Hot air and OBP's

Subject: Hot air and OBP's
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 13:28:24 +1000
On Sat, Sep 09, 2006 at 11:46:27AM +1000, Greg wrote:
> The only reason that the widespread use of solar power is 15 years away 
> (according to 
> the experts interviewed on Catalyst ABC TV) is that it is presently more 
> costly.  What 
> price the planet?  The solar industry should be subsidised to whatever extent 
> is 
> necessary to replace the existing polluting coal-fired power stations.

If we coopted the entire 2006 global production of photovoltaic panels
and installed them around Sydney my arithmetic reckons they would not
meet Sydney's electicity requirements even when the sun was out.

They'd come close though which is impressive.  There has been very strong
growth in PV panel production over more than a decade  and this growth is
expected to continue.  One factor being, globally, there is considerable
government subsidy of PV development and generation.  There is a piece
on PV's long term prospects by my UNSW colleague Martin Green here:

In the longer term I reckon Australia should be looking at nuclear+solar.
Currently I reckon efficiency/conservation, land-use changes and wind
in favourable sites are the go.

Off-grid domestic users of PV electricity usually employ very
energy-efficient appliances.  These could also be used in on-grid houses
and such conservation measure are probably the cheapest way to reduce
Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

Another economically attractive option for reducing Australia's GHG
emissions is stopping land-clearing - and its surely get the support of
birds if they could vote.  Another land-use change that seems like it
a low cost option for reducing GHGs is  planting native plantations on
cleared land.

Two side points.  I can't see PV panels reducing the need for power lines.
If anything the irregularity in generation increases the need for ties
to other generators.  And our neighbours putting another log on the fire
aren't contributing to GHG emissions, its not fossil carbon they are
releasing, unless they are unsustainably harvesting firewood effectively
producing a landuse change (and other impacts).


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