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The Forum > Article Comments > Renewable energy hitting the target > Comments

Renewable energy hitting the target : Comments

By Lisa Singh, published 7/8/2014

There are now more Australians employed in our solar industry than in our coal-fired power stations, while jobs in the Australian renewable energy sector have tripled in recent years to almost 30,000.

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Very good, Lisa.

But letsí not get ahead of ourselves.

<< The RET has enjoyed bipartisan support for over a decade. >>

Yes, but the Libs and Labs have also supported the expansion of coal mining and the expansion of population and energy consumption, at a very rapid rate.

While the RET is a step in the right direction, it could easily be viewed as an insignificant or even disingenuous attempt by both Lab and Lib to be seen to be doing the right thing while effectively just barging forth with our utter addiction to fossil fuels.

We need much more than a 20% increase in the proportion of electricity generated in Australia from renewable sources by 2020 compared with 1997 levels.

We need a holistic energy plan, and indeed a totally sustainable-society plan, which we need to work on with vengeance.

Bob Carr understands this. What a pity he isnít at the helm of Labor and in line to become or next PM.

Alas, there seems to be no one currently in a high position in either Lab or Lib who holds views anything like these, and thus our government of either persuasion seems destined to continue to take us strongly away from achieving a sustainable society, or the largely renewable energy regime that this would require.
Posted by Ludwig, Thursday, 7 August 2014 8:06:46 AM
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Total labour employment is a poor criteria.

Man hours per Giga-watt hour is an appropriate indicator of labour coast.
Coal fired power at the generator is charged at less than 6c /Kwh.

The capital payback cost for renewable energy is three or four times that.

Nuclear energy is far cleaner and safer and becoming cheaper than fossil or renewables.

Largely the excuse of high poles and wire costs is a consequence of the high cost of renewable feed in and regulating or stabilising equipment.
Posted by Foyle, Thursday, 7 August 2014 8:38:46 AM
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I would like to see a similar article to this one with its focus on Tasmania done on the NT. Even with the potential for solar energy from the Outback, the push for fracking seems to be gaining momentum. This is in a Territory which south of the Top End is mostly reliant on underground water, and a limited amount of that. The gas industry promises to "de-risk" fracking and thereby minimise the risk to aquifers, but can/will they?
Another way, it seems to me, to tackle our growing energy use is to look at energy efficiency. By that I mean not just how we use it, but how it gets to us. What percentage of generated energy is lost in the transmission from generator (of all designs) to user?
Posted by halduell, Thursday, 7 August 2014 8:40:18 AM
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>"There are now more Australians employed in our solar industry than in our coal-fired power stations, while jobs in the Australian renewable energy sector have tripled in recent years to almost 30,000."

That is another demonstration of weant a ridiculous waste of mone renewable energy is and what its adding to our energy costs.

Using your figures it requires more labour (i.e. more money) to produce 0.2% of our electricity from solar energy than it costs to produce 80% of our electricity for coal.

And remember, every Green job (i.e subsidised) costs two real jobs in the real economy.

The authors invited to write for Opinion Online, should be selected on the basis of some expertise in the field they are writing about, not on the basis of their ideological persuasion.

The Economists has a good article explaining"Wind and solar power are even more expensive than is commonly thought":

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21608646-wind-and-solar-power-are-even-more-expensive-commonly-thought-sun-wind-and
Posted by Peter Lang, Thursday, 7 August 2014 9:09:19 AM
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Tasmania could be doing even better if the greenies had not torpedoed the dam on the Franklin.

David
Posted by VK3AUU, Thursday, 7 August 2014 9:48:38 AM
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A few inconsistencies here. As pointed out the 180 MW Gordon below Franklin hydro would have supplied very reliable power as that river has no irrigation demands. Now we need a dozen like it. Tasmania has low solar capacity factor due to recurring cloud cover. One person I know has 15 kw installed to get a less unreliable winter supply.

If Tas is the renewable energy powerhouse as claimed then disconnect the Basslink cable as Comalaco suggests. Keep the dams topped up as a kind of battery. Note the Basslink cable ends up at the back of Loy Yang brown coal fired station. That makes emissions well hidden but we need it in drought years. 2015 perhaps? I'm puzzled how some dams unchanged since about 1970 can claim the LGC subsidy under the RET which cuts in from 1997.

It's a bit selfish to ask both Tasmanians and mainlanders to pay more for electricity. Surely renewables should stand on their own merits particularly if there are CO2 restrictions in whatever form
Posted by Taswegian, Thursday, 7 August 2014 10:09:46 AM
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