Climate clippings 221

I’ve just noticed that last September I followed CC 214 with CC 115. My bad.

1. Solar, wind and hydro could power the world, at lower cost

That is according to an updated study by Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson and colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley and Aalborg University in Denmark summarised by Giles Parkinson.

    it lays out three different methods of not just providing 100 per cent renewables for electricity, but also for heating and cooling, for transportation, and even agriculture, forestry and fishing.

On cost it would be slightly cheaper than fossil fuels, or just one-quarter of the cost if you dial in savings from avoided fossil fuel damage to the environment and health. Using mainly solar, wind and hydro resources could save 4-7 million air pollution-related deaths that occur worldwide each year.

Their modelling considers a range of scenarios that include hydrogen storage, heat pumps and battery storage.

2. Norway’s electric ferry

    New data has shown that one of the world’s first all-electric car ferries, commissioned by Norwegian shipping company Norled, and co-designed by German engineering giant Siemens, has cut carbon emissions reduced by 95 per cent and operating cost by 80 per cent compared to its traditional fuel-powered counterparts.

3. South Australia forges ahead

A group called Solar Citizens are calling for South Australia to target 100% renewables by 2025, rather than 50%. I notice that they are proposing a non-profit retailer, which could save 20 to 25% on power bills.

A shame that opposition leader Steven Marshall has committed to scrap the state renewable target in favour of a national target, raising the question of what Nick Xenophon thinks.

Meanwhile South Australia unveils another big battery, this time with a solar farm to be built next to the big Snowtown wind farm in the state’s mid-north. This will be the fourth big battery in the state.

Tesla is struggling to produce enough batteries to meet demand, Powerwall is going gangbusters, a huge hybrid solar and battery storage microgrid is to power the revamped South Australian Produce Market, costing $800 million and saving stallholders more than $500,000 a year on their power bills, and Tesla and the South Australia government are to build a “world’s largest” 250MW virtual power plant in SA, linking 50,000 household solar and battery storage systems.

Then:

    The South Australia government has announced funding for what will be Australia’s first renewable-hydrogen electrolyser plant – a 15MW facility to be built near the end of the grid at Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula.

    The “green hydrogen” plant – to be built by Hydrogen Utility (H2U), working with Germany’s thyssenkrupp – will include a 10MW hydrogen-fired gas turbine, fuelled by local wind and solar power, and a 5MW hydrogen fuel cell.

    Both will supply power to the grid, will support two new solar farms and a local micro-grid, and will also include “distributed ammonia” that can be used as an industrial fertiliser for farmers and aquaculture operators.

It’s being described as a “globally-significant demonstrator project” for the emerging hydrogen energy sector.

I think the idea is eventually to export energy in the form of hydrogen.

4. Construction starts on Australia’s largest wind farm

Work is starting on Australia’s largest wind farm. The project is at Coopers Gap, 250 kilometres north-west of Brisbane, between Kingaroy and Dalby which lie east and west of the Great Dividing Range. Apparently it is a premium wind site, especially towards evening. There will be 123 turbines on 13 South Burnett and Western Downs properties.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said:

    “This is the second large-scale renewable project in the Western Downs to get underway,” Dr Lynham said.

    “Coopers Gap will bring $850 million of investment, 200 construction jobs, and up to 20 ongoing operational jobs to the Western Downs.

    “The Western Downs is fast becoming Australia’s renewable energy capital, with Coopers Gap and 10 approved solar projects.

    “Together, they represent more than 2000 megawatts of renewable energy that will help power Queensland’s electricity grid and its regional economies, and help us meet our international emissions reduction commitments.

    “Combined, these projects would represent more than $5 billion of investment, and more than 3000 construction jobs for the Western Downs.

Coopers Gap is in the electorate of Deb Frecklington, the LNP leader, who is against the project, being a lover of coal. Lynham pointed out that it’s an AGL investment which does not attract subsidies.

Here’s the government spiel on renewables on the Western Downs. When Premier Palasczcuk is asked about Adani, she is now spruiking a pipeline of renewables projects – under construction, planned and proposed – valued at more than $20 billion with the promise of 15,000 construction jobs to achieve the 50% by 2030 target.

They’ve also announced a $200 million wind farm with 200 construction jobs at Lakeland in FNQ, north of Port Douglas.

5. Cape Town waits for ‘Day Zero’ when the water runs out

Cape Town is experiencing its driest year since 1933 as the town water is expected to run out around mid-April. At that point Cape Town’s four million residents will be entitled to collect 25 litres per person per day from 180 collection points. That makes one collection point for every 22,000 people.

Some wealthier residents access underground water through bores, and more are being sunk.

In poorer areas of Cape Town there is no town water connected to dwellings. The story highlights a family of five where the father collects 20 litres twice a day.

Currently restrictions limit people to 50 litres per person per day.

Here in Brisbane our current usage is 210 litres per person per day, and when had drought restrictions about a decade ago it was still about 140 litres. Currently we can use as much as we want to pay for.

Peter Fisher of RMIT looks at growing issues in providing urban water in Australia and elsewhere in the world. Solutions often place great demands on electricity supply, sending climate targets down the gurgler. Last year flash floods left Santiago in Chile with a contaminated supply for nearly 5 million people.

Update: I preparing this I missed a link to an article Cape Town is almost out of water. Could Australian cities suffer the same fate? which John D had drawn to my attention. Capetown has full storage capacity for only 225,000 litres per resident compared to more than million in Brisbane.

This image shows how water is sourced in Australia’s largest cities:

Perth draws most of its water from groundwater and increasingly from desalination, which is quite expensive. Adelaide is the most water-stressed city, depending on interregional transfers.

15 thoughts on “Climate clippings 221”

  1. Brian,

    Last Friday, Monash University’s Sustainable University Institute held a public event, positing the question:

    Do we have the capability to reverse global warming within a meaningful time frame?

    Hopefully, there will be a YouTube video available soon.

    This website may also be of interest.

  2. Australia has wide-open spaces galore, a treasure-trove of reliable sunshine, all of the skills and materials to build and maintaingigantic systems of solar power stations, systems that would provide incredibly cheap electricity – yet so-called businessmen and their hireling politicians still worship Coal .

    Apart from damaging the environment, mining and burning coal is gradually destroying our stocks of dirt-cheap , very accessible supplies of almost pure carbon in solid form.

    Where do we find the vast amounts of Capital to develop the gigantic systems of solar power? That’s easy. Plunder the gambling industry. That’s an industry that produces nothing yet costs the nation, its people and its economy an absolute fortune. All that is needed is the ruthless will to do so – in the face of fierce resistance from those who profit from the ruin of others.

  3. Brian,

    Over at RenewEconomy.com.au is this article.

    Robert Dean reports that:

    A Volvo D4, weighing 1500 kg, traveled 104.6 km and consumed 4.800 litres of diesel fuel.

    A Tesla Model S P85D: a dual motor, high powered, 2200kg vehicle, charged directly from a diesel generator via 3-phase power cable, travelling over the same terrain as the Volvo D4 at the same time, consumed (via the gen-set) 4.460 litres of diesel fuel.

    An interesting exercise, indeed!

  4. Interesting, GeoffM. Then there are other perspectives. This office in Basel Switzerland for instance…

    http://transsolar.com/projects/fabrikstrasse-15

    Look closely at the images of the surface glass.

    There is one other building recently completed with all of the glass with trans solar panels which produces a nominal 500 kW peak power.

    The Tesla powered by Siemens hybride 600mW gas turbine with an efficiency of 61.5% would halve that fossil fuel consumption. Stepping Stones towards a fully renewable future.

    My distributor in the Netherlands has 8 Teslas (I was told on the last trip) for the use of his sales team. His warehouse has 400 solar panels producing 100 kW peak, power which flows into the grid and arguably makes his transport fuel substantially neutral impact. Underpinning the economics of that investment is the cost of fuel, which is more expensive in Europe.

  5. Those glass panels, by the way, cost $200 Euro per square metre. The glass is on both sides sandwiching the solar array in between. I have quite a few photos from the Swiss BAU show which I recently attended as my distributor had a stand at this awesome building industry show. Happy to forward them to Brian if any one is interested.

  6. Update: I preparing this I missed a link to an article Cape Town is almost out of water. Could Australian cities suffer the same fate? which John D had drawn to my attention. Capetown has full storage capacity for only 225,000 litres per resident compared to more than million in Brisbane.

    This image shows how water is sourced in Australia’s largest cities:

    Perth draws most of its water from groundwater and increasingly from desalination, which is quite expensive. Adelaide is the most water-stressed city, depending on interregional transfers.

  7. Perth’s situation could require households having split rooftop solar PV systems with a share of their panels linkedpermanently to the grid to power their household water desalination quota, and the rest to their Tesla battery for household consumption.

    In a rational world that is.

  8. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 14, 2018 AT 11:59 AM):

    The Tesla powered by Siemens hybride 600mW gas turbine with an efficiency of 61.5% would halve that fossil fuel consumption. Stepping Stones towards a fully renewable future.

    Why use gas as a stepping stone? Why not jump directly to renewables? The SA project Aurora for a 150 MW solar thermal power tower with 8 hours thermal storage is contracted to provide electricity for $78/MWh, cheaper than SA’s existing gas-fired generators. Solar thermal with storage generators can be built just as fast as gas-fired generators.

    Or wind? Or solar-PV?

    We must leave fossil natural gas before gas leaves us – global ‘peak gas’ is likely around 2020, based on the evidence I see, so gas will only get scarcer and more unaffordable soon. We must leave gas to mitigate dangerous climate change.

    The exercise by Robert Dean blows out of the water the notion by Craig Kelly that EVs produce more emissions than ICE vehicles.

  9. BilB (Re: FEBRUARY 14, 2018 AT 12:03 PM):

    Those glass panels, by the way, cost $200 Euro per square metre. The glass is on both sides sandwiching the solar array in between.

    Do you have a link with specs? What does that cost include/exclude?

    And look at the standard of house building and thermal efficiency here in Australia – woeful in comparison. Fix heating/cooling with gas/air con. Rebuild or extensively repair/refurbish in 20 -30 years – short-term thinking – very little made to last.

  10. Brian (Re: FEBRUARY 14, 2018 AT 11:22 PM):

    Sydney Water has this potted history of Sydney’s water supply here. It includes this:

    There was a severe drought again between 1934 and 1942. This prompted the building of Warragamba Dam, which began in 1948 and was completed in 1960.

    How big was Sydney’s population in the 1960s, and compare that with now? A friend of mine tells me Warragamba was built to last out a 7 year drought period. I doubt it would do that now.

  11. We had a water supply scare for Melbourne in the mid 2000s. It reached the point where the nightly TV news would include that day’s percentage-of-full-dams-capacity the storages had reached. Each small increase was applauded, including by Premier Bracks (ALP).

    Public info program aiming to reduce daily consumption per person to 155 litres or less. Daily household consumption is printed on our water bills.

    Enormous public/political pressure led to building the Desal Plant near Wonthaggi.

    I heard that Deputy Premier Thwaites opposed it, but the Cabinet majority wanted it done.

    Has been used only for “test runs” so far. Most Melburnians regard it as handy “insurance” I think.

  12. Ambi, there was the Millennium drought when Brisbane’s water was down to I think about 9 months supply. We spent masses of money on a water grid to shift water around SEQ where there are 26 dams, a desalination plant that I think mostly doesn’t work and a recycling plant we won’t use unless the supply gets low again.

    Victoria I believe put in a pipe to snitch water from the Murray system to increase the Goulbourn river flow and the Melbourne supply.

    I think this may have been unilateral in terms of the Murray-Darling agreement, but I couldn’t be sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *