Australian news, and some related international items

Beyond Zero Emissions issues first major report on Australia’s renewable energy potential

Moving towards 100% renewable energy in 10 years The Guardian, Peter Castaldo 11 July 12,  A talk given at the Melbourne Unitarian Memorial Church…..Beyond Zero Emissions Beyond Zero Emissions is a not-for-profit organisation focusing on research and then communicating it to the public. The first major report produced is the Stationary Energy Plan (or otherwise known as the Electricity Grid Plan).

This is the first of six plans that are currently being produced and cover: Buildings, Transport, Land Use, Industrial, and finally, Australia a Renewable Energy Superpower…..
The Zero Carbon Australia Project is collaboration between BZE and Melbourne University and is largely volunteer run with as many as 600 volunteers,
Climate change
BZE’s research started by accepting the need to act now towards a
carbon neutral economy before we cause catastrophic and irreversible
damage to the environment by hitting dangerous climatic tipping
points. This is why we’ve chosen to head for such a bold vision of
100% renewables in 10 years. We have to act now using only existing,
commercial, fully tested and working technology to get things
going….. we need a renewable zero emission process to replace the
way we create our energy. The research at the BZE has shown that the
two standout technologies that can avoid all the pollution of the
current dirty fossil fuel power plants are concentrated solar thermal
power with storage, and wind.
Concentrated solar thermal (CST) power plants….Currently operational
in Spain is a plant that has enough storage for 15 hours of power when
the sun isn’t shining that would provide power even in the middle of
winter continuously. This is renewable electricity that can be
dispatched at any time of the day or night, as needed, which is in
fact of far higher value than inflexible baseload fossil fuel systems
which take many hours to power up or down.

Spain is spending more than AU$20 billion on a variety of concentrated
solar thermal plants due to be completed by 2013. Spain is serious on
renewables and is on track to achieve more than 42% of their
electricity from renewable energy by 2020.

In the US they’ve started building a number of these CST fields and
China and Africa have started working on very significant plans for
the future. This is such a wonderful, safe, pollution-free solution,
it just seems too good to be true … except they’ve already built
them and they work, supplying many thousands of homes with electricity
… so why not here in the sunburnt country?

Wind power

The other key commercially available technology is wind power. Right
now wind power is the cheapest, most technologically mature renewable
energy source. There has been global wind power growth of 30% a year
for the last decade. China, USA, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal and Germany
all have massive projects underway…..

So we’ve looked at the key technologies used and how they work
together to create 100% renewable energy for Australia.

Three main components are:

concentrated solar thermal power
wind power
upgrading the current electricity grid to bring the power to where it’s needed.

Concentrated solar thermal with storage has been chosen to supply 60%
of Australia’s 2020 electricity demand. And when we build them you
don’t just build one. We’re suggesting 19 of these towers all linked
together to form a 3500 MW plant or solar region. That’s 30% bigger
than the biggest coal power station in Australia. There would be 12 of
these solar regions dispersed across Australia to supply 60% of
Australia’s energy.

Wind power 40%

The other 40% of Australia’s energy in 2020 would be supplied by wind.
Wind power has the lowest cost, so the plan utilises as much wind
power as possible. This would require around 6,400 of the biggest wind
turbines dispersed across Australia in 23 of the best wind regions for
good geographical diversity……..


In terms of total resources, how much steel and concrete do we need?
Only 7% of the concrete produced every year. And 20-30% of our
domestic steel production or only 2% of the iron ore that we export.

How about the labour requirements? The plan would create 40,000 new
jobs in operations and maintenance that would continue for the life of
the wind and solar plants. This would be more than enough to replace
the 20,000 jobs in today’s domestic fossil fuel industry. Secondly,
manufacturing half the required wind turbines and solar thermal
mirrors in Australia would create another 30,000 jobs. Thirdly, to
build everything we’d need a peak construction workforce of

July 12, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy

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