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The Forum > Article Comments > Does Australian renewable energy save the earth or just cost it? > Comments

Does Australian renewable energy save the earth or just cost it? : Comments

By Geoff Carmody, published 22/8/2017

OK, let's continue dreaming. Assume the ACT's 100% renewables target applies nationally.

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This person favours a carbon tax, so I'll will not be reading what he has to say.
Posted by ttbn, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 9:34:25 AM
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First of all individual actions must make a difference otherwise there would be no point in voting. It's also crassly hypocritical for Australia to ask other countries to stop burning coal to save our Reef if we don't also.

The ACT should have a data dashboard for realtime power sources the way King Island does. That will solve mysteries like how the ACT can get windpower from SA when the interconnector is down. Also what percentage of a preferred remote power source is dedicated to the ACT, for example in a drought does no Snowy Hydro go to Sydney?

Based on 45 net Gwh per kg of natural uranium SA's Olympic Dam is supplying around 200 Twh annually of electricity enough for all Australia except it is powering other countries. According to media outlets the public is in thrall to intermittent energy I guess we'll have to let that run its course.
Posted by Taswegian, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 9:50:08 AM
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Taswegian.

*...According to media outlets the public is in thrall to intermittent energy I guess we'll have to let that run its course...*

I don't think the public is in thrall with intermittent energy at all. The only enthralling event occurring around energy ATM, is the evidence before the public that Democracy has evaporated to the extent that minority groups now control this Country on every level imaginable, to the point where the public are simply played as pawns in a game of brinksmanship.
Posted by diver dan, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 10:38:21 AM
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Diver Dan,
Well said, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the situation.
Posted by Armchair Critic, Tuesday, 22 August 2017 11:17:07 AM
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Yes it will cost the earth as evidenced by (proof of the pudding) the world's most expensive energy province, namely renewables powered S.A!

The elephant in the room is CARBON FREE nuclear energy.
No not fissile material using nuclear energy. But nuclear energy based on fertile material, And because it can't be weaponized!

Thorium has a longer half life than uranium and consequently around three times more abundant. We have enough in our dirt, to power the world for a thousand years and thousands more it we mine igneous rock!

Thorium promises everything fusion promised but hasn't delivered. Coupled to new space age deionization dialysis desalination, it could change the world, resuscitate our largely abandoned manufacturing sector and treble our economy. Drought proof this poor beggar country and turn our arid desert wastelands into veritable gardens of eden.

Plus end poverty, starvation, regional displacement and wars fought over diminishing water and land resources! And the principle reason why ideologically driven, power obsessed green advocates, won't have a bar of it!? It'd destroy every idiot mantra they rely on, in the quest for power!

Although the 40 MW Oak ridge reactor proved the principle very safely and without accident or incident, and that these modest shipping container sized reactors could be mass produced and run on a single fuel cycle for 100 years! And ideal in all manner of shipping and train transport.

I'd opt for the molten salt 350 MW FUJI as the prototype to start with and for obvious reasons!

And costing less than a comparative coal fired alternative, given the ability to mass produce these as ready to use modules able to be used/trucked anywhere, given there's no need to use water as a coolant! When liquid salt does the job admirably!

Most of our coal fired power plants will need to be decommissioned over the next decade and we need around seven years to kick start a thorium based nuclear energy power supply! So why are we prevaricating? Personal vested interest perhaps, Malcolm, Tony, others?
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Tuesday, 22 August 2017 11:18:41 AM
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Tas.
Yes we have uranium and export it to other countries and could earn annual billions taking it back to reprocess it here in walk away safe molten salt, thorium powered reactors.

And having been paid billions for the reprocessing/eventual storage. Extract as much as 70-80% of the still available energy from material still retaining as much as 90% as extractable unused energy!

Molten fluoride boils at over 1200C.

And the sweet spot range for molten salt thorium applications, (extracted gas) turbines, water molecule cracking, for ultra cheap hydrogen production or using carbon extracted directly from seawater to produce various liquid fuels and plastics etc, varies between 750-950C.

[Interestingly and given a natural affinity for water to absorb Co2. As the concentrated Co2 is extracted for synthetic hydrocarbon production. (And only financially doable with ultra cheap energy) The water draws more/equivalent Co2 from the atmosphere! We could draw million of tons per annum (maybe more than the entire world currently produces) and thereby reduce Co2 loading/disastrous climate change]

Meaning the salt never boils, hence no need for ultra expensive, hardened containment vessels. Even so, if any molten salt reactor springs a leak, The outside material crystallizes in veritable seconds. Even to the point of plugging the leak.

Moreover, given the thorium reliant reaction is only possible inside the graphite core, given it needs sheer mass for criticality, once that mass is diminished and outside the graphite core, inside the purpose built containment vessel, the reaction simply stops, even before the salt crystallizes.

Uranium however remains a problem in or out of the reactor given it continues to react, producing lethal gamma radiation and heat that can and does melt steel etc, and can therefore pool and continue to react/overreact!

Given the choices, I believe, only a fool would choose highly toxic uranium that at best uses only 10% of the available energy. Whereas, inside a thorium reactor, the inverse is the accepted norm, leaving as little as 5% waste that is eminently suitable for long life space batteries, than burn up on reentry!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Tuesday, 22 August 2017 12:22:12 PM
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