“Many countries don’t have the available land space or the ideal weather conditions to produce massive infrastructures to supply their energy needs.”
I totally disagree.
If these countries have enough land space to build houses, factories, farms and fossil fuel or nuclear power plants, then they have enough land space.
All the roofs can be utilised. All the farms can be utilised. All their rivers can be utilised. All their sea shorelines can be utilised and all their current power plant lands can be utilised.
The only things stopping any transition are corrupt politicians bowing to fossil fuel companies.Posted by Russell on 09/07/18 at 10:51 AM
Great news, Ted!
But beware of the ‘moral hazard’ of attempting to match supply and demand by only managing the supply. More supply usually stimulates demand. See my recent article in TT, ‘The missing argument…’
New exports of energy should therefore be done with conditions attached that prevent demand or want from being stimulated, such as the recipient countries stopping their populations from growing further and per capita consumption from rising.Posted by Paul Smith on 09/07/18 at 12:46 PM
This is a wonderfully uplifting article Ted, and I’m in full agreement with your observations, reasoning and proposals.
Thanks for the maps, too. These aid instant understanding.
Just two points, if I may ..
1. What about international transmission line losses, and ..
2. How can we forever be rid of the current satanic devils in Canberra?
“Satan is not a name. It is a title and simply means rebel, resister, or opposer. Similarly, the word devil means slanderer or liar.”Posted by Peter Bright on 10/07/18 at 12:37 PM
Tasmania has the potential to generate tidal power and this has been proven in the Tamar Estuary. This is a base load guaranteed site.
Tidal stream generators are based on tidal or marine currents. These are standing structures built in channels, straits or on the continental shelf, and are essentially turbines that generate electricity from horizontal flowing currents (analogous to wind turbines).
The top end of Australia has massive tides and if harnessed with tidal stream generators could supply all of Australia’s base power load needs, now and into the future.
The very survival of life on earth depends on stopping the burning of fossil fuels. Australia has the ways and means of doing this, but lacks the will. Sustainable power generation is cheaper than coal. The manufacturing, installation and maintenance of sustainable power generation plants would be cheaper than coal fired power stations, and would offer more work.
The only problem in making Australia’s power generation sustainable, cheap and non-polluting, is the entrenched mentality of the present government.Posted by max on 10/07/18 at 12:58 PM
Max at #4 writes “The only problem in making Australia’s power generation sustainable, cheap and non-polluting, is the entrenched mentality of the present government.”
You are so right, Max!
The Liberals are not in politics for the nation’s advancement and welfare. They are in it for themselves and their kind, and their motivation is money, for themselves and their kind.
They are complicit in US corporatism for selfish gain, regardless of destructive consequences to people and environments.
There are profits in environmental destruction, and once sniffed they are into it like a starving vulture into a fresh carcass.
All a nation’s traitors have to do is secure the reigns of government, and to do that they devise and implement wicked schemes to deceive the voters.
Alas, the people are so easily fooled. The Liberals know they can rely on the capitalist press and rabid right wing commentators to keep it that way.
They also know they can rely on evil US skulduggery to undermine and if necessary, overthrow those political parties with social consciences inimical to local and overseas corporate interests.
But their gain of 30 trillion pieces of silver is short lived because it’s quite impossible to take even one of them with them when they depart this life.Posted by Peter Bright on 10/07/18 at 01:33 PM
Those deluded enough to believe there is a difference between the two sides of the establishment regime need to go get their heads read.
Liberal or Labor, the gravy train runs on the same set of tracks, and it delivers the cargo to those who ordered it, regardless.Posted by Simon Warriner on 10/07/18 at 06:03 PM
# 6, Simon ... Unfortunately I have to agree with you but at present we have the entrenched mentality of the LNP regime. Elon Musk has proven that mentally, he is ahead of anyone in parliament, so when he said that if we go beyond 0.8 of a degree in temperature it will be hard to survive, who should we believe?
This stupid idea that we can go to 0.2 with climate change is a political cop out.
There’s a debate among scientists about the last time CO2 levels were this high. It might have been during the Pliocene era, 2 million to 4.6 million years ago when sea levels were 60 to 80 feet higher than today. Or it may have been in the Miocene, 10 million to 14 million years ago, when seas were more than 100 feet higher than now.Posted by max on 10/07/18 at 09:49 PM
#1 and #4 ... I think good points. Energy is best gained where it is used. Least losses.
Tidal is great for base load and is already being used in the world. It takes time to build large, heavy infrastructure and currently Australian major cities are a long way from the North ... high transmission losses.
Nieve green engineering diverted huge sums of money into the current wind and solar policy. It was fundamentally a technically flawed panic short-term program which destabilised the current power grid. This has resulted both in funding terms and time line for development of better solution of all types.
Now we have to keep worn out coal fired power stations going to keep grid stability.
Australia is not the only country suffering drone the Nieve green engineering syndrome, but perhaps the worst.Posted by Kelvin Jones on 11/07/18 at 11:06 AM
Kevin, the future of world energy must be hydrogen.
Hydrogen is energy dense and can be transported with no energy loss over any distance. We already have the natural gas pipe lines that could transmit hydrogen. The present gas is not renewable and it’s dangerous, but hydrogen is safer and renewable. In fact if converted to electricity in a fuel cells only 100% pure water is the by-product. In combination with ammonia, hydrogen becomes an easily transported fuel that can give cars, trucks and planes the same range that oil does. Once again the only by product is 100% pure H2O.
Now we have to keep worn out coal fired power stations going to keep grid stability. Well, no we don’t. Sooner rather than later we will have no choice about stopping fossil fuels, so why waste more money on fossil fuels that are going to destroy the world. “The only problem in making Australia’s power generation sustainable, cheap and non-polluting, is the entrenched mentality of the government.”Posted by max on 11/07/18 at 03:07 PM
#9, Max ... Such infrastructure projects take time, and it is not true that long distance hydrogen transport is lossless. All fossil fuels and bio fuels are hydrogen carbon in one form or another.
It is the very combustion process you describe that is the heart of fossil fuel energy technology. Just that pure hydrogen has no obnoxious by products, only water. Your motor vehicle produces almost one litre of water for every litre of fuel. It goes out the exhaust as invisible super heated steam except on very cold mornings when the cold exhaust system cools it down and it becomes visible steam.
There are no free lunches with energy physics. Moving to a green energy economy is going to be a difficult process. It will ultimately change our society in a significant way.Posted by Kelvin Jones on 11/07/18 at 05:27 PM
#9 and #10 ... Producing hydrogen, or essentially any other combustible fuel source, will still require significant energy.
It is the source of that energy that needs to be totally renewable.Posted by Ted Mead on 11/07/18 at 07:17 PM
#11… Ted Mead, I agree with your comment.Posted by Kelvin Jones on 11/07/18 at 09:02 PM
#11 ... Ted, there is an abundance of renewable energy; it’s everywhere, wind, waves, tidal, hydro and solar.
The problem of electricity is who now owns production and distribution. Private enterprises held out a carrot and the donkeys we elected grabbed it, ate it and have long since excreted it.
Poor old Gough wanted to buy back the farm. Well, he failed and the sale went on to the detriment of us all. Malcolm has more brains than he is showing. He must know that the use of fossil fuels is deadly, but when you make a pact with the devil, the devil must collect his dues.
If the government of the day stopped all subsidies to private industry using and selling fossil fuels, and put this money into feasible renewable energy, and owned the production in competition with private enterprises, we would have our utilities (the ones that should never have been sold) and power prices would drop.
Hydro could be producing an abundance of tidal power right now, but the government has sold them out by stealth.Posted by max on 11/07/18 at 11:08 PM
Ted, this article is absolute nonsense. I often wonder about your excessively weird thought bubbles!
Australia is already in the grips of its own energy struggle being bullied by some overseas soothsayers trying to tell us what to do, and to stop burning fossil fuels.
The “sick joke” of the decade is that Australia exports coal for somebody else to burn our high quality coal when there is uncertainty here at home. It makes no sense whatsoever!
The big wake-up call should be right on target for Australia.
The Minerals Council of Australia has recently stated that the resurgence of high quality coal from Australia, split between 182 Mt of metallurgical product used to make steel and 200.5 Mt of the thermal variety used in energy production.
Coal is set to be the king of exports at $58 b !
China is our largest buyer of Australia’s commodities, followed by Japan, South Korea and India.
Australia need to get on board by using our high energy, low ash quantities of Australian coal ideally match the needs of many high efficiency low emissions coal-fired power plants being built throughout Asia as our high grade metallurgical coals are amongst the best in the world for Modern Steel making.
The Greens and Labor are over the top fiddling around with Renewables to solve our energy problems. Hundreds of years worth of coal is being exported instead of our share being used to produce affordable and reliable BASE LOAD electricity right on our back door.
Abbott’s hard fist is most welcome to persuade PM Turnbull to force the investment in more coal fired power stations to save our nation from both social and economic collapse.
Ted and supporters, get to the point. Tidal waves and hydrogen technology for example are still in the experimental stage, and neither wind. solar or battery banks are sufficient enough to provide reliable power.
Gas is far too expensive to waste on electricity production.
The wake up call is on our doorstep. Act on it, or perish as the laughing stock in our region.Posted by Robin Charles Halton on 13/07/18 at 08:46 AM
#14 ... Before you drown in your own delusions, take a look at this link.
There are already several countries operating on 100% renewables or heading that way, and that number is likely to increase dramatically over the next two decades. More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_production_from_renewable_sources.
Coal exporting from Australia has reached its peak and is in decline, and the problem with that is that Australia is not looking to the future. It’s the same myopic attitude as native forest logging, and will end in the same destitute scenario.
China is currently producing 115,000 megawatts through wind, and 28 gigawatts through solar, and commissioned over 1,000 coal-fired power stations last year. Whilst China has built some recent coal powered plants, it is essentially renewables that is driving their energy agenda .. because it is cheaper and cleaner.
As for Australia, all the Kings horses, including the Monash forum, can’t hold back the tide of private investment into renewable energy.
It the way of the future!
Like it or lump it !Posted by Ted Mead on 13/07/18 at 08:51 PM
#15 ... Ted Mead, thanks for the insight with the Global Renewables chart .. although it does not actually specify coal/gas and nuclear as the non Renewables component for comparison’s sake!
Australia at only 14%! A long way off my figure of potentially 30% Renewables. I would have thought more residents and businesses individually invested in solar!
Well, Tasmania has made a leap forward with wind power adding 112 Megawatts with CEFC investment of $59 M into the Heemskerk Wind Farm being developed by Palisade costing an estimated total of $280 M.
The Tas Gov’t is still talking up this nonsense for Tasmania being “The battery of the Nation”. Basslink has a limited operational life, remaining as is, and as we well know it’ss about as unreliable as the weather.
Speaking of which Lake Eucumbene in Vic has fallen below 25% capacity and could fall further, thereby leaving those supporting Snowy 2.0 in doubt as a Hydro electric back-up for the nation’s wind turbines and solar panels.
Eucumbene is the scheme’s largest storage dam.
Realistically, the Federal government must ensure immediate investment into clean coal generators to make up the shortfall of reliable generation sources. Once that is seen as achieved then some gradual further investment into Renewable could take place.
Nevertheless we still face a reality in an ever-changing weather pattern environment within Australia. The government has a responsibility to ensure reliable and affordable electricity is on the agenda!
It is an absolute must that coal will be required to make up for the impending shortfall of electricity for the nation.Posted by Robin Charles Halton on 14/07/18 at 08:52 AM
#14, Robin ... You are using the glossary of the twentieth century with the mentality of a troglodyte. The Greens and Labor are over the top fiddling around with Renewables to solve our energy problems. With thoughts like this you are proving your thinking is stone age.
If we stop using all fossil fuels today the world’s temperature will exceed a rise of 2 degrees. You may think that the world as we know it can survive burning more fossil fuels, but you are merely one in an ever shrinking minority. The world’s temperature has only risen 0.8 degrees. Already coral bleaching is occurring, mangroves are dying, and heat waves are killing people in larger numbers than ever. All world temperatures have been broken with only a 0.8 rise.
There is no problem in producing renewable energy as the technology has been known for years, but the government has a fixation on looking after the fossil fuel industry, and in doing so it will sacrifice us all.
The wake-up call is on our doorstep. Act on it, or perish as the laughing stock of our region.Posted by max on 14/07/18 at 10:11 AM
One resident declares ‘environmental vandalism’. Who would have thought such a thing ?
Even suggestion of corruption from UQ buying local government favour. Surely not possible from such an impeccable industry as renewable energy.Posted by Mjf on 15/07/18 at 11:14 AM
# 18 ... That’s a notable loose term of words to call it environmental vandalism, particularly when there is no native environment to tamper with anyway!
I would agree that if the land is highly arable for food production then a more suitable site should have been chosen.
Just because renewables is ethical in its product doesn’t mean it’s ethical in its acquisition.
Wherever there is money to made, particularly a quick buck, then corruption is never far away!
You should know that having seen first hand the decades of dodgy operations of forestry in Tasmania!Posted by Ted Mead on 15/07/18 at 12:41 PM
#19 ... I think it fair to say Ted, that the environment represents different things to different people.
It’s not for you to impose your blinkered myopic green Gondwanaland expectations on every situation. That’s one perspective only.
I think this is just the tip of the iceberg as more unethical conduct unfolds. I expect you to call it out as it occurs and reveal the players. It’s only a matter of time before this solar farm development business becomes completely corrupt, in my opinion. Although I don’t think I’d recognise any below-the-line conduct if I saw it, so I’ll have to rely on you Ted, and the media.
Lock the Gate.Posted by MjF on 15/07/18 at 02:12 PM
#20 ... Actually, the coexistence of rural farming and renewable energy does quite well under most circumstances.
In Germany for many years farmers have invested in installing raised photovoltaic arrays within their farmlands whereby livestock move around under the arrays, and concurrently they generate electricity on the same land space that they sell back to the government-owned electrical grid.
It’s a successful model that could easily be applied to conditions in Australia, but with the exception of crop production land.Posted by Ted Mead on 15/07/18 at 09:59 PM
#21 ... To be fair to the new owner/operator of this approved solar farm, they propose to graze sheep under and between the motorised arrays.
A fair trade-off for ex cropping land ?
Your comments noted re post-construction land use.Posted by MjF on 16/07/18 at 09:13 AM
The absolute good new story for today, PM Turnbull announced that coal fired generation will be used over the next 20 years in order to produce reliable and cheaper power for Australian households and business.
So Ted #21, I suppose that means your European solar farms just somehow don’t figure in the hot dry Australian sun.
Alternative text book dreams now shattered! The world of Alternatives gone down the drain.Posted by Robin Charles Halton on 18/07/18 at 12:00 AM
# 23, Robin ... Your unwavering support for coal and the CO2 rise it is causing is against the thoughts of the majority of world scientist. This is about the possible economical outcome of Malcolm’s and your fixation on coal and base load.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull may have done more for renewable energy in Australia than he is given credit for.
Turnbull’s refusal to tackle the climate deniers and the fossil fuel ideologues within his own Coalition government has helped spark the biggest rush to rooftop solar the world has seen, and a powerful economic force that will quickly unravel the business model of so-called base-load coal.
No power company can survive without customers .. and who will be buying coal generated power? Answer this if you can. With the rush to roof-top solar, better and cheaper batteries, and the exit from the grid of all who install, who will keep the power companies going?
The owners of coal fired power stations are unwilling to invest the billions of dollars needed to run them and build new ones without huge government subsidies.Posted by max on 18/07/18 at 06:43 PM
Following on from Max’s ever cheaper battery comment ...
I recently went through the costing exercise of installing a battery to capture my rooftop generated power, a 6.6 kW system. The cheapest install I could get which would give me enough security to disconnect completely from the grid was $10,000.
For me that is not viable, so I’ll maintain the status quo and pay $200 quarterly accounts to my retailer of choice .. approx. $90 of which is for the daily supply charges.
Note: a retailer is a ‘power company’ that doesn’t necessarily own any power generating assets. Some currently do though, such as AGL.
A battery installation needs to come down to $5 k for me to consider it. I hope the price trending continues.Posted by MjF on 19/07/18 at 09:47 AM
#25, MJF ... From your response I have to assume that you are not a good power customer as $800 a year will not encourage the building of an expensive coal fired power station. If the trend to rooftop solar continues, both Malcolm and Robin will find they are backing the wrong solution.
The future will be renewables. The whole world is racing towards this outcome, and if Australia and our government doesn’t embrace it we will miss the boat.
Australia could be a world leader in manufacturing, and as an exporter of renewable energy, but as much as I thought Malcolm could be the one, he is proving to be lacking any forward thinking and a failure as our leader.Posted by max on 19/07/18 at 02:29 PM
#27 ... No, I’m not a good customer Max, as I do generate my own power, and I also change retailers regularly depending on the best deals on offer.
I would also like to store my unused power as well, but it’s presently not affordable for us to do that.
There will never be another coal station built if they have to rely on domestic consumption. It is all about industry and bulk usage contracts that still makes coal viable.Posted by MjF on 19/07/18 at 04:28 PM
# 27, MJF ... It is all about industry and bulk usage contracts that still makes coal viable. Viable to whom?
Power generation is predominately in the hands of private enterprise, thanks to the wonderful foresight of our politicians. Private enterprise is not noted for the code of The Good Samaritan and it is already balking at coal fired power unless underwritten by good old Malcolm ... or should I say the good old tax payers.
The government finds itself in a conundrum .. damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.
Coal fired power stations take days to start up. They only operate efficiently under full load and they cannot supply cheap power unless these conditions are met. Gas is a better option but it will not supply cheap power in the long run.
The only future is the renewable one, and the quicker our governments grasp this simple fact, the sooner we will have a better future as a nation.Posted by max on 19/07/18 at 06:05 PM
#28 ... Viable to miners, power generators, retailers and customers. Also quick, easy and reliable base load.
The best you can hope for in this country Max, is a hybrid generating system of renewables and non-renewables.
Mining coal delivers too much wealth in royalties and taxes to shut down. Australia will never survive without those income streams.
What royalties does solar and wind contribute to federal and state coffers ?
It’s all about the money. The climate comes a bad second in this country, saddled as we are with our enormous national debt. Blame whoever you like for that, but it’s a debt that’s gotta be paid, and that’s not easy as a net importing country.
Natural resource extraction is the obvious way it’ll be managed via minerals and gas.Posted by MjF on 19/07/18 at 07:42 PM
# 29 … You are trying to tell me that if you elect clowns you get a circus. Well, we got the circus .. but the performance is not up to scratch.Posted by max on 19/07/18 at 10:12 PM
#29 ... No, I’m not saying that at all. This is what I say:
a) Lithium-ion batteries to store excess rooftop solar energy are still too expensive for most consumers.
2) Australia will never move to 100% renewable energy.
3) Due to our massive foreign debt, resources will continue to be extracted and sold to at least manage our debt.
4) The key commodities sold will continue to be iron ore, coal and CSG.
5) Renewable energy in its current form provides no urgently needed direct government income stream as fossil fuels do.
6) You will have to be satisfied with a blend of power generation.
7) Coal and gas will continue to be exported as long as markets remain and the cash flows are necessary.
8) More renewables will be established on Australian soils but only as token gesture to Paris, Monash ,, and as we have some obligation to reduce CO2 as a civilised western country.
9) The realty remains Australia produces 1.3% of global emissions.
10) Nothing we do here is going to arrest global warming, but we need to be seen to be doing something constructive.Posted by MjF on 20/07/18 at 10:11 AM
# 31… I find no fault in your assessment, but can we survive the outcome?
Already the Atlantic is cooling the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc) - and it could cool the North Atlantic and north-west Europe and transform the world as we know it.
Nothing we do here is going to arrest global warming, but we need to be seen to be doing something constructive. This is the attitude that is going to see the demise of our species.
Ever since man came into existence he has been at war with the environment, and it appears that the environment is fighting back.Posted by max on 20/07/18 at 12:18 PM
#32 ... Focus on the 1.3% global contribution from this country, Max. Now tell me how Australia can save itself and the rest of the world ...
Answer = it can’t.
We’re at everyone else’s mercy.
Can we survive ? Don’t know, but possibly by major adaption.
I’m afraid the whole globe needs to be onboard. The actions of very minor contributors will make no difference.
Australia is one of 25 countries which contribute 25% of global emissions ie approx. 1% each.
If each of those countries committed, and agreed to stopping all emissions, then we’d get somewhere tangible.
Until that level of co-operation occurs we’re pissing into the wind, mate.Posted by Mjf on 20/07/18 at 01:11 PM
Re #33 ... I suspect you’ve done nothing yourself to help reduce emissions .. because you think you can’t make a difference, but you’re wrong.
Get yourself a room with fellow do-nothing TGC, and refrain from commenting until you have something constructive to add or report.Posted by Russell on 13/08/18 at 09:54 AM