Climate clippings 230

1. NSW Labor pledges state-owned renewable energy company to power three million homes

    A New South Wales Labor government would establish a state-owned renewable energy company to support the rollout of enough renewable energy to power more than three million homes across the state in the next decade.

    On Monday the NSW opposition leader, Michael Daley, announced that if elected on 23 March, Labor would deliver seven gigawatts of extra renewable energy by 2030.


    “I want to make NSW a global leader of the clean energy industry. I want NSW workers and families to reap the benefits,” Daley said in a statement.

    “NSW cannot be a supplicant state for energy. We have to produce our own energy, create our own jobs and give energy security to our own people. If we don’t move now, we will completely fall behind and lose our advantage.”

He’s been looking at what other states have been doing with reverse auctions, and has grasped that the states can actually plan a sensible energy future working with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

There’s more at RenewEconomy, where Giles Parkinson says the Labor plan would get NSW to about 40% renewables.

2. 100% renewables possible, but we need a plan

Giles Parkinson also reports on a 3-day seminar of national and international experts gathered to test a proposition put by Andrew Blakers and Matthew Stocks that 100% renewables was achievable by 2032.

The bottom line was that rapid transition was achievable, but only if we had a plan.

Stanford University’s Mary Cameron:

    “Transitioning to 100 per cent WWS (water, wind solar,) in all energy sectors is technically and economically possible,” Cameron said. “The main barriers are social and political.”

CSIRO and AEMO produced a study late last year saying that wind, solar and storage are definitively cheaper than new coal.

3. Indonesia to go flat out for biofuel

    Indonesia’s two presidential candidates have pledged to achieve energy self-sufficiency by boosting the use of bioenergy, particularly fuelled by palm oil, to cut costly oil imports by southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

    Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, has been pushing for all diesel fuel used in the country to contain biodiesel to boost palm consumption, slash fuel imports, and narrow a yawning current account gap.

President Joko Widodo if re-elected planned to implement the B100 program to 100%, completely replacing fossil fuel and using 30% of the country’s palm oil for biofuel. Indonesia’s current crude palm oil production was said to be 46 million tonnes a year.

His main challenger, Prabowo Subianto, said if elected he would also “boost the use of palm oil, palm sugar, cassava and ethanol from sugar (cane)”.

4. Coal to survive undented

The bad news is that global demand for coal will survive largely undented for at least the next 20 years unless much stronger action is taken to tackle climate change, according to energy giant BP. I’ll take a longer look at that one, because if that happens we’re cooked.

5. Adani still has problems

Adani has been complaining that the Queensland Government has come up with an 11th-hour snag with a new review questioning the company’s plans to provide a safe future for the black-throated finch. An article in the Oz says the Department of Environment and Science outsourced the issue to a Melbourne academic Brendan Wintle, who is Professor in Conservation Ecology in the Biosciences School at the University of Melbourne.

The CFMMEU reckon Wintle is biassed because last November he tweeted a photo of two children holding a placard that read, “I’ll stop farting if you stop burning coal”. Politically it would not make sense for the union to go rogue, but they may restrict their active support to Labor candidates who support coal. Apparently they have found one in Capricornia and one in Flynn.

Adani were invited to make a submission to Wintle’s review, but declined because they found his draft so flawed that it was “not, in our view, amenable to rectification”.

CSIRO has yet to provide advice on water.

The importance of Adani is that if they build the rail line another five large mines will open in the Galilee Basin, creating 14,450 construction jobs, 11,211 ongoing jobs, $35.4 billion in investment, mine 165 million tonnes of coal each year, yielding 27 billion tonnes in decades to come.

A Palaszczuk government spokesperson said Labor had facilitated more than $9 billion of resource investment since 2015, creating 5500 jobs.

Of course, no mention of global warming in the article, or indeed the negative impact opening Galilee would have on coal jobs elsewhere in Australia.

Luckily the CFMMEU is but one of 103 unions, the political influence of unions is over-rated in my opinion, and the election will not be decided in central Queensland. Remember, redistribution puts the LNP two seats behind their current parliamentary strength, and the LNP holds 21 of 30 in Queensland which last election voted 55-45 in favour of the LNP. Something of a high water mark, one would think.

Capricornia is presently held by Michelle Landry for the LNP, Ken O’Dowd holds Flynn likewise for the LNP, with both sitting with the Nationals in Canberra.

Matthew Stevens has more at the AFR.

6. Sh*t a brick!

Couldn’t resist!

Some call it biosolids, or more expansively “the dried, disinfected leftovers of wastewater (also known as sewage) treatment”. In plain talk it is concentrated, treated human poo, or if you prefer, pooh.

A lot of bricks are produced in the world – around 1,500 billion each year, which takes a lot of clay soil – about enough to fill London’s Wembley Stadium 1,125 times. In recent times there’s been a push to incorporate various waste products into bricks – everything from sawdust to rice husks – to reduce their environmental footprint. Now Associate Professor Abbas Mohajerani of RMIT has worked out how to produce bricks with a 10, 15, 20, or 25% content of poo.

Biosolid-bricks showed lower thermal conductivity than the control bricks, which suggests they could help provide a level of thermal insulation. The 25% batch was produced using half the energy to make a normal brick.

The downside is that they are a little weaker, although strong enough for low-rise buildings.

20 thoughts on “Climate clippings 230”

  1. Claims 120,000 members; claims it is the second largest union in the nation.

    Brian, I think it “went rogue” years ago.

  2. Ambi, no doubt you are right.

    Jumpy, extra M now included, thanks.

    Ta also for links. However, Wikipedia link says:

    For the past few decades, the population of this species has declined; the southern subspecies has been declared threatened in New South Wales,[8] and vulnerable in Queensland, and appears to have vanished from 80% of its former range.

    There may be a special population where Adani want to put their mine, I don’t know. Proponents of the mine seem to think that the finch does not matter at all.

  3. A company called Glencore has pledged to cap its global coal production at present levels. Anyone heard of it?

  4. Brian, the very next sentence

    The reason for the declined population is probably due to spread of pastoralism, changes in fire regime and increases in the density of native woody weeds in grassy savannahs.

    Not mining, and there are plenty of mines out that way now.

    If they’re missing a few I’ll catch the ones that eat half of my dogs dry food and send em out there.

  5. Ambi: ABC Just In said:

    Australia’s largest coal miner Glencore has succumbed to shareholder pressure to take action to address climate change, and announced it will cap its global coal output.

    Key points:
    Glencore will cap its global thermal and coking coal production at the current level of about 145 million tonnes
    The move comes after much global investor pressure, including from major Australian super funds
    The company will also review its membership of trade associations, including the Minerals Council of Australia
    The Swiss-based resources giant said it would freeze coal production at current levels, and instead focus on commodities including copper, cobalt, nickel, vanadium and zinc, as part of its “global response to the increasing risks posed by climate change”.

    The company, headed by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, acquired Rio Tinto’s thermal coal business in 2017.

    It said it would cap its global thermal and coking coal production at the current level of about 145 million tonnes after holding talks with the Climate Action 100+ initiative.

    The group, whose global members collectively manage more than $US32 trillion in assets, includes a number of major Australian superannuation funds such as AMP Capital, AustralianSuper, Cbus, IFM Investors, QSuper and BT Financial Group.

    The world needs more than just capping.

  6. John, from memory Glencore took over Mt Isa Mines. Also they into coal prior to 2017.

    They own 75% of the Wandoan coal project which bought out some of my rellies. The plan was to mine within 2 km of the town, which is far too close for human health.

    The project has been on hold for some time. It will be good if it doesn’t go ahead.

    Agree that the world needs more than capping.

  7. CoalSwarm’s Global Coal Plant Tracker has updated its data to Jan 2019.

    Coal-fired generator units (GUs), not “plants”, as at Jan 2019 for selected countries/regions (plus global total) are:
    • EU28: _ _ _ _ _ _ _627 GUs operating, _ _8 GUs under construction, and 11 GUs planned;
    • Non-EU Europe: _ 116 GUs operating, _ _4 GUs under construction, and 68 GUs planned;
    • Turkey: _ _ _ _ _ _ _71 GUs operating, _ _4 GUs under construction, and 47 GUs planned;
    • South Africa: _ _ _ 117 GUs operating, _ _8 GUs under construction, and 13 GUs planned;
    • India: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 866 GUs operating, _ 63 GUs under construction, and 84 GUs planned;
    • Philippines: _ _ _ _ _45 GUs operating, _13 GUs under construction, and 25 GUs planned;
    • South Korea: _ _ _ _ 78 GUs operating, _ 7 GUs under construction, and 2 GUs planned;
    • Japan: _ _ _ _ _ _ _136 GUs operating, _17 GUs under construction, and 12 GUs planned;
    • China: _ _ _ _ _ _2,927 GUs operating, 263 GUs under construction, and 201 GUs planned;
    • Australia: _ _ _ _ _ _ 60 GUs operating, _ 0 GUs under construction, and 0 GUs planned;
    • GLOBAL TOTAL: 6,732 GUs operating, 491 GUs under construction, and 729 GUs planned.

    Total global capacity planned (i.e. Announced + Pre-permit + Permitted) at January 2017 was 569,601 MW.
    Total global capacity planned at January 2018 was 446,624 MW.
    Total global capacity planned at July 2018 was 365,049 MW.
    Total global capacity planned at January 2019 was 340,471 MW.

    This represents a loss of 24,578 MW (6.7%) planned capacity over the last 6 months, a loss of 106,153 MW (23.8%) over the last 12 months, and a loss of 229,130 MW (40.2%) over the last 2 years. The coal capacity planning pipeline continues to shrink.

    Total global coal-fired power capacity continues to inch up, increasing by a further 21,315 MW in the last 6 months to 2,023,935 MW (at Jan 2019), but trends indicate a peak is on the horizon.

  8. Thanks Geoff M.
    There is another poster, GM by name, who would call your last sentence “hopelessly optimistic”……

    Too little, too late.


  9. GM: Any figures on planned shut down or mothball capacity?
    How much extra capacity would the under construction figure be equal to?
    I would suspect most power companies would prefer to be seen delaying plans rather than admit that they have given up on a project. This may change as shareholders take a more and more negative view of companies that appear to be depending on coal fired power to maintain their profits.

  10. The Indonesian (and other countries) policy of promoting bio fuel via palm oil is “justifying” further large scale clearing of rain forests, even in so-called protected areas. The loss of species is severe.
    “In 2016, [Indonesia] produced 36,000,000 metric tons [of palm oil] out of which 25.1 million tons were exported. It is estimated that by 2020, the palm oil project in Indonesia will cover approximately 12 million hectares. ”

    No shortage of comment on Google.

  11. GH: The damage to the environment that can result from the production of biofuels such as palm oil is one of the reasons I champion e-fuels as preferable to dedicating land for the production of bio-fuels.

  12. John Davidson (Re: FEBRUARY 21, 2019 AT 3:45 PM)

    GM: Any figures on planned shut down or mothball capacity?

    I’m unable to see that in the data tables. Have you had a look at the data I linked to?

    There is a data table (i.e. Changes from January 2018 to January 2019 (MW)) that shows the status changes (in MW capacity) from Jan 2018 to Jan 2019, including:
    • Started construction in 2018;
    • Resumed construction in 2018;
    • Newly operating in 2018;
    • Retired in 2018;
    • Cancelled in 2018.

    The datasets report what has happened in the reporting period, not what may happen in future.

    How much extra capacity would the under construction figure be equal to?

    If you had looked at the Coal Plants by Country (MW) – January 2019 dataset table found at the link I provided in my earlier comment you would see global total under construction was 237,633 MW. That suggests to me that 491 generator units (GUs) under construction have an average 484 MW capacity per GU.

    I would suspect most power companies would prefer to be seen delaying plans rather than admit that they have given up on a project.

    Why keep putting more money into a project that indicates the economics are no longer viable (or marginal at best)? Perhaps some power companies haven’t done adequate due diligence, or some are wilfully ignoring the increasing economic arguments against coal? At some point decisions need to be made, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 12.0, published November 2018, one of the major global industry benchmarks, infers that an inflection point has been reached where, in some cases, it is more cost effective to build and operate new alternative energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants. Lazard’s figures are based on US data and US conditions but provides an insight into global trends.

    Increasing evidence indicates any new coal assets are likely to become “stranded” soon.

  13. Thanks GM:

    I would suspect most power companies would prefer to be seen delaying plans rather than admit that they have given up on a project.

    This is all about keeping balance sheets looking healthy enough to protect share prices and encourage people to lend money. The story will change when getting out of fossil fuel/power starts to be seen as good management.

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