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.
- 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.
- 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.
- “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.
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.