A sane book on energy

Yes, I am reading heaps, library books and ebooks, moderns and classics —  but I am not bothering to document it all here. Some I will mention, including this latest: A History of the Energy We Have Consumed. In fact it is:

energy

It’s quite fascinating, and so refreshing in contrast to the partisan claptrap we have had from our PM du jour down through the buffoons who fester on the pages of the Murdoch tabloids or lurk at night on Sky. Shocked to discover Rhodes is 81 years old too! You’d never guess!

Lots of who’d-a-thought moments. Did you know there was a link between bird-shit on islands off Chile and the Irish potato famine of the 1840s? Did you know that burning coal “with its ubiquitous content of radium and thorium, releases more radioactivity into the environment… than any other fuel”?

Rhodes makes an intelligent case for properly managed nuclear power.  He cites the capacity factor (pp. 330-1) of various power sources in the USA, that is how much of the time they actually generate electricity. “Even plants powered with coal or natural gas generate electricity only about half the time.”

capacity-factor-fuel-type-statistics

Compare:

capacity

Lately we have had the latest report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , the response to which by Scott Morrison was south of pathetic. See also Coal is on the way out, the only question is how quickly.

A supplementary thought from my cousin Ray, from the Mining Museum at Lithgow NSW. “This happened at the Lithgow State Mine site. Lithgow has the credit of hosting Australia’s first privately owned wind farm, and the world’s first solar powered train. People should never question my coalmining town’s environmental credentials.” He is referring to Lithgow Railway Workshop gets national engineering nod for solar train.