The Pickering Post
Tuesday, 11th December 2018

If you would like to be involved or support the upkeep and further development of this site, it would be very welcome no matter how small.

Viv Forbes

Viv has a degree in Applied Science Geology and is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy


Will Better Batteries save Solar Energy?

Tesla boss, Elon Musk (whose companies have received $4.9 billion in government subsidies for his electric cars) is now claiming that his batteries will allow solar energy to power the world: “You can basically make all electricity generation in the world renewable and basically solar ...”

This is, at best, pure puffery.

As Christopher Helman says “Tesla’s new battery is just another toy for rich green people”:

Everyone who owns a car, truck, tractor, quad bike, bobcat, forklift or other mobile machine is hoping that the fortune being wasted on green energy may produce just one real benefit – better batteries. We want batteries that are cheap, light weight, charge quickly with no losses, last forever and store a large quantity of energy. Nothing close is on the market yet.

But better batteries will not make solar energy a competitive source of uninterrupted grid power.

The solar power received at any point on Earth’s surface varies continuously from zero at dawn, peaks at mid-day, and falls back to zero by dusk. It varies from summer to winter and can fall suddenly at any time if clouds, dust or snow obscure the sunlight.

On a clear cloudless day, solar energy can be collected at constantly varying rates over about ten sunny hours. To use solar alone to produce 24/7 steady grid power, batteries must supply power for the 14 hour shadow zone (which often covers peak demand) as well as smoothing the sunny zone.  

Assuming no losses in the charging/discharging process and no clouds, solar energy plus batteries will deliver a steady supply of less than 20% of peak generating capacity over a 24 hour period. This means that over 80% of energy collected during any sunny window must be devoted to charging the batteries and is not available for immediate consumption.

However there are also cloudy days, sometimes several in a row. To cover this possibility many more batteries (and solar panels) will be needed for the same guaranteed steady output.

Better batteries can never change this.

Of course green enthusiasts will say: “We’ll charge the batteries using excess power from wind turbines and solar collectors when it’s available, and use the stored energy to smooth out the natural fluctuations.” This may work on the doodle pad of some green academic, but imagine the complications, costs and losses in all these AC/DC conversions, and the risks of grid failure when trying to meet power demand schedules by combining two variable, unreliable intermittent energy producers. And because of the dilute nature of solar/wind energy, huge areas of land must be blighted to collect significant quantities of energy.

If we had perfect batteries, it would be cheaper and simpler to use cheap base-load coal, nuclear, gas or hydro power to charge them, and then use the charged batteries - instead of expensive peaking generators - to handle peak power.

Or with perfect batteries, a householder could use off-peak power to charge his batteries and then use battery power at peak-price times. With widespread use, this could allow all electricity to be supplied cheaply from low-cost reliable base-load generators.

Better batteries are worth striving for, but they will never make solar energy grid-ready. 

Here are some Solar Power Realities:


What are They Plotting in Poland


I’M OFFENDED JULIA, WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK ME? I do really good portraits


Now if we could only find one very large bank wanting to do some negative gearing it just might work.

Mining conditions for coal in the Galilee has been described as a Nirvana for coal miners. The land is flat, the seams are think and relatively shallow, there are no faults, there are very few land holdings and no people or existing infrastructure to get in the way of a putting in place perfect mine designs scaled up to such an enormous size that costs of production railed and placed on a ship will be less than $40/tonne. Sorry to disappoint Billy, but mining from the Galilee will happen. But feel happy though that its development will no doubt force other older more costly operations to close. There will be a re-balancing of supply but the Galilee will be at the very bottom of the cost curve i can assure you of that.

Oh my the order for trucks has been placed, that's a worry..............................Adani orders 55 Komatsu super-large dump trucks for Carmichael

Monday, 15 June 2015
Lou Caruana

KOMATSU has been awarded by Adani Mining an order for a total of 55 units of 960E-2 and 930E-4SE super-large dump trucks for delivery from the second half of 2016 for use at its Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

Adani mining CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj and Komatsu CEO Tetsuji Ohashi.

The reliability of Komatsu's mining equipment and its product support capabilities led to the award, said Komatsu. The Carmichael coal mine will be one of the world's largest coal mines.

Adani Mining in Australia is part of the Indian Adani conglomerate and the Carmichael project represents a part of the Adani Group's large project to bring the energy supply chain of mine, railway, ports, shipping and electricity production in India together in one conglomerate.

Last month Adani saw its controversial Carmichael mine proposal given a boost after signing up buyers for almost 70% of the mine’s yield.

This is according to Adani Australia CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj, who told Reuters: “We have signed contracts for most of the production.”

With these backers, it is another step closer to securing the financing it needs to build the $16 billion mine and associated infrastructure.

“Financial close is tied to dredging approval,” Janakaraj added.

The Carmichael project has been subject to vehement opposition by environmental groups, with many attacking the plans to dredge part of the Barrier Reef to make for easier access to the Abbot Point deepwater port.

Not much of a Business Model, expect a ten billion dollar investment,rail, port, mines and associated infrastructure to supply 5 billion people earning $2 or less a week, never picked The Masked One to be communist.

Um let me think, how bout the 5 billion souls on this planet who live in poverty and want the same as what rich Western countries enjoy.

Galilee Basin, The governments of China and India wont touch it, who wants it?

Lol good try Billy. Medicine is in the bathroom. Nik, it's easy to make negative predictions at the bottom of a cycle. Coal like all cyclical commodities will have its day in the sunshine again. Investors will flock back if they sense a profit is involved. Sorry to disappoint but one thing that never changes is Human Nature. In 10 - 15 years it will be clear that we are on the verge of another ice age. The lie that we have been fed of catastrophic warming will be exposed. Coal will be king again. Before this happens clean Australian coal will be exceptionally strong demand. There will be 3 - 4 large mega mines in the Galilee pumping out 100 - 150 million tonnes per year.

Fuel taxes have for decades gone into General Revenue and only a fraction being spent on roads. Its is spin from sections beholden to benefactors. STOP all rorts and pay for the real damage done like releasing DIOXINs into the environment and a cocktail other the other poisons, coal will be gone within two decades.

We all know which energy sources are actually being subsidised in this country and it sure aint coal. All that is happening is families are being forced to pay more for power bills and energy consuming businesses are being driven off sure in droves along with the associated jobs.

Fuel taxes are supposedly paid for national road construction Billy. The reason Miners, along with all primary producers, get a fuel tax subsidy is for the simple reason that their fuel consumption occurs off road. By rights i don't see why they should even pay 6 cents/litre tax. As for the other dribble in that link, if you want to believe the lies then good luck to you. Depreciation allowances may be given but why shouldn't they, after all billions of high risk dollars are being invested. Changing depreciation schedules is hardly a subsidy in any case and the recent budget allows all businesses to write off 100% of asset values in Year-1 so what drug are you on again?

Not any business sense TP, that's for sure. And the market, what market? All politicians pandering to the polluters understand that Luddite governments are needed to pick winners and losers, and to subsidise the chosen winners from taxpayer's monies.
And you taxes go to ...

I think it is a HUGE conspiracy by NASA and their contractors to keep coal from going into space
Maybe our PM could start a campaign.

Soon the only potential industry left in SA for jobs and growth will be mining. In particular mining of magnetite for the production of ultra high quality iron ore which is rapidly becoming more and more critical to steel mills in order to blend up the overall quality of blast furnace feed stocks (i.e. to compensate for declining ore grades from other sources). While magnetite ends up at very high quality, in the ground it is very low grade. It will require large quantities of base load electricity to enable its processing and concentration. By dismantling its base load capacity, SA is shooting itself in the foot. But what else would you expect from socialists?

Just love the call for MORE funding by the self serving WCA. Rightly being ignored.

COAL miners doing it tough in the Hunter Valley, Bowen Basin or Appalachia would have been bemused by G7 leaders declaring this week from a picturesque Bavarian Alps retreat that they would phase out fossil fuels by 2100, considering they’ve been burning huge amounts of coal themselves of late.

Obama's energy policy is widely referred to as anti-coal.

The G7 leaders – Stephen Harper (Canada), Francois Hollande (France), Angela Merkel (Germany), Matteo Renzi (Italy), Shinzo Abe (Japan), David Cameron (UK) and Barack Obama (US) called for "deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions", with "a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century".

While Oxfam is no friend of the coal industry – declaring this week that it’s the single biggest threat to winning the fight against hunger – it highlighted a stunning hypocrisy among the world’s most powerful economies over fossil fuels.

The report, sardonically titled Let them eat coal, revealed that G7 coal power stations emit twice as much fossil fuel carbon dioxide as the whole of Africa.

Oxfam also declared that the G7’s contribution to global warming will cost Africa alone more than $US43 billion ($A56.23 billion) per year by the 2080s and $84 billion by 2100, and lead to several million tonnes of staple crops lost worldwide.

“This is 60 times what G7 countries give Africa in agricultural and rural development aid and more than three times what G7 countries give Africa in total bilateral aid,” Oxfam said. “Global costs of G7 coal emissions will be $260 billion per year by the 2080s and $450 billion per year by the end of the century

“Each coal power station can be seen as a weapon of climate destruction – fuelling ruinous weather patterns, devastating harvests, driving food price rises and ultimately leaving more people facing hunger,” Oxfam said.

“With these climate impacts falling disproportionately on the most vulnerable and least food-secure people, the burning of coal is further exacerbating inequality. Without urgent action, climate change could put back the fight against hunger by several decades.”

Harsh words indeed – but not compared to what Oxfam reserved for the G7.

“While more than half of today's coal consumption is in developing countries, the scale of G7 coal burning is considerable,” Oxfam said.

“If G7 coal plants were a single country, it would be the fifth most polluting in the world. G7 coal plants emit twice as much fossil fuel carbon dioxide as the entire African continent, and 10 times as much as the 48 least developed countries.

“Five of the G7 countries (including the 2015 chair, Germany) are actually burning more coal since 2009, the year of the Copenhagen climate summit. G7 countries must switch from a ‘do as we say’ approach to ‘do as we do’ by phasing out their own coal pollution.”

Oilers would have noticed Obama photographed by Reuters at the lavish G7 retreat sitting next to Cameron and, on his left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The first thing that may have sprung to mind was how on earth Obama and Cameron could reconcile their public statements and actions on the importance of hydrocarbons, not just to the developing world but to their own people.

While Obama’s well-reported “war on coal” is widely known, it’s also old news that the US shale boom has resurrected the country’s economy, especially its critical manufacturing sector, with the low gas prices that it has facilitated.

Meanwhile in the UK, only this week GMB national secretary Gary Smith said having access to gas was “a matter of national security”, as his trade union signed a joint charter with UK Onshore Oil and Gas to ensure gas was “recognised as essential to British industry and households”.

Germany, meanwhile, has long been known as a leader in the renewables front, signing up for a program based on wind and solar power designed to provide 80% of Germany’s energy demand by the year 2050.

Yet when Sweden’s new socialist government was elected last October and ordered state-owned Vattenfall to get rid of its German coal mines, either by closing or selling them, it prompted an urgent letter from German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel to Sweden’s new Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

The letter warned that if Vattenfall abandoned plans to expand its German mines there would be “serious consequences for electricity supplies and jobs”.

Japan, meanwhile, has been attacked by environmentalists for funneling $US1 billion ($A1.31 billion) earmarked for “climate finance” for plants in Indonesia alone – and more on the way in India and Bangladesh.

As the G7 leaders seek to boost their green cred ahead of the UN Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in March, Big Oil has also been piling on the pressure, with Europe’s biggest players writing to the UN calling for the world’s governments to implement connected carbon pricing systems, once again targeting coal.

Amid all this, it appears the World Coal Association’s efforts have been falling on deaf ears.

The WCA’s PACE (global Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency) plan launched last year states that raising the average efficiency of the global coal fleet from the current 33% to 40% would save 2 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions.

This is the equivalent to India’s annual carbon dioxide emissions or running the Kyoto Protocol three times over.

This week the WCA, headed by two Australians, let rip at the G7 leaders’ statement on fossil fuels.

In line with its PACE initiative, the WCA said yesterday that more investment in cleaner coal technology was needed to support developing and emerging economies meet development and climate objectives.

“Leaders of the G7 need to recognise that coal is playing a critical role in bringing affordable, reliable electricity to hundreds of millions of people in developing and emerging economies, particularly across Asia,” newly installed WCA CEO Benjamin Sporton said.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global electricity from coal is expected to grow by around 33% to 2040. Demand for coal in Southeast Asia alone is expected to increase 4.8% a year through to 2035.

“Rather than wishing away fossil fuels, world leaders should be committing to investment in 21st century coal technology – high efficiency low emissions power generation and carbon capture, use and storage,” Sporton said.

He pointed out that high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal technologies provided significant immediate carbon dioxide reductions and were a key step on the pathway to carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).

“I urge G7 leaders to support an international climate treaty in Paris that provides policy parity for all low emission technologies,” Sporton said.

“That means they should help ensure that the most advanced coal technologies are used now and provide clear support for the deployment of CCUS through climate financing mechanisms, especially the Green Climate Fund.

“Only by treating development and climate objectives as integrated priorities will we achieve a successful agreement in Paris.”

I did the right thing and installed heaps of LED's around my joint believing the con that while expensive (around 30 bucks per unit) they should last forever. Most of them didn't even last a year and some of them were lights which hardly ever get used. The whole LED industry is a scam. Also, it only takes one LED cell to start flickering and it drives you crazy to the point of having to replace the whole unit. Grrrrrrrrr

Tman, after sitting in this plane for 12 hours (in summer) to move a couple of hundred kilometres you're too shagged to worry about continuing the journey at night. The issue of not travelling at night is not an issue. Clouds are still a worry though!

You canna change the laws of physics laddie.

As did Joh's water powered car!

The Wright Bros faced similar wisdom.