Submission To The Senate Inquiry Into Australia’s Transition To A Green Energy Superpower

David Archibald

Life in Australia has become a theatre of the absurd. One of the more absurd notions is that Australia will become a ‘green energy superpower’, even to the extent of holding a Senate inquiry into it. In my submission to the inquiry I try to point out as gently as possible that the laws of physics and economics won’t allow that to happen:

“Senators should be aware that energy from solar panels and wind turbines is only as cheap as it is because the solar panels and wind turbines are made using energy from fossil fuels, predominantly coal. Solar panels are made in China using electric power costing US$0.04/kWh.  Under ideal conditions in the West Australian desert those same panels produce power at a price equivalent to power produced from diesel generators at $0.21/kWh.

If you used power from solar panels to make more solar panels, the cost of power from the second generation of solar panels would be of the order of $1.00/kWh.  The same is true of wind turbines. If you tried to carry on the process of replacing solar panels and wind turbines as they wore out with solar panels and wind turbines made from power produced from the ones being replaced, the cost would become infinite and the economy would collapse. The situation is that simple, and that obvious.

As such solar panels and wind turbines are neither renewaable or sustainable. The solar panels and wind turbines we have installed in Australia at the moment are an artefact of cheap coal power.

One day the coal will run out and it would be wise to prepare for that day. The only energy source that can replace coal and maintain civilisation at a high level is nuclear. The sooner we prepare for that day, the safer we will be as a nation and as a civilisation.

In going to that nuclear future, Austalia should avoid the trap of adopting the current predominant nuclear technology which is light water reactors burning U235.  That technology is inherently wasteful, dangerous and leaves an enormous waste legacy.

It is wasteful because it burns only a small fraction of the total uranium endowment. It is dangerous because it combines water, zirconium and decay heat in the reactor vessel. The waste legacy is due to the fact that, by the time the rods are pulled in each fuelling cycle, half the energy is coming from the fission of plutonim and higher actinides. These will remain radioactive for millions of years unless recycled.

Making light water reactors larger to achieve scale economies increases the decay heat flux per unit area of the reactor core surface and makes the reactor less safe. Going the other way to small modular reactors is not a solution because they increase the capital expenditure per MW produced and still have the waste problem.

The only solution to Australia’s long term problem of the coal running out is plutonium breeder reactor technology. This technology is inherently safe as it doesn’t use water in the reactor vessel, would utilise our full uranium endowment and doesn’t have a waste legacy. The plutonium produced will have a Pu240 content too high to be used in weapons. As such this technology is not a proliferation threat.

There is a plutonium breeder reactor technology from GE-Hitachi called Prism that is ready to be commercialised. Australia should start installing Prism reactors as soon as possible.

Power from those reactors would be utilised to make hydrogen which in turn will be used to hydrogenate biomass in the Bergius process. Power at $0.05/kWh produces hydrogen at $7.00/kg. Synthetic diesel so produced would provide an energy-dense power source for transport, mining and agriculture. The latter two industries are particularly problematic with respect to electrification and synthetic diesel, made possible by nuclear power, is the solution.

Senators should also be aware that however Australia produces its power, this has nothing to do with climate. The world has not warmed in the last 44 years and there is no physical sign of it warming from this point. Various models of the atmosphere that have predicted appreciable warming have failed and are thus discredited.

In summary, pursuing a ‘green energy’ future is physically and economically impossible. Spending Australia’s capital in pursuing that chimera will only end in tears. It is a latter day version of the Children’s Crusade, bringing death and destruction to those who pursue it.

Understanding of the physics and chemistry of what is possible in producing the energy that would maintain civilisation at a high level means that we don’t have a choice – it is sodium-cooled plutonium breeder reactors or nothing. Our only choice is in how much pain we want to endure before we decide to take the correct path.”

David Archibald is the author of The Anticancer Garden in Australia.

GE-Hitachi Prism reactor

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Steve Case
December 7, 2022 10:06 pm

 It is a latter day version of the Children’s Crusade,

Good one !

Reply to  Steve Case
December 8, 2022 4:09 am

An apt metaphor, but I think Pied Piper is more apt.

Paul S
December 7, 2022 10:14 pm

“I try to point out as gently as possible that the laws of physics and economics won’t allow that to happen”

Perhaps you should be less gentle.

Reply to  Paul S
December 8, 2022 12:12 am

Being less gentle guarantees being ignored. The numerous bushfire and flood enquiries are swamped by green scammers urging on more disasters.
It is important to make this sort of submission because when it all goes wrong, they cannot say they weren’t told. Like the “Pink Batts” disaster. Numerous deaths, houses burnt down. They were warned by me and hundreds of other people with expertise in construction technology that the project would produce LESS energy efficiency in many cases, but there would be fires and deaths.

Reply to  martinc19
December 8, 2022 3:16 am

I mentioned this senate inquiry in a comment here last week. I would dearly love to see some scientists put in a submission. I’m not sure if there’s anyone outside of of Australia who would be up for the challenge but it would be interesting to see what their reaction would be.

I said in my submission that a ‘Green Energy Superpower’ was an oxymoron, and that no one on the planet had been successful thus far in even being able to provide reliable energy. The Australian Government is arrogant to presume they could do better than any country in the Northern Hemisphere.

The cut-off date has been extended to 23rd Dec. They need to be called out on their BS.

Bryan A
December 7, 2022 10:19 pm

Someone should educate the Aussie Political Machine that there’s no such thing as a “Green Energy Superpower”. The best they could hope for with “Green Energy” as their dominant (only) generation source is Green Energy Mediocrepower

May Contain Traces of Seafood
Reply to  Bryan A
December 7, 2022 10:32 pm

And point out that if WE can become a Green Superpower, then what is to stop other nations?

If something is easy to take up, then everyone would do it. So… why isn’t everyone doing it? Do our experts honestly believe that ‘Big Industry’ is simply refusing to get into Big Green out of spite?

(the extensions to this argument is that if it is so cheap to do, then why does it need subsidies?)

Bryan A
Reply to  May Contain Traces of Seafood
December 8, 2022 5:26 am

If it is so cheap to do, why are energy prices skyrocketing in places that are currently Green Energy Mediocrepowers?
Germany .44kWH
UK .38-.46kWH
Cali .22kWH
Den .36kWH
Aus .22-.38kWH
Global average .14kWH

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Bryan A
December 8, 2022 3:51 am

Sorry but you’re being far too generous. More like “Green Energy Stone Age Power,” since a country reliant on so-called “green energy” will return to the Stone Age with blinding speed.

Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 10:30 pm

The first section on solar is totally unconvincing. Just assertion and unsupported numbers. Another useless attempt to prove that solar can’t work, to people who see clearly that it is working, now. Most of the readers will have solar panels on their homes.

Then there is the boosting of breeder reactors, with
“This technology is inherently safe as it doesn’t use water in the reactor vessel, would utilise our full uranium endowment and doesn’t have a waste legacy. “

Of course it has a waste legacy. Any fission reactor produces fission products. There may be something that can be said about reducing them, but this sort of claim again leaves no credibility.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 10:51 pm

Hey Nick, could you help me out here?
What percentage of homes in this picture have, or could have solar panels?
Or are you impying that they just can’t read?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 7, 2022 10:52 pm

This is a submission to the Australian Senate.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 11:03 pm

So you’re saying solar panels won’t work in an American city but they will in an Australian city?

So what’s the percentage in this city? Or are you saying the people in American cities can read, its the people in Australian cities who can’t? I’m so lost….

Nick Stokes
Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 7, 2022 11:11 pm

Plenty of houses in Melbourne have solar panels.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 11:21 pm

And how many off-grid Nick.
Solar panels are a great way to keep a hot water tank at a useable temperature, and save $$$s, provided the sun doesn’t stop shining for a few days, but very, very few houses expect to get their household electricity needs from what’s on their roof.

That’s because it won’t work.


“tell ’em they’re dreamin’ “ as far as affordability goes.

You know better than that Nick.

You just come here to be obstreperous..

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr.
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 11:22 pm

Again Nick, the question was what percentage in the picture, with a picture of Melbourne being substituted for a picture of New York. So now instead of objecting that New York isn’t in Australia, you’re pretending the question was about Melbourne in general instead of the homes in that picture.

Not to mention that “plenty” is the sort of hand waving that you just accused Mr Archibald of. Answer the question.

Last edited 1 month ago by davidmhoffer
Nick Stokes
Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 8, 2022 12:26 am

Here are the numbers:
The latest data shows there are now 510,000 small-scale solar PV systems in Victoria – all together they generate almost a third of the state’s total residential electricity demand, with more than 15,000 households also having a solar battery.

Other mainland states are sunnier.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 3:27 am

A report on solar, from a solar organisation.

It’s favourable.

What a surprise.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  HotScot
December 8, 2022 11:29 am

It has numbers. The number of home solar systems is known. The grid has to know.

Nobody here has numbers.

Mark BLR
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 4:00 am

Here are the numbers …

In your OP you complained about people writing things that are :

Just assertion and unsupported numbers.

Two sentences later you made the bald assertion that :

Most of the readers will have solar panels on their homes.

NB : The only “number” there is the implicit one of “Most = More than 50%”.

One paragraph earlier in the link (finally) supplied by you to bolster your initial bald assertion, and (finally) provide some concrete “supported” numbers :

As many as one in every five homes have solar panels on their roof …

Yes, that article is almost 2 years old (dated 17 January 2021), so the “up to 20%” number will almost certainly have increased a bit, but I don’t think “one in five” is equivalent to “most people” for most people (here at WUWT, at least ?).

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mark BLR
December 8, 2022 11:27 am

I said most of the readers of this Senate submission will have solar panels.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 9:28 am

Silly Nick. In addition to being spanked for saying “most” and then backing up your assertion with a biased study that still only claims 20%, you have once again ducked the question by answering in regard to Victoria, rather than the city specifically asked about, which is Melbourne.

I’ll call out the obvious that you are clearly avoiding. Most homes in that picture don’t have a roof above them, they have another home above them. It is impossible to power a modern city with any siginifcant amount of roof top solar because the amount of roof top area per home is miniscule, and the same for office buildings. In addition to the many other challenges solar has, this one dooms it as a means to power a modern city, a fact I am certain you are fully aware of, else you would not have squirmed so hard to avoid answering the question.

Have a nice day.

Last edited 1 month ago by davidmhoffer
Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2022 11:51 am

And not one of them can generate power at evening peak use time…when it’s needed most. Only from 10am til 2pm when no one is home to use it.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 11:35 pm

And they’re leeching off of my tax money.

Reply to  Hivemind
December 8, 2022 3:46 am

And they’re leeching off of my tax money.

Electricity consumers pay for this stuff not tax payers. If you got in early with the 66c/kWh like I did you have recovered the costs a few times over. Victorian rooftop installations now get double subsidy, one from consumers and one from state coffers. However the more that goes in, the more often the street voltage hits that magic 254V and the systems winds back to zero output.

Our street is now saturated with solar generation through every sunny minute in early autumn and throughout spring and early summer.

I installed an off-grid battery and panels to take most of my household load off grid a bit over a decade ago. Made sense then because I am getting 66c/kWh for export. I paid less for batteries then than they cost now in AUD. So no price reduction contrary to predictions. Solar panels same situation.

It is a giant Ponzi that paid well if you got in early. But like all Ponzis, late comers get burnt. Of course the government can continue to mandate the theft from the poor to not so poor but it is still a losing battle because no solar or wind generation can produce more energy in its life connected to an on-demand system that it takes to produce all the stuff needed. No academic study caters for the cost of FCAS or extra transmission lines, or storage, or forced/economic curtailment or synchronous condensers or firming generation, or capacity payments, or higher administration costs of an ever more complex system struggling to keep lights on.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 12:05 am

Most of the readers will have solar panels on their homes … Plenty of houses in Melbourne have solar panels.

Anyone can look for themselves on Google Earth, even in the well-heeled suburbs solar panels on roofs are rare.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
December 8, 2022 4:04 am

It is not the wealthy suburbs but the battlers in new housing in dormitory suburbs. These new suburbs have more expensive distribution networks to cater for the reverse power flow so they can output more before the voltage limits output. In older, leafy suburbs, a few houses with rooftop solar puts the voltage up to the 254V limit.

New distribution networks are no longer based on the consumed power but the potential reverse power for a few hours on the hottest part of the day just to ensure everything is thermally stressed to the max. More government enforced theft from consumers unable to put panels on a roof often because they are renters.

Attached is East of Cranbourne, say Clyde.

Screen Shot 2022-12-08 at 10.48.35 pm.png
Bryan A
Reply to  RickWill
December 8, 2022 5:34 am

I’ll make you 1 Guarantee…
Not a single household in that picture is saving $$$ as promised by the snake oil salesmen that sold them Their Solar Systems. They’re actually paying more per month than their neighbors that have no panels. And will be doing so until long after the panels need replacing.

Reply to  Bryan A
December 8, 2022 1:50 pm

Two years ago, my neighbour in Melbourne installed a 6kW system and cut his annual electricity cost by 75% on average. His capital outlay was $3000, less than half the actual capital. He still has a bill in the sunnier months but it is a fraction of what he paid previously. Winter down also lower but not by as much.

They are retirees and can shift some load to daytime hours. They usually run air conditioning in summer.

Their system reduced the annual output of my system by about 10%. So unless the grid can regulate local voltage to handle substantial reverse power flow, every new system diminishes the output of other connected systems. That is why a lot of houses are taking up the battery subsidies.

As governments push for Net Zero, electricity prices have to go up. Grid power from intermittents will always be more expensive than making your own if you own a suitable roof or any open space.

It takes almost a decade to build new coal stations and longer for nuclear. There are none in the planning stage so every Australian can rest assured there is adequate time to get a return on well planned rooftop solar installations. Solar/battery are now economic in mainland Australia.

Iain Reid
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 11:18 pm


You say “Another useless attempt to prove that solar can’t work, to people who see clearly that it is working, now”

But it can’t work in isolation, in other words there must also be an equivalent alternative capacity readily available at all times. So, to say that solar is apparently working but the users do not realise what is required to make it work is more accurate.
It is not a good source of grid power at all.

Reply to  Iain Reid
December 7, 2022 11:37 pm

They work “in isolation” on the ISS and in space in general (except far away probes) but there is no cheap alternative and space is crazy expensive anyway.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Iain Reid
December 8, 2022 12:28 am

But it can’t work in isolation”
That wasn’t his claim. His claim was that they can’t work at all.

They don’t have to work in isolation.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 5:37 am

They certainly can’t work alone. Solar doesn’t produce electricity for 16-20 hours per day. So more expensive and potentially explosive infrastructure is required (batteries) or additional “non-solar” generation capacity

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan A
Nick Stokes
Reply to  Bryan A
December 8, 2022 8:23 pm

I don’t know of any grid where solar-only generation is proposed.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2022 11:56 am

To end FF extraction they Must. Name 1 renewable system that works without FF back-up capacity.
You can’t
There are none
The only CO2 free system that works without FF back-up capacity is Nuclear

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 11:35 pm

People only have solar panels on their homes to suck up all that lovely subsidy money.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Hivemind
December 8, 2022 1:07 am

Not in the UK any more they don’t.

In UK they’ll be paid 4 pence per kWh for any electric they export.
A solar system, in the UK, will cost about £1 per Watt of installed nameplate capacity.
In UK, it will produce on a 24/7/365 basis, 10% of its nameplate

Thus a typical 4kW system cost £4,000 and will produce 3,500kWh per year. If it was all exported, an income of £140.
To buy that much electricity will (presently) cost £1,155 plus £160 for the standing charge (the meter as required to count/measure the export)

Thus if you are at home and constantly watching your system and have things that can usefully use that much electricity, you will save money.
But who is? Most folks have lives to live and shock horror, have to go out to work.
Then and as we all know, solar systems make electricity usually when you don’t need it.

The Real Clanker here comes from the big solar farms.
How exactly do they make any money?
They will be paying the same cost for the solar equipment plus also rental on the land they’re using plus be paying interest on the money they’re using.
So on a Watt per Watt basis, the solar farm will be paying:
£1 per Watt for hardware
another £1 per Watt interest charge ##
maybe £0.10 per Watt land rent

## assuming a typical 25 year mortgage type loan where you pay back an amount of interest usually equal to the capital you borrowed

Thus the solar farm will cost £2.10 per Watt installed – £2,100 per kW
If they are selling at the rate homeowners get (4 pence per kWh) and thus getting £140 per year income per kW installed, it will take them 15 years to recover what they spent
But then the solar farm will need maintenance = somebody to cut the weeds, repair the fence, lock the gates and just ‘look out for the thing’
Just employing one person to do that will cost £70,000 per year here in the UK (£35,000 basic wage plus same again for ‘overheads’)

The solar farm won’t be and can’t be ‘saving money by using their own generation‘ so does that stack up?
Can we see it working without some sort of external (invisible) support?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 11:35 pm

Nick, most households and farmers too, pay a capital cost of between $3,000 to $15,000 to install solar panels & battery backups to their homes or farms. a capital cost of an asset needs to be depreciated against the difference between high cost of electricity used and low cost of electricity used. Thus,it could take between 3 to 5 years before one can say I am receiving net cheap electricity.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 7, 2022 11:35 pm

We all know PV is working fine.
In space – the ultimate un wired area.
Where everything is very expensive but there are few alternatives to PV.

In Europe even in sunny, warm but not usually very hot Spain, they have been subsidized like crazy because nobody would use them when wired.

And in remote very high altitude places (higher = more sun and colder) in France, where wiring would cost too much for a trivial energy use, they might make sense.

Wired is better but when not wired you might consider PV.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 3:13 am

Red Herring Nick strikes again.

Nobody said “solar can’t work”. The claim is that solar is not sustainable because once you stop using coal to make solar panels, the cost of the replacement panels will be unaffordable.

Nobody has solar panels working on their home that were manufactured using solar and/or wind power. So your misdirection about people having solar panels that work is just your typical nonsense.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 8, 2022 11:33 am

Nobody has solar panels working on their home that were manufactured using solar and/or wind power.”
This red herring is so tangled it is more like an eel. Solar panels are made using electricity. Not any particular kind of electricity. If a grid that includes solar panels can generate electricity (as we see it can), then that electricity can be used to make solar panels. Just as gas turbines can be made using electricity generated by gas turbines.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 9, 2022 3:33 am

Nick, you’re such a disingenuous hack. The CCP can only sell their slaver panels at the prices they are offering them because most of the power used in the manufacture is derived from burning coal, and the labor is free.

You know full well that I meant that nobody has solar panels working on their roof where those panels were made exclusively by carbon-free energy. Now you would think that if slaver panels really were the cheapest energy evah, that the people making them would switch to using them exclusively in order to maximize profits. Why do you suppose it is that the grid in Xinjiang is still dominated by coal?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 6:53 am

I have 24 solar panels on my roof, near Seattle Washington. Under ideal conditions it produces ~ 5.5 kW. Works great in summer months to power the heat pump. During fall and spring, not so much, and flat in the dark winter months.

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 7:15 am

Of course it has a waste legacy. Any fission reactor produces fission products. There may be something that can be said about reducing them, but this sort of claim again leaves no credibility.


Speaking of waste legacies:

“The last few years have seen growing concern over what happens to solar panels at the end of their life. Consider the following statements:

  • The problem of solar panel disposal “will explode with full force in two or three decades and wreck the environment” because it “is a huge amount of waste and they are not easy to recycle.”
  • “The reality is that there is a problem now, and it’s only going to get larger, expanding as rapidly as the PV industry expanded 10 years ago.”
  • “Contrary to previous assumptions, pollutants such as lead or carcinogenic cadmium can be almost completely washed out of the fragments of solar modules over a period of several months, for example by rainwater.”

Were these statements made by the right-wing Heritage Foundation? Koch-funded global warming deniers? The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal?

None of the above. Rather, the quotes come from a senior Chinese solar official, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. solar industry, and research scientists with the German Stuttgart Institute for Photovoltaics.”

And this:

“The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2016 estimated there was about 250,000 metric tonnes of solar panel waste in the world at the end of that year. IRENA projected that this amount could reach 78 million metric tonnes by 2050.

Solar panels often contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals that cannot be removed without breaking apart the entire panel. “Approximately 90% of most PV modules are made up of glass,” notes San Jose State environmental studies professor Dustin Mulvaney. “However, this glass often cannot be recycled as float glass due to impurities. Common problematic impurities in glass include plastics, lead, cadmium and antimony.”


Isn’t it odd that we never seem to be told about the toxic waste legacy of solar panels when we are told (time and time again) how environmentally friendly solar energy is?

B Zipperer
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
December 8, 2022 6:16 pm

And I bet that the solar farms (and wind) are not required to remediate the site & environmentally care for the panels at end-of-life. Of course, this should also be included in their costs, as they are for coal, nuclear. etc.

More Soylent Green!
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 10:27 am

The more I read you, the more foolish you sound. Your posts have that tinge of a man trying to win online arguments through rhetoric, verbal sophistry and gotchas rather than trying to find solutions to actual problems.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 8, 2022 4:01 pm

Nobody in the world is producing solar panels or wind turbine or have them installed using only their outputs for energy

John Pickens
December 7, 2022 10:50 pm

The author makes great points about the impossibility of economic wind and solar power systems, but I’m not so sure about the advocacy of sodium cooled plutonium nuclear reactors. Since the sodium coolant loops in these reactors are in turn cooled by water, this is where the problem occurs. Unless you have a perfect, zero leak heat exchanger, any water coming into contact with the sodium will cause potentially catastrophic destruction of the system.

December 7, 2022 10:59 pm

A fine article, but note Nick’s attack on it, trying to force the discussion to turn to the debate of the proposed solution rather than of the problem. The “hand waving” accusation followed by a criticism of the solution that has more weight. Even if wrong, the troll strategy fulfills its intent.

My practice of late has been to expose the problems and leave it at that. Forces people like Nick to debate the problems raised instead of handwaving them away and taking the discussion in a different direction.

Last edited 1 month ago by davidmhoffer
December 7, 2022 11:11 pm

We’re on an insane path and sadly there is no turning back. It’s the one tipping point I believe we have reached. We need to destroy ourselves first – the middle class will be the first to go, then maybe some sense will prevail. And Australia is the most insane of all.

Last edited 1 month ago by terry
December 7, 2022 11:26 pm

On 1st approximation, every dollar is ultimately used to pay for the cheapest stuff with practical energy use. (Practical: electricity is only practical when wired, liquid is more practical than gases for transport, etc.)

December 7, 2022 11:49 pm

What do these people have in common?

  • pro “renewable”
  • US anti guns or “common sense” gun laws (notably the very unhinged Watts)
  • antinuc
  • COVID vax is safe, effective, and well known tech

have in common?
You only have to let them speak to have the perfect case against their claims. Just note their arguments. That’s the case. You don’t need additional points.
Listening to them should be enough to see they don’t make any sense what so ever.

December 8, 2022 12:32 am

“”In summary, pursuing a ‘green energy’ future is physically and economically impossible. “”

It’s crunch time in England, it’s a balmy -3C and the forecast is more cold.

So what are the troughers arguing about?

A coking coal mine

Last edited 1 month ago by strativarius
December 8, 2022 2:09 am

What makes one a “Green Energy Superpower”?

Reply to  SteveG
December 8, 2022 2:57 am

Thought bubbles imagineering and hogging the bong (see below)

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  SteveG
December 8, 2022 4:03 am

Well, it’s an oxymoron, akin to “pacifist military superpower.”

So you can’t “make one” into something nonexistent on its face.

December 8, 2022 2:11 am

And now after subsidizing Chinese coal powered solar panels and windmills the brains trust are going to do likewise with their lithium batteries-
Way to go greenies.

December 8, 2022 2:50 am

With SA Premier Malinauskas having dropped the N word and Qld and NSW Premiers defending a bucket of coal royalties NT Labor weighs in with Beetaloo Gas-
The green chooks are running around in ever decreasing circles trying to escape the axe of skyrocketting power bills and greenouts.

Rich Davis
December 8, 2022 2:59 am

There’s a frail elderly woman sitting on a park bench with a large cardboard box filled to overfilling with stacks of hundred dollar bills out in plain sight. Nearby there’s a criminal gang of a few hundred heavily armed brutal killers.

What’s going to happen next?

The lady is Australia. The box is Australia’s uranium. The gang is China.

December 8, 2022 3:01 am

I’m a scientific simpleton; it occurs to me as such, that power is required when the need arises; if the need, once established, cannot be paused, it must be satisfied by the grid. If the grid is being powered by a source that is fully exposed to intermittency but is generating the whole time the “need” demands power, logically “need” is satisfied by the “source” whose intermittency is suspended for this period. Suppose the need is an industrial or commercial enterprise.

However , because “need” cannot be paused (or there is not the battery back up technology sufficiently well developed or available), the grid needs instantly available back up so a switch can be flicked if the intermittency suspension ends, either over time or abruptly. If no back up, rationing>blackouts must happen or the “need” must use its own back up ( dare I say from FF generators ). As I understand it , nuclear power is less able to deal with flick of the switch (OK I know it is not quite like that, just a figure of speech…), gas, coal or other source is needed which will completely piss off the “CO2 is a poison” headless chickens to which I say “good”.

How do the renewables lobby square that circle? ( please do not trumpet the “smart meter” type response, or even “flexible working” scam..)

Some years ago, the National Geographic did some research to establish if the then entire energy demand in the US could be sourced from the Sun; they concluded “yes”; it would require approximately 100 sq miles of desert to utilise the Sun in one dedicated location ( but only in daylight hours ) avoiding cloudy conditions for obvious reasons. Cannot remember how the article suggested US industrial output would adapt to the power generation during daylight hours only from one time zone to its near and far neighbours, but I do remember the article confirming that such a site would raise global temperatures by at least 1% centigrade.

That would seem to be rather self defeating; additional air conditioning to combat higher temperatures where they arise would require more power, and around we go….

The Yin and Yang of part time power sources…as a non scientist I do not doubt the worth of solar or wind but I am sick to my remaining molars of the Ostrich like comments from one eyed disciples of a particular ” settled science” theory. FFHS, Why cannot the collective intellect of human beings combine to use wind solar tidal nuclear to best effect rather than spout demonstrably biased views on either side of “the argument” – to do otherwise, considering the subject matter, is this not a colossal and very ironic waste of….energy?

“If we can get human beings to Mars……….”

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  186no
December 8, 2022 4:09 am

The best system uses nothing intermittent. Nuclear, coal and gas has a much smaller footprint, is far more reliable and far less environmentally destructive than ANY system incorporating worse-than-useless wind and solar.

December 8, 2022 4:19 am
December 8, 2022 4:25 am

Am I missing something here? If there hasn’t been warming in the last 44 years, all the while CO2 was rising unabated, which only supports what many are saying for quite some time, that CO2 is not warming the world, so why would the author claim “…we don’t have a choice – it is sodium-cooled plutonium breeder reactors or nothing.” . Can’t we simply keep using cheep and reliable coal and gas?

Tom Abbott
December 8, 2022 4:27 am

From the article: “Life in Australia has become a theatre of the absurd.”

It’s not just Australia. It’s the whole Western world, when it comes to unreasonable fears and unwarranted assumptions about CO2 being dangerous to human beings.

There’s no evidence CO2 is anything other than a benign gas, essential to life on Earth, but Western politicians, for one reason or another, cannot/will not see this, and proceed down a road to self-destruction in vain attempts to control and rein in CO2.

We are dealing with delusional people in high places throughout the Western world. We are in trouble. Not from CO2, but from delusional politicians.

Meanwhile, the globe is cooling despite more CO2 going into the atmosphere.

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Last edited 1 month ago by Tom Abbott
December 8, 2022 4:33 am

So much for capping coal prices to bring down local power prices-

As the thinking man’s sex symbol Pauline Hanson reckons they have no bloody idea what they’re doing with renewables-

December 8, 2022 6:34 am

Brilliant light and Power is getting closer.
Not fusion but very dense, inexpensive, and clean.

December 8, 2022 7:55 am

The Light Water Breeder Reactor was operated in the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in the 1970’s and was proven successful. But wide use of this technology requires fuel reprocessing to recover the bred fuel and use it to make new fuel which Jimmy Carter killed, also in the 1970’s, because he feared nuclear weapons proliferation. Yet the French reprocess routinely with used fuel from their water cooled reactors to this day. Reprocessing would also be required for any breeder reactor including the sodium cooled PRISM reactor. To build a PRISM reactor without a parallel reprocessing system would be futile. Is a reprocessing system included in the GE designs?

Also, sodium is very corrosive and caused numerous leaks in the S2G reactor you mention. It was removed from SEAWOLF because of such leaks and because the half-life of radioactive sodium produced during reactor operation was long enough to require a week or more wait after reactor shutdown before entering the reactor compartment for repairs – both issues being unacceptable in a warship.

So build a PRISM reactor and a reprocessing system and use this machinery to prove the concept. Until then it’s just a paper pipe dream with lots of talk about how great it is and none about the problems to be overcome. Unfortunately, talk does not produce electricity.

December 8, 2022 9:00 am

I’ve been reading up a bit on Thorium reactors. The selling points look a bit too good to be true. Cheap, safe, tiny and a much shorter decay rate for nuclear waste than Uranium-based reactors.

They also claim to be able to reuse spent uranium fuel from old reactors to bring the storage time down from 10k years or more, to 300 years.

Anyone else seen or heard about this, and how accurate are the claims?

Last edited 1 month ago by manbearpig
December 8, 2022 9:01 am

No one mentions Thorium LFTR reactors. Much better and safer nuclear tech.

Reply to  JeffUSA
December 8, 2022 9:29 am

Yes, that’s the impression I get. I watched a TEDx presentation by an engineer on YouTube where he describes the benefits of Thorium to the entire human race. My only concern was that he was developing a company in Copenhagen to manufacture them, so I thought there may be some bias. From what he was saying, they can’t go into meltdown, which is probably one of the biggest public concerns about Nuclear.

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  JeffUSA
December 8, 2022 2:16 pm

Jeff – LFTR reactors get mentioned from time to time, but the reason they are ‘better and safer’ is that they don’t exist! I got pulled up for inferring they are vaporware recently – fair enough – the theory is sound and a small experimental one ran successfully in the 60s. But. They don’t exist. In time they might be the answer, but we won’t see one producing a GW of electricity sooner than the 2040s.

China is the closest with this

In passing, though I’m quite a fan of the PRISM, that doesn’t exist either, except as an experiment that ran in the 60s. David Archibald’s point (as I understand it) is that PRISM is a fast neutron reactor that burns up more of its fuel, thereby creating less waste. A LFTR is also a fast neutron reactor design, so ditto. The US, UK, France and Japan have all tried to make fast neutron reactors with mixed success & all now shuttered, but Russia has done it with the BN-600 and BN-800 – sodium cooled, solid fuelled reactors like PRISM.

If Australia wanted a tried and tested design to build right now, and didn’t want China or Russia? South Korean APR1400 like the ones built in 7-8 years in UAE?

Manbearpig – thanks, I’ll watch it, but yes – I reckon he’s selling a concept.
December 8, 2022 9:46 am

Q: Why suggest using Bergius process? Hasn’t that process been abandoned due to inefficiencies (e.g., challenges of separating ash and heavy liquids, etc)?

More Soylent Green!
December 8, 2022 10:24 am

If there is going to be a Green Energy Superpower, it would be China. But China is not building out green energy infrastructure, it’s selling components to suckers. Why is that?

Oh sure, China has some green energy “Potemkin Village” projects, but that’s all they are. They’re fully committed to coal and other fossil fuels.

December 8, 2022 4:20 pm

Solar is a good example of subtractive economics. People employed making, installing, cleaning solar systems are not available for productive work like manufacturing, farming, mining. Solar subtracts their effort from more productive, economic employment with profitable returns.
Australia had one of the highest quality, lowest cost national electricity schemes in the world, 20 years ago and more. It attracted big industry like alumina refineries and alumina smelters. People were employed there, making products that society values.
Then renewables became subsidised and promoted. We started making parallel generation systems. People were taken from employment in productive sectors to work in alternative generation by renewables. Why have 2 people to make electricity when one will do?
Australia was already awash with subtractive sectors like entertainment and sport. People were/are spending a lot of their income on these, while complaining about shortages of nurses and doctors. Maybe entertainers and sports people should be subsidised to become parallel employees as doctors and nurses?
The fundamental problem arises because few people have much understanding of how successful national economies work. The theory is not settled or simple. Young people lack exposure to learning. Older people do not all have the interest or mental capacity. This is why governments are able to provide a seemingly endless procession of hobgoblins aimed at keeping voters in continuous alarm. The voters lack the skills to spot the fakes and the political system, equally ignorant, no longer cares.
At age 14 I helped my Dad make and install rooftop solar water heating, Townsville, 1956, plans from CSIRO. It worked sort of ok, but needed to cope with intermittent sunshine so we added a tank with a main electricity immersion heater. This was my first introduction to parallel energy systems. In the washup, Dad concluded he wasted our time and effort making gear that was no better than the mains system we started with. This story is a micro describing the state of our national electricity planning today.
That is, in the washup, a waste of time and effort. Get rid of parallel systems, reduce our subtractive economics sectors. Geoff S

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