they’re very solid these days. And any argument about energy generation that promotes coal without addressing the greenhouse emissions problem, or nuclear without addressing the huge financial, political, and environmental problems that are yet to be addressed, is not an honest argument.
I’m an idiot sometimes.
Whale Oil Beef Hooked!!.. I was waiting for that fact to come to light in here, …!!
Sorry to drag you into this. I’m not disputing any of your points - I’m not even trying to introduce nuclear or more coal plants.
I’m was just playing devils advocate with the room because they attack anyone who mentions anything other than renewables. The whole point I was trying to make is we still need Coal, for now, today. The whole thing, thanks to sarcasm and treating ■■■■ posts with ■■■■ posts has blown this whole thing out of proportion.
Thanks for the effort and the time it took to respond - even though you really didn’t have to.
Oh and climate change isn’t science its nature
Hopefully just around the corner if I’m being honest. Inside 50 years anyway. Climate Change, Fossil Fuels and Waste all in one clean, safe and very possible solution.
Just something to think about.
That’s still science fiction tech. We’ve managed it on extremely small scales in labs, but there hasn’t even been a sustained controlled reaction at a macroscopic scale yet, much yet a working design for a power plant to run off it. And that’s not a trivial exercise, because generating power off conventional high-temperature fusion is basically like trying to boil your kettle by putting it on the surface of the sun, while cold fusion is still effectively voodoo at this point. And that’s without all the practical leadtime of funding, locating, building, etc the plants,themselves, training staff to handle, run and maintain entire new fields of technology, etc etc.
Climatic imperatives demand fossil fuel power generation be massively reduced within the next couple of decades. Fusion really is the holy grail of clean power generation (assuming you can work out an absolutely positively 100% reliable way to keep your tame thermonuclear reaction nice and well-behaved in its reactor, cos god help you if it gets away), but it is not going to be ready in time.
And I refuse to believe anything else can power it as effectively!
No, I’m pretty sure solar, wind, hydro also work.
A few here should watch this weeks Australian Story, and see how Sanjeev Gupta is going to make steel at Whyalla way cheaper than it does now, through using 100% renewables.
The first project in a US$1 billion nationwide renewable energy program has been launched near Whyalla, in South Australia, as part of a push to bring down Australia’s electricity prices.
The 280-megawatt Cultana Solar Farm will begin construction in early 2019, employing 350 workers during construction and providing greater energy security to the Whyalla Liberty OneSteel steelworks.
Billionaire Sanjeev Gupta said the investment by his company, SIMEC ZEN Energy, formed part of his firm belief there was a great future for energy-intensive industries through a transition to more renewable energy.
“Solar will be the main base of our ambitions in Australia but we will have some wind and we have lots of storage solutions,” Mr Gupta said.
“So together that gives us the ability to offer dispatchable baseload power at prices cheaper than other forms of power.”
But the opening of the new solar project has included a warning — that Australia must continue to support the role that coal and other fossil fuels will play in an orderly transition to renewables.
He described renewable power as the “ultimate liberator” to energy-intensive industries like the Whyalla steelworks.
I did read somewhere we are one step closer to commercial carbon free steel production. Something to do with chemicals. Have to find the link again.
It’s called trolling mate. You were trolling in a climate change thread, and you knew exactly what you were doing. But thanks for spurring HM on to another illuminating, (not coal generated), session.
They definitely work…EXCEPT
Solar…At night, or when it is cloudy.
Wind…When it doesn’t blow,or if it blows too strongly.
Hydro…When you have a drought, or because the Greens wont let you build any more dams.
If we got rid of fossil fuel today , civilisation would collapse within a week.
If you can’t see that solar and wind aren’t the answer you haven’t figured out the question.
Longford plant didn’t work when it blew up.
They shut down coal generators in vic when the coal mine caught on fire.
They shut down coal generators in vic when it flooded.
And South Australia went to black when wind blew down the powerlines from the windmills, so what. Our modern life style demands 24/7 power supply. How we do that is the only relevant question.
I don’t think anyone here is saying we need to turn off the coal plants today. That’s ludicrous. What ■■■■■■ me off (and most others, I suspect) is the the lack of foresight to acknowledge that we need to phase out coal and work towards clean energy production (of whatever flavour). Yes, it will take time and it will cost money, but get it started now, because every year we dither and debate just pumps more pollution into the world. It would probably also help make our governemnts a bit more stable if they had workable policies towards this and got on with it because it’s ended up being the one of the biggest wrecking balls over the last decade (and yet here we are, still in the same farking spot). I get annoyed when people boil it down to “we can’t turn it off now, coz solar doesn’t work at night”. Battery technology is improving, PV capture is becoming more effeicient, thermal is becoming more efficient but coal is always going to pollute.
We should be world leaders in this stuff. We have more sunny days, more coastline, a squillion square kilometres of uninhabited land that gets sun and wind than just about anywhere in the world. We have (or used to at least) have a very capable national science and research capability that invented half this stuff, yet we’ve squandered it away through political bickering and conservative asshats being asshats.
Ps - have I ever told you about my concept for giant hamster-wheel conveyor-belt footpaths that generate electricity and fight the obesity epidemic?
Why do you folks always frame it this way? It’s going to be a steady transition. PV during the day, wind (yes, when it blows), hydro and pumped hydro along with gas and whatever coal is still ahead of its closure date for now. Solar thermal and storage will eventually usurp both coal and gas though as the markets adapt. If anyone says “no one has done it yet though” you live in a static reality and have trouble comprehending things.