Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Wake up Malcolm – Coal is Moribund!

*Pic: A solar Thermal Plant in operation. Pic – Solar Reserve (facebook)

First published August 21

It was less than a year ago that the Turnbull government ferociously attacked renewable energy after the massive electricity blackout in South Australia.

Yet within this relatively short time-span the South Australian Weatherill government has confidently announced they have signed contract to provide all the state’s power needs through the construction of a massive Solar Thermal Plant at Port Augusta.

Unlike South Australia’s current wind and photovoltaic energy supply, the new solar thermal plant, due to be up and running by 2020, will be a 150 Megawatts of baseload power, and is said to supply 100% of the state’s projected energy needs.

In September 2016, the Weatherill government launched a tender process to procure 75 per cent of its long-term power supply requirements, and was keen to attract a new competitor onto the market that would provide more stable energy, which should ultimately lead to lower power prices.

The South Australian government contract with the United States operator Solar Reserve will last for 20 years. This project in composite with the Lyons Group $1 billion 330 Megawatt Riverland solar farm, and Tesla’s Lithium-ion battery storage system, will be the solution to the state’s energy woes. All this seems to have resolved the future energy crisis rather quickly.

A composite integrated power system will give South Australia far more energy independence, and probably eliminate the need for the proposed second interconnector between SA and NSW. This alone would save near $1billion in estimated costs.

It’s a simple equation – more renewables means less coal combustion. The rapidly declining demand for coal in South Australia’s energy production will send a frightening message to the Turnbull Government and the nation’s coal magnates.

These future energy projects in South Australia will be the flagship of where renewable energy production is heading in Australia.

South Australian renewable infrastructure will stamp its name against any proposed clean-coal thermal power stations, both on cost efficiency and emission outputs.

It’s time to start turning the boilers off now Malcolm!

Ted Mead has been watching with interest as to how South Australia was going to deal with its patchwork integrated energy system. Despite the federal Liberal government’s attack on South Australia’s energy infrastructure, and its attempt to discourage renewable energy across the nation, Ted is relieved to see that private investment has finally eclipsed Liberal policy, and is now leading the charge to providing alternative energy sources.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. TGC

    August 25, 2017 at 12:49 am

    #14 “The Liberal privatisation of public utility ideology is where the source of problem lies!”
    Take as examples, Qantas, Comm.Bank, Telecom…

  2. Ted Mead

    August 24, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    #7 More Liberal ‘head in the sand’ crap.

    Who actually sold this public utility to private enterprise in the first place? – That’s right, the Vic Liberals!!!!!

    Ya can’t have cake and eat it too!
    Once you privatise something you essentially lose control over its operation.

    Heazelwood is history!

    Yes bad for jobs in the Latrobe Valley but this scenario was inevitable and any government worth its salt should have had a contingency plan both for workers and power supply.

    The National Energy Market has already stated that the loss of heazelwwod’s power supply can be taken up through the national grid.

    The Vic’s now will have to pay more for their electricity, and it is the AEMO who now control what going down with electricity prices.

    The Liberal privatisation of public utility ideology is where the source of problem lies!

  3. TGC

    August 24, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    #11 “It is game over Trevor. The fossil fuel free answers are here, the so called debate of the impact of Carbon emissions on the climate is over and a suite of solutions to limit the impsct of it on the climate are available.
    Looking for employment, looking for stimulus to the economy?. Look no further then the clean, Green and clever answers.”
    Keep repeating the mantra and it’s less likely you will notice the lights dimming and the heaters going off.

  4. Steve

    August 24, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    #11; Phil, I think you’ll find that 150 MW is less than 7% of SA’s power needs. Still a good start though.
    You’ve also mistaken my point about “extension cords”. Port Augusta is indeed ideal for this project, due to existing infrastructure. Other places may not be. Even if Port Augusta was utilised as a hub, I would presume there’d be a limit to the capacity of the existing cables. Playford B and the Northern Power Station totaled some 760 MW between them but I’m unsure about the distribution arrangements.

  5. philll Parsons

    August 24, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Port Augusta, the S.A. site of the MSESS, has existing HT transmission lines. It was the site of a coal fired power station. It is the location of Sundrop Industries who already use mirrors to power and heat a tomato farm [shop at Coles] and desal plant as well as 39mw of electrical power. No extension cord required #8 and #9. Thank you #4 for confirming that the first MSESS system will meet half of S.A. power needs with it’s 150mw output. The other half is met by existing renewables now. I am sure there will be more than 1 of these plants even though they cover 4 square miles with the mirror arrays.

    #3 lacks answers to the argument about the cost of fuel free power. There comes a point where the investment cost beats the cost of the gas and after that you have control over the cost of production and only have the cost of system maintenance and infrastructure replacement.

    It is game over Trevor. The fossil fuel free answers are here, the so called debate of the impact of Carbon emissions on the climate is over and a suite of solutions to limit the impsct of it on the climate are available.

    Looking for employment, looking for stimulus to the economy?. Look no further then the clean, Green and clever answers. Even blue tie wearers are seeing the possibilities.

  6. Steve

    August 22, 2017 at 1:07 am

    #9; Good idea, but the NBN groans every time an e.mail passes by. 150 MW of base load power might well exceed the monthly limit!

  7. TGC

    August 22, 2017 at 12:28 am

    #8 “…however not many of these have the type of extension cord required to convey the power south.”
    Could they WiFi it?

  8. Steve

    August 21, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    150 MW is a good start and if it works out, no doubt more will be built.
    Big problem might well be getting the bacon to the market. SA has many big flat areas, with lots of sun, however not many of these have the type of extension cord required to convey the power south.

  9. Robin Charles Halton

    August 21, 2017 at 3:59 am

    Thanks Stu #4, a bloody good Australian who shows promise, actually the power output figure for Hazelwood is providing 1600Mw up to 25% of Vic’s output.

    It is now revealed a peak body of engineers has called the Andrews govt to consider reopening the hazelwood power station this summer to ensure Victoria’s lights stay on.
    Forecasts show that there could be some “tight” days during exterme weather and this meant contingencies should be assessed.

    A team of experts should be sent to the La Trobe valley to assess what would be needed to ready the coal fired station for short term use.

    Its considered as a risk mitigation exercise.

  10. Ted Mead

    August 20, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    #4 – The Tesla battery bank is relatively small in the greater scheme of SA’s power, but it is designed to provide an emergency power supply.

    This battery bank will allow SA to re establish power in the case of a major blackout, as per last year. The fault of SA’s power failure was they were unable to reconnect from a black-start.

    The battery storage unit will solve that total outage issue which may arise again at any time.

  11. Peter Godfrey

    August 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Ted the 150 megawatts quoted has had a small part left out. It is what appears to be government spin.
    What they actually said was that the solar power station would supply all of the South Australian Governments power.
    At the moment South Australia is using 2,344 megawatts of power.
    The solar farm is great, but will not replace the Gas use yet.
    Usage at the moment is 1104MW from wind turbines,
    1166MW from Gas power stations.
    They will still have a long way to go to be totally renewable, unless they decide to run a pipeline from the seat of parliament directly to the turbines. There is enough gas emitted there to run the world.

  12. Stu

    August 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    150 megawatts hey Ted, and that’s going to power SA, along with a little battery. Hazelwood in Vic supplied 20% of their power and that was 1600 megawatts.

  13. TGC

    August 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    As #1 explains- nothing to lose(loose)? (loosen)?- and given the international take-uo of this energy source- even internationally preferred above wind and solar- let’s go for it
    Or – take the promise of it’s energy perfectness with a grain of salt.

  14. Keith Antonysen

    August 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    The Conversation had an article in relation to the cost of coal against wind created energy. Solar energy hardly had a mention. The interesting aspect of the Conversation article was that it acknowledged that comparing coal and wind energy was a difficult task; and then, proceeded to provide a definitive response. The glaring problem with the comparison of the energy sources was that the hidden costs of coal were not taken into account.

    https://theconversation.com/factcheck-qanda-is-coal-still-cheaper-than-renewables-as-an-energy-source-81263

    Hidden costs of coal-fired plants being death, respiratory illness, and increasing disease vectors etc, from emissions. Fossil fuel emissions add greenhouse gases which have caused catastrophic events around Earth such as severe flooding, causing deadly mud slides in some cases; drought; and wild fires. India, Pakistan and Sierra Leone have been hit hard with at least a 1,000 deaths, and private and public infra-structure destroyed; and millions of people being displaced.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40975232?SThisFB

    It is getting to the stage where extreme rainfall is becoming common, where a months average amount of precipitation is experienced in a few hours; many such events are no longer reported as they are seen as the new normal (USA).

    Scientists state that a warming atmosphere is able to hold a greater amount of water vapour – a view held with a very high level of confidence. A very high level of confidence means that a plethora of research and observations supports the view; for example, gravity is held to exist on the basis of a very high level of confidence.

    We can go on with creating new coal mines and building coal-fired plants; or, use renewable energy which is storable. Continuing with coal adds to future misery and costs.

  15. phill Parsons

    August 20, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Will Will seize the opportunity and commit to replacing the gas turbine held in reserve because of the cost of fuel to building a molten salt energy system where the fuel is free and it can run 24/7 or remain tied to an expensive system that sits idle for that reason.

    If Tasmania needs more power here is how to get it free of operational carbon emissions, the vagaries of rainfall, the nature of sunlight and impacting further on river systems environmental flows with costly polluting (coal fired) pumped hydro.

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