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

ABC RN Drive: PANEL DISCUSSION: SOLAR POWER

From ABC Radio National Drive Listen Here 

[Waleed Aly] 19 minutes past the hour, your're on RN Drive, Waleed Aly with you, its time for our Wednesday Panel.

Do you have Solar Power at home? Lots of Australian homes now do have rooftop solar panels
now, thanks partly due to government subsidies, but we have been less successful in developing large scale solar generation projects in Australia.

In the latest setback, the first two planned projects under the federal governments solar flagships program failed to meet the deadline to secure financial backing. One has been granted extra time, while the government has been forced to reopen tenders for the other project.

NSW and QLD governments must halt all gas mining to protect farms and food exports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 09 Feb 2012

Beyond Zero Emissions is calling for a complete cessation of CSG mining and exploration activities across NSW and QLD following the verified leak of toxic chemicals into the environment at a NSW CSG field owned by SANTOS.

"All CSG activities must stop to protect farming, state and national governments must order an immediate cessation of exploration and extraction across NSW and QLD in light of the continued problems that are plaguing the industry" said Wright

"It is obvious that Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining is resulting in the destruction of our natural environment and poisoning of our waterways and land" said Matthew Wright Executive Director of climate and energy security think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

"Following a series of ongoing issues at multiple sites, it is clear that these problems aren't going away and this industry can't operate safely or in a way that doesn't pose a significant risk of harm the community" said Wright.

"Our hardworking farmers rely on untainted clean water in order to supply safe food to consumers in our cities, SANTOS and other operators such as AGL and QGC are gatecrashing established agricultural communities with their toxic mining practices and destroying the very land the nation relies on to be able to meet the demands for our daily fresh food and vegetables." said Wright

ABC: Germany has the wind at its back

Matthew Wright

THE recent clinching of a $1.9 billion Australian defence contract by the Germans illustrates to carbon price knockers that they need look no further for proof that an economy which relies on renewable energy can outsmart one dependent on fossil fuels.

Germany's electricity sector delivers 21 per cent of its power from renewable sources, such as the wind and the sun. Just 8.5 per cent of Australian power is provided by these sources, despite the fact that our continent has them in spades compared to the Germans.

This month it was reported that a Bendigo workshop planned to lay off 50 staff because it had missed out on a government contract to supply vehicles for the Australian Army.

The tender for Land 121 Phase 3 military vehicles was won late last year by German consortium Rheinmetall MAN which will export about 2,700 fully assembled vehicles to Australia.

Flagship projects are duds

Ferguson run Flagships has picked losers not winners.

Feed-in tariffs have been shown time and again to be the superior market-based policy instrument for getting the best renewable energy deployed. However, if the government chooses to use grant mechanisms, the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism need to get a lot better at evaluating technologies.

Through Solar Flagships the government wanted to showcase one photovoltaic and one solar thermal plant.

Flagships Fiasco Ferguson Un-FiT

Today, climate and energy solutions think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions called on Minister Ferguson and the Gillard Government to stop picking losers through a renewable energy grant system and instead back a national feed-in-tariff (FiT)

"The reason to choose feed-in-tariffs over grants, guarantees and other schemes that Ferguson has picked, is that they provide a level playing field for investors and they actually get renewable energy built"  said Matthew Wright Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions.

"State based feed-in-tariffs achieved $5 billion worth of renewable investment last year in Australia, more than any other scheme has ever achieved."

"In cloudy Germany the 2012 feed-in-tariff scheme achieved over $30 Billion investment in solar alone."

Farmers squeezed out of energy boon

Stock & Land reports: LANDHOLDERS should be capitalising on seismic changes in how we generate energy, says Matthew Wright, but instead they are being pushed aside.

Mr Wright, executive director of Beyond Zero Emissions, thinks the thrust of current government policy will be to deny many landholders the ability to profit from wind generation, while compromising the enterprises of other landholders who host coal seam gas (CSG) operations without sharing in CSG profits.

Beyond Zero Emissions, a non-profit organisation, has the goal of moving Australia "from a 19th century fossil fuel based economy to a 21st century renewable powered clean tech economy".

Merit order: How solar FiTs could cut energy bills for all

A study from the Melbourne Energy Institute suggests that the benefits of solar energy on the National Electricity Market could outweigh the costs of feed-in-tariffs, and could deliver energy cost savings for all customers, rather than an impost as is commonly believed.

The conclusion comes from a draft of the latest update of its study – which also includes researchers from the ANU’s Solar Thermal Group, Beyond Zero Emissions, and Clean Technology Partners – into the merit order effect, which relates to the impact that energy sources with small or zero marginal costs (such as wind and solar) can have on the overall grid by lowering prices.

The merit order effect is considered crucial in the debate around clean energy deployment because it suggests that the cost of incentives – such as renewable energy certificates or feed in tariffs – can be offset by the benefits this energy has on wholesale prices in the NEM. Once a wind farm or a solar farm is constructed with an upfront subsidy, its low marginal cost means that it can bid beneath coal and gas generators into the energy stack. This reduces margins for the coal and gas generators, but it also delivers considerable savings on wholesale prices, particularly solar, as it delivers into the grid at times of higher demand.

Syndicate content