Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wind power not answer

Letter #3 to the editor: Adelaide "Sunday Mail", 30 August 2009
(53 words) by Allan Taylor

So Labor's Renewable Energy Bill has been passed. It mandates 20 per cent energy from renewable sources by 2020.

This would be OK if it was from hydroelectricity, like the Snowy Mountain Scheme, but I object to having our beautiful landscape defiled by ugly windmills which are uneconomic even when the wind blows.
Reference: Helium article "Are wind farms good sources for environmentally safe energy?" by Allan Taylor

Friday, August 28, 2009

Carbon Capture and Storage is bizarre

Letter #2 to the Editor of "The Australian", Friday 28th August, 2009
(170 words) by Allan Taylor of Hove, SA
The proposed development of the Gorgon Gas Field and processing plant on Barrow Island in Western Australia includes the removal of any CO2 and pumping it to a supposed underground storage region, an activity that may or may not work.

I suggest to you that this is a gross waste of money and is unnecessary. If Chevron has no immediate use for the CO2 extracted, then it should be released into the atmosphere.

The idea of pumping CO2 underground was developed 50 years ago on the depleted oil fields of the US Mid West. The reason was to pressurize the fluids at depth and so boost the supply of residual oil. It had nothing to do with preventing "greenhouse gases" being liberated to the atmosphere.

The Rudd Government operates within the erroneous "global warming belief system" which considers CO2 gas to be an atmospheric pollutant, which it most certainly is not. It is bizarre to try and bury CO2 gas when it is the lifeblood of the biosphere.
Reference: Helium article, "Carbon sequestering: A critical issue to explore in the global warming debate" by Allan Taylor

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gladstone's Aluminium Smelter

Letter #1 to Editor of "Gladstone Observer" newspaper; published Sat 22 August 2009
(151 words)
by Allan Taylor

Gladstonites, do you realize that at your doorstep you have Australia's largest aluminium smelter?

The Rio Tinto smelter employs about 1400 workers and contractors. It produces ca 600,000 tonnes of aluminium each year. It is the life blood of Gladstone. It is a wonderful concern.

Are you going to allow the Rudd Labor Government to jeopardize its existence by introducing an unnecessary ETS or CPRS bill which is destined to curb CO2 emissions? This would have a devastating effect on the economic viability of the smelter?

All this carry on about greenhouse gas emissions is a load of nonsense. If you don't believe me then read Prof. Plimer's recently published book "Heaven and Earth". I assure you that afterwards you will sleep more easily at night. The world is not coming to an end!

Gladstone has a great future if you reject the spin and deception emanating from the Rudd Labor Government.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Labor's Renewable Energy Bill

Labor's Renewable Energy Bill will do Australia more harm than good. It is unnecessary legislation typical of Labor Party dreamers e.g., Fuel Watch, Grocery Watch etc.

By far the best renewable energy is hydroelectric power. If we could have another Snowy Mountain type Hydroelectric Scheme in Victoria or elsewhere I would consider it worthwhile.

But no. We are going to push wind and solar energy to produce expensive "Green Power". Already the Government spends (wastes) a billion dollars each year to subsidize these activities.
Now Premier Mike Rann (SA) has approved a 60 turbine wind farm for the Barossa Valley, one of our prime wine producing regions. How embarrassing it will be to take visitors there and see these ugly monstrosities of windmills amongst the vineyards. Watch out Hunter valley!

We don't need to mandate renewable energy. It will come on its own accord without subsidy when it is viable to do so.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hydroelectricity is the Best Renewable

Hydro power is the most desirable and cheapest way of generating electricity in a renewable fashion, therefore it should be used as much as possible. This is done well in NZ and Australia (Snowy Mountain Scheme and Tasmania.

There are pluses and minuses, though.

Plus #1
When combined with thermal plants in a high load (city) region you can operate base load supply with thermal plants at full steam ahead and use no hydropower. Twice a day or so, or during times of peak demand, or in summer when there is a heat wave and high demand, you can essentially "turn on the tap" at the hydroplant and immediately meet that extra electricity demand. (Not very likely with a wind farm!). With a spare thermal plant it takes along time to "stoke it up" and you would have to keep operating on standby to do this.

So the hydro dam storage of water represents stored energy available whenever you need it. This the problem with wind and solar energy, there is no easy way to store it and the supply is intermittant and unreliable anyway, and so is a nightmare to feed it into the national grid. Hydroelectricity is good to met those peak demands. Even a small hydroelectric plant is very useful.

Hydroelectricity supply is actually dependent on the weather or climate. Last summer the dams in NZ got down to 50% capacity and they were worried about the situation.

Plus #2:
Hydrodams can be stocked with trout and made into a valuable recreational region, as they are in New Zealand. Some of my best trout I have caught in hydrodams, or in the river oulet below.

Minus #1
Most of the best hydrodam sites are already being used. To get another one would require a huge battle with the Greens and environmental movement. Look at Brumby in Vic ignoring the alternative of daming the Mitchell River for water supply, but instead building a desalination plant costing 2 or 3 billion dollars. There is a lot of water there going to waste, but the Greens mean votes for Labor!

Hydroelectric plants are by far the best renewable source of electricity. The worst and least economic are windfarms, about which I will have more to say.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Do we need a "Renewable Energy Target Bill" ?

Linked to Labor's ETS/CRPS bill is their Renewable Energy Target Bill which they hope to sneak approval of. Why on earth is the Liberal Party supporting it? The Liberals seem to be a branch of the Labor Party!

The idea of having a mandatory goal for renewable energy was brought in by the Howard Government at a suitable low level of 2% probably as a sop to the Greens. Now Christine Milne sees the opportunity of really putting the Australian economy in Green Shackles by helping Labor boost the target to 20% by year 2020.

This goal of approx 60,000 GWh in 2020 will come predominantly from windfarms and will deliver emissions reductions of 342 tonnes of Greenhouse Gases, so they say!

An independent analysis of wind power generation in Australia has shown it to be a total disaster and not worth the effort of doing. Read about it in Terry McCrann's article "Sanity Still Blowing in the Wind" in the Herald Sun, August 4, 2009

We don't NEED any mandatory target for renewable energy in Australia. Renewable energy will come on its own accord when it is viable to do so without Government coersion or subsidy. We don't want expensive Green Power.

What do you think?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Global Warming?

This is a provocative question of relevance to the Australian scene since we have no nuclear power stations. It is also a "loaded question" in the sense that it assumes that global warming is a problem and that mankind can and should do something about it. The concern may be real or imaginary.

A fear or phobia present in the populace is often used by promoters of products. Auto manufacturers will cater to the fantasies of the global warmers by advertising that their model has lower CO2 emissions than a competitive product. Other buyers couldn't care less, or think that CO2 is good stuff and take no notice.

It is the same with political parties. They too have a product to sell and need votes to stay in power. Now we have two lines of thought: the Party position and what the individual party member thinks of the proposition.

In Australia we have the Greens' position that nuclear power is evil and should never be contemplated for Australia. It is easy and important for them to promote this fear (one of many) so that they can gather votes and retain their few Members of Parliament. The Greens are really a Fear Party.

The Labor Party, our present Government, is also against nuclear power at the Party level, because it knows that by taking this position it is assured of Green preferences in an election.
The individual Labor members may be ambivalent about nuclear power but know that to stay in power they must not upset the Greens, either those within or outside the Labor Party.

The same situation occurs with the Liberal Party, but more particularly with inner city electorates where the Greens have a strong urban vote. The Nationals are lucky that they can usually speak their mind on the matter.

Then we have the individual scientists, like our Ziggy, who helpfully promotes nuclear power for Australia. He seems to use the fear of global warming and closing down of coal-fired power stations to justify the introduction of nuclear power. It is not really necessary to do this; he has a defeatist attitude with regard to the global warmers; maybe he is one?.

How do Americans think on the topic of using nuclear power? What is the view of the "man-in-the-street". How is the average man in the US influenced by the Green Movement?

You can find out by checking with the US Helium writers' website where the topic "Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Global Warming" is presented for debate among members. So far there are 33 articles with 19 articles on the NO side and 14 on the YES side. The voting of individual Helium members is 63% No and 37% Yes. Why not join Helium and give your Australian viewpoint? It's for free. Explore

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Australia’s Energy Policy (Part B)

Transport Fuels:

What does the future hold for us?

Let us consider the short term, up to 5 years ahead,
the medium term, 5 to 10 years ahead,
and the long term, from 20 years and on to year 2100.

Also, I define the system under consideration as being devoid of eco-religious anti-carbon influence from particularly the Labor Party and the Greens. Oh, what a refreshing view of the world this is!

My opinion is that our transport fuel needs of the future will very predominantly met in the long term by hydrocarbon (HC) fuels (diesel, gasoline, LPG etc). In the year 2100 I predict that you will still be driving your car or truck on these wonderful HC fuels!

Farmers will know the importance of having a cheap and reliable supply of diesel fuel. The truckies have to transport the farm produce to market so the price of diesel effects the price of foodstuffs in the supermarkets, where the Green urban voter blithely shops in a fool’s paradise.

This dependence on diesel fuel will continue but in the long term usage can be capped by gradual electrification of the railway system. Let us start with the most strategic and most used railway system. This should be a medium and long term objective. The cheap electricity will come from coal and gas-fired power stations. Hopefully, if we have a nuclear power station near the Olympic Dam uranium mine, then we could electrify the Ghan, which is the strategy rail link between Adelaide and Darwin.

Our enormous reserves of coal and natural gas would therefore assure us of cheap electricity and therefore a reliable and economical long distance rail transport system for the future.

The Greens and their Labor sycophants cry that we are running out of petroleum and must move towards renewable energy. They are well meaning but confused, so don’t let them get into positions of political power. Every tried running a tractor on the piddling electricity generated from a windmill? Let us forget them.

Let’s look at the situation today. The price of petroleum is fluctuating around US $60. There is no doubt that the supply of petroleum from conventional oil deposits will peak and decline in the long term, but this could be 30 years away. In the short term we can expect the price to stabilize above $100 per barrel. So what’s going to happen then? Lots!

Before I explain this let me side track onto Australia’s dependence on petroleum. I think that we produce about 15% of our petroleum needs and the shortfall is imported , along with refined HC fuels. Should we be worried about this?

Not really. New Australian oil deposits will be found eventually but more likely discoveries will be made in other more prospective countries.

Australia is the most energy rich country in the world. We have ca 40% of the known uranium reserves and export enormous amounts of coal and natural gas (LNG) to countries that are not so fortunate, such as Japan, Korea, Europe, China and so on. In the interest of maintaining viable international trade and global prosperity we must continue to do this. No worries.

So, returning to the $100 plus a barrel scenario medium term.

Lots will happen.

There will be a move towards the production of synthetic HC fuels from coal and natural gas.

The technology is already being used to convert these resources into more useable products, such as diesel, gasoline and LPG (propane and butane).

The petroleum companies will move towards production from unconventional deposits such oil shales and who knows what!

What about renewables?

The only renewable transport fuel that shows any promise is biodiesel, as shown by the Shell Oil Company production, which is the world’s largest producer. This is OK provided that fertile farming land is not used for cropping in place of food production.

What about ethanol? Let’s forget it for Australia. It is half burnt already.

The future prosperity of Australia is assured provided we chose the right political leaders.

Australia's Energy Policy (Part A)

Australia's Energy Policy (A).

What does the future hold?

We all want cheap and reliable energy .... electricity and hydrocarbon fuels.

The enactment of Labor's ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) or better termed Extra Tax System, but now officially the CPRS (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) will cause enormous damage to the Australian economy. It is going backwards, instead of forwards. Our enormous carbon-based resources, which provide us with a world competitive advantage, will no longer be an economic advantage to us.


Theoretically, there is no problem here. The States Q, NSW, VIC and SA are well served by coal and gas fired power stations, and WA and NT by natural gas. The reserves of coal and natural gas are enormous and sufficient to last out this century and way beyond.

It makes no sense to promote renewable energy (wind, solar and geothermal), except for niche applications and small scale domestic use.

The legislation of goals to produce 10 or 20% of electricity from renewables, and forcing utility companies to do so is madness.

Large scale wind farms and solar plants are hopelessly uneconomic and require continuous backup from conventional power plants (coal, gas or nuclear), so why build them in the first place? Do you want your electricity bill to go sky high because of the introduction of so called Green Power, which is quite unnecessary?

Nuclear Power:
There are about 436 commercially operating nuclear power stations in the world in 30 countries. France produces ca 87% of its electricity from nuclear power stations. It is a world leader in nuclear power technology, the building of such power stations and export of electricity.

Do we need nuclear power stations in Australia? Not essentially, but a few built in outback mining regions miles away from the national grid would be advantageous. Australia needs to keep abreast of nuclear power technology which is expanding every year.

BHP Billiton, in their Olympic Dam Expansion (2009) report say that the total electricity requirement may be 650 MW. They don't mention the possibility of using nuclear power, but I say why not consider it. They have the largest uranium mine in the world all, of which is exported to Japan, Korea , Europe and the USA. The latest nuclear power plants can be build in modular form of 50, 100 or 200 MW sections, which would be ideal to supply electricity for outback mining regions in Australia. Maybe we could electrify the Ghan Railway, from Adelaide to Darwin, and save on diesel fuel?

The Australian energy future is very rosy indeed, provided we don't let the eco-religious groups, Labor and the Greens, who are well meaning but confused, try to destroy the future prosperity encased in our natural resources.

Part (B) will deal with Transport Fuels.