End of Coal? - ABC Four Corners

Discussion in 'Energy' started by stevo, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Did anyone watch Four Corners - End of Coal?

    Nothing new really, but was interesting.

    "With the price of coal plummeting and our biggest customers turning to renewable energy, is Australia backing a loser?"

    Here's the link, bit of the story and a 43minute video of the show : http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2015/06/15/4253096.htm

    Amazing how much money Adani would invest in the new coal mine if it went ahead, incredible scale of things with new rail and expanded ports.
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    No I didn't get to watch it but I did see the ads - I'll check your link out cheers...
     
  3. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I'll check it out too. Future of fossil fuel energy is important to follow.
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Watched it... Ok so the crux of the story is (as you say Stevo) nothing new with coal prices moving south as the demand pitters off especially from China. However, renewables are still not anywhere near the levels needed to run big factories and big cities so it's not like the world can just drop coal mining tomorrow.

    4 Corners just love to scare the pants off everyone don't they... :D Coal is cheap electricity and far more cheaper than solar or wind etc but of course green groups (like the ABC) will cling onto anything they can to push their POV and back their climate change mantra.

    I want power to be affordable first and also environmentally friendly second - this may sound a bit hypocritical coming from a green thumb like me who loves solar energy but there are many people out there who struggle to pay their electricity bill and this puts great stress on their health and family so I feel sorry for them. The last thing we should do is go hard to kill off cheap coal generated power if it means fast rising power prices that's BAD public policy IMHO.

    What should be done is the market left to let coal die slowly and technology to produce renewable energy (such as solar) left to naturally come down in cost until it is cheaper or at least the same as coal to produce the power we all need.

    Greedy electrical companies have damaged themselves by overcharging for electricity and now they are suffering the consequences of the market as people give them the one finger salute and install solar on their rooftops. The energy market doesn't need any pushing - I say, let the people decide when they are ready to move away from coal and then there will be less problems with affordability caused by knee jerk regulations forcing an ideology or political opinion onto others.

    Who knows, when fossil meets renewables the war could mean consistent low energy prices for industry and houses over the next few decades... That'd be great! :dunno:

    This thread links nicely into our solar battery thread here http://www.selfsufficientculture.com/threads/grid-level-battery-electricity-storage-coming-soon.668/ I see Telsa gets a mention in the program and I do agree battery storage is fast gaining momentum - have to say I've been predicting this for many years ;)

    Renewable energy will get here eventually and if coal lasts another 30 years the Planet won't die from climate change - not much will change at all actually - and all that hyperventilating by rich greenies living in the centre of Melbourne is all political scaremongering rather than real environmental concerns.

    Yes, we should all try our best to protect our environment and the planet but we also have to be realistic and evolve to renewables sensibly. Coal as an energy source just can't be switched off overnight like a light bulb otherwise the world will create more problems than it solves.
     
  5. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    yeah the market will direct energy usage and it will take time and I don't think the general household would be paying more for solar, otherwise people wouldn't switch over. As they said, coal will probably be around for a while yet, but I think it'd be good if we invested more in new and different ways to produce energy and gradually reduce investment in coal. ( I guess that is happening now anyway). Besides not being able to move over too fast, there's a lot of people losing money on their investments in coal and no one likes that.

    The current coal based electricity companies see all this anyway and are getting in to the solar game aswell so they'll eventually shift over.

    I think it's cool that there's lots of different things happening though, it's a pretty exciting time for technology at the moment. Maybe it always has been.

    One thing I thought was funny in the video... I think it was the Inidan Energy Minister? Said 180 million people don't have electricity at the moment and he wanted to connect them all within a few years? ...pphhht.. not gonna happen!.... but!... I guess they would have incentive, because they have then got them trapped, connected to the grid and can charge them money, locked in for life.

    But anyways... it doesn't effect me too much... all I have to worry about is working and paying the bills, ... and buying new toys :D
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah, he's dreaming :)

    Solar would be the answer for those living in small detached dwellings though. I saw some show last year about shanties in Africa becoming self-sufficient in energy due to the reduction in cost to install solar. They only need a small system to run their hut but it makes a big difference in lifestyle and is becoming affordable for the poor - I think it's great.
     
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  7. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    My wife's relatives in a remote part of Kenya live mostly in small stone dwellings without running water or electricity. Their makeshift means to run a stereo system and a TV was to buy a small solar panel hooked up to a car battery. As primitive as it may be it gives them an added quality of life they wouldn't otherwise have.

    The irony of self sufficient living is that it requires at least some significant degree of wealth because the technology to make it happen needs some capital investment. The government and related primary service providers know this and want there to be some control of revenue, meaning more rules placed on individuals to limit their ability to become self- sufficient and keep the coffers topped up.
     
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  8. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Sadly true... But, I'm hoping the solar revolution significantly brings energy prices down regardless. One day, people in the suburbs will be demanding to go off grid for power and I don't think the Govt will be able to stop it.

    The only thing power companies will be able to do is transfer into the solar energy business (and as Stevo said that's happening now) but if they want to provide a grid type product to the consumer then they'll have to drop the prices or people will simply set up their own mini power plant in their garage.
     
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  9. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    The U.S. has certain rules on off grid electricity generation and in Australia it is available in some cases of homes not yet on the grid. The suburban homes already on the grid may be restricted by rules surrounding the storage and placement of the batteries, then the disposal. When batteries become more mainstream we may see these kind of rules from council come out of the woodwork.
     
  10. Director

    Director Valued Member Premium Member

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    China are building one of these, we should be as well. Of course we don;t have the smarts in this country anymore but I guess we could import some physicists to make it happen?

     

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