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AGEC/FNR 406 LECTURE 27 Challicum Hills, the largest wind farm in Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "AGEC/FNR 406 LECTURE 27 Challicum Hills, the largest wind farm in Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 AGEC/FNR 406 LECTURE 27 Challicum Hills, the largest wind farm in Australia

2 Energy Alternatives Why search for alternatives to oil? 1. Finite supply of fossil fuels (see lecture 26, Hubbert’s Peak) 2. Geopolitical risks associated with oil supplies 3. Global warming

3 Our Energy Habits “…on its current course, the future global energy situation will remain vulnerable, dirty and expensive.” International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook (2006)

4 The simple story: Renewables (e.g. solar): Currently not capable of supplying world energy needs, even if they were cost-competitive (which they are not) Nuclear Energy: Even if storage issues were resolved, there is not enough fissionable fuel available to supply electricity needs Result: Fossil fuels will still provide most energy for the foreseeable future

5 What does the future hold? Global primary energy demand (energy before export and refinement) - expected to increase by 50%+ by 2030 - 70% of new demand from developing countries - 30% of new demand from China

6 Why not alternatives? Fossil fuel energy is very compact: for 1 square meter of… biomass: 1watt of energy wind power: 10 watts fossil fuel: 100-1000 watts Most countries have reserves (especially of coal) which ensure energy “security”

7 The bad news… Coal… resurgence of popularity because it is cheap and plentiful As a result… CO2 emissions will likely grow faster than energy demand Kyoto targets unlikely to be met

8 What to do? Wind farms Nuclear power Geothermal Solar Conservation

9 Wind farms Pros - renewable - supported by Renewable Portfolio Standards (enacted in 22 states) - high potential in many areas Cons - siting difficulties (NIMBY, BANANA) - must move electricity from source

10 Nuclear Pros - ample supply of Uranium (270 years worth of current consumption) in “stable” countries (Canada, Australia) - carbon-free (except for construction) - low and stable MC Cons - safety - waste management and disposal

11 Geothermal Pros clean and relatively cheap Cons location-specific

12 Solar Pros renewable flexible scalable Cons toxic production not suitable in all locations

13 Conservation Pros Cheap Easy Cons Requires some effort, hardship, and changes in behavior


15 Cost comparisons – these are difficult to estimate due to variations in capital costs and assumptions

16 The importance of “now” Many power plants built in the US and Europe came on line after WWII, in conjunction with rapid economic development in the industrialized countries Much energy infrastructure needs to be replaced now. Decisions made now will have lasting consequences.

17 Source: Chowdhury (2006) Twin sons of different mothers?

18 Source: Chowdhury (2006) Winds of change?

19 Source material for this lecture includes: Chowdhury, B. H. “Alternative Energy - Hype or Real?” IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer Online. December 2006. Vajjhala, S. P. “Siting Difficulty and Renewable Energy Development: A Case of Gridlock” Resources 163:5-7, Winter 2007. “Energy: Finding a New Gear” OECD Observer, December 2006. “The Economics of Nuclear Power” Briefing paper No. 8 (2007) Uranium Information Centre Ltd, Melbourne Australia

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