Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Coal and the Weather: A Vicious Circle And Not In The Way You Might Think

So we've had problems with our coal in South Africa. Guess what, Australia is having BIG problems too. Is the problem one of supply? No, the problem is unusual unseasonally levels rainfall, flooding - meaning coal piles remain wet and then cannot be used, or cannot be used with effective energy output.

On TV last night a guy was saying an investment in a new power station means a 10 year downtime period, followed by 50 years of operation. Excuse me, we need to be investing elsewhere, but we are just out of RIGHT NOW options aren't we?

Nuclear is an alternative, but you pay a premium upfront for energy that clean. Are we prepared to pay it? Or are we heading back towards the dim ages, to an age when coal was the primary fuel source...a time of pestilence and pollution, steam trains, cars and ships. That's quite a slip backward for an apparently advanced civilisation. But then an advanced civilisation that turns out to use the internet to search Britney, Paris and Pam, perhaps needs to go back to Baby School.

Newcastle Coal Rises to Record on Australian Floods (Update2)

Power-station coal prices at the New South Wales port gained $13.68, or 11 percent, to $139.16 a metric ton in the week ended Feb. 15, according to the globalCOAL NEWC Index. The price rose 73 percent in 2007. The increase comes as mine owners and fuel buyers are set to negotiate annual contract prices to take effect April 1.

Wet coal threatens Eskom power output

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