In Europe and the United States, large-scale, concentrating solar thermal power plants generate baseload electricity 24 hours a day, every day.
Concentrated Solar Thermal plants generate power day and night The sun doesn’t shine at night, the wind energy doesn’t always blow. So John Coochey (Letters, August 17) jumps to the obvious, but wrong conclusion that these sources of energy can’t provide baseload electricity. Mirrors focus energy from the sun on to a vessel containing salt.
The salt is heated to 600 degrees Celsius during the day and the molten salt stores the heat through the night. This heat is used to produce steam, which drives conventional turbines to produce electricity.
The Melbourne-based research group, Beyond Zero Emissions, shows in a report how this technology could form the basis of a new electricity-generating system to meet Australia’s future needs. BZE’s plan includes wind and biomass, and could be broadened to use tidal and geothermal sources.
New generating stations and transmission lines are expensive. But the days of cheap electricity from fossil fuels are over. Oil is already in short supply. When costs and risks associated with climate change are factored in, renewables are the safe and sensible solution.
Worldwide, new investment in electrical power generation from renewables now exceeds that from fossil fuels, according to United Nations figures.
With abundant renewable energy sources, Australia has an unparalleled opportunity to invest in technically proven and commercially available options as the basis of our future energy security.
David Teather, Reid Energy costs Tim Colebatch (August 16) complained about ignorant persons inventing facts and Robert Adams (August 19) in declaring his view on what the facts were, seemed to demonstrate his own ignorance. All Adams’s figures are based on photovoltaic technology when Colebatch’s figures were around solar thermal technology – the latter generates power more cheaply and with better storage options.
While there are utilisation issues with solar, but not so large as some claim, Adams has ignored the ongoing fuel costs associated with conventional generation when there are none for solar.
While I have not divined how Adams calculated that the cost of solar as 8860per cent higher (that’s 88 times higher), personal experience and the reasonable assumption that the figures of an expert in the area like Professor Andrew Blaker (August 16, 19) are correct all indicate that Adams’s costing is wrong.
The facts are that the total cost of solar, without any carbon tax, is now not that much more than conventional power. It was maybe eight or 10 times higher and now it’s maybe not even two times higher. In some cases in our remote regions I understand that solar is now cheaper. Trevor McPherson, Aranda Scaremongering Tony Abbott is certainly running a negative agenda against the Government, that is usually the way when in Opposition. Of course, he would not be so successful if this incompetent Government did not provide him with a seemingly endless supply of ammunition.
However, to accuse Abbott of scaremongering on the carbon tax and not level the same criticism at Julia Gillard is a bit rich.
According to the Prime Minister, without the Greens’carbon tax, rising temperatures will cause the seas to rise and drown us, we will not be able to feed ourselves, our cities will run out of water, bushfires will rage unabated, we will be ostracised by the rest of the world, the Barrier Reef will disappear and our kids will never know a clean environment. It is very instructive to note that the one question the Prime Minister carefully refuses to answer is "What effect will the carbon tax have on the temperature of the planet to cause this mayhem?"
Thankfully Professor Richard Lindzen, pre-eminent atmospheric physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was more forthcoming. Recently he said Australia could virtually shut down and there would be no measurable effect on global temperatures. H. Ronald Jerrabomberra, NSW False declarations I am appalled at the revelation that as many as 20,000 Canberra motorists caught speeding have avoided the penalty by what surely amounts to criminal behaviour, ie making a false statutory declaration ("20,000 speeding ACT drivers pull fast one by shifting blame", August 22, p1).
Readers will recall that it wasn’t long ago that a judge in NSW was jailed for this sort of behaviour. What the report does not say is how long this ruse has been going on, and why the RTA hasn’t given vent to the situation earlier or if it did then why the responsible minister didn’t act.
While it is pleasing to see that Attorney-General Simon Corbell is now proposing to make changes to the legislation, it appears that the changes really won’t stop the statutory declaration racket. What is needed is a clear- cut law which makes a vehicle owner totally responsible for the behaviour of the driver. If a vehicle is being driven by a person other than the registered owner, then it is being driven either with the owner’s consent, or it has been stolen. In the former situation it is up to the owner to settle any breach of the road rules with the driver; in the latter the vehicle must have been reported to police as stolen to exonerate the owner.