Contributed by William Walter Kay BA JD © 2022
The real tragedy is what we don’t see. We see billions squandered on wind and solar. Tragic enough, but we don’t see the magnificent electrical infrastructures coal might create if similarly furnished with funds.
The world’s largest coal-fired power stations, Inner Mongolia’s 6,720 Megawatt (MW) Tuoketuo Station and South Korea’s 6,100 MW Taean Station, were built in stages as additional generators were needed. Tuoketuo now sports a motley array of 12 steam turbines ranging in size from 300 to 660 MW. Taean’s managers topped-up their 8 original 500 MW turbines with 2 Hitachi 1,050s.
Australian electricity demand peaks at 35,000ish MW; therefore, 8 Tuoketuo-sized plants (operating at two-thirds capacity) could meet national needs.
With centuries of supply, Aussies should consider coal inexhaustible. The Stone Age didn’t end when we ran out of rocks. Uranium will dethrone coal before Australians exhaust their seams; but right now 9,000 coal-fired power plants adorn Earth; a quantum blossoming by hundreds every year.
When life throws you lemons, …make lemonade. Pre-2002 Australians drew 80+% of their electricity from coal. In 2002, decades into the climate hooey, wind power finally captured measurable portions of Australia’s electricity market. Solar surfaced in 2005.
Australia’s electricity-by-source scorecard now reads: coal 51%, gas 18%, solar 12%, wind 10%, hydro 6%, and oil 2%.
Net Zero dictates 90% reductions in global coal-burning by 2050. The climate oligarchy’s sacrificial lamb, Australia, must surrender coal-power long before then.
On command, Australia’s top toadies tumble over one another, beckoning the coal-apocalypse closer. PM Albanese recently increased renewable quotas 15%, proclaiming:
“Our new ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 will put Australia on track to achieve Net Zero by 2050.” (1)
Queensland Premier Palaschuk demands 70% renewable electricity by 2032; …80% by 2035. Given (non-renewable) gas’s role in planned electricity mixes, Palaschuk’s demands spell death for coal-power.
Australians added 5 units to their coal-power fleet post-1999; none since 2009. Several closures are slated for the 2020s. Other closures are being brought forward.
Between 2002 and 2022 generating capacity grew from 36,900 MW to 53,400 MW; however much new capacity is aspirational nameplate capacity configured by solar panel and wind turbine salesmen. Australia’s coal-plants consistently deliver 66% of advertised max capacity, while wind typically delivers 30%; and solar: 10%.
Australia’s 19 coal-plants continue to supply baseload power with 59 aging steam turbines. Bayswater Station draws water from the Hunter River to operate four 660 MW generators. Saltwater-cooled Eraring Station’s four 720 MW Toshibas are fed by local mines. Brown coal monsters, Lon Yang A and B’s 6 generators electrify Melbourne; …also with locally-mined coal.
Ubiquitous deposits incentivize many Australian cities, like Melbourne, to tap adjacent brown coalfields. Strides in ultra-high-voltage long-distance transmission render this strategy obsolete.
The Belo Monte-Rio de Janeiro transmission line carries 4,000 MW a distance of 2,543 kilometres. The Siberia-Ural line carries 5,500 MW 2,344 kilometres. The UHV (1.1 million volt) Changi-Guquan carries 12,000 MW 3,250 kilometres.
Nine major Australian cities lay within 1,200 kilometres of Queensland’s humongous, high-volatility black coalfields.
Australians should visualize next-gen (15,000+ MW) coal-stations. Imagine robotized arrays of Arabelle 1,900s, fed by supercritical boilers, nestled into Queensland’s richest coalfields, and swirling the world’s cheapest electricity across Australia.
GE, Siemens, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Toshiba et al will gladly sell Australia the machinery; the manufacturing of which Aussies should master. 30,000 industrializing South Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, thirsting for electricity, makes a ready market.
There’s also coal-to-oil; or, “carbon-to-x,” as coal is now re-constructable into a myriad of commodities, not just gasoline. South Africa has been exploiting this tech at grand scale since 1950. China is undergoing a coal-to-x boom.
Why not Australia?
- Albanese’s letter to the UNFCCC June, 16, 2022.