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solar power + its opposition « Previous | |Next »
August 21, 2011

Andrew Blakers has an article on The Conversation website on solar energy, where he argues that a solar energy revolution is brewing that will put the coal and nuclear industries out of business:

Solar is already reaching price parity with coal in many parts of Australia...Photovoltaic power has reached retail grid parity for three out of four Australians – everywhere except Victoria, Tasmania and Canberra. Retail grid parity means that it’s cheaper to get electricity from photovoltaic panels on your house roof than to buy it from the grid.In Adelaide, photovoltaic power is only two-thirds the price of retail grid electricity.

He adds that it is difficult to see how the nuclear power industry will cope with falling solar prices and increased perceptions of risk following the Fukushima accident. His conclusion is that solar and wind power will soon put the nuclear power construction industry out of business.

So the "convoy of no confidence'' that converges on Canberra tomorrow to demand a double dissolution election---their plan is to stay in the city and cause gridlock until Gillard calls an election!---is opposing the future.

Blakers is far too optimistic about the storage/intermittency issue and the section on 'How do we store solar energy' looks glib. It is a real issue for solar power and the various technological options need to be addressed.

What we have, politically speaking, is a hostility to the carbon tax and, by inference, the shift to a low carbon economy. The opposition to the carbon tax and emissions trading means relying on fossil fuels and coal fired power stations to generate electricity in a national electricity market that was designed for a centralised energy system, not a decentralised one; and for base load power not peak load. This hostility refuses to recognize that the dynamics that ruled the industry for most of the past century will not get the incumbents very much further in the current one.

It is an opposition based on scaremongering and lies from state liberal governments, such as the O'Farrell one in NSW, whose rhetoric is all about the ''slashing'' of jobs, notably in the Hunter and Illawarra regions, in which thousands of workers will lose their jobs as a result of the carbon price.

It's always a doom and gloom rhetoric that continually both ignores the positive developments of a modest reform targeted directly at specific sectors (such as coal fired-electricity) in which the capital investment involved in the transition to renewables would be a huge stimulant to the GDP. The rhetoric also ignores that the hollowing out of manufacturing (eg., the Bluescope Steel decision to shed 1000 jobs) is caused by the high Australian dollar.

Yet it is peak demand, thanks to the growing use of airconditioners, that is surging in the electricity market. This can be addressed if measures such as energy efficiency, peak-load management and decentralised energy are encouraged and the regulatory barriers removed.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:06 PM | | Comments (5)


Much frivolity on Twitter today at the expense of the Convoy of No Consequence. I suspect the solar industry would be less interested in the cavortings of Alan Jones and Angry Anderson, and rather more interested in developments over the coal seam gas industry vs farmers.

It was a fizzer given that the organizers wanted to bring Canberra to a standstill and force Julia Gillard from office.

Alan Jones was his usual obnoxious self.

The truckies are demanding a double dissolution. They do not seem to understand that the constitutional requirements of a double dissolution have not been met. So they will go around in circles, becoming ever more angry, and burn up a lot of petrol.

Alan Jones will continue to jump up and down, rant and rave and abuse anyone. He looks more like a clown in a circus every day.

Alan Jones is a bully boy who loves to intimidate others.

Alan Jones is tying to be Australia's Glenn Beck