Numerous studies tell us that 100% renewables is possible, and cost effective. But how to structure an energy market where there is no fuel cost? Germany is already grappling with this dilemma, and the world is watching with interest.
Rooftop solar in Australia has broken through the 3GW level, with penetration rates at one-quarter of homes in SA. New study finds that rooftop PV provided 28% of electricity in the state, 9.4% of NEM-wide demand on ‘Solar Sunday’ in September.
Labor and Greens claim important win as climate repeal bills separated. Government continues to brand CEFC as ‘highly speculative’, while Labor accuses the Coalition of creating a new slush fund, and the Greens accuse it of acting out of ‘ideological spite’ and climate denial. So much for a bipartisan approach to climate!
In the face of budget cuts, ARENA’s Industry Program is targeting the development of renewable energy projects to supply Australia’s mining industry; a major growth opportunity for the renewables sector, and a chance for miners to save cash and cut emissions.
The head of one of the world’s biggest solar research facilities says solar PV will cost just 2c/kWh by 2050. The challenge is to build enough manufacturing capacity to ensure that everyone can access that cheap source of electricity.
The spin machine of the Abbott government has turned its attention to Australia’s electricity prices, posting a new ‘facts’ document that is selective at best. It looks like something straight out of central control, and the centralised business model.
Two separate inquiries into wind farms reject claims about health impacts of wind turbines, while a noted anti-wind campaigner is forced to concede that nearby residents of a wind farm he has helped demonise actually quite like it. All the industry needs now is some policy certainty.
The under-siege CEFC says it could achieve half of Australia’s emissions reductions out to 2020, at no cost to the taxpayer – and still return money to the struggling Federal Budget. So will ideology and sloganeering triumph over smart policy?
UN climate talks get bogged down because governments fear the solutions are too difficult. But a new study will show doubling renewables and supporting energy efficiency can deliver all the abatement needed out to 2030. Governments just need to realise that the solutions are in front of them.
Ideology is getting the better of sensible decision making. Australia’s stance on climate is misreading the international mood, and could simply be shooting its own economy in the foot.
German battery storage company Younicos believes its technology can break down one of the last barriers to 100% renewable energy – the need to run fossil fuel generation to control the ‘frequency’ of the grid. Installing a series of battery parks costing about $4bn, it could remove the need for ‘must run’ coal generation in Germany.
Australian communities are being hit hard by high network charges, even as some network operators more than double their profits. Some are asking whether they shouldn’t buy back the grid. The Germans are one step ahead, sweeping aside large network operators who stood in the way of renewables and energy efficiency.
Australia’s reputation hits a new low as poor nations take offence over its hardline attitude and negotiating behaviour. It may be grandstanding, but Australia has set itself up as the whipping boy of international climate politics. Meanwhile, Poland sacks its environment minister, who had been getting in the way of shale gas development.
Australia is criticised by all sides over its hardline stance at Warsaw. Diplomats are being driven mad by Australia’s ‘no more money, no more ambition’ mantra that it is taking into all negotiating streams. This comes as the UN calls on rich countries to show leadership, and to lift emission reduction targets.
Within a week, Australia’s reputation as a constructive force in international climate negotiations has been trashed, as the Abbott government exports its hard-line domestic policy onto the international stage. This came as the UNFCCC head gave coal a dressing down at the Warsaw summit, and warned most of it may have to stay in the ground.
Australia is being blamed for obstructive behaviour at the Warsaw climate talks, as non-EU western countries appear determined to strike the major details of the climate agreement away from the hotbed of the UN negotiations, and within the Major Economies Forum. Meanwhile, fossil fuels reign supreme in Poland.
In their latest displays of breathtaking ignorance, Tony Abbott and his coterie are acting on what was once implicit: that Direct Action is a construct of a party that simply doesn’t accept the science. Meanwhile in Germany, the two biggest political parties have signed a deal to increase renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030.
Poland PM Donald Tusk has done to European climate policies what Tony Abbott has set out to achieve in Australia. But Abbott may be able to outdo his Polish doppelgänger if he can throw a spanner into a renewed push to achieve a global climate treaty by 2020.