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The moral case for renewables

November 11th, 2015
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  1. Ivor
    November 11th, 2015 at 15:29 | #1

    Yes, a tax on coal exports seems the best option but not to a so-called Bob-Brown-Fund. Part needs to go to labour market adjustment programs to ensure that displaced workers are looked after.

    In any case, according to the latest from GetUp, Turnbull is doing everything to maintain coal mining irrespective of what other nations are doing and irrespective of CO2 emissions.


    Possible Disaster

    As ever, you judge politicians, not by what they say, but by what they do.

  2. Daniel
    November 11th, 2015 at 16:42 | #2

    The financial sense to jump straight to renewables in places like India makes complete sense as the infrastructure cost to get poles to the middle of nowhere (plus ongoing maintenance costs) would be silly.
    Also it they want to play the moral card, why not look back to the 60’s, 70’s etc… when scientists including Exxon Mobil scientist new that burning of fossil fuels was causing climate change, where was there moral’s to start shifting their company’s in a renewable direction?

  3. Ikonoclast
    November 12th, 2015 at 08:52 | #3

    I do not accept the “resource curse” thesis. However, in the case of coal, I am now prepared to make an exception. There is now definitely a “coal curse”. It is now a curse to have coal and to base an economy on it. The sooner we leave all coal in the ground and move to a renewable energy economy, the better off we will be.

  4. rog
    November 13th, 2015 at 16:08 | #4

    In this article by AMP argue that lack of compliance, environmental etc, can act as an indicator of risk.

    While VW had some visible governance issues around it – a single shareholder block holds 90% of the voting shares, non-independent majority on the board, no fully independent audit committee nor independent remuneration committee – these are not all that unusual in many bond issuers. Despite these issues, it would be highly unlikely that any credit analyst, who really dug deep into and ‘knew’ VW, would have identified that the firm was undertaking such a widespread fraud on its customers.

  5. TerjeP
    November 16th, 2015 at 09:56 | #5

    Irrespective of whether you are for or against renewable mandates I think those with a technical bent will find the following real world analysis of Australia’s installed wind farm capacity somewhat interesting:-


  6. November 16th, 2015 at 16:45 | #6

    That article was somewhat interesting, TerjeP. But it left out a few things. One thing it neglects to mention is that adding wind power to the grid is very cheap in terms of additional ancillary services on account of how the grid already has a great deal of spinning reserve capacity operating in order to handle variation in demand and fossil fuel output – such as a major fossil fuel power station going offline. For example, South Australia has not increased its ancillary services as it has gone from next to no wind power to generating electricity equal to one third of its consumption from wind. Or if you want to throw rooftop solar in there as well, it has not increased its ancillary services as it has gone from almost no wind and solar to generating electricity equal to 40% of its total consumption from wind and solar. So clearly, Australia as a whole can greatly increase its wind and solar capacity without needing to increase ancillary services.

    And the aticle also doesn’t mention that wind can provide ancillary services. Solar too for that matter.

    And I probably would have mentioned that home and business energy storage may end up providing a lot of, or all, ancillary services in the future. But that’s just me.

    But I don’t want to give the impression that these are major flaws in the article. It can be easy to overlook things. Even important things. But where the article takes a turn for the weird is when it says the penetration of a renewable energy source can’t exceed its capacity factor otherwise it will result in overgeneration at times. But why this is a problem is not explained. At times we have had more electricity produced by renewables plus inflexible coal power than we consumed and exported in South Australia, and it was not a problem. Or at least it wasn’t a problem if you weren’t operating an inflexible coal power station. Rather than the existance or not of over generation determining penetration, surely it is cost which would determine that? For example, if people can save money by installing solar panels on their roof then we’ll end up with a high penetration of solar. Because it’s cheaper. And then industry and other large users of electricity will end up paying very little for electricity during the day. Which presumably would not be a horrible disaster. Although I suppose it is possible that some people might hate industry and so be against it for that reason.

    Anyway, this fixating on capacity factors and blithely skipping over costs makes me think there might be some heavy weight on the rubber sheet of their minds which is distorting their thinking on that site. I wonder what it could be?

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