I had the genuine pleasure of talking to Rod Adams of the terrifc site Atomic Insights this evening, along with my friend Barry Brook of Brave New Climate, for the purpose of his Rod’s podcasting show. Rod recently came across Decarbonise SA and was kind enough to give the site a great write up, so I was delighted to return some of my time to him today.

Rod Adams of Atomic Insights

The conversation was a was a lot of fun, and it was great to be able to reflect on the Australian and South Australian situation with the benefits of perspectives from such an informed host as Rod, and as expert a co-guest as Barry. We covered a fair bit of ground, including a bit of DSA’s short history. I hope we can do it again, and I really hope we can do it with some good progress to bring to the table from South Australia. After all, the idea of Decarbonise SA is to have a regional model that works, and can be applied elsewhere. To have this avenue to a broader audience is invaluable.

Here’s the link. Enjoy!



  1. Very interesting, particularly your points on SA wind.

    To paraphrase:

    No fossil fuel plants were closed but new small peaking fossil fuel plants were built during that time [the wind build from 2003 to present]

    Really? So in SA there is a very real connection between increasing wind and increasing gas. That is a very strong point to make. Do you know which power stations they are, or where I can find out?

    1. Take Quarantine Power Station for example http://www.originenergy.com.au/2074/Quarantine-Power-Station . Became operational in 2002 but capacity was more than doubled in 2009. Open cycle gas turbine as Rod discussed. Specific purpose is meeting peak demand. I’m not yet making the call that the wind is “pulling” this into operation in South Australia, I don’t have the evidence for that. But it is true that the wind is not letting us close baseload and is not preventing an expansion in fossil generating capacity to cover peaks. On the plus side, over this period we have nearly entirely cut imports from Victoria, and our emission factor is dropping. But the bottom line of GHG emissions only seems to get worse. Clearly, this is a failed (incomplete?) strategy.

  2. That’s ominous that the gas power station will be built at Tepko which sounds like Tepco the operator of Fukushima. Slight problem with Cooper Basin only having 10 year’s gas unless fracking comes to the rescue.

    The big end of town seems to have decided that once a rock containing iron, rare earths or uranium is dug up then Asia will do the value adding. Despite Bluescope and OneSteel getting a $500m bribe to stay local it seems the latter wants to close shop, perhaps putting 400 Whyalla people out of work. No doubt the Federal govt will devise some form of makework like building another batch of diesel submarines at Pt Adelaide.

    In my opinion SA’s best shot is integrating the nuclear fuel cycle. That’s not such a stretch since it has the world’s largest uranium deposit and it had post WW2 A-bomb tests. I think the sequence should be as follows.. expanded uranium mining, 3rd generation nuclear electricity and desalination, uranium enrichment, waste disposal and ultimately 4th generation nuclear. Put a lot of that on the west coast as a replacement for steel making.

    Instead we’ll hear about fracking and new defence contracts. Maybe subsidised electric cars. Geothermal will still be on the cusp of a breakthrough a decade from now. How long will it take for the penny to drop?

  3. Ben, what a great show! You and Barry are a great source of inspiration for me, and I am happy to see that the Internet has allowed such great exchange of good information between opposites sides of the globe without problems.

    I am reading Tom Blees’ “Prescription for the Planet” book as I write this comment, and am having more and more food for thought. I will need to shift gears with Futuro Nucleare soon, and will always look at Decarbonise SA as a reference, as our two blogs were born just a month apart.

    Ciao from the equally non-nuclear Italy!

    Luca Bertagnolio
    Futuro Nucleare

    1. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you Luca, and thanks for the vote of confidence. Glad you enjoyed the show, the internet is a wonderful thing!

      I thought Futuro must have been older, it looks very professional. I think we have both been working hard!

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