50% renewable energy would put Australia in line with leading nations, The Conversation, John Mathews Professor of Strategic Management, Macquarie Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University, 25 July 15, Opposition leader Bill Shorten told the Labor Party conference this morning that the party’s policy should be for 50% of electricity to come from renewables by 2030.
This would bring Australia abreast with its international competitors such as California, with its recently announced target of 50% of electricity from renewables by 2030, and Germany, where the Energiewende(“energy transformation”) will see the country commit to 40-45% non-nuclear green power by 2020, and 55-60% by 2035.
Shorten’s move is a major break with previous ALP policy, and promises to be so effective in building a new power sector to eclipse the present fossil-fuelled sector that it already has the conservative side of politics foaming at the mouth. Continue reading
Bill Shorten to unveil 50% renewable energy target at Labor conference, SMH July 22, 2015 Mark Kenny Chief political correspondent Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is set to unveil a bold climate policy goal requiring half of Australia’s large-scale energy production to be generated using renewable sources within 15 years.
Fairfax Media has learnt that despite Labor’s humiliating 2013 election defeat caused in part by voter contempt for its carbon tax, Mr Shorten will use this weekend’s ALP national conference in Melbourne to announce the even more ambitious goal, dramatically beefing up Labor’s renewable energy target.
The policy shift is designed to recover green support, sharpen the contrast with Prime Minister Tony Abbott over climate change and make global warming the defining battleground of the next federal election……….
The target of at least 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 is in contrast to Labor’s current platform, which is silent on the subject. Both sides of politics committed only to the current benchmark of a minimum 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy by 2020………
The Abbott government is yet to announce its post-2020 emissions reduction target but that is expected in August.
The Shorten approach follows a strong and well-co-ordinated campaign inside the ALP by a group calling itself the Environment Action Network and backing a “50/50″ campaign in favour of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shorten-to-unveil-50-renewable-energy-target-at-labor-conference-20150721-gih4bp.html#ixzz3gZ7IS5o5
Australia is bathed in sunlight like few other places on earth. It, among all countries, has the highest potential to generate all the electricity it needs from renewable sources, principally the sun and wind.
But the prime minister doesn’t care about clean, renewable energy in Australia. All he cares about is doing the bidding of the wealthy coal owners who bought and paid for his election win in 2013. Since he took office, Australia’s investment in clean energy projects has fallen 70%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Government Says No to Solar Investment
Now Abbott has issued instructions to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) prohibiting it from investing in wind farms or small-scale solar projects. Opposition leaders and solar energy supporters say the government directive prohibiting CEFC from investing in rooftop solar will cripple the industry and further diminish Australia’s chances of transitioning to a clean energy economy.
“I don’t agree with the prime minister that if you just don’t have any government support for the future of renewable energy, that the renewable energy will just miraculously grow and increase in Australia,” opposition leader Bill Shorten told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He said that striking wind farms and rooftop solar from the CEFC will mean that “the only thing the CEFC can invest in is flying saucers.”
The Role of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation
Solar panels: What do the federal government changes mean for households, SMH July 19, 2015 Peter Hannam
Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has been told not to invest in rooftop solar. What does that mean for me?
The CEFC is the “green investment bank” set up by the Gillard Labor government that the Abbott government wants to scrap. It has been blocked in the Senate so instead it wants to narrow the CEFC’s mandate by blocking investment in “mature” technologies such as wind farms and solar panels.
The fund, though, exists mainly to find ways to boost the competitiveness of all renewable technologies, from large-scale solar plants to wave and geothermal sources, and energy-efficiency measures.
Earlier this month, for instance, the CEFC joined in a 12-year, $100 million venture with Origin. The energy giant will own, install and maintain solar PV systems for households and businesses. Customers get a fixed energy price for a longer term than would typically have been offered by banks.
What is this large-scale solar we’re hearing about?……… http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/solar-panels-what-do-the-federal-government-changes-mean-for-households-20150718-giewy8.html#ixzz3gZupHfyv
NAB maintains its faith in renewable energy, SMH, July 19, 2015 James Eyers Senior Reporter The country’s largest financier of renewable energy projects, National Australia Bank, has said it plans to lend more to the sector despite it being thrown into turmoil last week when Prime Minster Tony Abbott ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop putting funds into wind power.
NAB’s head of debt capital markets, Steve Lambert, said the domestic politics around wind power is “noise, but you have to try to look [past that]” and said in the absence of local deals, NAB will continue to back projects overseas, and intends to become one of the world’s leading banks in renewable energy financing. …….
“Is the renewable energy industry supported by long-term fundamentals? Both public opinion and demand suggest yes, it is. Is there money flowing into the industry? Yes, there is. So our thinking is: how do we help facilitate that? We want to stay there and at the same time try some new things.”
NAB has been working with the CEFC to provide Australian businesses with access to discounted funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. It was also the first Australian bank to issue a “green bond”, where proceeds are used for an environmentally sustainable purpose. …….. http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/nab-maintains-its-faith-in-renewable-energy-20150719-gieq5g.html#ixzz3gZ5w596X
despite the higher investment hurdle to be cleared when the CEFC makes any new loan, it has managed to continue to unveil new projects such as the launch this month of a $100 million, 12-year fund with Origin Energy to promote more commercial use of solar panels, with more to be announced within days
Australia can be a global solar and wind superpower, and the CEFC is the key July 13, 2015 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald
Australia is perfectly placed to become the next global superpower of renewable energy, the “Saudi Arabia of solar” for the coming century.
While Saudi Arabia has barrels of oil, we have an abundance of sunlight to fuel solar power and wind to power turbines, plus enough geographical space, modern infrastructure and a stable political system to house such an industry on a massive scale.
But if Australia is to realise its remarkable renewable energy wealth, (see chart below, published by the Melbourne Energy Institute, revealing its world-beating solar exposure as indicated by the lighter colours on the map), banks and investors will need to active players.
The world’s biggest furniture retailer, which has annual sales of €30 billion ($44 billion), is aiming to be energy neutral by 2020, with 100 per cent of its energy needs coming from renewable sources.
IKEA’s Australian business took the first steps last year, installing 16,000 solar panels on the roofs of six stores, including almost 4000 panels at its flagship store at Tempe, near Sydney Airport.
“It’s really cool,” says Wilson, who gave up his job running Randwick Council’s Sustaining Our City program almost three years ago to join the Swedish retailer, attracted to the company by its ambitious long-term environmental targets.
“When they do have bold ambitions it makes things happen,” says Wilson. “It was the 100 per cent renewable energy targets that got me excited about working for IKEA – I want to be on that journey.”
It’s a journey that may not have got off the ground if not for Labor’s now defunct carbon tax. When electricity was cheap and solar panels expensive, the business case simply did not stack up.
The company pressed ahead after the carbon tax was scrapped by the Abbott government last year and now expects to achieve payback in less than 10 years, in line with its parent’s relatively generous return on investment hurdles……….http://www.afr.com/business/energy/solar-energy/ikea-backs-renewable-energy-targets-despite-government-changes-20150717-gid4gu
India’s renewable energy technology inspires Tasmanian tomato business ABC Rural By Laurissa Smith, 17 July 15 A tomato farm in Tasmania’s north-west is turning to India’s latest technology in renewable energy to reduce its power bills and improve yields.
The Brandsema’s at Turners Beach plan to install a biomass gasifier to power its greenhouses. The gasification system, built in India, turns agricultural or forest waste into energy and as a by-product, creates CO2 for plants.
Grower Marcus Brandsema recently travelled to India. He met with manufacturers and engineers to watch the biomass plants in action.
“What happens is the organic material goes into a gasifier,” he said. “It’s operating at a reasonably high temperature, around 800 degrees Celsius or thereabouts, in a reduced oxygen atmosphere.
“The organic material doesn’t actually burn, but it oxidises and gives off a gas which is useful to use downstream.
Once the gas is produced we can then use it to fire a boiler to create hot water, which is what we need, especially in Tassie’, to grow tomatoesMarcus Brandsema, tomato grower
“They clean it and use it in an engine, which can drive a generator, or a pump, or alternatively the gas can be used as fuel source.”
Mr Brandsema is particularly attracted to the system’s ability to generate additional CO2 for the greenhouse to enhance photosynthesis.
“Once the gas is produced we can then use it to fire a boiler to create hot water, which is what we need, especially in Tassie’, to grow tomatoes,” he said.
“But the by-product of that is CO2, which would normally go up the flue as an emission, we could extract from the flue and introduce it into the greenhouse.”……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-17/renewable-energy-gassification-plant-1707/6627444
Wind power: European renewable energy expert warns Australia risks missing out on cheaper and cleaner electricity, ABC Radio, 16 July 15 AM By Michael Edwards A European expert on renewable energy says Australia risks missing out on a huge opportunity for cheaper and cleaner electricity if it does not encourage investment in wind power.
Oliver Joy, from the European Wind Energy Association — the peak body guiding wind power projects across Europe — said a huge shift towards renewable energies were underway in the continent with wind power leading the charge.
He said Europe was on track to get half of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind power by 2050 and had big ambitions when it came to reducing its carbon footprint.
The eurozone has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 95 per cent by 2050 and says this can only be done with all of its electricity coming from renewable sources, with wind power providing the lion’s share.
The Federal Government has ordered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in wind farms, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying he finds the giant turbines “visually awful……..
Wind ‘cheaper than fossil fuels’
According to the European Wind Energy Association, wind power is a cheaper way to produce electricity than fossil fuels.
Mr Joy said it also had long-term savings for taxpayers.
“Cheaper than nuclear and gas and almost on a par with coal — that’s purely based on generating electricity,” he said. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-15/euro-wind-power/6620936
Wind and solar a source of jobs in SA http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/wind-and-solar-a-source-of-jobs-in-sa/story-fni0xqi4-1227439666671
JULY 13, 2015 THE South Australian government says a commonwealth ban on supporting solar and wind energy scheme will make it harder to create jobs.
THE commonwealth has directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to back any further wind energy projects as well as rooftop solar schemes.
But South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says wind energy is a source of immediate and future jobs and putting barriers in the way of investment will make it more difficult to cut SA’s unemployment rate, which climbed to 8.2 per cent in June.
“South Australians are told by the commonwealth government that we are not allowed to build cars, we’re told we are not allowed to build submarines, now we are being told we shouldn’t build wind farms when we have investors ready to spend their money and create jobs now,” he said.
Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter will meet his interstate counterparts this week and says they will call on the federal government to end its ideological opposition to renewable energy.
“The message being sent to renewable energy investors by our federal government is `look elsewhere – don’t spend your money in Australia and don’t create jobs here’,” he said.
The transition from fossil to renewable energy The Fifth Estate, Graham Davies, Engineers Australia | 13 July 2015“…………It is encouraging that Alinta, with financial support from ARENA and the SA Government, is currently finalising a pre-feasibility study into concentrated solar thermal power at Port Augusta – a project that has the full support of the community. At present the capex of CSP is too high for a company to meet what is required for shareholder returns, but costs will decrease as the technology develops further. If government were to contribute an amount equivalent to saved externalities (such as adverse health effects associated with continuing the coal power station) it is probable that the project would be economically viable now.
CSP is of particular value to a renewable grid, as it has the ability to efficiently store energy, be despatchable and provide synchronous generation and grid stability. These capabilities will circumvent the need for inflexible base load generators such as coal, CCGT and nuclear, with their many externalities. Port Augusta is an ideal location for CSP and presents a great opportunity for the future.
The closure of the Port Augusta Power Station may initially appear as bad news, but it may galvanise South Australia in becoming the iconic turning point for a new future – a future in which Australia again leads in solar development and export; where energy security is based on the sun and not the fossil reserves; where long-term thinking is built into economic analysis; and where prosperity is not measured by GDP but by net wealth and wellbeing.
Graham Davies is incoming chair of Engineers Australia’s Sustainable Engineering Society. http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/spinifex/the-transition-from-fossil-to-renewable-energy/75484
Second climate agency gets new rules http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/second-climate-agency-gets-new-rules/story-fni0xqi4-1227441744101 A SECOND climate-related agency has has been issued new instructions by the Abbott government.
THE Australian Renewable Energy Agency has been given a five-point priority list – including more large-scale solar projects and thermal energy – to replace a broader scope of projects that it supports.
The change comes in the wake of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation being directed to stop funding wind farms and rooftop solar projects.
WA Greens senator says Abbott solar turn-off will hit battlers hardest, WA Today July 13, 2015 Ray Sparvell Reporter WA battlers will be hardest hit by the Abbott government’s decision to wind back investment into home solar, according to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.
He said the state’s solar-driven homes were now producing as much electricity as two conventional coal-fueled power stations.
And he believes it is too soon for the Abbott Government to pull the plug on investments into the solar industry. “Retirees, people on lower incomes and people in outer metro and rural areas of the state will be hardest hit by this.
The federal government has recently directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to exclude household and small scale solar from further investment funding. Senator Ludlam said the government still needed to support the solar industry.
Some 180,000 WA households have installed rooftop solars and Senator Ludlam said they were now generating the equivalent of two typical coal fire power stations. “Solar powered WA homes have increased 19 per cent in just one year – overwhelmingly in outer suburbs and households with lower incomes,” he said.
WA now has four postcodes in Australia’s top 20 solar suburbs including Mandurah at number two, North east Wanneroo at eight, Canning Vale/Willeton at 12 and Cockburn at 19.
Home owners benefit from trading in small scale technology certificates at the time of installation and feed-in tariffs (selling power back into the grid). “Householders are streaking ahead of the state and federal government as they use rooftop solar to dramatically reduce their power bills, but Tony Abbott’s crusade against renewable energy is set to have a devastating effect. Continue reading
Tableland wind farm pushes ahead without Federal support DANIEL BATEMAN THE CAIRNS POST JULY 14, 2015 CONSTRUCTION on a wind farm on the Tableland is still likely to go ahead without funding assistance from the Federal Government.
The developers behind the Mt Emerald Wind Farm are confident they will receive environmental approval from the Department of Environment, with a decision expected before the end of September.
It comes as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has been ordered to focus on new technologies instead of wind farms under a revised mandate drafted by the government.
The $380 million wind farm, to be built at Walkamin, will potentially generate enough electricity to power 75,000 homes. The development is a joint venture between Ratch Australia and local property developer Port Bajool. Ratch owns several wind farms around Australia, including the Windy Hill wind farm near Ravenshoe which has been operating for more than a decade.
Kennedy MP Bob Katter, whose electorate covers Walkamin, said in the right location, wind farms could successfully generate additional incomes for small communities and landholders…..
He said without the CEFC investing in development, Australia would “go backwards”. “If this happens, the only independent development bank in Australia will cease to exist,’’ he said. “No real development will take place. “What the government calls investment is foreign takeovers of Australia assets.
“The only people in Australia who think this is a good thing are this current LNP and the last ALP government.” http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/tableland-wind-farm-pushes-ahead-without-federal-support/story-fnkxmm0j-1227440453735