The Four Corners program Power Failure added to the sense of crisis around our power system, beginning with the breathless comment that there was almost a breakdown of civil order in South Australia when the lights went out in September. The program looked at the difficulties experienced when the power went off for three days. Recently in some places affected by Cyclone Debbie, crews couldn’t get in to start fixing for about double that time. I’ll come back to Four Corners via a series of articles published on the same day.
First, in the AFR tucked away on page 8, Mark Ludlow penned an article Renewables, EIS ‘make gas-fired power redundant’ (paper edition title). Ludlow interviewed Professor Frank Jotzow, director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at ANU, who said gas had been overtaken by renewable energy, including battery storage, in the transition away from coal-fired power. We should skip gas and go straight to renewables with batteries. Continue reading Power tipping point
Craig Emerson says we can get the gas we need, but is it necessary?
Craig Emerson has an article in the AFR, also on his site, suggesting that politicians need to urgently turn their minds to gas supply in east Australia. Emerson had warned them back in 2014, but they took no notice, and AEMO assured everyone there was no problem.
Suddenly there is. The price of gas-fired electricity threatens manufacturing jobs, and gas is needed to replace coal-fired power. Continue reading Gas, pumped storage and energy futures
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressing the National Press Club last week, described energy as a “defining debate of this parliament”.
His speech set out Turnbull’s vision for Australia’s energy future – covering renewable energy, “clean” coal, gas, power prices and electricity security. He talked up coal, saying Australia as a big exporter needs to show we are using state-of-the-art clean coal-fired technology.
The Climate Council ran a Fact Check and found clean coal is NOT A THING.
Large-scale wind and solar plants are already cheaper than new “more efficient” coal plants, and waaaay cheaper than coal plants with CCS.
You might expect that from the Climate Council, but Ben Potter in the Australian Financial Review reports that just about everyone is saying the same thing. Continue reading Electricity prices: Turnbull’s central
policy scare campaign
Start stopping now, is the short answer. No new coal mines, oil wells or gas fields, and start decommissioning existing ones now. “Managed decline” is the new imperative.
A new study released by Oil Change International, in partnership with 14 organizations from around the world, scientifically grounds the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground by revealing the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It focuses on the potential carbon emissions from developed reserves – where the wells are already drilled, the pits dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export terminals constructed.
Continue reading Recalculating the climate maths
Frank Jotzo recently pointed out that if we are to meet our Paris commitments of keeping global temperature rise below 2C we will need to close about one coal-fired power station every year. I believe we have 24.
He was giving evidence to a Senate inquiry into the Retirement of coal fired power stations set up by the Greens and Labor, chaired by Larissa Waters and due to report on 29 March 2017. If you follow the links there is already an Interim Report and 133 submissions available for our perusal. Continue reading Closing down coal
Coal provides 40% of the world’s electricity, with 75% of this capacity deemed “subcritical”, in other words dirty. That’s a little over 1,200 GW of capacity. The IEA believes that we must shut down 290 GW of subcritical generation worldwide by 2020 in order to stay within a 2°C temperature rise.
The Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment has identified the power stations, the companies and the countries, so that financers, investors and policy makers can weigh the risks and take appropriate action.
In addition to CO2 production, air pollution and the public pressure to close for that reason, is a risk factor. Finally, subcritical plants use 67% more water. Many are in climatic areas where water scarcity is a risk. Continue reading Stranded assets and subcritical coal
The latest Morgan Stanley report is bullish about the growth of battery storage in the Australian market. They think we’ll have 6.6GWh of battery storage in Australia by 2020, which is what the Australian Energy Market Operator last week predicted for 2035. Continue reading Climate clippings 176
1. March scorcher
March temperatures were the hottest March ever and second largest monthly anomaly. Here’s NASA via Open Mind:
Continue reading Climate clippings 169
The Powerwall is a 7 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion-battery system that stores electricity generated from rooftop solar panels (or PV panels) during the day so that electricity can be used at night during the peak-usage times.
Most existing solar panel owners will need to obtain a new inverter to connect with the grid. Continue reading Climate clippings 163
China exponentially increased its use of coal in the early part of this century, so that 64% of its energy comes from coal. Now studies suggest that coal use in China declined in 2014 and may have peaked in 2013. No new mines will be approved in the next three years. Continue reading Climate clippings 162
1. Massive cyber attack on Bureau of Meteorology supercomputer
China is being blamed for a major cyber attack on the computers at the Bureau of Meteorology, which has compromised sensitive systems across the Federal Government. Continue reading Climate clippings 158