En route to work I stopped at the opening of the community consultation road show in Rundle Mall, Adelaide. This will  be visiting dozens of locations around South Australia as part of the discussion on whether to advance plans for a multinational repository. Here are some pictures and a short video. 


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  1. The silver ponytail crowd seem inconsolable or perhaps they think Ben is radioactive. Meanwhile Gen X and Gen Y who might be worried if they have a long term future in SA at least seem willing to listen.

  2. I think Ben IS radioactive! I have it on good authority that he eats bananas! Oh, the recklessness, oh, the irreparable organ damage. Poor fellow. He’s doomed.

  3. Thanks for the report and show Ben! It’s good to see a truly well done presentation on behalf of an important community decision. And the booth being very active in spite of everyone in it being radioactive (it’s not just from the bananas).

    I love the balloons. I hope the team giving them out reminds everyone that the helium in them is a gift from the uranium and thorium in the earth’s crust. (The alpha particles in the decay chain grab a couple of electrons from the surrounding atoms and settle down to a sedate new life. Then some of them migrate to the natural gas reservoirs we tap.)

    Senator Xenophon’s response seems very curious in view of the topmost statement on the front page of the Nick Xenophon Team site:

    For us, it’s all about looking at issues on their merits and working out the best outcome for everyone. Politics should never just be about left or right, it should always be about right or wrong.

    How does a fact based public consultation become insulting to him? Or is he insulted on behalf of his constituents?

  4. Funny how a state that pledges to go low carbon wants to extract more fossil fuels
    I think a commercial offshore oil and gas field is a long shot based on drilling results from a decade ago. It shows how desperate is the effort to keep the black gold flowing. it would also help if gas didn’t go to $22/GJ during high demand periods. As the years go by it must dawn on people that nuclear is SA’s best bet.

  5. I suspect the renewables-at-any-cost crowd will be thrilled with AGL’s ‘virtual power station’ of networked batteries in Adelaide
    Other links suggest the storage capacity will be 7 Mwh roughly consistent with 1,000 Powerwalls. SA electricity demand varies from about 0.5-3.1 GW as we speak it’s on the low side according to the NEM watch widget. At mid range values 7 Mwh will be less than half a minute’s electricity supply. As the TV show said curb your enthusiasm.

    We’ll need more info to assess whether this a good deal for either or both of AGL and the homeowners who signed up. The 2015 SA Fuel and Technology report said open cycle gas had an LCOE of $205 per Mwh in SA but that was when gas prices were stable. That I guess is AGL’s backstop peaking power price. ARENA is putting up a lot of the cash for this experiment so it is not a free market arrangement. The questions will be… does it make economic sense for all participants and can it scale up to hours of supply rather than under a minute?

  6. According to SA energy minister Koutsantonis the states of NSW and Victoria are obliged to
    1) take surplus SA wind power whenever required
    2) do more gas drilling to help return dispatchable power when required
    Trouble is both those states have growing restrictions on drilling and they themselves are heading towards greater subsidised renewables. Victoria says it will have replaced its 7.3 GW of brown coal capacity by 2050. Too bad about calm nights across the whole region when gas is prohibitively expensive.

    The weird thing is that SA has the world’s largest uranium deposit yet that is somehow irrelevant.

  7. The Xenophon plan seems to be driven by misconceptions
    The two wrongest ideas appear to be firstly that wind and solar will reduce retail electricity prices. Not when they get 8.5c per kwh in an aftermarket deal after trading on the NEM. So why is SA electricity already more expensive? Secondly gas should get some ‘credit’ which could mean capacity payments, the LGC subsidy as an untaxed ‘honorary’ renewable or perhaps price control. Fact is east Australian conventional gas has been flogged since the 1960s and unconventional gas (c.s.g., fracking) is hitting land owner resistance. That’s why AEMO says we will have shortages after 2018.

    More puzzling is the claim a state carbon tax will lower costs. Huh? In the long term maybe but not initially. Somehow when Victoria replaces its 7.3 GW brown coal baseload with intermittents then SA will tap into that for frequency control and load support. Recently piped gas went to $22/GJ. Minemouth brown coal at $6 per tonne with 10 GJ heating value is 60c per GJ. No realistic carbon tax will enable baseload gas to compete. Let’s hope Sen. X revises his plan.

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