Monday, May 01, 2017

energy effiency??

Efficiency??

Pinched from the internet; Australian Geographic? Open cut coal mine, Hunter valley, NSW

There is, at the moment, an Advertisement? On Australian TV extolling, and promoting the 'virtues' of coal mining - but part of that advertisement is a Japanese looking bloke in white coat and hard hat – telling the viewer that they are very proud that their coal fired electricity generators achieve 40% efficiency …. which sort of made me think a bit. Where has the other 60% gone?

So; does that include, or exclude, the expenditure of energy digging it out of the ground (not counting the 'energy' of the personnel involved, and their 'carbon footprint'). The cost of building and constructing the steel machines involved, and fuel used?

(Australia does not build or construct  any 'mining' machinery - all imported).

Then we have to consider the cost of the “transport” machinery. Railways, trucks, Port loading machines – all made of steel, mostly. Then the expenditure of energy building steel shipping – plus their diesel fuel to take it offshore – only to arrive at an 'unloading' facility and its steel structures.
Then, unless there is some sort of 'efficient' method of unloading the coal directly into the “electricity” generator … we have to factor in either further rail or road transport.

From my point of view, might be wrong, but that all adds up to a NEGATIVE percentage efficiency.

Now, I live about 3klm from a “wind farm”. (no negative health effects, so far). There are sheep grazing quite happily beneath and around the towers. The farmer is 'leasing' the land to the 'developer' of this array of electricity generation. Am sure that if he chose to grow wheat or barley there, most of the acreage is usable - If, at some point in the future, the towers rust away – the farmer, and/or his/her family RETAIN the AGRICULTURAL use of this land. Have only lived here for 18 months or so – but have yet to witness ALL of the turbines not-active.

While yes, building and constructing wind turbines involve the expenditure of energy – once they are up and running … energy output is, basically … free.

Unlike an open cut coal mine that destroys agriculture for many future children to come.
Coal dust is strewn along every rail corridor transporting it. The expenditure of negative energy is continuous.

However, there is a philosophical/political/social problem. Mining coal provides thousands of 'jobs' and a 'revenue' conundrum for, perhaps, short term political calculations.

As far as am aware there are two Wind Farm “managers” (plus or minus 'families') living on site; and yep, there may be a few 'technicians' on-call – a far cry from the thousands of employees involved in coal mining.

View from shoreline
electricity from a paddock

2 comments:

Davoh said...

So, if someone can suggest another method of producing FOOD and electricity in the same location - please .... tell me.

Anne Johnson said...

As jobs go, coal mining is one of the worst. And look what a mess it leaves behind! Could we perhaps put the miners to work building roads or bridges or something worthwhile?