DURING that heavy rain a fortnight ago we headed for Sydney to visit relatives. Driving down the Hume with the wipers working overtime, we topped the hill near Gunning, where the Cullarin Range wind farms come into view.
The turbines were still! We slowed to count, just to be sure. On this cold, bleak afternoon not a single turbine was moving! The afternoon was dark. I suspect that few solar panels would have been generating power either.
That weather system covered much of south-east Australia, so if we had been totally dependent on renewables on that miserable afternoon, the power would have been off and we would have been both unemployed and very cold.
Supporters of wind power will retort that the wind is always blowing somewhere!
Well, in Britain last January, after a freezing-weather power shortage the Daily Mail pointed out that wind farms only operate at wind speeds between 16km/h and 80km/h.
Wind farm operators assured the public that they operate 70 to 85 per cent of the time!
The report went on to say that despite there being 900 additional turbines built in 2013, wind power dropped by 20 per cent between June and September 2014 because of low wind speeds!
Like the boy who recognised that the emperor had no clothes, Senator Jacqui Lambie criticised Australia’s reliance on renewable energy during debate on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) in the Senate a week ago. She called for Australia to move quickly to nuclear.
Paris is the venue for the United Nations Climate Conference in November. As part of the pre-conference hype, France’s Socialist President Hollande has called for “Australia to lift its game” on climate.
France generates 77 per cent of its power from nuclear, 15 per cent from hydro, 8 per cent from coal and gas, but only 0.1 per cent from wind.
Next April 400 people will lose their jobs in the Port Augusta area when the Northern and Playford B power stations and the Leigh Creek brown coal mine finally close. Yet, north of Port Augusta is the Olympic Dam Uranium mine.
It seems to me that Port Augusta would be the ideal site for Australia’s first nuclear power station.
- Keith Wheeler
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.