It was my pleasure today to give a presentation and sit on a panel for the Leaders Institute of South Australia (Governor’s Leadership Foundation). I was joining this year’s GLF participants to contribute to the discussions on the topic of Leadership and Climate Change. While acknowledged for my varied sustainability and climate change consulting work with ThinkClimate Consulting, I was certainly there today on the back of my stand for nuclear power in Australia. What a great thing, to be able to speak to a group of 40 people who have chosen to challenge themselves with a year-long course in leadership.


All the presentations were fantastic. My thanks to my co-panellists Faith Cook, Catherine Way, and a special shout out to Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg. My favourite politician and the whole room loved her!

L-R Lorraine Rosenberg, yours truly, Catherine Way, Faith Cook

Faithful to the request to speak to the issue of leadership and not just give content on my topic, I discussed how I believe leadership in climate change comes as the product of five characteristics: Honesty, Novelty, Optimism, Pragmatism and Authenticity.

Using Australia’s energy flow to make a point about honesty. We are a global coal dealer in the climate change problem, with a hypocritical relationship with uranium

You can check out the presentation here GLF2013 Final.

The presentation was very well received, the questions during the 1 hour panel were great, and all the copies of Zero Carbon Options were snapped up quickly afterward.

Thanks again to the Institute for having me. 


  1. I note that you included GE/Hitachi’s descendant of the IFR, but I wonder if you are aware of the company Advanced Reactor Concepts,, which includes some of the original project’s engineers.
    They propose a 100 MW SMR, factory built, with a 20.7 ton fuel assembly that needs no attention for 20 years, and is then refurbishable by replacing 8% of its mass (fission products) with the same mass of depleted or un-enriched uranium.

  2. SA Premier Weatherill has said that a Mwh of wind power saves a tonne of CO2
    A figure agreed to in the UK ( this was several years ago) was that a Mwh of wind energy on the grid saves 0.42 tonnes of CO2. If new wind costs ~$90 per Mwh plus the $32 LGC subsidy then at a rough guess this costs $200-$300 per tonne of CO2 saved vs $23 carbon tax and perhaps as little as $5 for EU offsets. No wonder some ‘gentailers’ like Origin don’t want to build any more wind farms.

    Now the weird thing is that SA may contain a third of the world’s easily mined uranium headed by Olympic Dam. Another factoid is that the Torrens Island baseload power station in Adelaide is Australia’s largest single user of natural gas and SA’s major electricity source. Industry insiders claim that old gas contracts written for $4 a GJ will be renewed for $9.

    I say SA has enough wind capacity at ~1200 MW for 1.6m people and greater wind penetration will raise power bills and drive unsubsidised industry away (such as the Olympic Dam expansion). In my opinion Weatherill is holding SA back and will drive an exodus of jobs and young people.

    Links available for all factual claims.

  3. As a former Adelaide Hills resident and regular visitor to Eyre Peninsula I keep an interest in SA’s water and energy policy. Today once again something doesn’t sound right. Adelaide’s RO desal plant at Pt Stanvac has officially opened ‘powered by renewable energy’ in order to draw less water from the River Murray. Couple of problems; why is Adelaide building new suburbs if it wants less water consumption? What if the renewable energy offset doesn’t deliver? This could happen in an extended heatwave with reduced wind capacity.

    I know Pt Stanvac has some PV panels but in a drought desalination is needed 24/7. I also know a high powered connection was built from Torrens Island to Pt Stanvac so gas fired electricity is clearly the backup source. I suggest within a decade TI electricity will be too expensive as the gas price escalates. For some weird reason SA Water thinks desal won’t be needed after 2015. Contagious optimism perhaps. Here’s the perfect storm
    – high SA population growth
    – extended drought and low wind capacity
    – exorbitant cost of gas fired electricity.
    I’m not talking about 10 years from now the jitters could start this year. What is the alternative?

  4. The local council has rejected proposals for a 600 MW wind farm on Yorke Peninsula
    Original plans envisaged an underwater HVDC cable across St Vincent Gulf to Adelaide and straw burning backup thermal plant. Other issues must include a review of the Renewable Energy Target and possible removal of carbon tax by an Abbott government and plans for another 600 MW wind farm on King Island in Bass Strait.

    This may put the kibosh on plans to take SA windpower from ~1200 MW capacity to 1800 MW. What would help SA is if they could export power interstate without the RET mandate and also cover heatwave demand without burning increasingly expensive gas. It would also help if they could power new or expanded mining projects, power desalination when wind and solar aren’t helping and attract other industries not reliant on subsidies. If only.

    1. I would certainly wait for the State planning body to have their say before saying our farewells. They are quite fond of wind, and the industry is quite fond of SA. I think they will want it to go ahead.

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