Renewable energy

Byron shire aims to lead Australia on zero emissions community plan

By Giles Parkinson. RenewEconomy, March 9 2015

Byron Shire – in the northern rivers region of New South Wales – is aiming to become the first region in Australia to become “net zero emissions”, with a goal to reduce emissions from energy, transport, buildings, waste and land use to zero within 10 years.

The push by Byron mayor Simon Richardson means that Byron Bay will be the first town or council in Australia to adopt the master-plan created several years ago by the think tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

The idea is to dovetail the plan with other local initiatives, including a stream of community-based renewable energy developments, the creation of the country’s first community energy retailer, and the proliferation of rooftop solar at the household and business level.


Craig Memery - Switching from gas to electric

Craig Memery, Energy Specialist and Consumer Advocate at the Alternative Technology Association (ATA), will present findings of their new report, Are We Still Cooking with Gas?  Many households in Australia would be better off switching from gas to efficient electric appliances - for both financial and enviromental reasons.

Ken Munson & Philip Keogan - Sunverge brings solar & storage to our new bi-directional distributed grid!


There is a fundamental shift happening in the electricity market. With distributed storage and the ubiquity of cloud based software solutions, Californian startup Sunverge is offering a solar & storage solution creating a bi-directional flow of information and energy which is changing the way we use the traditional one-way grid.  

Beyond Zero's Anthony Daniele is joined in the studio by Sunverge Co-founder, President and CEO Ken Munson and Philip Keogan, Sunverge GM Australia and New Zealand (and formerly an executive at Ergon Energy) to talk about this new "internet of energy". 

Hayden Smith - Sunswift - 1st road legal solar car

Project manager Hayden Smith leads Sunswift, a team of University of New South Wales (UNSW) engineering students, undertaking a most ambitious goals: Making eVe the Southern Hemisphere’s 1st road legal solar passenger car. The team has been working hard in the hopes of officially registering with the Roads & Maritime Services as early as March 2015. Making eVe road legal is a huge task requiring a major redesign and rebuild of almost every aspect of the car. The resources and engineering effort required is considerable and Hayden and the team ran a successful crowd funding campaign to .

Sunswift eVe is the fifth generation solar car designed and built by the UNSW Solar Racing Team, Sunswift. Built for practicality, speed, and endurance, eVe is the embodiment of Australian innovation and design. Originally created for the 2013 World Solar Challenge – Cruiser Class, eVe sets a new standard for sustainable transportation, offering high performance, efficiency, comfort and style – all powered directly from the sun.

Related podcasts:

UNSW Sunswift solar car takes line honours

Dr David Finn - Australian Tritium EV chargers exporting to the world

Dr Gavin Mudd: Abundant resources underpin renewable energy

Dr. Gavin Mudd is Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering in Faculty of Engineering at Monash University. His research interests include sustainable development in groundwater, and environmental impact, management and rehabilitation of mine wastes. 

Dr. Mudd and his Monash University colleagues have recently completed a report titled, Rare earth elements: deposits, uncertainties and wasted opportunities. They found rare earths are more abundant than their name suggests. The real issues that need addressing, are extraction, processing and the subsequent environmental impacts.

Given the extensive need for rare earths in various renewable energy technologies, the researchers were able to smash the myth that they are 'scarce', by building a comprehensive global resource data set which shows they are indeed abundant and can easily meet reasonable demands for decades. Despite scare mongering, the resources are there to support renewable energy and we're not limited by the resources that can underpin renewable energy technologies. 

Gavin's experience includes extensive engagement with community groups across Australia and internationally on the environmental impacts of mining. 

Tim Forcey- NSW gas demand could halve in 10 years

Tim Forcey is the Energy Advisor at the Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI) at The University of Melbourne, and is a regular guest on Beyond Zero (speaking previously on pumped hydro energy storage). In this podcast, Tim Forcey speaks about a new MEI paper which found that gas demand in NSW could fall to as much as half within ten years. 

MEI made a submission to the New South Wales Parliament's Upper House Inquiry into 'The supply and cost of gas and liquid fuels in NSW'. Tim was recently invited to testify at this Inquiry and present his work. The NSW goverment, AGL, Santos and many other organisation also testified, focusing on the supply side and warning of gas shortages. However Tim's research was really the only one that was focusing on the demand side. 

Network costs often make up the largest part of a consumer’s gas or electricity supply bill. Investments in network infrastructure are based on estimates of future demand. If demand is overestimated, unnecessary infrastructure is built. Such poor investment decisions drive up the costs that small and large gas consumers must pay.

Recent unprecedented electricity price increases across eastern Australia were partly due to overinvestment in network infrastructure that, in turn, was partly a result of year-after-year overestimation of electricity demand by the responsible planning bodies.

A present danger is that future gas demand in eastern Australia now likewise being overestimated.

Rod Quantock, Dagmar Graczyk, Leigh Ewbank

This show was broadcast on Mon 15 December 2014

Comedian, activist and national treasure Rod Quantock, recently joined the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) at the University of Melbourne as a Research associate looking at the presentation of climate change impacts and resource crisis. He joins Vivien from Beyond Zero radio to speak about the launch new project on Pozible: The Last Tim Tam. The Last Tim Tam is a 12 month research project to develop a new way of communicating the impacts of Climate Change and the Limits to Growth because the old ways have clearly not worked.

Dagmar Graczyk, Manager for South Asia, International Energy Agency (IEA) talked to Vivien at the Energy Efficiency Council National Conference 2014 in November.

Then Leigh Ewbank, renewables community co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth (FoE), talks about favourable changes in renewable energy policy that Daniel Andrews and the new Labour government have brought in since winning last month's Victorian state election. In particular, restoring fair wind farm laws and FoE pushing Victorian Renewable Energy Target following the South Australia's recently increased target to 50% by 2025 and even more ambituos ACT RET of 90% by 2020.

Comedian Rod Quantock


Bruce Mountain and Paul Szuster


Time to write down the value of NSW networks

Carbon + Energy Markets (CME) Director Bruce Mountain, and Consultant Paul Szuster, join Beyond Zero radio's Niels and Michael to talk about the NSW Government's plan to partially privatise, two of its three distribution network service providers. One of the key issues is that the assets are over-valued.
Considering the conflicting interests and the high price NSW household consumers are currently paying for network services, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) commissioned CME to examine the regulatory valuation at privatisation, and identify relevant issues.

Emeritus Prof Stuart Hill - Dr Stephen Bygrave - Dr Tim Read

This show was broadcast on Mon 1 December 2014

Vivien from the Beyond Zero show speaks to University of Western Sydney Emeritus Professor Stuart Hill about BZE's recently released Zero Carbon Australia Land Use Plan. Then, BZE CEO Dr Stephen Bygrave and Dr Tim Read, Greens candidate for Brunswick, join her in the studio to talk climate change politics.
Tim Read Stuart Hill Steve Bygrave
Tim Read Stuart Hill Steve Bygrave



Victorian Election

This show was broadcast on Mon 24 November 2014

Join Vivien from Beyond Zero radio for the Victorian election special. Victorians go to the polls this Saturday 29 November where the outcome is likely to be The Greens holding the balance of power. Public transport, stopping the proposed East-West Link, fair solar tariffs & electricity prices and the future of rural farming are some of the issues covered with the following guests:

Dr Nicholas Aberle, Safe Climate Campaign Manager, Environment Victoria

Peter Crisp, MLA Member for Mildura, The Nationals 

Dr Tim Read
- doctor and medical researcher - is Greens candidate for the seat of Brunswick and hoping to become the first Green MP into the lower house of Victoria’s Parliament

Lily D’Ambrosio is the Member for Mill Park and the Shadow Minister for Energy and resources, Cost of Living and the Suburbs.

Syndicate content