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Sandpit

October 8th, 2012

A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on.

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  1. Fran Barlow
    October 16th, 2012 at 16:17 | #1

    In other good news Denmark has apparently reached its 2020 target for solar 200MW.

    http://beforeitsnews.com/environment/2012/09/denmark-reaches-2020-goal-for-solar-energy-8-years-in-advance-2449076.html

    Apparently it is also now producing 40% of its energy from renewables and aims to produce 50% of its energy from wind by 2020.

    Denmark is a net electricity exporter.

    All good …

  2. October 16th, 2012 at 16:36 | #2

    Considering that point of use solar is the cheapest source of electricity available to Australian consumers I wouldn’t exactly say that price is an issue that’s preventing its adoption. And apparently we may see a thirty percent decline in solar panel prices next year. If only every source of electricity had these sorts of cost issues. And as for quality, well, there’s silicon PV still operating after 40 years without any maintenance, which is something that coal or gas plants really can’t manage, so that doesn’t seem to be a huge issue either. Now of course the lower the price the better and the higher the quality the better, but when compared to every other source of electricity, solar PV seems to do pretty well in those two areas.

  3. Jim Rose
    October 16th, 2012 at 17:06 | #3

    Fran, There are more than four thousand onshore turbines – two-thirds more than Britain – in a country a fifth the size. Nowhere else has more turbines per head,

    Thanks in part to the wind farm subsidies, Danes pay some of Europe’s highest energy tariffs.

    The key point is most of that wind driven electricity cannot actually be used in Denmark.

    Power companies have to generate it at the moment you need to use it. Wind’s key disadvantage – in Denmark, as elsewhere – is its unpredictability and uncontrollability.

    Most of the wind electricity Denmark generates has to be exported to Germany, to balance the fluctuations in that country’s own wind carpet, or to Sweden and Norway, whose entire power system is hydroelectric, and where it can be stored. Hydro is carbon neutral so one green energy is crowding out another

    The devil is in the details. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/7996606/An-ill-wind-blows-for-Denmarks-green-energy-revolution.html

  4. October 16th, 2012 at 19:23 | #4

    It appears the stupidity is also in the details. With regards to the article Jim linked to, I wonder if the author, Andrew Gilligan, thinks that is is okay for Europe to share a currency but not electricity? Does he seriously think all the countries of Europe should have their own individual electricty grids? And I’m even more amazed that someone would decide they were qualified to write an article for a newspaper about electricity generation when they don’t know that hydropower is dispatchable. Which means it is complementary with wind power. That means they work well together. How could anyone think they crowd each other out? Does he think the Scandinavians just flush water out of their hydropower dams without generating electricity from it for the hell of it when the wind blows in Denmark? You’d think he’d spend a few minutes thinking it through before writing an article for a newspaper about it, wouldn’t you? But you know, it’s not really possible to honestly make these sorts of mistakes. Sure, maybe he was honestly misinformed, but I think that if he was that gullible he’d be too busy attempting to charge people tolls to cross various bridges he is under the impression he owns to write for newspapers.

    Now I don’t know how Denmark funds its generating infrastructure, but I do know that wind turbines are generally built where electricity is expensive. If one spends a little time to think it through, one will see why that’s the case. Where would you make the most money building a wind turbine? Where electricity prices are low, or where electricity prices are high? That’s why South Australia has a lot of wind power, because it is the state with the highest electricity prices. Sorry, was the state with the highest electricity prices. They’ve gone down. I’m getting a 8.1% cut in what I pay per kilowatt-hour starting next year thanks to wind and solar pushing down electricity prices in South Australia.

  5. Jim Rose
    October 16th, 2012 at 19:37 | #5

    @Ronald Brak
    wind power cannot operate as base load capacity. A key grid ingredient is dependability. Wind does not have this.

  6. October 16th, 2012 at 20:32 | #6

    Erm, yeah, that’s because the wind doesn’t blow at a constant rate all the time. If you ever meet anyone who does think the wind blows at a constant rate all the time I suggest you make them go sit outside or open their doors and windows or something.

    Now just in case you haven’t been paying attention, I’ll mention that a week or so ago South Australia had no operating baseload generating capacity and we did not miss it. We shut it all down for a few months on account of wind and solar pushing down electricity prices and the carbon tax pushing the cost of generating electricity from fossil fuels up.

  7. October 17th, 2012 at 13:36 | #7

    And today I read that another 360 megawatts of Australian coal capacity has been shut down. This time a brown coal unit at Yallourn power station in Victoria’s Latrobe valley. So much for paying them to shut down, they’re doing it on their own.

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