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What we’re reading: Nuclear vs wind and solar

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Dick Smith plays his nuclear card, again

Dick Smith has spoken up again about his preference for nuclear power, despite the recent initial findings of the nuclear royal commission that the technology is way too expensive for Australia, and the Australian government findings that it’s at least twice the cost of wind and solar.

dick smithSmith, who promoted nuclear in a recent TV series, made his case when arguing against the proposed Mt Emerald wind farm in north Queensland, using the old myth about the need for more “baseload generation”.

We’re going to address the “baseload generation” myth later this week, and why it is the last resort of the coal industry and the nuclear idealists. The main point is that Australia already has about 7,000MW more “baseload” than it needs.

Murdoch media and renewable blackouts!

The Murdoch media continues its campaign against wind and solar, with the Advertiser’s political editor Daniel Wills tweeting last week that the “lights could go out” when the coal-fired power station at Port Augusta is closed in May.

Wills linked to a story he wrote, quoting the head of the SA council of social services, who said that Adelaide suburbs could be blacked out for “weeks at a time” when the coal generator was shut.

No fear-mongering there, then. And obviously no reference to the report by the grid operator, the Australian Energy Market Operator, who said there was no danger to security or reliability from the closure of coal generation.

Coaliton’s ex oil industry energy spokesman utters the predictable

The South Australian opposition party, the Coalition, is maintaining its attack on renewable energy. In the above article, Wills quotes Coalition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan saying that the state government should “stop approving new wind farms” if they were going to threaten supply reliability.

Van Holst Pellekaan has been a long-term critic of renewables. On his own blog, the former BP executive blames wind power for causing surges in power prices, even though this has been dismissed before as a furphy.


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