Category Archives: Climate Action

The South Australian election matters for climate change

When this is published SA voters will be lining up to select a new government. That is the hope. I understand the betting market favours a hung parliament. No pundit I’ve heard is willing to pick a winner. Kevin Bonham talks about the difficulty of modelling the outcome, with the entry of SA Best and the redistribution. The ABC has guidance on how we can follow the election and an Online Election Page.

On climate change the election matters. There is coverage at:

. Continue reading The South Australian election matters for climate change

Boosting Transport Capacity by Managing Demand

Most of us would like to be able to travel when, where and how we want to and for the transport system to be managed in such a way that there will always be enough capacity to allow us all these choices. The problem with this  “capacity management” approach is that a lot of money would have to be spent providing capacity that is only used for a very limited time of the day.  Without this extra spending we still have to continue putting up with congested roads and overloaded public transport during peak hours.

Required capacity could be reduced by managing the “when”, “how” and “where” choices. This post looks at some  “demand management” strategies that might be used to reduce peak capacity requirements  These strategies offer rapid, low cost  ways of getting more from the transport infrastructure we already have. It was concluded that a rapid, low cost doubling of capacity is not an impossible dream.

Continue reading Boosting Transport Capacity by Managing Demand

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.

Continue reading Climate clippings 221

The energy wars continue in 2018

Josh Frydenberg has just written an opinion piece in the AFR about Why we can’t do without the power of Snowy 2.0.

Can’t do without it, that’s what he said. To impress us he said:

    With only 2 per cent of construction visible above ground, the scheme involved 16 major dams, seven power stations, a pumping station and 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts.

Continue reading The energy wars continue in 2018

Corporate responsibility on climate change cuts in

BHP Billiton has thrown a significant spanner in the works of peak mining bodies lobbying on behalf of fossil fuels to the detriment of climate change. In the 26-page report BHP Industry Association Review downloadable here the company has made three decisions:

First, BHP has reached a preliminary decision to quit the World Coal Association “in light of the identified difference and the narrower activities of benefit to BHP from membership. BHP will invite responses from the WCA before making a final determination as to future membership by 31 March 2018.”

Second, similarly it will make a final determination on membership of the United States Chamber of Commerce on or before 31 March 2018, having identified material differences.

Third, BHP will remain a member of the Minerals Council of Australia, provided that it refrains from policy activity or advocacy that BHP disagrees with within 12 months. Continue reading Corporate responsibility on climate change cuts in

AGL’s $1.36 billion plan to replace Liddell

Andrew Vesey, CEO of AGL made his attitude to new coal clear:

    “It is very simple: We are overloading the atmosphere with heat-trapping gas and the rest is details,” Mr Vesey told an investor briefing in Sydney, where he again forcefully ruled out any investment in new coal-fired power.

He said there were two strategic imperatives that govern all AGL’s investments – affordability and the tenet that the future will be carbon-constrained, making new coal too risky as an investment.

AGL has confirmed its plans to close the Liddell coal generator in NSW and “replace it with 1.6GW of renewables, plus storage and other technologies – saying it was a smarter, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable option than keeping the ageing and unreliable coal plant open.” Continue reading AGL’s $1.36 billion plan to replace Liddell

Turning old mine pits to electricity gold

Miners are meant to rehabilitate old mine sites. An attractive alternative can be to turn them into money-making concerns by means of pumped hydro.

On 27 November Sophie Vorath wrote that the first phase of the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub – a world-first solar and pumped hydroelectricity hybrid – would be generating power for the grid within the next 10 days, which means it started to operate while the votes were being counted in the Queensland election.

There’s more from ARENA, which contributed funding, at Renewable, reliable energy from an old, abandoned mine site? That’s gold Continue reading Turning old mine pits to electricity gold

Climate clippings 118

1. South Australia going for broke

Malcolm Turnbull would call it a ‘reckless, irresponsible, ideological frolic’, but South Austria has been running 63% on wind and solar during the last few months, and is going for broke.

Giles Parkinson says SA must, and will, lead world on renewables.

    The Weatherill and Koutsantonis strategy is to embrace new technologies, cheap wind and solar and storage, smart software and smarter management, and put into practice the sort of scenarios envisaged by the CSIRO, Energy Networks Australia and more recently by the storage review commissioned by chief scientist Alan Finkel.

All that can stop Weatherill and Koutsantonis is Nick Xenophon at the next election putting the LNP into office. Continue reading Climate clippings 118

The best kept secret: ALP electricity policy for Queensland

I came across it via Facebook around midnight on Saturday night. Not sure when it was released but there’s been nothing in the media yet about it. Surely there will be, because it is more than a little stunning. It’s called Powering Queensland’s Future: Affordable, Stable and Balanced.

From a standing start after the LNP under Campbell Newman had ‘cleansed’ the state of renewable energy projects, since February 2015 the Palaszczuk Labor government has enough runs on the board to be dubbed “a leader in Australia’s renewable energy boom” in a report by The Climate Council – Billion dollar boom: Queensland’s bright renewables future. I’ll summarise what they said, but the Palaszczuk government is running even faster and further than you would be led to believe in that report. Continue reading The best kept secret: ALP electricity policy for Queensland

Cherry picking electricity prices in Qld election

It’s the season for cherry picking on electricity prices as an election is called in Queensland. This can happen because no-one, not journalists, not ABC radio hosts, and unfortunately not ‘experts’, reads Queensland Government media releases. The offending politicians from the opposition LNP are getting a free ride, with statements like ‘Prices increased 70% under Labor’ (Tim Nichols on TV) and, ‘We will put downward pressure on electricity prices’ without saying how.

I’ve assembled a fair bit of information in two posts – Queensland powers up for a warm summer and Electricity bills – Queensland acts because it can. In this post I’ll summarise what I think has happened, and then mention some of the cherry-picked claims being made. There is some new information in the post. Also there is a particular problem with Steve Austin on Mornings on local ABC radio. I don’t mind the bloke, normally, but on electricity he’s lost the plot.

I’ve provided some links here, but there are many more in the earlier posts. Continue reading Cherry picking electricity prices in Qld election

Electricity bills – Queensland acts because it can

There is no doubt that electricity in Australia has become expensive. Here is a graph on the National Electricity Market (NEM) states, other than Tasmania, against European countries:

It’s from a Carbon + Energy Markets report cited by the ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing: Preliminary Report, September 2017 comparing May 2017 Australian prices with 2015 European prices. The ACCC also note that:

    There are currently no national surveys conducted in Australia that inform price reporting around what customers are actually paying.

Which is disconcerting. The one above was based on the weighted median offer of the three largest Australian retailers. Continue reading Electricity bills – Queensland acts because it can