I'm sure that it will come as no surprise that I am somewhat more optimistic than you! Despite the best efforts of our Federal "Government" to sink the country it remains a pretty good place to be.
Still struggle getting my head around the fact we can export ship loads of the black stuff overseas to be burnt, yet reluctant to burn it here.History will show Australia to be hypocritical to its own economic demise.
However, had Abbott not been elected in 2013 on the platform of axe the tax remember the $550 pa that Aussie housewives had to spend which has surely been absorbed by subsequent price rises. We would have had an ETS years ago, and the market would have determined the course of power generation. Any studies into that scenario?
We have the bulk of the world's Uranium, we mine it, we sell it, but neither process it, use it or allow its disposal. Thus pi$$ing against the wall a highly technical job wise and profitable industry and NIMBY'ism to its waste.
We have the bulk of the world's cleanest thermal coal, we mine it, we sell it, but are afraid to use it to supply energy intensive industries that are both highly technical job wise and very profitable.
We have a large chunk of the world's cleanest gas, but again sell it off shore to be used by others and deny ourselves energy and industry that would both be technical and profitable.
Meanwhile our unemployed and underemployed cannot afford to turn their lights on because we are forcing RE technology to do what its not good at doing.
I understand the sentiment that stops us from using uranium. While I disagree with that sentiment, I still think that the biggest impediment to its use is economic. As for processing, and permanent disposal of the waste, I do not understand why not.
The ownership of Australia's natural gas is philosophical: as it stands, he who finds the gas (or other natural resources) effectively owns it, and has the sole right to dispose of it. My philosophy says that's wrong. Though if Uranium can be an exception...
The third world has effectively been given dispensation to burn coal so that their economies can get a start. In years to come the third world will realise that that is a mistake, as it is the third world that will bear the worst effects of an already overheated planet.
(There has to be a better term than "third world" - perhaps "developing world" might be better. I'm just showing my age.)
As for RE, the electricity suppliers are clearly confident that with research into RE still in its early days, yet still able to replace more conventional generation, they have no need to build new powerhouses, because by the time the ones that they own are worn out (in some cases 20-30 years) RE will have grown up.
"Developing Economies" is the more modern political correct term for "3rd world"
"Emerging Economies" is the correct term for countries like the UAE which are almost there.
The Australian Economy is doing ok to good, you won't get an argument from me on that and MT either deliberately or inadvertently seems to be doing an ok in the economy side of things. I bailed out from another thread on this because I see Don's view of the world from his desk in suburban Adelaide somewhat morbid. However Don is correct in somethings and that is we are being de-industrialised and with it economic diversity and job diversity. We have a growing workforce that are struggling to find alt work because their skills are completely useless in the more modern digital world. I'm not just talking guys who work mining machines or work on furnaces, I'm talking engineering, science and Management roles as well.
Australia has every major ingredient to be a major player in the aluminium sector from mine to final alloy, but will be lucky to be even exporting the mineral in the next 30 years because of a twisted ideology. This to me is economic stupidity! Canada makes much more Aluminium than Australia and yet they don't even refine alumina. We should be pumping out at least 5mt a year of the metal. We are even cheaper than China!
Nuclear, 8-10 years development time is only that long if you want it to be, I've heard Dr Karl quote 15 years. Construction time for a 4 turbine plant in a hot climate in middle of no where is 6 years for turbine 1, then 18mths for each after. For coal is 3-4 years for the first turbine. Only politics slows it down. The engineering is well known.
On price of nuclear power, it used to be consider more expensive as base load than coal, but with operating costs around US$60-80/MW in most countries, this aligns with Australia's whole prices of 2017 and cheaper than 2018. Currently nuclear is the only non-CO2 emitting energy source that can replace coal in baseload and potentially 10GW of generation capacity should have started 10 years ago, coming on line recently and continued to do so over the next 10 years if we were serious about phasing out coal. A full lifecycle industry could have been built around it and also sold and exported fuel and waste processing.
In Australia, the mineral is owned by the state which issues a license to extract and sell it paying a royalty fee to the state in return. This enables the state to avoid getting into state owned mining/mineral extraction business which reknown for being a fat/inefficient Pubic Service monopoly often operating mines and other processes well beyond their economic life for political reasons. In general I don't have an issue with this, however royalty issue has a few flaws that need changing.
1) The Royalty should be set at the nominal market price, not the in-house sale price to avoid off-shoring profits.
2) Royalties should discounted if further processing is undertaken in Australia. The discount would be based on the degree of processing
3) Royalities should be prevented being used as consulted revenue, rather channeled into a Sovereign wealth funds, 50:50 with state of source and rest with Fed. Only 50% of the profits are then allowed to be used for consulted revenue expect in time of war or "state of emergency".
RE is still in very early days as for example the industry, hence why subsidies are so high has yet to effectively manage 24/7 supply without relying on fossil/nuclear or hydro. While pumped Hydro maybe seen to solve the 24/7 issue of RE, its also traditionally one of the most environmentally controversial and the likely hood a huge collection of pumped storage dams appearing across the country side is remote. The technology still needs access to some water, usually significant rainfall catchment to off-set evaporation and seepage.
I have numerous magazines of RE technology on my desk at home as I have a long interest in its success so I'm not blind to whats going on. I'm also heavily involved on the large scale consumption/generation side and hence understand many of the true costs of power generation and not whats thrown about in the media, often wrong or overstated. We can tax the emissions from a coal power station all you want, but it just comes out of our pocket and will not resolve the limitations of the industry still in its infancy.
RE is more successful in some locations than others because of numerous reasons. Tas with its large scale hydro network could easily take on more wind, however each wind farm constructed and proposed was protested against by environmental groups and if the dams were to be built today, the same would happen again and most would not be built. The only reason they are burning natural gas to make power is because of blocking the Franklin Dam by Environmental groups in the early 80's.
Re is fine, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.