Brian Courtice.
Brian Courtice. Brian Cassidy

COURTICE'S CORNER: Eliminate impossible, power a solution

SHERLOCK Holmes's famous quote, "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable must be the truth" could best sum up Australia's position on power generation.

Solar power has been embraced by some like a Southern Baptist embracing prohibition in the USA in 1920.

The recent announcement by Bill Shorten regarding subsidies for solar power and batteries has been undertaken to lock in the Green vote in the coming federal election.

Solar panels have a life of 20 to 25 years and batteries about 10 years.

This will distort the electricity market and when the panels and batteries become obsolete they will need to be replaced by new panels and batteries or a different power source.

As coal-fired power stations close, further power generation will be required 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

One hydro scheme that has the potential to generate 600 megawatts of power is the Tully Mill Stream in Far North Qld. Neither of Queensland's two major parties when in government over the last 30 years have proceeded with this scheme and are probably not likely to.

A team at the Australian National University has undertaken considerable research into pumped hydro, identifying a vast number of potentially suitable sites, however it is extremely costly to switch to this source of power.

There seem only two options remaining to produce base load power for industry and other large users of electricity.

The first option is constructing coal-fired power stations with modern technology and high quality coal. This seems unlikely due to prevailing attitudes towards transitioning away from coal generated power.

This scenario reminds me of little elderly ladies in Kansas welcoming in prohibition, the result of which was organised crime. One could mount a comparable case to compare this to the abstinence towards coal.

If we are to reduce emissions to satisfy the Paris agreement targets and have affordable power for our entire economy that can cope with a growing population and demand without power shortages the only feasible course to follow is a nuclear power industry in South Australia adjacent to our considerable uranium resources with a comprehensive national power grid.

Only a federal government can deliver affordable uninterrupted power.

The short term political proposals on solar and batteries have feathers on them.

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