Essay by Eric Worrall
Will Aussie PM Anthony Albanese listen to Bill Gates position that nuclear power is required to hit net zero?
Anthony Albanese hosts Bill Gates at Kirribilli House for discussions on climate change and global health issues
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is hosting Microsoft founder Bill Gates for discussions on climate change, global health issues and new and clean energy opportunities.
Jack Mahony Digital Reporter
January 21, 2023 – 1:35PM
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has hosted Bill Gates and representatives from his company Breakthough Energy and members from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It is the first time the pair have met and they are expected to discuss responses to energy shortages, medical issues and climate change.
Mr Albanese thanked the Microsoft founder for his contribution to global health research and explained his government’s approach to climate change.
“We haven’t met before but I’ve admired your work and your contribution not just financially but in raising debates including the need to deal with health issues,” he said on Saturday.
“And of course climate change, my government was elected on a platform of taking climate change seriously, we’ve introduced the first legislated caps of 43 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.”
…Read more: https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/politics/anthony-albanese-hosts-bill-gates-at-kirribilli-house-for-discussions-on-climate-change-and-global-health-issues/news-story/d3c363ca924e0ac84a6eb427fbee733e
Bill Gates on Nuclear Power;
Bill Gates: Stop shutting down nuclear reactors and build new nuclear power plants to fight climate change
Published Fri, Jun 11 202111:16 AM EDTUpdated Wed, Jun 30 20214:34 PM EDT
According to Gates, “if we’re serious about solving climate change, and quite frankly we have to be, the first thing we should do is keep safe reactors operating.”
But “even then, just maintaining that status quo is not enough. We need more nuclear power to zero out emissions in America and to prevent a climate disaster,” Gates said Wednesday.
…Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/11/bill-gates-bullish-on-using-nuclear-power-to-fight-climate-change.html
Nuclear power is all but banned in Australia. Australia operates a medical isotope reactor in Sydney, but has no nuclear power stations, despite having a third of the world’s known reserves of Uranium. In theory you could apply for a permit, but in the current political environment it won’t be approved.
Some politicians have put their head above the parapet, only to be shouted down by colleagues. For example, Anthony Albanese recently criticised his party colleague, the Premier of South Australia Peter Malinauskas, when the SA Premier appeared to open the door to considering nuclear – though the SA Premier later claimed his words were misinterpreted.
South Australia’s premier, Peter Malinauskas, is in ‘furious agreement’ with PM that nuclear power would not work for Australia
7.30 / By James Elton
Posted Tue 6 Dec 2022 at 7:45pmTuesday 6 Dec 2022 at 7:45pm
South Australia’s premier has comprehensively rejected the future use of nuclear power generators in Australia, saying the “completely uneconomic” technology had already been thoroughly investigated and dismissed.
- Peter Malinauskas says he did not “seek to suggest that nuclear power should be part of the mix in our nation”
- He says nuclear power is not a viable option because it would make energy more expensive
- Mr Malinauskas says price caps on gas and coal are “worthy of consideration”
In an interview with ABC’s 7.30, Peter Malinauskas recast comments he made earlier in the week in a News Corp interview, that were widely interpreted as pro-nuclear energy and were labelled a mistake by the Prime Minister.
“I didn’t seek to suggest that nuclear power should be part of the mix in our nation,” the South Australian premier told ABC’s 7.30 host, Sarah Ferguson.
…Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-06/peter-malinauskas-says-hes-in-agreement-with-pm-on-nuclear-power/101740942
Will a visit from nuclear power enthusiast Bill Gates soften Albanese’s hardline opposition to nuclear?
Personally I doubt a visit from Bill Gates will lead to any changes to policy direction.
In my opinion Prime Minister Albanese and his team have repeatedly demonstrated their utter ignorance and their sketchy grasp of numbers. In my opinion their bone headed net zero plans and profound policy blunders, along with their eye raising statements about renewable energy, are evidence of their ignorance and incompetence.
The Albanese government is not going to change course, just because Bill Gates supports nuclear, because Prime Minister Albanese and his team believe they already know what is best for Australia.
Andy Espersen :
I would much rather see him sit down to talk with Jay Bhattacharya and Ian Plimer.
…but in the politics universum, as we can see here in the UK, money men are kind of a ‘great attractor’.
There is money and more. For example, whatever the reason, Bill Gates was attracted to Jeffrey Epstein, visiting him several times at his private island and residences. He donated to Epstein causes. I doubt that Gates was hoping to reform Epstein.
Bill Gates knows nothing of climate, nothing of pandemics and nothing of nuclear. So Albo is batting zero from 3
A good match then.
Gates knows more about pandemics than you might think, he was already planning one in 2019, months before anyone had heard of covid..
Right, but Bill Gates knows how to make money, he founded TerraPower in 2008, which is an innovator and constructor of nuclear power plants, then founded Breakthrough Energy recently to front for nuclear power advocacy, which his company TerraPower will gladly assist with, for a fee, of course, OK, for a very large fee (follow the money).
If a major oil producer like the UAE has opted for nuclear power and other oil producers in the area are looking at the option, then how can the Albanese gov’t believe it’s not economic?
If France’s nuclear fleet is the backbone of Europe’s renewable grid, and the envy of its neighbours (in spite of recent steam generator overhauls) and if other countries have reversed their antinuke phobias – even Japan – then why Mr. Albanese, why?
On The Beach, 1995?
It was a great movie, but Shute knew nothing about radiation… probably about as much as Hanoi Jane (Fonda) knew about nuclear power.
That’s pretty easy to answer. Not only are the reactors in UAE, and potential reactors in Saudi Arabia, entirely funded by those governments, those governments are not even democratic governments.
So the people who fund the nuclear reactors in UAE and Saudi Arabia are playing entirely with other peoples’ money, and they are answerable to no one in terms of the amount of money they spend. Or waste, as the case may be.
Gates is receiving hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian tax payers money. What right do these politicians think they have to put the hard earned money of Australians into the pocket of an immensely rich “philanthropist” who has no qualifications in what he claims to be expert in and has interests that are clearly at odds with the interest of the people of Australia. These politicians (of all stripes) have gone too far, they do not respect the people and they consider tax payers to be their own personal piggy banks.
MarkH wrote, “Gates is receiving hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian tax payers [sic] money.”
Australia has a third of the world’s uranium – but nuclear power is banned. Britain has vast shale deposits – but fracking is banned.Two countries at opposite ends of the earth run by illogical, scientifically-inept governments.
I don’t know much about Aussie politics but I can tell folks here that British MPs here are complete dunderheads – utterly incompetent, knuckle-dragging thickos who can barely assemble two rational thoughts together in sequence. By the way, these are MPs on both sides of the House, left and right. They all nod gravely in agreement at the need for Net Zero. This from a nation that contributes 0.000012% of global CO2.
Voting has become a pointless exercise in our country because of the First Past The Post system (although I will continue to vote because we have a new Reform party which promises to try and break the stranglehold of the Conservative/Labour two-party system).
Meanwhile, we stagger on with representatives who are dead from the neck upwards – there is nothing going on behind the eyes. Just think about this. The British steel industry is on its knees, a once-thriving sector crippled by soaring energy costs. Hang on, you say – but your government is building vast steel offshore wind turbine farms as part of a ‘transition’ to renewable energy. Yes indeed. The farms are forged in China by a thriving steel industry – powered by coal.
And think about this. Britain could have been fracking since 2011 but our MPs are dead against fracking because fracking, according to them, is “a bad thing”. So guess what? We are now importing fracked gas from the United States. Talking to our MPs is like talking to children. They cannot see the irony, cannot get their largely blank brains behind concepts such as the logarithmic effect of CO2. These people think that Milankovitch cycles are two-wheeled pedal-driven personal transports from an East European country. The sense of hopelessness at being ruled by such incompetents pervades our entire nation.
“The sense of hopelessness at being ruled by such incompetents pervades our entire nation.”
Not just your nation. It pervades the entire Western world. We are surrounded on all sides by delusional politicians.
Kakistocracies proliferate everywhere these days.
And we the people elect them because of the incessant propaganda from our incompetent news media telling us that the end of the world is near and we are all going to fry and the seas are going to swamp our coasts .
Unfortunately most elected governments will do more harm to their countries well being than climate change ever will.
I agree that would be a huge problem if Australia was a cold, wet, and densely populated country like Germany. Instead, Australia is a very sparsely populated country, with an incredibly abundant solar energy, and a hot, dry climate. That means that Australia would unquestionably be one of the top handful of countries suited to photovoltaic electricity.
And if nuclear power was *not* banned, where would Australia get its nuclear power plants? Would it design and build its own…or would it instead get the designs and the equipment from other countries? If the answer is that Australia would design and build its own, what is that going to cost? And if the answer is to buy from other countries, what is *that* going to cost?
If Australia is trying to get into an area of electricity production for which Australia can *export* products, rather than importing products, why not try to develop a photovoltaic industry based on perovskite photovoltaic cells? That way, Australia would be getting in on the ground floor of something that’s likely to be very big in the future–particularly in Australia–rather than trying to get into a business where there are already well-established competitors (in fact, such well-established competitors that Australia likely will never be able to be competitive)?
Wikipedia article on perovskite solar cells
The solar photovoltaic capacity factor in Australia is a bit under 30%, even for the best facility.
That surprised me a bit. The morning ramp-up and afternoon tail-off must be considerable.
And I agree that most of inland Australia would provide a best case for solar photovoltaic.
Yes, photovoltaics don’t work well at night. 😉
But the key aspects of photovoltaics with regard to Australia are: 1) they can be tremendously inexpensive per kWh produced (when they are producing) and 2) their output is pretty well matched to Australia’s electricity demand (i.e., Australia is a hot, dry climate, so the biggest electrical demand tends to be during the daytime in the summer).
Here are the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) goals for U.S. photovoltaics.
Their goal is to get utility-scale photovoltaics cost for Kansas City (which has slightly less sun than Sydney) down from 4.3 cents/kWh in 2020 to 2.0 cents/kWh in 2030. Let’s say they miss badly, and it’s only 3.0 cents/kWh in 2030. That’s still far less than any nuclear plant that’s going to be built in the next 3+ decades.
Of course, storage in needed for solar. But that can actually be viewed as a good thing. If solar is tremendously overbuilt (so it’s generating much more electricity than needed at solar’s peak output), some place to dump that inexpensive electricity is what’s needed.
Current utility storage is expensive and not very long-term. But there are companies planning to have very inexpensive multi-day utility-scale storage for very low costs, with batteries chemistries like iron-air.
It seems to me it would be much wiser for Australia to get to the front of the pack on innovations like perovskite photovoltaics and iron-air batteries, and have exportable products, rather than to attempt to go to nuclear fission, where Australia will simply never be competitive with larger countries that have established nuclear power industries.
They don’t but I had expected the capacity factor to be closer to 40% than 30. Most of the solar facilities are located inland in areas with quite limited cloud cover apart from afternoon cloud buildup on summer afternoons.
That’s the peak demand, but there is still quite a high base load. The peaks aren’t uniform, either. The bulk of the population is in the vicinity of the 5 mainland state capitals, and it’s uncommon for them all to have really hot weather concurrently.
Research and development in those areas with a view to later use certainly makes sense, but it seems somewhat premature to go all-in at this stage.
Economics is always a choice between things that are scarce. In this case, the scarcity is Australian dollars to spend on developing less expensive and polluting sources of electricity.
If Australia was a cold, wet, densely populated country like Germany, it *might* make sense to think about nuclear fission. But Australia is none of those things. I simply don’t see how, in a choice between spending money to develop nuclear versus advanced photovoltaics and advanced grid storage, how nuclear could possibly come out ahead for Australia.
The only sense that I’m recommending “all in” for advanced photovoltaics and advanced grid storage is that I think Australia should spend *some* money on them, and *no* money should be spent on nuclear.
There are obviously plenty of other items on which money could also be spent…including ways to lower electricity use for a given desired result, such as cooling and heating buildings.
At this stage, feasible storage to cover multi-day wind droughts in winter or very cloudy periods is the limiting factor.
The Snowy Hydro 2 pumped hydro system appears to have sufficient storage capacity for 10 hours, but it probably won’t have sufficient output capacity.
Iron-air or some other battery chemistry may provide a cheap storage approach, or perhaps hydrogen, or ammonia will.
Alternatively, the various SMRs will do the trick
None of them are commercially available at scale yet.
Yes, the question is, what to do? I don’t think it makes any sense for Australia to either try to develop SMRs on its own, or to wait until SMRs are available from…the U.S., U.K., China, India, Russia, or some other country. I think the odds of either path to SMRs being competitive with solar plus some other form of assist to the solar…either batteries, natural gas, wind, coal, some combination of all of them…are very small.
Nuclear just isn’t a good fit for Australia. It’s a great fit for Germany, and France, and even the northeast of the U.S., but nuclear will never compete in Australia for where photovoltaics are headed.
It makes the most sense in Australia to get something with the *lowest* capital cost per megawatt of capacity to back up photovoltaics, not something with nearly the *highest* capital cost per megawatt of capacity, like nuclear will be. And nuclear can never *absorb* electricity, during the periods where solar will be putting out much more than the grid needs. That’s the great thing about batteries or some other storage. They can act as loads, as well as acting as suppliers of electricity.
The up and coming battery technologies aren’t available yet, either.
Apparently pumped hydro is currently the most economical storage approach, but we have limited scope for expansion. That may be part of the reason behind the “green” hydrogen push.
It all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve, when, and how much you’re willing to pay.
Solar is fine so long as you have little need of power between 3 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Solar plus storage to cover demand over 24 hours is expensive. To cover cloudy days and seasonal variations even more so.
If the azimuth and tilt angles are adjusted, photovoltaics can provide at least half of their peak value as late as 6 p.m. on a summer day. See Figure 9 of:
Using PV to meet peak summer loads (figure 9 is for Sydney)
“Expensive” compared to what?
And I assume you’re referring to the present…as opposed to more than a decade in the future, when SMRs might be commercially available for Australia. Are you considering developments in electricity storage and load management that might occur in the time between now and when SMRs might be commercially available in Australia?
“Complete dunderheads – utterly incompetent, knuckle-dragging thickos who can barely assemble two rational thoughts together in sequence” is a very good description of 90%, at least, of Australian MPs too.
UK to fire up coal plants as the National Grid finally realises the wind doesn’t always blow
“Will Aussie PM Anthony Albanese listen to Bill Gates position that nuclear power is required to hit net zero?”
Never in a million years. He needs Greens votes in the Senate to get any legislation passed and They’ll never allow him to do it.
Got it in one.
Remember too that ex prime Minister and leftist icon Bob Hawke came out as a huge advocate for nuclear, but only after he had retired from office- holding politics.
So these mendacious maggots really do know what’s good for their countries, but instead opt for self-serving places at the taxpayers table.
These Aussie politicians are dreaming mate.
They think that they can cut emissions by 43percent.in seven years they are dreaming mate .
What a pile of kangaroo poo.
They haven’t got a flamin clue how to produce 43% of their energy without using fossil fuel, if they had one brain between two of them they would see that nuclear is the only way because more wind and solar needs base load back up.
When the lights go out and the manufacturing jobs disappear over seas because of expensive intermittent electricity the politicians will have done their job and stuffed Australia.
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news from across the ditch. (Tasman sea).
It probably is possible, at least for electricity, by replacing the existing coal power stations with a mix of solar, wind, gas and pumped hydro (Snowy 2)
That may be a different matter 🙂
Gates now knows another piece of information about ‘Straya. — The current PM, old mate Albo of ‘Straya grew up in public housing with his single mum.
Don’t read too much into it, Albo thought he could get his computer fixed on the cheap.
(Most folks would just bin the old and buy new)
Nice try but there’s a flaw in that plan I can’t quite figure……
Anthony Albanese hosts Bill Gates at Kirribilli House for discussions on climate change and global health issues
While he runs out of ‘The Vibe’ with some serious local health issues-
These woke lefties are all about grandstand seeming and stuff the outcomes.
The Albanese government is not going to change course
Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me
(The Chestnut tree is a symbol – justice, honesty, chastity etc)
From the article: “South Australia’s premier, Peter Malinauskas, is in ‘furious agreement’ with PM that nuclear power would not work for Australia”
Two morons agree.
Typical Australian politician!!!! Never listens to real experts. Bill Gates is not an expert in health, and he is not an expert in meteorology, atmospheric physics or weather, nor is he an energy expert. Actually, Gates does not even have a basic degree.
I do believe Gates is in the right on nuclear, but Bill Gates has been flaky enough on other issues to come across as a general nuisance at best.
Gates is not helping with Thorium Liquid Salts Cooled Reactors… he is on the wrong course.
“South Australia’s premier has comprehensively rejected the future use of nuclear power generators in Australia, saying the “completely uneconomic” technology had already been thoroughly investigated and dismissed.”
Thoroughly investigated by Greenpeace, he probably means
As of a few minutes ago nuclear was supplying 60% of the electricity in France and probably several exported percent of the electricity in neighboring countries like the UK (as well as ~13% domestic UK nuclear.)
The most expensive part of Nuclear is the capital cost, largely determined by regulation and delays deliberately created by opponents. The cheapest reliable electricity on the market comes from nuclear power stations that have been extended in life. Having paid off their capital investment costs they can now effectively print money for their owners.
My first question to these two would be, can you define what is a woman. That answer will let you know if you can even consider what they have to say on pandemics and climate change.
Multiplying stupid times two is not helpful.