Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Oh those "renewable energy"

targets are driving me wild.
It was wild, wet and windy here yesterday. We were fortunate we did not lose power but large portions of the city did. Middle Cat was without power for some hours. A friend on the other side of the city was without power for most of the day - not fun when you are caring for your daughter's two small children.
The "green" brigade said that all this would not have happened if we had all the necessary wind and solar power in place. 
Really? That was part of the problem. The wind was erratic. As I understand it the turbines have to be switched off when this happens because the equipment cannot handle wild swings, surges of wind and more. I don't understand the way these things work so perhaps I am wrong but it at least sounds logical. 
Of course, there was not enough sunlight getting through the clouds. (I went out and looked at the display which shows the amount being generated by our solar panels.)
Now please don't get the wrong idea. I like the idea of renewable energy sources. I think it would be absolutely wonderful to have the entire world's power needs run by such things. 
I don't see it happening any time soon - if ever. 
The current Opposition is making grand claims about getting to 50% renewable energy by 2030. It isn't going to happen. The cost would be horrific. It would bankrupt the country within weeks, if not days. 
Our coal fired power plant at the top of the gulf has just been closed. It used "dirty" brown coal from further north. (Isn't all coal dirty by definition?) It was undoubtedly also inefficient now.
But every morning people expect to get up, shower in hot water, make cups of tea and coffee, make toast - and all under artificial light. They dress in clothes made with machines that use more power. They travel in vehicles that were made with power. They go to work in places that use power. 
And so it goes on. We consume vast quantities of power. If a city like this is to function it needs power, a lot of power. 
I suspect that this was in the minds of those who handed over the report on the nuclear options to the government yesterday. We don't have a nuclear power plant here - although we mine uranium. We don't even want to story other people's nuclear waste - even though we sold them the uranium in the first place. Nuclear power is still not considered "safe" - and perhaps it isn't.
Should we be working on ways to make it "safe"? Would it be safer than relying on the wind and the sun? 

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