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

Who is Online

We have 28 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

Turkey

 

 

 

 

In August 2019 we returned to Turkey, after fourteen years, for a more encompassing holiday in the part that's variously called Western Asia or the Middle East.  There were iconic tourist places we had not seen so with a combination of flights and a rental car we hopped about the map in this very large country. 

We began, as one does, in Istanbul. 

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

On The Secret

There is an obvious sub-text to my short story: The Secret, that I wrote in 2015 after a trip to Russia. Silly things, we might come to believe in, like 'the law of attraction' are not harmless. 

The story is also a reflection on the difference between American and Australian stereotypes, that were evident from conversations on the cruise.

I lived in New York for some time and my eldest daughter was born there. I have visited the US fairly regularly since. It is, in many ways, the closest country to Australia that you will find, outside New Zealand.  So, I have often been surprised by how different it is in other ways to Australia, given the great similarities in the median standard of living, shared popular culture and immigrant demographics.

I have come to the conclusion that this stems from our different founding origins.

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

The demise of books and newspapers

 

 

Most commentators expect that traditional print media will be replaced in the very near future by electronic devices similar to the Kindle, pads and phones.  Some believe, as a consequence, that the very utility of traditional books and media will change irrevocably as our ability to appreciate them changes.  At least one of them is profoundly unsettled by this prospect; that he argues is already under way. 

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright