Australia's twist in the wind


Denmark's renewable energy achievements and its ambitious targets demonstrate a serious plan to lead the world in tackling global climate and energy security. Wind turbine technology will power half of its plan.

At the end of last year, Denmark announced that it will increase its share of wind power in the electricity supply mix from 25 per cent, its total today, to 50 per cent by 2020. The earlier plan was to do the same, but by 2025.

Denmark's bullish drive towards wind energy comes from the public’s ongoing strong support for the industry and technology. Over one million Danes currently live within one kilometre of an operating wind farm. Many of these wind farms are being, or are scheduled to be, upgraded with newer turbines. This ongoing process of upgrades shows that support for wind energy stays strong in the local vicinity even after communities have lived with a generation of turbines that have served their useful lives.

Solar power as foreign aid - Germany lights the way for the developing world

Germany now has over 30 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic panels on its rooftops. The sheer scale of deployment means that over 4 per cent of the nation's electricity will come from rooftop solar power this year.

This industrial-scale solar rollout, created by Germany's innovative policy support structure, has enabled a significant global research and development environment to thrive, not to mention a massive upscaling and subsequent cost reduction in technology. Not only has Germany gained real emissions reductions from rooftop solar, meaning the country is seriously eating into its carbon liabilities, it has installed enough solar on roofs that doing the same in Australia would be the equivalent of retiring the output of four large coal fired power plants – more than 15 per cent of Australia's total electricity generation.

Cairns and Brisbane, QLD: Two-Speed Economy - Who wins and who loses in the mining boom?

Everyone has heard how good the mining industry is for Queensland but is this actually the case?

The world’s largest coal mine is being developed 400km inland from Cairns, with a proposal to ship coal through the Whitsundays. There is no doubt that it will destroy existing jobs in tourism and agriculture, and hurt manufacturing across Queensland.

In the lead up to the QLD state election, don't miss this forum which exposes the propoganda of the mining industry for what it is.

You can download the Mining the Truth report for the full picture.

Events are happening in Cairns and Brisbane:

Hans-Josef Fell at ANU

German member of parliament Hans-Josef Fell, the key architect of the world's most successful renewable energy policies (feed-in tariffs) spoke at the Australian National University in Canberra last week. Below is a recording of his talk.


Brace for an electric shock

Germany's 37 million households will soon be paying half as much on their annual electricity bills as Australian households. An average German household pays just $1060, or about $88 a month, for electricity to run their computers, lights and other household appliances, while an Australian household in 2013 will be paying a whopping  $2117, or $176 a month, according to the Australian Energy Market  Commission (AEMC).

Australian retail electricity prices will rise 37 per cent from 2010-2014 (AEMC), widening the chasm between German and Australian bills and bringing hardship to Australian families already doing it tough from the high dollar and the financial crisis. And it’s going to get worse. As our electricity bills soar, Germany's electricity bills will rise minimally. According to the German energy agency (DENA), bills will rise just 20 per cent by 2020. For most families this will be offset by the legislated German-wide 20 per cent energy efficiency target, which will result in a further reduction of electricity consumption in German homes, reducing bills even more.

This may be contrary to what you've read in the popular press and understand about relative electricity costs between our two countries. Germans and Australians are basically paying the same amount for each retail unit of electricity at the meter, with Germans paying 0.31 Australian cents today which Australians will match next year (0.31 cents in 2013/14). The difference is the volume purchased, as highlighted above. Germany has a comprehensive climate and energy security policy suite that drives renewable growth and energy efficiency across the economy, which has led to average households that use half as much electricity as Australian households.

Germany's low electricity bills are saving families so that they can now spend on the important things in life, but that's not all that Germany's highly efficient electricity sector has achieved with its lower bills for consumers:

House swap: I’ll take wind turbines over a coal mine

Wind turbines. You either love them (like 75 per cent of us), or hate them (15 per cent). Or, you couldn’t care less.

Coal mines: you either love them, like those who reap their profits (20 per cent), or you hate them (80 per cent), like those who have to live near them.

The problem of differing public attitudes to energy sources has been discussed at great length and with an increasingly hollow invective. To break the logjam, we need a mechanism of comparison that satisfies people’s intellectual, emotional and political intelligence.

Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan now available for iPad

iPad Screenshot 1

The award-winning Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan is now available on your iPad!

This complete blueprint for powering the Australian economy with 100% renewable energy contains fully hyperlinked references which take you directly to the web-based sources.

To download the app click here.

Useful for your own reference and for quickly silencing the naysayers who claim it can't be done.

Thank you to Outware Mobile for their work on this.

Renewistan or Carbonopia: where would you rather live?

Matthew Wright

Published last November, Andrew Charlton’s Quarterly Essay Man-Made World: Choosing between progress and the planet made some fundamentally important points: that solutions to climate change must allow for economic development in poorer countries; that a large part of the solution is available from improved technology; and that “our goal should be to create a world with abundant, clean and cheap energy for all.” However there are other data and other analyses leading to other conclusions.

The feasibility of a 100 per cent renewable energy future has been demonstrated by the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, an award-winning analysis published by Beyond Zero Emissions, with The University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute in 2010. The Plan confirms that currently available renewable technologies are sufficient to meet the climate challenge. No peer reviewed analysis has challenged the feasibility of the Plan. Neither the Stationary Energy Plan, data nor analyses were referred to by Charlton.

A Leaf to hide Australia’s peak oil embarrassment

Matthew Wright

Fortunately for the Federal Government, it can use a “Leaf” to hide its growing embarrassment at being exposed for suppressing its own report warning of sharp declines in global oil production in five years time.

In 2009, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) published Report 117, which revealed “at some point beyond 2017 we must begin to cope with the longer-term task of replacing oil as a source of energy. Given the inertias inherent in energy systems and vehicle fleets, the  transition will be necessarily challenging to most economies aroundthe world”.

Gas emissions up to seventy times worse - immediate moratorium a must

Unconventional gas emissions up to seventy times worse than industry claims - immediate moratorium a must

Real time air sampling of gas fields in the US has shown leakage rates of up to over seventy times greater than the rates assumed by industry and accepted by government in Australia.

The study by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, has found rates of fugitive emissions fugitive emissions up to 7.7%, with a mean of 4% .

"If US government agency NOAA is offering a hard estimate at 4% for a field north of Denver in Colorado then Australian fields are likely to have that sort of rate of release if not more, says Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions

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