Category Archives: Climate Change & Sustainability

Posts on aspects of climate science, climate action and climate policy & planning.

A tsunami of renewables

The AFR reports that Josh Frydenberg and Labor’s Mark Butler had a bit of a love-in when they shared a platform late last month. Ben Potter said they were peas in an energy pod.

    Frydenberg waxed lyrical about the shrinking cost of solar photovoltaic – from $1.6 per kilowatt installed in 2014 to 19 cents per kilowatt last year. Battery storage has also halved in cost and added half as much capacity again in just five years, he enthused, and “demand response” – where customers curtail their usage or offer their batteries and smart appliances to the grid during demand spikes to avert blackouts – has an “incredibly” important role.

    Butler took his cue, noting that the system is undergoing a “massive, profound and irresistible transition which will just continue whether we like it or not”.

Butler said that if anyone could get the Clean Energy Target (CET) through the LNP party room it would be Josh. Continue reading A tsunami of renewables

Electricity retailers reap rich rewards

For a billing service that needs to invest no more than renting an office, hiring some staff and buying office furniture and computers, rewards for an electricity retailer are rich indeed. In this post I publish some comments I sent to our local ABC Mornings presenter, Steve Austin, who has taken up the cudgels on behalf of consumers who are hurting from electricity price rises. Austin is fighting the good fight but unfortunately regularly misfiring. Then, while I was writing those comments, information came through of another Victorian investigation, which is a bit of a bombshell.

Sophie Vorrath at RenewEconomy has a post Failed experiment: Now it’s retail arms gaming energy consumers with the grisly details. Continue reading Electricity retailers reap rich rewards

Coal-fired power trade-off for new clean energy target

That is as reported by Simon Benson in The Australian:

    The Turnbull government is expected to take its revised energy policy to the Coalition partyroom early next month with a plan to make a significant investment in cleaner coal-fired power as a counterbalance to also adopting a clean energy target.

    The Australian has learned that Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are working on a compromise deal on coal that would allow them to quell internal resistance to a CET.

Continue reading Coal-fired power trade-off for new clean energy target

Renewables make gas out of date, but coal not done yet

It’s the kind of article we expect in RenewEconomy, but this one by Angela Macdonald Smith is in the Australian Financial ReviewFuture for gas to be cut short by batteries and renewables:

    The conventional wisdom that gas will play an increasingly significant role in electricity supply as the market switches more towards renewables to back up that intermittent supply source, has largely gone out the window.

    Now it’s a discussion of how much an opportunity gas has before it gets squeezed out of the mainstream generation market by solar/wind and storage – not on carbon emissions grounds, but on costs.

Continue reading Renewables make gas out of date, but coal not done yet

Can we get to 350ppm?

Quiggin says, yes we can.

I can’t comment on his blog, because the Askimet software has got me marked as a pest, and my comments go straight to spam. There is no facility for telling Askimet I’m OK, so there it is, I’m as good as banned. So I’ll make my comments here, which are in any case longer than is form for comments there.

I’d have to say I agree with Fran Bailey’s comment, the analysis seems entirely too optimistic. Continue reading Can we get to 350ppm?

AER, ACCC and the ABC join the fray on Qld electricity prices

In last Tuesday’s post It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices the federal Minister Josh Frydenberg attacked the Queensland government through it’s state-owned generators for “gaming the system”, which, he said gave Queensland the nation’s most expensive electricity, costing jobs. In that post Queensland’s electricity was shown to be low compared to those of the other eastern mainland states, in recent years and in recent months the lowest.

The state has now been attacked by the AER (Australian Energy Regulator) and by the ACCC. At the end of it all, Steve Austin, the host of Mornings on Brisbane’s local ABC, sank the boot in. So what to make of it all? Continue reading AER, ACCC and the ABC join the fray on Qld electricity prices

It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices

There has been a war about electricity prices reflected in front page headlines. For example:

Continue reading It’s gas, not renewables, pushing up electricity prices

Saturday salon 15/7

1. Electric shock

The big story in Australian politics this week was the shocking state of the political debate on electricity. Giles Parkinson says, when you thought it couldn’t get any dumber, it did.

‘People will die due to renewables’, said Turnbull government MP Craig Kelly.

Commentators who don’t understand the grid should butt out of the battery debate, said Ketan Joshi, a communications consultant for the renewable energy industry. Continue reading Saturday salon 15/7

Australia puts the brakes on wind

Wind power, seen as inherently evil by our national government, was in danger of taking over in South Australia. So something had to be done to slow it down, right?

How about if the wind blows strong providing cheap power we mandate that the gas must be turned up as well, so the wholesale price goes up instead of down?

It seems absurd, but that is what has been done. Continue reading Australia puts the brakes on wind

Climate clippings 209

1. Power price wave slams business

That was the headline on the front page of the AFR on Friday.

Households are facing increases of up to 20 per cent, but businesses on five-year contracts signed in 2012 are facing hikes of as much as 83%. Continue reading Climate clippings 209

Finkel fail at Inside Story

Two of the best articles on the Finkel Review are at Inside Story – Giles Parkinson’s On climate, the consumer’s vote will be more important than the party room’s and Tim Colebatch’s The devils in Finkel’s detail.

Parkinson highlights the difference between promise and performance. Back in December, when the interim report came out, Finkel’s future looked exciting: Continue reading Finkel fail at Inside Story