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Renewable Energy - Megathread


The possibility that Newton’s third law still applies?
And that Edward de Bono was right about the Six Thinking Caps?

How we solve today’s problems may rely more on the thinking of Sun Tzu than the writings of Confucious. Is this OT? It may be if you consider China produces approx 26% of the worlds Greenhouse gas emissions with the USA not far behind at 14%.

Australia needs to do more than just tidy are own backyard. In doing so Is it also wise to keep an open mind to alternatives and consequences? We do not all wear the same hat. Otherwise we would all be less successful.

As for China and the USA, they are locked in a long game where one has become the renewables manufacturing power house. As an aside Australia, Canada and the USA are three of the most carbon intensive nations. While China manufatures our solutions their emissions have continued to grow significantly. In a simplistic way our desire to reduce emissions has had an unintended consequence of escalating China’s emissions. Was this foreseeable? Only if some one thought to ask?


The thread has been an interesting and often educational read but has strayed beyond consumer issues such as:

What renewable energy sources are or will be available now and in the foreseeable future?

How much would ‘we’ willingly pay as consumers to buy renewable energy compared to that from fossil fuels?

What are the economics of installing and operating each and using what footprints (eg an NT sized solar farm vs 1 million roof tops) or wind farms everywhere, etc?

What are the comparative environmental impacts?

What are the operational strengths and weaknesses (reliability, resiliency, etc) of each that affect consumers / the grid?

and moved into sometimes esoteric and academic discussion suited to non-consumer forums. Perhaps the protagonists would summarise their views on these questions (and any germane ones I missed), and this thread wrapped up.


Thank you for the topic @TheBBG.

I’ll confess, Guilty of straying.

A summary:
I’m sceptical in the short term that renewables will drive the price of electricity down. There are too many other factors and interests at risk in the market presently.

I’m not fixated on any one solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy. Adopting a number of differing solutions based on best fit to needs of the user and cost effectiveness appears likely.

I do not expect the overall solutions to bring costs down in the near future or importantly in the next few years. We all need to factor in the upfront capital costs before there is any payback.

It is difficult to see effective outcomes without significant changes in how we function and use energy in our society or without political realignment.

The last concern is developing renewables will make a significant short term impost on current energy demands and the environment that is not repaid immediately. That assumes there is enough of what ever resources we need to go around the globe. And that we do consider the consequences and othe impacts along the way.

In the interim we are trying to make our lifestyle choices as low impact as possible short of giving up clothing and eating wild life. For everything else we rely on Choice!

End, End, End,


I guess that’s why we don’t communicate. The short-term price of electricity isn’t high in my priorities. I rank longer-term costs far higher. Our short-term self interest risks imposing substantial costs on future generations.

Anyway, the obvious answers all involve renewables. Renewables vary. Though the variations are predictable, we do need to fill in the gaps. To some, the obvious gap-fillers are traditional “baseload” generation, such as fossil fuels and nuclear. To others (myself included) it’s storage. For bulk storage, the leading candidate is pumped hydro. That’s canvassed above.

For smaller applications, batteries are doing things that I never expected to see. On that subject:


It looks like the electricity industry is really concerned regarding their customers being properly looked after.



Things are changing. Vested interests are fighting tooth & nail. It could be worse:

The most recent Australian example of any substance is from Victoria:

The report itself has not been published, AFAIK. Its author:

Is a complete unknown, as far as I can tell. They’re basing conclusions on a new criterion which they have invented. Their criterion is inaudibility. :expressionless:

This report follows one by a Council officer, which was rejected by the Supreme Court. The reason for the rejection: not objective.


Plenty of anti wind farm activism in NSW too. I have to laugh at one sign I often see claiming wind farms are environmental vandalism… in the Hunter Valley, home of the most disgusting environmental mess of coal mines and coal-fired power stations! The main ones promoting this sort of nonsense in Australia have close ties with the fossil fuel industry.


and a response here:


It may not be a knee jerk by the industry.
Qld has started a plan to support solar and soon battery (limited numbers of loans or grants). SA has been doing a battery trial.

Given sufficient uptake of battery storage (residential or shared community) the potential is for whole communities to become largely self reliant. In that instance the disruption to the current generating business and retail sector could be significant. It could turn the whole industry on it’s head unless the regulator and legislators are persuaded by the retailers and generators to act otherwise.

There is little policy on the table from the government to suggest in which direction this might head?

In the article noted by @gordon “here comes the sun, but don’t panic” the observation re accessibility of all consumers to the benefits of renewables is also very relevant.
The biggest challenge right now is not technical or economic. It is how to get the benefits of solar to more people — renters, apartment dwellers and low income households.

There appear to be some genuine consumer issues here for government, profitable enterprises and those consumers who have been able to invest in their own solutions. It’s also likely more than just reliability and price?


Around 1,000 solar & battery systems for the entire state.

What will they do? Put all the applications in a barrel and draw the winners out or just use a first come, first served method.


Could be a very crowded barrel?

For the first Qld Solar PV plan one of the criteria for eligibility was to have Family Tax Benefit B. The applications are not yet open and the criteria for the battery option has not been advised.


An intriguing infographic. Only compares fossil fuels and hydro (plus one predominantly nuclear), but pricing raises questions about our market.



An interesting article about the development of blue agave production in FNQ to produce biomass for electricity production, ethanol for fuel and other products.

The article will be a segment on ABC Landline at 12:29 PM today.


great photo of some smart sheep using the shadow of a wind turbine on a hot day


That people believe this activism makes sense is ‘interesting’ … good clean coal instead I guess … :wink:

Hasn’t caught on in central Australia … unsure why …


Oh Oh.

Where is Mr Tesla and his big battery when he is needed?


Severe thunderstorms often produce blackouts due to downed wires and lightning strikes on lines or equipment, these issues happen regardless of the source of power.


Perhaps the big battery only works

When you live in a city with a gold plated distribution network upgrade?

Many regional and rural areas only have the wet paper wrapped network upgrades. Although we still pay the same, or more.

If our community had distributed storage of energy available locally it might help. It could also support perpetuals, renewables and lower carbon generation. Still when you are the last house on the overhead line it’s still the trees that take the power out.

I’m still hoping for a free offer from Battery World? For everything else there is the Honda GX160.


Listening to ‘Radio Liberal’ with Alan Jones hosting?


That’s a rather irrelevant question Fred123, if the poles and wires are down, power can’t get to houses or businesses.
You may as well have asked where were the gas-fired generators? I suspect your line of questioning may have been as TheBBG suggests or similar!
In any case, it has nothing to do with Mr Tesla!