Climate clippings 164

1. From Brisbane to the world

The Brisbane company Tritium manufactures a range of products including the award-winning Veefil electric vehicle fast charger right here in Brisbane. Tripling production in a new facility it exports Veefil to the world including Europe and America.

    Last year, Tritium secured a deal to supply New Zealand with 23 Veefil units as a first instalment of a three-year project to establish a network of fast chargers across the country.

    The technology is also being supplied to California-based ChargePoint, as part of a huge deal that will see the award-winning Veefil fast charging stations installed throughout the US, including the express charging corridors on both the east and west coasts.

Keeping the design and production local

    “gives us the ability to more easily tailor the product to our customers’ specifications and provide solutions to individual requirements – something for which we are being increasingly asked.”

2. Redback teams with UQ to roll out solar + storage system

Redback Technologies in Brisbane is teaming with the University of Queensland to speed up the roll out of their solar and storage systems. The key to their system is a smart piece of technology which optimises the relationship between local power production, the operation of appliances and access to the grid. Diagrammatically it works like this:


Redback claims that their system will halve the payback period of installing solar and batteries.

The genesis of the company is interesting:

    Redback, formed in 2015, is a product of the Queensland government and UQ-led “ilab initiative,” which aimed to attract and assist start-up companies to become world changing global businesses.

In turn UQ has now taken a stake in Redback, which gets to access the university’s research and it’s facilities for testing.

Malcolm Turnbull would be pleased!

3. Era of climate science denial is not over

    Conservative thinktanks in the US engaging in climate change have increased their attacks on science in recent years, a study of 16,000 documents finds.

    The study… analysed more than 16,000 documents published online between 1998 and 2013 by mainly US groups like the Heartland Institute, the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute.

Attacks on climate science have increased. Dr Aaron McCright, of Michigan State University:

    said conservative think tanks had influenced the public’s understanding of climate change and the way policymakers had reacted to it, in two ways.

    First, he said in recent decades US Republicans had used thinktank materials in committee meetings and hearings “to justify inaction on climate change”.

    Second, thinktank materials had been taken up as the standard talking points for conservatives.

    “Indeed, I would argue that anti-environmentalism – and climate change denial more specifically – has become a central tenet of the current conservative and Republican identity.”

4. How much did El Niño boost global temperature in 2015?

In this post we found that 2015 was the hottest year on record, with global surface temperature in 2015 was +0.87°C warmer than the 1951-1980 base period.

How much was contributed by El Niño?

Very little, perhaps as little as 0.07°C, according to work done by Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS.

5. Incredibly cheap solar

A committee of the city council of Palo Alto, California, has recommend approval of a power purchase agreement (PPA) with developer Hecate Energy for US$36.76 per megawatt-hour (MWh).

That is 3.7 cents US per kWh. By comparison the feed-in tariff In Queensland was set at 44 cents per kWh, A$, of course.

The power purchase agreement would have an initial 25-year base term, with three five-year optional extensions to a total of 40 years. The long contract length and the low price are definitely related.

Last week Peru awarded a $48/MWh power purchase agreement for solar power. However, the prices are not strictly comparable because of the 30% Investment Tax Credit available in the US.

Big Government interfering in the market again!

6. Origin goes solar

Origin energy is following AGL into renewables after writing down some of its fossil fuel investments. CEO Grant King estimates that the cost of large-scale solar in the country is falling to around $80/MWh, which is less than half the cost of the recently completed solar farms in Broken Hill and Nyngan.

It’s also less than gas or wind generation.

3 thoughts on “Climate clippings 164”

  1. The big attraction of solar is that, once the capital is repaid, the cost of production is very very low. For this reason I favour contracts where the initial price is high enough to pay off the capital quickly followed by a big drop in price. Governments should think about using BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) schemes. Governments could use this type of contract to get contractors to build at their expense in return for being allowed to sell power at high rates for a number of years before handing over to the government.

  2. Some very interesting items there, Brian. The Redback is a must for the solar home moving forward. I phoned them up to see if their system includes thermal storage management and backup generation. No response yet.

    I’m picking that Trump will come out on the side of climate action.

    “I believe there is weather” is a fence sitting position. There is every chance he will be another Arnold S. But what is really going to dominate the next ten years is the South China Sea. I think the Chinese have severely misjudged Western capabilities. Any thoughts of using Chinese production for my business have come to a grinding halt, and our focus will now be on eastern Europe.

  3. Back when the electricity retail price was still 13 cents per unit I proposed a 3 or 4 cents per unit levy on the retail price of electricity to build a capital fund for electricity power generators to bid for access to build renewable projects. Had that happened there would by now have been some 100 billion dollars of renewable electricity infrastructure deployed, owned by the public and being operated by the industry players delivering electricity at prices that did not include the cost of the capital.

    With that mechanism coal plant operators would have had a means with which to transition to renewables painlessly. A carbon tax would still be applied but the electricity industry would have been mostly exempt and the tax would have applied to all of the other carbon consumption in the economy.

    The way that it has turned out we are paying too much for electricity and there is no certainty over our national decarbonising rate. A time and situation opportunity lost I believe.

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