Emissions Targets & Electricity Generation – Some Inconvenient Realities

Touring politicians have a habit of making wild promises in international forums, leaving the difficult engineering consequences to overloaded power engineers and the unpalatable cost consequences to the suffering consumers.

Peter Lang is a professional with more than 40 years experience in the energy industry. His experience includes coal, oil, gas, hydro, geothermal, nuclear power plants, nuclear waste disposal and energy end use management.

Peter has previously written on:

Now he looks at some inconvenient realities concerning the consequences for electricity generation if the government tries to achieve their unrealistic and pointless cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.

The paper compares five “energy mix” options with a “business as usual” case for electricity generation in Australia from 2010 to 2050. The options involve mixes of coal, gas, nuclear, wind and solar thermal technologies. The analysis indicates that continuing with the current mix of electricity sources (mainly coal) will provide the cheapest electricity. Gas, the other carbon fuel, has the next higher cost. All of the non-coal options (nuclear, solar and wind) will substantially increase electricity costs with solar being the most expensive.

Nuclear power is the only feasible option that could achieve the promised cuts in emissions. Wind and solar are very high cost options with little hope of achieving the emissions cuts promised, either alone or in combination.

Viv Forbes

The full paper, Emission Cuts Realities – Electricity Generation, can be seen at: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/emissions-generation-lang.pdf [PDF, 206 KB]

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