* take nothing for granted    
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2021

Who is Online

We have 96 guests and no members online

Article Index

Existing Electricity Infrastructure in NSW

Large conventional coal fired power stations represent 65% of NSW electricity generation capacity; hydro electricity 22%; gas 11%; (including natural gas, coal-seam gas and landfill and sewerage methane).  Other sources, including wind and solar, presently represent less than 2% of installed capacity, although some quite large wind installations are planned/ proposed, the largest being a proposed 1,000MW wind farm near Silverton to cost $2.5 billion.

The actual electricity generated (and delivered) by a given installed capacity differs significantly from one technology to the next. For example conventional coal has a high ‘base load’ capacity utilisation and provides about three quarters of the electricity produced. Intermittent solar and wind capacities need to be divided by as much as 5 to be comparable with other technologies that are continuously available.

A number of the new projects (blue shaded below) are still highly speculative and/or face challenges to financial backing; engineering and grid connection hurdles; and/or local environment/planning/land ownership issues.

There are already around a hundred and sixty feed-in generators in operation in NSW (as set out below) and more than a hundred new generators planned or announced (prior to the recently announced chances to the feed in tariff):

Technology

Locations

Capacity (MW)

%

Planned

Capacity (MW)

Large conventional coal (over 20MW)

8

  12,600

64.7%

6

  6,400

Hydro

17

  4,300

22.1%

27

53.7

Natural Gas

10

  2,033

10.4%

18

  5,649

Coal-seam gas

4

110

0.6%

Landfill and sewerage methane

12

  71

0.4%

Wind

10

149

0.8%

33

  2,891

Biomass (agricultural waste)

38

130

0.7%

13

  173

Distillate

1

  50

0.3%

2

  240

Solar

55

  29

0.1%

11

  120

Geothermal

 

 

 

1

  20

Except for hydro, solar and wind, all of these directly produce CO2.  But those burning methane are disposing of an even more greenhouse active gas and have a positive impact on climate change reduction.  They generally qualify as ‘green technologies’.

Solar and wind are presently exceedingly capital intensive per GWh produced due to their intermittent nature and low utilisation. There is potential for new photo-voltaic technologies (eg on glass or plastic) to lower these costs but such technologies are not yet commercial.  As this capital equipment is very substantially imported, the CO2 produced as a result of manufacturing is released overseas.  But wind, in particular, is responsible for quite significant local CO2 release due to very high transport and installation costs (including the construction of extensive concrete foundations) and ongoing maintenance.

Simply to keep up with growth (and without replacing antiquated plant) NSW needs to add around an additional 500MW of generation per year.  Several of the existing alternatives to coal (hydro, landfill etc) are based on limited resources. It can be seen from the above table that the principal technologies expected to make a significant and immediate contribution, in the quantum required to accommodate growth, are conventional coal fired power and gas (from various sources).

 

 Life cycle CO2 emissions for electricity

 

In practical terms, and notwithstanding climate change or the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, the short and medium prospect is for a significant increase in CO2 production in NSW due to electricity generation.

 

 


    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item


Travel

Cuba

 

 

 

What can I say about Cuba? 

In the late ‘70s I lived on the boundary of Paddington in Sydney and walked to and from work in the city.  Between my home and work there was an area of terrace housing in Darlinghurst that had been resumed by the State for the construction of a road tunnel and traffic interchanges.  Squatters had moved into some of the ‘DMR affected’ houses.  Most of these were young people, students, rock bands and radically unemployed alternative culture advocates; hippies. 

Those houses in this socially vibrant area that were not condemned by the road building were rented to people who were happy with these neighbours: artists; writers; musicians; even some younger professionals; and a number were brothels.  

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

The new James Bond

 

 

It was raining in the mountains on Easter Saturday.

We'd decided to take a couple of days break in the Blue Mountains and do some walking. But on Saturday it poured.  In the morning we walked two kilometres from Katoomba to more up-market and trendy Leura for morning coffee and got very wet.

After a train journey to Mount Victoria and back to dry out and then lunch in the Irish Pub, with a Cider and Guinness, we decided against another soaking and explored the Katoomba antique stores and bookshops instead.  In one I found and bought an unread James Bond book.  But not by the real Ian Fleming. 

Ian Fleming died in 1964 at the young age of fifty-six and I'd read all his so I knew 'Devil May Care' was new.  This one is by Sebastian Faulks, known for his novel Birdsong, 'writing as Ian Fleming' in 2008.

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

Luther - Father of the Modern World?

 

 

 

 

To celebrate or perhaps just to mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his '95 theses' to a church door in Wittenberg and set in motion the Protestant Revolution, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has been running a number of programs discussing the legacy of this complex man featuring leading thinkers and historians in the field. 

Much of the ABC debate has centred on Luther's impact on the modern world.  Was he responsible for today or might the world still be stuck in the 'middle ages' with each generation doing more or less what the previous one did, largely within the same medieval social structures?  In that case could those inhabitants, obviously not us, still live in a world of less than a billion people, most of them working the land as their great grandparents had done, protected and governed by an hereditary aristocracy, their mundane lives punctuated only by variations in the weather and occasional wars between those princes?

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright