Australian Bushfires

Discussion of current events
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lzzrdgrrl
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Re: Australian Bushfires

Post by lzzrdgrrl » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:25 pm

There’s only one way to make bushfires less powerful: take out the stuff that burns
As former fire chiefs recently pointed out, of all factors driving a fire’s severity – temperature, wind speed, topography, fuel moisture and fuel load – fuel load is the only one humans can influence.
https://theconversation.com/theres-only ... rns-129323

"Fuel load" is an important term. Watch for it:

https://science.howstuffworks.com/natur ... dfire1.htm
I have a certain notoriety among the lesser gods........

neverfail
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Re: Australian Bushfires

Post by neverfail » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:20 pm

cassowary wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:30 pm
According to Wiki, Australia managed to hit the mandatory renewables target of 23% of electricity production even though renewables account for only 6.2% of total energy usage.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewab ... _Australia.
From your own supplied link:

Australia produced 378.7 PJ of overall renewable energy (including renewable electricity) in 2018 which accounted for 6.2% of Australia's total energy use (6,146 PJ).[2] Renewable energy grew by an annual average of 3.2% in the ten years between 2007-2017 and by 5.2% between 2016-2017. This contrasts to growth in coal (-1.9%), oil (1.7%) and gas (2.9%)
cassowary wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:30 pm
I suspect that at least part of the reason electricity is more expensive is because of the mandatory target since renewables are more expensive than fossil fuels.
You would suspect because that is what you want to believe. Well unlike you Cass I do my homework on this:
Rising coal and gas costs push Australia electricity prices to record highs

Electricity prices across much of Australia’s main grid rose to record highs in the first quarter of 2019, the Australian Energy Market Operator notes in its latest quarterly report, and it puts the blame on the record heatwave, rising coal and gas costs, and the rising cost of hydro power because of the drought.

(SNIP)

The cause of this? Not renewables, says AEMO. In fact, it notes, demand – and presumably prices – would have been significantly higher were it not for the growing penetration of rooftop solar which reduced peaks and operational demand.
There you have it Cassowary. Rising fossil fuel prices compared to falling solar panel costs are pushing coal especially out of our market as a source of electric power. Market forces at work.

(Consider too the plan to build a huge solar farm to supply electric power to Singapore. If solar power were not cost competitive, not even for our domestic market but for an overseas export market, do you believe that investors would outlay so much risk capital for an enterprise like that?)

neverfail
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Re: Australian Bushfires

Post by neverfail » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:29 pm

lzzrdgrrl wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:25 pm
There’s only one way to make bushfires less powerful: take out the stuff that burns
As former fire chiefs recently pointed out, of all factors driving a fire’s severity – temperature, wind speed, topography, fuel moisture and fuel load – fuel load is the only one humans can influence.
https://theconversation.com/theres-only ... rns-129323

"Fuel load" is an important term. Watch for it:

https://science.howstuffworks.com/natur ... dfire1.htm
Both valid points Izz. It is just a pity that:

1. The area of forest, woodland and bushland that needs attending to is enormous and

2. Calls on government funds are many and competitive. In interim years when there is little in the way of summer bushfires governments, forgetting the lessons learned from the last big bushfire season, omit to provide sufficient funds for tasks like fuel load removal in order to spend public money on whatever at the time seems like more pressing spending priorities.

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cassowary
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Re: Australian Bushfires

Post by cassowary » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:05 am

neverfail wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:20 pm
cassowary wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:30 pm
According to Wiki, Australia managed to hit the mandatory renewables target of 23% of electricity production even though renewables account for only 6.2% of total energy usage.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewab ... _Australia.
From your own supplied link:

Australia produced 378.7 PJ of overall renewable energy (including renewable electricity) in 2018 which accounted for 6.2% of Australia's total energy use (6,146 PJ).[2] Renewable energy grew by an annual average of 3.2% in the ten years between 2007-2017 and by 5.2% between 2016-2017. This contrasts to growth in coal (-1.9%), oil (1.7%) and gas (2.9%)
cassowary wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:30 pm
I suspect that at least part of the reason electricity is more expensive is because of the mandatory target since renewables are more expensive than fossil fuels.
You would suspect because that is what you want to believe. Well unlike you Cass I do my homework on this:
Rising coal and gas costs push Australia electricity prices to record highs

Electricity prices across much of Australia’s main grid rose to record highs in the first quarter of 2019, the Australian Energy Market Operator notes in its latest quarterly report, and it puts the blame on the record heatwave, rising coal and gas costs, and the rising cost of hydro power because of the drought.

(SNIP)

The cause of this? Not renewables, says AEMO. In fact, it notes, demand – and presumably prices – would have been significantly higher were it not for the growing penetration of rooftop solar which reduced peaks and operational demand.
There you have it Cassowary. Rising fossil fuel prices compared to falling solar panel costs are pushing coal especially out of our market as a source of electric power. Market forces at work.

(Consider too the plan to build a huge solar farm to supply electric power to Singapore. If solar power were not cost competitive, not even for our domestic market but for an overseas export market, do you believe that investors would outlay so much risk capital for an enterprise like that?)
You could be right Neverfail. Renewables have been falling in price. But from reading the following article, things are not so simple.

https://www.google.com.sg/amp/amp.abc.n ... e/11495558.

It seems very complicated. So it’s best to let the market decide. This means let the private companies risk their capital to provide energy from different sources and see who wins.
The Imp :D

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cassowary
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Are environmentalists to blame for the brush fires?

Post by cassowary » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:12 am

https://amgreatness.com/2020/01/14/envi ... te-change/

Sorry I can’t do a good job with my handphone. Travelling now.
The Imp :D

neverfail
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Re: Australian Bushfires

Post by neverfail » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:57 pm

cassowary wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:05 am

You could be right Neverfail. Renewables have been falling in price. But from reading the following article, things are not so simple.

https://www.google.com.sg/amp/amp.abc.n ... e/11495558.

It seems very complicated. So it’s best to let the market decide. This means let the private companies risk their capital to provide energy from different sources and see who wins.
Thanks Cass. You are right in observing that it is "complicated". That is what makes energy policy down here such a vexing issue.

From your provided link:
Elsewhere in the Finkel Review, it was estimated that the average cost of capital for new coal — that is the average interest rate at which a coal first plant could be financed — would be more than double the capital cost of renewable projects: 14.9 per cent, compared to 7.1 per cent.
Until I read it just now, I was unaware that banks and other money lending agencies charge a much higher interest rate premium on new coal fired power stations than they do on renewable projects capable of generating an equivalent number of KWH of electricity. That in itself would act as a deterrent to the construction of new coal fired thermal power stations (recalling my own past experiences of how even a small difference in the percentage can hake a huge difference in the fortunes of the borrower.).

neverfail
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Re: the market decides - how solar makes a difference.

Post by neverfail » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:20 pm

Friends of my wife installed solar panels on their roof less than a year ago. She told me that their electric power bill for the most recent quarter (year) was just one dollar.

(That was not even a US dollar but one Australian dollar - which fetches just US$0.79 at the current exchange rate.)

By contrast, we who do not have solar panels were served a quarterly bill of several hundred dollars - and we are not profligate users of electric power.

How it works is that in daytime when the solar cells are working and household use of electric power is low, the grid draws in that surplus energy from rooftop panels and the energy supply firm pays the householder for that auxiliary supply. Of course they do not pay in cash but in the form of credits.

When nighttime comes and the solar panels are dormant the same householders then draw power from the grid paying for it with those accumulated credits from daytime.

In the case of my wife's friends it would appear that their daytime contributions of power to the grid matched or possibly exceeded their draw-down of power from the grid during nighttime.

That $1 charge was likely a silly administrative cost charged by the energy company for doing the paperwork involved.

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Doc
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Re: the market decides - how solar makes a difference.

Post by Doc » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:02 pm

neverfail wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:20 pm
Friends of my wife installed solar panels on their roof less than a year ago. She told me that their electric power bill for the most recent quarter (year) was just one dollar.

(That was not even a US dollar but one Australian dollar - which fetches just US$0.79 at the current exchange rate.)

By contrast, we who do not have solar panels were served a quarterly bill of several hundred dollars - and we are not profligate users of electric power.

How it works is that in daytime when the solar cells are working and household use of electric power is low, the grid draws in that surplus energy from rooftop panels and the energy supply firm pays the householder for that auxiliary supply. Of course they do not pay in cash but in the form of credits.

When nighttime comes and the solar panels are dormant the same householders then draw power from the grid paying for it with those accumulated credits from daytime.

In the case of my wife's friends it would appear that their daytime contributions of power to the grid matched or possibly exceeded their draw-down of power from the grid during nighttime.

That $1 charge was likely a silly administrative cost charged by the energy company for doing the paperwork involved.
Last time I checked a typical solar panel installation for a home in the US costs around $20,000 You say your neighbors saved several hundred dollar per year. The panels need to be replaced every 30 to 35 years. That would mean if, for example, they saved $500 per year they would be losing money without counting the interest and maintenance on the system(The batteries are expensive to replace.SO are roofs under solar panels) If they invested the money instead they could on average expect to get back, at the end of 36 years, $80,000 for their initial investment of $20k
“"I fancied myself as some kind of god....It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.” -- George Soros

neverfail
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Re: the market decides - how solar makes a difference.

Post by neverfail » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:58 pm

Doc wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:02 pm


Last time I checked a typical solar panel installation for a home in the US costs around $20,000 You say your neighbors saved several hundred dollar per year. The panels need to be replaced every 30 to 35 years. That would mean if, for example, they saved $500 per year they would be losing money without counting the interest and maintenance on the system(The batteries are expensive to replace.SO are roofs under solar panels) If they invested the money instead they could on average expect to get back, at the end of 36 years, $80,000 for their initial investment of $20k
(Bear in mind that all prices quoted below are in Australian dollars.)

CHOICE is a NGO out here whose mission is to guide consumers by testing and assessing the worth of all kinds of goods (and some services) on sale here in Australia and publishing their findings. They have such a well deserved reputation for integrity that I can rely on their assessment of the worth of solar panels (below) absolutely.
https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvem ... incentives

How much do solar panels cost?

The average price across Australian capital cities for a 5kW system is $5100, and solar technology is only getting cheaper.

How much money will I save using solar power?

It takes anywhere from two to seven years for a solar system to pay for itself – after that is when you can start counting the savings.

Payback times vary depending on where you live in Australia.
According to the attached map for our east coast cities it takes an average of about 4 years to pay off the solar panels and this seems to be about average for this country as a whole.

Our friends estimate that they will have paid theirs off in about 2 years.

Probably they do not have (or need) storage batteries as at night they can draw energy from the grid - against the credits accumulated during daylight hours.

I don't see why rooftop solar panels should be so expensive in the United States (unless as a consequence of Trump having slapped some of his legendary high tariffs on imported solar panels from China). ;)

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Doc
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Re: the market decides - how solar makes a difference.

Post by Doc » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:27 pm

neverfail wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:58 pm
Doc wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:02 pm


Last time I checked a typical solar panel installation for a home in the US costs around $20,000 You say your neighbors saved several hundred dollar per year. The panels need to be replaced every 30 to 35 years. That would mean if, for example, they saved $500 per year they would be losing money without counting the interest and maintenance on the system(The batteries are expensive to replace.SO are roofs under solar panels) If they invested the money instead they could on average expect to get back, at the end of 36 years, $80,000 for their initial investment of $20k
(Bear in mind that all prices quoted below are in Australian dollars.)

CHOICE is a NGO out here whose mission is to guide consumers by testing and assessing the worth of all kinds of goods (and some services) on sale here in Australia and publishing their findings. They have such a well deserved reputation for integrity that I can rely on their assessment of the worth of solar panels (below) absolutely.
https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvem ... incentives

How much do solar panels cost?

The average price across Australian capital cities for a 5kW system is $5100, and solar technology is only getting cheaper.

How much money will I save using solar power?

It takes anywhere from two to seven years for a solar system to pay for itself – after that is when you can start counting the savings.

Payback times vary depending on where you live in Australia.
According to the attached map for our east coast cities it takes an average of about 4 years to pay off the solar panels and this seems to be about average for this country as a whole.

Our friends estimate that they will have paid theirs off in about 2 years.

Probably they do not have (or need) storage batteries as at night they can draw energy from the grid - against the credits accumulated during daylight hours.

I don't see why rooftop solar panels should be so expensive in the United States (unless as a consequence of Trump having slapped some of his legendary high tariffs on imported solar panels from China). ;)
Government tax breaks have traditionally driven sales of solar systems in the US. They have gotten cheaper as the technology has advanced. According to Advanced Materials the way to get them really cheap is to build a $100 billion dollar semiconductor fab. No one wants to risk that much money on a technology that might be made obsolete over night.
“"I fancied myself as some kind of god....It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.” -- George Soros

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