So what's going to replace coal?

 

Pinned post created by dthead

Posted 2 years ago

  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Woodford, there's actually a fourth pumped storage in the country, but for some unknown reason the overly zealous "gatekeeper" of the Wikipedia page doesn't like it, so you won't find it there.

Arthurs Lake is an artificial lake on the Western Tiers in Tassie. Inflows to the lake are stored until the cheapest spot price for electricity is available, the water is then pumped uphill to Great Lake and released through Poatina power station to generate electricity.

(I'm happy to answer any questions on hydro in south eastern Australia.)

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  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
We should be eternally grateful that we did not follow American practice and go with 110VAC. We've backed the wrong horse on numerous occasions(rail gauge!!!!) but 240VAC is the superior choice. Just for starters, when you half the voltage, you need to double the current to deliver the same power to the endpoint. Not only do you need to increase the size of your conductor, but your transmission losses, multiply. This is the reason that all long distance transmission lines are extremely high voltage.
fzr560
Back In the year 2000 Australia's electricity voltage was changed from 240 volts 50 Hz to 230 volts 50 Hz, this voltage Is pretty standard across Europe.
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

We should be eternally grateful that we did not follow American practice and go with 110VAC. We've backed the wrong horse on numerous occasions(rail gauge!!!!) but 240VAC is the superior choice. Just for starters, when you half the voltage, you need to double the current to deliver the same power to the endpoint. Not only do you need to increase the size of your conductor, but your transmission losses, multiply. This is the reason that all long distance transmission lines are extremely high voltage.
Back In the year 2000 Australia's electricity voltage was changed from 240 volts 50 Hz to 230 volts 50 Hz, this voltage Is pretty standard across Europe.
Nightfire
Have you stuck a meter into a power point recently? And no, that is not a suggestion.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Have you stuck a meter into a power point recently? And no, that is not a suggestion.
fzr560
The voltage should be 230 +/- 10% (217 - 253 volts)
  fzr560 Chief Train Controller

Have you stuck a meter into a power point recently? And no, that is not a suggestion.
The voltage should be 230 +/- 10% (217 - 253 volts)
Nightfire
My completely random and unscientific observations would suggest that the standard may have changed but what's available at the powerpoint hasn't. I'd guess that the standard was "updated" to cover the arses of the suppliers and various governments. I note that some documentation mentions the benefits to Australian manufacturers but everybody knows we only dig stuff out of the ground and build blocks of flats.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Woodford, there's actually a fourth pumped storage in the country, but for some unknown reason the overly zealous "gatekeeper" of the Wikipedia page doesn't like it, so you won't find it there.

Arthurs Lake is an artificial lake on the Western Tiers in Tassie. Inflows to the lake are stored until the cheapest spot price for electricity is available, the water is then pumped uphill to Great Lake and released through Poatina power station to generate electricity.

(I'm happy to answer any questions on hydro in south eastern Australia.)
Bogong
Yes, data is rather lacking.

Is there a 5th pumped storage?

Newton Pumping station to Lake Plimsol
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
We should be eternally grateful that we did not follow American practice and go with 110VAC. We've backed the wrong horse on numerous occasions(rail gauge!!!!) but 240VAC is the superior choice. Just for starters, when you half the voltage, you need to double the current to deliver the same power to the endpoint. Not only do you need to increase the size of your conductor, but your transmission losses, multiply. This is the reason that all long distance transmission lines are extremely high voltage.
Back In the year 2000 Australia's electricity voltage was changed from 240 volts 50 Hz to 230 volts 50 Hz, this voltage Is pretty standard across Europe.
Have you stuck a meter into a power point recently? And no, that is not a suggestion.
fzr560
My understanding the world standard because 115 and 230 for 1 phase. 400V and 6?? for 3 phase
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
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.
Carnot
The biggest impediment to anyone considering building a new Coal fired power station or even upgrading an existing one is lack of certainty in energy policy in Australia. And it has been this way for around 10 years now.

One minute we have a Carbon tax, then we don't. One government proposed an ETS, the opposition say they will tear it up the minute they get into office.

Short term thinking for pathetic political point scoring from both sides of the house.

BG
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Talking of pumped hydro - there are some interesting proposals are being kicked about.  Such as this one- using the old mine-shafts under Bendigo:
http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/4971111/bendigo-pumped-hydro-not-just-a-pipe-dream/

But again you run into the problem and cost of building the source of electricity to pump the water in the first place.  Heaps of solar and wind generation would be required.  Or nuclear.  Which scares the living daylights out of most people, whether justified or not.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
obviously this http://csrail.org/torrefied-biomass/ Rolling Eyes I detect a hint of sarcasm
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

obviously this http://csrail.org/torrefied-biomass/ Rolling Eyes I detect a hint of sarcasm
Dangersdan707
Burning biomass is a forgotten option IMO.  It's a big part of the energy mix in Sweden since they have huge forest resources.

But would only make up a small % at best in Australia.  It would be fun to see a steam loco fueled by this stuff though Wink
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Woodford, there's actually a fourth pumped storage in the country, but for some unknown reason the overly zealous "gatekeeper" of the Wikipedia page doesn't like it, so you won't find it there.

Arthurs Lake is an artificial lake on the Western Tiers in Tassie. Inflows to the lake are stored until the cheapest spot price for electricity is available, the water is then pumped uphill to Great Lake and released through Poatina power station to generate electricity.

(I'm happy to answer any questions on hydro in south eastern Australia.)
Yes, data is rather lacking.

Is there a 5th pumped storage?

Newton Pumping station to Lake Plimsol
RTT_Rules
Some Tas Hydro schemes are mind-bogglingly complicated, especially the Derwent and Mersey-Forth schemes which are full of dams and tunnels diverting water between river catchments, with lots of tunnels, dams, aqueducts, flumes, syphons and heaps of power stations in unlikely locations.

I'm not near my documents so I can't check it, but I vaguely recall that water had to be pumped up from one lake to another on the West Coast before it was sent through a turbine, so you're probably correct.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Agree with RTT above, Oz should have a full cycle nuclear industry. Had this discussion with a mate 10 years back. He is a nuclear technologist. And a realist.

Look at SA, Stable geo, lots of raw materials, the opportunity for R&D. A serious yellow cake gold mine. Surely waste could be stored where it could not enter the water table. Storage vessels are far superior these days. Places like Maralinga will probably still show residual effects from testing in the 50's. Put waste out there.

Hoping lessons from Chernobyl and Fukashima, are learned and not repeated.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Hoping lessons from Chernobyl and Fukashima, are learned and not repeated.
michaelgm
Unfortunately those two events were the writing-on-the-wall for nuclear power in this country and in many other places.

I had a laugh when I read this today.  Apparently the feds are very concerned about a big loss of tax revenue as people shift to EVs:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/electric-vehicle-uptake-will-drain-fuel-tax-revenue-report-warns-88827/

Which is another reason why we need to prioritize rail freight and public transport....
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
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.
The biggest impediment to anyone considering building a new Coal fired power station or even upgrading an existing one is lack of certainty in energy policy in Australia. And it has been this way for around 10 years now.

One minute we have a Carbon tax, then we don't. One government proposed an ETS, the opposition say they will tear it up the minute they get into office.

Short term thinking for pathetic political point scoring from both sides of the house.

BG
BrentonGolding
Totally agree, I don't think people actually understand the damage caused by Gillard when she backflipped on the CO2 tax. This one move turned Australia from a historically political-economic stable country to one companies could no longer trust and unfortunately this wound has not been heeled since. TA was the only PM to try and fix it but he didn't have time to fix it correctly due to his other issues. MT is more aligned with Gillard than TA or his own party.

So now we have neither RE nor Coal and who would invest in either unless the we had a PM who enshrined in law the economic stability in investing in the next generation of coal as a baseline source of low cost reliable energy and allowed RE roll out as it becomes economic and practical to do so. Not at any cost.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Hoping lessons from Chernobyl and Fukashima, are learned and not repeated.
Unfortunately those two events were the writing-on-the-wall for nuclear power in this country and in many other places.

I had a laugh when I read this today.  Apparently the feds are very concerned about a big loss of tax revenue as people shift to EVs:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/electric-vehicle-uptake-will-drain-fuel-tax-revenue-report-warns-88827/

Which is another reason why we need to prioritize rail freight and public transport....
Carnot
We have had numerous ship tragedies such as the Titanic, did we abandon sailing? No we learnt and moved on.

We have had numerous airline crashes, 100,000's probably killed in last 60 years of the jet age, did we stop flying? No we learnt and moved on.

Can nuclear power me made significantly safer from the lessons  learned from Chernobyl (yes I have been there) and Fukashima. No, we want to shut down the most practical, cost effective (but not cheapest) and reliable alternative to coal and gas fired power. Meanwhile like coal and gas, we are happy to sell it to others, but demonise it on shore.

Not just EV, but also Hybrid, reduction in car size, switch to PT and  decreasing fuel consumption overall. The wholesale fuel tax strategy will need to be changed. Increasing it to try and compensate will only drive people away from fuel faster. The tax shift needs to change and funding for roads will need to change to a per km charging, tolls or other. Increasing registration will not help as this is a state fee and will create an uproar trying to do so.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
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.  
djf01
I would wager that actually, not a single device in your home functions electrically as you describe. Very few modern 'gadgets' function off of a set down transformer, they will almost certainly be SMPS design - vastly more efficient than you could imagine.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

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.
The biggest impediment to anyone considering building a new Coal fired power station or even upgrading an existing one is lack of certainty in energy policy in Australia. And it has been this way for around 10 years now.

One minute we have a Carbon tax, then we don't. One government proposed an ETS, the opposition say they will tear it up the minute they get into office.

Short term thinking for pathetic political point scoring from both sides of the house.

BG
Totally agree, I don't think people actually understand the damage caused by Gillard when she backflipped on the CO2 tax. This one move turned Australia from a historically political-economic stable country to one companies could no longer trust and unfortunately this wound has not been heeled since. TA was the only PM to try and fix it but he didn't have time to fix it correctly due to his other issues. MT is more aligned with Gillard than TA or his own party.

So now we have neither RE nor Coal and who would invest in either unless the we had a PM who enshrined in law the economic stability in investing in the next generation of coal as a baseline source of low cost reliable energy and allowed RE roll out as it becomes economic and practical to do so. Not at any cost.
RTT_Rules
Bit one eyed about Gillard. I recall TA and the Parrot at a meeting outside Parliament House Canberra practically seeking to have her burnt and I recall she was difficulty getting the CO2 tax through the houses because TA was carrying on like the lunatic he is. TA knows it doesn't matter if the world is destroyed as it will hasten the return of the redeemer. All those believers will suddenly disappear from their cars leaving them driver less to hurtle into the sinful.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I don't know if I want to wade in here after the twit I made of myself with 110V, but on this subject I think I can contribute in a (slightly) more informed way.

We have had numerous ship tragedies such as the Titanic, did we abandon sailing? No we learnt and moved on.

We have had numerous airline crashes, 100,000's probably killed in last 60 years of the jet age, did we stop flying? No we learnt and moved on.
RTT_Rules


A bit like the Hindenburg eh?


Can nuclear power me made significantly safer from the lessons  learned from Chernobyl (yes I have been there) and Fukashima. No, we want to shut down the most practical, cost effective (but not cheapest) and reliable alternative to coal and gas fired power. Meanwhile like coal and gas, we are happy to sell it to others, but demonise it on shore.
RTT_Rules


I know my view on this is very different, and in particular different to that of @LancedDendrite and others here, but Nuclear is un-insurable.  I did a lot of reading on this after the last time it was debated here, lots of reports on the studies into the effects of Chernobyl.  All the people adversely effected by Fukashima will not be properly compensated, even the Japanese can't afford that.  On this basis alone, Nuclear is too expensive.  If these costs were properly accounted for and attributed to the generators, every nuclear plant in the world would be shut down tomorrow (IMHO obviously).

In my view, the environmental risks associated with Nuclear dwarf the worst climate change has to offer by continued unrestrained use of coal.  

And then there are security concerns.  I'm sure many countries have nuclear reactors as much as a strategic defence asset than any other reason.  In my view, the mere presence of a nuclear industry increases the risks of industy's by-products being deliberately mis-used, either by state or non-state players.  The fact it hasn't happened since 1945 really shouldn't give anyone any comfort.

Longer term, the extra cost of securing the waste, securing the state against the threat of the industry being mis-used, all dwarf  the worst of the environmental and economic risks.

If it were up to me, there would be a world wide ban on all fissile material.  We'd allow the existing power reactors to serve out their economic lives, we'd use them to destroy all the world's weaponised fissile material, render all of the accumulated waste as harmless as possible, and then completely shut down the entire industry.

In short, if it's nuclear vs coal, give me dirty polluting coal any day of the week.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
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?
RTT_Rules
How about putting the batteries away from the house in case the batteries heat up and catch fire taking out the house?
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
As for the crux of the issue and what should replace coal, Thorium MSR.
Available, cheap, safe, relatively short lived wasted, near no scope for weaponisation, no ability for melt down, load following output.
Australia has areas of no meaningful geological change spanning billions of years, we don't get tsunami here, earthquake has never killed a nuclear power plant, and no one outside of the Russian states ever built RBMK reactors, (and even Russia doesn't build them anymore), Chernobyl especially is irrelevant to the discussion. Fukushima and Three Mile Island are also hardly relevant.
djf01 as others point out we crash aircraft and still fly, we sink ships and still sail, you can mention Hindenberg as though you think you're clever mentioning a type of flying we no longer do, except we do. Lighter than air travel is still routinely carried out day in, day out all over the world, sure we no longer use hydrogen, we use helium. In nuclear terms we no longer use RBMK, we ought to use MSR or SMR.
Solar and wind are not the panacea to the world's energy problems, they'e combined not even the panacea to just our domestic issues, even with pumped storage or thermal (or chemical) as is the South Australian lasted waste of money and resources.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
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.
The biggest impediment to anyone considering building a new Coal fired power station or even upgrading an existing one is lack of certainty in energy policy in Australia. And it has been this way for around 10 years now.

One minute we have a Carbon tax, then we don't. One government proposed an ETS, the opposition say they will tear it up the minute they get into office.

Short term thinking for pathetic political point scoring from both sides of the house.

BG
Totally agree, I don't think people actually understand the damage caused by Gillard when she backflipped on the CO2 tax. This one move turned Australia from a historically political-economic stable country to one companies could no longer trust and unfortunately this wound has not been heeled since. TA was the only PM to try and fix it but he didn't have time to fix it correctly due to his other issues. MT is more aligned with Gillard than TA or his own party.

So now we have neither RE nor Coal and who would invest in either unless the we had a PM who enshrined in law the economic stability in investing in the next generation of coal as a baseline source of low cost reliable energy and allowed RE roll out as it becomes economic and practical to do so. Not at any cost.
Bit one eyed about Gillard. I recall TA and the Parrot at a meeting outside Parliament House Canberra practically seeking to have her burnt and I recall she was difficulty getting the CO2 tax through the houses because TA was carrying on like the lunatic he is. TA knows it doesn't matter if the world is destroyed as it will hasten the return of the redeemer. All those believers will suddenly disappear from their cars leaving them driver less to hurtle into the sinful.
nswtrains
Gillard went to an election and said there will be no CO2 tax then switched sides as a promise to form govt after loosing the majority.

TA went to an election saying he will remove the CO2 tax and did so once in power.

I can tell you many an ALP supporter would have happily supplied the match for that BBQ. What she did for destroying business confidence in this country was unbelievable, this is from someone in heavy industry. The CO2 tax also once implemented was a joke and more aimed at social welfare than reducing CO2 emissions.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I don't know if I want to wade in here after the twit I made of myself with 110V, but on this subject I think I can contribute in a (slightly) more informed way.

We have had numerous ship tragedies such as the Titanic, did we abandon sailing? No we learnt and moved on.

We have had numerous airline crashes, 100,000's probably killed in last 60 years of the jet age, did we stop flying? No we learnt and moved on.


A bit like the Hindenburg eh?


Can nuclear power me made significantly safer from the lessons  learned from Chernobyl (yes I have been there) and Fukashima. No, we want to shut down the most practical, cost effective (but not cheapest) and reliable alternative to coal and gas fired power. Meanwhile like coal and gas, we are happy to sell it to others, but demonise it on shore.

I know my view on this is very different, and in particular different to that of @LancedDendrite and others here, but Nuclear is un-insurable.  I did a lot of reading on this after the last time it was debated here, lots of reports on the studies into the effects of Chernobyl.  All the people adversely effected by Fukashima will not be properly compensated, even the Japanese can't afford that.  On this basis alone, Nuclear is too expensive.  If these costs were properly accounted for and attributed to the generators, every nuclear plant in the world would be shut down tomorrow (IMHO obviously).

In my view, the environmental risks associated with Nuclear dwarf the worst climate change has to offer by continued unrestrained use of coal.  

And then there are security concerns.  I'm sure many countries have nuclear reactors as much as a strategic defence asset than any other reason.  In my view, the mere presence of a nuclear industry increases the risks of industy's by-products being deliberately mis-used, either by state or non-state players.  The fact it hasn't happened since 1945 really shouldn't give anyone any comfort.

Longer term, the extra cost of securing the waste, securing the state against the threat of the industry being mis-used, all dwarf  the worst of the environmental and economic risks.

If it were up to me, there would be a world wide ban on all fissile material.  We'd allow the existing power reactors to serve out their economic lives, we'd use them to destroy all the world's weaponised fissile material, render all of the accumulated waste as harmless as possible, and then completely shut down the entire industry.

In short, if it's nuclear vs coal, give me dirty polluting coal any day of the week.
djf01
Hindenburg used old technology that even the German's knew was unsafe. It was the American blockade to supply helium that forced their hand. Post WW2, airships were outdone by the jet age.

The Russian's new the heavy water reactors used in Ukraine were out of date and the safety test that caused the failure was done on N/S. No one in their right minds does safety tests on back shifts. Meanwhile Fukashima was due to be shutdown the same year due to age. It exceeded the design criteria for the earthquake with flying colours, the  back up generator however did not have the same thoughts into the design to protect against the Tsunami.

So if you caught a ride on a B707 and it crashed, is the airline industry unsafe?


There are actually lots of industries that cannot get insurance, the airline industry lost its insurance over night post SEpt 11, but I believe it has long since returned. Heritage rail insurance premiums to run on mainline track in Qld is almost at the same level, if you can get it as it assumes the steam train will cause a fully loaded EMU to explode and kill everyone on the train + collateral damage and infrastructure damage.

Agree, when Nuclear energy goes bad its does it well, however there are mitigating factors in both events that caused the accident in the first place. And these can easily be removed and basically are now anyway. Over 100,000 people have died due to airplane crashes since WW2, these collective crashes has now made flying safer than lying in bed. In Australia, roughly similar number have died from driving since WW2, but we still keep driving but have not experienced the same level of improvement in death reduction as per air.

Can we use coal over nuclear? But what if yo want to move large scale zero emissions, Nuclear for Australia is currently the only option and we have the space and the modern technology is available to prevent a repeat of past mistakes. It should also be a cradle to grave industry, not simply a power station.

In the mean time, coal is cheaper than Nuclear and conversion of our aging plants to modern coal fired will achieve a 20-35% reduction in CO2 emissions and 90% reduction in SOX. For me this is simply a no brainer.

Regards
Shane
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
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?
How about putting the batteries away from the house in case the batteries heat up and catch fire taking out the house?
Aaron
Yes, its a two way street and expect building codes driven by insurance premiums to adopt similar practices in the near future and likely include automatic fire suppression.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
If we wanted to power 100% of the east coast grid with wind farms this is the space you need

Max grid demand is around 26,000MW, for 24hr you need around 500,000MWh or roughly 21,000 MW an hour with battery to supply the peak demand and periods of low or no wind.

Assume wind yielding on average 33% of nameplate continuously (typically the bench mark set in Tasmania). So you need 3 x the demand, more for lessor windy areas.

The largest commercial wind turbine now is around 7MW, although typical installation is sill 5-6MW and they need to spaced at least 100m apart in a grid for mid-sized turbines (7 x the diameter of the blades), so 3000 turbines at 7MW.

In a single line they would be at least 300km long or a square grid, nearly 17km x 17km. But there is a few papers that are leading to much larger spacing for large scale wind farms, so up to 30km by 30km. As a minimum for 33% nameplate efficiency.

Within that 30km by 30km zone, there would be minimal tall vegetation, no structures or human habitation, no above ground services of any kind, no roads for use by the public, limited use for agriculture mostly grazing, but maybe cropping. Bird existence in this zone would be near zero and likely limited to feral introduced species that adapt well.

Then you need to install the battery capable of delivering 26,000 MW of output for at least 24h, However backup systems in Gas turbines and hydro are also available.

regards

Shane

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