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Mar 5, 2010

Our love affair with coal: hotter than ever

Forget renewable energy or gas: our states are embracing coal-fired power more enthusiastically than ever before.


Australia is set for a renaissance in coal-fired power, with up to 12 new coal-fired power stations planned across the country. According to information collated by Greenpeace, new coal-fired plants are under construction, planned or proposed in all states except Tasmania.

The plants include the Mt Piper and Bayswater 2GW plants in NSW, for which “concept approval” was announced this week by the NSW Government. The proponents of those projects, Delta Energy and Macquarie Generation, claim both plants will either be coal or gas-fired.  However, both are located next to existing coal-fired plants and need extensive gas infrastructure to either increase local supplies of gas or, in the case of Bayswater in the Hunter, connect to a proposed pipeline from Queensland.

The South Australian plants propose to use “coal to liquids” technology backed by Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, while Zero Gen has proposed a new power station in Queensland using a “world first integration” of gasification and Carbon Capture and Storage Technologies to reduce emissions. The Queensland Government is also overseeing the development of two power stations as part of a massive new coal mining development in Central Queensland. They too are proposed to use CCS technology.  The Blueswater 2 coal-fired station in Western Australia is already under construction.

Based on companies’ and state government’s own emissions figures, often based on unproved technology such as CCS, these stations will produce 39 Mt of CO2-equivalent emissions, which will increase Australia’s emissions by 7% on 2008 levels. Both the federal Government and the Opposition have committed to decreasing Australia’s emissions by 5% on 2000 levels.

In NSW, the ALP’s disastrous handling of electricity privatisation has undermined the potential for gas-fired power to provide a transitional or complementary power generation technology, according to industry figures. All sectors of the generation industry expect the NSW Government’s current privatisation process — the schedule for which blew out last month — to collapse, meaning they will need to wait until the election of Barry O’Farrell next March to gain a clearer idea of the state’s direction.

Garbis Simonian is managing director of the Queensland Hunter Gas Pipeline project, which has obtained approval to build a gas pipeline from Queensland into NSW. That’s the pipeline that Macquarie Generation says it would run off if it opted for gas-fired power at Bayswater, although it would need to build a 16km spur to reach it. Simonian told Crikey the lack of certainty around electricity privatisation, and the NSW Government’s unwillingness to support gas over coal despite its lower emissions and water-use profile, made locking in base load contracts for the pipeline much more difficult.

“Gas is ideal for shoulder and peak power generation, because you can shut it on and off, which you can’t do with coal,” Simonian said. “There’s no growth in baseload power. No one’s building more smelters and heavy manufacturing plants. All the growth is in shoulder and daytime consumption.  Gas can work with both coal and renewables because you can turn it on when renewables aren’t available, and you can replace your power generation infrastructure with more renewables over an extended period.” But that won’t happen while no one in the sector can tell financiers what the regulatory framework will be in five years, let alone prices and contracts.

The NSW Government is also pursuing the Owen Report’s call for new baseload generation in NSW despite subsequent downward revisions in energy consumption projections.

As Alcoa’s announcement this week that it will source its electricity from Loy Yang Power’s brown coal power station until 2036 shows Australia’s energy future is as closely tied to carbon-intensive coal as ever.

Project Name
Project description State
Size Estimated GHG emissions TCO2-e p.a.
Company & website
Proposed new coal (or gas) power station NSW 2000MW 10,470,000 Delta electricity
Bayswater Proposed new coal (or gas) power station NSW 2000MW 12,428,000 Macquarie Generation
Bluewaters2 Proposed new coal power station WA 208MW 1,300,000 Griffin Energy
Proposed new coal power station WA 208MW 1,300,000 Griffin Energy
Bluewaters4 Proposed new coal power station WA 208MW 1,300,000 Griffin Energy
Zero Gen Proposed new coal power station — with CCS. QLD 380MW
930,000 Zerogen (QLD Gov’t)
Galilee Phase 1 Proposed new coal power station and export coal mine. QLD 450MW 2,345,000 Galilee Power
Galilee Phase 2 Proposed new coal power station and export coal mine. QLD 450MW 2,345,000 Galilee Power
Wandoan Proposed new coal power station QLD 400MW (net) 643,000 Stanwell & GE
Arckaringa Coal to liquid plant with new coal power station SA 560MW
2,943,000 Altona Energy
Hybrid Energy Coal to liquid plant with new coal power station SA 40MW 196,000 Strike Energy/Hybrid Energy
HRL Proposed new brown coal power station — including a drying & gasification process. VIC 550MW
3,000,000 HRL


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44 thoughts on “Our love affair with coal: hotter than ever

  1. EnergyPedant

    Why is the new Bayswater plant supposed to be 20% more emissions than the Mt Piper?

    Those NSW plants are simply posturing to get some subsidy for the gas plants instead. No bank in the world would fund a coal station in Australia now, the risk of an ETS is too great. A coal plant has a 40+ year lifetime.

    HRL and ZeroGen won’t get built either. ZeroGen has already been through a half dozen incarnations with various partners pulling out. HRL can’t get high quality brown coal, which is an oxymoron anyway, but apparently coal quality and reliability is a big problem in the la trobe valley mines.

    Finally proposals are just that. They aren’t real. How many wind farms are proposed and approved in NSW (several thousand MWs)? How many have actually been built (a few hundred)?

    If you really care about emissions in a global sense, look at australia’s coal exports. We export 2-3 times as much coal as is used locally.

  2. Most Peculiar Mama

    Warren Buffett loves Big Coal too.

    Recently to the tune of US$44 BILLION (27% premium) for control of the US’s 2nd largest rail network, Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

    Berkshire Hathaways returns legacy speaks for itself.

    I prefer to back winners, Bernard.


    Shall we watch the CSG-LNG industry crush itself with oversupply and expensive projects or continue to progress ourselves on the world’s cheapest and most reliable energy source?

    Tough choice.

  3. Frank Campbell

    Precisely. Vast reserves of cheap coal. Long-term plans for expansion. Alcoa signed up for decades more filthy (in every sense) brown coal…what a surprise- they can’t use useless wind power…

    The government knows all this. CO2 emissions (as in wind-turbine infested Denmark) will keep on rising, well past the various Armageddon deadlines set by Prof. Kevin (!) Anderson ( humanity virtually extinct in 40 years), the Rev. Clive Calvin-Hamilton and Prince Charles of Jonestown Manor, Surrey.

    Nothing Australia does will affect global climate- not even zero CO2 emissions.

    There’s no need for paranoid conspiracy theories like those advanced by Clive Savonarola last week. The worldwide retreat from ETS isn’t down to evil fossil fool machinations (of course they plot, but so what?) or rabid Denialists whipped into a froth by trollmeisters like Bolt. The denialist side of the climate cult is an artefact of warmist hysteria. Warmism has collapsed because neither social democrat governments or capitalists actually believe in it. They said they did because the Orthodoxy insisted, but were never truly convinced. We now know that the climate modellers, that tiny cohort of self-referential, self-reviewing provincial academics, corrupted the entire scientific process. There’s a surfeit of doubt about AGW.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a tide of terror and intimidation has been unleashed. You haven’t heard? Well bugger me, perhaps you only read The Age. A couple of days ago, to take just one example, a Mortlake farmer was attacked for opposing wind turbines: two shearing sheds and three hayshed were torched. $1 million damage. Then there was the disability pensions attacked and injured near Waubra in December for demonstrating with signs on the highway verge. They threatened to shoot him. Five company thugs joined in the abuse. There’s plenty more, but I know you’re busy crusading against the license fee increases for live music venues in inner Melbourne…

  4. Steven McKiernan

    Left out is the 400-450MW baseload dirty brown coal Coolimba plant at Eneabba WA currently undergoing Public Environmental Review. Its being tarted up with some glitzy unproven CCS tinsel. The driver for this plant is the rats-leaving-a-sinking-ship scramble to destroy the Mount Gibson ranges, Putting lipstick on a pig and you end up with a dirty polluting ancient technology carbon pum with lipstick. http://www.coolimbapower.com.au/about-coolimba/project-overview.html

  5. Rodger Davies

    What we need is legislation to ban miners from making electricity.

  6. Michael James

    @Energypedant, good points, to which can be added extreme scepticism that any of those Queensland plants will do any CCS given the huge cost. At best the coal-gasification would be retrofittable, “capture ready”, unlike existing coal plants.

    @MDM A question of timing, but yes there is probably plenty of time to still make money out of coal mines and coal railways. If money is the only thing of importance to you, many decisions become much simpler. No doubt you would have invested in Bayer during the 1930s with their very successful money-maker Zyklon-B.

    @frank. Denmark has the second lowest carbon per cap in Europe (yes, after France with its 75% nuclear electricity) which is way ahead of Australia. Do you own a farm somewhere near those irksome wind turbines? Had your views impaired? You’ve got to give it a break.
    And if you don’t see a concerted campaign (aka conspiracy) by News Ltd in Australia (and worldwide) then you haven’t been paying attention.

  7. EngineeringReality

    Talk about moths to the flame…

    Well done Bernard – if ever there was a way to lure out the Burn-it-all-theres-plenty-more-and-why-not global warming denialist trolls this is it by Jove!

    Look at them crawling out from the leaf litter of the forest floor – like maggots lured by the stench of rotting flesh.

    These new coal fired stations are a travesty – the final legacy of tired old men, clutching valiently to the remnants of the comfortable world that once was. Yes there will be outposts of new coal being built – but internationally these plants will be the last of their era.

  8. Venise Alstergren

    Perhaps I’m dreaming? Australia is run by companies which are so vast they don’t even need to pretend that there’s an electorate out there.

    Victoria’s premier, a nasty little man on a mission to destroy the state, John Brumby, trumpeted the Alcoa deal as having taken place WITHOUT governmental reference. In other words the state government didn’t know a thing about it!

    Yet if a couple of people had put up a small protest flag outside Yallorn they would have been in the slammer before the first furl had been unfurled. The government would have been in on it from the word go.

    Isn’t life wonderful?

  9. Roger Clifton

    Dear Luddites, would you read this sentence again?

    “We cannot ignore the very real fear of catastrophic nuclear accidents,” Molly Olson said.

    Yes, you can rise above this fear. The cure is to check out the facts, and not from Ms Olsen.

    Was there an environmental catastrophy at Three Mile Island? – No.
    Did thousands of people die of horrible diseases after Chernoble? – No.

    However, there was a catastrophy for clear thinking in both cases. Public opinion was stampeded by voices like the above.

    Benefiting from the widespread apprehension that something was wrong, the hydrocarbons industry surged ahead instead of declining. Now the friends of gas and coal do not want you to forget your “very real fear” of our only realistic non-carbon source of baseload electricity.

  10. Frank Campbell

    Michael James: No turbines near us, but we see the intimidation, arson, death threats etc inflicted on many people in western Vic. And the severe health effects of turbine noise. And the bird and bat kills. Your disdainful attitude for the suffering of others is typical.

    As for Denmark’s “expensive mistake” with wind ( Danish parlt energy c’ttee chair), read this from the Copenhagen Post- all those billion spent on useless turbines, and for what?

    “Denmark’s environmental standards dismal”

    29 Jan 2010

    Agricultural practices and high reliance on coal, oil and gas gives the country a poor environmental ranking

    Denmark is ranked a modest 32nd in the ‘Environmental Performance Index 2010’, compiled by researchers from American Ivy League universities Yale and Columbia.

    The index ranks 163 countries, measuring factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, protection of habitats for fauna and flora, general pollution, aquatic environments and sanitation.

    Although many of the countries that are ranked ahead of Denmark are not industrialised, many others are, including its Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Norway, which place fourth and fifth respectively. Another Nordic country, Iceland, tops the list as the most environmentally respectful country.
    Christine Kim, one of the researchers behind the project, said Denmark wasn’t the pioneer it claimed to be when it came to the environment.

    ‘When it comes to greenhouse gases, Denmark is not much of an environmental leader,’ she said. ‘And it’s mainly due to the way the Danes use and produce energy.’

    The report showed that Denmark’s reliance on coal, oil and natural gas offsets its use of wind power, where its 20 percent share of the overall energy produced is the world’s highest.

    Coal is still responsible for half of the country’s energy production, and that results in a very high emission of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

    The Liberal-Conservative government has stated that at some point the country will drop its reliance on coal, oil and gas, but has not said when that will happen.

    Experts and environmental organisations have argued that Denmark has the ability to considerably raise its level of ambition for clean energy.

    ‘We have to renovate our homes, invest more in collective transport and put more money into renewable energy,’ said Christian Ege, president of The Ecological Council. ‘The past few years we’ve allowed our CO2 output to grow and grow.’

    Ironically, the Environmental Performance Index ranked Denmark eighth in the category of ‘Outdoor Air Pollution’. But the country’s ranking of 67th in the ‘Sulphur Dioxide Emissions’ category – and a dreadful 136th with regard to nitrogen oxide emissions – dragged its overall pollution rating down.

    Denmark also received relatively low marks for its Environmental burden of Disease, its Water Stress Index and for its efforts in Critical Habitat Protection.

    ‘Our agriculture is simply too laden with pesticides and nitrogen from the animals,’ said Ege. ‘And that means our nature is dominated by just a few species such as nettles, which can grow in that kind of harsh environment.’

  11. Most Peculiar Mama

    @Michael James

    “…If money is the only thing of importance to you, many decisions become much simpler…”

    Of course there’s always the barter system…works a treat on the Andean steppes and amongst the Bambara of Mali.

    “… No doubt you would have invested in Bayer during the 1930s with their very successful money-maker Zyklon-B…”

    You mean the same Bayer whose pharmaceuticals have saved millions of lives and prevented the spread of many diseases amongst the poorer nations of the world?

    That Bayer?

    Nice Godwin BTW. Double bonus points for you Sherlock…you never disappoint.

    OK, I’ve stopped laughing now.

  12. Meski

    @MPM: All due respect for Warren Buffet, but as all the PDS say: “Past performance is no indicator of future performance” and Force Majeure usually figures in there, too. In other words, an ETS will Trump[1] Hathaway.

    [1] couldn’t r4esist the greed pun there.

  13. EngineeringReality

    @Roger “…our only realistic non-carbon source of baseload electricity”

    Wrong. Completely and utterly false.

    Nuclear power is an insane choice – we don’t know how to deal with the waste – and the waste is one of the most dangerous and deadly stuff us humans have learnt how to produce.

    It stays deadly for hundreds of thousands of year at the very least. We have no real concept of timeframes that long. Humans have only been around in our present form for around at most 100,000 years.

    If nuclear waste from a hypothetical reactor was stored when the first modern humans emerged the waste would still be dangerous now! Thats after thousands and thousands of years while we learned how to till crops, build pyramids, invent language and alphabets, sail across the oceans, smelt metal, and finally harness energy.

    After the passage of all that time the nuclear waste would still be there – firing off gamma rays and alpha and beta radiation. Every single atom of the waste would release its deadly cargo of energy – at some random time. And you seriously think that humans arrogantly know how to safely store and deal with this deadly material? We can’t even be trusted not to kill each other.

    Different if there were no alternatives – but we have the sun pouring free energy down onto our planet constantly. We already have the knowledge and technology to harness it cleanly.

    We don’t need nuclear power – its too dangerous (even if everything goes 100% right in every reactor every minute and hour of every day from now on) and too deadly.

    Wake up!

  14. Venise Alstergren

    ROGER CLIFTON: I am not being a Luddite. The thing that appals me is that John Brumby tried to pretend the state government didn’t know about the Alcoa deal. I would be in favour of the nuclear option if I thought Australian politicians could handle such a thing. Quite frankly, that’s quite a burden for a jumped up lower middle class parliamentarian.

  15. Jonathan Maddox

    From the article : “Gas is ideal for shoulder and peak power generation, because you can shut it on and off, which you can’t do with coal,” Simonian said. “There’s no growth in baseload power.

    Solar power too, is ideal for shoulder and peak power generation — because the shoulder and peak are in the daytime!

  16. Jonathan Maddox

    “There’s no growth in baseload power” — gotta love it.

  17. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…[1] couldn’t r4esist the greed pun there…”

    Are you suggesting Buffett’s wealth makes him greedy?

    You obviously know very little about him then.

    That’s a relief.

  18. davidk

    Carbon capture has too many questions over it and coal to liquids is energy intensive I think. If Rudd were serious he’d be talking to the Greens. He stuffed the ETS thru politicking and he will suffer at the next poll as a result, but not so much that the penis will get in.

  19. Eponymous

    Finally we have it folks, Most Peculiar Mama’s true raison d’être.

    Referring to coal:
    “the world’s cheapest and most reliable energy source?”

    It all makes sense now.

  20. EngineeringReality

    Carbon capture and storage doesn’t make sense in terms of energy. You are burning coal to release the energy but carbon capture and storage cannibalises too much energy to make it worthwhile.

    Its a chemical reaction is: Rock + C + O2 = CO2 + ash + heat

    Burning coal already starts out shaky in terms of efficiency of energy conversion – when you take into account the energy expended in mining, crushing, washing, transporting the coal and then disposing of the coal ash (all costs that are subsidised by taxpayers and never included in calculations “comparing” coal to renewable energy).

    The one ace fossil fuels have up their sleeve is that half of the reaction, the oxygen, is free and abundant to use but if you add to the situation the energy used in capturing all of the resultant product of the reaction (the CO2) which currently gets excreted into the atmosphere and then compressing it and transporting it and boring through solid rock and compressing it further you end up looking like a goose.

    If the whole purpose of burning coal is to release the energy and you’ve just used up pretty much all of it in producing the ingredients for the reaction and then removing and storing the products.

    Meanwhile the sun is delivering vast amounts of energy to the surface of our planet every single day – for free.

    Gee hard choice there…

  21. kuke

    Watch out Bernard, the Anthracite and Lignite Party (ALP) and the COALition will label you an alarmist for opposing Australia’s fat farting cash cow.

    Choose life and tax the polluters.

  22. Dr John

    MAMA – are you in favour of abortion after birth?

  23. trout

    I am as far left as a 60’s lovechild can be. But I will vote for Abbott (hack, spew) to punish the ALP for not at least canvassing nuclear power as an option in Australia.

    Truly, we are living in the past. And probably dying in it too.

  24. Jeremy Williams

    Trout I’m not against nuclear either but there are issues:
    – its very expensive
    – it takes a long time to build a plant – 10 years
    -the mining is an ongoing co2 emitter
    As people have mentioned there is heaps of room to cut emissions using renewable and gas
    As was mentioned in Bernard’s excellent article the low hanging fruit for Australia is the peak load in the day which solar can address
    We are a long long way before we exhaust the renewable and gas options and this doesn’t include that there are emission free base load options around like solar thermal and hot rocks technology
    I find it strange that half the coalition doesn’t believe in climate change and they are promoting nuclear anyway – possibly because like a lot of the global warming debate the vested industries in mining are pulling their share of levers

  25. Stevo the Working Twistie

    Roger Clifton – go to http://thyroid.about.com/cs/nuclearexposure/a/chernob.htm or http://rarediseases.about.com/od/rarediseasest/a/chernobyl.htm or even http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/chernobyl-deaths-180406.

    What next? Bhopal was just a minor industrial boo-boo that the lefty-greenie-luddites manipulated to smear poor old UC?

    I’m not anti-nuclear power per-se, but when vested interests try to white-out entire chapters in industrial history to make their point, I get a wee bit sus.

  26. Maxi

    Coal companies control Australia’s energy policy. No action on climate change forthcoming.

  27. Sancho

    I mostly agree with Jerememy Williams: nuclear is cheap (for Australia) and clean, but the fuel processing is intensive, will take decades to get online, and is stupendously wasteful of water which Oz can’t spare.

    I’m also surprised Most Peculiar Mama hasn’t commented on the coal-to-liquid process and how it pertains to this topic. He’s quite an expert, and will be happy to provide links and data on the process if you ask.

  28. harrybelbarry

    Sunny Queensland should be building Solar Thermal plants to supply in peak periods in summer ,when everybodies inside hiding from the sun and heat with their A/C ‘s on.
    Look out Mama , the white coats are coming!

  29. EngineeringReality

    Mt Piper power station relies on water that just isn’t sufficient for its current capacity – there is no plan for how it can double capacity and continue to operate without sufficient cooling water.

    Only 18 month ago the 3 dams (Lake Wallace, Lake Lyell and Thomsons Creek Dam) which hold cooling water for both the smaller Wallerawang and Mt Piper stations were at critically low levels.

    Another period of drier weather and the brand new coal fired units will be sitting around doing nothing as they are mothballed until it rains again.

    Talk about crazy!

  30. Eponymous

    Where are you guys getting your information from? How could you reach the conclusion that nuclear is cheap?

    The Switkowski or UMPNER report, written by the pro-nuclear lobby concluded that the fastest that any nuclear plant could be built in Australia was 10 years, more likely 15; that we would need 10 for it to be cost effective, but 25 would be better; and that with Government subsidies and underwriting the risk it will be 2-3 times more expensive than coal and about the same as solar thermal and CCS coal.

    I too am not against nuclear power per se, but there’s a big difference between adding more reactors to your generation portfolio as in the US, France, the Eastern Block, than there is in starting an industry from the ground up. We would have to import every single piece of IP and expertise and be totally at the mercy of foreign contractors. Compare this with solar thermal, which we have world leading expertise in, ample space and ample sunlight.

    Frankly, I am more in favour of CCS than nuclear. At least with CCS we’re playing to our strengths.

  31. Rodger Davies

    Since we are going to pay businesses so much in compensation ($35 billion) why don’t we (the people, the government) spend this on making energy without using fossil fuels. This way it does not have to make a profit for shareholders. This means it will be cheaper and we can go ahead without having to worry if it is going to make money.
    Energy storage is is simple. Pump water up with excess energy, when we need energy let it flow down through a turbine.
    Let us get on with it!

  32. Venise Alstergren

    As a Victorian, living in one of the driest patches of land on this planet, an example of the way our governments are bent, bought, and crooked-maybe just criminally stupid? Anything but trustworthy.

    Having endured approximately fifteen years of drought, in a city where people have not been encouraged to store their own water and to re-cycle it. I mean there are no government incentives to encourage people to do this. NONE!

    So what did our tiny little premier, John Brumby, do when he was forced to study Melbourne’s lack of water? Did he rush a bill through the Victorian parliament making it a matter of urgency to install the appropriate tanks? Did he tighten up our water restrictions? As his party has been in power for over ten years could he legitimately claim no prior knowledge? Oh no, none of the above. He just went out and purchased a hideously expensive desalination plant.

    If this is the kind of thinking which exists at state level perhaps we couldn’t trust these hidebound little morons around something as technical as nuclear power. They would probably buy second-hand reactors, or whatever.

    What kind of a country are we, that we tolerate these crooked, crooked little men?

  33. Don Dillon

    Another planned power station not mentioned in this article is the 400MW one soon to be built at Kingaroy Qld if it gets the go ahead from the Bligh Govt. It is to be powered by syngas (synthesis gas) produced from the underground gasification of a coal seam about a hundred metres below the power plant. With greatly reduced CO2 emissions compared to a regular coal-fired plant, no mining of the coal required, greater energy extraction than from mined coal and negligible environmental disturbance (compare that to open-cut mining) this is a clean and elegant approach to power generation from coal. The technique (also applicable to brown coal) has been used commercially in Russia for fifty years and is soon to have its own renaissance on the world stage. How about following this up Crikey?

  34. Venise Alstergren

    DON DILLON: Excellent post. However, I believe Australian governments-especially state governments- to be at least seventy years behind Russia. Good heavens, Russia did start out with some principles, after all.

  35. Flower

    “And the bird and bat kills. Your disdainful attitude for the suffering of others is typical.”

    Aw….c’mon Frank – enough of the hyperbole. A drunken sailor on the Exxon Valdez slaughtered an estimated 500,000 birds and wiped out an entire fishing industry.

    For every 10,000 birds killed by human action, less than one is killed by a wind turbine.

    Mining companies slaughter millions of birds and desecrate biodiversity. One small mining company near Esperance managed to slaughter 9,500 native birds – well that’s the official figure!

    Newcrest Mining managed to kill 6,500 native animals over a six week period.

    Our “rigorous” environmental assessment processes do not represent a barrier for resource companies to commit ecological mayhem in the pursuit of profits.

    US bird experts Curry and Kerlinger have estimated that 100 million bird deaths a year can be attributed to domestic cats.

    Thousands of birds in Australia are dropping from the skies from heat exhaustion. Our wetlands are being desecrated and migratory birds in Australia have dropped by some 80%.

    Settle down Frank and apply some lateral thinking.

  36. Frank Campbell

    Flower: check out Altamont Pass, Caifornia. A slaughterhouse for raptors. Wind turbines kill huge numbers of bats, significant numbers of raptors and migratory birds. They don’t bother sparrows at all. Can you work out why? Note that the Greens, retailers of the wind fraud, have demanded a moratorium on wind turbines in Tasmania solely because of the wedge-tailed eagle. How typical of my fuckwitted party…

    The wind spivs in western Vic are now putting hundreds of 130m high turbines spinning at 270 kph in the midst of Brolga breeding grounds.

  37. Damo

    I’m just curious as to who is going the build these nuclear reactors everyone is talking about now. Shall we re-employ all those wonderfully skilled, unemployed roof insulation installers or maybe get some of those geniuses that worked on the Collins Class submarines.

    We should just stick to digging up the country side and shipping it other overseas, and let smarter counties like China handle the tricky stuff, just like MPM wants.

    An Australian built nuclear reactor scares the crap out of me, if we do get one I hope they put it at the opposite end of the country.

  38. EngineeringReality


    Good point – bearing in mind that the company chosen to build the new OPAL nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney was from the nuclear engineering powerhouse of, yes thats right – Argentina.

    I’m sure that the tender for the reactor was based on technical knowledge and safety rather than the cheapest price.

  39. Flower

    Frank – After numerous studies spanning nearly two decades, we know that the Altamont Pass situation operates with obsolete technology. Foolishly, the site was located in a major bird migratory route.

    Altamont Pass has thousands of wind turbines—many of which are older models—whereas, newer facilities generally have significantly fewer turbines. The sheer number of turbines in Altamont Pass is a major reason for the high number of bird fatalities in the area. In addition, power lines in that region are electrocuting many of the birds whereas, newer wind farms, place lines underground.

    In fact, a very different situation exists not far away at the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farms near Palm Springs in the US. A 1986 study found that 69 million birds flew though the San Gorgonio Pass during the Spring and Fall migrations. During both migrating seasons, only 38 dead birds were found during that typical year, representing only 0.00006% of the migrating population.

    The Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed a plan in 2005 to protect birds in the Altamont Pass, requiring that half the turbines be shut down each year in November and December, and the other half shut down in January and February. In addition, the 100-200 oldest and most dangerous turbines should have been removed by now and the entire project re-powered, with newer, larger turbines replacing the smaller turbines.

    On the other hand, agricultural pesticides are conservatively estimated to directly kill 67 million birds per year. These numbers do not account for avian mortality associated with other pesticide applications, such as on golf courses or public parks. Nor do they take into consideration secondary losses due to pesticide use as these toxic chemicals travel up the food chain. This includes poisoning due to birds ingesting sprayed insects, the intended target of the pesticides.

    The scientific revelations on Roundup should also set alarm bells ringing since Roundup (Glyphosate) in very weak solutions, has been found to kill human cells within 24 hours so what do you think Roundup is doing to the avian species or to human embryos for that matter or don’t you care? And why do you think politicians have ignored the evidence I’ve provided for their perusal?:


    I’m not yet au fait with the proposed Mortlake wind farm in Victoria or the perceived threats to the brolgas as I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with the wholesale industrial slaughter of native species in my own state.

    Brolga Breeding and Season Study Mortlake:


  40. Frank Campbell

    Flower: I first saw Altamont in 1986. I’d never heard of wind turbines then. It just looked insane. It was. And still is.

    Turbines were far shorter and smaller then. They are a bigger risk now, covering a span equal to the MCG. Hundreds of them, covering hundreds of square kms.

    Of course habitat loss, pesticides etc are far worse for birds- no reason to increase the risk, for no gain whatever.

    The British RSPB is utterly corrupt: takes big money from wind spivs.

  41. Most Peculiar Mama


    Finally we have it folks, Most Peculiar Mama’s true raison d’être.

    Referring to coal: “the world’s cheapest and most reliable energy source?”

    It all makes sense now.


    Are you saying it isn’t ?

    Solar, water, wind are hardly cheap and far from reliable.

    Happy to have cleared that up for you though.

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