Farm­ers know wind, sun can­not cre­ate power 24/7

Countryman - - OPINION -

Hav­ing read of the Re­new­able En­ergy Summit in Peren­jori in Coun­try­man, I am sur­prised that a group of farm­ers whose very in­come is de­pen­dent on it can still be con­vinced that the pri­mary en­ergy re­sources of wind flow and sun­shine can, what­ever the mech­a­nism, be con­trolled to de­liver an elec­tric­ity sup­ply 24/7.

While it is clear that the district has an in­ad­e­quate trans­mis­sion sys­tem, they must look fur­ther afield for a pri­mary en­ergy re­source that will de­liver and the ev­i­dence is that wind and sun­shine has failed.

Farm­ers had 32V wind bat­tery sys­tems within my liv­ing mem­ory and fought bit­terly and paid to get rid of them.

I am pre­pared to bet, what’s more, that not one pre­sen­ter dif­fer­en­ti­ated be­tween this ac­tual pri­mary en­ergy and the struc­tures such as wind­mills, so­lar pan­els and the lat­est so­lar ther­mal through which it is de­liv­ered but pre­sented as re­new­able en­ergy, nor would they dis­cuss the ques­tion that if it’s all about emis­sions, why only talk about elec­tric­ity which ac­cord­ing to the CSIRO, rep­re­sents 35 per cent thereof, mean­ing there are 65 per cent of other emis­sion ar­eas from which Aus­tralia can meet its in­ter­na­tional com­mit­ments with­out in­creas­ing the price and re­duc­ing the re­li­a­bil­ity of elec­tric­ity sup­ply.

One such area iden­ti­fied is termed fugi­tive emis­sions at 8 per cent, which is pure CO2 that all nat­u­ral gas pro­duc­ers, with the ex­cep­tion of Gor­gon on Bar­row is­land, sep­a­rate from the gas as it comes out of a well and pump it straight into the at­mos­phere when they should be forced to fol­low the Gor­gon ex­am­ple and pump it back into the ground, thus re­duc­ing our com­mit­ment from 26 per cent to 18 per cent.

The La­bor Govern­ment just taxed them for it, which was passed on to con­sumers but the gas still went sky­wards.

The other pain­less op­tion is to con­vert all our mo­torised fuel con­sump­tion, ac­cred­ited with re­main­ing 18 per cent of emis­sions, to hy­dro­gen which iron­i­cally can be suc­cess­fully gen­er­ated on farm from the elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated from a big bank of so­lar pan­els as the elec­trol­y­sis of wa­ter process need not be de­pen­dent on a uni­form power sup­ply.

In 2003, as a Howard govern­ment min­is­ter, I con­ducted an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence in Broome named the Hy­dro­gen Econ­omy fo­cus­ing on the mas­sive tides of the re­gion as the pri­mary en­ergy re­source but the Greens did not at­tend, though the CSIRO de­vel­oped a hy­dro­gen fuel cell unit suit­able for 24/7 house­hold elec­tric­ity sup­ply.

Ex­ist­ing di­rect in­jec­tion en­gines can be con­verted for its use but elec­tric fuel cell cars are al­ready in pro­duc­tion and ma­jor strides have been made in stor­age and trans­port tech­nol­ogy, which only iden­ti­fies how badly the po­lit­i­cal classes and the me­dia have ad­dressed CO2.

Were space avail­able, I would also com­ment in de­tail about the 330kVA line to Three Springs which was the worst tech­nol­ogy de­ci­sion both eco­nom­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally that West­ern Power could have made.

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