Why consumers should install solar, and join pressure groups | RenewEconomy

Why consumers should install solar, and join pressure groups

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Mark Diesendorf urges those who care about climate change to go further than installing solar panels and voting and join pressure groups.

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Speaking in Adelaide last Saturday at the Festival of Ideas, long-time renewables advocate Mark Diesendorf urged those who care about climate change to go further than installing solar panels and voting and join pressure groups.

He pointed to the recent efforts in Queensland to disincentivise the owners of rooftop solar for selling their excess energy back to the grid.

This was defeated by concerted campaigning by groups which held meetings in marginal seats, often attended by more people than were the difference between victory and defeat for the prospective MPs.

Diesendorf asked the audience to imagine if these groups, such as Solar Citizens and others, had not just a few hundred thousand members but instead two million – with the concomitant political pressure they would wield.

So, more than voting, said Diesendorf, join a group to help exert pressure and resist those who want to slow or stop the energy transition.

This call to arms came in response to a question in which Diesendorf had been asked to imagine Australian politics a year from now, without Abbott or Craig Kelly, and with a Federal Labor government that had Mark Butler as climate minister: What would incumbents be doing to delay or guide the unstoppable energy transition?

He noted that two powerful unions – the Australian Workers Union and CFMEU –  which could be expected to have quite some influence on a future ALP government, albeit less than the influence that industry associations have on the current government.

Some lobbies will want a new coal-fired power station or two, and these will continue to press their case (thus the need for stronger pro-renewables groups).

To standing-room only audience, Diesendorf explained that there were many reasons besides climate change not to like fossil fuels (local air quality, the relatively small number of jobs, water stress).

He explained that – and this is hardly a surprise to readers of reneweconomy – that new technologies were available and affordable (and indeed either already cheaper than fossil fuels or soon to be so.

He tackled the question of whether an electricity provision system based on 100% renewables was possible.  He gave a qualified yes, pointing to four different types of energy mix.-

One: Dispatchable REs , big hydro, geothermal  (Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Bhutan, Tasmania)

Two:  Variable REs with strong interconnection Denmark (44% wind), Scotland( 68% , from wind mostly), two northern German states ACT is very close

Three: Variable RE  purchased from elsewhere and/or installed on site (Google and Apple)

Four: Variable RE with local generation, weak or no interconnection (the Whyalla steelworks etc)

Diesendorf rubbished the National Energy Guarantee, arguing it is designed to prolong the life of coal.  For once, Diesendorf said, he agreed with Tony Abbott, albeit for completely different reasons, that we’d do better without the NEG.

Diesendorf also took time to perform some myth-busting on the favourite talking points of Newscorp and so-called conservative politicians, around ‘baseload can only be provided by coal’ and ‘renewable energy requires enormous amounts of expensive storage’

He pointed to recent academic work in the journal Renewable Energy on the question of

Modeling the carbon budget of the Australian electricity sector’s transition to renewable energy”  (see also his Conversation article on this here)

Alongside this potentially dry work, Diesendorf was also keen that the audience take the time (two and a half minutes) to watch the spoof “Honest government advert on renewable energy policy.”

There were other sessions at the Festival of Ideas that tackled climate change (for example, the excellent presentation by environmental historian Tom Griffiths), but Diesendorf’s packed the greatest punch.

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  1. MaxG 2 years ago

    By all means: the idea is great… but…

    –> People do not care! <–
    If they claim they do, it won't get past lip service.

    Sometimes I hate myself for appearing so negative; however, I have done my research, so let me throw in this example: I did exactly what is suggested in this article: joined the Renewable Energy Party in late 2015.

    "In the 2016 federal election the Renewable Energy Party fielded two senate candidates in each of New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia, and a total of eight candidates for the House of Representatives in Victoria (4), Tasmania (3) and New South Wales (1), none of whom were elected.

    On 1 February 2018, the Australian Electoral Commission issued a notice that it was considering deregistering the party on the grounds that it had ceased to have at least 500 members.[6] On 26 March 2018, the party was deregistered due to failure to respond to the earlier notice." (text in quotes sourced from Wikipedia).

    The problem is exactly what I stated initially. I have campeigned, talked, whatever to engage people; most make a runner, others agree action is needed, some promise to do something, and those doing maybe 1 in 1,000.

    Given this experience, with the 2m solar people would yield 2,000 people actually joining / doing something. Now, the Renewable Energy Party struggled to get 500 in order to register the party — meaning that my 1 in 1,000 is more like 1 in 4,000.

    When Newman sacked some 15,000 people in Qld in 2012, I asked many to attend the demonstrations by various organisations. The reponse: ohh, after work? By then I am already home.

    So, take this and everything else I have written on this forum, and you get my stance: unless the current system is overthrown in its entirety, nothing will change; other than projects or direction with a financial benefit attached to it.

    • Joe 2 years ago

      Hi Max. I think that there is a lot of apathy with people these days until they are directly impacted by some decision. Maybe people find it too hard ( or just don’t care enough ) to make the effort and do something. It is far easier to whine, whinge and point the finger. Look at the over the top hysteria that surrounds the supermarkets ending the free plasticky bags. You’d think it was the end of the world with the reaction to now not being provided with a free plastic bag to load your shop. People having to take personal responsibility…nah, not having that…just have a vent, rant and whine instead.

    • Pedro 2 years ago

      I was very involved with the Renewable Energy Party at the time of the election and cancelled my membership about 1 year later. About 7000 people voted for the REP in WA, which I thought it was well short of what the Party required to be viable and very disappointing personally. I have been on WA RE/Climate marchers that have had 15K people attending with a dozen different NGO’s represented, so I was left wondering who those 15K active protesters actually voted for??

      So Max I have to agree with you that the vast bulk of people do not care enough to do anything other than the easy stuff like signing an email petition. And a broken, corrupt political system does not help at all either where no matter who you vote for we get the same outcomes.

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        It is this very betrayal you’ve mentioned… 15k supporters and 7,000 votes. I am surprised you actually got 7,000 votes. Now put this in perspective with the LNP being in power (with 5,131,505 votes).
        Yet, both parties subsidise coal. It is disheartening at best.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      A political party is one thing. A pressure group is quite another.
      Solar Citizens is a case in point. Like a single issue GetUp.
      Google, Join, help with campaigns.

      • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

        Yeh! Climate 4 Change is aimed at holding conversations that encourage action such as lobbying pollies and joining other activist groups – chain reactions at grassroots levels.

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        Sorry, I can’t see the point… yes, there are some minor (in the scheme of things) achievements; but solar is too limited, It should be energy, a call for electricity assets to be returned to public ownership; only then can energy poverty, inequality, and modernisation, take place. I am sure many would follow my lead to donate their export to the needy, if there would be no profit-taking by corporations. Public ownership would ensure social benefits.
        Look at the idiocy: the government pays (with public money) an energy-saving campaign; the industry complains that profit has gone backwards and raise the price to ensure the profit remains steady (but usually such action also caters for a healthy increase). As a result the public is worse off. Why have bills increased given that more energy is being saved? Why are more households being cut off, due to hardship?
        The solution I am eluding to would be a no-brainer.
        The industry will continue to divide the public and raise questions like: the network needs to be improved to cater for solar. Should all customers foot the bill or solar customers only?
        A very good response was: “Should I buy an investment property for you, so you can rent it out and keep all the rental money!”
        However, the average person will fall this crap and will tick to make the solar customer pay.
        As I said, all band aids, not addressing the root cause — something I have an issue with.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Why not go for broke? Because me must learn to walk before we can run, and because every step forward is a step forward. As long as the ultimate goal is to get to 100% renewables, every step forward is a step closer, but demanding a quantum leap will be met with terrified resistance. We now have far more than a toe in the water, but it will take further progress before the countryas a whole is ready to take the big plunge. And as others here keep saying, that progress could happen very fast if the government would just get, or be kicked, out of the way.

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            If you would know how many hours, days, months I have spent engaging in meaningful conversations… the reactions I have got… the issue we are facing are not easy to understand, and it feels like talking calculus to people who can merely add up.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            There is also the small matter that an existential threat is too terrifying for many people to acknowledge. Easier to watch another episode of Master Chef, Or Big Brother, to take your mind off it all.
            Frame the discussion around air pollution and the health costs, and the crazy prices of electricity, and you might get further.
            Think of California, and Arnie’s campaign. That worked so well!

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        I just read the Homegrown Power Plan (summary). Sounds great, gives you the warm and fuzzies; I wonder, whether the authors understand what they are asking for (some of the desired outcomes are in stark contrast to legislation, the free market, capitalism, and both parties’ core ideas)… then followed by: this is the problem (fine), and “if we do this” … “if”… In any case, good luck to these groups. And I shall donate $100 to Vinnie’s for each point they achieve.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Why not donate to GetUp, and/or Solar Citizens? More likely to achieve good energy outcomes than Vinnie’s.

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            I can do that… because, most likely, I will not have to pay, as I do no see how any of these points are being achieved based on their conditional activism (based on ifs).
            BTW: I joined The Greens today; at least they are stating “we will do this” to get there (no ifs).

    • John McKeon 2 years ago

      I understand what you are saying, Max. It is a heavy and dispiriting journey at times. But you know – what you have described here evoked for me the experiences I had being on the inside of the evolution of an outsider political party (the Greens). It has been a long hard road. But the Greens have survived all these years. In general there’s hope. It is so frustrating because it has taken so damn long to battle away at the influence of fossil fuels and their copious amounts of political dollars.

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        Yes, the Greens ‘survived’… I have not understood this to this day, why most tell me that the Greens can’t be given a vote.
        However, and at least 8% of the three party votes did go to the Greens.
        From what I have experienced, Australians are generally not interested in politics, and/or do not believe their vote makes a difference.

        • Joe 2 years ago

          The Greens are still important. They have for a long time been the environmental conscience in our Parliaments and Society. Labor from time to time doesn’t mind picking up a Greens policy and calling it their own….good policy is good politik.

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            Yes, you’re right… I joined The Greens today! 🙂

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Well done you! Now go to your local branch meetings and be part of the good things.

          • Joe 2 years ago


    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      Join GetUp! and push them to run the energy issue as a top priority (they won’t run climate as a top priority because it doesn’t bite deep enough yet). Join an environmental group that is organised around marginal seats campaigns on energy policy. Join Greens. Don’t expect that a new party is going to get attention.

      • MaxG 2 years ago

        Alright; thank you all for your sensible contributions to this topic.
        Further thinking and consideration has done one good thing: I joined the Greens 🙂

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          Cool MaxG, you can get involved in policy forums I imagine, if that’s of interest to you.

  2. Andy Saunders 2 years ago

    To some extent, dropping solar export FiTs is good. It greatly enhances the economics of storage, so longer-term is something of a start to the consumer squeeze on retailers (and through them to all the other energy system participants). Sort term pain for consumers, long term gain (for prosumers)

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      Disagree, and why shouldn’t residents enjoy a right that utility generators enjoy when it comes to the grid with zero network costs?

      • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

        Not sure what you are saying. Utility-scale generators actually pay to be connected but can’t get a flat payment per kWh (unless via a PPA).

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          Every household pays to be connected too. Sometimes as much as $1.60 a day.

          • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

            Oh, I’m certainly aware of that!

            Just not sure what point he is making.

            The way the pricing system works, if a solar exporter gets a FiT greater than the wholesale price (plus maybe a bit more for network avoided costs – that bit is extremely difficult to analyse as it’s time and location dependent), then the non-solar exporting consumers get a bigger bill via what’s essentially a hidden cross-subsidy.

            I’m not necessarily against a cross-subsidy like that – in the early days it was a good thing as it built up capacity in the country ahead of time, and was compensating for the lack of carbon pricing.

            But the advent of much lower PV costs, and the advent of feasible storage change the game substantially.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Not sure that you are entirely correct. The rooftop systems reduce the need for more capes by the ff generators, and there is less transmission loss from RT Solar sucked up by neighbours.
            Gentailer costs are lower, so a FiT higher than wholesale cost is not a subsidy at all, but a woefully inadequate reflection of the real value of the fed in power.

            ipart and accc have chosen to ignore those facts. They are wrong to do so.

          • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

            It’s not a capex argument, as that’s not how the price is set.

            FiTs higher than wholesale being right or not – depends I guess on how extreme the difference is! Don’t forget the retailer has costs too, which have to come off somewhere.

            Not sure about motivations, but ACCC *should* be on the side of rooftop solar – after all it transforms (eventually) the system from say three big generators into millions – much more competition once the volumes are high.

            iPart – I think they’d be sympathetic. But working out the avoided network cost is not simple. Some solar exports in non-constrained areas have no real value (except for very small transmission losses avoided). Others have quite high value (network upgrades deferred or avoided). It’s also time-dependent (and will increasingly be so) – tthe duck curve means that middle-of-day exports aren’t particularly valuable; evening peak exports much more so. As an aside, I think there’s some tariff rejigging needed soon – time of use (including exports), demand management tariffs of various sorts etc.

            (This is all mostly agreeing with you, I suspect)

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            1 IPART recommended the reduction in FIT.
            2 what is network upgrading if not capex?

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          And most are on PPAs. The point is all exported PV does get used, and it gets used by the retailer without the network having to lift a finger.

          • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

            Umm, all exported power (less losses) from any generator gets used… not sure what your point is.

            Retailers with solar-PV exporting customers get the export forced down their throats. Their alternative is to buy wholesale power, so above-wholesale-price solar exports just causes their cost base to rise, which gets passed on to all the non-solar customers.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Forced down their throats? I think that’s a poor analogy. More like your stream has a moving body of water going past it. PV tops up the water level, consumption drops the water level. You’d be a amusing a quantum physicist if you tried to continue with that analogy I expect.

          • Andy Saunders 2 years ago

            I think more in business terms than quantum mechanics, otherwise I’d be tunneling everywhere.

            Retailers don’t have a choice to buy solar PV exports. So “forced down their throats” is apt from their point of view.

            From an engineering point of view, electrons have no affiliation…

  3. Dennis Kavanagh 2 years ago

    Voting for new or old minor parties achieves almost nothing. These parties run on just a few issues while most people vote for a party that has a full sweet of policies that best matches their asperations or beliefs. However joining and being active in pressure groups tagetting single issues can be much more effective in forcing policy changes.

    • Hettie 2 years ago


    • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

      Not entirely true – voting is what gets parties elected. What may be challenging is getting parties elected that follow rational climate policy. However, the Labor party has adopted good climate policy and energy policy, even if the Greens don’t see it going far enough – maybe the perfect being the enemy of the good. Humans evolve slowly!

      But I would urge people to do both: join Labor or the Greens to make sure they don’t become recidivist on climate, while also getting involved in a pressure group.

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        Oh that old chestnut the perfect being the enemy of the good. Greens policy isn’t perfect, it’s just more considered in terms of policy outcomes not conceptualised around selling the public on something that the public are telling you they want.

        Apple the biggest corporation in the world never once asked people what they want… and they aren’t perfect, or even good some would say, but they are unqualifiedly the most successful…just saying. As jobs famously said, the people don’t know what they want when it’s something fantastic like an iPhone until you show it too them. Then they line up around the block for nights just to buy a gizmo a few days before their friends.

    • MaxG 2 years ago

      Well, what do the two major parties offer that makes the people’s lives any better? … in particular given their fundamental policies are similar to appeal to the greatest number of voters. Both parties have been complicit in privatising public assets… with only the Greens daring to call for electricity assets to be returned to public ownership. What do two major parties do to end free trade, inappropriate taxing of corporations, inappropriate resource levies, national gas supply, land clearing, reef protection, Adani, foresight in topics such as robotisation / automation, AI, universal income — I could go on for yonks.

      • Dennis Kavanagh 2 years ago

        All true but what’s the point of voting for a minor party that can never pass legislation? It’s better to gradually persuade one or other of the 2 majors to shift policy to address current issues.

        • MaxG 2 years ago

          This logic is fallacious; and the reason why nothing changes, because people ‘believe’ that some public push will change something. — The neolibs have a clearly stated agenda, which is anti-government, anti-public, pro-corporations… democracy is dying because of it, yet, the people keep happily voting for them.
          Imagine at the next election, most vote something else… wow.
          However, doing the same thing over (voting for the same mob) won’t change a thing, would it?

          • Dennis Kavanagh 2 years ago

            Yes sure and we end up with more of the rabble we have now in the Senate cross bench who can’t even decide which minor party to belong to!

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            You know what I mean… 🙂 not a few here and there, but an uprising that changes the current nonsense we experience. And then there is stupidity…
            … and shelf-stackers becoming MPs… some of them clearly challenged…

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Neoliberal ideology is not the sole domain of the Liberal Party, the ALP and most union reps seem to have internalised it. Shorten for example has said that your dream of nationalising the electricity sector will never ever happen because who has the money for it? Classic neoliberal conceptualisation of monetary theory.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            Alastair, when Hawks and Leaving embraced “Economic (ir)Rationalism, it seemed reasonable, had not been disproved. Unbridled greed had not yet destroyed the notion of social responsibility, and although 20/20 hindsight now makes obvious the fact that shareholder profits would triumph over public good, it was not clear then.
            Now we can see that nowhere has wealth trickled down. It has only gushed up. Yes, there is a reluctance to come right out and say it’s bullshit, but more and more, we know that’s true.
            With Wayne Swan as president, maybe Labor will acknowledge that.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            You just have to ask Hawkie about his investments to see what he was all about once he’d climbed the slippery pole.

          • Hettie 2 years ago

            True. Though Hawke is still in a position of influence, if not of power, Shorten is committed to climate action. Just doesn’t want to antagonise the CFMEU, which now includes the Shoppies, dog help us, until he has a solid plan in place to support their transition away from coal. Hence the equivocation on Adani.
            Ain’t politics fun.

          • MaxG 2 years ago

            Yes, unfortunately you’re right.

          • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

            I hope that progressives on this forum realise that there is never any shortage of money, not federally at least. It’s a killer question but it need not be as this article by John Kelly illustrates. Well worth the short read, it is a hypothetical interview of a brave but honest politician by a journalist:


          • Hettie 2 years ago

            I know that this is being called Modern Monetary Theory now, but how does it differ from the Keynesian Economics that drove the recovery after WWII? Which Friedman declared was broken, when he gave us the truly poisoned apple of “Economic Rationalism?”

          • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

            MMT has been called the New Keynesian economics. I suggest reading Dr Steven Hail and Professor Bill Mitchell’s blogs and articles on the subject.

            Dr Hail:

            Professor Mitchell:

            Steven Hail gave an illuminating talk to the SA Greens in 2014 but I suspect they were flummoxed.

          • Peter G 2 years ago

            Thanks for the link. Loved his take down of common interpretation of Weimar and Zimbabwe hyper inflation.

        • neroden 2 years ago

          You have preference voting in Australia! You can vote Greens first preference and Labor second! Come on, this isn’t rocket science, just do it.

          Of course it is better to be active in pressure groups, but come on, don’t you know your voting system?

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            You’d be surprised how few people understand how preferential voting works in Australia if you handed out How To Vote Cards and talked to people (maybe you have already though).

            And how fewer still know that their first preferences also gets campaign financing (if they go over a threshold of votes) which is one way that Pauline Hansen One Nation manages to keep afloat in spite of being in perpetual crisis mode.

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          The points are many, Dennis. Briefly, as libs and ALP start facing marginal seat threats from Greens (in once safe seats) they need to start matching Greens policy on key areas like Climate action, energy. One MP in the lower house, Adam Bandt delivered a promise from Gillard for a suite of important initiatives like the CEFC (essentially like the US green bank), ARENA (a bit like NREL funding sun-shot and other initiatives), a price on Carbon (that unfortunately Gillard choose to squib rather than sell to the public al la unchained John Howard with his GST or Keating with his banana republic float of the dollar).

          In Victoria the Andrews govt promised to kill the East-West link literally in the last days of the campaign because they fear bleeding votes on the issue in inner Melbourne electorates (and rightly so). No Vic Greens, East-West link would be being built today with blocks of inner Melbourne terrace housing demolished for a temporary by-pass and billions of taxpayer dollars on a no-fix to congestion.

          ALP aren’t even expressing a despite to extend the RET increase beyond the 2020 target now (existing RECs funding continues out to 2030 but no federal govt incentive for new built after 2020 target is deployed), it’s as if they want to prolong the life of coal.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          The point is that as long as the Greens have a voice in Parliament, and a vote that is needed to get other legislation passed, they can influence the government. And then comes growing appreciation of what we stand for.
          A vote of 1 Greens, 2 Labor, with reasonable independents and minors in the middle, and Coalition and One Nation last and second last, will possibly elect a Greens candidate, more likely a Labor candidate, and prevent your vote being counted for the Coalition if there is a second or third round of preference distribution.
          A rising primary Greens vote also sends a strong message to Labor that there are issues like Adani and refugee policy, Human Rights in general, where they are no way good enough.

          Most of the developed world seldom has outright majority governments. In Australia, minority governments have brought some states longer fixed electoral terms, in Tasmania, an electoral system that is more democratic than single member electorates, and the end of criminalised homosexuality. The Gillard Government brought better pensions, a higher tax free threshold, NDIS, the Carbon Price, and but for that Narcissist, Rudd, would have survived to do much more. Yes, there were some mistakes and some failures, and the human? Wrecking Ball has undone a lot of good stuff, but some remains. A Labor/Greens government would let Labor return to its core values. It could claim, “The Greens made us do it!” But would I think be relieved. And we would all, except the filthy rich, and especially the planet, be better off.

  4. John Gardner 2 years ago

    As a member of both Solar Citizens and GetUp!, I can only strongly agree with Mark that joining groups such as these does play a role in influencing party policies. We did great work in the recent Qld election and held the ALP to keep their policies supporting renewables during the campaign. Getup1 also strongly supports renewable energy but has been concentrating on other, more immediate, issues lately. But more renewable supporters within the group would be great.

  5. The NEG must not go ahead. Thankfully, the ACT is against it. I’m a co-convenor of both GetUp! Central Coast and Solar Citizens NSW Central Coast. The first priority is to remove the Feral Coalignition Government while, simultaneously, pressuring the alternative to be more progressive in its energy and climate policies. It’s a tough ask but there are 12 seats with a margin of less than 2% and they can be targeted with local campaigns to unseat the conservative incumbent:

    Capricornia (Qld) Michelle Landry LNP 50.63
    Forde (Qld) Bert van Manen LNP 50.63
    Gilmore (NSW) Ann Sudmalis LIB 50.73
    Flynn (Qld) Ken O’Dowd LNP 51.04
    Robertson (NSW) Lucy Wicks LIB 51.14
    Chisholm (Vic) Julia Banks LIB 51.24
    Dunkley (Vic) Chris Crewther LIB 51.43
    Banks (NSW) David Coleman LIB 51.44
    La Trobe (Vic) Jason Wood LIB 51.46
    Dickson (Qld) Peter Dutton LNP 51.60
    Petrie (Qld) Luke Howarth LNP 51.65
    Grey (SA) Rowan Ramsey LIB 51.95 v NXT

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      What’s the nearest margin in a WA seat? I’ve heard a couple might decide the election result.

  6. Hettie 2 years ago

    The biggest enemy of renewables is the Murdoch media machine. It constantly spews lies about costs, subsidies, and reliability, so that the general public is firmly convinced of the sort of nonsense spouted on these pages by the likes of Mark Archer and Black Silicon.

    You see the same ignorance shouted in comment streams on The Guardian, The New Daily, even in The Conversation.

    GetUp and Solar Citizens are pressure groups that are getting good results. The Greens, of course work for all measures to avert climate catastrophe, but also have a full suite of fully articulated policies on all matters of national importance. Social Justice figures high on our priorities.

    However, it is clear that single issue pressure groups can achieve far more than single issue political parties. Easier to set up, totally focused, and not trying to change entrenched voting habits, they can gain members easily and work well.

  7. George Darroch 2 years ago

    This is good advice. If you’re not a noisy group that threatens a government, they ignore you and legislate against you, no matter how much benefit you bring the nation.

  8. Marc Hudson 2 years ago

    Interesting comments (always gratifying for an author, even if he’s simply reporting someone else’s words. Meanwhile, I should improve the accuracy of the report, around the third and fourth types of energy mix. This would be more accurate:

    Three: Variable RE purchased from elsewhere and/or installed on site (Google and Apple, the Whyalla steelworks )

    Four: Variable RE with local generation, weak or no interconnection (NEM, the SA grid, the US grid )

  9. Francis Young 2 years ago

    Big hydro is indeed an excellent renewable, especially given all the huge, largely untapped Northern Rivers in NSW and the massive ocean outflows from Queensland. It provides not just on-tap power (and can be paired with lower dams for pumped storage), but flood mitigation, riverbank environment protection, and allows fish migration by smoothing flood and drought and the use of fish ladders. And the water bodies serve recreational and migratory bird needs as well. It is great to see the Green recognition of the need for more big dams. Too long coming, but good to see.

    • Mike Westerman 2 years ago

      Francis large hydro brings its own issues around impacts on river morphology and ecology and Australia has limited scope for viable projects. On the other hand offstream pumped hydro can minimise those impacts.

      • Francis Young 2 years ago

        Quite true, Mike. The biggest issue is having enough water coming in to any hydro installation. There are a dozen obvious large hydro sites, and we should be developing a few of them now, as well as perhaps a hundred pumped hydro ones from the 500 sites recently identified by the ANU.

        • Hettie 2 years ago

          That would be 22,000 suitable sites, I think.

    • Hettie 2 years ago

      There are also around 22,000 suitable sites for smallish PHES projects around the country. When in close proximity to industrialscale wind or solar, such sites are ideal to utilise excess RE power, to pump water uphill, rather than have that power curtailed. The grid will be right there, for the RE power, and costs and time to build for small projects are much lower than for behemoths like Snowy 2.
      I would expect such small projects to come on line far sooner than any large one, and we need speed.

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