44 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. @Ronald Brak
    An article along similar lines has come out in The Energy Collective. In Australia there is a new twist to the overcapacity argument..the Tasmanian Greens want Lake Pedder drained to its original size since we have ‘too much’ generating capacity. This is since last year AEMO said eastern Australia (the NEM) could cut from about 48 GW to 38 GW.

    However what should be cut is either high carbon or non dispatchable but hydro is both low carbon and dispatchable. I think the primary driver of policy here, in China or anywhere else should be tough emissions targets. That should sort out what should stay and what should go.

  2. @TerjeP

    They just aren’t the last defence white paper doesn’t even make a case for them. By the time they arrive, they will be expensive targets for any serious aggressor, but more likely, just more junk with a huge sunk cost — and the capex is just the sub total. (yes I am carrying on with the pun)

  3. Hermit, one can always find people in favour of stupid things. When one goes searching for people saying stupid things, then the world can seem a stupid place. I’d even go as far as saying it’s a stupid activity. No one is going to drain Lake Pedder back to its orginal size. Not in a world of collapsing ice sheets, the highest global temperatures on record, and 45 degree Adelaide days. To remove a source of low emission hydroelectricity while Victoria is still burning brown coal would be really really stupid. So stupid in fact, that there is absolutely no chance what so ever that it would actually be done and the only time we will ever hear about it is when nutjobs want to distract attention from the desperate need to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

  4. @tony lynch
    It just occurred to me, what investor would punt on Tony Abbott, now he appears to be in a downward spiral of his own creation? I know the media propaganda system is partially broken, but what happens if the funding dries up? Perhaps the opportunity exists for the ALP to claim that they can do austerity better and receive the windfall?

  5. @TerjeP
    Apparently subs are good for denying sea control, but cant establish sea control. They are a bit like terrorists of the sea in that they are only good at disrupting things. That function may be useful to us one day but I’d still rather see the money spent on other projects. I favor the naive optimists small defence force (used primarily for humanitarian efforts) and neutral nation stance ,or perhaps a regional alliance of close neighbors .Lets stop sucking up to the USA before they suck us down the drain with them. I see in todays news that NZ is sending troops (‘trainers’) to Iraq now. Therefore it would not be surprising if they soon suffer a terror incident .

  6. You’d have to think the purpose of continually updating whizzbang military technology is to do the bidding of the US or sometimes just to please them without being asked. The military jets we sent to bomb Daesh were not the latest model but proved adequate against medievalists. However one could easily crash due to malfunction and the surviving pilot treated barbarously. In other words what happened to the Jordanian pilot could happen to an Aussie.

    Now I note we are to get US military attack drones presumably for top dollar. Perhaps they too will go to serve ‘our’ interests in the northern hemisphere. At least pilots will be spared.

  7. @Ronald Brak
    I visited Lake Peddar in 1972. Walked in, walked out in its last year before flooding. It was the most stunning example of time I have ever experienced. A few days camping there were without time because each serene moment was indistinguishable from the moments that preceded and followed. It was unchanging, it was stunning and its loss still causes grief for those who knew it.

    While I agree that there appears to be a global scale case for maintaining it to supply renewable energy to the mainland I can’t agree that the desire to drain it is “stupid”. Who knows, had it been maintained in its natural state, how many more people might have got the message about the need to protect the Earth?

  8. @jungney
    I don’t think Ronald is saying the desire to drain it is stupid. He’s saying that having a serious policy to drain it is stupid, at least in current circumstances. I’m envious that you got to see the place before the dam was built.

  9. They could easily drain a lot of Lake Pedder by opening the sluice gate on the canal connecting it to Gordon Dam. Pedder is a metre below full at the rockfill dams on the south eastern side whereas the concrete Gordon Dam is 34m below full. However boat ramps and picnic areas on Pedder would be stranded a long way from the waters edge which to some extent has already reproduced smaller versions of the white sand beaches.

    Therefore Pedder is a kind of spare tank for hydro in dry years which 2015 is shaping up to be. It’s on the cards national emissions will increase this year not due to an economic revival but higher gas prices, no serious carbon restrictions and reduced hydro, all of which favour coal.

  10. Well, I’d love to see it drained and restored as an up you to the web toes who pushed ahead with it in the first instance. But maybe not yet 🙂

    Apparently the Gordon Hydro is the biggest in Tassie and the most significant power supply to Basslink. It should also be noted, though, that during times of drought, Basslink provides power to Tassie so it is not altogether clear cut that Tassie hydro is a fail safe option.

  11. It is perfectly reasonable to desire Lake Pedder be returned to its original beauty. But if it comes at the cost of increased brown coal burning in Victoria it is more than self defeating as an environmental goal. But it is something that could be done once greenhouse gas emissions have been halted. In the meantime, Lake Pedder isn’t going to get any more indunated.

  12. @jungney
    What Tasmania generally does is import brown coal electricity from Victoria when the price is low and export hydroelectricity when the price in Victoria is high. However, lately with its dams at a low level and wholesale prices of electricity being in general extremely low for summer, Tasmania has been holding onto more water and letting its dams fill up a bit. But it’s clear what will happen in the future. The spread of rooftop solar will mostly eliminate the need to use hydroelectricity in the day, leaving it all available to meet the evening peak or seaonal demand. And I’ll mention that Tasmania has excellet wind resources, so any time they want they can erect more wind turbines which will give them the option of using their hydroelectricity in an even more targeted way. On average I believe Tasmania already produces more renewable electricity than it consumes, although I guess it may not hold true this year.

  13. Tasmania has the luxury of balancing wind power with hydro rather than gas something done across borders in Denmark and Norway. They’ve let most of the water out of the Gordon Dam apparently because of the end of carbon tax. Trout fishers don’t expect it to completely refill for several years. The turbine hall has a vacant mounting slot for another generator so I guess the expected water flow never arrived.

    Conceivably solar now about 4 GW capacity nationwide could could end up much bigger than hydro which I think is over 8 GW if you include Ord River and new irrigation schemes. Roam Consulting did a report on potential new pumped hydro sites but I think none will eventuate. Solar will need some other form of energy storage for overnight and rainy weather. As I pointed out upthread AEMO thinks we need 36 GW generating capacity in the eastern states. I make the average use about 26 GW with the overnight minimum about 15 GW. I suggest most of that will come from coal burning for several more decades.

  14. I have a conspiracy theory.

    The facts:

    1. Laura Poitras has made a documentary about the Snowden revelations called “Citizen Four”;

    2. “Citizen Four” won the Oscar for ‘Best Documentary’;

    3. In all the establishment media coverage of the Oscars I have not seen a single mention of the film;

    4. Despite repeated, unanswered, requests about screenings in Brisbane I only became aware that it is on at Dendy Portside by accident;

    5. Today I was one of only 3 people in the cinema watching the film!

    My conspiracy theory is that “they” would really prefer people not see this film.

    Even if you think you already know all you need to about the military/industrial/police state complex blanket spying and drone operations, you will learn something from seeing the film and I would recommend it to everyone. Especially everyone you know who isn’t worried about being mass-surveilled.

  15. The stupidity and arrogance of the ALP still amazes me.

    It shouldn’t, but it does – because it is so nonsensical.

    In Queensland they have just scraped together a government with the support of a single independent, Peter Wellington.

    Given the number of novice hacks making up their ranks, it is almost inevitable that they will lose a seat during their first term of government (through death, corruption, malfeasance or some other misadventure).

    And yet the premier has refused to even meet with the two non-LNP members of parliament upon who the ALP may need to rely to hold government.

    The ALP is not a political party, it’s a zombie cult.

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