- Tony Abbott’s statement that consumers will pay A$60 billion or more for Labor’s 2030 50% renewables pledge is misleading.
Much of the existing coal-fired generating capacity will have to be replaced anyway, and this re-investment is always reflected in the price charged for electricity. Wind power will likely be the most cost-effective replacement as it is now the cheapest new-build power source.
Many studies (including the government’s) show that because of this, a high renewable energy target is likely to increase competition in the energy sector, with the potential net effect of putting downward pressure on electricity prices.
Liars and clunkheads, I’m afraid.
Ocean warming is important, because the ocean is where more than 90% of the extra heat generated by climate change goes. It’s problematic to measure the heat top to bottom. The historical record is also problematic, because the standard method was to throw a bucket over the side of a ship.
John Abraham reports on a study looking at the records of the top 700 metres since the early 1970s. The conclusion is that warming proceeds apace and that climate models under-predicted ocean warming by about 15%.
This article mentions a study which finds that warm water is piling up in the Western Pacific and leaking into the Indian Ocean. While the surface is comparatively cool the heat is collecting between 100 and 300 metres below the surface.
Fossil fuel companies are betting on the notion that the Paris climate summit will fall short of its aims and that it will be back to business as usual thereafter. So they are telling investors that the current low prices are cyclical.
Shell, for example, is investing in projects that don’t make sense until oil hits US $90 a barrel, as against $55-60 a barrel now.
At the same time, Shell is cutting 6500 jobs from global operations.
4. Marc Gunther looks at why the divestment movement may ultimately win
In concrete terms the achievements of the divestment movement are not impressive. For example, while there have been divestment campaigns on more than 400 campuses in the US, fewer than 20 colleges or universities have committed to full divestment. The industry has not lacked investors.
Moreover, some of the largest fossil fuel companies are government owned, by such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, and Iraq.
The divestment movement says its campaign is not economic, rather moral, political and symbolic.
- ‘Divestment is about targeting the fossil fuel industry, taking away its social license to operate,’ says one proponent.
That’s all very well, but while the fossil fuel companies are able to carry on regardless symbolism is small comfort, methinks.
The biggest 100 companies account for 85 percent of America’s electricity. However:
- the top 100 producers only get 4 percent of their power from non-hydro renewable resources, such as wind and solar, while producers outside the top 100 already get 20 percent of their energy from these no-carbon sources.
Coal persists in the large monopoly suppliers in conservative areas of the country where state governments are not inclined to be concerned about climate change. However, these suppliers are being squeezed by the EPA, the national regulator empowered to mandate restrictions on emissions. At least while the good guys are running the show.
One in eight American houses and businesses gets electricity from a cooperative. On average, they pay about $500 less a year for the privilege.
Many of the cooperatives are already using technology and systems to integrate renewables. For example, large hot water systems, normally considered undesirable and wasteful, are storing energy created by wind overnight to provide power at breakfast time.
I imagine this sector would provide a fertile field for research on how to address decentralised power generation and sharing systems.
It happened on Saturday 25, July, when there were howling gales in the north, where the wind turbines are, and sun in the south, where most of the solar panels are installed.
Renewable sources accounted for 27.8% of Germany’s power consumption in 2014, up from 6.2% in 2000.
8. South Australia increases fixed electricity tariffs
Here in Oz we seem determined to make life difficult for rooftop solar panel owners and providers. In Climate clippings 147, Item 5, I reported on the situation in Queensland. Our utility has written to us with an estimate that our electricity usage bill will decrease by all of $3 per month. Our fixed tariff or connection fee, however, will increase by about $30 per month.
South Australia has now followed suit. SA Power Networks will slash the electricity peak usage component of its network charges to just 3.3c/kWh, compared to 16.4c/kWh under the old tariff. But:
- The new supply charges … translate to a minimum bill of around $4,100 a year, just for connection. That is nearly three times the previous fixed supply fee, according to installers.
I can scarcely believe it, but I’m quoting from the article!
Research in the US indicates that changes in fixed charges and feed-in tariffs could cut solar deployment by as much as 80 per cent.