Saturday, 22 September 2007

Garrett backs renewable energy sources

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald

To no surprise to me, Peter Garrett is promoting pretty much every form of renewable energy that is even remotely feasible; wind, solar, geothermal, waves and tidal. Interestingly he does not mention hydro. I have no problems with these forms of energy generation - they do indeed have their place.

Most interesting is what Mr. Garrett says about nuclear:

Mr Garrett told the Our Planet - Leaving a Legacy sustainability forum on Friday that Labor was opposed to nuclear power as a source of energy but was enthusiastic about the prospects for a range of renewable sources.

"In particular, we're not saying we should pick winners.

He said Labor did not support nuclear energy because it was expensive and there was a significant time lag between building and generating the energy.

Significant to me is that nuclear is both the first and last energy generation source mentioned in the article. Of particular interest are the reasons Mr. Garrett gives for his/Labor's negative view of nuclear power - cost and schedule. [So glad to see we've gotten over those other unjustified hangups].

Nuclear must be [and, truth be told already is] competitive with other no/low emissions energy sources.

Just more pre-election political spin.

If you take what he is saying literally [and note that Peter Garrett holds degrees in Arts and Law]; what it translates to in hard, technical terms is large subsidies and steadily increasing fossil fueled plant deployment - with the associated emissions increases, because even the maximum feasible deployment of renewables will not enable Australia to achieve the 60% or more reductions Labor is currently dangling in front of voters AND satisfy Australia's increasing demand for energy.

Believe me... don't believe me... it's up to you. Many people will simply see what they want to see. But you can't politic, cheat, swindle or cajole the laws of physics.


  1. Contrast "we're not saying we should pick winners" with being "opposed to nuclear power" on what appear to be mostly economic grounds.

    I assume that what is going on is subtext communication; that the true reasons for opposing nuclear power are different and unstated, because the ones actually given are in direct conflict with everything else being said.

  2. Thanks for another good comment Joffan.

    Yes, I noticed that as well. Anti-nuclear activists can't seem to make up their minds these days. A fatality-free western commercial nuclear power industrial track record has them backing off the safety scare tactics, ongoing reprocessing activities and technological development has them conceding waste management and proliferation issues and France's success forces acknowledgement of the impact on emissions reduction efforts. That leaves economic critiques. But then, if that's all that's left in the bag - why resist at all? With the introduction of some type of financial emissions penalty, the most cost effective (e.g. least financial risk) means of energy production would be the natural choice. If renewables are technologically mature, cheap and ready to deploy - why worry and protest about nuclear at all? Why would anyone even think of it... unless of course that's all just hot air and nuclear technology is in fact economically viable.