Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Killing renewables softly with endless reviews

You have to feel sorry for people working in renewable energy. Their industry has been reviewed to within an inch of its short life, and the goalposts have been shifted so many times that they don’t know…

One in five Queensland homes have gone solar, like this house in Brisbane’s Alexandra Hills. Melanie Cook/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

You have to feel sorry for people working in renewable energy. Their industry has been reviewed to within an inch of its short life, and the goalposts have been shifted so many times that they don’t know where to kick the ball.

And now they are to be reviewed again, this time by a panel that is hostile to them. The chair of the review, Dick Warburton, does not believe in human-caused climate change. So if there is no problem with greenhouse gas emissions, why would we need policies to reduce them?

He is joined, among others, by Brian Fisher, who has a long history of working closely with the fossil fuel industries. For many years he was the executive director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, a government research agency that was castigated by the Commonwealth Ombudsman for taking money from the fossil fuel industries to finance its work on climate change policy. Fisher did not agree that his work had been “compromised” or that he displayed “poor judgment” in having his agency’s policy work partly funded by Exxon, BHP and the Australian Coal Association.

Renewables under review - again

The last review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) was published just over a year ago, and was conducted for the federal government by the independent Climate Change Authority. I was part of that review and remain one of the Authority’s members.

The RET scheme currently mandates that electricity retailers must source 41,000 GWh of electricity from new renewable sources by 2020. During the six months that our review took, the most frequent plea from industry we heard was to provide investment certainty for the emerging companies.

Even the Australian Industry Group, no friend of strong greenhouse gas reduction policy, argued that any further change threatened to “reduce the credibility and reliability of energy policy as a whole”.

The Climate Change Authority published its findings in December 2012, concluding:

Transitioning to a clean energy future will require considerable investment over decades. A stable and predictable policy environment is crucial to fostering the confidence required for such investment.

The Authority’s 2012 conclusions echoed those from a decade earlier.

Back in 2003, the Howard government called its own review into whether to extend or end Australia’s first renewable energy target. Chaired by former Coalition Senator Grant Tambling, it came to the same conclusion — stop meddling.

In fact, the Tambling review recommended expanding the renewable energy target, “as a sensible insurance policy against significant greenhouse gas abatement measures being introduced in the future”.

History repeating?

Yet the meddling with the renewables industry has begun again. Even before the new Warburton review gets under way, the message has been sent to renewable energy investors: the coal lobby is back in town.

As former Liberal staffer Guy Pearse revealed in his shocking book, High and Dry, in the Howard years the fossil fuel lobby became so accustomed to setting energy policy that they bragged about vetting cabinet submissions.

The “greenhouse mafia”, as they called themselves, have certainly had the ear of the Coalition in the past. In May 2004, Prime Minister John Howard convened a secret meeting with Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane (in the same portfolio then as now) and energy executives to come up with alternatives to avoid expanding the Renewable Energy Target, which was then a piddling 2% objective.

Leaked minutes taken by Rio Tinto’s Sam Walsh show Macfarlane chiding senior executives of Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Alcoa, Origin Energy and others for their “roaring silence” and for letting renewables advocates set the public agenda. At the end of the meeting, the minutes noted Macfarlane:

stressed the need for absolute confidentiality. He said if the Renewables Industry found out there would be a huge outcry.

Falling demand boosting renewables' market share

A decade on, the coal-fired generators need all the political help they can get because something has happened that no one predicted. Four years ago, after 100 years of uninterrupted growth, demand for electricity in Australia went into decline.

Energy analyst Hugh Saddler estimates that the fall from expected levels has been equivalent to the output of three coal-fired power plants. He attributes it to more energy-efficient buildings and appliances, structural change in the economy away from energy-intensive industry (including manufacturing), and residential consumers taking less power from the grid, in part because of huge growth in rooftop solar panels.

The decline in demand means that the 41,000 GWh of new renewable energy is expected to represent around 27% of electricity supply in 2020, instead of the 20% initially estimated. This is very good news, not least to those concerned about climate change – but not for coal-fired power generators.

But isn’t renewable energy too costly? Interestingly, the Climate Change Authority found that the entry of new renewables into the market has actually been driving the wholesale price of electricity down, both because they increase supply and because they have lower marginal costs of production. The profits of coal-fired generators are being squeezed, and they hate it.

For all their lobbying of sympathetic MPs and senators, there is a problem. Other than in some local communities where attitudes to wind farms have been poisoned by disinformation spread by groups like the shadowy Waubra Foundation (which shares a PO box with a mining investment company), Australians love the idea of getting energy from the wind and the sun.

Solar homes as a political force

Solar photovoltaic panel uptake across Australia.

Going solar in the suburbs: solar PV uptake in Brisbane.

While most Australians took a set against the carbon price, the Renewable Energy Target has always enjoyed strong public support, even if it does increase average household electricity bills by $1.30 a week, or $68 a year, as the Authority’s report found.

Australians particularly like the element of the scheme that encourages the installation of rooftop solar energy. The surge in demand caught everyone by surprise, and now 1.4 million homes across the nation generate their own electricity from the sun.

And contrary to popular myth, that’s not just happening in wealthy homes. Research for the federal government late last year found that outer suburbs and regional areas have led the way in going solar, as these maps of Australia and Brisbane show. (You can see detailed city and state maps at the end of this report.)

For this reason, the government knows it cannot simply kill off the scheme as the mining lobby, some power companies and many Coalition MPs and senators would like.

Instead, it is easier to choke renewables slowly - and the Warburton review is the government’s way of slipping the rope around the industry’s neck.

Join the conversation

181 Comments sorted by

  1. John Newlands

    tree changer

    With the loss of incentives residential PV may have hit a plateau. If the feed-in tariff is to be around 8c per kwh in most of Australia (it was 66c in some areas) then we may never get from 1.2m to say 2m roofs with PV. That will level out the home PV contribution to say 3,000 Gwh per year, a long way short of 41,000.

    Given that wind and solar are now mature technologies you'd have to question whether we should pay a premium price for intermittent 'non-premium' forms of electricity Some say these have depressed wholesale power prices but that must be less than the 4c or so per kwh in REC subsidies. If the goal is coal replacement then we should allow nuclear power. If not to use the term of James Lovelock it is all just a gesture. We feel good seeing windmills and solar panels because we ignore the reality of coal and gas doing the heavy lifting for many years to come.

    report
    1. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Hey Mike yet another one pops up with old and tired Koch Brothers 'script' again right?
      Mike Hansen wrote; " because it is all a gesture. Right! LOL...." Well that's about all we can do with this lot.
      If it's not this issue, it's wilful blindness over the TPP being a big factor in demise of auto industry here. I don't take their comments to heart anymore having put them in their little box.
      This video* might help, it worked for me.
      ____________
      * http://youtu.be/Kn5JRgz3W0o

      report
    2. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to David Arthur

      David as long as it is on a level playing field and is not subsidised by government. I for one would like to see how they do it. Every country with nuclear power has subsidised it that industry and heavily. From my understanding governments have to guarantee them from an insurance point because no insurance company will touch them. And if they did the cost would be enormous. And we have a government saying corporate welfare is over.

      What I would first like to see is how they are going to cost the storage of nuclear waste for its life time. Some of it is in decades. But other components of its waste is in the hundreds of years and the thousands and hundreds of thousands of years. So tell me how do they cost that storage of waste and how do they guarantee it? I would suggest the answer is they can't. It is all on a wing and a prayer and leave it to future generations.

      report
    3. John Newlands

      tree changer

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      Thanks for all the advice. As it happens I've had PV since 2005 and I paid $11 for electricity last year. I also make a lot of my own car fuel and help others with renewable energy projects. I guess I went wrong somewhere.

      Since wind and solar will never seriously replace coal we need a different approach. It's a green middle class fantasy with the perverse effect of entrenching coal as our dominant electricity source. If we're all doing research perhaps we could check how Germany is spending €16 bn a year on renewables subsidies yet their emissions are increasing.

      report
    4. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Thanks for those comment Mr Redshaw: if, as you state, nuclear ower generators don't get built and operated without taxpayer subsidy, then I expect that Mr hockey will object to their ever going ahead - in which case, we may all have to make do with PV.

      I don't have a problem with that either - but surely operators of Australia's uranium would like to see a domestic market for their product? In that case, I'd envisage BHP getting a nuclear power plant near the Nullarbor Coast west of Ceduna…

      Read more
    5. John Newlands

      tree changer

      In reply to David Arthur

      If we had serious CO2 caps that declined at least 1% a year and without big giveaways nukes should get a look in due to lack of serious alternatives for baseload power. The Brits are giving future price guarantees to both nuclear and wind. Maybe they are too generous but perhaps it avoids controversies like the RET and the free permits and dodgy offsets in the ETS approach.

      Your fresh water rule would seem to apply to existing plant like Hazelwood.

      report
    6. Suzy Gneist

      Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Agree with the off-grid option. I already priced it and am waiting to see which way the government wind blows, but won't hesitate if necessary.

      report
    7. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to John Newlands

      I tend to disagree about the loss of incentives John. The FIT is now very low but I suggest that all that has done is for house owners to size their PV systems for their own needs only.

      Renewables have contributed about 31% of SA power needs recently so I suspect that the suggestion that nuclear is the only alternative to coal is premature at best.

      report
    8. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to David Arthur

      Agree David. If nuclear can compete on the basis of the provisos stipulated than fine. Market economics would prevail, who of the neo-cons could possibly object?

      report
    9. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to John Newlands

      Sadly once again a discussion of renewable energy has been hijacked by a nuke troll.

      The simple fact is that there are NO investors in Australia proposing to build a nuclear plant because Australian business is firmly pro-fossil fuel. That is the point of the RET enquiry. It is not to clear the way for nuclear power plants which Australian business would not touch with a barge pole despite their occasional sop to the nuclear advocates.

      Newlands, a fact free zone when it comes to renewable energy…

      Read more
    10. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Maybe if Thorium EVER becomes more than a gleam in the eye of a nuclear technologist it would be fine. But its a bit like fusion: always off into the never ever. In the field of software development that seems most apt for nuclear- vapourware. (the ever receding delivery of a software application that was promised).

      report
    11. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      I live very close to the Hazelwood Power Station and the mine. The fire is not in the actual operational coal face as it is therefore not (so far) threatening its output. But the threat is real. The fire has been burning for 10 days now and from the Princes Freeway which runs very close to the open cut mine, you can see water cannons aimed at the burning coal.

      Brown coal is a geologically young, poor quality fuel with a moisture content of about 65% but there is enough of it to last some 500…

      Read more
    12. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to John Newlands

      Do you dismiss emerging base load contenders such as solar thermal with molten salt storage John?

      Admittedly it is early days for this technology but I for one do not contend that we could switch off the coal plants in the near future.

      But we can gradually increase the mix of renewables to coal over a period of maybe twenty years or so.

      If the promise of renewables is not fulfilled than we should consider nuclear but not before.

      report
    13. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Interestingly the local fossil fuel generator, the largest brown coal fire station in this country is now offering solar panels at cost price to its employees. Just an observation.

      report
    14. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Suzy Gneist

      all it takes is the next generation of batteries, accelerated in development through electical car tech.

      report
    15. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Appreciate the comment and grok the point.
      Henry Verberne wrote; "Maybe if Thorium EVER becomes more than a gleam in the eye of a nuclear technologist eye ... " It will have to be a gleam in eyes of generations two hundred years or mores eyes.
      Because what no one ever talks about is the fact "no nuclear reactor" is "Fail Safe", Generation I,II,III, With Generation IV or V, failsafe is questionable still generates waste with a 10,000 year ½ life still a problem as the total radioactive waste from commissioning to decommissioning over 330,000 tonnes.
      Whereas alternative energy sources are totally "Fail Safe".
      Quite simple really.
      The line of logic we should bias all technology toward being "Fail Safe" something many commenters are utterly blind to.

      report
    16. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to John Newlands

      John, from my memory, if it is correct, Germany shut down its Nuclear power stations after the Japanese Nuclear disaster.

      report
    17. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to John Newlands

      John, you do know never is such a long time and therefore a rather big statement. As for solar having base power. That has already been proved possible in Spain with their solar power system supported by a saline storage system. They have also built three similar reasonably sized trial solar projects in the United States with a saline storage system to enable them to operate as a base power generator.

      So I would suggest that never statement is a bit of an overstretch and incorrect. In fact when you look at the United States under financial support for such trial projects from the Obama government they are doing some interesting things. And what are we doing. It seems we are going back to coal and discarding any idea of a renewable energy industry. Is that back to the future or is it going forward to the past. I am a bit confused about anything this government is doing.

      report
    18. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Yes I agree. The only problem is that you can't make nuclear bombs from it from what I understand so it does not get the investment. Although it is my understanding that the Chinese are interested in its potential.

      report
    19. Peter Redshaw

      Retired

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Henry as I said in a response to John's post, the solar plant in Spain has proved it can work. And I saw an interesting piece on the PBS Newshour of three reasonably sized trial solar plants with the saline storage system. They were talking about the trials providing good enough outcomes to build a quite sizable solar plant using the molten salt storage technology.

      I also wonder whether it would be worth looking at integrating the molten solar technology even into a normal electricity grid system such as ours as a means of balancing out peak demand. If it was cost efficient it would be one way of reducing the need to invest in all of that extra generating capacity.

      report
    20. Steve Hindle

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to John Newlands

      I agree we need more analysis of the true costs base load renewable energy. At present we are often given very misleading figures that do not reflect the true cost of renewables. If renewables prove too expensive for reliable base load power then they will not displace fossil fuel base load power for many more decades.

      report
    21. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to John Newlands

      Thanks for this, Mr Newlands. With respect, I must point out that imposing emission caps is economically sub-optimal, since it is tantamount to artificially creating a scarce commodity CO2 emissions, with all the market-distorting sub-optimalities and outright criminalities experienced during WW2 rationing and in command economies everywhere at all times.

      A far superior technique is simply to impose a price, and allow each participant in the economy seek their own optimal response. This has…

      Read more
    22. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Thanks Mr Verberne. In my comment I also suggested three specific locations and purposes in which nuclear power might be appropriately installed in Australia; have you a view on any of those?

      report
    23. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Peter Redshaw

      Peter, Port Augusta wanted this technology in conjunction with wind to replace their old coal fired station. They had a company ready to invest, but were turned down. Politics got in the way. There are communities and companies who would be invigorated by these technologies, and why shouldn't they be able to choose. It's a bit paternalistic.
      In ten and twenty years time I have no doubt these technologies will have improved more than they have in the last ten etc. But we will have to stop Gina Rinehart, (and the rest of the greenhouse mafia), from having any say in our energy policies.

      report
    24. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Appreciate the premise of pushing a technology birthed in the cold war to produce plutonium for nuclear domination. Sold to us by the military organisation the IAEA in the 1960s as the nuclear dream of free power.
      David Arthur wrote; "... we should not preference nuclear power by giving it the sort of sweet deals that ultimately killed off cars and mineral processing" Good point well made.
      By your line of logic nuclear power should not even be attempted.
      Because generation I,II,III and the IV…

      Read more
    25. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      When we go solar, we are going for total self reliance and to hell with the grid. When ever there is a big storm or a cyclone, we lose power for anything up to three weeks, while in the meantime the city is back on the grid in no time. I will even resent having to pay for grid power availability even though we intend not using it all. I already have 12kva as back up power for emergencies, nor to complete the project with a similar solar generator. Then I couldn't care less what the idiots in canberra do.

      report
    26. Mike Jubow

      Forestry nurseryman at Nunyara Wholesale , Forestry consultants, seedling suppliers.

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      Also, you could look at water electrolysis to H2 &O2 compressing it and reversing the process when the sun doesn't shine. The idea is attractive to me because I could get rid of my gas account with BOC and use O & H in my workshop instead of acetylene and/or LPG. Also, if I could generate enough H, there is no reason why I couldn't convert a petrol driven car to run on it and only use petrol for long trips.

      report
    27. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Mike Jubow

      Hi Mike, we go out post storms for 1-5 days regularly. We also regularlt lose the phone at the same time, and live beyond mobile reception despite being 25 kms as T.C. Flies from the coast. My kids are good card players, and the camper stove and candles are within reach at all time. I don't know what they're going to do, but types like the Shooters and Fishers kicked up a stink when Barry wanted to wind back the solar rebate in NSW. I suspect some of the minor parties and independents may become difficult to predict when wind-back legislation is attempted.

      report
    28. Andy Saunders

      Consultant

      In reply to John Newlands

      FIT is now rather irrelevant for most installations. Instead, offsetting consumption at the retail rate of 25c plus makes sense usually.

      But of course it is helped by the RET which keeps capex down (for small systems).

      report
    29. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      It's amazing how much better reporting you get from The Guardian Australia v The Conversation

      The Conversation is too scared of being called partisan to have any real principals regarding what they will publish

      report
    30. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Michael Shand

      'The Conversation is too scared of being called partisan to have any real principals regarding what they will publish' Really?
      Evidence Michael? Or just another silly opinion?
      TC is not a person/group who is/are 'scared' of something; and the articles are, for the most part, written by experts in their field/s.
      I read the Guardian as well. Also a good source of news. Not an academic site though. There is a difference in the style of journalism.

      report
    31. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Sure, they have published articles from many lobbygroups with set agenda's, they have published articles promoting disproven economic theories such as trickel down economics, they have published articles promoting disproven alternative therapy and the many editors have stated outright that the reason they publish articles that they themselves disagree with is because they do not want to appear partisan.

      if you would like the links to these articles I can provide but will take time for me to go through and seeing as I am at work, might have to wait until this evening

      report
    32. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Err, you miss my point, Mr Richards - which is that if Australia wants to have anything beyond a banana economy and lifestyle (a few kleptrocrats and a lot of diseased ignorant peasants, then it needs to sustainably utilise its natural endowments.

      Exporting iron ore and bauxite and alumina just won't cut it - we need to be exporting metals, not metal ore.

      Likewise ,exporting waste paper and woodchips so someone else can turn them into paper and selling some of it back to us similarly won't…

      Read more
    33. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Michael Shand

      "if you would like the links to these articles". No thanks. I can find evidence for myself. Just small points:- I think you meant 'principles' not 'principals' and 'trickle' not 'trickle'.
      I still think you're wrong about TC …

      report
    34. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      If you are going to be so shallow as to correct people on presentational issues such as spelling or grammer....I would suggest you get it right yourself

      "and 'trickle' not 'trickle'." trickle not trickle?

      I'm playing obviously, I don't care about spelling or grammer as long as I can understand your message and point because really, that's whats important, the rest is just Grammer Nazism

      I don't think the TC is inherently bad, I think they do a public good, I just think they could have more…

      Read more
    35. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Michael Shand

      trickle not trickle? Second one should be trickel, altered by the spell checker. Grammer Nazism? - Should be grammar Michael.
      Comparing other commenters to Nazis is bad manners Michael.

      report
    36. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      I am not comparing other commenters to nazi's - grammer nazi is a well known expression used to refer to a situation when someone is so focused on grammer and spelling - presentational errors - that they miss the forest for the tree's

      BTW, I am not suggesting that other commenters can't see forests, that too is just a well known expression, I'm not reffering to actual forests or tree's it's just a saying

      BTW, me typing that it's just a saying, I know I am typing and not saying, it's just a well known expression

      report
    37. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Interesting attempt an letting the 'failsafe' issue slide.
      David Arthur wrote; " Err, you miss my point, Mr Richards - which is that if Australia wants to have anything beyond a banana economy and lifestyle" Really do I.
      If the Banana Republic issue was important to you, raising the issue of the TPP and the near synchronous announcement of Abbots decimation of our sixty year old automobile industry. Along with the strategic foresight of the Button plan for a single Australian manufacturer of a…

      Read more
    38. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike,
      Wind is claimed to be supplying about 30% of South Australia's electricity.
      How can it do this when the wind does not blow?
      SA has some of Australia's highest prices for electricity when it has to be imported because the wind is not blowing. When the time to import coincides with a time of need in the States supplying it, it can be very expensive. I have a scenario when demand in the producing States is so high that there is no electricity for sale to SA. Result? Blackouts that could last…

      Read more
    39. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to David Arthur

      David,
      It is illogical to call for a level playing field for nuclear in the same paragraph as you call for restrictions.

      report
    40. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Alice,
      How do you feel about Germany's large investment in new brown coal electricity generators?
      If Germany can expand its activity, why can't Australia keep its brown coal works, or even expand them?

      report
    41. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to John Newlands

      John,
      Does it not bother you that your low cost for private electricity comes in part from the pockets of poor people who cannot afford to hook into the public teat like you have done?

      report
    42. Geoffrey Sherrington

      Surveyor

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Henry,
      Has it been established how the fire started? Was it sabotage?

      report
    43. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Mr Sherrington, "It is illogical to call for a level playing field for nuclear in the same paragraph as you call for restrictions."

      Err, you've missed my point - which is that new-build power stations of ANY sort that use inland fresh water is a subsidy (aka sanctioned theft) from both environment and agriculture. the same holds for new-build installations that discharge warmed water into coastal lagoons.

      report
    44. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Pythinia Preston

      Pythinia. It was this comment by M. Shand that started me off: His comment, (see further up the page) was:
      'The Conversation is too scared of being called partisan to have any real principals regarding what they will publish.'
      Usually I ignore comments that I find silly and annoying but just this once I decided to tease him. Sorry. I'll try not to do it again : )

      report
    45. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Mr Richards, the point my previous comment nbeglected to make was that if nuclear power stations can't get insurance, then that tells us something.

      No need to go all freak-out nuts about nuclear power on me - because I am not demanding nuclear power.

      What I am proposing is that nuclear power not be ruled out by jerking knees, but rather be considered on its merits and its faults - along with all other power generating technologies. Agreed, I haven't read the Wikileaks material, but then…

      Read more
    46. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Appreciate the converstion David.
      David Arthur wrote; "... but rather [nuclear] be considered on its merits and its faults..." Due diligence, when did you actually get the other side of the story from nuclear lobbyist and there are many here on The Conversation? Even regular North American ones.
      David Arthur wrote; "Regarding waste disposal what do you think of it being stored at Roxby Downs for eventual burial when spent workings are backfilled?" I have no problem with us taking nuclear waste…

      Read more
    47. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to John Newlands

      John, if we removed all subsidies and perks to all energy sources, fossil and renewable, as well as forcing polluters to internalise climate change costs, we might get a better idea of what is practical.

      report
    48. Ross Barrell

      Aikido Student

      In reply to John Newlands

      Hi John

      You must drive a diesel vehicle. If I did I'd be making bio diesel fuel from old cooking oil myself. We also have had PV since 2005. We have recently upgraded to a much larger capacity rooftop system and this means our 44c feed in tariff got reduced to 8c - though we are making much more power than we were previously. So I don't know yet, how this is going to play out money-wise.

      Sorry I am going to disagree with you that coal is necessary at all to produce electricity. In fact, when you think about it, it is incredibly inefficient to burn coal to boil water to run a turbine to generate power that gets distributed over a large grid in order for you to boil water to make a cuppa. Very 20th century indeed.

      report
    49. Andy Saunders

      Consultant

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      Ah yes! Inefficient indeed, but very convenient.

      Imagine the alternative though, of having to ignite a lump of coal and perch your jug on top of it. :)

      btw, generating solar PV at maybe 18% efficiency plus 5% losses, then using it to heat your jug is also inefficient...

      report
    50. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Geoffrey, I try to keep 'feelings' out of the way when reading about improvements in efficiency and price (of), and increases in the use and development of renewable energy.
      What do you think of 'Dick' Warburton as head of the RET investigation, reckon he understands what climate change is? And further, do you think some company directors (like Dick) are jut as corrupt as some union leaders? "Reid claims NPA directors and RBA officials were aware of "high risk strategies and poor business practices…

      Read more
    51. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Those coal plants had already been scheduled and planned for years ago - they may only now be being completed, but they are not exactly 'new'.

      report
    52. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Moderators, I was calling DW incompetent and corrupt, not good old Geoffrey, who I always enjoy conversing with.

      report
    53. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Andy Saunders

      Andy, " ... generating solar PV at maybe 18% efficiency plus 5% losses, then using it to heat your jug is also inefficient... ", but that process has the advantage of free inputs and no CO₂ outputs (all right, I agree it takes energy to make the PV panels and that probably releases CO₂, plus other nasties - I'm only looking at the 18% efficiency problem here).

      report
    54. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Andy Saunders

      Every complex technology is pretty well inefficient when you boil the numbers down. The 18% efficiency of solar cells is not really a problem, it just means that only 18 percent of the energy was harnessed, the unharnessed solar energy doesn't matter. The inefficiency of solar lies in the fossil fuels used for their manufacture.

      Passive solar gain (through windows or the suns rays on our bodies) probably provides maximum efficiency. Photosynthesis is the ultimate top performer. Everything that we manufacture in order to capture energy artificially has in-built inefficiencies, though some are better than others.

      Though everyone seems to believe their favoured technology is the cleanest, there's no such thing as zero carbon, or clean energy, as it so often touted.

      report
    55. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Exactly!

      Provided we properly include a fair estimate of ALL externalities, particularly:
      (1) wider health and general environmental degradation caused by coal mining, transport and processing,
      (2) true water footprints of ALL generation systems
      (3) shutdown, dismantling and remediation costs at end of life
      (4) costs for safe storage of any dangerous, toxic or radioactive wastes
      (5) true embodied energy and water in construction an doperation of actual generator systems/buildings/facilities
      and those kinds of items.

      If that were done honestly then, indeed, let all available technologies compete fairly. if nuclear can prove itself in that test, then good luck to it.

      report
    56. Andy Saunders

      Consultant

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      My point was more that efficiency is not the entire goal in the eyes of the consumer. Convenience counts for a huge amount of it (plus cost, of course).

      Chris, is photosynthesis a bit inefficient too? I have a feeling that good solar cells can have a higher conversion. Just curious.

      report
    57. Ross Barrell

      Aikido Student

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Hi Geoff

      You're absolutely right about "Germany's large investment in new brown coal electricity generators?" What you didn't mention is that Germany has a surcharge on electricity consumption aimed at providing subsidies for renewable technologies. DerSpiegel online - here:

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/researchers-alarmed-at-rise-in-german-brown-coal-power-output-a-942216.html

      reports that "In 2014, the surcharge on electricity bills will provide some €23.5 billion of subsidies for renewable energies. A four-person household will pay a surcharge of almost €220 this year."

      Now frankly, I think we should adopt a similar approach here and then we could be assured that our forward thinking government has its little head screwed on properly.

      report
    58. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Andy Saunders

      It is sometimes argued that riding a bike is more efficient than walking but I disagree with that analysis, much though I like to cycle. When we walk we do need shoes, of course, so even walking is not totally benign.

      Photosynthesis may not use 100 percent of the energy in incident sunlight, but there's been no coal burned to manufacture the trees, or transport them to where they grow or to dismantle them.

      And, yes, it goes without saying that efficiency is not the only criterion we should use in choosing technology – so long as they are not so inefficient as to use more energy than they deliver.

      An Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI) needs to be greater than 12:1 to fuel an industrial society such as ours and many technologies fall under that threshold.

      report
    59. Ross Barrell

      Aikido Student

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Thanks Andy, for these comments. I understand that rooftop PV panels can achieve as high as 40% efficiency - but that depends on how new and the technology used to make and install them.

      But the real attraction is, of course the free inputs and no ongoing pollution issues. And, of course, I produce all the power I use at home. :-)

      report
    60. Fred Smith

      Electrical Engineer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul, have you even had a look at Thorium based reactors? From what you have written I suspect not. A good place to start is as always Wikipedia

      --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power

      You have written failsafe a lot of times for some reason. If you had of kept it split it up into "fail safe" you would then have kept a proper 2 word slogan! :)

      Have a crack at this one:

      --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_nuclear_safety

      report
    61. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      Best that PV panels can achieve in laboratory conditions is 20 percent. Solar hot water can achieve 70 percent energy recovery.

      This is not to disparage solar pv, just using real figures.

      report
    62. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      We're seem to be in agreement on many issues, Mr Richards, and you raise a number of issues of the institutional context in which any and all technologies (governance, insurance, liabilities) are employed.

      While I retain an open mind on technical issues, I have not considered these other issues at all - to me, they remain open questions, and should be considered before further "roll-out" (that's the catchphrase in vogue at present?) Thank you for raising them.

      report
    63. Ross Barrell

      Aikido Student

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Thanks Chris

      Yup. Sorry. You're right. I got the 40% figure off a web site I can't remember. Wikipedia gives a large range of efficiencies (up to 43.5% using multi-junction concentrator technology) and depending on a rather large number of factors including temperature, latitude, season and so on. Though I wouldn't know if this sort of technology is available to us ordinary folk just yet. But clearly the most common scenario for 200 watt panels is around 12% to 19% or so.

      report
    64. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Once again I appreciate the converstion, the honesty and candour of your comment.
      David Arthur wrote; "... I have not considered these other issues at all - to me, they remain open questions ..." [nuclear power production]
      By this I assume you mean the following issues;
      1] The shear magnitude of the "failsafe" problem. [evidenced by Fukushima and Chernobyl and many other incidents]
      2] The fact that literally no underwriter in the world will take the risk insuring for negative outcomes.
      3…

      Read more
    65. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      1) I don't see issue 1 ('failsafe') as an issue at all - that's engineering.
      Chernobyl is what happens if you don't conduct HAZOP studies to address all possibilities, and Fukushima is what happens if you don't follow through on your HAZOP study.

      2, 3 - self-insurance ? ie strong interest in Gitting It Right?

      4 they'd have to dig the stuff back up from deep under Roxby Downs (amidst some future time of anarchy?) ie pretty determined to do themselves harm. The more I think about this one…

      Read more
    66. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Fred Smith

      Interesting, you obviously are still living the nuclear delusion.
      Fred Smith wrote; "...have you even had a look at Thorium based reactors?" What do you actually think a generation IV reactor is? And you ask me if I ever looked at thorium reactors.
      Do you actually know what 'failsafe' means, no nuclaer reactor is failsafe, yes thorium has failsafe to a point, but on examination the whole system is not. So far what is never discussed is generation IV and V reactors are purely theoretical and…

      Read more
    67. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Well this is now a very disappointing turn in our converstion. All I asked after you stated "... I have not considered these other issues at all - to me, they remain open questions ...". Now I discover your version of open was subjective to your conservative bias. Interesting, but disappointing none the less.
      David Arthur wrote; "I don't see issue 1 ('failsafe') as an issue at all - that's engineering." Then you fail to grasp what failsafe means on an engineering level. Because, like all who support…

      Read more
    68. Fred Smith

      Electrical Engineer

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul Richards wrote "considerable rubbish..."

      Yes I ask did you look at thorium reactors. Yes I understand what gen 4 is. No nuclear reactor is failsafe, then you go to say thorium is failsafe to a point... splitting failsafes now are we?

      Just because something is long term, I would like to think that doesn't mean put it in the too hard basket. 2200 you say? Fine. Better start now, if we are relying on renewables to be the magic bullet we will probably still be burning coal at that point.

      Where are you pulling the 330k tonnes from?

      report
    69. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Fred Smith

      Appreciate the comment.
      Fred Smith wrote; "thorium is failsafe to a point... splitting failsafes now are we?" Understandable you would grasp at a straw, this counter nuclear set of facts is not very unpalatable to supporters. I know I once was like you promoting generation IV reactor, chasing the delusion of green energy.
      Failsafe of generation IV is subjective to personal backing of the Military Government Nuclear Weapons and Energy Bloc.
      A weasel word to sell the 'burn' of the 98% of unprocessed…

      Read more
    70. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul, your questions are worth examining. That is why I support the idea of nuclear being part of the conversation about our future. If the public understands the risks and decides to accept them, there would be a place for nuclear generation. No technology is ever going to be 100% foolproof. There are environmental risks from building PV panels, wind turbines and even in changing the patterns of the tides.
      The questions are 1) "what demands do we want to make of life?" and, thus, 2) "what risks and expenditures are we willing to undertake to achieve our demands?" If we reduce 1, we automatically reduce 2.

      report
    71. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Interesting comment, I could have written the very same lines once myself.
      Doug Hutcheson wrote; " ... public understands the risks and decides to accept them, there would be a place for nuclear generation. No technology is ever going to be 100% foolproof." But seriously that is ridiculous line of logic.
      A line of logic in fairness you have absorbed from a pro nuclear meme flooding the world via vested financial interests.
      A wind generator, solar panel, wave energy generator, thermal power system…

      Read more
    72. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      With respect, Mr Richards, the turn in our discussion that is disappointing is that you seem to not know when to leave well enough alone. The attitude I bring to discussions at 'the Conversation' is to acknowledge where I think my understanding is limited - issues such as insurance for nuclear power stations, for example.

      Responses to my remarks that consist of unsupported assertions and rhetorical questions offer little evidence of actual knowledge but do illuminate predispositions.

      Here…

      Read more
    73. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, I thought you might interested: Reuters has reported another leak at Fukushima. (yesterday, I think). I don't really understand the arguments about nuclear power but I'm afraid of it anyway :(

      report
    74. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Hmm... still haven't stepped up and done the research I see.
      David Arthur wrote; " ... consist of unsupported assertions and rhetorical questions offer little evidence of actual knowledge" Interesting comment. I suggest you do your due diligence. I have given you the means so we can have an converstion and you project I am at fault.
      David Arthur wrote; I'm not disappointed with the tone of this conversation ..." No because my comments are coming from having studied the unpalatable truth about…

      Read more
    75. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      I know enough of climate science to have the view that complete cessation of fossil fuel use is necessary, I don't see the same for nuclear power.

      Beyond that, I think my attitude to nuclear power is similar to that of Doug Hutcheson - I'm prepared to have my views informed by evidence.

      If you want me to "do the research", then perhaps you could offer some pointers? Don't bother with URLs of raving YouTube presentations. Otherwise, Mr Richards, give it a rest.

      report
    76. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Thanks Ms Middlemist. TEPCO's failure to act on the 1970's Hazards and Operability studies that told them they needed to make sure the back-up power supply was tsunami-proof is coming to the fore, isn't it?

      Given this corporate complacency, your concerns around nuclear power are well-founded - as it would appear are those of Mr Richards. That is, while nuclear power may well be a technology that can be safely utilised, perhaps there is no human organisation with responsibility and wisdom to utilise it?

      report
    77. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote; "That is, while nuclear power may well be a technology that can be safely utilised ..." Try again Arthur.
      Just demonstrate that from a theoretical position, because there actually is no real world one.
      Just how "... nuclear ... technology...can be safely utilised"? Because so far not one scientist has come up with failsafe as even a theory.
      But I am open here can you please can you enlighten us?

      report
    78. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Arthur

      Be careful, David, from my experience if you offer qualified support for nuclear energy its enthusiasts have a tendency to bash you over the head for not giving it absolute, unwavering support. Ignore those folk and keep asking pertinent questions. About all energy choices.

      Reactor safety has improved immeasurably over the years and newer reactors than those at Fukushima are in a different realm. That said, nuclear energy is an industry that will always require very robust regulation. My greatest qualm is how this tight regulation can happen satisfactorily in a world society that is facing increasing political instability. This is a real question that needs answering, it's not a blanket negative on my part.

      report
    79. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote; " If you want me to "do the research", then perhaps you could offer some pointers? " That requires a university course or at the very least reading a book on critical thinking and its application. A sound grasp of falsifiable theory and a great deal of philosophy. All of which is useless, unless you possess what most university students have and that is an evolved value system.
      No denigration or disrespect intended, because we all have varying life conditions. All on varying stages of human development, not to mention every one learns using different methods.
      I understand you are not a visual learner and video is unsuitable. That's ok.
      Are you an auditory learner or is your forte limited to reading?

      report
    80. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul, "if you are going to step into the area promoting nuclear as viable" - I am doing nothing of the sort, because I have no skill in the area, along with probably 99% of the population. That is why we need a reasoned, factual discussion in the public forum. Vitriolic comments at TC will win you no converts, just as certain pro-nuke people here turn away support, through their insults. What is needed is a robust, but reasoned debate - not a slanging match.

      report
    81. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Jane, nuclear power is fine: it's the nuclear failures I worry about. My reading of human nature is we will never eliminate graft and stupidity from any human endeavour, so the best we can hope for is to minimise the risks. If the minimised risks of nuclear power are acceptable to an informed population, so be it.

      report
    82. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Thanks for the comment.
      Doug Hutcheson wrote; "... why we need a reasoned, factual discussion in the public forum." Appreciate the perspective, but this whole industry is attacking the ecosystem and if anyone thinks this is not real need to walk into the issue eyes wide open.
      Grasping one very basic fact, what is the intent of those promoting this technology and I am not talking about the 99% as you call them.
      Because there is only one consideration even if you utterly disregard the 'Actuarial' stance of every insurer on the planet as you clearly have.
      That is the issue of 'failsafe', it's not complicated.
      Anyone with an evolved value system and an integral understanding of the planets ecosystem can see our reality.
      Those with vested interest cannot, they are at the wrong altitude and cannot see the 'forest for the trees' as the worldview is restricted.

      report
    83. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul, saying things like "as you clearly have", in contradiction of what I wrote, wins no converts. It would be like me claiming "you clearly don't want a reasoned debate, in case it results in actions that go against your fanatical views, which would be equally unsupported and equally inflammatory. My advice is to keep calm and rebut arguments with demonstrable facts, rather than unsupported assertions, to ensure others will at least listen to you.

      report
    84. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug Hutcheson wote; " ... you clearly don't want a reasoned debate..." So far many most cultures reasoned debate equals financial, political or power gain.
      Ok, lets do it your way. Show me data that demonstrates how this technology is economically viable and insurable. Simple premise, I say it is not.

      report
    85. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul, which part of "which would be equally unsupported and equally inflammatory" are you having trouble with? If you want a reasoned debate debate with someone, it doesn't help if you deliberately misquote and take thing out of context. "Ok, lets do it your way" - I wish you would! Please read what I have actually said and perhaps we can start from there.

      report
    86. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Hmmm ... Ok.
      Doug Hutcheson wrote;" ... If you want a reasoned debate debate with someone ..." Ok I agreed, past tense it's clear and readable to anyone able to see the thread.
      So what part of this was a clean slate did you fail to grasp?
      Reasoned debate must start with a reasoned premise; "Show me data that demonstrates how this technology is economically viable and insurable. Simple premise, I say it is not."
      You are the one that stepped off and projecting I am responsible for unreasonable…

      Read more
    87. Doug Hutcheson

      Poet

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Paul, in words of few syllables: I am not in support of nuclear energy. I am not in opposition to nuclear energy. At present, I know too little about it, to form an opinion. Asking me for support for one side or the other is fruitless. You have failed to read what I have written, or you would already know this. As you have demonstrated an inability to understand what is written by me, why would I have any confidence in your ability to understand something as complex as the nuclear energy issue?
      You give the impression of being on a crusade, which is not a basis for a reasoned debate. If you take a deep breath, read all my comments in their entirety and make sure you understand them, we will be able to continue in a civil tone. If not, you may have the floor, as I will not argue from my own ignorance - will you?

      report
    88. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Mr Richards -we're not talking philosophy here; at least I'm not. We're talking application of a technology that offers some benefits while presenting considerable problems.

      You'll have already noted, by the way, that the only locations where I suggest nuclear power generation may be developed are in remote locations for specific purposes. I see no need for, and am opposed to, nuclear power to meet stationary energy requirements in mort of urban or regional Australia, since solar PV plus soon to be developed battery storage suffices for all residential and commercial applications.

      What you need to do is refer me to any evidence showing that is not even possible for nuclear power to be implemented safely.

      I'll stick to reading, thanks - AV of impassioned rhetoric doesn't cut it as demonstration of what I'd call critical thinking.

      report
    89. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Doug Hutcheson

      Doug Hutcheson wrote; " I am not in support of nuclear energy..." Then why did you ask for a debate.
      If you want a converstion I can give you plenty.
      Firstly no nuclear plant can get insurance from an underwriting transnational corporation laying off risks, because their actuaries have calculated statistically the probabilities of making money are impossible. Their will be a claim and it will be big. This is what transnational corporations and their nuclear consultants or zealots in Australia want us to swallow.
      Do you think that is reasonable request of us or your children, their children, and so on down a thousand generations Doug?

      report
    90. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Thanks for that, Mr Harries.

      My experience of offering qualified acknowledgement that nuclear power may be feasible, even desirable, in certain circumstances does not result in its enthusiasts "bashing me over the head", so much as inflamed anti-nuclear fanatics going way to buggery over the top in trying to stamp out any and all thoughts and ideas that don't cleave to some Party ideology.

      So how does this diversion into discussion of nuclear power relevant to Prof Hamilton's discussion of government disingenuity toward non-fossil, renewable energy? It doesn't, really.

      After posting this comment, I shall respond to the remark by Alex Cannara about 'renewables' not being renewable. I'm not sure that he's quite got a grasp on the topic.

      report
    91. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote; "not even possible for nuclear power to be implemented safely." I don't need too, no nuclear scientist on either side of the debate would ever hold that premise, or could I be bothered writing it it is a given. The best you will get is weasel words selling the risk short.
      Don't you grasp the actuarial principle, there is no insurance for any nuclear power plant? That means there is no 'failsafe', it simply does not exist. You need to step out of the illusion, it's yours no one…

      Read more
    92. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      What technology is failsafe? Planes aren't failsafe. Sometimes they crash. Not often but they do.

      Sometimes skyscrapers have planes ramming into them. Not even skyscrapers are failsafe.

      Three of my close family members have been killed in car crashes. Most people have friends and / or family members who have been injured or killed in car smashes. Cars aren't failsafe. Millions die every year.

      Risk minimisation is important regarding every technology, and we happily accept a wide range of…

      Read more
    93. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris Harries wrote; "I'm no starry eyed nuclear advocate but we need to analyse in terms of comparative risk." Then why are you using the failsafe principle out of context with an energy production process?

      report
    94. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      I'm not, Paul. Please read again.

      Burning of fossil fuels is very much an energy production process.

      report
    95. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Thanks Mr Richards.

      Helen Caldicott's "Nuclear Power is not the Answer"; I agree nuclear power is not THE answer, and have never claimed it is. What I have also said is that I do not know that nuclear power is not feasible in certain circumstances - in fact I have proposed certain specific location where it might be beneficial.

      Mark Prendergast's "Japan's Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World"? Obviously, it would be great if Japan went 100% nuclear-free - but as previously…

      Read more
    96. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris Harries wrote; "Burning of fossil fuels is very much an energy production process." Industrial energy production is not done using small vehicles. They are independent units.
      That line of logic as I said is deliberately out of context with Military Government / Nuclear Weapons and energy Blocs production of power.

      report
    97. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      "using the failsafe principle" Err, what 'failsafe principle'?

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fail-safe:

      "A fail-safe or fail-secure device is one that, in the event of failure, responds in a way that will cause no harm, or at least a minimum of harm, to other devices or danger to personnel.

      "Fail-safe and fail-secure are similar but distinct concepts. Fail-safe means that a device will not endanger lives or properties when it fails. Fail-secure means that access or data will not fall…

      Read more
    98. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Understand your value system better. Appreciate the context of all your comments*.
      David Arthur wrote; "The fact that nuclear reactors are uninsurable doesn't tell us that they're too risky to ever be insurable" Brilliant deduction. Could not agree more, in fact my premise from the start is the technology needs work in 'the lab' just like the North American's have done with generation IV. Shelving it until it is viable.
      David Arthur wrote; " ...hyperlinked documents, and even in electronic versions of the peer-reviewed literature." That's your journey Arthur and now I am certain you have used a strawman argument* about video. I will not ever forget that. There is a time value on how much what you believe matters, thankfully. So thanks for the brief conversation, get back to me when you raise the courage to watch the videos.
      ______________
      * http://goo.gl/u6ukjj

      report
    99. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      You mean, get back to you after I've wasted various minutes of my life chasing videos? If they've got something to say, they'll write it down: where can I find the transcripts?

      this isn't an issue of courage, Mr Richards, it's an issue of that alien concept, 'critical thinking'.

      report
    100. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote; " ... in the event of failure, responds in a way that will cause no harm, or at least a minimum of harm, to other devices or danger to personnel." Ok your premise.
      When a standard generation, I, II, III or three reactor fails just how does it 'failsafe' and not irradiate and kill people?
      Remember you are dealing with an entire complex failing to cool the reactor and an eminent explosion with the potential of detonating tonnes of fuel rods and up to 27 tonnes of un-reprocessed nuclear fuel.
      Or are we back on the the same old issue*?
      ______________
      * http://goo.gl/u6ukjj

      report
    101. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      I don't think you need to worry, Paul. Australia is too well endowed with natural gas, solar and wind prospects, not to mention coal, so the likelihood of nuclear power plant being built here is probably minimal, especially given the political clout of the coal industry.

      For much of the world community, it's not quite such an easy option to avoid.

      I would go further and predict that as climate change becomes increasingly evident and damaging and coal is gradually squeezed out, whether we like it or not there will be an inevitable uptake of nuclear power.

      My personal preference is that we power down as much as possible, but society does not want to go down that road. Corporations definitely don't.

      report
    102. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote; " ... it's an issue of that alien concept, 'critical thinking'" good then there jt has been some time well spent. I will be back Monday to see what your critical thoughts are. Hopefully you will have greater depth of understanding about the nuclear disinformation flying around.

      report
    103. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris Harries wote; "I don't think you need to worry, Paul. Australia is too well endowed with natural gas, solar and wind ... " No but the diversion onto a energy production industry that could only be viable with hundreds of millions of users is dumbfounding waste of time.
      But the 1960s delusion persists within the Disney Generation.

      report
    104. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote; "..."I was wondering if you'd seen George Monbiot's views after a 2011 debate with Dr Caldicott?" Yes, I actually corresponded with George during the nineties and last decade well before his views changed. So I would rather not go there.
      George is wilfully blind regarding the actual affect of radiation, adhering to the standard exposure set post Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 by the IAEA still to this day.
      Dr.Helen Caldicott is a physician trained in epidemiology has spent…

      Read more
    105. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Thanks for that response. We're agreed that the obvious thing to do is to avoid release of radioactive particles

      report
    106. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to David Arthur

      "Killing renewables softly with endless reviews?"

      There's also "killing nuclear loudly with interminable demands for groupthink" - evidence-free groupthink at that.

      Myself, I'd rather just put a price on carbon, and let the marketplace respond. My guess is, most people will opt for the lowest cost technology available to them - in which case, the nuclear lobby may have some problems selling power to anyone other than aluminium and steel smelters, and fuel enrichment plants - which is back to where I came into this.

      report
    107. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Thanks for the converstion, it will take time to access the whole story. Just watch, observing the media blanket covering negative press. As the IAEA are literally the most powerful industry body in the world.
      David Arthur wrote; "obvious thing to do is to avoid release of radioactive particles" Yes you would think so, yet it continues^ . When anyone has read about the continuing incidents over forty years there is a deep understanding there is no 'failsafe' in nuclear energy production.
      Detailed reporting as always found out of the main stream press.
      _____________________
      ^ http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_02_21/Leaked-water-from-Fukushima-may-cause-leukemia-expert-5979/

      report
    108. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Thanks Mr Richards.

      This tells me that the consequences of nuclear accidents can be disastrous. This tells me that we would be prudent to avoid nuclear accidents.

      A way to minimise likelihood of nuclear accidents is to
      1) conduct Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) studies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazard_and_operability_study) on proposed nuclear power plants, and
      2) act upon all recommendations following from those HAZOP studies. This includes any HAZOP study indication that installation…

      Read more
    109. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote;"A way to minimise likelihood of nuclear accidents is to ..."
      Hmmm .... there is a better way.
      Use our abundant amount of alternative energies, and I am referring to North America, Europe, Russia, India, Pakistan and China who have the populations to sustain the fact that there is no "failsafe".
      Because these economies deal in hundreds of millions of users.
      Australian is kidding itself if it believes we have the economies of scale for nuclear power. Even if the population quadrupled in size, the economy is just not big enough to self insure against an incident.

      report
    110. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Ah, sounds like a NIMBY argument. And that's okay.
      Nobody really wants them in their back yard.
      Wind power is also challenged by NIMBY sentiments.

      Like Paul, I think Australia will be more than happy to keep exporting its uranium to the world but we've got such a powerful coal / gas industry we're unlikely to see nuclear power plant being built here. Australia is almost unique with its very low population and immense size, so the nuke argument here is nowhere nearly as prescient as in most other places.

      There's another good reason to hold off a little. Small Gen1V reactors are likely to be in commercial production within 10 years and once their commercial viability is demonstrated it would be folly to invest in traditional light water reactors. Rather like buying a new typewriter at the onset of the computer age.

      report
    111. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris Harries wrote ;"Small Gen1V reactors ..... once their commercial viability is demonstrated it would be folly to invest in traditional light water reactors ... " On this one the language is incorrect. Although the intent and hopefulness about this technology is clear .
      No nuclear plant in the world has a complete set of metrics from design to decommissioning to proving they have been viable.
      Yes there are industry consultants that project the costs, but they are just that. Projections or…

      Read more
    112. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Well then, Paul, we can wait ten years and if you are correct (others would dispute you hotly) then nothing happens anyway. Then you'll be a really happy vegemite.

      The economics of thermal generation, if you start include catastrophic climate change, are much worse than that of nuclear.

      I'm more than happy for a drastic powered-down future, but society at large definitely doesn't want that. It wants Progress with a capital P and Growth with a capital G, so I'm predicting a forced phase out of coal will bring on huge demands to kick start nuclear energy proposals. I think it's too complacent to think that the nuclear industry will just die in its tracks for lack of money or political Interest.

      report
    113. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Did you see this on Nature | News?

      "US energy agency gives boost to nuclear project" (http://www.nature.com/news/us-energy-agency-gives-boost-to-nuclear-project-1.14751)
      "- Loan guarantee comes amid fading hopes for an industry renaissance."

      It seems that even in the US, nuclear power can't progress without big subsidies; here in Australia, we are instructed that "the age of entitlement is over" - so there won't be any nuclear power plants replacing coal-fired plants.

      I don't have a problem…

      Read more
    114. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      "We can wait ten years ..." Wrote Chris Harries, interesting comment because most of those pushing this redundant technology have a time value running out statistically.
      Chris Harries wrote; " I'm predicting a forced phase out of coal will bring on huge demands to kick start nuclear energy proposals ..." What makes you think I am unaware of those with unevolved values wanting to take the risk with the integral nature of life on earth?
      Right here and now we have transnational corporations running…

      Read more
    115. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      Yes the Westinghouse AP1000 Generation III+.
      What is also interesting is they the first Generation III+ reactor to receive final design approval from the US NRC and this happened in 2012 so it's old news to me. Please note this was a conservative decision started by Bush. How far this runs is anyones guess, conservatives are also in denial about climate change.
      David Arthur wrote; "Did you see this on Nature | News?" Yes, the IAEA hype is on all the time. Its the need for new loans that's new…

      Read more
    116. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Mr Richards, you'll have to explain further about where IAEA hype pertains to the story on Nature; there was no mention of IAEA anywhere in it.

      If you'd read the article, you may have noticed questions regarding the cost effectiveness of these nuclear investments. As such, I do not see how it could be read as "IAEA hype".

      I specifically asked you about providing power for value-adding to Australian iron ore and bauxite/alumina exports. In you reply, you write that "the capital investment…

      Read more
    117. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Well that was a good rant, Paul, but to be logically consistent we need to answer: whose paying to underwrite the risk of hydro carbon burning? We are.

      The main difference between those two energy supply technologies is that the lethal waste from nuclear plant goes into containment vessels, whereas the lethal waste that comes from burning of fossil fuel gets shoved into the planet's atmosphere. If climate scientists are correct, that waste disposal system brings certain calamity to all of humanity…

      Read more
    118. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Yes, burning the unrefined fuel in the vehicle engine controlling pollution at every exhaust point of burnt fuel is dumb. But it was the Disney Generation that has accepted this reality. Rather than forcing the petrochemical companies to produce a clean fuel burning fuel and they can.
      It just isn't as profitable.
      Chris Harries wrote; "Paul, but to be logically consistent we need to answer: whose paying to underwrite the risk of hydro carbon burning? We are." Yes, and again you miss the point…

      Read more
    119. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      In a nutshelll, Paul, you are saying it's okay if you outsource your pollution to the external environment, because that lies outside the realm of 'industrial failure'.

      Well, let's just agree to disagree on that point Paul. to my mind, shoving carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is definitely part of the industrial process and the consequence of doing this definitely comes under the 'failsafe' definition.

      I'm using comparative risk analysis to draw greater attention to the severity of climate change, because if those who have a demented fear of nuclear energy come to understand that burning of fossil fuels poses an ever greater risk, then I have achieved something.

      Once having accepted the reality of those real risks, without prejudice, then we are in a much better position to respond policy wise and behaviour wise.

      report
    120. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote; "As such, I do not see how it could be read as "IAEA hype". Good point the nature of good public relations and control by such an all powerful body is not obvious. However if you keep to the due diligence and actually watch those video you will see the theme in time.
      David Arthur wrote; " ... being provided by and on behalf of a nation of twenty three million people, but rather to a couple of energy-intensive export value-adding projects remote from the power grid of that nation…

      Read more
    121. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris Harries wrote; " In a nutshelll, Paul, you are saying it's okay if you outsource your pollution to the external environment, because that lies outside the realm of 'industrial failure'."
      Your comprehension is wrong, this again is either deliberate or unbalanced.
      I specifically wrote about petrochemicals ;" Rather than forcing the petrochemical companies to produce a clean fuel burning fuel and they can."
      We in fact should demand coal, oil and gas burn clean and make sure CO2 is routinely…

      Read more
    122. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Now we're getting somewhere.

      "Make sure CO2 is routinely collected", is at least a recognition of gross industrial failure. As for how you go about economically (or even viably) collect CO2 and somehow bury it safely is the 64 million dollar question. So far the people who are trying to do that have almost given up.

      But if we could do that with a click of the fingers then the climate problem may be largely resolved.

      In the meantime, in the real world....

      report
    123. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      "However if you keep to the due diligence and actually watch those video you will see the theme in time." Err, what a feeble diatribe, Mr Richards. As previously advised, I don't watch fact-free video, the preferred propaganda format from Stalin through Mao to Nixon and eventually to Blair and Rudd, to form my views: I rely on the peer-reviewed literature, and on reports from those that do likewise. For that reason, the Monbiot article I have previously mentioned encapsulates my concerns with…

      Read more
    124. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur wrote; " ... I don't watch fact-free video ..." Now I know you didn't watch the videos posted. Lack the courage, can't say I blame you, they would obliterate a lifetime of beleif and shatter the illusion.
      David Arthur wrote; " ... my idea is no more than at the edge of feasibility, for economic reasons" Could not agree more, it is just a delusional as the whole carbon cycle humans are in.
      My primary premise has and always has been the profit motive on an integral planet will lead…

      Read more
    125. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Chris Harries wrote; " ... "Make sure CO2 is routinely collected",.." Once again bias has taken the comment out of context.
      It was just an illustration demonstrating the 'foolishness of the current carbon cycle', not a plan backing sequestration.
      I see both the carbon and nuclear cycles as redundant un-developed science used in the current form just for profit and case of nuclear, weapons production.
      Chris Harries wrote; "In the meantime, in the real world.... " All the nuclear lobby offers…

      Read more
    126. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Thanks Paul,

      I'm so glad that my mission – to drive home the seriousness of the the climate predicament – is bearing some fruit. My aim in this conversation has been to convert fanatical fear of nuclear energy into fanatical fear of coal burning, because society is grossly inconsistent in weighing up those two things.

      You will now need to convince a lot of people that there is an escape from the global predicament by relying totally on renewable energy. That's an unresolved academic sticking point.

      I'm talking of an industralized planet with 7 billion (going on 9 billion) people on board. I really admire the folk who think this task is easy, but also listen closely to those those who say we've already gone way over a tipping point to allow for for any easy escape.

      ****

      We can all discuss these things intelligently, there's no need for obdurate, head-butting replies. That's what the Conversation is set up to do.

      report
    127. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      I have the mindset of an elitist corporate executive? Now I know you're talking utter trash, Mr Richards.

      That I refuse to watch propagandist videos is no surprise: as I say, REFER ME TO PUBLISHED WRITTEN REPORTS - don't resort to insulting me just because I refuse to swallow the guuf you attempt to foist on the discussion.

      The discussion began with your ridiculous intemperate response to my own response to John Newlands:
      "I agree we should allow nuclear power - BUT we should not preference…

      Read more
    128. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Chris Harries

      Appreciate the comment.
      Chris Harries wrote; " ... convert fanatical fear of nuclear energy into fanatical fear of coal burning ..." The task is reliant on having a fear of the values systems or beliefs, the actual intent of each system. So far both present themselves as profit models for transnational corporations and neither system carries integral values for deployment.
      Whereas alternative energy production does, given we have a population evolving out of our current meritocracy into second…

      Read more
    129. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to David Arthur

      David Arthur why are you shouting using caps and breaking long standing internet etiquette? This is a conversation. But do see a very emotive response, so some trigger points were touched. How could previous generations supporting the nuclear delusion possibly be wrong in the past and now? Their world is so surreal and perfect, everything possible in a world of infinite abundance.
      How do you know I gave you video links that are "propagandist"?
      Demonstrate just how any information outside the IAEA…

      Read more
    130. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Paul Richards

      Where I have capitalised, Mr Richards, it has been in the hope THAT YOU WOULD ACTUALLY PAY SOME ATTENTION.

      Any and all attempt to explain anything to you has been pretty well pointless, and you have used this forum to simply hurl verbal ordure towards any views that are not expressly those to which you cleave.

      Your disregard of any actual content, instead demanding that we watch some pollyporn or another as a substutute for reason, has succeeded in this discussion not being about the issue at hand, but rather simply about you - a topic for which I am neither qualified or remotely interested.

      I look forward to not being addressed on this, or any other, topic hereafter.

      report
    131. Fred Smith

      Electrical Engineer

      In reply to David Arthur

      Well I had a pleasant weekend, well away from this conversation. Now that I am caught up (and Chris and David have been fighting the good fight for clarity and reason) I can share what I learnt from Paul.

      1) The Disney Generation covers everyone alive. If in doubt, label someone as such. That will teach them!

      2) Failsafe has a new meaning and it is super secret. No I won't apply this definition to anything else, or even tell you exactly what it is. Don't worry though, its importance will…

      Read more
    132. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Fred Smith

      Thanks for this, Mr Smith.

      Please note that where I wrote: "I look forward to not being addressed on this, or any other, topic hereafter", please be advised that I neglected to include the 'failsafe' clause: "by your Good Self, Mr Richards".

      I encourage, and look forward to, continued 'Conversation' with my fellow mere humans here on Planet Earth.

      report
  2. Joseph T McGrath

    logged in via email @outlook.com

    "Killing renewables softly"???

    Clive, renewables are doing rather well, and even without subsidies were to cease, they will continue to flourish.

    Even if the RET was dropped next year, by my calcs, renewables are in a good position to exceed the 20% target by 2020.

    Enough of the Lefty/Righty activist articles, let's have some professional and impartial analysis please!

    report
    1. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Joseph T McGrath

      Interesting comment.
      Joseph T McGrath: "even without subsidies were to cease, they will continue to flourish..." Yet under the guise of equity in the debate you ignore the billions in subsidies given to the carbon industry over many decades of support by both major parties.
      Instead the comment projects this fledging use of the innovative PV has been doing quite well against a whole regime of market place bias.
      The irony lost in your comment.

      report
  3. Brad Farrant

    Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

    We can only hope that those that are actively working against the public interest of today as well as the interests of the children of tomorrow will be held to account for their actions and inactions some time in the not too distant future.

    report
    1. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to David Arthur

      i heard that was the tradition, pack em off to old persons homes with kerosine baths.

      report
    2. Fred Smith

      Electrical Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Hehehe, an accountable politician!

      For some reason that reminds me of this quote from the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy...

      "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy defines the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes""

      *insert politician :)

      report
  4. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    Prof Hamilton, instead of us all beating our breasts about "targets" and "assistance", how about we simply give everyone a whacking great tax cut? In return for which we accept a consumption tax on fossil fuel?

    report
  5. Craig Myatt

    Industrial Designer / R&D

    Sensible, well evidenced, and probably irrelevant. I think the only thing which would stop the review curtailing the RET would be a very big public outcry.

    report
  6. Peter Redshaw

    Retired

    I don't think the intent of this review is to softly kill the renewable industry. I think it is to kill it off as quick as they can. After all it seems to me the mining industry and especially the coal and gas industries want some pay back for their support of this government. Any one who thinks industry lobby and support political parties for nothing, for no return, are I think off in fairy land.

    With the reduction in energy use over the past few years and with the death of large industry…

    Read more
  7. mike flanagan

    retired

    Thanks Clive. Always find your material an informative and valuable read when you are on topic.
    .One wonders how much of the decrease in electricity consumption you ascribe to modern building materials and design, is actual a result of the national ‘pink bats’ campaign for the established homes.

    report
  8. Henry Verberne

    Former IT Professional

    "So if there is no problem with greenhouse gas emissions, why would we need policies to reduce them?"

    Well the answer is of course blindingly obvious: the fossils feel threatened and with good reason. They are no longer getting the wholesale prices they were and they are no longer benefiting form the summer spikes in prices that previously gave their earnings a nice little fillip.

    That is a major reason that the paid shills on this and other sites are desperately trying to cast doubt on the settled science of climate change.

    Short term they make succeed but long term I am confident they will lose.

    Better to work to change their business models rather than to resist the inevitable.

    report
  9. Neville Mattick

    Grazier: ALP Member at A 4th Generation Grazing Station

    Thank you Clive Hamilton for expressing the facts facing our own imminence.

    Given the likely Wind Farm Health enquiry also adds to the determined attempt to prevent large scale Renewables from succeeding.

    Of course most of the 'decision makers' *ruling* us now do so from an air conditioned office, I suggest as the blunt reality can be delivered (eg: Abbott's Drought tour) get off the Derrière, out where I work, which has recently been from 38 ~ 45° C; That will soon change a few minds day after day, dust on dust, wilting and dyeing all around.

    Walk a mile in my shoes and soon make the reality; the Modelling of Climate Change is right on track.

    report
    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to Neville Mattick

      That's a problem Neville, I don't think some have any idea of the feel of radiant heat which can remain locked into soil, nor what it does to plants and animals, and people.

      report
  10. Robert McDougall

    Small Business Owner

    another non-surprise by the abbott government, stack and attack seems to be their only game plan.

    report
  11. Comment removed by moderator.

  12. Garry Baker

    researcher

    An excellent article - Indeed timely. Please keep spreading the word

    It's all too evident the Abbott gov't have stacked the deck on taming a push for renewables - given the coal burning lobby run his policy department. His poison pill for the voters who put him there

    In my view this borders on criminality and the best way to respond is to bring Abbotts policy structure into the light of day. "The Roach Busters" .. The coal industry always had John Howards vitals within their grasp, and…

    Read more
  13. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    One key problem is reality. There are no 'renewables' -- energy is neither created nor destroyed, remember science class?

    Solar only lasts until the Sun expands and cooks us (it was ~25% weaker when Earth formed). Nuclear lasts longer. Wind is silly, and like hydro is directly affected by climate change. Geothermal is nuclear.

    So, part of the problem for 'renewables' has been their own unscientific boosters getting in front of the media and clouding reality. The combustion folks love this…

    Read more
    1. Paul Richards

      integral operating system

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex Cannara wrote; Paraphrasing Carl Sagan: "If one allows a charlatan any control, one may never get control back".
      Yes, thank you for the segue as a Nuclear Energy Lobbyist we appreciate your candour an unswerving faith the the 1960s nuclear dream of free energy.
      But please take your sales brochures and go back to your irradiated country.
      "...one may never get control back" Never truer phrase was said. We actually want a 'failsafe' technology and certainly don't want to produce around 330,000 tonnes of nuclear waste design to decommissioning generation IV reactors generate. That generations long after we are dead will have to deal with.

      report
    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Thanks for that, Mr Cannara.

      I'm intrigued by your initial remark about there being "no 'renewables' -- energy is neither created nor destroyed, remember science class?

      "Solar only lasts until the Sun expands and cooks us ..."

      With respect, what we call 'renewable power generation' is not, strictly, power generation, so much as 'indefinite power harvesting'.

      The idea is, we set up machines and devices that thereafter simply collect power from their surrounds - sort of like green plants have been doing since a eukaryote first formed a symbiosis with a cyanobacterium.

      True, it may not outlive the sun - but it's the only way, really, that we can offer our heirs and successors an opportunity to live long enough to work out how to outlive the sun.

      report
  14. john byatt

    retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

    "41,000 GWh of new renewable energy is expected to represent around 27% of electricity supply in 2020, instead of the 20% initially estimated. "

    prediction, this will be used to justify a 30% reduction in renewables

    report
  15. Chris Harries

    logged in via Facebook

    Good article, Clive.

    People who have invested in the renewables industry in good faith have been shafted so many times the chambers of commerce really ought to be outraged, since their political mantra is 'business certainty'.

    But in some respects the renewables lobby has brought on this latest round themselves. Whenever I saw the boast that unit cost of power from solar panels is dropping so rapidly – almost down to that of coal and will soon compete evenly on price – I could see the Monty…

    Read more
  16. Jackie Rovensky

    logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

    Why not have a review of the RET, we need to know how it is being actioned to see if it is doing any good or if there are anomalies. We all know Wind Energy has received a favoured position, even though it is known it doesn't perform as it says it will, we also know there are many problems with it.
    We also know that other forms of renewable energy production are being pushed aside to favour it, such as geo thermal and solar thermal.
    As stated in the article the call for electrical energy has reduced…

    Read more
    1. Chris Harries

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jackie Rovensky

      Because the review isn't a review, its a camouflage for an intended policy change.

      By the way, J, the Renewable Energy Target already applies to those other forms of renewable energy that you mention.

      And you left off you list... the need to respond to catastrophic climate change. If that's not an issue for you then of course you would want to dispense with clean energy options. And if that's not an issue then the result of your inquiry would be preordained.

      report
    2. Andy Saunders

      Consultant

      In reply to Jackie Rovensky

      "If there is to be a mandated target of reduction we should have ensured we knew the best way to achieve it before it was introduced"

      I disagree. That way lies bureaucracy, instead of a market. In general, markets are more efficient and innovative. Would we have *known* say 7 years ago, that solar-PV prices would drop so far/fast?

      Can't see why you have the opinion wind is favoured over other renewables such as geothermal. Geothermal I would put in exactly the above category of bureaucratic misadministration - the government deemed it better than sliced bread, announced many millions available to fund it, and many companies were formed to take the grants and have fun with the money, with almost no discernable success. In my opinion, the revenue of those ventures was always likely to be the grants, rather than any energy. Can't blame them, but it always seemed to me to be technically/economically indfeasible...

      report
  17. Michael Shand
    Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Software Tester

    Brilliant article, thank you for highlighting the real reason we never win an any issue "Money in Politics"

    Every single time you can trace it back to money in politics

    report
  18. Geoffrey Sherrington

    Surveyor

    In the 1980s many of us in big business studied and compared energy sources. Two of the main renewables, solar and wind. had problems of intermittency and diffuse energy sources. These disadvantages are founded in physics and they cannot be mitigated by economics or law. Therefore we rejected solar and wind as candidates for major energy sources, while noting that they had a place in niche markets affected by matters such as remote locations.

    Nothing has changed apart from people who discounted…

    Read more
    1. Brad Farrant

      Adjunct Research Fellow in Early Childhood Development at University of Western Australia

      In reply to Geoffrey Sherrington

      Geoffrey,

      Why do you continue to try to perpetuate these myths?

      An increasing number of analyses show not only that 100% renewable electricity generation is possible but that it is also economically viable.

      Here is a recent analysis that shows that "At moderate carbon prices, which appear required to address climate change, 100% renewable electricity would be cheaper on an annual basis than the replacement scenario."

      http://www.ies.unsw.edu.au/sites/all/files/profile_file_attachments/LeastCostElectricityScenariosInPress2013.pdf

      report
  19. Doug Hutcheson

    Poet

    "stressed the need for absolute confidentiality. He said if the Renewables Industry found out there would be a huge outcry". Is that from the same play-book as "We do not comment on on-water activities"? Sounds as though the same mind-set is dominating our Dear Leader(s).

    report
  20. John Bromhead

    logged in via email @netspeed.com.au

    The report carried out for ARENA and mentioned by Professor Hamilton doesn't back up his statement concerning equity. The report didn't consider the size of the system being installed. There were a lot of "free" 1kW systems.

    The report did find that solar installations trended towards home owners, those over 53, retirees and professionals, homes with more bedrooms and those with fewer children. Missing out were renters, those under 35 and families.

    The FiT and RET subsidy schemes that allowed…

    Read more
  21. Mark Pollock

    Analyst

    The prof, in support of his case, quotes a report commissioned by the handsomely tax payer funded renewable energy industry. It reminds me of how tobacco companies used to commission reports saying that smoking wasn't unhealthy.

    Perhaps the opponents of big oil funded climate research might like to comment?

    report