OUT FIRST: The success or otherwise of SA’s renewables mix will inform the decisions of other states.

Power balance challenge

South Australia has led the country in many ways, including in politics when it was the first state to extend voting rights to women. But there is another political experiment under way in SA today that the rest of Australia is watching carefully.


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SA can generate all of it base load requirements from the geothermal fields. Successive governments and utility heads have shelved these projects due to the cost of transmission lines.

Gas fired combined cycle power generation is the most clean, reliable and efficient fossil power with proven technology. Gas fired combined cycle power plants produce about 40% CO2 comparing to coal fired plants per mega-watt-hour (MWH). Australian has too many sub-critical coal fired power plants but too few combined cycle power plants. The subcritical coal power is a technology since the power was produced commercially a century ago. Nowadays China has replaced all its subcritical coal power plants with supercritical or ultra-supercritical power plants. It is irony that Australia, a rich developed country, still uses this old technology. To tackle climate change, our politicians need to understand the basics, it is not just choice between coal power and unreliable renewable power.

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