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12 Comments

  1. The Labour party getting into government had more to do with unpopular new industrial relations laws (since replaced by the new government).

  2. I’ll give the coal industry in Oz points for being honest about their opposition to nuclear. At least the fight down there will be open, with everyone’s cards on the table.

  3. Does everyone look at the energy arena as a zero-sum game, where the pie is only so large and if one entity becomes more predominant, then the others are necessarily diminished?
    I realize rule number one is: “don’t mess with my rice bowl” — meaning, my income/profits/lifestyle/market-share demand first consideration. And I don’t disagree with that, at least in general. However, where is the imagination with these miners companies’? Isn’t coal-to-liquid technology more advanced than CCS? And more defensible and sustainable long-term?
    It seems to me that if the coal interests were looking long-term, from a purely mathematical standpoint and neutral on CO2-AGW considerations, they would team up with nuclear instead of fight them. They may win the battle but lose the war.

  4. Doc, you’re dealing with the “path of least resistance” phenomenon. Water always flows downhill.
    Now ask yourself, which is easier: to kick an industry when it is down and has yet to be firmly established locally, or to give up one’s bread and butter only to put oneself out on a limb of a technology that has neither a firm industrial base nor a proven, dependable market?

  5. The coal industry itself probably won’t put their cards on the table (even though the unions are honest enough to, or maybe that should read as desperate enough).

  6. @DocForesight – The alternative to looking at energy as a zero-sum game where market gains by one type of supply must come at the expense of another is to treat energy as an ever expanding market like that for electronic gizmos or software.
    Unfortunately, even though I sometimes ascribe to the idea that with fission, we could adapt Dorito’s old tag line and tell people “use all you want; we’ll make more” there are still huge problems with driving an energy market expansion rate that is even close to that seen in many technologies.
    That leaves us with an existing market demand that will probably continue to grow at a modest 1-3 % each year as the population increases and as people think of great new ways to put power to use to make their lives more abundant. With that kind of market, competition for share always entails winners and losers. The alliances may get a little strange sometimes – I truly believe that nuclear heat can be a boon to coal to liquids, tar sands, gas to liquids and shale oil. However, the resulting liquid fuels will compete for market share against less energy intensive oil that comes out of the ground more ready to be refined. The entities that produce and transport that “easier” oil or gas may not be so happy about losing some of their market dominance or their ability to control prices during what they expected would be a very tight market.

  7. The sickest part of this shite is that Australian coal mining jobs aren’t threatened at all. Revenue on sales is threatened and as such profits from those sales. but the sales themselves? No way. Australia’s got the most competitive mines in the world. If demand for coal goes down (and it will never dry up with what’s needed for steel and concrete) then Australia will be the last producer left standing.

  8. I never had a much trust in carbon capture and sequestering. Maybe instead of pouring billions into that rat hole we should invest technologies that make coal power much more efficient, getting more bang for each ton of coal used. Or maybe instead of sequestering the CO2 deep underground we should find ways to utilize that byproduct for growing crops, algae or industrial uses. Another idea is that we should invest in underground coal gasification. At least when the gas comes up from the ground it will be cleaner than raw coal.
    We will never ever make coal clean but that does not mean we cannot make it cleaner.

  9. @bobcat – what you propose is just about what the coal extraction industry is doing. About the only investment of their own money that they appear to be willing to make in CCS is in marketing literature and PR events. On the other hand, if the investment is government money, they will tell you that we are not spending it fast enough to achieve the desired goal.

  10. The environmentalist movement was one of the major reasons why no new nuclear plants were built since the 1970ies. Now they won’t admit they were wrong so they “only possible way” to emit less is the crazy idea of CCS. They want to have the cake and eat it.

  11. No environmentalists opposed nuclear power.
    Those who opposed nuclear power may have called themselves that, but that just means they were deluded about what they were.

  12. The environmentalist movement was one of the major reasons why no new nuclear plants were built since the 1970s.
    I though the main reasons for the end of the first atomic age were:
    1) The oil crisis of 1973, which prompted energy conservation which destroyed the demand for new power plants
    2) The high interest rates (and cheap oil and gas) of the 1980s, which ensured that when demand for electricity recovered, it was gas, not nuclear, that was the most economic option.

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