As author of a book on energy Martin Nicholson, in his April 23 letter has made remarkably uninformed comments on the Zero Carbon Australia (ZCA) plan. The plan shows one path for Australia to 100 per cent renewable energy. By making Australia a leader in renewable energy it would support our prosperity and help ensure a world in which we, and our grandchildren, can enjoy.
The plan’s costing was based on a conservative analysis of existing technology. It will make the cost of electricity cheaper than it would be with continued reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuel.
The fact that nearly all second generation nuclear plants may still be operating says nothing about the political or economic ability to build lots more of them!
Third generation plants are being built in China and the US he says. Does that confirm that Matthew is right – none have been built?
The ZCA plan includes a small percentage of PV with battery storage such as for off-grid power. Here it is generally not more expensive than the alternatives and will get cheaper. (As well-installed grid connected solar is already reducing the price of electricity for everyone just as it has done in Germany because it reduces costs from expensive peaking generators.)
But ZCA never proposed to use solar PV with battery storage to replace coal plants. The plan showed that it could be done with a combination of widely scattered wind and solar thermal power with cheap hot molten salt storage (thus providing better than baseload power), along with a reconfigured grid, efficiency, fuel shifting and transport changes.
Nuclear certainly cannot provide emission-free energy in Australia within 10 years, nor on a global level on any time scale relevant to stabilising our climate. It is too costly, slow and dangerous. It would be a terrible investment to try, wasting money that could build infrastructure (solar, wind, wave etc) to harness energy from essentially free and inexhaustible fuel.
Paul Taylor, Mt Warning. Author of The Biochar Revolution