Australian news, and some related international items

Coal does not bring down the cost of energy

Turnbull climate 2 faced How Malcolm Turnbull could ignore the facts and fund the myth of ‘clean’ coal, Guardian,   2 Feb 17  “…..  Turnbull said in his National Press Club speech on Wednesday that “it’s security and cost that matter most, not how you deliver it”.

But new coal technology is not cheaper than renewable energy.

The US Energy Information Agency recently compared the cost of energy from various types of coal power plants and renewable energy plants.

They found that ultra supercritical coal power plants were about twice as expensive to build per unit of energy, compared to wind farms, and almost 40% more expensive than solar farms. Then coal power stations have higher ongoing maintenance costs, as well as significant fuel costs, compared with the wind and solar where the fuel is free.

Dylan McConnell from the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne said if those costs were recovered through energy prices, that would push energy prices up.

Tennant Reed from the Australian Industry Group recently pointed outthat wholesale electricity prices that are currently worrying big energy consumers have been sitting at about $75 per MWh. But recent projections by the CSIRO suggest the ultra supercritical coal generators would produce electricity at a cost of about $80 per MWh.

“To build a coal plant with such costs, investors would need to expect wholesale prices to rise even above looming levels and stay there for decades,” Reed wrote.

Reed also pointed out that the $80 per MWh projection was optimistic, since it was assuming that the power plants were being used at about 80% of their capacity, which was much higher than was generally the case.

Meanwhile, new wind and solar will produce electricity at about $75-85/MWh today and that price will decrease in coming years.

Buckley says: “So renewables are already at grid parity or cheaper than new USC coal-fired power, they can be built more modularly and five times faster, they have 100% emissions reduction relative to the PR spin called ‘clean coal’, they conform to our Paris CO2 commitments and they are likely to get finance – unlike a new coal-fired power plant.”


February 3, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics

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