Drought lowers electricity generation in Australia

Not only do their power plants use water for cooling, some of the power is from hydro. So it’s a double whammy. The price of electricity is rising fast, and the drought continues.

Solar, wind, and wave power, anyone?

  • Dave Riley

    No the key feature for power is water to create electricity from coal burning. There is very little hydro-electricity in the national grid in Aust at the moment (although up to the early seventies that proportion was significant). Outside some areas of Tasmania and the Snowy Mtns Scheme there would be few options in way of generating electricity from water in Australia(as both locales harness melting snow were elsewhere dams are fed by rainfall on catchments).

    But as I write the rain is bucketing down and — touch wood — this drought will begin to ease for a time. Here are the dam level figures for all the main capitals(note that where I live we are sitting on 18.68 % — this is a major metropolis with about 2 million people and we are facing restrictions on water usage):

    BRISBANE: 18.58%
    SYDNEY: 37.6 %
    CANBERRA: 31.32%
    MELBOURNE: 29 %
    HOBART: 68.20%
    ADELAIDE: 61 %
    PERTH: 20.6 %
    DARWIN: 92.72%

    You need to note, since it is officially Winter here that all centres except Brisbane and Darwin get their main rainfall in the Winter months. The northern Wet Season has been very wet, very long and this explains Darwin’s massive water reserves.

    And here’s an excellent article on the droughts’ impact on Aust’s major agriculture region:
    Corporate greed drives Murray-Darling crisis

    The problem with a good wet, followed by an intense and very hot Summer is that the rainfall increases the amount of fuel for bushfires. Droughts, so long as they aren’t accompanied by strong hot winds, don;t facilitate the underbrush growth. This is why fires go in cycles as once one burn has gone through a bush area, the vegetation has to recover enough for fuel to be available in such quantity to feed another bush fire at the same locality.

  • It’s good that it’s finally raining.

    The article I meant to link to (but lost the link) did mention you had some hydro.

    Solar would seem to be a good option, is that happening much? Wave power too.

  • Dave Riley

    Solar projects and wind are the major alternative options being capitalised but there is bipartisan support for “green” coal as Australia is a major resource for the dirty stuff. “Green coal” is of course utopian nonsense but this indicates how much the country is held hostage top the resource sector.

    Allied to this is a push to go nuclear as while Australia is a major supplier of uranium, the energy and resouces sector has been promoting the nuclear option as a alternative to dirty coal. Campaigns against the mining and export of uranium have been massive here although a little on hiatus these past few years.

    Check out this site here: Rising Tide for some context.

    I gotta rush, but you need to note that generally energy production in Australia is held in government hands so the twist here is to use the climate excuse to privatise.

  • Maybe you could post about that here? Using global warming as an excuse to privatize…

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