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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 1 February 2007
Energy lobby still in thrall to fossil fool greenhouse mafia says Milne
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: globalWarming

As the 7.30 Report last night ran this

Australia ignoring solar power, says pioneer

Australia's leading solar power innovator leaves the country tomorrow, frustrated because he believes this country cannot see past its rich coal and uranium reserves, and recognise that the sun is Australia's richest energy resource of all.

in effect a profoundly depressing coverage of groundbreaking solar energy technology going to China, Europe and the USA out of Australia to help save our planet, to strains of denial of Industry Minister McFarlane and to this ear a sound of voters rushing for the door, Senator Milne of the Greens below identifies where the Howard government, and the energy sector here have gone so horribly wrong. And she is right.

It is a depressing and very frightening manifestation of an earlier profound report on ABC flagship 4 Corners about an insiders club 'greenhouse mafia' here:

The Greenhouse Mafia

Reporter: Janine Cohen Broadcast: 13/02/2006

Four Corners returns for 2006 with a whistleblower … and revelations of a powerful insiders’ club...

"Having found out what I’ve found out, I find it impossible to continue with a clear conscience without speaking out" - whistleblower interviewed by Four Corners.

Are Australians getting the whole truth on global warming?

Not according to evidence given to Four Corners, which returns with disturbing allegations about the power wielded by industry lobbyists, the self-proclaimed greenhouse "mafia". http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2006/s1566257.htm

Over to Senator Milne .... 

MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

No time to delay climate action - Howard must price carbon now

Australia cannot afford to wait for experimental technology to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and advocates of this 'wait-and-see' approach
are risking catastrophic climate change, the Australian Greens said
today.

Greens climate change and energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne
said a report commissioned by the Energy Supply Association of Australia
(ESAA) was self-serving, arguing for the nation to put its hopes in
carbon capture and storage, and ignoring the potential gains from energy
efficiency.

"It is in the interests of the fossil fuel industry to claim that
renewable energy and energy efficiency are no solution to climate change
and that we must rely instead on an experimental and costly technology,"
Senator Milne said.

"The ESAA should be advocating improving energy efficiency and demand
reduction - the quickest and cheapest way to reduce emissions - but of
course this in not in their members' short-term financial interest.

"The Howard government has deliberately refused to review the scope of
renewable energy and energy efficiency to meet deep greenhouse reduction
targets, instead directing all its efforts at 'clean coal' and nuclear
power, which it favours.

"This policy failure has driven renewable energy technologies like solar
thermal power company Solar Heat and Power offshore where it is
recognised that solar thermal power is a probable replacement for coal,
nuclear and oil.

"The urgency of action on climate change is reinforced with the release
today of a CSIRO report on the likely impacts for NSW. The forecasts are
alarming

"Australians have a right to be angry with their governments for
continuing to prop-up polluting energy interests and failing to treat
climate change with the urgency it demands.

"We need a national effort, starting with the federal government setting
a national greenhouse reduction target, introducing an emissions trading
scheme and a carbon tax on transport fuels, a higher mandatory renewable
energy target and investment in public transport."


Posted by editor at 5:52 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:06 AM EADT

Thursday, 1 February 2007 - 8:58 PM EADT

Name: "Gerry Wolff"
Home Page: http://www.trec-uk.org.uk/index.htm

Regarding "Energy lobby still in thrall to fossil fool greenhouse mafia says Milne" (2007-02-01), there is absolutely no need for coal-fired electricity generation or nuclear power in Australia because there is a simple mature technology available that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of coal or nuclear power.

I refer to 'concentrating solar power' (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, these are not always nearby! But with transmission losses at only about 3% per 1000 km, it is entirely feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity throughout Australia from the Australian desert using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. A small portion of the Australian desert would be sufficient to meet all of the country's needs for electricity.

Waste heat from electricity generation in a CSP plant can be used to create fresh water by desalination of sea water: a very useful by-product in arid regions.

In the 'TRANS-CSP' report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

Further information about CSP may be found at www.trec-uk.org.uk and www.trecers.net . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports.htm . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at www.mng.org.uk/green_house/no_nukes.htm .

Friday, 20 April 2007 - 8:37 AM NZT

Name: "Michael Stuart"

CSP is no substitute for nuclear energy!

Concentrating Solar Power (or CSP) is inefficient, expensive, and has notable environmental impacts.

Inefficient

According to the California Energy Commission ( http://www.energy.ca.gov/electricity/gross_system_power.html ), all of the utility-generated solar power in the state amounts to two-tenths of one percent of the state's electricity production. Because of the limited availability of sunlight, these systems have notoriously low capacity factors and are therefore cannot be relied upon for baseload power.

Expensive

According to the California Energy Commission ( http://www.energy.ca.gov/electricity/comparative_costs.html ), at 13 to 42 cents per kWhr, solar power is *the* most expensive way to generate electricity, hands down. In a time when energy prices are skyrocketing, few people can afford a large-scale conversion to solar power. What's more, due to its low capacity factors, solar capacity must be backed up with additional stand-by power generation, which adds to the overall cost of solar.

Environmental impact

Solar collectors also require a huge area of land, which must be dedicated to solar generation. Even in the desert, this could disrupt the delicate ecology. Additionally, in order for the salts to remain molten at night, CSP requires fossil fuels to be burned for heat. According to a US Department of Energy study ( http://www.nrel.gov/docs/gen/fy98/24496.pdf ), these systems are "hybridized" with up to 25% natural gas. Ironically, this renewable technology is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions!

Nevertheless, concentrating solar technology, along with many other renewable power sources such as wind, tidal, and geothermal, should continue to be supported in hopes that a breakthrough will someday allow them to be a significant source of energy generation. Today however, CSP is no replacement for baseload energy generation sources. In the medium term, we cannot abandon the proven, effective, and efficient source of low-emission energy that nuclear power has to offer. To learn more about the benefits of nuclear energy, check out http://www.nei.org/index.asp?catnum=1&catid=11 and http://www.casenergy.org/WhyNuclear/TheBasics/tabid/66/Default.aspx

Michael Stuart

http://www.na-ygn.org/

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