Abbott hates wind.

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Re: Abbott hates wind.

Postby jimbo » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:50 pm

Gas is a great way to phase out coal for quite a few reasons but no one seems to be pushing for it. We have plenty of it and gas power stations can be throttled up and down easily when renewables come on tap. It's a win win for both

and as we know liquid fossil fuels are running out


That is very debatable. Peak oil was meant to be reached years ago and even with china booming demand can be met very easily. Reserves in the middle east are not even know as they don't bother exploring. Then there is Russia that has vast reserves waiting to be drilled and on top of that all the unconventional oil. Heck even Australia has 200+ billion barrels sitting in one location (coober Pedy) waiting to be drilled but will only happen when the price rises again.
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Re: Abbott hates wind.

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:23 pm

Indeed, there is more oil available if you are willing to pay the price, but who will want to drive with fossil fuels when petrol is $10/litre, and EV driving costs <5c/km? The stone age didnt end due to a shortage of stones, better technology was developed. The same applies to the age of oil. The energy required to extract oil from the tar sands in Canada is humungous, so EROEI is very unfavourable.

One problem with using gas as a bridge fuel for electricity, is that it costs too much, so many gas plants are sitting idle when the wind (which has zero fuel cost) is blowing. Export parity pricing means the age of cheap gas is over.
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Re: Abbott hates wind.

Postby jimbo » Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:38 pm

If you remove coal, gas will not be sitting idle. Using coal the way we do doesn't reduce emission due to not being able to throttle up and down well.
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Re: Abbott hates wind.

Postby Smurf1976 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:33 pm

The ability of coal-fired plant to follow load varies depending on the plant design and grade of coal used. But in broad terms, a modern (anything built in the past 30 years) plant can run down to around 30% of capacity quite easily, make that 40% for older plant.

So coal can follow load to the extent that we need it to at least in the medium term.

As for gas, the problem there is that we've committed to exporting most of what's available. If we want to use more gas to generate electricity then, based on current known reserves, coal seam gas from NSW is the only option we've got and that's not too popular with environmentalists.

If you look at various reports from AEMO then they tell the story pretty well. Gas-fired generation has peaked and we're likely to see an ongoing downtrend from here on with lower output from current plants and some closures as well. The future is thus coal + renewables, with gas playing a minor role at most (as it always used to in the eastern states).
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Re: Abbott hates wind.

Postby melmik » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:25 am

There seem to be some problems in the Qld gasfields with the govt taking multiple criminal legal actions against Linc Energy for pollution from their coal gasification(UCG) plant. And this is supposed to be a safer method of extraction than CSG.

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-1 ... on/6535098

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-0 ... la/6272450

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-1 ... ks/6323850

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-1 ... es/6322024

Linc have decommissioned the well, denied everything and are blaming nearby CSG operations as possible causes of the supposedly non-problems - pot calling kettle black?

Linc are also the owners of the potentially huge shale oil fields near Coober Pedy that Jimbo mentioned. Doubtful if that will get underway in thr near future. It is a mixed kerogen field, so much more cost to process into useable oil (offshore refining needed), plus it's very deep, plus Linc need big $$$ partners. Hopefully they will take a lot more care if it does proceed. But as Jimbo said, prices will have to move a lot for it to be viable. Some Kerogen extraction and processing can use more energy than is produced as a final product. Plus they need to get bulk water to a very dry area.

You have to hope the SA regulators will enforce very strict controls, especially given the depths and strata levels that will have to be drilled through. Does anyone know if that area sits on an artesian basin?
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Re: Abbott hates wind.

Postby Smurf1976 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:59 pm

Ah yes, oil shale.... The energy source of the future and always will be.

So many have tried and failed at this one that I seriously doubt it will ever happen on a significant scale as a source of liquid fuels.

Estonia leads the world in oil shale use at present, but they're just burning the raw shale in boilers to generate electricity. It's the same process as using coal, just with a different feedstock and the need to handle much larger quantities of ash. But they're not turning it into petrol or diesel, just running steam turbines with it.

There's a few places that have small scale operations producing liquid fuels but in general they're for research and development rather than commercial production as such. Everyone from Mobil through to the Tasmanian state government has looked at oil shale over the past 40 years and they all reached the same conclusion that it's not a goer.

They already mine oil shale in SA, it's a waste product that has to be removed in order to access the coal (open cut mine) at Leigh Creek and they've been mining there on a large scale since 1954. They dump the shale as waste, since even at zero cost (already mined) it's not commercially useful for anything. It causes some nuisance locally with accidental fires having occurred on various occasions.

Tasmania also had an oil shale industry in the past and the state has a very high grade, unique type of shale known as Tasmanite. That stopped decades ago as it just wasn't viable although they did produce actual liquid oil from it. The plant and mine as near Latrobe but it's long gone now. It wasn't even viable as a source of fuel for firing furnaces - there's a big cement works nearby but they rail in coal from the other end of the state (mined at Fingal) to run it. The Hydro looked at it 30 years ago as a possible source not of electricity but of petrol, diesel etc and reached the same conclusion - not viable.

Then there's the NSW industry that once existed - it went the same way as it did in Tas. Then there's the plant in Qld that operated a few years ago - gone now.

So overall, I seriously doubt that oil shale will ever be a major energy source other than in a few places like Estonia where, in the absence of other high grade fossil fuel deposits, it's useful as a source of electricity. The Narva power plants in Estonia produce most of that country's electricity, over 90%, but that's a unique situation globally.
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Re: Abbott hates wind.

Postby jimbo » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:21 am

You have to remember all these projects were back when oil was $25-$30 and yes at that price it's not viable. Shale in the USA is economic around the $60 mark and up. People have no problems paying for oil products at $100+. Have a look at U.S. oil production in the last 5 years, most of it is shale. I'm not saying it's what we need or want but it's there. On top of all this we are starting to drill some very deep wells accessing conventional oil. The tech that comes from oil and gas is amazing. Fairly sure they reach 10km depth now.
The Arabs are flooding the market with cheap oil. I think it costs some of them $6 to extract. The flow rates of some of their wells is rediculous.
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Re: Abbott hates wind.

Postby Smurf1976 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:05 pm

Shale oil = oil that flows from the ground as a liquid after hydraulic fracturing. It's oil as such, it's just trapped fairly tightly underground so requires the fracturing to allow it to flow. That's what they're doing lots of in the US.

Oil shale = hard rock that is mined by conventional mining and processed in a factory to get some liquid oil out of it. There's no actual oil to start with, just kerogen, but with processing oil as we know it can be obtained. The processing produces solid waste which expands in volume such that the volume of waste rock is greater than the volume of shale mined (the mass decreases, but volume expands as it becomes less dense). This is what any Australian oil shale industry would involve, including the past activities in Tas, NSW and Qld.

What they're doing in Estonia is just mining the shale, crushing and burning it in conventional boilers to run steam turbines. That's the same process as a coal-fired power station with the only real difference being with the fuel used.
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