Articles filed under Technology from Australia / New Zealand

Tuki wind farm timing unknown

The next stage of the Tuki wind farm will be unknown until the end of the year. Wind Power met with Hepburn Shire Council last week, after mounting community concern about the proposal. There has been community speculation over whether the proposal will go ahead at Tuki and how many turbines it would involve.
6 Oct 2008

Turbines turn into hot topic

Windflow chairman Barrie Leay strongly criticised Meridian Energy and other state-owned electricity generators on Tuesday for ignoring his company's turbines and spending more than $1 billion importing European turbines. However, Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay said the company's engineers had looked closely at Windflow's turbines, but they unanimously agreed they were not suitable. ...Windflow's 0.5 megawatt machines were not big enough, and Meridian's engineers had concerns about the noise generated by the two-bladed design, Seay said.
7 May 2008

Future carbon

Any approach to determining economic policy for climate change should take into account the possibility that the current understanding of the atmosphere may not be translatable into reliable forecasts with a precision that allows the design of an economic response. Further, any economic forecasts that are used to construct models of future carbon use and carbon dioxide emissions will be unable to deal with technical innovations. Their success cannot be predicted. This impacts on policy in two ways, first the obvious uncertainty in estimating economic development but more immediately the desire of governments to stimulate technical solutions. The need to be seen to be taking action frequently descends to picking winners and creating classes of rent seekers. ...As an example the present subsidies for wind farms are a response to demands for action from Green groups and green politicians. The result is a new rent seeking group. There is little cost benefit analysis to guide policy development. Rather policy is set to subsidise non-competitive technologies that may produce unquantified benefits. A simple comparison with the more conventional alternative of natural gas shows the use of gas to be more cost effective and useful as gas turbine generators produce electricity on demand. General encouragement of innovation should be the limit of government policy. It is hard enough in business to develop innovations and well beyond the reach of general government.
9 Mar 2008

Rotokawa power station construction closer

The proposed development at Rotokawa is part of a significant geothermal expansion programme being undertaken by MRP in conjunction with its Maori partners and includes three other geothermal sites at Mokai, Kawerau and Nga Tamariki. The second Rotokawa power station, owned jointly with the Tauhara North No 2 Trust and to be called Nga Awa Purua, will be built close to the existing one and will connect into existing 220kV transmission lines directly over the field. The station is expected to generate an average of 1100 GWh annually and provide reliable base-load energy that is not sensitive to climatic variations. ...The new Nga Awa Purua power station will generate the same amount of energy as a 400MW wind farm and require much less transmission capacity.
6 Mar 2008

Australia: where too much wind will never be enough

The starting point is the broad brush statement in the paper that no power supplies are perfectly reliable. This is correct provided you don't ask about the details. If you did, the devil would point out that there is a difference between a naturally intermittent supply and a supply which trips or goes off line unexpectedly. There is a difference in scale and time. Contemporary distributed electricity systems have devised ways of insuring continuity of supply for the latter events but are struggling to deal with the former. This is not comparing like with like. ...Intermittent supply adds an extra stretch for the control of a network. Wind farms illustrate the problem. A standard measure of the performance of a generator is the capacity factor. This is the annual averaged power achieved as a percentage of the installed (or maximum) capacity. ...But this factor gives no indication of the detailed performance. A measure that helps give an indication of this is a reliability figure. This is the minimum percentage of power that may be relied upon for 90 per cent of the time. For wind farms it is about 5 to 10 per cent
22 Jan 2008

Turbine waiting list hits wind farm

...he also noted that there was a two-year waiting list for the turbines to be delivered due to the surging global demand for wind turbines and shortage of manufacturing capacity. This is one reason Wel is seeking a 10-year term longer than usual to give effect to any consents that are granted. It also means Wel can't determine exactly what machines will be used at the site, because they will be subject to price and availability.
20 Nov 2007

Resource consent highlights grid problems

The Project Hayes site, which received consent from the Central Otago District Council, is located to the south of Ranfurly on the Lammermoor Range, about 70 km north-west of Dunedin. The consent decision allows for the full proposal of 176 turbines generating up to 630 megawatts ...Dr Turner expressed concern that the HVDC link between the North and South islands is being poorly managed. "Not only is the charging regime unfair to South Island generators, it disadvantages new South Island generation projects - making them more expensive at the very time South Island security of supply is under real generation pressure.
31 Oct 2007

Solar's struggle to climb tower of potential

"A German company has announced plans to build one of the largest wind farms in the world near Broken Hill in far western NSW. The company, called Epuron, says the $2billion wind farm could produce enough clean power for 400,000 homes. But confusion over clean energy targets set by state and federal governments is threatening to derail the plan." ...Strange, that such an ambitious project by a global player in the wind-power industry could be announced and in jeopardy at the same time. It should be more likely that such a company would get everything in place before making such a large announcement. ...Was this an opportunistic gambit to win promises of financial support from the major parties during the federal election campaign? Or a ploy to try to get the states and the Commonwealth to integrate their incentives and targets for renewable energy? Or both? Whatever, it didn't please the NSW Government.
24 Oct 2007

Wind power to push up water bills: Iemma

The government called for proposals to supply the wind power for the $1.7 billion plant. It is anticipated that 75 wind turbines will be needed to power the plant when it is operating at maximum output of 250 million litres of fresh water each day. ... "Wind power is far more expensive than other renewable energy or even coal and the NSW taxpayers have a right to be suspicious of the minister's claims," Mr Hartcher said. "How much extra will Sydney residents, who are already facing higher water bills, going to have to pay to power the desal plant?".
15 Oct 2007

NZOG boss sticking to his guns

The government might decree all new electricity generation be renewable and not thermal, but the new boss at NZ Oil & Gas (NZOG) is gearing up his company to find more gas to fire thermal power stations. He has hired five top geo-scientists and a commercial manager from overseas as the core of a new 17-strong development team for the New Zealand-listed oil explorer. "Sure, the new emphasis on renewables could cast a cloud on our activities, but there will still be times when the lakes aren't full and wind turbines stop turning," he said.
13 Oct 2007

Power grid overhaul wanted by wind energy industry

THE wind energy industry has called for the overhaul of the electricity grid to favour renewable energy. ..."Rather than demand that renewable energy work within existing regulations under the National Electricity Market, perhaps the grid rules could be altered to more effectively deal with wind energy," Roaring 40s managing director Mark Kelleher said. ...But Shane Breheny, chief executive of Powercor, Victoria's largest electricity distributor, does not believe grid companies stand to gain from a revamp. ..."Distributed generation (electricity that is not sourced from centralised coal-fired power stations) can be beneficial to grid operation, but only if it is not intermittent."
11 Oct 2007

When the wind doesn't blow, power doesn't flow even in Denmark

There, in a nutshell, is the twin problem with wind. On average, across a year, you might get 30 per cent of its theoretical capacity, but often you get zero or so close to zero as not to matter. It happens frequently and at any time; and when the wind chooses, not you. "Somebody", therefore, has to keep unused surplus capacity in some other form of generation equivalent to all the wind generation capacity. And keep it either operating, or able to at the flick of a switch.
5 Oct 2007

Ill wind changes Rudd's course towards Gore

Germany has 18,300MW (megawatts) of installed wind capacity -- close to half Australia's total installed electricity generation capacity, about double Victoria's. E.ON Netz draws on 7600MW of that. In the precise German way, it tells us that maximum feed-in was 6234MW at 9am on 15/12/05. Sound great? Except when you read the minimum feed in, at 12.15pm on 27/05/05. Just 8MW. And no, I'm not missing a nought or two. Some 7600MW of installed capacity delivered just 8MW. When the wind don't blow, the electricity don't flow. On average across the year, the 7600 MW of installed wind capacity produced 1327MW. That's an operational level of 18 per cent of capacity. In rational terms, it's insanity.
25 Sep 2007

Australia: Australian Wind Energy: Which Way Will It Blow?

The cold reality for the Australian sector is that, despite the initial optimism of MRET, barely 1,000 MW of wind power will have been installed by the end of 2008. This capacity will enable farms to supply only around 3,200 gigawatt hours of power to consumers out of a demand exceeding 200,000 GWh. ... The key to the wind energy sector achieving much stronger growth in the next decade is an energy policy that recognises and rewards value in a carbon-constrained electricity supply environment.
19 Sep 2007

Revolutionary face of burning more coal

Dr Williams argues that those calling for carbon-emission cuts of 25 per cent by 2030 do not understand what it would cost. "We would need an extra 4500 two-megawatt wind turbines, 20 biomass generators, 30 new gas-fired base-load power stations and 12 best-of-breed coal-fired plants," she says. "It would require $60 billion in new infrastructure costs to build these." Instead, she advocates replacing old coal-fired power plants with new ones, rather than "squeezing everything you can out of old assets" and looking at energy resources that have not been considered. "What the council seeks is more investment in research, particularly in the sectors that it makes sense to invest in," she says. "Investment needs to be made in technology that can produce viable returns."
28 Jul 2007

Climate expert urges dropping clean coal

A climate change expert has urged Australia to step away from the development of clean coal technology for power generation in favour of natural gas and nuclear energy. Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at the Rockefeller University in New York, has also bagged renewable fuels like solar and wind power saying while they may be renewable they were not really environmentally friendly. Mr Ausubel said he believed the push to develop clean coal technology would ultimately fail - because of the high cost involved and the problem of dealing with toxic waste products like sulphur and mercury.
17 Apr 2007
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