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Time for Australia to wake up to scale and pace of clean energy transition

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Solar panels, Provence, France

UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is a very rich man, with a very big business that consumes a lot of energy.

In the last few months he has come to the same conclusion as tens of thousands of Australian homeowners and thousands of businesses, big and small: the best way to cut your bill for energy is to generate your own.

Gupta this week unveiled the details of his plans to build 1 gigawatt of large-scale solar, battery storage, pumped hydro and demand management for the Whyalla steel works and other big energy users in South Australia.

Gupta reckons it will slash his company’s energy bills by around 40 per cent, and he intends to repeat the dose in his even bigger steel plants in Melbourne and Sydney, which he says will be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy within a few years.

Most businesses reckon they can achieve similar savings, which is why the likes of Nectar Farms are turning to wind and battery storage for a $750 million investment in a new glass house and energy park near Stawell in Victoria, and why zinc refiner Zinc Metals is turning to solar to slash the costs of electricity in north Queensland and, like Gupta, help to expand the business.

It’s why Telstra has contracted to take the output of a 72MW solar farm in Queensland, and will do the same with many more such facilities; it’s why Foster’s Brewing is going 100 per cent renewables; why Woolworths is also turning to solar, along with countless other large retailers, and mining groups.

Households can do even better. The pay-back for a rooftop solar system is probably less than five years – for an asset that will last 25 years. The savings on an electricity bill, even without the generous “premium” tariffs that too many still enjoy, are well over 50 per cent.

As Gupta says, and nearly two million household and businesses understand, it’s not a difficult equation. The cost of solar has plunged 90 per cent in the last five years, and the cost of storage is following suit.

The cost of grid power, on the other hand, has more than doubled.

Australia has ridiculously high charges for electricity from the grid. For many consumers, it’s around 40c/kWh or even more, and that’s around 50 per cent more than the cost of a diesel generator in the outback.

It’s absurd, and it’s got little to do with the cost of technologies or the cost of service.

It’s more about the greed of the incumbents, the monopoly that own the networks, and the oligopolies that control the wholesale markets and dominate the retail scene, and the totally inadequate supervision by the regulators.

Amid all this, and with the opportunities that abound in Australia with its resources in solar, wind, know-how and smart software, and the opportunity for a major reduction in emissions, what does the consumer get from the politicians and some of the principal regulators?

Nonsense. Complete and utter nonsense.

The Coalition wages a war against renewables that is based on wild myths, ignorance and prejudice perpetuated by obscure blogs and disgruntled right-wingers.

State and federal pricing regulators wring their hands, tut-tutting about the prevalence of solar, anxious to protect the revenues of the their lunch guests, when most studies suggest the benefits of rooftop solar far outweigh the costs.

More recently, and most disappointingly, the best the newly formed Energy Security Board could produce – when instructed to produce a “policy” that the right wing in the Coalition could accommodate – was a plan for a plan that would not meet emissions targets, and could stop renewable energy in its tracks.

More crucially, it offers little or no savings to consumers. Maybe $2 a week, maybe 50c, but quite possibly nothing at all. The overwhelming consensus of independent analysts is that it is more likely to push prices higher.

Really, who are they trying to kid?

Much has been written about the National Energy Guarantee, and much more will be, particularly when we actually get a few more details.

The kind view of the NEG is that the idea of introducing a reliability and an emissions guarantee into the wholesale energy market might possibly work. And that the ESB should be forgiven their forecasts because they had a moment’s notice to come up with a plan, and realpolitik to deal with.

The idea that it might just work comes with one important caveat: only if it is in the right hands – in the hands of people who understood that technology is changing, and want to facilitate and accelerate that change, so that more consumers and businesses can also benefit.

In the wrong hands, this plan could prove disastrous. Rather than accelerating the transition to clean energy, it could seek to stall it – and that would be for the benefit of no one apart from the interests of the incumbent businesses and the satisfaction of certain ideologues.

We don’t know yet whether that is the case. But the modelling produced so far by the ESB – prepared for them by the backward looking Australian Energy Market Commission – gives little reason for confidence.

The next round of modelling – by Frontier Economics – looks set to repeat the dose of inflated costs of wind and solar that has marked their previous work for the AEMC in its various campaigns against renewables.

Every single study that was ever completed into the Australian energy industry agrees on one thing: that more investment and more competition, particularly from renewables, will result in lower costs.

The numbers produced by the ESB – and this is all we have to judge them on – indicate little or no new investment over the decade from 2020-2030. Little wonder they factor in no meaningful reduction in costs, and the very minimum in terms of emission reductions.

Regulators have done energy consumers in Australia no favours in the past decade. To the eyes of economic rationalists, the National Energy Market it is a thing of academic beauty.

But it has been rorted, gamed, manipulated, abused and priced to the point of absurdity and where businesses are now closing and low-income folk are going without food or other necessary items – and those that can are investing in their own solar power and storage.

It’s the result of greedy bastards going unchecked, of inadequate rules, weak supervision, and lousy planning (particularly with forecasts).

network-queensland

This has allowed the monopoly networks to double their charges largely unchecked; the generators to use and abuse their market power to the full; and the retailers to profit by confusing the hell out of consumers.

The degree of regulatory capture – the term used to describe where regulatory agencies, created to act in the public interest, instead choose to advance the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector – has been complete.

This is the true test of the Energy Security Board. These are smart people. Highly qualified people. But unless they can provide a document and a plan that takes advantage of the technologies and the cost reductions at hand – and seize the imperative of reducing emissions – there really is no point to it.

Perhaps it may have to play a sleight of hand, to convince the conservatives that their clients and their favoured industries are protected, while at the same time allowing for an alternative government to significantly raise the level of ambition. It therefore has to be scalable.

All they have to do is follow the example of Gupta, Sun Metals, Nectar Farms, Foster’s, the big retailers, thousands of smaller businesses and more than a million households.

If they can’t even do that, then they should stop the pretense now. There is an argument that something is better than nothing, but not when that “something” pretty much prevents anything from being achieved.

RenewEconomy has a huge readership from overseas who, for good reason, know that Australia is at the cutting edge of this energy transition: nowhere else in the world do you get such amazing resources, fantastic talent, and the cost leverage presented by the highest grid prices of a developed economy on the planet.

The opportunities for Australia to emerge as a renewable energy powerhouse, with cheap, reliable and clean energy, and a faster, smarter, cheaper and more reliable grid, are enormous.

The alternative is for Australia to be seen increasingly as a crash test dummy for the rest of the world. We keep on driving into walls. We have to learn how to do better.

  

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  • Joe

    The COALition…just a giant roadblock. Real roadblocks get cleared to allow normality to resume. The COALition needs to go.

  • howardpatr

    Why – for one; the AEMC and the gentailers man, John Pierce.

  • Ben Dixon

    Frustrating times. I think the future will look back at this period and consider the COALition and their cronies as environmental Terrorists.

    • Joe

      The ‘T’ word….a most excellent assignation to The COALition.

  • Ken Dyer

    And I quote, “Adani is central to a profound energy transition in India, which is on
    track to achieve a national 40% renewable energy target by 2030,
    equivalent to 350GW, or around seven times Australia’s total electricity
    sector.”
    http://reneweconomy.com.au/adanis-solar-shift-puts-carmichael-shade-63467/
    EVEN BLOODY ADANI GETS IT!
    Wake up Queensland! Wake up Turnbull! Wake up One Nation! Wake up Labor! Wake up Townsville! Wake up Australia!

    • Joe

      Adani is still (publicly) committed to the Carmichael Mega Mine abomination, so clearly they / Adani don’t get it, enough. But October was the month that Adani promised to start the build of the Carmichael Mega Mine. I may have missed it but I haven’t seen or heard anything about the ‘first sod’…maybe Adani does get it?

      • Ken Dyer

        Oh they get it alright Joe. They are fighting a desperate rear guard action to extricate themselves from Carmichael, which is totally debt funded as you know. The longer they can delay it, the longer they think they win. If Palasczuk lose the election to the LNP and One Nation, Adani will start the mine because they will be directly funded by the LNP. It is part of the LNP policy platform. Adani did not get to where they were without devious dealings with Indian Government. They are very aware that the COALition and One Nation parties will fund them. Palasczuk wont.
        http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2017/07/04/qld-government-rules-out-adani-loan-mine

        • John Saint-Smith

          You mean that if they form government, most likely with the help of One Nation, the LNP would then engage in gross misappropriation of taxpayers’ money, handing it to Adani, who will then use it to subsidize his attack on the existing markets of other Australian coal producers?
          Outrageous! And the schmucks will blame Labor as usual.

          • Ken Dyer

            You are dead right John, just like Turnbull is interceding with China to finance the mine. The Coalition, LNP and One Nation are all COAL tarred with the same brush

        • PacoBella

          I was under the mistaken impression that Qld Labor had granted Adani unlimited free access to water rights. I stand corrected according to the details of a little publicised press release by the Qld Minister for Natural Resources and Mines available on his parliamentary website. It shows Adani get no access to surface water until they lodge a $20 million bond (which they don’t have) and then they get 10,800 megalitres and have to pay at 3 times the rate charged to farmers. The origin of the “free water” myth is Adani, like all other miners, will be “allowed” to collect and re-use any water that seeps into their mine (estimated at 4550 megalitres, or as much groundwater as would be used by a 450 hectare cane farm).

          I would like to see all 200 of their environmental conditions independently reviewed and then see the level of resourcing and commitment that will be devoted to policing them. Given Adani’s track record I do not feel hopeful that they will do the right thing, environmentally, socially or economically, but if the LNP are prepared be their “bankers of last resort” (against advice of every independent financier and the will of the majority of Australians) the last bastion of defence falls back on the Qld government conditions and enforcement regime. Let’s hope they are up to the job.

          • Ken Dyer

            Thankyou Paco. I wasn’t aware of the detail of this, only that Adani had received access to water. I am becoming more suspicious daily about the tactics of the Stop Adani movement. They seem to attack Palasczuk at every step but let the LNP and One Nation off the hook. Either they are just plain stupid, or perhaps more likely, are using the Stop Adani movement to convince people that Labor is to blame and by default, the LNP and One nation will fix everything. I am happy to be wrong though.

          • PacoBella

            I have been looking into the environmental conditions that I think Qld Labor has applied in good faith. I worry though, if Adani sign up to them, which Adani entity will undertake the responsibility to comply and which Adani entity will have the necessary amount of money required over and above any bonds. The $20 million for the water bond will not be enough to remedy basin-wide problems if they occur. Similarly, bonds for rehabilitation are traditionally only a fraction of the total cost of compliance. If all the money has been siphoned off from the publicly-listed Adani subsidiaries into private, family-owned shell companies based in the Cayman Islands all the well-meant environmental conditions will not be worth the paper they are written on.

            Between the port terminal, the railway and the mine there is a web of operating and service companies, and the true nature of the beneficial ownership Vs the incidence of contractual obligations is totally obscure. Which entity are the Townsville and Rockhampton Councils giving their multi-million dollar donations to and what guarantee do they have of getting their money back if the project does not proceed, or the jobs are not as many as promised, or there are no jobs, or the jobs are also given to people from other places?

          • Ken Dyer

            Adani has woven a web of deceit, obfuscation and financial chicanery around a gullible Federal Government in the grip of its right wing nutjobs, and two local governments, Townsville and Rockhampton,.

            Adani split off its thriving green energy business in 2015 and is now moving towards an IPO on stock exchanges. The coal side has been left to carry an ever increasing debt burden.

            https://cleantechnica.com/2017/10/23/adani-plans-demerger-ipo-renewable-energy-arm/

            The coal arm is facing increasing risks. The Carmichael mine is a stranded asset and it is not going to be pretty once the chickens fly home to roost, as they undoubtedly will, when Adani stops waving its arms around. These articles at IEEFA explain:

            http://ieefa.org/category/company/adani/

      • Brian Tehan

        Some economists say that Adani wants to get rid of the mine but they need to fatten it up with some taxpayer funds to increase the value.

        • Joe

          …The NAIF with a tidy little $1 Billions…Townsville & Rockhampton Councils with a joint $36 million….it is rolling in now.

      • Joe

        Well I watched ABC 7.30 show last night (1/11) and there was the answer to my question in an updated report into Adani and The Far North. The ‘first sod’ has been…’delayed’….a little problem of securing bank finances. But in the meantime we heard that Townsville and Rockhampton Councils each signed agreements to jointly pay $36 million on building an airstrip for FIFO workers at the proposed coalmine site. Adani wants the airstrip built now, the 2 councils want ‘financial guarantees’ first to protect their $36 million before they build the airstrip, This has all the hallmarks of a Ponzi. Mr Adani, a billionaire that won’t even pay $36 million of his own hard earned to support his coal venture.
        I think the verdict is now in…Adani is a stinker.

        • Mike Westerman

          Hole in one Joe

          • Joe

            You can watch that 7.30 story (1/11 ) about Adani on ABC Iview…everyone, and in particular Premier Annastacia and the Adani Boosters ‘Aussie Matteo’ and ‘Kiwi Bananabee’.

        • Calamity_Jean

          “…Adani is a stinker.”

          I can smell the stench from the US.

  • Carl Raymond S

    There needs to be a discussion on “uptime”. I think most people are happy to light a candle once or twice every thousand days, especially if it means a lower rate. It’s a trivial sacrifice to save the planet.
    The mantra “we must keep the lights on, no matter what” overvalues despatchable power. It’s the one ace coal has and they are using it to win the hand, despite renewables having three aces (cheaper, cleaner, everlasting).
    Some will scoff and say that renewables are less reliable than one outage every thousand days, but they don’t understand statistics. There is a huge difference between 0.001 and zero. Simply allowing a tiny amount of outage rather than zero outage means a few despatchable sources can back up many intermittent and finite storage sources, due to the high improbability of simultaneous outage. To believe we need one for one backup is to be mathematically and psychologically scammed.

    • Mike Westerman

      Carl – I’m glad I’m not the only one saying so! Add to this that mission critical elements don’t rely on the reliability of the grid anyway: how many life support systems in hospitals have you seen without their own UPS. I remember doing a study on a factory where they were losing considerable product thru dodgy power. We found the most vulnerable item required about 5kW and 1kWh of UPS – the rest of their 5MW load could bounce its way thru the frequent short interruptions. Telecom companies protect their reliability locally as well.

      We have created a monster then made ourselves slaves to feed it.

    • Chris Fraser

      The Coalition has successfully created its own vicious cycle for political purposes. It is one of several successive governments that have reduced energy quality put out by generators. Then it created a billion-dollar industry for others to fix bad power output, and made the consumers pay. Then the Coalition pretended to be the party of reliable energy, feeding off consumers fear of blackouts, while at the same actually taking no action on reliability, only spending $50 Billion on grid capacity for when the system is working all good. I think Machiavelli would have been proud of the concept, even if he grimaces at the well-being of market value and the NEM itself.

    • Tom

      When I was a kid, we’d often have power failures. Big deal! We were taught to not open the fridge or freezer unless absolutely necessary, and we’d wait. I can still hear the “beep” when the microwave would turn itself back on along with the lights and TV. And us kids knew how to reset all the digital clocks.

      I’ve heard that there are often very busy periods in maternity wards 9 months after an extended power failure. As Peter Costello would say, that would be the “one for the country”.

    • neroden

      Here in upstate New York, in the US, we have power outages a couple of times a year for a few hours. We’re used to it. We get out the battery-powered flashlights. We don’t open the fridge. With a well-insulated house we don’t worry about heat unless the outage goes on for more than a day.

      For really critical systems like hospital equipment, backup batteries can handle any short outages.

  • Mags

    This government (and probably the labour party too) are in the grip of the coal miners, they can’t act. Until we get one out of politics, this continuous corruption will continue.

    • solarguy

      We can’t get out of the politics Mags, this is the battle field in which we have to play the game of truth and lies. Labor and the Greens are our only allies. By voting Labor in the QLD and later the federal election, is the only way and when they win government we will make sure they keep their promise.

      • Mags

        Yes, you are right. I had a typo in my original, it should have said until we get “money” out of politics!! I agree that a vote for Labour or the Greens makes most sense, but I wish they would join forces so the left vote is not split.

        • Mike Westerman

          Remember Mags that there are many in the party from the Right, including conservative Christian members, especially in Qld. But I think the Greens keep Labor truer to their cause and with compulsory preferential voting the leakage of preferences to conservative parties is small.

          I would love to see heavy limits on political advertising, but we could start by insisting all donations above $50 are published immediately funds are received, ban funds from foreign sources and incorporated bodies, and only allow donations from registered bodies that are transparent in funding and operations, with clear published social policies.

          • My_Oath

            While I agree with all that, the banning of funds from foreign donors is all-too-easy to circumvent.

            We have seen it already. It is perfectly apparent that the Mineral’s Council of Australia’s ‘Clean Coal’ campaign was getting funding from sources that were not MCA members. The members – even the few who do have coal exposure – were to get no benefit from the prime thrust of the campaign, the Adani project.

            (I don’t think it was Adani money either – they don’t have any. I suspect it was US money).

            Fortunately, more obvious US money came to play and has stomped on the MCA and “Clean Coal”. Thank you Blackrock. Its amazing what $US5.5 trillion can do when it decides to. Probably too late. The LNP haven’t pulled their faces out of the trough yet to realise its stopped being filled.

          • neroden

            “The LNP haven’t pulled their faces out of the trough yet to realise its stopped being filled.”

            Ha! The same thing is happening, more slowly, in the US, where Republican politicians are still accepting coal money, but not realizing that there’s no more where that came from…

      • neroden

        State Labor seems to be more in tune with the future than federal Labor. But yes, preference the Greens first!

        • solarguy

          Well I’m a Labor man myself, so Labor 1st, Greens 2nd.

  • disqus_jeffn1sBUh

    The NEG intent looks to be to make Australia’s electricity supply just like the NBN. When they have had the studies undertaken that showed FTTP/FTTH (in this case Solar + Storage) was the best solution and yet did everything they could to keep Australia employing assets past their technological & life cycle use by date.

  • Scottman

    Hi Giles,
    Settle, settle, we know how frustrating “they” are, but we want you around to write much more of your honest journalism. I can see how red you got while writing this piece, I saw red when I read it. The LNP terrorists need to go, can’t wait for the next election.
    PS Congrats on the award.

    • Tom

      Will Labor be any better? They’ve made a few oppressive squarks as oppositions are obliged to, but have they put forward any alternative policy?

      The only thing more depressing than a useless government is a useless alternative government.

      • Scottman

        Probly not, lets vote for the Elon.

      • Carl Raymond S

        Echoes of Trump v Clinton. I kept waiting for Hillary to say something deserving of a win, like “we will phase out coal”, but she never did.

      • Brian Tehan

        I don’t think that the journalists on this site think that at all. Long time readers of this site know that not to be true. Here champ, do some reading.
        http://www.alp.org.au/renewableenergy

        • Tom

          Thanks for the link. Interesting read.

          It’s a couple of years out of date (you can date it by the LCOE figures from the cut & paste from Lazard’s website), and a lot has happened since then, but it makes the right noises.

          It doesn’t actually say much – typical politician speak – you read it, it sounds great, then when asked “summarise what it said” you say “well, it didn’t actually say anything”. Still, it’s better than nothing.

          I’m not anti-Labor, I’m just trying to hold them to account. Shorten is very likely to be prime minister in 18 months time, Mark Butler probably energy minister, and we need to know what they’re going to do.

          I get the feeling that people are watching what the current government is doing with horror, but are holding their breath and believing that Labor will ride in like a white knight next election and sweep all of this badness away, making everything ok again.

          Labor should be on the front foot – saying “You are wrong, this is how it should be done”, but they’re not. They’re taking a few half-hearted swipes at the NEG, CET etc, but they’re not openly opposing it (mind you, without details there’s not a lot to oppose yet).

          • Mike Westerman

            Tom I think the target of 50% by 2030 is pretty concrete! Especially in the context of a focus on taking climate change unambiguously seriously. But more can be done for sure, so I (as a long time member) don’t mind people putting pressure on Labor for more concrete goals ie addressing electrification of transportation, phasing out our own coal power stations, phasing out coal mining (which will be enormously contentious), etc

          • neroden

            What I can say for Labor is that they won’t be spewing obstructionist bullshit. Maybe they won’t be that great but they’ll let the free market do its work rather than brazenly trying to subsidize coal like the COALition does.

  • Robin_Harrison

    The answer to your question is simple. The fossil fuel industry, along with the rest of the wealthy and influential industries such as pharmaceuticals and armaments own and run our govts, politicians and regulators. That’s both sides not just the right, only the immediate puppet masters differ.
    In essence we have an entire governmental system that would rather we didn’t transition beyond ‘business as usual’ to a sustainable future. China may have other problems but at least they don’t have a govt beholden to business as usual, and doesn’t it show?

  • Thank you again and again and again Giles for your passion and splendid articulation of the frustration that (from polling) the majority of feel in the face of what should be bleedingly obvious.
    In the meantime we’re continuing to work hard at the local level where at least we have reasonable control over what we can do to save the planet for our future generations

  • stucrmnx120fshwf

    Those of us who are booster’s for Clean Disruption, generally don’t get it either, my estimate is that after a decade of peak industrial revolution, like the last roaring twenties, we will have 25 times as much energy available per person. If 25%, yes a quarter, of Australia’s desert, can make a trillion tonnes, of liquid hydrogen per year, there are also a lot of other deserts out there, Arabia, Chinese Gobi, African Sahara, Latin American Patagonian, Indian, Spanish, US deserts.

    Enough power to make high rise agriculture practical, to raise the standard of living in the Developing World, to beyond that of the developed world, to give us universal basic income. To install magnetic levitation train tunnel networks around the world, that old saying ‘You can’t make steel out of solar’ Just isn’t true anymore, we need to think more like the Chinese, with their world expansion plans, through Belt Road. Or the Japanese, with their magnetic levitation train tunnel, network construction, it isn’t just the Asian Century, it’s everybody’s century.

    • RobertO

      Hi stucrmnx120fshwf, some people will have the hide to tell you that the H2 economony will never happen (I agree fully with them, coal to H2 is a 90% energy loss), until you start on PV panels DC to H2, and DC motors to compress the H2, and the storage tanks kevlar lined is about 30% energy loss. I believe that this will be our energy export to the world, used mostly for heavy transport via FC technology.

      • stucrmnx120fshwf

        Everybody tells me about compressed hydrogen, it’s too bulky, even liquid hydrogen, yes cryogenically cooled, no compression. Is bulkier than hydrocarbon fuels, you know, like liquid natural gas, LNG, no compression, it’s a great aircraft fuel. In the old days, aircraft had metal wings and metal fuselages, so that the fuel also had to be dense as well. Now they’re all composite aircraft, it’s the only way, light efficient fuel like liquid, not compressed hydrogen can work for an aircraft.

        I don’t think hydrogen and compression can work, a lot of people do, but not me, electric vehicles seem to be far easier to implement. Sure for shipping and aircraft, fuel storage in huge bulk, but not on a small scale, like road vehicles. By the by, bigger fuselages don’t cause more drag, because the wings, for lift can be smaller, due to lighter fuel, which is where 85% of the drag comes from.

        Repeat, because a lot of people don’t get this, no compression, you can even create low pressure in the tanks, if you like, if you use slush hydrogen, like a slushie, when have you ever had one those need compression. You’re thinking of a soda, not with liquid hydrogen, it’s cold so that there isn’t boil off, as to explosion risk, handle it properly, handle solid fuel badly and it explodes. Take coal on the Lusitania, coal dust, air, bang, or the Titanic, coal on fire, for days, weakens the structure, multiple bulkhead failure.

        Hydrogen doesn’t pool, it floats into the upper atmosphere, where it’s blown off by solar wind. I’m only advocating liquid not compressed hydrogen, for the storage of Terrawatts of power, like LNG, aviation and shipping. Liquid and bulk, not compressed gas in road vehicles, you get that it’s photovoltaic cells, to electrolysis, but not that it’s liquified like LNG, hardly anyone gets it, that it’s refrigerated, like liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen. There’s no need for Kevlar, aluminium bodies are fine, with insulation, like every liquid hydrogen rocket ever made, for the last 68 years.

        PS the explosion of the space shuttle, was because of solid fuel, a huge blow torch of solid fuel, where the liquid hydrogen, made gas, was in the presence of liquid oxygen, made gas, by heat. Yes the shuttle tank was carbon fibre, but not because of compression, the same as a carbon fibre aircraft, it was because of weight. To illustrate this, the second shuttle crash, was because of insulation hitting the wings, on an aircraft, the insulation would be on the inside, not the outside.

        • RobertO

          Hi stucrmnx120fshwf I agree with the idea that most cars and some heavy trucks will be battery operated (some firm in Melbourne take Hino Trucks and make them battery operated already). For Semi trucks Australia may see something like
          this, https://nikolamotor.com/one, I believe that the USA will do this but I am not sure Australia will. Very few if any cars will have FC.

          • stucrmnx120fshwf

            Yes, with electricity we only have to enhance the network, using bulk engineering liquid hydrogen, to store the energy for electricity. With compressed hydrogen, we’d have to re-engineer the fuel system, fueling systems, pipelines, elaborate costs. Instead of dispatchable, convenient, direct deduction, wireless induction charging, perhaps at every set of traffic lights, car park and parking meter.

            New roads, will have induction lines built into them, as an income stream, for the road toll companies. Who wouldn’t want to arrive at the supermarket, work, with a vehicle fully fueled up. What road toll company wouldn’t want, to increase their revenue, by 20%, for a layout of only 3% more.

            Never having to go to the gas station again, paying 15% as much to fuel your vehicle, 10% as much to maintain it. In a few years, electric vehicles, will be cheaper than, hydrocarbon fueled vehicles. Who’s going to pay for the inconvenience, no-one, it’ll wreck the CO2, particulate smog, noisy, costly inconvenience business model.

            It’ll only be a few years, before suburbs, towns, cities begin banning the cancer carriers, from their streets. Who wants the noise, what toll road company, wants the vibrational loading. What parent with a child, wants the asthmatic wheasing, to see another relative die of cancer. Who doesn’t want the feeling of breathlessness, to go away from their streets. Without soot, without smog, without CO2, with waste oxygen from LH2 production and high rise farming, which even extracts CO2 emissions, from the city air.

            The productivity and lifestyle improvements, from better health, will be enormous. Like the introduction of sewerage treatment and works clean water, in the last roaring twenties. Our noses will become very sensitive, the stench of a smog vehicle, our ears will become very sensitive, the noise of a Rumble van, will annoy us no end. We’ll back the governments ban on smog transportation, with a ferver that few things in history, will have witnessed.

    • neroden

      We will have to spend a lot of that extra energy on *extracting CO2 from the air and water* in order to reverse global warming. Sorry.

      We will make some hydrogen for chemical plants (yay) but for *energy storage* it’s cheaper and more efficient to use batteries.

      • stucrmnx120fshwf

        It may be more efficient to use batteries, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheaper, electric vehicles are much more efficient, than internal combustion engine vehicles. But because of battery costs, there are only a million electric vehicles, costs of batteries are coming down, but if we want to store 25 times as much energy, batteries may be far too expensive. If we have 25 times as much energy available, then we could for instance, use 4 times as much energy as we currently use, to reduce CO2. Assuming normal inefficiency, we would be reducing CO2 at 2.5 times, the current production of CO2. Inefficiency is normal in all processes, that is a different matter to cost, engineering is cheaper than scarce minerals, we’ll need, for electric vehicles and household batteries. Not steel production, accept inefficiency, if solar power plants are cheaper, dramatically cheaper than CO2 energy, we can easily afford 26% inefficiency.

  • Andy Ide

    It is refreshing to occasionally see an article expressing the frustration many have with Energy Policy in this country.

  • Joel D

    Thanks Giles. You mention Woolworths turning to solar, but there was no link for this – is this something that RE has reported on previously?

  • solarguy

    Well Giles you certainly had more to say as you promised, straight to the point and very stirring. We all agree with this truth, as you have stated so well.

    Some time ago I stated that this is a WAR a Carbon WAR. However it is also a war on greed and stupidity. The invention of the ESB is simply new a tactic by a desperate enemy, playing what is most likely it’s last hand of cards. By doing this they have shown that they are desperate to bury the truth.

    But we won’t let them hood wink the public. Perhaps it’s time for us to get the message out there to the wider public. Enough is enough!

    • RobertO

      Hi solarguy, was it you that i was talking to about CH4 in sydney. Some figuars from thr Sydney Water Corporation are in 2016-2017 year are as follows
      9819 kW name plate and 59,950,000 kWhr production. As with all machinery this is in the area of about 70% production which is very good given that I am aware of only one plant that add other sources of supply to the process Cronulla WRP (Food waste) and also includes 1 hydro generation (verticle fall pipe) and some solar. Sewage on its own is very poor, but the addition of other materials can increase production .

      • solarguy

        If your asking about face to face, then no it wasn’t me. On this forum more than likely.

        However, the figures you mention 59.95GWH is quite good for a small prototype demonstrater plant. There is no shortage of shit and green waste is better and there is no shortage of that either.

        But what exactly is your point here?

        • RobertO

          Hi solar guy, I was talking to somebody on line about this and they were under the impression that CH4 from sewage was a great producer but SWC has 9 units (1 hydro, + solar + methane) hence it not really that great given that we have 4.5 million people, Wollongong to Warrirwood

          • solarguy

            Look mate, understand there are many sewerage treatment plants through out Australia. If all had a well sized digesters and storage, there would be plenty of biogas available for rainy days power production, as well as a market for bottled gas. In addition it converts H4 into CO2, which becomes part of the natural carbon cycle. Remember H4 is a potent green house gas that is a by product of sewage treatment plants.

            Think about it!

          • RobertO

            Hi solarguy, sorry, wrong end of the stick. I am pro CH4 plants where possible and even then where possible we need to change oxidation ponds to CH4 (Dubbo is about to refurbish and I asked my local pollie to ask questions about the site).
            In terms of RE biogas will be very small. The plant that I am trying to get going is about 1 to 4 kWhr per person per day. 1 is the minimum that I think I can get running and 4 is absolute max and the costing is about $1.2 – $1.4 million (Payback is 3 to 7 years based on 4 kWhr going down to 1kWhr). My biggest problem is the climate sceptics in the board, and the good point is the price of electricity has gone from $100,000 pa to $270,000 pa since I started with this hair brained scheme. I got this from one board member “I am concerned about the number of Trucks that will be need onsite to run this!” after I had written that the current number of trucks per week would drop (240 pa to about 120 pa). General waste is picked up 2 times a week and it becomes 1 per fornight and the pick up period goes from 40 weeks pa to 52 week pa (the different from 40 to 52 can be variable and we may go 3-4 weeks without a pickup, then the following week we may do 3 or more.

  • RobertO

    Nice article Giles. We have the best resources in the world, both large amounts of wind and solar, yet some want the old ways of doing things. We need to get these deniers out of the way, so we can proceed with an ordley transition (possibly faster than most people realise).

  • Nan

    Such a great summary of the situation. How can we get this onto the front pages in the MSM? It beggars belief what is happening in this country, the level of stupidity in the fossil fuel, electricity industry and politics is staggering. I do wonder though if one person could change all this – if Rupert Murdoch were pro-renewables and anti-fossil fuels with the fervor he currently reserves for being anything progressive, then take a moment to imagine how we would all be aware of how much cleaner our air will be once we’re all using EVs, we’d know about the health benefits of a low CO2 economy, and we’d understand how to transition our economies to be truly sustainable (eco and financial) for future generations, and restoration of the environment would be acceptable and accountable in our financial systems, Yes, if Murdoch chose, he would be brainwashing everyone about this (educating I mean), and even better, he’d be making it acceptable for the fossil fuel industry to proactively and sensibly manage its own transition into a sustainable non-fossil fuel based model of business for it’s shareholders. Does anyone else feel the same way?