Category Archives: Climate Action

Adani will cost jobs

The development of Adani’s Carmichael mine has always been sold as a job-creating venture. In fact it will be a highly automated mine, creating jobs mostly in the cities. A new report has found that the development of Carmichael and the subsequent development of the Galilee basin will cost about 12,500 jobs in existing coal mining regions and replace only two in three workers. Continue reading Adani will cost jobs

EnergyAustralia targets niche created by Liddell closure

EnergyAustralia looks set to sink $400 million into a new peaking gas power station, but have warned that the investment case would collapse if Canberra’s Coalshevik politicians force AGL’s ageing Liddell plant to stay open or if a new coal plant is built.

Their new gas plant will not supply ‘baseload’ power. rater, it will be fast-start and run on demand, operating only at peak times or when other plants suffer outages. This indicates it will mainly operate on the spot market, but in doing so will help prevent spikes up to the maximum $14,000 a megawatt-hour limit. Continue reading EnergyAustralia targets niche created by Liddell closure

Climate clippings 225

1. Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, by Elisabeth Rush

A review by Dave Hage at Star Tribune of Elizabeth Rush’s new book Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore says it is “a lovely and thoughtful book, so lyrical that you forget how much science it delivers.”

    Rush, who teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University, has chosen to examine climate change through the lens of American places and people devastated by rising seas and higher temperatures. Reading her book is like learning ecology at the feet of a poet rather than a scientist.

Continue reading Climate clippings 225

Snowy Hydro and the future of renewables

Snowy Hydro 2.0 was, I thought, being justified at the political level by its capacity to back up with pumped storage some of the “reckless” development of wind and solar energy around the place. RenewEconomy now reports that Snowy Hydro is itself planning to develop 800 MW of wind and solar capacity. It has put out an expression of interest document, aiming to conclude contracts by September:

    “The initial aim is to procure 400MW of wind and 400MW of solar off takes,” the document states, although the company may change its mind on the 50/50 split between wind and solar depending on the offers made.

    “Snowy Hydro’s goal is to construct a portfolio of wind and solar offtakes such that the resulting portfolio benefits from diversification of fuel sources (wind / sun), geography (across NEM States, latitude and longitude) and supply profile (intra-day, week, month and season).”

Continue reading Snowy Hydro and the future of renewables

Climate clippings 224

1. Oil and car companies are suddenly investing in electric vehicles. Here’s why.

Joe Romm’s article was also posted at RenewEconomy.

AEMO wants ‘demand response’ as strategic reserve

You will recall that after the closing of Hazelwood Power Station at the end of March 2017 fears were held that the 2017-18 summer would see extensive blackouts. AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator, was tasked to assemble a strategic reserve to keep the lights on.

AEMO assembled a reserve of 1150 megawatts mainly “demand response” capacity with capital cost approaching zero, but the mechanism the agency had used called the Reliability and Reserve Trader or RERT, can’t be automatically rolled over for the summer of 2018-19. And perhaps it can’t be done at all, because the rule-maker, the Australian Energy Market Commission, has changed the rules governing the RERT so that the mechanism can only be used on 10 weeks notice in an emergency as a last resort, which is simply impractical.

So what is going on? Continue reading AEMO wants ‘demand response’ as strategic reserve

Flannery rescues the planet

Tim Flannery says A decade ago climate experts were deeply worried. Now they are terrified.

We need to perform superbly in the next 10 years, he says, but the task is doable.

Robyn Williams talked to Tim Flannery at the Planet Talks, part of Womadelaide, in April 2018. There is a transcript available at the link above. Continue reading Flannery rescues the planet

AEMO’s fast track electricity plan

The headline in the SMH was

Australia’s energy operator proposes ‘fast change’ scenario to cut emissions by 52 per cent by 2030

followed by:

    Greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector would be reduced at twice the rate proposed by the Turnbull government under a radical new plan outlined by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

    The “fast change” model puts the public operator on a collision course with policymakers after AEMO outlined a potential cut of 52 per cent to all electricity emissions by 2030, double the rate required to meet our Paris climate change commitments.

The bit I’ve highlighted was wrong. AEMO charted a doable scenario double the rate specified by the Turnbull government, but it was derived from the ENA CSIRO Low Emissions Technology Roadmap, which looked at what would be required to meet the 2°C target under the Paris Agreement. Continue reading AEMO’s fast track electricity plan

Saving the Great Barrier Reef – seriously?

Back in February this year Malcolm Turnbull (acting for the Commonwealth Government, of course) stumped up $60 million to future proof the Reef. Now we have Great Barrier Reef gets funding boost as PM tells ‘doomsayers’ to be optimistic. Via the NY Times and Gizmodo There’s $500 million more now to save the Great Barrier Reef:

    including $200 million in funding to reduce agricultural pollution and $100 million for “reef restoration and adaptation,” which includes a project to grow stronger corals in laboratories. Other projects include killing off invasive species like the crown-of-thorns starfish and community engagement and enforcement

Everyone, except the ABC, is telling Turnbull, that’s fine and dandy, but won’t do much good unless we get serious about climate change. Continue reading Saving the Great Barrier Reef – seriously?

Approaching crunch time on Liddell

The AFR reports that Alinta is finalising its bid for Liddell, energy minister Josh Frydenberg says by the end of April, so any day now. That was in response to the announcement by AGL the day before that it will build the 252-megawatt gas-fired plant near its Newcastle Gas Storage Facility, completing construction at the end of 2022, for the cost of $400 million:

Above is an artist impression of a similar facility in South Australia.

Frydenberg was not impressed. Continue reading Approaching crunch time on Liddell

AGL doubles down on Liddell plan

CEO Andrew Vesey has advised that AGL are ordering the equipment they need to convert Liddell’s turbines to “synchronous condensers” to fim up solar and wind energy. AGL’s plan for a clean energy hub to replace Liddell is going ahead, according to Ben Potter in the AFR.

Beyond tha,t the same edition of the AFR has an article explaining the conundrum of the Liddell fight, making particular reference to what the advice from AEMO (the Australian Energy Market Operator) actually said. This issue was raised in the comments thread of the post Energy crisis? What energy crisis? AEMO boss Audrey Zibelman took exception to an article Malcolm Turnbull’s bid to flog Liddell to Alinta ill-advised: AEMO. Continue reading AGL doubles down on Liddell plan