Lomborg’s analysis of the fires. Not unprecedented! Plus comparative cost of wind and coal

Some thoughts to start the day. Jo Nova is on fire regarding the responsibility for the disastrous bushfires. WARNING if you are busy it is very dangerous to read the comments on Jo’s page because some of the contributors are very well informed (some come to Catallaxy as well) and they often provide highly distracting links.

Some great comments turned up on the Berlin Blockade thread regarding the communist roots of Merkelism. This piece is posted in a comment by John L. And Bad Samaritan added some more on the postwar German leadership and the Russian connections.

There is  a Facebook piece on the fires by Bjorn Lomborg who is coming to CIS next month.  Reproduced for folk who are not on FB.

Bjørn Lomborg

The Australian wildfires are tragic. But they have been exploited in the climate debate as unprecedented and near-proof of climate emergency.

Here is the updated burnt area for *all* of Australia, June 1 to Dec 31 for each year 1997-2016 and the bunt area from this fire season, June 1, 2019 to January 6 2020.

Note, the fires were definitely different in that they have mostly happened in the states of New South Wales (home of Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne). Here, the fires this year are much larger than they have been in the previous few decades.

Indeed, New South Wales may be a record at 4.9 million hectares burnt, although it has seen almost similar sized fires in 1951-52 (more than 4 million hectares) and 1974-75 (4.5 million hectares).

Victoria at 1.2 million hectares is also a record for the last decades, but it is vastly smaller than the 1851 Black Thursday fire, which in one day burnt a quarter of Victoria or 5 million hectares.

But it is worth looking at the total hectares burnt in Australia, because it shows the absolute size of the problem for Australia. (Clearly, when it is claimed the problem is caused by global warming, one cannot just cherry-pick two states in Australia and ignore the other 87% of the area.)

The Guardian newspaper has been providing the running total amount of burnt area in this fire season (running from June 2019-May 2020, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_bushfire_seasons
— if it is from July or August, this makes very little difference, since most burn happens during the spring and summer in Australia). They find the total area burnt is 10.7 million hectares to January 6, 2020.

Yesterday we saw the area burnt *without* the Northern Territory, which the Guardian say is very different. It is correct that the burning season is different, but again, most of the claims that have come out of these fires is that ‘Australia is burning’ sort of claims, so worth looking at the whole continent. The Guardian has in personal communication told me that the NT burnt area is 13.3 million hectares (and that this might be for all of 2019, so possibly too big — but here we’ll just use this data point).

This graph shows the burnt area from 1997-2016 or the satellite record for the same area and same period, along with a linear trend line (which should be interpreted cautiously, since it is a short time period).

It suggests two things. First, that the area burnt in Australia is not increasing and likely decreasing. This result is similar to what we see across the world — lower, not higher burnt area.

Second, the current Australian fire season in terms of area burnt is not unprecedented compared to the recent past.

Data: For this fire season from https://www.theguardian.com/…/how-big-are-the-fires-burning…
For 1997-2016 from http://www.globalfiredata.org/analysis.html, for June-December of each year, for Australia minus Northern Territory.

NSW 4.9 million hectares: https://www.theguardian.com/…/record-breaking-49m-hectares-…
Similar sized fires: https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/…/FESA_Report-NationalInquiryonB…

Victoria: https://twitter.com/m_parrington/status/1214562153769734144
5 million hectares from https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/…/FESA_Report-NationalInquiryonB…

Global lower burnt area: (https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/…/10.1…/2013JG002532)

Is Wind Power Actually Cheaper Than Coal Fired Power? Well, No!

This post on the very comprehensive and enlightening site of Tony of Oz  provides some numbers to check the wind warriors who insist that wind power is very cheap, even cheaper than coal power these days. For almost eleven years he has been watching the development of the wind system and the way that the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is calculated to favour renewable power to make it look as good as possibly compared with coal.

One way to do this is to look at the cost of coal-fired power plus CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) that is very expensive. Another is to add an environmental cost for “carbon pollution” which is a complete nonsense because where I come from extra CO2 is benefit to green the planet and not a cost all.

Tony used Australian data from 2018 (when he wrote the post) on the cost of construction and the amount of power generated to make a comparison of wind power and coal fired power

For Wind the total Nameplate for the (then) 50 plants in SE Australia was 5452MW from about 2800 windmills. The current Capacity factor for wind power is 30% and that shrinks 5452MW to 1650MW.  The total power delivered to the grid across Australia for the whole wind fleet is a tick under 14400GWH.

For comparison with the whole wind fleet he selected the 32 year old Bayswater coal-fired plant near Muswellbrook in New South Wales. This has four large Units, each one of 660MW in total for a Nameplate of 2640MW. It runs constantly and the power delivery ramps up and down each day unless a unit is off line for maintenance or Upgrades. The Capacity Factor for Bayswater Factor across a full year is around 75% and it delivers 17000GWH to the grid in that State of New South Wales.

So  wind power has a total Nameplate of 5452MW and Bayswater has a Nameplate of 2640MW (half the windfleet) but adjusting for the capacity factors  Bayswater delivers 17000GWH, and wind (the 50 plants in SE Australia) delivers 14400MW . Bayswater delivers 18% more power to the grid.

Tony wrote “Now, I don’t care what anyone says here, there is no way that one coal fired power plant cost anywhere even close to the total cost of those 50 wind plants.”

To back that up he looked at the cost of building a new super duper coal plant compared with the construction cost of wind farms.

Let’s do the maths for a new coal fired power plant, and here I will use the example of what is called a HELE (High Efficiency Low Emissions) coal fired power plant, the newest and most technologically advanced version of coal fired power, and these plants are in operation now all over the World, mostly in China where all new coal fired plants are of this type. It is also referred to as a USC (UltraSuperCritical) plant. These plants burn less coal for greater output and higher efficiency than old 1960s to 1980s technology plants, and these new plants are three levels of technology better than those older coal fired plants

These plants typically drive two Units each of 1200MW each for a total plant Nameplate of 2400MW. With advanced technology they can typically operate at a Capacity Factor of around 85%, and some plants are operating at Capacity Factors over 90%.

So, using the example of a new HELE plant with a Nameplate of 2400MW, and operating at a yearly Capacity Factor of that 85%, they will deliver across a full year 17800GWH of usable power to the grid.

With the reference point of 17800GWH he went to examine the numbers for the large and new Macarthur Wind Plant in Victoria.

This Macarthur wind plant has a total Nameplate of 420MW, and has been operating at 30%, so it will deliver across a full year 1100GWH of usable power to the grid. To match our new HELE coal plant we need 16 of these Macarthur equivalent wind plants.

The cost for the Macarthur wind plant was around $1Billion, and yes, that’s One Billion Dollars, and most sites only list that cost as ‘around’ that figure of a Billion. So, right there, we are now looking at a total of $16 Billion.

The new coal fired plant has a life expectancy of 50 years at least compared with the best case scenario for wind plants around 25 years, but the real truth could be much less. He allows 25 years to be generous but still you now need twice many turbines to deliver the same power over the life of the coal fired plant., so now we are looking at $32 Billion.

THIRTY TWO BILLION DOLLARS.

So far I have purposely not given a cost for the new HELE coal fired power plant, because there is no way it could cost anywhere even close to that. They are constructing them in Germany for the equivalent of $3 Billion Australian Dollars. They are constructing in China for $US1 Billion.

 There is no way known that even 50 years of other costs could bring that figure up to $32 Billion.

So, as you can see, when you use current data for actual power generation, wind power is most definitely NOT cheaper than coal fired power.

This is the source of the figures and the line of argument.

 

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Lomborg’s analysis of the fires. Not unprecedented! Plus comparative cost of wind and coal

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Lomborg’s analysis of the fires. Not unprecedented!

    Well they look to me like almost a carbon copy of the Federation Drought bushfires of 1898. Very similar description, very similar macro climate patterns (eg 3 back-to-back el Ninos, same phase of the thermohaline cycle), similar ground zero (Gippsland).

    Of course the fires in 1898 could not have been caused by global warming.

  2. Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle

    Where are the good old days when greenies simply glued themselves to the roads.

  3. duncanm

    .. wot about the consumables?

    Coal ain’t free you know.

    According to this random link I googled, we get about 40% efficiency from an HELE power station.

    So that 17800 GWh (64 PJ) of power is about 2370 tonne of coal, assuming 27MJ/kg of good NSW black.

    At recent spot prices, that’s about USD$166M/year in running costs.

    Still – that’s only $USD 8-9B for your 50 year life, half the cost of the windmills.

  4. duncanm

    oooh — I forgot the 40% efficiency.

    Its actually 2.5x that cost – so about $USD 20 B ish in coal for the 50 year life.

  5. Russell

    Surely Anthropogenic Firefighting Capability has changed over these periods and makes any longitudinal comparisons of these hectares-burnt figures totally meaningless. In 1851, when 1/4 of Victoria burned, we probably had significantly less people to fight those fires and certainly much less technology. Has the effectiveness or efficiency of firefighting stayed constant over these periods? Maybe we should normalise the burnt areas by dividing by the number of firefighting lives lost to get a more-human-impact KPI?/sic

  6. pbw

    duncanm,

    Don’t forget the gas-fired plant that must be built to guarantee supply, and the more-expensive-than-coal natural gas that will be required to run that.

  7. Entropy

    Nononono. We will have a series of bloody big batteries, not CSG. That magically don’t cost anything.

  8. Rafe Champion

    Thanks pbw, the chart is now in place, it has come up big and looks really sharp, especially the little red dot for this season!

  9. Mark M

    I like how the bushfires are a sign of apocalyptical global warming, but, cool changes are just weather …

    How [global warming] has intensified the deadly fires in Australia
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/australia-fires-how-climate-change-has-intensified-the-deadly-bushfires/

    Australia bushfires: Cooler weather brings respite, situation still volatile
    https://www.dw.com/en/australia-bushfires-cooler-weather-brings-respite-situation-still-volatile/a-51889829

    BoM: “A change in wind direction can bring a period of dangerous bushfire activity, this is often seen as a trough or cold front – also known as a cool change. In southern Australia, cold fronts are probably the most powerful influence on our fire weather.”

    http://www.bom.gov.au/weather-services/fire-weather-centre/bushfire-weather/index.shtml

    Perhaps the cooling is a little too inconvenient to mention.

  10. Rafe Champion

    Thanks duncanm, that is a big correction, I will have to get to Anton and ask why he didn’t mention the cost of the coal. Still there are some corrections to be made on the wind side as well,
    he was generous to allow the full 25 years for the windmills,
    cost of decommissioning – dangerous but uncharted territory in Australia
    cost of maintenance and repairs, not negligible I suspect
    cost of additional transmission infrastructure especially as the factories get further away
    reduced efficiency of windmills after the best sites are taken and there is more interference if they are clustered

    A killer blow is that we have to maintain 100% backup from conventional power to cover the choke points when there is nothing coming from the unreliables. Otherwise, how many times a year do you want some of the grid to go down?

    Another killer is probably the cost of decommissioning that I never hear mentioned by the wind warriors.

  11. mareeS

    This politico-bushfire thing had to happen over the quiet media season, didn’t it?

    My head aches all the time, owing to the incessant politics of so-called climate change.

    Permanent coma is looking good.

  12. RobK

    Its actually 2.5x that cost – so about $USD 20 B ish in coal for the 50 year life.
    20-ish is still a long way short of 32. Spot price is not applicable when the coal mine is adjacent to and owned by the same company (production cost price would apply), or long term sales apply at discount to spot price.
    Tony has tried to keep things as simple as possible for a mass target-audience. Little bites. He has done a good job.
    Other factors that influence the cost of windpower:
    • Variability on all time scales from seconds to years.(each time scale has a different fix, all are costly).
    • Variability of RE represents a large load on the rest of the grid being applied and removed randomly and without notice. (eg. wind gustiness and intermittent clouds for solar)
    • Heavier and more robust cabling and control gear required for the entire grid to accommodate surges(this is a massive cost, see article on hosting capacity)
    • More transmission lines are required to isolated distributed locations.
    • The best/cheapest wind sites are taken first and costs will rise as a consequence.
    • Maintenance costs on wind plant is higher than most people expect.
    • The overall costs(of the above points) of hosting renewables increases with the increased percentage penetration (i.e. the first 10-15% penetration has very little extra cost and it ramps up to astronomical at 100%).
    • The costs of redundancy required by RE is proposed to be off-set by establishing a hydrogen gas industry. Hydrogen is made cheaply by fossil fuels. This concept is in its infancy; an experiment, like so much of the RE business it will require enormous outside funding.

  13. Peter O'Brien

    Does the cost of the wind farms include infrastructure?

  14. RobK

    I forgot to add: variability means neither RE generators nor backup/baseload generators will know their sales in a given year. Just like rainfall has droughts and floods, so does RE, and by implication backup/baseload has the inverse. This problem gets worse for both as penetration of RE increases .

  15. MACK

    Every major drought in south-east Australia has been directly attributable to high readings of the Indian Ocean Dipole. The reading in December 2019 reached an extreme level.
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2008GL036801

  16. RobK

    This is the article on hosting capacity i referred to in my first comment. Hosting Capacity maps are available on the net.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148118307936
    I have posted this before. It’s the best paper I’ve found regarding the intricacies of adapting to RE.

  17. youngster

    That graph doesn’t pass the common sense test. The graph indicates that 78 million hectares burned in 2012 and 73 million hectares burned in 2013.

    78 million hectares is only a slightly smaller area than NSW (80 million Ha), and Australia only has about 134 million hectares of forest. Even if you factor in regrowth, swampy scrubby stuff in NT that’s technically not forest, etc, there’s no chance we had 150 million + hectares of forest burned over two years. There would have been nothing left to burn, and this whole debate about fuel reduction would be moot.

  18. RobK

    Renewable energy proponents persistently complain about uncertainty, yet they are the peddlers of uncertainty by trying to harness the nature of the weather.

  19. RobK

    Another point I forgot is:
    The increased complexity of control equipment and the boards setup to oversee this implementation, as outlined by the Finkel Report, greatly increases the amount of potential points of failure. More costs and uncertainty.

  20. mem

    This paper https://arxiv.org/pdf/1907.00165.pdf seems to have passed under the radar or maybe I just missed it. Finnish scientists led the research. I came across mention of the article at this site https://www.3ccorp.net/2020/01/12/climate-change-hoax-collapses-as-new-science-finds-human-activity-has-virtually-zero-impact-on-global-temperatures-2/
    .

  21. RobK

    Coal miners pay a royalty to the State, RE doesn’t.

  22. duncanm

    @RobK

    I’m all for simplicity, but you need to catch the big stuff or you just get accused of lying.

    I haven’t even put any thought into inflation, future price of coal, etc.

    as pbw points out, the gas backup for intermittents is a huge cost, too.

  23. Coal miners pay a royalty to the State

    Indeed. Every activity that the Greens want to stop or not allow to proceed, pays royalties to one or other state government. Even petrol/diesel vehicles provide taxes to governments, what will electric cars provide? I suppose once those royalties and taxes stop flowing, the states will just find another bunch of evils to tax.

  24. Nob

    Coal, oil and gas not only pay royalties and windfall taxes but also have to buy RET certificates which nobody wants except the law demands it, like the church selling indulgences in Luther’s time.

    Drillers and miners also do extensive conservation work, which only buys them more hatred from greenies and lefties.

  25. Nob

    Hydrogen is made cheaply by fossil fuels. This concept is in its infancy; an experiment,

    Shell has been working on this for over twenty years.
    One of the reasons why they moved most of their E&P from oil to gas.

    Dunno where they’re at with it now but it’s part of their fuel cell investment.

  26. Nob

    And they are the most hated by greenies as a result.

    Waste of time trying to appease these creeps.

  27. RobK

    Duncanm,
    I agree. Tony is primarily addressing the up front capital cost. The policy uncertainty is far more harmful to coal than RE(as it is cross subsidised from coal) and coal plant is a large step cost rather than relatively incremental step for wind plant. There is no getting around the energy density difference between coal and wind so ultimately wind plant will have a higher capital cost. The fuel cost is a factor to drive energy efficiency. The gluts produced by RE encourage waste (eg. people leave on air conditioning because the sun is free).

  28. This is the sort of crap that Their ABC spruiks:

    “I’ve been doing this for 31 years and I’ve never seen bushland where the trees have become sticks.

    “Not on this scale. Never. Not even a little critter could survive that.

    “I’ve grown up in the bush and when you see there’s nothing left in those places it leaves you wondering, you know, how does an ecosystem recover from this?”

    I’ve been going bush for over 40 years, and as I said in other fora, I’ve seen this many a time. I have heaps of photographs of such areas in the High Country where there remains nothing but millions of sticks (and they are still there) following a bush fire of this magnitude. However, the seeds start germinating almost immediately and within two years or less, the once burnt land can’t be traversed due to the dense scrub.

  29. mareeS

    Sensible people who know history also know this.

  30. Mak Siccar

    I agree. The scale seems to be something like an order of magnitude in error.

    youngster
    #3297346, posted on January 20, 2020 at 8:41 am
    That graph doesn’t pass the common sense test.

  31. Rafe Champion

    Nice find mem, too much stuff to keep up with everything, it should have appeared on WUWT.

  32. Rafe Champion

    Interesting development, brown coal is running at 4.6GW this morning after being steady near 4.1 and 4.2 for some time this year after coming back from 3.1 last year when some boilers were down.

  33. CameronH

    Duncan, Your coal costs are not correct either. Australia has large quantities of coal that is not high enough quality for export. This applies to the brown coal in Victoria and the coal used for the last series of coal fired plants built in Queensland.

    Typically a mine is opened up to supply exclusively to a particular plant and contract is set up with a price usually at cost plus an agreed return on investment, paid to the mining company. This is much cheaper than the spot price. Other plants arrange long term contracts that are also significantly less than the spot price.

    The big benefit with coal plants is that they run 24/7 and do not rely on nature which can be pretty fickle. Another issue that Anton did not mention is availability factor which is different to capacity factor for coal fired plants. With wind and solar they generate when the wind and sun is available so the capacity factor and their availability factors are the same. With coal plants the availability factor is how much electricity they can produce if called upon to do so and the capacity factor is how much they actually do supply. The difference between these two is usually used as spinning reserve or backup generation to deal with any unscheduled plant outages or other system disturbances.

    These flexibilities are just not available with wind and solar.

  34. Mak Siccar

    Here is the updated burnt area for *all* of Australia, June 1 to Dec 31 for each year 1997-2016.

    June 1 to Dec 31? What about the other six months? I’m confused.

  35. struth

    The staggering amount of bullshit that is spewed forth when subsidies are available, beggars belief.

  36. Rafe Champion

    In the RE vs coal debate I think the two big things are, first, until we have mass storage we have to maintain 100% capacity from conventional sources, so the the public wind and solar investment to inject power into the grid is money down the drain. Worse than that, it increases the cost of power and so the consumers have to put more money down the same drain.
    Second the decommissioning cost.

  37. mem

    Here is an article on the history of extreme weather events from an American perspective. It is worth reading as it puts some of Australia’s disasters into the very minor category. It would be great if someone could put together a similar list for Australia including our current bushfires.
    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/01/earths_climate_history_what_the_doomsayers_dont_want_voters_to_know_.html

  38. struth

    Transport industry is now starting on replacement wind towers already, I am lead to believe.
    Those in the know are saying not long now and replacing wind towers will be starting.
    The early ones anyway, only have fifteen years at best.

    Just talk, I have no proof yet.

  39. The early ones anyway, only have fifteen years at best

    What will be interesting is whether they will erect new ones in place of the old. All that I’ve read about windmills past their use by date is that everything has to go and the land reclaimed. Why would you install a set windmills for 15-20 years and then not replace then when no longer functional? And why can’t the existing platforms be reused?

    I’ve never read anywhere what actually is planned to happen. Are old windmills just trash to be disposed of in land fill once done?

  40. Rafe Champion

    There is plenty of material from the US on old windfarms, don’t have time to chase it right now, must be some experience from Europe, they have been in the game long enough to have many mills at or near the end of the road.

  41. That’s true, but a cursory search of Google reveals little information. From all I can gather of the European experience is that nothing is rebuilt on old windmill ground. In Australia, the contracts signed with farmers indicate that the land must be brought back to what it was.

    Perhaps the foundations become problematic once the windmill has reached the end of it’s life and can’t be reused, much like all the other components of a windmill. Say a lot for ‘renewables’.

  42. Tim Neilson

    June 1 to Dec 31? What about the other six months? I’m confused.

    Given that we’re only into January, comparing this current year to date with whole years from the past would be misleading.

  43. Ben

    For the dictionary…

    Unprecedented = before Facebook

  44. Rafe,

    thanks for taking up this Post.

    You mention above that the Victorian brown coal fired plants have increased their output this morning (Monday 20Jan)

    Loy Yang A Unit 2 in Victoria came back on line this morning, so now all ten coal fired Units in Victoria are fully operational. They are currently delivering 4580MW from a Nameplate of 4690MW, so, they are operating at a Capacity Factor of 97.6%. They don’t ramp up and down across the day like they do in the other two States with coal fired power, so that power delivery is a straight line of power delivery across the day. All this from those ten Units with an average age of 33 years, way longer than the maximum hoped for life span of any of those renewables of choice, and still operating at close to 100%, so much for their supposed unreliability.

    The 17 wind plants in Victoria are having a good day (CF – 42% currently) and are delivering 900MW in total from a Nameplate of 2116MW.

    So, all of those wind plants on a good are delivering as much power as any ….. TWO of those coal fired Units.

    Of all of Victoria’s metered power currently being consumed, 5280MW, (around 9AM) coal fired power is delivering 86.8%.

    And school hasn’t gone back yet.

    Of the 48 coal fired Units in all across those three States still with coal fired power (and that covers all but 90% of Australia’s total power consumption), there are only four of them off line, two each in NSW and Queensland. Each night, all of those coal fired Units ramp up to around 18500MW to 19000MW.

    Tony.

  45. cohenite

    Tony Oz is great but his comparison misses a couple of crucial points based as it is on the rubbish criteria of LCOE.

    Renewables are subsidised to at least 900% of any capital investment amount.

    Renewables have a capacity factor of ~20%. But their reliability point, when they deliver their maximum power, is only 5%! That quantifies their unreliability. You have a 5% chance of getting max power, installed capacity, from renewables. Coal/nuclear 96 – 100% as the great Terry Cardwell, who ran coal power plants, notes.

    Renewables not only produce unreliable power they also produce the wrong sort of power, DC. Massive infrastructure to change their power into grid compatible AC, has never been costed. Nor has the cost of adjusting for renewable surges in power to maintain grid frequency been quantified. Nor has the fact that renewables are usually in far flung locations and the distance cost of connecting them to the grid been quantified. Finally the cost of removing wind and solar plants been costed.

    Basically you can’t do a LCOE comparison between coal/nuclear and renewables.

  46. cohenite

    Oh, and I forgot opportunity cost for the land dominated by wind and solar. And backup/storage/battery cost for the ghastly things.

  47. Rafe Champion

    And people wonder why productivity is down. Cheer up, these are the good times. It is
    going to get worse!

  48. C.L.

    Excellent stuff, Rafe.

    The staggering amount of bullshit that is spewed forth when subsidies are available, beggars belief.

    Yes, it’s like Field of Dreams. If you build subsidise it, they (dodgy crooks) will come.

  49. Squirrel

    It was good to see the PM, in today’s press conference, push back against the press gallery parrot chorus with the very important point that those demanding “real action on climate change” (i.e. much higher carbon emissions reduction targets) cannot say what that would mean in practice for jobs, power prices and important sectors of our economy (not to mention power reliability).

    That crucial message needs to be absolutely hammered into the public consciousness – sacrifices to the weather gods will not save us.

  50. Nighthawk the Elder

    I’m a bit late to the party, and I’m glad brown coal got a mention. Despite the extra royalties, it is still way cheaper than black coal. For the capital cost of the HELE plant, Tony’s figure of $3B is pretty much what we used, although we would add an additional fudge factor for brown coal because the boilers need to be taller. Let’s be conservative and use $4B for a brown coal equivalent. Still miles cheaper than the bird choppers.

    One important factor that the Australian electricity market has never really valued is system security. On top of the cost differences, the one key product a base load power station can offer the market that a renewable can’t is system stability, (availability, reliability, frequency control, reactive power, system inertia and so on). Unstable network and all those megawatts ain’t worth a cracker if the customer can’t use it when then need it. Just ask the South Australians.

  51. One important factor…

    Also coal fired power stations will last 50+ years and still be able to operate up to 95% capacity by end of life. Hazelwood proved that. Coal fired power station also don’t kill bird and bats. Coal fired power stations don’t cause low frequency health issues. And coal fired power stations aren’t a visual blight on the environment.

  52. Rayvic

    Comparative labour costs should be considered as well.

    The annual total labour (operating and administrative) costs for say a new HELE coal-fired power station could be compared with the annual total labour (operating and administrative) costs for all of the RE capacity necessary to match the HELE plant annual output in terms of capacity and reliability.

    It would be interesting to know the results of past comparative cost studies, if any.

  53. Rafe Champion

    Yes the repair and maintenance bill for some hundreds of windmills and the thousands of km of transmission lines and sub stations would be considerable, plus the cost of the windmills that fall over in storms and catch fire etc.

  54. Tator

    Youngster, dont forget that farm land gets burnt as well. A well planned farm has numerous nature corridors of natural scrub to ensure wildlife can live amongst the farms. These also act as windbreaks for paddocks to help prevent topsoil loss as well. Plus when used as pasture, allows stock to shelter in the shade in the heat.

  55. Rayvic

    Have just been made aware of the following table of land use by electricity source in USA, contained in article ‘NZ’s Zero Carbon Bill: the Lies of Jacinda Ardern’, on website http://www.stovouno.org

    “Land use by Electricity Source in Acres/MW Produced

    Electricity Source Acres per Megawatt Produced
    Coal 12.21
    Natural gas 12.41
    Nuclear 12.71
    Solar 43.50
    Wind 70.64
    Hydro 315.22

    Both wind and solar have huge footprints in relation to the power produced. This chart is from Strata, The Footprint of Energy: Land Use of U.S. Electricity Production, June 2017.

    Analysis of a much touted proposal to make the US 100% renewable-reliant, showed that the necessary wind farms would cover twice the area of California. Often wind farms are at the expense of forest, e.g. Millions of Trees Have Been Chopped Down to Make Way for Scottish Wind Farms.”

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