Tag Archives: South-Australia

Elon Musk wins his bet in South Australia!

As a long time fan of renewable energy, the latest news about Elon Musk fills me with glee. He bet that he could install a megabattery in South Australia in 100 days, and he’s come in ahead of schedule!

The story began last year when South Australia suffered a massive storm that destroyed infrastructure meant to allow Australian states to ‘share’ energy on a huge network. Due to some market manipulation on pricing, and a toothless watchdog asleep at its post [yes, AEMO I’m looking at you] South Australia suffered crippling blackouts, off and on, for weeks.

As the South Australia government is Labor and had invested heavily in wind farms, the Liberals in the national government went on a renewable energy bashing spree without offering up one, single practical solution. And then Elon Musk spoke up and shamed them all. He said that he could create a mammoth battery capable of storing the energy from the wind farms until needed. Then he bet the cost of the battery – $50 million dollars – that he could make good on his promise in 100 days. If he lost, he would carry the cost of the project.

Well guess what? -big grin- South Australia has a $50 million dollar bill to pay!

More importantly, all the dinosaurs in our government advocating for dirty coal power stations have been silenced, at least for a while.

You can read the whole story here:


Today really has been a good day. Thank you, Elon Musk. 🙂



Australian invention for the micro-grid

“In distributed power generation, rather than having a massive centralized grid, you’re talking about much smaller micro-grids,” says Moghtaderi. “This system, in the Energy on Demand mode, has been designed for a micro-grid application. So essentially, if you deploy to a retirement village, and you hook it up to natural gas, that retirement village would be entirely independent of the national electricity network, and they can produce their own power and other utilities, 24/7.”

That quote comes from an exciting article I read in New Atlas today. Essentially, an Australian university – the University of Newcastle – and an Australian company called Infratech Industries have together developed ‘…a Chemical Looping Energy-on-Demand System (CLES)’ which not only generates electricity, but can store it as well.

CLES is the brainchild of Professor Behdad Moghtaderi of the University of Newcastle, and could well be the answer to Australia’s energy woes. Despite being a major exporter of natural gas, Australia has somehow mismanaged things so badly that now we are the ones likely to run out of power. It’s happened already in South Australia and is likely to happen in other states as well in the near future.

Tesla has offered to create a battery-powered fail-safe for us before next summer, but I’d much rather see Australia embrace a homegrown product, especially as it could lead to a rapid uptake of distributed power generation. If we get that right, we could export the technology to the rest of the world instead of continuing to rely on the export of resources. We have so much inventive talent here, let’s celebrate if for once instead of forcing it off-shore through lack of interest.

You can find the New Atlas article here:


And now an apology. I’ve been missing in action a bit lately, and it’s due to a number of things. First, my teaching schedule exploded unexpectedly. Second, I’ve been trying to complete the print version of Innerscape, and that has required upgrading some of my most critical software to ensure that the finished product is commercially ‘legal’. [For ebooks I use Storybox, which is fine, but for print I have to use a commercial version of Word, and I only had a ‘Home and Student’ version before]. Finally, I haven’t been well. Since about June last year, I’ve had recurring infections in my teeth which have resulted in having one tooth pulled and root canal treatments on three others.

Despite all the treatments, and the associated cost, I developed another infection last week, and I now have to go see an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists who specialise in root canal treatments [amongst other things]. My first appointment is next week. Until then I’m on antibiotics that hurt my stomach and anti-inflammatories that also hurt my stomach. Not sleeping very well either so…those creative juices just aren’t flowing. I will try to catch up with your creativeness though. 🙂



South Australia – arse about on #nuclear

meeka shockedWhat the…? According to the ABC news tonight, the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission of South Australia thinks that nuclear power plants are a bad idea but storing nuclear waste for profit is not.

Essentially, the South Australian state government wants to build a nuclear waste dump. Not for the miniscule amount of nuclear waste we currently produce ourselves, but for the massive amounts produced in other parts of the world.

And what will South Australia get for this? About 1500 jobs and some revenue. Billions are mooted but I would suggest that even trillions would not be enough. Not for a potential threat that will last pretty much forever.

Why forever? Because when the half life of something is in the thousands of years, it is effectively there forever. And our short-sighted politicians want to make this nightmare our problem. Also forever.

Oh but nuclear waste is now safe.

Is it? Is our technology really reliable enough to predict what will happen in 10, 20, 100 years time?

Yes, the Australian landmass is highly stable – in comparison to countries that sit on top of fault lines, but we do still have earthquakes – not often and not very big ones, but the ground does move. Can we guarantee that no earthquake will ever occur under or even just near a waste containment facility?

Indigenous leaders already think the government doesn’t much care so long as nothing happens under Adelaide.

And what of the spectre of war? Australia may not be a likely target for a great big bomb, but what about terrorist activity? If you create a whopping big, nuclear containment area full of super toxic waste, aren’t you just creating a tempting target for someone with an axe to grind?

Then again, maybe it wouldn’t even take a terrorist. Maybe all it would take is a guy with a hangover making an oopsie.

Or how about Climate Change and the geography we already have? Take a look at the video below. It’s of Lake Eyre…which is situated in South Australia. Funny bout that…

We once had a huge inland sea of which Lake Eyre is an ephemeral remnant. Is it really so impossible to image the dry inland becoming wet again thanks to Climate Change? I’m sure the designers of Fukushima never imaged an earthquake would break the plant and allow the sea in, but it did, proof that with nuclear, you can never plan for a bad enough ‘worst case’ scenario.

The truth is, none of us can predict the future. Nevertheless, it isn’t hard to imagine what might happen if something did go wrong. Much of inland Australia sits on top of massive, underground aquifers. If those aquifers become polluted with nuclear waste, the Red Centre could easily become the Dead Centre.

This is such a bad idea, I’m stunned any politician is capable of putting it forward with a straight face.

‘Unhappy Jan’.


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