Renewable energy

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.

Lyle De Sousa

Beyond Zero talks to Lyle De Sousa about the broad electricity market and strategies renewable players ought consider. Lyle De Sousa is the Principal of Legal Energy Lawyers & Consultants. He is a commercial lawyer with 20 years’ experience and also holds a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering. His unique blend of commercial, legal and engineering skill means he can deal effectively with issues that other lawyers and engineers do not often understand.

Lyle is committed to the renewable energy sector and provides advice to, and negotiates deals for, development and construction renewable energy project developers, including unique energy storage projects. He also provides advice on regulatory developments in the energy sector and assistance in negotiating constructive outcomes in dealing with network operators.
Lyle started his working life at Freehills Lawyers. He worked with AEMO (and its predecessor, VENCorp) for 7 years negotiating connection and network augmentation and construction contracts for high profile power station projects. Because of his unique expertise, Lyle has also been engaged by the AEMC to write aspects of the National Electricity Rules in relation to connection of embedded generators and in developing transmission network connection policy.

Clinton Wood - Lighthouse Infrastructure leading solar financing

Clinton Wood of Lighthouse Infrastructure talks about how private investment is being leveraged for renewable energy projects, and the challenges and risks of developing this further.

Clinton Wood is Chief Operating Officer at Lighthouse Infrastructure was established in 2007 as an independent firm, based in Melbourne, Australia, focusing on the investment needs of institutional investors in traditional infrastructure and alternative assets. Lighthouse, working with Impact Investment Group, has established the $250 million Fund to provide opportunities to invest in a portfolio of solar assets.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced $20 million in support for a program funded by the Solaire Income Fund. See Press Release and Fact Sheet here. This funding is for a program by Tindo Solar – the only Australian manufacturer of solar PV panels - offering a PPA product to commercial and residential customers. Lighthouse also helped win CEFC funding for a 3.1MW major expansion of Australian company Epuron’s Northern Territory solar power station.

Clinton talks about other policies such as the RET and ARENA. He warns that without the LRET, the price for solar PPA's could go up by 10c/kWh, making it economically unviable. 

Energy Freedom Alliance

Jenny LewisHeidi Lee
This show was broadcast on Mon 21th July 2014

Beyond Zero's Vivien and Anthony are joined by engineer Jenny Lewis and architect Heidi Lee to talk about the recenlty launched Energy Freedom Alliance. Jenny and Heidi have wide ranging experience in sustainable buildings, environmental design and were key contributors to BZE's Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan in areas of research and project management. 

Energy Freedom by Beyond Zero Emissions brings together households and businesses to transform Australian homes into zero emissions, net energy producers. The comprehensive research of the Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan shows how existing Australian homes can become efficient and comfortable.


Mark Summerfield talks patents


Beyond Zero Radio's Anthony & Matt talks to Mark Summerfield about patents; especially in light of Tesla's recent decision to offer their patents available to anyone using their technology 'in good faith.'  Mark Summerfield is Special Counsel, Patent and Trade Marks Attorney at Watermark, a company of experts in Intellectual Asset Management (IAM).

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