Plastic bags, climate change, renewable energy,

climberman

Likes Dirt
Well lets start building some more hydro then and see how that goes down...
The off-stream approach will limit, but not remove, the politcal/enviro issue associated with traditional hydro.

I'm not 'against' nuclear, it's just got such a limited chance of getting up here I see it as a 'look, over there' way of dealing with renewables.
 

rangersac

Likes Dirt
Well lets start building some more hydro then and see how that goes down...
Building hydro at hectare scale reservoirs for pumped storage is light years away from the massive dams of old. Basically we are talking about big farm scale dams here, not flooded valleys for tens of km.

Thats the problem, there is not costless solution, so currently we are not working on a solution.
I don't think anyone disputes that moving to 100% renewables will cost. It's a big investment, but building a nuke plant and the associated infrastructure will be massively more costly. Conservatively speaking at least double what the estimates of adding pumped capacity, the associated generation increases and interconnectors would be . And frankly we have no real idea of what installing nuke would cost in Australia because it's never been done before, and requires shitload of tech and construction that would be undertaken for the first time. We'd also be stuck with a fixed asset, which sure provides a good swadge of baseload power, but is actually pretty inflexible. Like coal plants you can't ramp production up and down as demand spikes so nuke generators demand a fixed price to supply their power to overcome this. By building the pumped storage and associated grid infrastructure you provide flexibility for power demand and you have the added benefit of future proofing the grid for alternative generation technologies.

Unfortunately there isn't a single country anywhere near 100% renewable and the ones that are closest are seeing significant increases in electricity costs and are burning more coal, gas and garbage. If you think that Australia is somehow exceptional and can do better than the northern European countries that's great, but I prefer proven solutions like France.
Leaving aside that there already are other countries that are 100% renewable as identified by @climberman , yes I do think we can do better than northern European countries because we have massive advantages. Let's take the examples of Germany and France that you have highlighted. Firstly they consume more than double what we do on an annual basis so fortunately the mountain we have to climb to achieve 100% renewable generation is considerably lower. Secondly Germany and France might be big countries geographically in Europe, but they are piddling in scale compared to Australia. That means issues such as cloud or lack of wind can affect generation on a country wide scale much more heavily than Australia. We also have the advantage of spanning several time zones and a wide range of latitudes, so the sun is still shining in the west when demand peaks in the eastern states for example, and the southern states sit in an area of far more wind potential than the northern areas. Thirdly whilst both Germany and France have more installed solar capacity than Australia, most areas of Australia have double to triple the peak solar potential of Germany and France. We also have a shitload of land much closer to the equator than either Germany or France, so our solar production is those areas is far less seasonally variable.

The french model of rolling out a well designed single type of reactor each generation and regulating the industry well, works. The ad hoc model of the US/UK/Japan has been a continuing disaster.
That new EPR reactor at Flamanville doesn't exactly appear to be a sterling example of rolling out a well designed reactor.
 

rangersac

Likes Dirt
Aurora are part of tasnetworks now, but it is hydro Tasmania that own momentum. Not sure the fault was due to operating the cable at its limits, but the resultant power shortage was a direct result...

And you beat me to the arena sites.
Yes, you are right about Hydro Tas. As for the cable given the Tas Government is currently seeking compensation for the fault we won't be knowing what caused it anytime soon, but there's a fair bit of smoke floating around about it, and it's also pretty telling that the government changed the legislation on minimum storage standards soon after the fault.
 

Oddjob

Eats Squid
Building hydro at hectare scale reservoirs for pumped storage is light years away from the massive dams of old. Basically we are talking about big farm scale dams here, not flooded valleys for tens of km.



I don't think anyone disputes that moving to 100% renewables will cost. It's a big investment, but building a nuke plant and the associated infrastructure will be massively more costly. Conservatively speaking at least double what the estimates of adding pumped capacity, the associated generation increases and interconnectors would be . And frankly we have no real idea of what installing nuke would cost in Australia because it's never been done before, and requires shitload of tech and construction that would be undertaken for the first time. We'd also be stuck with a fixed asset, which sure provides a good swadge of baseload power, but is actually pretty inflexible. Like coal plants you can't ramp production up and down as demand spikes so nuke generators demand a fixed price to supply their power to overcome this. By building the pumped storage and associated grid infrastructure you provide flexibility for power demand and you have the added benefit of future proofing the grid for alternative generation technologies.



Leaving aside that there already are other countries that are 100% renewable as identified by @climberman , yes I do think we can do better than northern European countries because we have massive advantages. Let's take the examples of Germany and France that you have highlighted. Firstly they consume more than double what we do on an annual basis so fortunately the mountain we have to climb to achieve 100% renewable generation is considerably lower. Secondly Germany and France might be big countries geographically in Europe, but they are piddling in scale compared to Australia. That means issues such as cloud or lack of wind can affect generation on a country wide scale much more heavily than Australia. We also have the advantage of spanning several time zones and a wide range of latitudes, so the sun is still shining in the west when demand peaks in the eastern states for example, and the southern states sit in an area of far more wind potential than the northern areas. Thirdly whilst both Germany and France have more installed solar capacity than Australia, most areas of Australia have double to triple the peak solar potential of Germany and France. We also have a shitload of land much closer to the equator than either Germany or France, so our solar production is those areas is far less seasonally variable.



That new EPR reactor at Flamanville doesn't exactly appear to be a sterling example of rolling out a well designed reactor.
They are 100% renewable due to large scale hydro or geothermal (Iceland). Which isn't really on the table either.

The problem with hectare scale pumping is transmission costs. Lots of small two way transmission lines cost lots. There are some turkey nest storage systems in place like Japan but they are niche applications because they are very expensive. So I'm a bit scpetical that they are the golden future. I expect that pumped storage will play a part but I see new battery technology in transmission rings being more likely.

The France vs Germany example is more a comparison between two similar countries with significantly different power industries. The key takeaways for me are the different outcomes in terms of prices and CO2 output. Obviously Australia has a different context but it seems clear to me that we are following the German path with all that entails.

The EPR is looking like a lemon. The AP1000 isn't looking much better at this stage, but its hard to say how much of that is due to regulatory/political bs. The APR 1400 appears to be the 3rd generation benchmark.

Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk
 

Oddjob

Eats Squid
Just want to say I am actually amazed at the maturity of discussion here and more importantly that no one has yet mentioned 'infra sound'. :p
You mean the low level hum from wind turbines? If that was a 'thing' everyone living within kms of a bridge, skyscraper or any othe large object with a low natural resonant frequency would be going bonkers.

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Stredda

Likes Dirt
Where does all your plastic go ?

This is why you can't trust this Government with recycling.

It blows your mind when you see stuff like this.
I remember many years ago seeing John Dobozy win the ABCs "New Inventors" show with a tyre recycling plant that could convert old tyres into many different useful products. Add to that there have been several other start up plants around the world that can recycle plastics properly but they never eventuate to anything. I seen one the other day that could recycle any plastic (plastic bags and all). John's company seems to have gone broke, but why? There are millions of discarded tyres every year.
It must just be cheaper to bury them in the ground or send it all overseas. We need to be more responsible for what we discard, even if a tax is added to plastics to ensure they are processed correctly.
 

Calvin27

Likes Bikes and Dirt
It must just be cheaper to bury them in the ground or send it all overseas.
Basically this. The market does not price externalities. This is like energy and emissions as well.

The kick in the balls gets more painful when you realise that for stuff like tyres there are a lot of incentives and schemes designed to recycle the stuff. But at the end of the day there is still a dollar to be made if you can buy a plot of land in the country and dump them there while collecting the tyre recycling fee.
 

pink poodle

Clinically Inane
I met a fellow who investigates illegal dumping. Old tyres are a huge problem for this, apparently there is a well known Valley of used tyres that can be seen on google maps. I haven't verified the story so it may just be a myth.
 

Flow-Rider

Wheel size expert
It blows your mind when you see stuff like this.
I remember many years ago seeing John Dobozy win the ABCs "New Inventors" show with a tyre recycling plant that could convert old tyres into many different useful products. Add to that there have been several other start up plants around the world that can recycle plastics properly but they never eventuate to anything. I seen one the other day that could recycle any plastic (plastic bags and all). John's company seems to have gone broke, but why? There are millions of discarded tyres every year.
It must just be cheaper to bury them in the ground or send it all overseas. We need to be more responsible for what we discard, even if a tax is added to plastics to ensure they are processed correctly.
I know of two people first hand in Brisbane that have collected tyres and fraudulent told the government they were being recycled, one used them for land fill and mysteriously the large acreage of dumped tyres caught on fire and as we all know you can't put the fire out once tyres start burning, the other bloke had piles of containers and rented yards full of tyres until the point that he was unable to pay for the lease on the yards and went belly up. Think of these 10 year life span POS cars with all the plastic parts on them and where it really goes, same thing with glass it gets stock piled in rented yards.
 

Calvin27

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Think of these 10 year life span POS cars with all the plastic parts on them and where it really goes, same thing with glass it gets stock piled in rented yards.
The car thing irks me. Especially the current trend to trade off fuel efficiency for long term reliability.
 
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