Presentation by Luke Reade on 1 December, 2010.
Our starting point was not received wisdom about what is generally considered technically or politically achievable, But what is necessary? This graph by Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam institute – one of the world's most authoritative climate research institutes – shows the rate of emissions reductions for selected countries if we are to have only a 67% chance of avoiding 2 degree warming- given an equitable rate of global reductions, taking into account current per-capita emissions levels of different countries. Remember two degrees is in itself a huge level of risk, given the danger of crossing tipping points within the climate system. Slide shows if every country had same carbon budget per person from 2010. (Because Australia has consumed near the most we have to reduce more quickly. We believe the only question worth asking is what it would take to do the whole job properly in time- not doing half the job ten years too late – So who else out there is calling for 100% by 2020?
We accept that this is as being the based on the best available science. We accept that global emissions reductions need to be equitable. So we accepted that for Australia, ten years was the necessary timeframe to transition to renewable energy
Examples of theoretical trajectories, over time, of the per-capita emissions of selected countries under the WBGU budget
approach, without emissions trading, based solely on CO2 emissions from fossil sources and assuming a constant population
(2010). Starting from current emissions (estimated for 2008), theoretical per-capita emissions trajectories over time were
calculated that would allow compliance with the national budgets. However, for some countries (e.g. the USA), the trajectory
presented would be unrealistic in practice. Each country is entitled to a total of 110 t CO2 emissions per capita over the period
from 2010 to 2050, based on population data for 2010. Actual per-capita emissions will deviate, sometimes substantially, from
these trajectories due to the sale and purchase of emission allowances.
When we are confronted by an overwhelming problem without a solution that we think can’t actually solve the problem, the effect is disempowering and demoralising- people don’t want to put energy into something they have no control over, into a fight that cant be won.
With regards to energy, at the moment, the overwhelming perception in the community, and among our elected decision makers, is that it is impossible, or at least way too hard, too expensive or too disruptive to decisively transition our energy system to clean energy.
Its no accident that the disempowering CANT DO perception dominates in this country. It’s the result of a very deliberate, well funded and effective campaign by a small group of industries with a very strong vested interest in a continuation of the status quo.
Beyond Zero Emissions is part of what we call the Can Do campaign. We've got together a team of engineers, scientists and ordinary Australians to map out a vision of what it would actually take to solve climate change. The whole plan is to map out how each sector of the economy can be completely decarbonised in line with the climate science.
We’ve then got a support team to get the message out doing talks and editing and publishing our original content and making this all something that the Australian people can get behind.
We consist of Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical, Renewable, Computer and Automotive Engineers. We’ve got mathematicians, PhD researchers, Physicists, Nuclear Physicists, Specialists and experts from within industry from the fossil fuel sector and from universities.
From a planning point of view, we agree with Al Gore. When in the context of his inspiring call for America to move to 100% clean electricity and independence from foreign oil, he said: A political promise to do something in 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows it is meaningless. Ten years is about the maximum amount of time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.
And we are not alone in calling for a transition on this scale The lead story of Novembers issues of Scientific American Last year, the enormously respected Stanford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Mark Z Jacobson published his Wind Water Sun scenario for the world to move to 100% renewable energy by 2030,using almost entirely solar and wind power. Given that equity considerations imply a far more rapid transition for developed countries, this is entirely consistent with a ten year timeframe for Australia.
Segway: “So how are we going to get to 100% by 2020, what technologies?”
But the really exciting technology is the molten salt power tower systems that were proven by the U.S. Department of Energy back in the 1990's. Remember the Can't Do claim that renewable energy can't supply baseload power? Solar thermal smashes that myth.
For the working fluid it uses molten salt, a mixture of potassium nitrate and sodium nitrate which melts above 220degrees Celsius. In this system, you have a 'cold' tank of liquid salt at 290oC, which is pumped up a tower surrounded by a field of flat mirrors, called heliostats. These track the sun and concentrate the sun's light on the top of the tower, where the salt if heated to 565oC, the same temperature that a coal plant operates at. This is then stored in the 'hot' tank, like a big insulated thermos. Whenever you need power, the hot salt is used to generate steam and drive the turbine, then sent back to the cold tank. In this way, the heat storage allows you to generate power around the clock, 24 hours a day.
Unlike Solar Photo-Voltaic which produces electricity directly, Solar Thermal concentrates the suns energy using mirrors to produce heat- which is used to create steam to drive a turbine and produce electricity.
Heat is much easier and cheaper to store than electricity. The heat that is created using the these parabolic trough mirrors during sunlight hours is used to heat molten salt in these highly insulated tanks- and then dispatched at night as it is needed.
This is around the clock, dispatchable solar power- and can replace inflexible baseload power from coal plants which produce the same amount of power 24/7- at 5pm when you need it- and 3 am when you don't- and the plants blow steam and waste power.
This was proven in the 1990s by the U.S. Department of Energy's “Solar Two” project, run by Lockheed Martin and a number of other national energy laboratories and energy companies. They successfully demonstrated the molten salt power tower technology for 3 years from 1996-1999.
Other background: The U.S. DoE was all set to scale up its solar thermal program in the early 2000s, but under the watch of the Bush Administration they had almost all of their funding cut off.
Full Solar Two program was run by Sandia National Laboratories. They do solar, nuclear and national security research, run by Lockheed Martin under contract from the U.S. DoE National Renewable Energy Laboratories.
The central receiver tower technology that we have specified in our plan was designed by Sandia Laboratories, which are run by Lockheed Martin as part of the U.S. Department of Energy.
We have based our system on the Solar 220 MW modules designed by Sandia laboratories, as mentioned before, although our plan involves a progressive ramping up from smaller systems for learning purposes. We have chosen this size because it is about the maximum size for a single tower system, as beyond that there are difficulties in focusing the mirrors on the central receiver. Thus you can maximize the economies of scale, by getting the most amount of power per tower receiver, turbine.
These are some engineering drawings drawings of this particularly technology which is currently being commercialized by the US company Solar Reserve at the 50MW Alcazar plant in Spain, and two 150MW in Rice, California and Tonopah , Nevada.
Some of the reasons we prefer this technology are that it produces much higher temperatures, which increases efficiency, allows more heat energy to be stored in the thermal storage tanks, and there are far lower line losses than parabolic trough plants which have kms of collector pipes running the length of the mirror field.
Baseload solar thermal is now in operation and being built over in Spain. - They are undergoing a solar thermal renaissance
The top set of images is of the Andasol plants, which combine the parabolic trough technology with molten salt storage. They have enough storage to run at full output for 7.5 hours without sunlight.
Below is the Torresol Gemasolar plant, which uses the tower technology when it's operational at the beginning of next year, will have enough storage for 15 hours. That's baseload power even in the middle of winter.
This technology has a capacity factor of 75% (ie the amount of the plants capacity utilised) which is higher than NSW black coal.
Spain has 2,440MW of Solar Thermal plant operating or under construction to be completed over the next 3 years. Enough to power about 1/3 of Victoria’s (1/5 of NSW) energy needs. This is over $20 Billion AUD worth of plant to be built by 2013
40 plants either built or under construction, mixture of troughs and towers 2440MW with old feed in tariff. 16000MW in pipeline. Next round of plants will have less feed in tariff use, showing the reduction in cost that occurs as more is built. Two main companies - solar resource, torresol have same technologies..They’ve got over 15,000MW of Solar Thermal plant in planning that has received permission to connect to the Spanish Electricity Grid. This would be the equivalent of powering NSW and South Australia with Solar Thermal..The Spanish system is successful not just because it has a feed in tariff but the government is serious about making this happen. Unlike our government which pays lip service and has hobby scale projects to generally humour the public, but is not about seriously repowering our economy with renewables..Spain currently has a feed in tariff policy that backs 800MW per year of Solar Thermal with Storage (24 hour baseload solar) 500MW of direct solar photovoltaic (rooftop like PV) and 2,000MW per year of Wind Power..Spain will achieve 22.7% of Total Energy from Renewable Sources (Heat Water and Space, Transport and Electricity) and will achieve 42.3% of electricity from Renewables by 2020.
Spanish Solar Thermal Industry Association:
Use Google Translate!
An important point about solar thermal is that it's already a commercial technology, it doesn't need more R&D – there are lots of companies all over the world who are building and operating industrial scale solar plants right now. We just need to scale up the industry as fast as possible.
So the first step for the Zero Carbon Report was to look at how much energy and electricity we need to use. We've projected that our current uses for electricity will get more efficient, but we also include switching current uses of natural gas and oil to electricity. The results is that in 2020, we use less than half the overall energy, but our electricity consumption goes up by over 40%. How we generate the electricity is one side of the equation, but the other side of the equation is the demand side, how much energy we use.
This is essentially half of the report, but I can only touch on this today.
Under the ZCA2020 scenario, we take an integrated approach to the energy system across transport and stationary energy.
Essentially our approach is to provide the energy services we currently with natural gas, so heating, cooking and many industrial processes, and oil for transport, with electricity generated from renewable sources.
The fortunate thing is that for most applications, electrical systems are far more efficient. For example, in transport where electrical engines use around 1/8 of the energy to move a vehicle per km, compared to internal combustion engines,
but also in heating, where an efficient electrical heat pump systems will deliver the same amount of heat for a third the amount of energy as ordinary gas heaters.
So the switch of fuels itself, from oil and natural gas represents huge energy savings. We also have ambitious, but very achievable electricity E E targets, mainly involving retrofitting Australias commercial and residential building stock, which would reduce our per capita electricity consumption from current very high levels at the moment, to about the same levels of other industrialised countries like Germany. The end result is that we would significantly increase the amount of electricity we need to supply, but half the total amount energy use overall.
As with Mark Jacobson- Electrification of transport is central to system design. Because electrical engines are so much more efficient than internal combustion engines – a factor of 5 can be made just from switching to electric motors. When we include a decent shift to public transport, we can achieve massive energy savings- by a total factor of 10 or more! Obviously electrification requires a large investment in predominantly in rail and light rail infrastructure- but this small compared to the massive (and increasing) impost of of oil imports on our economy.
This slide illustrates how such energy savings are achieved. This Nissan Patrol takes the same amount of energy to move it as this Seimans tram. You can move 5 people in a Nissan Patrol- and 190 in a Seimans tram. Taking average loadings into account- the energy use for every passenger KM you can move to a Seimans tram- is about one fortieth of that of Nissan Patrol. A ford corolla has a fuel efficiency of 11.5 litres per 100km
First mass produced all electric car being released in US in december – the Nissan Leaf - http://www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/index#/leaf-electric-car/index The Leaf will go on sale in a limited way in December, and be widely available soon thereafter. Production of the first-ever mass produced all-electric, zero-emissions car sold in the US will be around 50,000 a year, reports Treehugger.
Nissan surprised the emerging electric vehicle industry last month when it announced a remarkably low MSRP of $32,780 for the Leaf, which drops to $25,780 with a $7,500 federal tax credit. California and other states offer rebates that can bring the price down to $20,280. Nissan says the car will have a 100-mile range on one charge.
So now to supply 60% of Australia's 2020 electricity demand from solar thermal with storage, we have designed 12 sites around Australia. Each of these would have 3500MW. They would be made up mainly of 220MW tower modules, with up to 17 hours storage fro round-the-clock power. They have air-cooling that reduces water consumption by a factor of 10. We link about 19 of these modules together to form a 3500MW plant or solar region, in much the same way as a coal plant like Hazelwood consists of 8 times 185 MW (net generators linked together to form a single plant. There would be 12 of these plants dispersed across Australia to supply 60% of Australia’s energy
PH Maths note – each of the 12 'sites' consist of 13 x 217MWe generating units, and 6 smaller ones from scale-up in the early stages. This is why 19 units is not (19 x 217 = 4123MW)
Hazelwood has 8 separate generating units. It is nominally 1600MW, but only 1480MW net due to its parasitic requirements. 1480/8=185MW
The land area required per 3500MW site is the equivalent of a square 15km x 15km – the size of a decent cattle station.
The other 40% of Australias energy in 2020 would come from wind. Wind is the lowest cost, most technologically mature form of renewable energy. This would require around 8000 turbines to be rolled out, so an average of of about 800 per year, dispersed across Australia. In our plan we've identified 23 of the best wind regions, for good geographical diversity
Interestingly, over the last decade wind power has grown by around 30% a year. If we increased this to around 40% per year for the next ten years in Australia from where we are now, we would reach our target. When wind power is dispersed over a large area it is able to deliver firm and reliable baseload power - http://www.nrel.gov/wind/systemsintegration/ewits.html - found that from 14%-27% of rated capacity across Eastern Seaboard is baseload. I'e so if wind turbine are operating at 30%, almost half the elctricity they produce is firm.
This slide shows the design of our transmission upgrade- Australia's new National Grid -that would be needed to incorporate the our new renewable energy generation. This is the High Voltage DC (Direct Current) Backbone, which efficiently transmits the electricity over long distances with low losses. High voltage AC (Alternating current) us also used, to strengthen the existing grid and interconnect the three main grids. It was designed in conjunction with the generous in-kind support of Sinclair Knight Merz, one of Australia's leading engineering companies, who have reviewed the work and found it to be technically feasible, using mature technology. It also shows the spread of the Solar and wind sites we have chosen.
So we designed a grid to meet Australia's projected 2020 electricity demand – this is the 100% renewable grid that we can have by 2020. It uses a combination of 23 wind sites and 12 solar thermal sites to take advantage of Australia's great natural resources. This is the renewable energy grid and generators that we CAN have in 2020 with the help of you and the success of the CAN Do campaign. By defeating the Can’t do campaign. Here you can see the ZCA 2020 23 Wind Power and 12 Solar Thermal regions. We can choose to have this, or we can choose to burn coal with all the associated local pollution (radon, thorium, mercury, birth defects, 7x national cancer rates) and global warming pollution. The Red lines are the HVDC backbone and the Green lines the additional HVAC links, while the white links behind are the existing Australian electricity grid.
The Red lines are the HVDC backbone and the Green lines the additional HVAC links, while the white links behind are the existing Australian electricity grid.This is the detailed supply/demand modelling that has been carried out on the ZCA solar/wind generating mix, using real-world data on half-hourly timescales over a couple of years. The black line in the middle is actual demand from the Australian eastern seaboard grid (NEM), scaled up to represent the increased demand under ZCA. The blue is wind power, modelled using data from actual wind farms already operational in Australia. Note that at this stage we only had data for wind farms in the south-east of Australia, primarily SA & Vic, meaning that the variability shown here is higher than what would be expected with the full geographical diversity represented in the ZCA Plan. We hope to improve on this in the future with better data.
The red is the solar thermal making up the difference between varying supply and demand, using actual solar data from each of the 12 solar sites, from the Bureau of Meteorology, which takes into account effects of cloud cover and rain. Underlying this is modelling of the 17 hrs storage on the solar thermal units. What this modelling shows is that 98% of demand can be met by the solar thermal/wind combination. For the last two percent, on the few occasions when there is a combined low-wind, low-sun event affecting many sites for several days, backup can be provided from
(a) Existing hydro dams, there are about 5GW on the mainland. The total energy use shown here is less than what is available, so hydro can be used at other times for fine timescale load-matching just like it is currently.
(b) Crop-waste biomass that is co-fired with the solar thermal plants – i.e. burning the biomass in heaters to heat the molten salt tanks, then utilising the same steam turbines and transmission lines. We recommend only using pelletised agricultural residue, this is already widespread in Europe and the U.S., and for example if you just used the pelletised stubble from wheat, you would need only about 15% of Australia’s total wheat crop residue to provide the backup specified here, meaning there is plenty left for other purposes like returning carbon to the soil.
Portugal wind turbine factory, built in one year. Both towers and blades located near wind turbines. Manufacturing is not an issue.
Now this is the really interesting stuff – the labour requirements. If you look at it, getting the job done in ten years is entirely achieveable. Including manufacturing half the components domestically, we can create 80,000 on going jobs in manufacturing and operations and maintenance. That's about 4 times more jobs than currently exist in the domestic fossil fuel supply sector.
And to build everything, we need a peak construction workforce of 75,000 – the construction industry during the boom times was growing at 50,000 per year and we currently have a construction workforce of 1 million in Australia.
There are currently about 11 million total jobs in Australia. This graph just shows the industries that are most relevant to ZCA2020 – Construction; Manufacturing; Professional & Technical services (including engineering), and the existing electricity sector. To the left is actual jobs. It has flatlined and is projected to flatline since the GFC. The green is how many jobs we would create total.
So how would we build all this and achieve the transition in the ten year timeframe? We’ve looked at resourcing of the transition and the requirements of the build - all the major commodities and the ability to scale the labour force to meet the jobs requirements.
Although it is not mandated that the materials and production would have to be met locally, we do think it is useful to be able to compare to what we do in our economy today. If you look at how much steel and concrete we'll need, it's a fraction of what we use already. We already pour 60 million tonnes of concrete a year in building, we'd need less than 7% of that production per year to be diverted towards the build-out, or grow concrete production. Similarly with steel – now if you looked at just what we produce domestically we'd need 20-30% of our steel production. But if you take into account that we one of the world's largest exporters of iron ore, we need less than 2% of all the steel that is produced from our iron ore.
Land use details
One Solar 220MW unit - 14 sq km (circle radius 2.1km)
One 3500MW site - 227 sq km, equivalent of 15 x15 km
All twelve 3500MW sites - 2720 sq km, equivalent of 52 km x 52 km
We cost our entire plan:
We go into great detail and use very credible sources- for instance with solar thermal we use US Department Of Energy's Sandia Lab cost projections- checked off by Sargent and Lundy- one of the oldest and Largest power engineering consultancies in the world. As with technologies in general, there are enormous reductions in costs to be made with CST as the industry grows and more capacity is installed. The essential point is that, it is projected that with 2600 MW (less than 2 Hazelwoods) installed globally ( Power Towers with Molten salt storage- the technology that we use in our plan) the price of this electricity will come do around the equivalent to wind. And with another 6100 MW (3 and a bit Hazelwoods) The price is equivalent to that from new coal plants – about 5cents per kWh Australian.
Safe climate a bargain at 3.5% GDP. $37 Bn /yr in a $1200Bn economy. But to weigh against these costs, is how much we'd end up spending on keeping the existing fossil fuel juggernaut going. If you add in regular capital expenditure and buying coal & gas, the cost of ZCA2020 is only about $200Bn more than what we'd spend out to 2020 anyway – so that' s more like 2% of GDP opportunity cost. This compares to many things including gambling spend 17billion a year, Funding propping up the outer fringe housing development sector around $40 billion a year. $90 billion in two federal stimulus packages etc. And remember, this is a mixture of public and private money – we are not suggesting the taxpayer funds the whole project. As discussed with the cost reductions earlier, renewables in the short term need a price support policy to allow a level playing field. This makes it viable for private companies to invest capital.
Remember that solar thermal plants and coal plants are similar in that they use heat, to boil steam, and drive a turbine. Difference is that solar uses mirrors, whereas a fossil plant burns coal. Each 1 m sq mirror we install in our Solar thermal plants- will save burning 20 tonnes of coal over its lifetime. The rest of the generating infrastructure is roughly equivalent- same turbines- smokestacks similar to towers etc. For every 1 msq mirror we choose not to install- we are choosing to burn 20 tonnes of coal, and put 72 tonnes of co2 into the atmoshere.