Nigel Giddings
How is it that only Australia can produce electricity from wind power cheaper than fossil fuels when, if I read your article correctly, nowhere else in the world can.
I hope that when you quote the price per MW of wind and coal you have already adjusted for the 20-25% efficiency of wind turbines caused by periods of lack of wind?
You also fail to discuss the issue (and cost) of needing fast acting backups, in the form of OCGT (Gas Turbines) in the grid to deal with the sudden fluctuations in wind turbine delivery where it can fluctuate from peaks of 100% of capacity to Zero production for days at a time. You do mention storing power but I have yet to see a viable solution and this would double or treble costs at a rough estimate?
I have no data on the Australian Grid but this website shows how wind operates in the UK in near real time with information going back over the previous week, month and year showing just how intermittent wind is.
It is misleading to allow figures to be cherry picked for the benefit of one solution when the picture is much more complicated than initially presented.
Freyr Gunnar
> It's also anticipated that new technologies will have solved the intermittency problems of solar and wind by this time.
That's a big anticipation.
In the mean time, instead of bulding nuclear plants based on newer safer design, everyone's going for coal, which is a major contribution to global warming and pollution.
It is almost 100% certain that this article does not take into account all the other punitive taxes on fuel when it makes this absurd comparison.
The propensity to invent artificial costs for unfashionable things and compare them to artificially low costs of fashionable things is tantamount to civilizational suicide.
Is the cost of land, maintenance, reduced utility of nearby lands, environmental damage such as bird deaths factored in? The reduced efficiency of remote power generation (no warm superconductors yet boys) or lack of storage for electricity factored in?
Racqia Dvorak
It's clear from the article that most of the additional costs of conventional power sources is due to artificial factors, like "carbon taxes" and insurance premiums designed to punish companies for their fuel source.
Don't get me wrong, I believe the future is renewable energy and I think it makes sense to make the switch, but to say that it is cheaper without the appropriate clarification amounts to intentional misinformation.
Meanwhile in the USofA wind energy companies are in panic mode because federal subsidies are endangered.
It's not just Aussies as in the US many wind farms are cheaper than coal power too.
But that isn't the most cost effective which are various RE depending on the site is on homes, businesses that pay 2-3x's as much after utility costs, profits,etc. That means payback is that much faster.
If well shopped, contracted solar, wind, biomas, cogen, etc can be installed for under $2k/kw. So having a 3kw system gives about 15kwhrs/day, enough for most any eff home at $6k. Payback for such is about 3-6 yrs getting almost free power for 20-50 yrs afterward. Even if a utility got it's power for free they probably can't beat a well done home/building RE sysytem.
Phillip Noe
Progress! The coal industry will surely argue the point. For the sake of future generations we MUST shift to the clean alternatives even if the apparent costs don't favor them. If the externality costs of a deteriorating habitat were added to the costs of burning coal, the costs of green energy would be MUCH less expensive!
Caneng 62
This analysis was criticized quite strongly for among other thing estimating natural gas prices tripling over the period discussed. You might want to check out this link from an Australian site normally pro renewables. With the need for backup generation, and the variation spreads in output, it is very hard to believe the conclusions of this article/
Matt Fletcher
Wind farms that's nice but extremely inefficient. Ocean Hydro electric systems are more efficient but Fission and Fusion is where it's really at and can produced with little to no radioactive waste. Just need to get the gov't costs/regulations down to reasonable levels to make it more affordable.
There have in the last week been similar articles about, of all places, Texas. Texas has lots of land, lots of wind, and lots of natural gas. So in Texas new power generation from wind (repeat: new) is about on parity with new generation from natural gas (about 6c per kWh) - even at the present point of the fracking bonanza and really low natural gas prices in the US. So no, this is not a uniquely Australian phenomenon.