Warm and well fed, or hungry in the dark?

Vic Forbes asks, which is worse – gradual man-made global warming or sudden electricity blackout?

Vic Forbes asks, which is worse – gradual man-made global warming or sudden electricity blackout?

Alarmists try to scare us by claiming that man’s activities are causing global warming. Whether and when we may see new man-made warming is disputed and uncertain. If it does appear, the world will be slightly warmer, with more evaporation and rainfall; plants will grow better and colonise some areas currently too cold or too dry; fewer old people will die in winter and sea levels may continue the gradual rise we have seen since the end of the last ice age.

There may even be a bit more “green” in Greenland. There is no evidence that man’s production of carbon dioxide is causing more extreme weather events. Any change caused by man will be gradual and there will be plenty of time to adapt, as humans have always done. Most people will hardly notice it.

What is certain, however, is that global warming policies are greatly increasing the chances of electricity blackouts, and here the effects can be predicted confidently – they will be sudden and severe.

Localised short-term blackouts can be caused by cyclones, storms, fires, floods, accidents, equipment failure or overloading. People will cope with them. The more widespread blackouts, caused for example by network collapse or insufficient generating capacity, will have severe effects.

All modern human activities are heavily dependent on electricity. Blackouts will stop lifts, trains, traffic lights, tools, appliances, factories, mines, refineries, communications and pumps for fuel, water and sewerage. People will be trapped or stranded in trains, ports, airports, lifts, hotels, hospitals and traffic jams. ATM’s, credit cards and supermarket checkouts will not work. Cash, cheques, IOU’s and pocket calculators will be required to buy anything.

Immediately a blackout occurs, those with emergency generators, fuel or batteries will start using them. But within a very few days, batteries will run flat, emergency fuel supplies will be exhausted, food supplies will disappear from stores and pumped water will not be available. Intensive dairies, hatcheries, piggeries and feedlots will all face critical problems in keeping their animals alive and cared for.

If the blackout is extensive and prolonged, looting will infect the big cities and then spread to country areas. People who are old, sick, incapacitated or alone will be forgotten as able-bodied people focus on feeding and protecting their own.

The real threat to humanity today is not the theoretical dangers from gradual man-made global warming. A far bigger real danger is the growing threat to reliable electricity supplies from deep-green climate policies.

The most reliable electricity supplies come from coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, geothermal or oil. Misguided politicians and uncompromising nature are conspiring to ensure that few of these will be available to generate Australia’s future electricity.

The carbon tax and renewable energy targets threaten the financial viability of using coal, gas or oil to generate electricity. Banks and investors will not risk their capital on new carbon-powered stations dependent on an unstable and polarised political environment. And the declining profitability of existing stations under the carbon tax and mandated market sharing makes it risky and uneconomic to spend money maintaining existing aging stations.

The same green zealots who plot to destroy carbon energy will also work to prevent the construction of new nuclear or hydro plants in Australia. And Australia’s geothermal resources, being generally deep and remote, are unlikely to provide significant electricity for decades.

We are thus being forced to rely on fickle breezes and peek-a-boo sunbeams to generate expensive and intermittent electricity. And it will not be economic to continue building backup gas plants that are run below capacity or sit idle, earning insufficient income as they try to fill the unpredictable production gaps in the supply of green energy. The margin of supply safety will disappear.

Therefore, if we continue to allow green zealots to dictate our electricity generation, blackouts are inevitable. Britain and Germany already face this grim prospect.

All actions have consequences. We cannot continue pouring billions of dollars of community savings down the climate-change sink-hole, without starving our essential infrastructure. We cannot keep adding taxes and political risk to traditional electricity generators without reducing new investment in real base-load generating capacity. And we cannot keep adding unstable solar and wind elements to our electricity network without adding greatly to electricity costs and the risks of network failure.  

When the lights fail, and the supermarket shelves are cleaned out, we will return, at great cost and after much misery, to cheap reliable continuous electricity using coal, gas or nuclear fuels.

Gaia worshippers will find that “Earth Hour” will not be such fun when it becomes “Earth Week”.

Viv Forbes has no vested interest in electricity generation, except as a consumer. And he gets no funds from the government Climate Change Industry. He holds shares in a small Australian coal exploration company which will benefit by exporting coal if expensive unreliable electricity in Australia forces more power-using industries overseas.

The World-Wide Renewable Energy Scam

A.Semple energy

Andy Semple blows the whistle on the renewable energy debacle. The Greens led hysteria is turning to dust as the truth about costs is being exposed. A newly formed Australian "Citizens' Jury' has recommended that 'nuclear power stations in NSW is an issue that ''should not be dismissed''.'

Andy says, "no, we’re not making this up [the graph]. Read here and here for the facts.

If anyone besides the Government was involved in such a scam, it would be called organised crime."

Graphic by Steve Hunter, a freelance cartoonist and illustrator living in Buderim Queensland.

See "Andy's Rant" in the Blogroll.

Eventually We’ll Be Going Nuclear

Quote

Australia will have to consider a nuclear-powered future by the end of the decade if advances in renewable energy fail to provide clear options for cost-effective base load power, according to a new blueprint on Australia's energy future.

Launching a draft energy white paper today, Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said nuclear power was “always there as an option” for Australia if renewable energy options could not be commercialised.

…An estimated $240 billion worth of investment will be needed to meet Australia's 2030 energy needs, according to the white paper.

I have always maintained the position that if we’re going to spend money fighting an imaginary problem (CAGW) then let’s at least spend it on something that really works unlike useless renewables.

France derives over 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy. This is due to a long-standing policy based on energy security.

France Nuclear Map

If it works for France, it can work for us. We have the uranium and we have the desolate areas with the right geology to bury the nuclear waste. All we need is the political will.

Belleville plant

Belleville No 1 & 2 Nuclear Power Plant, France. Water vapour being expelled from the cooling tower.

 

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Nuclear is the cheapest low-carbon source of electricity around, so it can keep bills down and the lights on – Charles Hendry, the (UK) Energy Minister

Days after Germany announced it was going nuclear-free, Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, said the UK will build a new generation of power stations.

He said that the eight sites earmarked for new reactors will offer 5,000 jobs, as well as supplying a cheap form of low carbon electricity as coal-fired power stations close down.

"Nuclear is the cheapest low-carbon source of electricity around, so it can keep bills down and the lights on.”

 "The wider economic benefit cannot be over-emphasised – around 5,000 jobs could be on offer at each of the eight sites we listed as suitable for development, and as we develop a domestic supply chain, all parts of the country could gain from a nuclear resurgence."

"We are on the brink of the biggest nuclear renaissance since the 1950s.”

 "The 16 gigawatts of new nuclear generation planned by industry equates to investment of around £50 billion with the construction of each reactor delivering investment equivalent to that for the 2012 Olympics."

Yet Julia Gillard will sentence every Australian to a life term of unreliable renewable energy from Solar and Wind.

Instead of blowing $36 billion on the NBN, Gillard could have guaranteed all Australians cheap, reliable Carbon Dioxide free nuclear energy.

You know she isn’t serious in tackling so called “Dangerous Climate Change” when the obvious answer to replace “evil” coal fired power is nuclear.

 

Andy Semple

Follow him on twitter @Bulmkt

Nuclear power ‘cheaper option than offshore wind farms’

The UK Telegraph reports that Nuclear power should be favoured over plans to build thousands of offshore wind turbines.

The (UK) Committee on Climate Change said nuclear would be the most cost–effective way of providing low–carbon electricity into the 2020s, and called for about 14 new plants by the end of the next decade.

It would mean extending plans to build 12 reactors on seven sites by 2025.

The (UK) Government expects more than 3,600 turbines to be installed in British waters by 2020, providing a capacity of 13 gigawatts.

It said 40 per cent of electricity should eventually come from renewables and 40 per cent from nuclear.

 

At least the POM’s are ok with over one third of their future power coming from the ONLY Carbon Dioxide neutral base load source – Nuclear Power.

Yet both sides of politics dodge the hard question here in Australia. It is fanciful to think renewables such as Solar and Wind will be our saviour.

The choice is rather simple. Blow tens of Billions on useless renewables or bite the bullet and future proof the Australian economy with state-of-the-art 4th generation Nuclear Power plants (Fukushima was a 2nd generation plant built in the 1950’s and was due to be decommissioned 2 weeks after the Tsunami hit).

Or better still, instead of giving away $310 million for Digital Set-top boxes for Pensioners, use the money as the seed investment as R&D into Thorium reactors.

Andy Semple

Speak without fear and Question with Boldness

Let’s Rebuild Australia

Mark-SharmaUranium Trade with India would generate the capital needed to help rebuild Australia, writes Mark Sharma.

It is not exactly the kind of start that anyone would have expected for 2011. Bushfires in Western Australia and then Floods in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales have all but put a dampener to the festivities of the New Year. The death and devastation that these tsunami type floods have caused has hurt every Australian. It has touched all our hearts and millions more around the world. But Australia, they say, is a tough nation. This is a self made country; a nation that can be knocked to the ground but can never be defeated. The “never give up” Aussie spirit will overcome even the greatest of challenge that Mother Nature can throw at us.

Already thousands have taken to streets in Brisbane and elsewhere to clean up the mess that these killer floods have unleashed. Not to forget the generosity of millions of Australians. Within hours of first floods, thousands of people pledged money to the Premier’s Relief Fund in Queensland. Schools, Offices, Tradies, restaurants, corporate groups, sporting teams and hundreds of other professional bodies got together and raised money for this worthy cause. At last count, close to $65 million has been raised and this is expected to go up.

It was heartening to see that even smaller nations like Sri Lanka, Tonga and East Timor wanted to help in Australia’s hour of crisis. The Federal and Queensland State opposition should also be commended on their show of solidarity with the government at this crucial juncture.  The cleanup bill is expected to run in Billions of dollars and the effects of this devastation would stay with us for months and possibly years.

People in Sydney and some other parts of NSW can consider themselves lucky that they were not directly affected by the water like our brothers and sisters north of the border. But this National Crisis will eventually hit all of us. Apart from the extra spending on repairing infrastructure, it will also hurt grocery and petrol bills of every Australian family.

The nation is already under a mountain of debt and taking more debt is only going to worsen the situation. It is expected that all the gains that our Aussie dollar enjoyed against the greenback will fall spectacularly.

To sum it up, Australia is staring down the barrel of another financial crisis. Nobody is talking about it just yet but eventually it will be the most important issue. Already there is speculation that Reserve Bank will put up another interest rate anytime between now and next 3-4 moths.

In short, we need to generate more money and we need it now. Many experts believe that it is our mining Industry that will once again rescue us from another disaster. Yes, the same industry that Kevin Rudd wanted to kill with RSPT. But Australia can’t just rely on normal exports. We need to rethink our strategies and look for newer avenues.

Only recently, Prime Minister Gillard announced a nuclear deal with Russia and called it a “job creator”. It is widely expected that Labor party will finally get rid of its colonial thinking and embrace new realities by starting talks with India for a similar deal. Indian PM Manmohan Singh is expected to visit Australia later this year and Uranium exports is tipped to be on top of the agenda. India desperately needs Uranium to feed the energy demands of its over 1 billion strong population. Imagine if you had to stay without electricity for hours in 45.C sweltering heat?

Over 800 million Indians experience this every year for which Australia has the solution. It is expected that a Uranium deal with India can fetch as much as $1 Billion in extra cash over three years.

Already USA, France and Russia have signed major nuclear deals with India. In Australia, Coalition has strongly supported Uranium Exports to India. This is the right time for Prime Minister Gillard to show some leadership and agree on another “job creating” nuclear deal. She needs to pick up the phone and call her counterpart in New Delhi with the good news. A nuclear deal with India would be the right thing for the people of Australia, India and the planet.

It would provide electricity to millions of Indians, financial strength to the Australian nation and a cleaner planet for rest of the world. Is there anyone listening in Canberra?

Mark Sharma is an Independent Conservative politician who stood as a candidate in the electorate of Watson in NSW. He writes regularly for various Indian-Australian Newspapers and on his blog Voice of Strathfield

Nukes for Defence

Ralph-Buttigieg Nuclear submarines may solve our ongoing submarine woes, writes Ralph Buttigieg.


The Rudd Labor government has a complete ban on nuclear energy for Australia. However concerns over global warming have increased support for the nuclear option. After all, nuclear energy is the only emission free method of producing base load power. Tony Abbott believes it’s an option we need to seriously consider. Peter Cosgrove has come out in support and so has Labor Party stalwart Bob Carr. Yet there is another reason to support nuclear power – defence.

Now I'm not considering nuclear weapons here. The only time that would be an option would be if there was a nuclear arms race in the region and we should all pray that never happens. My concern is nuclear propulsion for the navy, especially for our submarines.
 
Our six Collins class subs are classified as guided-missile submarines (SSG) while most other conventional submarines are hunter-killer (SSK). Most SSKs patrol close to their bases or at most 1000 nautical miles away. Our boats are required to operate at greater distances. To reach the Persian Gulf or the Sea of Japan the Collins boats need to travel over 4500 nautical miles.
 
Therefore they are considerably bigger then other conventional submarines and uniquely designed for our usage. That brings its own problems. It makes them more expensive and less reliable than a more common design would be. Importantly they never did meet their original design specifications. They were originally specified with a submerged transit speed of 16 knots over 10,000 nautical miles. That was reduced to 10 knots over 9000 nautical miles as the technology just wasn't available. The lower transit speed reduces the time they can spend on patrol by nearly half.
 
The government is now considering a replacement for the Collins subs. One option is an improved version of the current Collins boats but they would still have the speed limitations issues. That's why an increase to twelve subs has been proposed. Considering we have enough difficulty finding crews for six subs how we would crew twelve remains an unanswered question. Another option is to improve their performance by adopting new technology such as high temperature superconductor motors and Li-ion batteries. Again that raises concerns over their ultimate cost and reliability.
 
None of these problems would arise if we had nuclear subs based on proven designs. They would have all the range and speed we would require. A local nuclear power industry would make maintaining nuclear subs easier but it’s not really required. For one thing there is no direct link between civilian reactors and submarine reactors. Their design is very different with subs using highly enriched fuel. Also refuelling is not a requirement as modern submarines need to be only fuelled once for their 20 year plus service life. The maintenance and operation issues could be addressed by requesting US help until we train our own people. That's what the UK did that when they constructed their nuclear fleet. However the government ban on things nuclear means nuclear subs can not be considered.
 
Labor's ban on nuclear reactors not only reduces our options to reduce CO2 emissions but it also reduces our options to properly defend our nation.
 
Readers are referred to Vital Sign by Abraham Gubler in Defense Technology International April 2008 for more information regarding the current non nuclear options.

Ralph Buttigieg's professional career has included a couple of decades in government and management, proprietor of a Science Fiction & Fantasy bookshop, a stint in direct marketing and now finds himself in the finance industry. He joined the Liberal Party in 2008 and considers himself one of those right  wing bogans who voted in John Howard in 1996.