Coalition commits $110m for Port Augusta solar towers

Coalition commits $110m for Port Augusta solar towers

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The Coalition commits to $110 million in concessional loans to solar tower and molten salt storage project in Port Augusta, as part of last minute negotiations with the Nick Xenophon Party to pass major tax cuts.

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Please see updated story: Solar towers on fast track after Coalition tips in extra $110 million.


The federal Coalition government has announced that it will provide $110 million in concessional loans to a solar tower and molten salt storage project in Port Augusta, as part of last minute negotiations with the Nick Xenophon Party to pass major tax cuts.

The commitment was announced by finance minister Mathias Cormann as part of a deal with the NXT to approve tax cuts for businesses with revenue of less than $50 million.

Senator Cormann says the Coalition will provide a confessional loan  of $110 million in 3 per cent interest rate to an unspecified solar thermal project. He said the government will call for formal proposals via the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corp.

The front runner for the deal is the 110MW solar tower and molten salt storage project proposed by the US company SolarReserve. Other proposals are likely to come from Vast Solar and others.

“We welcome the announcement today from the Senate, and it is critical step in progressing the project – but the key outcome is to obtain a long term power purchase agreement,” said Daniel Thompson, the Australian development manager for SolarReserve.

Earlier, the energy minister Josh Frydenberg announced that the CEFC would invest $80 million in the 113MW Bodangora wind farm near Wellington in NSW.

“This investment in large-scale renewable energy projects such as Bodangora, is part of the Turnbull Government’s technology neutral, non-ideological approach to provide affordable, reliable electricity as we transition to a lower emission future,” he said in a statement.

The $236 million Bodangora wind farm is expected to be operational in the latter half of 2018.



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  1. humanitarian solar 4 years ago

    Well this is a shock. I once heard Peter Garrett lobby his peers in the Labor Party to get green, in order to take votes or not give the Australians Greens a foothold. The Coalition using this approach is an absolute shocker. After the announcement of Snowy 2 and now this, at this rate we will no longer need the Greens.

    • Pedro 4 years ago

      Beware the back flip. Malcolm is a gymnast. 😉

      • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

        This is the worst thing for Labor and the Greens. If the Liberals find methods of minimal financial input, to leverage a kick start on projects like this, they will look financially competent and green enough to hold sway in any upcoming election.

        • stalga 4 years ago

          It may be defensive. When some LNP voters get annoyed they will vote Green not Labor, they could lose Senate seats. A majority of Liberals want climate change action. Anyway, it’s almost a breath of fresh air, there are a stack of projects on the move now so market forces will impact more.

        • Tom 4 years ago

          I’m not sure that all that many Greens voters are going to change their vote to Liberal.

          • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

            The Greens are hardly a threat to anyone nor are they growing much at all, so i think the issue is more centrist or populist votes.

      • Chris Drongers 4 years ago

        Sudden confirmation that the LNP government
        -does not have a plan,
        -does not believe in the powers of the market,
        -does not believe in the alternative of central planning
        -does believe that thrashing around wildly will be seen as ‘a plan’.

        • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

          I think your underestimating them.

          I think they “have a plan”,
          They “believe in the powers of the market” and steering it with minimal intervention to achieve their goals,
          They “believe in central planning” by setting a benchmark for the paradigm behind fiscal approaches,
          I don’t think they are “thrashing wildly”.

          They’ve become a more powerful adversary because if anyone can unfold renewables at this particular time in history, with a bare minimum commitment to help it along, they probably can.

          • Chris Drongers 4 years ago

            Maybe humanitarian solar is right and the LNP is talking sweetly to the fossil fuel lobby while encouraging the baying hounds of renewables to go for the energy market.

            I was going to ask how much wind and solar, and how much matching storage, is needed to blackout proof South Australia.

            But there are undoubtedly a whole range of options. In total, these options would form a ‘response surface’ for different balancing amounts of generation and storage.

            I wonder if anyone has published such a surface.

    • Jo 4 years ago

      Well, at least the solar power plant with storage will hopefully be built. More than political parties we do need demonstration plants showing that it is possible to reduce carbon emission at reasonable or even zero cost.

      • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

        True. What I think is happening, is it’s a “paradigm war” of how to unfold renewables. The Liberals have appeared to change tack since digging into pockets for Snowy 2. They probably cringed with SA potentially throwing money into buying gas generators, as it was almost cracking open a “socialist” door, for a new trend in government ownership to sweep the nation. So instead, they are going to attempt to implement renewables in the tradition of the competitive market and “minimal” financial intervention to get the job done. This steers the country into green enough territory while being seen to be governing with innovation and action, while ensuring their economic paradigm remains in tact and provides a basis for re-election.

        • riley222 4 years ago

          IMO spot on , HS.
          Snowy 2 may well die in the ass, its pretty much what I expect.
          The scary thing for me is whether Labor ,if they get in, will be much different.

          • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

            I agree. The Labor Party would probably balance global warming with energy security and reliability. If the Greens happened to be a balance of power through some lucky chance, they would lobby the Labor Party to throw buckets of money at it like it were a raging fire to put out (not saying it’s not). The Labor Party would want to see a clear path ahead with cost effectiveness and energy security synergistically related in one whole. As my local Labor candidate said – the Labor Party is the only Party who supports the triple principles of the economy, social justice and the environment, and he is a lefty oriented Labor candidate, whose wife is studying sustainable agriculture.

          • Tom 4 years ago

            @ HS – you have a lot of faith in the Labor Party.

            I anticipate that Labor will balance any potential votes gained and lost as suggested by internal polling and focus groups against the opinions of whichever trade union the power station workers belong to.

            I don’t think that a long term plan or “doing the right thing” will have much to do with their policy, unless it coincidentally wins votes AND has the support of the relevant unions.

          • Eclipse Now 4 years ago

            The sustainable farming sounds interesting. Has she seen this TED talk? Seaweed farms could revolutionise the world. 2% of the world’s oceans are nutrient rich enough for these farms. Nutrients wash down rivers and coastal erosion, and some come up from the ocean floors in ‘oceanic upwelling’ currents. Some rivers near farming regions dump too much fertilisers in the oceans which causes algal blooms and oceanic dead zones.Seaweed farming can soak this up and restore ocean health. A new vertical column method of 3D farming grows kelp and other seaweeds that are a rich source of vegetarian super-food in their own right! Seaweeds can form a whole variety of ice-creams, ‘salads’ or vegetables, sauces, and other food ingredients. But not only this, vertical farming is an ecosystem based approach. They also grow shellfish and oysters and even wild fish grow in amongst the kelp. It’s nothing less than a revolution that could feed the world! Watch this 15 minute TED talk about seaweed feeding the world.

            2% of the world’s oceans have abundant nutrients for growing seaweed, and according to the TED talk above, we would only need a small fraction of that to feed the world. But seaweed farming would not limit us to only seaweed and seafood! By no means! It could provide all the fertiliser our traditional land based farmers need. We would bring some biodigested seaweed onto land, get the salt out, and use it as fertiliser. Seaweed could bring our soils back to life. There is even a special seaweed that cows love and eliminates their methane burps! Methane burps are bad news, and cattle lose 15% of their growth to these energy losing burps. But a special seaweed cuts their burps by 99%, solving cattle’s infamous methane climate emissions, *and* helping the cows grow faster!

            Now here’s where it gets bizarre, and potentially planet-saving. Peer-reviewed work has been done imagining extending kelp farming out into the nutrient-poor open ocean. They first farm the nutrient rich waters. Then a previous season’s kelp is biodigested in big submersible bags to collect methane gas out the top, leaving the digested kelp nutrients behind. They then recycle those nutrients out in nutrient poor waters. They use slow drip feed hoses and ‘tea-bags’ that slowly fertilise the kelp, extending the kelp farms out into what was nutrient poor water, or ‘ocean desert’. This means that oceanic nutrient flows are no longer a limiting factor. We can recycle nutrients and grow kelp almost anywhere.

            What if we really went crazy and farmed about 9% of the world’s oceans this way?
            The paper below says it would give us:-

            * half a kilogram of seafood per person per day, to feed a world of 10 billion people!
            * all the biofuels and biogas we could need to replace fossil fuels and provide the ultimate backup to wind and solar power
            * remove ocean acidity
            * restore our atmosphere to 350ppm by 2085
            In other words, seaweed is a silver bullet to feed the world, save the oceans, and save us from climate change, all in this free PDF. “Negative carbon via Ocean Afforestation”. Just register, and download it for free.

          • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

            There’s a person on this property with a PhD in plankton and how it’s effected by global warming, so I’ll ask what he thinks of this.

    • Brian Tehan 4 years ago

      So just one small positive policy is all it takes to swing your vote? In my opinion, it’s well and truly outweighed by all the bad ones. Surely we’d be seeing a lot more of this if Labor or Labor and the Greens were in government?
      However, it’s good to see this one positive development after all the negativity from the coalition. You can be sure that there will be a number of members of the government trying to stop this going ahead.

      • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

        Who is going to oppose it when they don’t really need to offer much money to get it going? All they have done is offer a bit of cheap interest to show interest in the private sector doing the rowing. The SA government will look bad if they don’t pull their weight to make it happen with a PPA, or whatever they need to do, instead of their clumsy approach to buy gas generators. Whether the SA government merely threatened to buy gas generators, the Liberals approach is cheaper and better, and everybody knows it so they win this round, as well as coming out pretty well in the last round with the Snowy 2 announcement.

        • GregX 4 years ago

          All the LNP did was get their company tax bill through. They don’t want the solar tower project at all. If anything, you should be thanking NXT as it was their bargaining that did it. No mention if the Wellington Wind Farm was part of the same deal. I assume it was. It must have killed Josh Frydenberg to make these announcements.

        • Mike A 4 years ago

          They can’t win this round when they have been against renewables and this has been forced on them.
          The SA government should just do a BOOT tender including the Federal loans and then they will win on every front.

      • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

        BTW I’m a paid up Greens member.

    • Tom 4 years ago

      Re. Snowy 2:

      1) It’s going to consume energy – not actually produce any, and
      2) It’s never going to happen.

      It’s good that this molten salt solar thermal station looks like going ahead though – I’m not sure that this will be the “winning technology” in the long run, but good on them anyway.

      • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

        I think there will be winners at different levels of scale, as communities are different sizes and each needs some level of protection from broader outages. There also needs to be large storage somewhere, to help with low renewable energy across broad regions and for seasonal variations like needs for winter heating.

    • Mike Shackleton 4 years ago

      Snowy 2 isn’t an announcement. It’s a plan to investigate a concept. They are talking about a 4 year construction timeframe, but I can tell you, as an engineer who specialises in geology/geotechnics, tunneling and dam design that is an extremely optimistic scenario. That’s not taking into account the hydrological/environmental effects of removing the water from the Snowy and Murray river systems. The capacity of Snowy 2 could be deployed in 12 months, distributed over the national grid and paired with renewable generation.

      • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

        So do you think it’s a viable project? To me the timeframe for construction doesn’t seem like a big factor because I “assume” it’s for long term security of renewables, potentially backing up all the other smaller scale forms of storage like SA’s Solar Thermal project and grid/onsite battery systems. Is that how you see the role of Snowy 2?

        • Mike Shackleton 4 years ago

          Technically it may be viable but there are issues with projects like this – building tunnels capable of carrying water at high flows and pressures requires construction to very small tolerances/high quality, so invariably there will be mistakes made that hold up the delivery and impact upon the cost of the projects. There is always an element of geological uncertainty that you cannot investigate out of the project.

          I cannot see how it can win out over modular, factory fabricated systems with minimal on-site fabrication required. Systems that can continue to work even if one element is not working properly.

          Economically it would be feasible but you’d have to treat it like a Sydney Harbour Bridge or Snowy 1 investment – very long time frames, only achievable with Government assistance.

          • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

            Ok. My concern is batteries are needed at a small scale level to provide onsite security of power from broader outages from cyclones, storms and fires, though they may be toxic to the environment or take allot of energy relatively to manufacture. So this led me to think batteries are good for small scale and need to be nested in other medium scale storage for regions and then probably large scale storage for states or the country. Once the national discussion gets past the short term concern for air conditioning in summer, I imagined the longer term issue of having enough renewable energy in winter would emerge. I imagined that would be this project or a bunch of smaller similar projects. Otherwise what is going to back it all up?

  2. grantoz 4 years ago

    “technology neutral, non-ideological approach”? Oh, oh, my sides are hurting…

  3. Brunel 4 years ago

    Also consider the Liberal Party mantra:

    “It is ok for government to own assets (AusGrid, SYD airport, NBN) as long as it is a foreign government”.

    • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

      No one cares about paradoxes or contradictions in logic. It’s about achieving certain objectives. Pitching to a national discussion. Winning.

      • Brunel 4 years ago

        “Pitching to a national discussion. Winning.”


        • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

          Good governance comes about from aware citizens. As vested interests tend to be top down, evolurionary correction tends be bottom up. This website tends to foster discussion within a speacialist area and then further specialised into a green subculture. Change also needs to address populist and mainstream cultures. It might be a generalisation to refer to a national discussion though people on the street will likely have a different set of concerns, motivations and understanding of the problem. I tend to prefer populist reasons for any policy direction.

  4. Chris Fraser 4 years ago

    Just playing catch-up now. Abbott will sniping like crazy.

    • stalga 4 years ago

      I think they know now that they’ve pushed it too far.

  5. Malcolm M 4 years ago

    It was one of the LNP’s election promises to support a solar thermal power station near Port Augusta through the CEFC. Doubling renewable capacity in Australia is also one of the pre-election promises. Zenophon is doing nothing more than holding them to their word.

  6. Rod 4 years ago

    “confessional loan” LOL

  7. Ray Miller 4 years ago

    Crafty Malcolm, create an impasse of critical bills (to LNP) then do a deal to get the bill passed, but hidden in the deal are the toxic (to LNP) renewable projects.

  8. Ken Fabian 4 years ago

    The LNP’s appearance of a “technology neutral, non-ideological approach” really translates to their support for fossil fuels against growth of renewables requiring camouflage, thus we get, when under pressure, small gestures of support for renewables. Otherwise their technology partisan, ideological support for coal and gas would be subject to greater scrutiny and criticism by our Mainstream Media. Note that press gallery journalists could and should do scrutiny and criticism as standard procedure, but apparently not; fig-leafs are good enough, nothing to see here.

    Their support for the transition to climate stability adequate “low” missions remains low priority, their support for climate stability inadequate “lower” emissions fossil fuels for the future is high priority.

    • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

      We know the media is corrupt these days or certain publications. Thos people working there need jobs and have families and work in particular circumstances or boundaries or an organisational culture. I think we need to accept that. Even the ABC has been compromised. I figured I have to pay for a free thinking media service, so I got a subscription to the Guardian.

  9. Noel Wauchope 4 years ago

    There will indeed be sniping! Following the absolute debacle of the shonky South Australia Nuclear Fuel cycle Royal Commission, this one will rub salt into the nuclear zealots’ wound. They had singed out Port Augusta as the palce for nuclear power.

    • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

      “part of last minute negotiations with the Nick Xenophon Party to pass major tax cuts.”

    • Ray Miller 4 years ago

      Solar thermal is powered by free nuclear energy from the sun.

      • Noel Wauchope 4 years ago

        All the more reason why we don’t need super expensive, cumbersome, man-made white elephant nuclear power.

  10. Joe 4 years ago

    People, let us not get ahead of ourselves just yet with our Solar Thermal announcement. The Libs haven’t signed anything yet. talk is cheap and just remember Tony Abbott’s famous words about getting his signature before you can be 100% sure on anything he proposed. Big Mal will be under enormous pressure from The Big Fossil Fuellers and his own MP’s that have wet dreams about ‘The Clean Coal Revolution’ and their ‘Little Black Wonder Rock’. I’d love to see The Solar Thermal project get built but I will celebrate when the heliostats are beaming at that Tower !

  11. jim frank 4 years ago

    So much for the technology neutral approach to new energy. I find it amazing to be offering a $110 million loan for a proposal that hasn’t been costed. Wouldn’t the most prudent and free market approach be to have a reverse auction for x amount of generation & y amount of storage. Bidders could then bid for either generation or storage or both. I believe that this is the only way to discover what is in the market place and at what cost. Surely it is the responsibility of the government to deliver the best and most cost effective outcome. After all it is we the consumer that foots the bill.
    As for Solar Thermal with storage projects I doubt that they would win such an auction. The government should let the market decide. This loan proposal is nothing more than another piece of pork barrelling and not a very good one at that.

    • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

      There’s not unlimited flexibility of matching the generator to the storage. For example, the generator has to be able to fill the storage in a day. Solar storage has the same kind of limitations. As far as I understand, the advantage of this technology is there is a fair bit of storage provided reasonably cost effectively because it’s only molten salt, which also “sounds” environmentally friendly. I personally would like to see a diversity of technologies in the market, so we can have field research projects evaluating them.

  12. Ian 4 years ago

    This is not an expensive project and may be useful to try out this technology. Salt storage to give 8 hours of operation was the figure quoted previously by solar reserve for the Port Augusta Site. If that’s the case 800MWH of storage together with some of the other storage proposals is starting to look good.

    • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

      And Ms Zilbelman is giving us a warning to be mindful of our peak demands, moderate our desires and take care with the timing of our load. We’re aiming for sustainability and reliability. Some of us need to make a timely review of our own onsite infrastructure.

    • Mike A 4 years ago

      The advantage in all of the molten salt projects is the size of the storage that comes with them. Much better than wasting money on batteries that in order to be available for emergencies should be unused.
      The solar tower has some weaknesses so has a limited future but this is not big project and is a step in the right direction.

  13. Eclipse Now 4 years ago

    Port Augusta is 32.4 degrees south. Want to see how that translates into ‘reliable baseload energy’? Study Ivanpah! (35.5 N).

    Ivanpah cost $2.2 BILLION for 392 megawatts. That’s $5612 BILLION for a gigawatt.
    That’s comparable to a baseload nuke like the AP1000 built in the west. (But keep in mind that nuclear power is very expensive in the west, and places like China and South Korea have learned how not to let legislation cripple nuclear power as too expensive).

    But is Ivanpah reliable, or ‘baseload’ as they say in the industry. Sadly, not really. It uses gas, and lots of it! 59,739 MMBtu’s in June! That’s equivalent to 10,302 barrels of oil that month, just to run a 392 megawatt plant, or 31,000 barrels of oil equivalent energy to backup a GW of power.

    Now let’s look at next generation nuclear, as recommended by Dr James Hansen.
    Dr James Hansen is *the* climatologist that diagnosed our climate problem. Unfortunately, no one wants to listen to him about the solution. He says that believing in 100% RENEWABLES is like believing in the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. He’s aware of all the ‘studies’ that say we can do 100% renewables, but still thinks storage is ridiculously expensive and cannot do the job.

    He also says the world should build 115 reactors a year.
    On a reactors-to-GDP ratio the French *already* beat this build rate back in the 70’s under the Mesmer plan. 115 reactors a year should be easy for the world economy. France did it *faster* with older technology, and today’s nukes can be mass produced on an assembly line. Also, GenIV breeders are coming that can eat nuclear waste and covert a 100,000 year storage problem into 1000 years of clean energy for America and 500 years for the UK with today’s levels of nuclear waste. Read the free book that Dr James Hansen recommends, Prescription for the Planet, at the link below.
    But the best bit? The cost! Production line nukes have been projected at $1 Billion per GW! But say that’s overly optimistic: let’s double the cost of *production line nukes* to $2 BILLION per GW. That’s still well under half the price of Ivanpah, and yet they offer genuine baseload power without burning lots of gas to back it up.

    • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

      Great well let us know when the waste issue has been sorted by the GenIV breeders and we can discuss the costs again then. Additionally those costs need to get those figures down to the same levels for small scale installs because the biggest approaching problem is the cost of distribution not the cost of generation. You’ve also forgotten to factor in the fuel for the nukes. Really Australia has one of the most expansive grid/s with the lowest population density, so only small nukes suitable for communities will offer reliability and security in practice.

      • Eclipse Now 4 years ago

        Waste *has* been sorted. Once breeder reactors eat all the longer-lived actinides, there are easy answers for the final waste called fission products. They are so radioactive they burn themselves out in just 300 years. We can store them safely if we melt them down into ceramic blocks that are waterproof, so that a sudden water mains burst cannot spread radioactive material everywhere. We simply bury them in a bunker under the reactor park. 300 years later, your kids could play with it. We don’t tend to do it with today’s reactors because it is expensive, but once breeder reactors take over and extract another 90 times the energy *and money* out of the uranium we’ve *already mined*, the cost of vitrifying the waste into ceramic blocks is trivial. Here’s a 4 minute video that explains it all.

        • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

          EN I’m glad the technology is progressing. I’m a social worker with a couple other degrees focused upon human development and I think we need to take human error into account, that things can and do go wrong, so I’d be more comfortable if the technology continues to develop, and we revisit this in a few hundred years. There’s no rush because other technologies are cost effective now and there may be better more important applications for nukes later. At this stage, I think it’s safer and more sensible to explore solar and wind.

          • Eclipse Now 4 years ago

            The other technologies are *not* more cost effective now, that’s the point! Oh *sure*, we can all quote $ per kwh figures. But that’s a lie. Cost per kwh has to be *baseload*, or it’s not an honest cost per kwh, is it? It’s apples and oranges, baseload and unreliables, real workable solutions like France in the 1970’s, or believing in the Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny. Notice how renewables always rely on something else? What’s the final cost of all that “something else”? If it’s not the pumped hydro dam storage, its the whopping great continent wide HVDC grid. If it’s not the hydro dam AND the HVDC grid, it’s the over capacity from another interstate wind farm. If we point out that state has electricity customers in *that* state, it’s the biogas installation down the road, the other thing, and the other thing! Has all of this been costed against *real* weather scenarios and *real* demand profiles? Then renewables fans go and say something ridiculous like “we don’t need baseload because power drops off at night!” Except we’ll be charging electric cars at night if we want to get the most out of the grid and actually do something about weaning off oil! Sorry, but because hydro and geothermal are pretty much maxed out worldwide, nuclear is the *only* reliable clean electricity source that most nations can turn to, and many anti-nukes are turning around and becoming “Eco-modernists” like Stewart Brand, James Hansen, and Dr Barry Brooke amongst many others. Consider the following. Is the objective of climate change policy the installation of renewables or CO2 emissions reduction?

            Germany is seen as the world leader on climate action because it installed 95GW of renewables in just 16 years giving a total of 105GW. Yet German renewables produce just 30% of their electricity, most is provided by fossil fuels when wind and solar is not available.

            CO2 emissions have been reduced by just 20 million tonnes in 16 years to 306 million tonnes, giving a CO2 intensity of 473g/kWh, well short of the climate target of 100g/kWh.


            (In German however from the graphs for 2016 dividing 306 million tonnes of CO2 by 648TWh gives 473g/kWh.)

            Annual renewables subsidies are €25 billion giving German domestic electricity prices of €0.30/kWh.

            By contrast France installed 63GW of nuclear capacity in just 20 years replacing most of their fossil fuel capacity.

            French nuclear produces 75% of their electricity.

            French electricity CO2 intensity is just 73g/kWh or 6 times less than Germany.


            French domestic electricity prices are €0.16/kWh or half those of Germany.

            Yet another year of real world evidence continues to show that while renewables enjoy popular political support they do not significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

          • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

            EN I also have a trade as an electronics and communications technician and I’ve installed solar storage on my property and it provides baseload power better than any system you’ve described. There’s little cable losses because the power goes straight from the roof to my appliances. There’s relatively few periods of time the system accesses the grid to backup it’s inverters peak power and in winter I do rely upon half my electricity from the grid, though that’s merely because I’ve only installed 6 solar panels on my smallest building. The vast majority of my roof space is as yet not utilised. Regardless of what you claim nuclear or centralised electricity costs to generate, I basically don’t care, because there’s an inefficient grid and so many middle men, it’s clear to me I can DIY and it’s cheaper. Unfortunately EN, I’m beginning to get the impression your a vested interest with your talks of making money and I’m a vested interest with wanting my own power. Do all you can to make money out of people, though I for one am taking my destiny into my own hands.

          • Eclipse Now 4 years ago

            My vested interest is my children and (eventually) grandchildren inheriting a civilisation as stable as we can make it in these turbulent, climate chaos times. I’m completely happy for you to go off grid, but my point is that I’m an EcoModernist, a climate activist who wants answers to the tough questions about renewable energy and is with Dr James Hansen when we insist those answers have *not* been delivered. Domestic or suburban users of electricity is one category, but what about industry? What about cities that don’t get much sun during winter? Today’s nuclear power plants with passive safety that would *easily* have survived Fukushima’s power outages are the answer, and can be mass produced on a production line to bring the costs down, and don’t require magical belief in super-cheap super-batteries that just *don’t* exist yet! Read what Dr James Hansen wrote about renewables, and ask yourself why he would say such a thing?

            “Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

          • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

            I’m familiar with the gear used for residential, agricultural, commercial and smale scale industrial installs and it’s basically the same family of inverters. It’s already cost effective now and being done by my electrician, as allot of these places have demand tariffs to avoid. The other person you were speaking to, neroden is very knowledgeable with renewable costings and one of the most prolific commenters on allot of renewable sites, so you need to take their costings seriously. The installs I discussed are not off grid, they are hybrid, so there still needs to be a backup for the battery backup and I personally imagined that would be hydro.

      • Eclipse Now 4 years ago

        Also, humanitarian solar, it’s a complete fabrication that somehow nukes will require more distribution than wind and solar. Most of the 100% renewable plans I’ve seen involve HUGE HVDC lines stretching across the continent trying to catch the “wind that’s blowing and sun that’s shining somewhere…”, and get it all back to the consumers. Today’s nukes could plug into today’s grids. And fuel supply? Australia is the OPEC of uranium. We’ll make a stack of money! We can first sell overseas nations our uranium, THEN charge them to take their waste, THEN breed it in breeders like GE’s S-PRISM reactor and get centuries of energy out of their nuclear ‘waste’, THEN vitrify the final product and store it with the cost of doing so already paid multiple times over! It’s baseload, reliable, clean, affordable power. And once all nations are running on EV’s & Blue Crude (diesel from seawater, again generated by nukes), the mining of future uranium will not even require fossil fuels.

        • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

          I know. I’m one of the people who advocates against “HUGE HVDC lines stretching across the continent trying to catch the “wind that’s blowing and sun that’s shining somewhere…”

    • neroden 4 years ago

      Hansen is unfortunately a complete idiot when it comes to the economics of renewables. Not an expert on the topic and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Here in the real world, nuclear is simply unaffordable; we could build an equivalent amount of batteries more cheaply.

      Production line nukes will cost a minimum of $10 billion per GW. Guaranteed. Hopefully we’ll never waste that much money trying to find out. Look at the cost of actually-built nuclear reactors if you want to know how much it costs.

      Oh, and GenIV reactors generate extra-hot, unmanageable nuclear waste. Forget it. Nobody’s going to screw around with radioactive sodium again.

      Hansen’s being an idiot. He’s embarassing himself by going outside his field without doing the research.

      Batteries, meanwhile, are super cheap now and dropping in price at a spectacular rate. For $1 billion, I can get you a GW which can run for 4 hours, and I can have it built in 6 months. It’ll be cheaper next year.

      Ivanpah… is best described as a prototype. Look at the *second* solar thermal plant, Crescent Dunes, for numbers likely to be more typical. Photovoltaic and batteries is probably still cheaper though.

      • Eclipse Now 4 years ago

        It is GOOD that GenIV reactors generate ultra-hot waste, because as I just shared with another commenter, that means it burns out in just 300 years! I’ll repost in case you missed it. Once breeder reactors eat all the longer-lived actinides, there are easy answers for the final waste called fission products. They are so radioactive they burn themselves out in just 300 years. We can store them safely if we melt them down into ceramic blocks that are waterproof, so that a sudden water mains burst cannot spread radioactive material everywhere. We simply bury them in a bunker under the reactor park. 300 years later, your kids could play with it. We don’t tend to do it with today’s reactors because it is expensive, but once breeder reactors take over and extract another 90 times the energy *and money* out of the uranium we’ve *already mined*, the cost of vitrifying the waste into ceramic blocks is trivial. Here’s a 4 minute video that explains it all.

  14. Mike A 4 years ago

    This is the latest in solar with storage and even better is just around the corner! At last we are using world’s best tech.
    Sad that it had to come this way but at least it has.

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