$1.4 billion?? Solar costs about $1500 per installed kW on a …

Comment on Making Alice all solar would raise costs 300%: Giles by Paul Darvodelsky.

$1.4 billion??
Solar costs about $1500 per installed kW on a large scale.
Alice Springs uses about 40 MW (40,000 kW)
My maths says this equals about $60 million.
The reputed cost of Owen Springs power station $250 million.
Cost of power generation once the system is installed is very low.
Even taking into account the need to provide for times when the sun doesn’t shine it seems we have a lot of room to move.
Hey Jim. Renewable (green) power isn’t about forcing you to change anything. It’s about giving you cheaper power without harming the environment.

Recent Comments by Paul Darvodelsky

New commercial centre: which parts do we need?
Development is important for Alice Springs (Supporter of Alice Springs and Fred). I think most are agreed on that. But it needs to be appropriate development.
The Whittaker Street development appears to be an ad hoc development and it is not clear what, if any plan, the government or Council have for the long term development of Alice Springs.
As Kaye Eade rightly points out, commercial and residential vacancies are the highest they’ve been in years. Add to that another 500 or so apartments under approval at the moment the situation will only get worse. It is inevitable that rents and property values will drop over the next five years or so, unless we can attract a lot more people to Alice Springs.
Council did a body of work in 2008/2009 with external consultants some years ago with regard to bring life back into the CBD. A key feature of bringing life back into Alice Springs was consolidation of the CBD. Whittaker Street is firmly outside the area identified as CBD and in this regard, therefore a fragmenting development (bad thing).
Interestingly and as an aside, the work done by the consultant also included a residential capacity report which identified the scope for nearly 1300 residential dwellings in the CBD.
Why has this been ignored by the government in approving the Melanka and other developments? What a wasted opportunity to bring life back into the centre of our town!
Any development needs to be looked at in terms of the benefit to the whole community. Of course a company or some companies will benefit if a large development is constructed. But that doesn’t mean it helps the overall community. I’d say the key criteria for evaluating a development are whether it makes our town a better place to live economically and socially.
In the case of Whittaker Street this is hard to see. Being outside of the CBD it will compete for commercial tenants and potentially leave more vacancies. That’s a loss for landlords and businesses in the CBD and surrounds. If I think about it for a moment, that means Coles Centre, Yeperenye, Alice Plaza and the Todd Mall are all negatively impacted. Then there is a hotel and exhibition space so affecting Todd Tavern, Aurora, Chifley, Doubletree and Lasseters. Are we making friends yet? I don’ think so. Then there will be some inevitable loss of customer traffic from the CBD to the new centre. Another loss for CBD retailers.
Now I’m worried. I’m starting to sound anti-development. I’m not. But Fred the Philistine is absolutely right. Development must bring people and industry to town. It has to be grass roots development, investing in industry, innovation and businesses which grow the town. It needs a proper vision and plan.
Ad hoc developments which don’t address the fundamentals of growth only give a very short term benefit to a very limited number of people. In the end we want much better outcomes for the town than a few faster Finke buggies. Let’s get serious and get a decent plan for the future of the town and the Territory.

Mayor on thin ice with fracking claims
I agree with Another Observer. There is very little in the way of balanced debate over fracking. The media is dominated by vocal opponents. I think all would agree that the key issue is not “not fracking” but “not adverse environmental impacts”.
Water security is of course very important, but all our aquifers are not connected and therefore there is ample potential for fracking to operate in a safe way.
Nor are all gas reserves near an aquifer. There is no reason that development can’t co-exist with environment /community if it is managed properly.
The low population density of the NT makes it one of the best places for mining in that the fewest people are affected and community risks are lowest.
The biggest issue by far is the capacity of the NT Government to effectively regulate fracking (or any development for that matter). In terms of environmental regulation the NT is dramatically under-resourced.

Water foes on same page about exploration
Water is THE primary determinant of development? Have you ever wondered why the USA has 350 million or so people and Australia only has 23 million? The main reason is water. The USA has far more water than Australia. Combine this with more fertile soils and there you go. It would therefore seem very short sighted to not have defined our available water resources in Central Australia if this is the case.
The key issue with local supplies of water is quality. Water quality restricts uses and adds cost when you want to use it for domestic supplies. As groundwater sources get deeper or poorer quality then the cost of supply goes up. A big part of the argument for conserving the existing supplies is to keep the cost of water down. Remember, supplying water takes a fair bit of energy. If everyone is happy to pay more for water then technically there is no problem.
My greatest concern about the water supplies is whether we are using them sensibly and sustainably. A combination of climate, swampies and pools (i.e. lifestyle) means that Alice Springs people use around 4-5 times as much water as the national average per person.
This means that one of us uses more water than your average household on the east coast. There is clearly a lot of scope to change our habits and prolong the life of our current water supply.
I am also doubtful of the sustainability of agriculture in the centre. Trying to grow crops in the desert does not make a lot of sense. Yes, entrepreneurs may make money out of it, but I contend only at the expensive of the environment. Perhaps it’s better to focus agricultural endeavours in areas which are better suited?

Pandora’s Promise: go nuke or not?
Interesting films last night. I was a little disappointed with the very negative and emotive nature of Climate of Hope. It relied on scare tactics and I felt this detracted from the points they were making. It would have been nice to see the important questions developed a bit more.
I think the reality for Australia is that we will never see a nuclear power plant built here. The broader political climate just wouldn’t let it happen.
Australia’s biggest challenge is establishing a movement to renewables and maximising the power generated from these sources. There are still big issues with generating reliable base load from renewables (e.g. no sun, no solar) and transmission of power from where it’s generated to where it’s needed.
Power can’t be easily stored and I’ve not yet seen any processes (e.g. liquid sodium solar) which are commercial or large scale.
People also talk about hydro, which is very clean, but I think the chance of building a project like the Snowy Scheme now would be zero on the grounds of environmental impacts.
A huge solar plant in the NW of Australia could generate much of our load requirements, but most of the population is in the SE, so how do you get the power there without massive cost and transmission losses?
If anyone has good info on these issues I’d love to see it.
One thing’s for sure. Whilst we argue and vacillate it plays right into the hands of fossil fuels in which we are becoming increasingly entrenched in Australia.

Pandora’s Promise: go nuke or not?
Lies, damn lies and statistics Neil.
Germany’s energy consumption is about 1.5% renewable.
Germany’s production is about 20% renewable as you note.
Also very interesting data available from the EU

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