So what's going to replace coal?

 

Pinned post created by dthead

Posted 3 years ago

  Carnot Minister for Railways

I've been following the debate on energy generation with interest of late.  One nagging question remains: What will replace coal-fired electricity generation in Australia?

The Vic Government's Energy report is a fascinating read.  It reckons natural gas will fill the gap in the medium term.  But will we have enough?  Will we need to import vast quantities from the Persian Gulf?
https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/83091/EY-modelling-report-VRET.pdf (Refer pages 26-29 especially!)

Meanwhile, some coal-freed stations have gone from worthless to multi-million dollar bonanzas for their new owners within 2 years:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-24/coal-power-station-sold-for-peanuts-becomes-730-million-asset/9077582

What a mess.

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  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

To answer the question, more coal. Should be anyway. We dig up our resources sell them OS yet won't use it ourselves. As a nation we would burn SFA, in comparison to what is exported.

Read article on sale of Vales Point, $1million, well above retention value, good work Gladys, 730% ROI.
Shame I couldn't get my snout in that trough.

A bit off topic, had a technician look at my inverter roof top PV system today, about 7kw system, and asked about battery storage, informed that new regulations will apply shortly in terms of how/where batteries can be installed. Placed in separate shed, isolated from main dwelling, simply cannot be placed in garage any longer. Bloke told me this is not without merit. Issues with ventilation, fire risk ect. No expert on this at all. Seems harder to disconnect from the grid.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

To answer the question, more coal. Should be anyway. We dig up our resources sell them OS yet won't use it ourselves. As a nation we would burn SFA, in comparison to what is exported.

Read article on sale of Vales Point, $1million, well above retention value, good work Gladys, 730% ROI.
Shame I couldn't get my snout in that trough.

michaelgm
The problem is that many of the coal-fired stations are approaching end-of-life.  It's cheaper to kill them than keep them going.
And no one is willing to build new coal-fired generation.

I think $730 million value today vs $1 million purchase price is a 73000% ROI.  Ker-ching!
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Even some of the newer coal fired power houses are approaching expiration. Mt Piper at Wang is 20 plus years old.
Leed time for construction of new would be 5 years or so, EIS and associated red and green tape.
Yet nothing is on the horizon. Nursing and band aiding old clunkers like Liddel is the apparent solution.
Stock up on candles.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

What will replace coal-fired electricity generation in Australia?
Carnot

I don't know about what will, but I know what should:  home solar, home storage and wind.  Combined with rational demand management.

AIUI, solar is now the cheapest form of new generation on a TCO basis (I read conflicting things on this).  In addition, it's scalable both up and down, and doesn't technically need a transmission network though a peer to peer transmission network improves it's utility.

As for demand management, there are oodles of things which could be done in this regard, starting with unwinding the demand management features of our system designed for coal generation like (what I have) "off peak" hot water.  My hot water should heat up when the spot price is low: during windy sunny days, not during the still dead of night.

If I had solar panels (my house doesn't have correctly a facing roof - which a new building code should mandate) I should be able to sell the excess power to the grid at the spot price, not my retailer's average wholesale price.  And I should be able to buy, store and resell excess power from the grid at the spot price if I choose.

Also, 240V is the highest in the developed world.  Most electronic gadgets these days - and their sheer number make them a significant part of the household and business draw - would work perfectly well at 110V - while not drawing a single extra watt of power.  Most gadgets power supply have an initial step down transformer, then a resistor based (ie heat generating) voltage regulator to get the same amps to the gadget regardless of the input voltage.  One of the two general circuits in my house could be entirely 110V and literally halve that circuit's power consumption.  

Regulatory capture - as much as anything, certainly more than climate wars - prevents this, and creates artificial demand for a legacy product (coal fired power).
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
The Vic Government's Energy report is a fascinating read.  It reckons natural gas will fill the gap in the medium term.  But will we have enough?  Will we need to import vast quantities from the Persian Gulf?
Carnot
This is the most ridiculous proposition ever but sadly we may have to do that.

It would help if the LNG exporters paid the Australian people for the gas they're exporting so we were at least being compensated. We don't get a single cent and we are unlikely to get any money for years thanks to clever accounting by the gas companies themselves. Pauline Hanson pointed out the ridiculousness of this situation in parliament last week and was ignored. We are actually paying the LNG exporters to dump our gas off-shore at below cost and Aussie taxpayers are unlikely to see any money for years. But somehow we have a gas shortage on the east coast?

And people wonder why we're screwed!
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Stock up on candles.
michaelgm
Candles and the BBQ will do for a bit of light and a feed, but the internet won't run on it... Wink
  Carnot Minister for Railways

What will replace coal-fired electricity generation in Australia?

I don't know about what will, but I know what should:  home solar, home storage and wind.  Combined with rational demand management.

AIUI, solar is now the cheapest form of new generation on a TCO basis (I read conflicting things on this).  In addition, it's scalable both up and down, and doesn't technically need a transmission network though a peer to peer transmission network improves it's utility.

As for demand management, there are oodles of things which could be done in this regard, starting with unwinding the demand management features of our system designed for coal generation like (what I have) "off peak" hot water.  My hot water should heat up when the spot price is low: during windy sunny days, not during the still dead of night.

If I had solar panels (my house doesn't have correctly a facing roof - which a new building code should mandate) I should be able to sell the excess power to the grid at the spot price, not my retailer's average wholesale price.  And I should be able to buy, store and resell excess power from the grid at the spot price if I choose.

Also, 240V is the highest in the developed world.  Most electronic gadgets these days - and their sheer number make them a significant part of the household and business draw - would work perfectly well at 110V - while not drawing a single extra watt of power.  Most gadgets power supply have an initial step down transformer, then a resistor based (ie heat generating) voltage regulator to get the same amps to the gadget regardless of the input voltage.  One of the two general circuits in my house could be entirely 110V and literally halve that circuit's power consumption.  

Regulatory capture - as much as anything, certainly more than climate wars - prevents this, and creates artificial demand for a legacy product (coal fired power).
djf01
A couple of points worth mentioning:
- What happens on days when it's cloudy and still (as is often the case in Autumn)?  That's where large scale pumped-storage hydro is probably best.  Industry just can't run otherwise.
- 240V has the advantage of being able to charge EV batteries much quicker than 110V.
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

Yet here we are beating ourselves up over reducing our carbon emissions, a laudable concept, but Japan is currently planning and constructing 40+ HELE coal fired power stations, makes our efforts seem puny does it not?

I wonder what lets say India and China are building?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
1) 240V is inherently for efficient than 110V as it requires thinner cable and suffers from less losses.

2.4kW = 240 V x 10 Amps

2.4kW = 110 V x 20 amps

Please lets not look to Nth America for guidance for domestic electric reticulation where most houses now have 2 supplies.

2) Batteries are being pushed out of houses and garages because of fire risk and if there is a fire in the house for other reasons how do you shut of the power supply if you cannot get to the battery?
  Bogong Chief Commissioner