19 June, 2011

Swanning around a Clean Energy Future

Clean Energy Future?

Wayne Swan thinks that putting a price on pollution will drive innovation to find better, less polluting ways of producing power, goods and services.

The question remains concerning how (&why) the Government will compensate the so-called trade exposed industries.

Wayne Swan says that under a Carbon Price: "Dirty energy will become more expensive and clean energy cheaper, tilting the balance towards investment in renewable energy and forms of power generation that produce lower emissions."

I wonder if anyone has told Martin Ferguson??!!

Swanny says: the Government will also help accelerate this transition by directly investing in clean energy projects.

Julia Gillard yesterday announced funding to help build two of the largest solar power plants in the world - one near the Queensland town of Chinchilla (which has been announced before), and another in Moree, NSW. Together, the projects are expected to generate enough power to support the annual electricity needs of more than 115,000 Australian homes.

Unfortunately, these power stations are NOT actually the largest and aren't actually going to be built for a few years.

According to Dan Cass

Moree Solar Farm is a joint venture between BP Solar, Fotowatio and Pacific Hydro. It will be a 150MW solar power plant using BP Solar’s polycrystalline photovoltaic panels mounted on a single axis tracking system. It is near Moree in northern New South Wales.

The project is exciting because of its scale. The total cost is slated to be $923 million, including $306 million funding from the flagships program and $120 million from the state government.

This plant will be much larger than the biggest current Australian PV installation, which is a 1.2MW array at University of Queensland. But Moree will probably not even be in the top 10 plants in the world when it is completed:

  • The US currently has 7 plants in the 150MW+ range under consutrution or in planning stage.

  • Greece has the 200MW Kozani PV Park due to start in a few months.

  • China is planing a 4 stage 2000MW venture, the Ordos Solar Project

Dan goes on to say:

Solar Dawn has been announced already (at least once). It is a joint venture between AREVA Solar, CS Energy and Wind Prospect CWP. It is a solar thermal power project using AREVA Solar’s Compact Linear Fresnel (CLFR) technology with backup gas boilers. It is located at CS Energy’s existing Kogan Creek Power Station, near Chinchilla in Queensland.

So will Solar Dawn be the biggest in the world? No chance. There are already 3 plants in the 100-150MW range in Spain and the US has a facility of 9 plants totaling 354MW in the Mojave Desert (which the biggest solar station in the world.)

Plants due to open include:
* 370MW
Ivanpah in the US is the biggest under construction.
* The US has announced almost 20 plants in the 200-1000MW range
* Ashalim in Israel will be 250MW
* Andasol 4-7 in Spain will be 200MW

Swanny says: Projects like this will help kick-start the clean-energy jobs of the future. In the mean time the QLD Government is bending over backwards to lay out a red carpet for the coal seam gas industry.

Swanny (& I) encourage you to take a look at some of the interesting fact sheets put out last week by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency that show a big increase in investment in clean energy around the world.

Productivity Commission’s Report on Carbon Schemes

The Commission’s report: Carbon Emission Policies in Key Economies is a thorough review of carbon abatement methods used around the world. The interesting issue is the number and high cost of non-market based mechanisms used by many governments, which pick favorite technologies or are propping up expensive methods. Key issues include:
• More than 1,000 carbon policy measures were identified in the nine countries studied, ranging from (limited) emissions trading schemes to policies that support particular types of abatement technology.
• As a proportion of GDP, Germany was found to have allocated more resources than other countries to abatement policies in the electricity generation sector — over $10b, followed by the UK ~$2b, with Australia ~$0.5b, China ~$2b and the US ~$3b mid-range.
• Estimates of abatement relative to counter factual emissions in the electricity generation sector followed a similar ordering, with Germany significantly ahead, followed by the UK, then Australia, the US and China.
There is much good information in this report which provides strong support for a market based mechanism. The report generally found that the fewer government schemes the
more cost efficient was the outcome.

In 2009 alone, large-scale investment in the clean-energy sector included US$34.6 billion in China, US$18.6 billion in the United States, and US$1 billion in Australia.

New Zealand scored very well, but the USA which had many schemes was a poor performer. Australia performed very poorly on photo voltaic installations.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the rising cost of energy is utterly unjustified in terms of energy providers. There are endless expensive state initiatives to proliferate renewable energy. How can you justify such a massive increase in power prices when energy resources are more abundant than ever?

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