Bloomberg has sparked a brand-new debate about clean energy in Australia, releasing a report that suggests finance for new coal-fired power is going to be scarce because wind energy is now cheaper than constructing new fossil-fuel plants – even without subsidy. The analysis, announced here, says Australia's major banks “are …
Re: Other impacts !?
Bird strikes are negligible? I suppose it depends on your perspective. Check this out http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8807761/wind-farms-vs-wildlife/
Re: Other impacts !?
Bird strikes are negligible compared to most city buildings. It was a relative statement, not absolute.
(mutters about out-of-context quotes, slaps head as remembers that this is the Internet, which lives on them)
A few notes on green energy in Australia
So in some place (where the wind is constant ) wind turbines have reduced outage and improved supply but for others, where sunlight is more constant some kind of solar would be better.
But both need some kind of backup to cover when they are not working (and because power storage is very difficult).
Who'd have thunk it?
As for selling off natural resources instead of processing them in country mining companies mine stuff. They don't really do manufacturing. Besides if you set up local processing in Aus, that might get the locals in other countries becoming uppity and needing a coup to restore "order," which is expensive.
And of course the ultimate expression of that would be nuclear power from locally mined uranium. Potentially a complete energy infrastructure capable of running for centuries. And not forgetting the Austrian bomb (Australia would then be like Japan, capable of becoming a nuclear power, but choosing not to).
I'll note Australia has a huge coastline and could build a lot of tidal/wave capacity out of all proportion to it's own needs for sale to its neighbours (which is how neighbours become good friends :-) )
Just a thought.
This is plain wrong as it’s obvious they did not take into account the increased network cost, NOR the required storage/backup for wind (backup would be fossil). Also this kind of data tends to be manipulated as well by “playing” with the cost factors of coal….it’s a big difference if you take the cost of plain coal vs coal +css vs coal +css + carbon certs…
Also just looking at eg. The Danish situation, it’s blatantly obvious wind does not even come close to coal…. Nuclear does however and it’s still the “greenest” tech we have in the long run (meaning lowest amount of carbon + fine dust pollution) also there is no WASTE PROBLEM, not since the waste issue was solved in the 70's ....that doesn't stop greens extremists from lobbying to stop the implementation of the solutions...while simultanously continue to harp on the non-existant "waste problem"
You guys aren’t stupid, take your fact checking a bit more serious please…
Utility Engineer Perspective
Before I add my comments I will share my background. I work for a large electric utility in the USA. My utility owns nuclear, coal, gas, hydro, and wind generation facilities. We even dabble a little in solar. I have worked here 19 years, have an electrical engineering BS, and my current position is project manager. Most of my projects involve transmission substation construction projects. I have managed three projects in the last 4 years to tie wind generation facilities into our transmission system.
On our system the cost of generation is ranked (from low to high) as follows: Hydro, coal, nuclear, gas, wind. This includes the current subsidies wind receives. In fairness our coal and nuclear facilities have been on-line for many years and benefit from the lower construction costs when built. I will point out one glaring omission from the Bloomberg report. The expected life of a wind facility versus a coal/gas/nuclear facility is less than half. Wind facilites on our system are designed for a 20 year life. Other base load generation is designed for 40-50 year life (and can usually be extended beyond that). So you need to take into account that you will have to replace that wind farm 1-2 times over the same life of another plant. This may double the comparable lifetime costs of the wind facility.
Other negatives to wind turbines is the high maintenance costs. It is very difficult to work 300 feet in the air. You can't work on them when the wind is blowing. It is very difficult to get the required cranes on site for the maintenance. In short, when a turbine fails it can take many months before you can get it back in service.
Now I will try to explain some of the operational issues that arise with large amounts of wind generation. All transmission systems must balance generation (from all sources) with the load on the system within a fairly tight tolarence. When a plant trips off or wind stops blowing there is a very short window when that generation must be replaced or load must be dropped (i.e. power outages). While it is relatively rare for wind to stop blowing in large areas at once, it has happened in Texas which caused widespread power outages. The wind lobby does not like this information widely publisized (nor does Texas). The only way a utility can manage the ever changing wind generation and load demand changes is by using coal or gas facilities to load follow. It is impossible to load follow with wind. You can drop wind generation but that is it.
The above information just scrapes the surface of all the issues a utility faces balancing the different generation types. While it may seem I am anti-wind, that is not the case. It has a place in any transmission system. I just get tired of the lazy media who don't report all the facts and the pro-wind crowd who mislead the ill-informed public on purpose. One thing that is not in doubt is that wind genaration CAN NOT 100% replace all other generation on a transmission system. Maybe someday if an economical way to store power is developed but not now. Unless of course you all agree to sit in the dark when the wind isn't blowing....
Re: Utility Engineer Perspective
You cover off a good amount of this - but I will (again) point out that it is horses for courses. In some regions, wind makes sense (particularly where there is extensive consistent wind and high fuel transport costs). In others it does not (where you have short transmission runs and/or low basic wind levels and/or low fuel transport costs).
Also, the maintenance issue depends on the tower/nacelle design. The ones here in Oz are designed to be non-crane serviced, with ground-level access to the nacelle via a staircase inside the tower, and a hoist hatch within the nacelle for replacement equipment. The only thing that requires a crane or an extended outage is blade replacement.
Re: Utility Engineer Perspective
As a engineer, what do you think of either PV or solar thermal? Also, what is your opinion of using solar across multiple time zones to expand the hours of solar-supplied energy (I.E. west coast power supplied to the east coast for hours after sunset on the east coast)? Such schemes would work in both Australia and the USA.
Re: Utility Engineer Perspective
Alas, cross-TZ solar just is not going to cut it in OZ. The transmission losses would make it hideously expensive. Heck, we don't even have a fully integrated grid on the West Coast! No so sure about the barbarian East, but I think they have it integrated in the southern half, due to higher settlement density.
this is a bogus argument. Even if it were FREE, wind and coal are not comparable. Wind is variable and intermittent and neither wind nor wind power can be stored. Non-dispatchable. OK if you can live with you TV running only when it blows. Coal is not free. But coal can be stored and burned on demand within the limits of coal's relative inability to follow large load variations. But it is there all the time, as base load power. The two cannot be compared because wind can neither coexist with coal (it NEEDS gas) nor can wind really substitute coal. So, yes, wind may be cheaper, but it is like saying ONE hiking boot is cheaper than a Land Rover. The single boot may be free, but it won't get you far.
I get the gist of your argument ... but wind and coal can co-exist, just not very well. On the other hand, wind and gas co-exist very nicely indeed. Wind, PV, and tidal/wave systems also co-exist and make for a very sweet combination - but still do not complete the picture. To complete it you need to add one or more of fossil fuel, geothermal, nuclear, and/or hydroelectric. A broad mixed-mode supply provides the lowest carbon footprint, and the greatest flexibility.
As for the argument that wind-power cannot be stored, it depends. "What?" I hear you ask. Wind power, or more specifically, the potential energy of wind power can be stored, and quite economically - if you have the right geographical conditions.
Here in West Oz, we do not, as a rule, have those conditions, but in Tasmania and in the Snowy Mountains we do.
How? You take your excess wind generation capacity, and use it to pump water back up into catchment areas to power hydro systems. The Swiss and Japanese have been doing this for some years.
"Let the market decide"? Really? Tut tut, Mr Chirgwin
I thought free-marketers were also climate change "deniers". Weren't you the one who passed on those very "scientific findings" without a shadow of disblief, doubt or outright incredulity?
The ink has barely dried on your report, but now you're all for using free markets to decide between renewables and fossil fuels. How quickly you forget.
You do realise that your (new?) support of free markets is a predictor that you hold other anti-science attitudes. I wonder which ones though? If I had to guess, I'd say you'd deny the link between HIV and Aids. Yes? If that's wrong, then you'd deny that smoking causes lung cancer. Which is it? You can be honest and tell us.
From the abstract of the Lewandowsky paper you reported on so gloatingly in September 2012:
"... we find that endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science (r @ .80 between latent constructs). Endorsement of the free market also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer."
Oh - and by the way - where is that paper? Psychological Science hasn't published it.
Perhaps now you'll admit the paper was rubbish to begin with, should never have been submitted for publication, should never have been sent out for peer review (no evidence that it passed - thank god), and never ever ever should've been reported on El Reg by anyone except the "You just can't make this stuff up" desk.
Mightn't hurt Bloomberg to double check these figures.
I work at one of the 4 coal fired plants (as a contractor) that was talked about for the contract for closure payment, they currently produce power at $40/MWh
Not only is wind not a viable solution for base load power, but the figures in this are plain rubbish, the 'cheaper' power is 2x what the 'expensive' power is _CURRENTLY_ being produced for. Not pie in the sky 'might be' numbers.
This is typical of debate on this topic.
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