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The Forum > Article Comments > Paying twice, and more why renewables are a luxury good > Comments

Paying twice, and more why renewables are a luxury good : Comments

By Graham Young, published 21/9/2017

But renewables are in fact more expensive, and if you want to cure high prices, the last thing you would do is dose up on the problem.

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Exactly Graham!

Simply put, a good businessman knows when to cut his losses and get out!

Renewables to get cheaper? Really? Don't these folk read? Wages inflation in China is or was running at around 30% P.A.?

I fail to see how one extrapolates cheaper prices from that?

And GENUINE environmentalists would likely go ape or ballistic or both if they saw the mountain of toxic waste these alleged renewables are creating?

Yes there's a place for the things. My roof is covered in solar panels and Bass Strait, with its roaring forties and no reticulated power? Absolutely tailor made for a shiny new wind farm connected to pumped hydro? Minus any subsidies!

If these things are so cheap, take away the taxpayer funded subsidies and allow them to compete on an open market, with all comers!

If we truly want to decarb the economy, without wrecking it or adding mountains of permanent toxic waste to China's industrial provinces?

Then there really is only one choice! And that choice is, CHEAPER THAN COAL. thorium! No it's not untested or hypothetical! Just a threat to all other power and energy producers, given thorium gram for gram, is the most energy dense material on the planet and abundant as lead!

And if used in, walk away safe, molten salt reactors, one can according to Professor Hargreaves, expect the median price of power from the generator, to be as low as a quoted %1.98PKH?

If you want to compare apples with apples coal fired power put more nuclear waste/rads into the environment in a year than safely operated nuclear power!

Had Chernobyl or Fukushima, been operated as walk away safe, molten salt thorium reactors? Neither would have been in the news except for how well they survived and how little they cost to own or operate.

As with any relatively new technology, all the real costs are upfront in the development phase. And in the case of molten salt operating at normal atmospheric pressures, with the most energy dense material in the world, those costs are insignificant. TBC.
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 21 September 2017 7:16:00 AM
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But now the horse has bolted, what hope ever of affordable electricity for one and all.
A subsidy to consumers based on economic reality of the user, will be the only answer for access to this essential service.

It is totally unacceptable to have mostly those on fixed incomes ( pensions etc), to freeze through the winter months, and bake to death during the increasingly hot summers.

At what point does this reality finally sink in with those who manipulate what was once a workable and a somewhat affordable network.

But instead of dealing with the above stark reality, Governments subsidised home owners alone to install solar utilities capable of reducing running costs for that group to rediculiously low cost. (One I am familiar with pays $90 a quarter) ...
Posted by diver dan, Thursday, 21 September 2017 7:24:10 AM
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If you want reliable, affordable, carbon free power? Then based solely on logics rites! It's impossible to go past nuclear power and as thorium based nuclear power!

Thorium is fertile, not fissile, and therefore cannot be compressed like fissile material, to create a thermonuclear explosion!

Meltdowns are completely ruled out, in a molten salt reactor, the material is already molten!

Moreover, they are designed to very safely, operate at normal atmospheric pressure, well below the boiling point of molten fluoride salt!

But produce more heat than a light water or heavy water reactor. And almost tailor made to run gas turbines. Co2 gas turbines, and that being so. Allow much much smaller turbines to be used. A feature which means they can be mass produced in factories and trucked on site to be operational in days or weeks! Decommissioning around a hundred years out, easier. Given fluoride salt is a very poor receptor of neutrons.

And we have enough thorium in our dirt to power the world for 700 years! Furthermore, thorium needs no expensive enrichment. And can be tasked with very safely burning up other folks nuclear waste and be paid ANNUAL BILLIONS, for the service!

And a window closing too fast for business as usual prevarication! Reprocessing this waste, reducing the half life to around 300 years in the process.

Acceptance could mean OTHER FOLK PAY for all the development and construction costs of a few dozen of these generators?

But only if we're lead by FEARLESS pragmatists able to set aside, divise business as usual, political ambition in favor of bipartisan pragmatism!?

Your choice, Tony, Malcolm, Bill, we can do one or the other! Just not both! We no longer have the luxury of being able to waste precious time!

Besides, what will you tell the grandkids?

We had a chance to do so much better, but instead, told all our good angels to F off?

Paradise or dark side of the moon desolation?

CHOOSE! DON'T JUST DO SOMETHING, STAND THERE! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 21 September 2017 8:03:10 AM
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Excellent article Graham. If renewables really were anything but a blight on the grid then why has the SA government reactivated gas generators and brought in a 200 MW diesel generator? I have seen it argued that renewables generators would be entirely free, zero cost, and still subtract value from the network, because of all the effort required to work around the variable output, and investment required to connect them in remote places. Another point worth examining is just how carbon those things actually save.. I doubt that it's enough to justify all the investment and extra cost.
Posted by curmudgeonathome, Thursday, 21 September 2017 8:15:43 AM
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A few years ago a new form of desalination was trialled very successfully in Texas as cost effective irrigation.

This new space age, Dutch innovation, produced 90% potable water at around quarter of the cost of traditional desalination. Based on deionisation dialysis.

This method eliminates back pressure and membrane filtration, but instead imposes and electronic shock wave to the water.

Which forces the salt and other problematic/nuisance ions to one side of the water flow, while it's moving! It was cost effective there for broad scale irrigated agriculture, because, even though being heavily reliant on coal fired power, they as attested by Mr Pratt? Have/supply power two and a half times cheaper than ours?

Well if we rolled out nuclear power as walk away safe, molten salt thorium power? Our energy bills could easily be a tenth of theirs!

And allow us to use this new desalination technology to not just drought proof Australia, but turn some of our most arid regions into the most productive!

Energy bills one tenth of America's would reverse the Asia bound exodus. Put more tax paying enterprises right here! And not necessarily in already overcrowded, gridlocked cities.

But rather where there is cheaper (reclaimed) land, space and a ready made workforce, say in former coal mining/nickel smelting provinces, along new rail lines and arid desert regions etc?

As that reverse exodus happens, minus too much infrastructure rollout? Tax rates could be progressively reduced even as revenue dramatically increased!

[Woolworth's highly successful, increased volume economic model?]

To land at around 15% as a flat unavoidable/concessionless tax?

Which would then allow all current tax compliance costs to be returned to the bottom line as an averaged 7% saving? Which would mean an effective tax rate of just 8%?

We'd have to employ folks just to hold them and hordes of self funded retirees back!

And that's why we just have to stop subsidising renewables and allow them instead, to stand alone as competing for the energy dollar, business!

Gentlemen, stop fighting each other/us/other Aussies! In a globalized world the fight's over there, with them!
Alan B
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 21 September 2017 8:43:45 AM
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Garnaut's 2011 Review has been mugged by reality.

This was his pie in the sky outlook for Australia's energy market and the options which were on the table:

"Australia has an abundance of high-quality resources of virtually all of the low-emissions alternative sources of energy: gas from conventional sources, coal seams and shale; wind; solar; high-grade uranium oxide for nuclear; land with low value for food that is prospective for biomass and biofuels; special opportunities for using algae in saline marine and land environments; wave and tidal energy; location adjacent to the extraordinarily rich hydro-electric potential of the island of New Guinea; geothermal from deep hot rocks; and opportunities for geosequestration of carbon dioxide."

Garnaut did predict a period of price increases, which would impact low-income households disproportionately, but that the numerous options outlined above would bring prices down. Some time.

The reality is that politicians haven't the stomach to introduce nuclear; geothermal experiments in Australia have failed; and most of the other options remain nothing but fantasies.

Meanwhile, because of the RETs and ridiculous subsidies of solar and wind generation, we now boast some of the most expensive energy in the world, despite the fact that our one great competitive advantage used to be that we had the world's cheapest energy costs.
Posted by calwest, Thursday, 21 September 2017 9:10:21 AM
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