We are told that for the sake of the Planet, we need to cut back on the emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that so called ‘deadly’ Greenhouse Gas that is causing runaway
Global Warming Climate Change.
The so called main contributor of these emissions are those Coal Fired Power Plants.
The fact that they can readily supply vast amounts of electrical power, and to do this on a 24/7/365 basis needs that to actually achieve this, then those plants need to be closed down, and to stabilise the ‘runaway’ temperature rise, then this needs to happen as soon as possible.
To achieve this, you just cannot turn those plants off overnight, although if the situation is supposed to be as dire as we are being told, then that must surely be the only option to save us all.
However, those people who actually ‘know’ the situation also know that to just turn those power plants off would result in absolute chaos. It would also be political suicide, something that those politicians also know for certain.
So, what they are telling us now is that there needs to be replacements for those coal fired plants before they can be turned off.
As I have explained so many times in many earlier Posts, Wind Power just cannot achieve this level of 24/7/365 power delivery, barely averaging 6 hours a day of power delivery.
There are two versions of Solar Power, and they also cannot deliver the power required on the basis that is required.
The first is Solar Photovoltaic Power. This is where solar cells are used to generate power. However, the drawback with this is that those cells can only generate power while the Sun is shining directly on them. These plants are barely averaging 4 hours a day of full power delivery (at best, on bright sunny days).
The second method of solar power production is Concentrating Solar Power. This is where the heat from the Sun is focussed, using curved mirrors, onto either a trough carrying a compound, or onto a large tower. Through that trough, or at the central point of the top of the tower, a compound, usually in the form of one of a couple of salt compounds, is passed. The focussed heat of the Sun makes this compound molten. That molten compound then boils water to steam to drive a turbine which in turn drives a generator which produces the electrical power.
This second form of Solar Power is now being touted as the way that can be used to replace those large scale coal fired power plants.
It has been erroneously referred to as Solar Baseload, and is commonly referred to as Solar Thermal Power.
As I have also explained in earlier Posts, there is also a major problem with this form of power if it is to be used as to replace those coal fired plants. This link takes you to just one of those earlier Posts.
However, the thing that those who are proposing this form of power generation have comprehensively failed to do is to check the facts behind what they are proposing. They have believed the hype, and that hype, as you might understand, would seek to hide anything that shows it cannot deliver that power. It will hide those real facts behind technical talk that while it seemingly translates to the actual truth, it is cleverly disguised so that the average person cannot understand them, and will only look at the claims that it can deliver its power on the scale that might replace the scale of power produced from those coal fired power plants.
So, let’s dissect the actual truth and I’ll show you how not only does this form of power fail to deliver power on the scale of Coal fired power but cannot even deliver what it claims it can.
What you see here is what seems to be quite a technical diagram, and my task is to explain it in a manner that the average person can indeed understand.
The most important thing that you should be taking notice of here is the scale at the right of the diagram. What that shows is the total power delivered by this plant and is expressed in MegaWatts. (MW)
Now, read the text from the top of the diagram.
That first shows the direct radiation from the Sun, from 5AM until 8PM, so plainly this is how it might operate on the peak Summer days of the year.
The next level down shows the thermal energy collected by the Solar field, and stretches from around 7AM until 6PM dropping away before and after those times.
These two ‘lines on the graph’ do not indicate any power delivered by the plant.
That actual power delivered is on those lower lines, so let’s look at them.
This chart is specifically shown to indicate actual power delivered if the plant can indeed be used to supply its power on a basis close to a full 24 hour day. To achieve that, the compound salts that are used to boil the water to steam must be kept at, or close to that molten state. So, the salts are kept in a holding tank in close to molten form, so that after the Sun sets, they remain molten enough to make enough steam to drive the turbine.
Those dotted lines show the heat flow of the compound to storage, and then, after the Suns sets, that heated compound is drawn from storage to make that steam.
Now, the total power supplied by this plant is shown at the bottom solid line.
As you can see from that, the power rises to around 50MW at around 8AM, and then falls away from that total 50MW at around 3AM.
So now we have total power delivered from this plant for 19 hours.
However, what is most important is that while this power is still not available for the full 24 hours, the plant can still only deliver 50MW.
A plant of this nature costs in the vicinity of $1.4 Billion, and while this example I have linked to here is a Solar Trough style plant, it is still the same Concentrating Solar process. This plant is the Abengoa Solana Plant at Gila Bend in Arizona, a plant still not finished, perhaps some time in 2013 for stage One, even while almost 5 years since it was proposed.
So, let’s do some simple Maths and work it out to replace just the one large scale coal fired power plant.
For this example I’m going to use an Australian coal fired power plant, but the same would apply anywhere for a large scale coal fired plant.
The plant I will compare this with is the Bayswater Plant near Musswellbrook in New South Wales Hunter Valley, a plant which supplies seriously large amounts of power on a 24/7/365 basis.
As you can see from that link, the Power generated by Bayswater is 2640MW.
So, for a Concentrating Solar Plant of the nature I described above to replace Bayswater, we will need, wait for this, 53 of them.
Now, it’s not a matter of constructing these all across Australia, because, as there are significant power losses with distance, these plants need to be constructed close to the area where the actual power is being consumed.
So, that’s 53 of these plants at the base price of $1.4 Billion each, hence a tick under $75 Billion.
If it takes seven years minimum to get one of these off the ground, imagine the time for what is now 53 of them, and keep in mind this is just for the ONE large scale coal fired plant.
Still, even after it all of them are up and running, they will still only be delivering their power for 19 hours a day.
Those immense costs will need to be recovered, so that means there will be a very large increase in power for all consumers.
Consider also that a plant of this nature has a life expectancy of barely 25 years, while Bayswater can be extended out to 75 years after its original 50 year operational life is reached.
Australia is currently in the process of trying to introduce legislation to impose a cost on those Carbon Dioxide emissions. The economist hired to make this palatable head up the Commission to study the whole process with a view to implementation is Professor Ross Garnaut.
His report has indicated how much the Government might raise from this ‘Price on Carbon’, and the good professor has suggested in that report that from the money raised an amount of $1 Billion be diverted towards Renewable Power.
That will get us two thirds of one of these Concentrating Solar Power Plants, when 53 of them are required just to replace the one large scale coal fired plant.
It’s just so refreshing to see a Government that is willing to do what is required to reduce those CO2 emissions by introducing power on a scale like this.
So, when politicians stand in front of you and earnestly say that this is the direction of the future, try and keep a straight face.
Well I’ll be rolling around the floor in laughter.
Trouble is, these people are serious.
This is not the way of the future.
This is a joke, a joke perpetrated on all of us in the form of the biggest of cons, and when people find out just how useless these plants really are, there will be questions asked.
Those questions should be being asked right now.
Post Script from TonyfromOz…..
In a reply to a comment at an Australian blog site yesterday, I quoted a separate comparison with Bayswater Power Plant, also using Concentrating Solar. While the figures I used in that comment differ from these, the Maths is still the same. The comparison in that comment was for a Concentrating Solar plant that only delivers 20MW of Power, while the example above uses 50MW as the Base power total.