What renewables target do you want?

BZE's Stephen Bygrave writes:

As one of the architects of the Renewable Energy Target in the late 1990s, it is revealing to see yet another government review of one of the most successful climate policies in the past 2 decades. This review follows an earlier one conducted only months ago by the Climate Change Authority.

So why another? Is it part of a plan to protect the status quo energy companies, and protect their business models that are rapidly becoming outdated?

The renewable energy target, introduced by the Howard government after the Kyoto negotiations in late 1997, was then a key element of the governments climate change platform to grow the renewable energy sector in Australia. It was arguably the strongest climate change initiative of those introduced by the government at the time, in addition to the establishment of the Australian Greenhouse Office, the world's first government agency dedicated to tackling climate change.

Beyond Zero Emissions finds high-speed rail service sensible and feasible

Daryl Passmore, The Sunday Mail (Qld), May 11, 2014

A high-speed train, such as this service in China, could put Brisbane within three hours of Sydney within a decade. Source: AFP

IMAGINE boarding a train at Brisbane’s Roma Street at 9am and getting off at Sydney’s Central Station at noon.

Imagine living near the beach on the Gold Coast and commuting to work in Brisbane’s CBD within 20 minutes.

Both could be a reality in little more than a decade, according to a new report which says high speed rail is not only achievable and affordable, but essential to Australia’s future.

Detailed research by Melbourne University’s Energy Institute, think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions and the German Aerospace Center, concludes that a 1799km network linking Brisbane and the Gold Coast to Sydney and Melbourne could be operating by 2025.

“This is a faster, better, cleaner cheaper and more convenient form of travel. It is vital to Australia’s future,” Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Stephen Bygrave said.

Just 20 minutes from the Gold Coast to Brisbane?

By Damien Larkins and Bern Young, ABC Gold Coast.

Travelling from the Gold Coast to Brisbane in just 20 minutes could be a reality by the year 2025, researchers say.

A report from University of Melbourne's Energy Institute Energy Institute says an $84 billion high speed rail (HSR) network along Australia's east coast is the answer.

Australian think tank Beyond Zero Emissions, a part of the energy institute, says HSR is a clean, more efficient and faster way to travel.

Beyond Zero Emissions chief executive Dr Stephen Bygrave says existing networks in countries like Germany, Japan and China are already leading the way.

"It's an idea in Australia, but when you go overseas you see that this is actually a very real technology, a very real prospect," he said.

"The potential in Australia is huge, we're just not making the most of our potential."

Listen to the full interview of Dr Stephen Bygrave on ABC Gold Coast Breakfast with Bern Young. 

BZE: How we found high speed rail to be commercially viable

By Gerard Drew. The Urbanist (Crikey), April 24, 2014

Guest writer Gerard Drew from Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) explains the reasoning behind the organisation’s contention that east coast High Speed Rail line would cover its operating and capital costs

Guest writer Gerard Drew is Research Director with Beyond Zero Emissions (1):

After 30 years of discussion on high speed rail in Australia, and not a kilometre of track built for it, a cynic might assume that it’s never going to happen. But that would ignore what progress is being made overseas and recent analysis that changes the outlook for high speed rail in Australia.

The Zero Carbon Australia High Speed Rail report was published last week. It is a collaboration between think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute, and the German Aerospace Research Center.

The most important finding in the report relates to fare pricing assumptions associated with the estimation of high speed rail (HSR) commercial revenue. The point of difference is the air fare benchmark used as the competitive price level for HSR. This is a key point I believe was overlooked and misunderstood in the article on The Urbanist on April 15, High Speed Rail: too good to be true?

In the Phase 2 report produced by AECOM et. al. for the previous Federal government (completed in 2013), these air fare assumptions are not explicitly declared in the whole of the 534 page report, nor its 2,500+ pages of appendices, so some confusion is understandable.

Media Release: Badgerys Creek airport no solution for transport problems

An airport at Badgerys Creek is a patch job which does not address the fundamental constraints on Australia's economy, according to the publisher of the recent study into high-speed rail, Beyond Zero Emissions.
Media release, Beyond Zero Emissions, April 15 2014
For immediate release
"High speed rail has been shown by our report to dramatically reduce domestic air traffic at Sydney airport as well as addressing deeper deficiencies in our current transport infrastructure", said lead researcher Gerard Drew.
"Infrastructure is sorely needed but when we contemplate spending large sums of money in this day and age on long lived infrastructure we really must consider the needs of the future: the livability of our cities, the development of regional Australia and the reduction of our greenhouse gas emission."
"These issues will remain even if an airport is built at Badgerys Creek," said Mr. Drew.
"In fact, when we realise that high speed rail is still needed, the second airport will end up a mothballed relic."

High Speed Rail from Melbourne to Brisbane departing!

Beyond Zero Emissions' high speed rail (HSR) research director Gerard Drew talks about the successful launch of the HSR Report on 9 April 2014. The HSR Project is a collaboration between Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), and the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute.

All on board the high speed train

Sara Phillips, ABC Environment

Conditions have never been so favourable for high speed rail to gather the support it needs to start rolling out some tracks.

WOULDN'T IT BE WONDERFUL to be able to step on a train at Southern Cross in Melbourne and step off at Central Station in Sydney just three hours later. On the train would be WiFi, so you could do some work or update your Facebook status (I'm travelling at 300km/h!). You could maybe pop into the dining car for a cuppa around Albury-Wodonga. All this for less than the cost of an airfare, fewer greenhouse gases, and of course, without the associated taxis to and from the airport and waiting times at the airport.

Ah, high speed rail. Australia has fantasised about it for decades. But despite general enthusiasm for the idea somehow it's never quite made it into reality.

The principal reason in the past has been cost. Successive governments or private consortia have done the maths and got cold feet.

But the latest offering from environmental think tank Beyond Zero Emissions claims that high speed rail can be built in Australia at less cost than others have estimated, with a payback time of 40 years.

High-speed rail from Melbourne to Brisbane could be completed by 2025

Two-year study says 1,799km rail system could be built for $84bn, $30bn less than previous estimates

Oliver Milman, The Guardian, Wednesday 9 April 2014

A high-speed rail network stretching from Melbourne to Brisbane could be completed by 2025, costing $30bn less than previous government estimates, a new study has found.

The two-year analysis, compiled by climate change think tank Beyond Zero Emissions, found that a 1,799km high-speed rail system could be built between Melbourne and Brisbane, via Canberra and Sydney, within 11 years at a cost of $84bn.

The project would generate $7bn of operating revenue in the year 2030, the report found, despite tickets being cheaper than air travel. This means the scheme’s initial outlay would be repaid by 2040.

Media Release: Australian high-speed rail line could be running by 2030

High speed rail linking Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane would reduce carbon emissions and provide a profitable and popular service, according to research which will be released next week.

Climate change think tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is launching the new report on the potential for high speed rail in Australia in Melbourne on Wednesday April 9, and Sydney on April 30.

According to BZE CEO Stephen Bygrave “the research shows that high speed rail can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, in addition to the regional development and economic benefits previously identified.”

The report, a collaboration between BZE, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the University of Melbourne’s Energy Research Institute, has been two years in the making.

The report recommends an alignment broadly similar to the government's recent study, connecting 12 major regional towns, and the cities of Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

“Regional travel in Australia is highly concentrated in the east coast corridor, generating some of the busiest flight paths in the world as well as significant traffic on our main interstate highways”, says lead author, Gerard Drew.

Fly by rail: 5 reasons fast trains have an Aussie future

By Stephen Bygrave, Climate Spectator

What goes up must come down. At least in the case of airplanes, that's true. But as airplanes keep going up, so do greenhouse gas emissions – these emissions stay in the atmosphere and do not come down.

High speed rail, on the other hand, is on the up and up, and can run without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Europe has had high speed rail since the 1960s. China, Japan and Korea all have high speed rail. India has this year announced it is investigating the feasibility of building high speed rail.

Click to book your free seat at the Melbourne launch on April 9

Australian governments have for over 30 years toyed with the idea of building a high-speed rail line on the east coast, and there are finally moves underway to set aside the corridor in which a system could be built. This follows the previous federal government’s $20 million high speed rail implementation study which found a significant economic benefit to Australia returning $2.30 for every $1 invested.

Think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions has just completed a two-year study into HSR in Australia which shows that rail can not only dramatically reduce transport emissions, but also be built for $30 billion less than the most recent government study.

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