1. Byron Bay’s world fist solar train
It looks sexy, the new solar train in Byron Bay pioneered by reclusive rich lister Brian Flannery, who made his fortune in coal mining:
It works because it doesn’t go very fast or very far, just 3 km to North Byron Bay.
There is a dearth of public transport in Byron Bay, so apart from anything else it will be welcomed by non-drivers. However, the Oz carries a story saying some locals who have businesses near the line want it shut down. There is always a whinger not far away!
I believe the speed is governed to about 20 or 40 kph, depending on the scenery, and the trip takes 7 or 8 minutes.
2. More gas, but prices still too high
- QUEENSLAND is on the cusp of a new gas boom with exploration for shale gas to start in the Cooper Basin.
In what could be a new money earner for the state — and ease the cost of energy prices — millions of dollars will be spent to determine if the extraction should start.
It is understood Geoscience Australia estimates prospective shale and tight gas resources in the Cooper Basin could provide 29 years of east coast gas at current production rates.
The Turnbull Government will use cash from the $30 million geological and bioregional assessments program to evaluate the priority area.
Seems there will be enough gas for the domestic market, but prices have only gone from impossible to difficult. “Extremely challenging” the word.
I worry that we will eventually find that gas fugitive emissions are higher than we thought, and the fact that they are 100 times more potent the CO2 in the first year, means that gas is not the ‘clean’ alternative to coal that policy makers think.
No matter what the urging it seems state CSG and fracking bans will remain.
November 30, 1987, marked the start of the inaugural GREENHOUSE conference hosted by Monash University and attended by 260 delegates. The five-day meeting was convened as part of a new federal government plan in response to the burgeoning global awareness of the impending danger of global warming.
We’ve had Greenhouse conferences ever since mostly on a biennial basis, but drew a blank in 2017.
That was a year earlier than James Hansen’s testimony to the US Senate in 1988.
Scientifically the 1985 conference a great success, creating new scientific networks and momentum – a “field-configuring event”.
Marc Hudson says that politically climate change has never gripped. Ironically, Graham Pearman, the conference organiser and senior CSIRO scientist, retired in 2004. He says he was reprimanded and encouraged to resign for speaking out about climate change.
Hudson turned up this statement in Hansard from Don Jessop, Senator for South Australia in 1973:
- It is quite apparent to world scientists that the silent pollutant, carbon dioxide, is increasing in the atmosphere and will cause us great concern in the future. Other pollutants from conventional fuels are proliferating other gases in the atmosphere, not the least of these being the sulphurous gases which will be causing emphysema and other such health problems if we persist with this type of energy source. Of course, I am putting a case for solar energy. Australia is a country that can well look forward to a very prosperous future if it concentrates on solar energy right now.
5. South Australia to lead the world
It is perhaps fitting then the Giles Parkinson writes that Why South Australia must, and will, lead world on renewables.
South Australia has averaged 63 per cent from wind and solar over two months, and is going hard for more. There is now a big emphasis on storage – pumped storage, batteries, molten salt and even hydrogen fuel cells. They are also promoting demand response, energy sharing and behind the metre initiatives.
Another article records South Australia’s stunning transition to consumer-powered grid
- The new AEMO report highlights that 9.2 per cent of the electricity generated in the state over the last financial year came from small-scale (sub 100kW) of solar PV on the rooftops of households and businesses in the state.
That level of rooftop solar penetration is a record for any major grid in the world, and the contribution of rooftop solar is likely to have been well over 10 per cent in the last year when larger rooftop solar installations of more than 100kW are included.
The Tesla battery has already been in action.
This photo may be familiar:
6. Snowy 2.0 cost blows out
What you have to understand that in the Turnbull/Frydenberg world, everything the Commonwealth does is good and everything the states do is bad, especially SA.
So in the Turnbull/Frydenberg world, Snowy 2.0 at double the price originally estimated, is still good.
According to the feasibility study Snowy Hydro 2.0 may cost double but is still ‘feasible and viable’ without tax payers money. The cost has blown out from $2 billion to $3.8 to $4.5 billion, and is expected to be operational from 2024. The specifications in terms of delivery of power are impressive.
Energy analyst David Leitch is not so sure about the value of the project.
For starters, Snowy 2.0 will increase emissions as the water will be 60 to 70% pumped up the hill by coal power.
South Australia impresses with its coherent strategic planning of the whole electricity system. Snowy 2.0 seems opportunistic, and so far has no power purchasing agreement. Chances are it won’t initially, but could later from old coal-fired producers.
South Australia is heading for self-sufficiency, even an exporter of power, and you’d have to think they’ll get there. Queensland is already in that position, and is likely to stay there.
Ironically, Snowy 2.0 could come into its own by picking up power from rooftop solar in NSW and Victoria, then feeding back in to allow coal to operate at a higher 24/7 level than would otherwise be the case.
That might actually be the main driver behind to project.
However, new renewables have to be firmed, according to the ESB. As time goes by developers of renewables in NSW and Victoria may be able to use Snowy 2.0 as a firming agent.
Opposition spokesman Mark Butler, however, says that the National Energy Guarantee is designed to stop large-scale renewables development in its tracks. We’ll need to take a closer look, but it’s not clear that Snowy 2.0 is an unmitigated blessing.