Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

New South Wales Labor’s pledge for ‘solar schools’

Labor promises $100 million for ‘solar schools’ https://www.smh.com.au/nsw-election-2019/labor-promises-100-million-for-solar-schools-20190315-p514i9.html, By Lisa Visentin, March 17, 2019 Labor leader Michael Daley has pledged to spend $100 million installing solar panels on hundreds of public schools across NSW.

Mr Daley linked his “solar schools package” to the recent student strike over climate change inaction, and said the policy would help teach students about renewable energy.

“As we saw at rallies across the country on Friday, the next generation is demanding real action on climate change,” Mr Daley said.

“Putting solar panels on schools will help students further their knowledge about renewable energy, as well as bring down their school’s power bills and reduce emissions.”

Under Labor’s plan, solar panels would be installed at 350 government schools. The $100 million package would be funded as part of the Labor’s $800 million “cool schools” policy to install airconditioning in every single classroom in the state.

Mr Daley’s announcement comes after he publicly backed the striking school students during a speech earlier in the week, describing their actions as a “demonstration of young leadership”.

His endorsement drew fire from Premier Gladys Berejiklian who said she was “appalled” the alternate premier was encouraging students to skip school.

It comes as a recent ReachTEL poll revealed climate change was a pressing concern for most NSW voters, with 57.5 per cent of voters saying it would influence the way they voted.

As part of the state election campaign, Ms Berejiklian has announced interest-free loans to 300,000 households for solar and battery systems while Labor has pledged to put solar on 500,000 homes over the next decade through rebates.

Labor has championed its policies on climate change as a key point of difference with the Coalition, with Mr Daley promising to appoint NSW’s first minister for climate change if elected premier.

Ms Berejiklian earlier this week restated her government’s support for action on climate change and said NSW had the largest renewable projects in Australia.

“We’ve had a consistent position since we’ve been in government, that climate change is real and that as a government we need to do everything we can to deal with it and we have been,” she said.

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March 18, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, solar | Leave a comment

Australia’s Previous Chief Scientist spells it out on global warming

Repeating this item. What a pity that the excellent full article has been removed from the Australian government website!

Why we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Australian Government 8 Dec 09 Despite world attention, humans emit more greenhouse gases every year than they did the year before. It’s a situation that Australia needs to help turn around if we don’t want to bear the brunt of climate change, says Chief Scientist Professor Penny Sackett……

..The Greenhouse Effect
The sun continuously bathes the Earth with energy in the form of sunlight. Much of this energy is absorbed by the Earth, and then emitted as infrared radiation, or heat. Greenhouse gases prevent the Earth from discarding as much of this heat as it otherwise would back into space.

Without naturally occurring greenhouse gases, the Earth would be a much colder place, inhospitable to modern human existence. But by the same token, the additional greenhouse gases added to this store by humans is slowly increasing the average temperature of the Earth system.

Due to the quantity in which it is emitted by humans, its longevity in the atmosphere, and its effects in trapping heat, carbon dioxide is the most important of the greenhouse gases currently causing changes in the Earth’s climate……

In Australia, extreme fire danger days are already becoming more numerous in many parts of the country, and floods and cyclones more intense.

Research by the CSIRO indicates that the frequency of days with very high and extreme Forest Fire Danger Index ratings is likely to increase by 15 to 70 per cent by 2050 in southeast Australia…..

Why we must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions | Chief Scientist of Australia

March 16, 2019 Posted by | 1, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | , , | 1 Comment

Climate and Energy Policies – Liberal/National versus Labor

Libs v Labor: climate and energy policies, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/libs-v-labor-climate-and-energy-policies

A comparison of the climate and energy policies of the Morrison government and the Labor Party.

Liberal-Nationals

– $2 billion boost to the Emissions Reduction Fund over 10 years, rebranded as the Climate Solutions Fund.

– The Paris agreement target for emissions of 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

– Renewable Energy Target, to deliver 33,000 gigawatt hours of additional electricity from renewable energy sources in 2020.

– Continuing to fund the Australian Renewable Energy Agency until 2022, and investing  what’s left of the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

– Default market prices for energy.

– Underwriting new generation plan to inject more energy into the network.

Labor

– $10 billion for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation over five years.

– $5 billion to set up an independent Energy Security and Modernisation Fund.

– $31 million for an Energy Productivity Agenda.

 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030.

– 50 per cent of power from renewables by 2030.

SOURCE AAP

February 26, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Morrison govt stalls Australia’s first offshore wind farm

Australia’s first offshore wind farm being stalled by Morrison Government http://www.mua.org.au/australia_s_first_offshore_wind_farm_being_stalled_by_morrison_government?fbclid=IwAR03wrT3rnusfJfKqLdcDaHlm2qGTdLjKAUBBcVQbhTv-PfxC3_CmeSwEFE

Development of Australia’s first offshore wind farm, which would power up to 1.2 million homes, has been stalled by Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s failure to sign off on an exploration license allowing a detailed assessment of the wind resource to commence.

Development of Australia’s first offshore wind farm, which would power up to 1.2 million homes, has been stalled by Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s failure to sign off on an exploration license allowing a detailed assessment of the wind resource to commence.

The Department of the Environment and Energy confirmed during Senate Estimates that an evaluation of the project has been undertaken, a plan for a customised exploration license developed, and a briefing and recommendations provided to the Energy Minister, but that the project can progress no further without the Minister granting the exploration license.

The Star of the South project seeks to construct 250 wind turbines in Commonwealth waters off the coast of Victoria’s Gippsland region, generating up to 20 per cent of Victoria’s electricity needs and feeding the power into the National Electricity Market via an underground cable to the Latrobe Valley.

The Maritime Union of Australia said the project — which the company claims will create up to 12,000 manufacturing and construction jobs and slash Australia’s carbon emissions — appeared to be falling victim to the Morrison Government’s ideological hatred of renewable energy.

MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said the exploration license awaiting approval did not allow construction to commence and was simply about allowing the use of floating buoys and platforms off the Gippsland coast to gather wind and wave observations.

“We have a major wind project that would create thousands of jobs and provide clean, reliable energy for more than a million Australian households, but because of their ideological hatred of renewable energy the Morrison Government appears to be actively stalling its development,” Mr Tracey said.

“The Star of the South project has been in the works since 2012, yet in this time no legislation has been put forward, no regulatory framework put in place, and no responsible agency nominated, despite offshore wind being an established industry internationally.

“Now we have revelations from Senate Estimates that Energy Minister Angus Taylor has been briefed on the project and presented with recommendations, yet the exploration license continues to sit on his desk gathering dust.

“Rather than support renewable energy projects, under the Morrison Government we can’t even get approval for a few wind measurement buoys off the Gippsland coast.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor must get off his hands and immediately allow the Star of the South wind project to move forward to the exploration stage.”

Mr Tracey said offshore wind generation was a mature industry internationally which has successfully operated for two decades, but Australia was falling behind, putting future employment opportunities at risk.

“This project isn’t just about generating renewable energy and tackling climate change, it’s about creating secure jobs for the future, particularly for workers who are being displaced from the offshore oil and gas industries,” he said.

“The Federal Government urgently needs to put in place a plan to support the development of the offshore wind industry, including a clear regulatory framework, along with the right port infrastructure and specialised construction vessels to roll out this project and others like it as quickly as possible.”

February 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, wind | Leave a comment

New South Wales Labor announces plan for 500,000 households to get rooftop solar

Labor announces plan for 500,000 households to get rooftop solar, https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/labor-announces-plan-for-500-000-households-to-get-rooftop-solar-20190209-p50wrl.html, By Laura Chung,February 9, 2019 NSW Labor has announced it will support a program to help 500,000 households to install rooftop solar, reducing electricity bills in the next 10 years.

Under Labor’s Solar Homes policy, owner-occupied households in NSW with a combined income of $180,000 or less would be eligible for a rebate, to be capped at $2200 per household.

Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Searle, said the policy could add solar to an additional million homes over the next decade, and could save the average household anywhere between $600 and $1000 a year on electricity bills.

“This is a bold program to push NSW to the front of the energy revolution,” he said. “This will significantly cut electricity bills and carbon emissions.”

“We will have much more to say about energy and tackling climate change.”

The program would be phased in during the 2019-2020 financial year. The policy announcement comes ahead of the launch of Labor’s campaign bus, which will travel around the state from Sunday.

The Smart Energy Council said Labor’s policy addressed two of NSW residents’ main concerns: the cost of living and climate change.

It shows “a strong commitment towards climate change” and is a “sign of confidence in renewable energy, a critical part of NSW’s future,” a spokesman said.

The council said it would like to see a stronger commitment from both the NSW Government and the Opposition to supporting families’ purchases of household solar batteries, which would provide people “with a greater sense of control of power and how they use power.”

In a statement, deputy leader of NSW Liberals Dominic Perrottet said Labor “cannot be trusted” to deliver more affordable, reliable and clean energy, “with a history of energy cost blowouts and blunders”.

The NSW Coalition government “is getting on with the job of taking pressure off electricity prices, while maintaining energy security,” Mr Perrottet said.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, solar | Leave a comment

Renewable power costs less than nuclear

PAT CONROY: Renewable power costs less than nuclear https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5880610/renewable-power-costs-less-than-nuclear/?fbclid=IwAR0-Upp9z0ZN2kv9P_fItO6uDJEf89pKvl2t0fXLK14roYCbNq69EWwtSlo Nuclear power is the fool’s gold of energy policy. On the surface, beautiful, but when tested it proves to be a mirage.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | 1 Comment

How our electricity system of the future could be powered by sun, wind and waves

January 28, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, reference | Leave a comment

Despite grid problems, Australia’s solar, wind, energy boom to power ahead in 2019

Australia’s solar, wind boom to power past grid woes in 2019, Sonali Paul, MELBOURNE (Reuters) 21 Jan 19 – Australia’s wind and solar boom looks set to power through 2019 following a record year, despite grid constraints and extra scrutiny from network operators to make sure new projects don’t spark blackouts like ones that hit two years ago.

Abundant wind and sun, falling turbine and panel costs, and corporate demand for contracts to hedge against rising power tariffs have attracted dozens of international developers looking to build wind and solar farms Down Under.

Even though the developers have met with flip-flops on energy policy, a strained grid that has trouble integrating intermittent renewable power, and unexpected hook-up costs, they still see Australia as a growth market.

“We believe that we have a great future in Australia, because we have the right answers,” said Xavier Barbaro, Chief Executive of France’s Neoen (NEOEN.PA), whose biggest market is Australia.

Companies like Neoen, its compatriot Total-Eren (TOTF.PA), India’s Adani (ADEL.NS), U.S. utility AES Corp (AES.N) and Germany’s Sonnen are expanding in Australia, looking to fill a gap as ageing coal-fired plants are retired over the next two decades.

“Confidence is high as the industry enters 2019, with unprecedented levels of construction activity under way,” said Anna Freeman, a director at the Clean Energy Council, an industry group.

Australia generates nearly 20 percent of its electricity from renewables. This is forecast to jump to 75 percent over the next 20 years.

A total of 14.7 gigawatts (GW) of large-scale solar and wind projects worth A$20 billion ($14 billion) were under construction or reached financial close last year, more than double 2017’s record, according to the Clean Energy Council.

……….HOOK-UP HICCUPS

A Clean Energy Council survey of senior executives in December found grid connection is the biggest industry concern heading into 2019, Freeman said.

UK-based solar investor Octopus Investments said grid issues were what took it two years to choose its first investment in Australia. The Darlington Point solar farm is about to begin construction and will be the country’s largest.

“The grid is the biggest issue where assets fail in our project filter,” Octopus Managing Director Sam Reynolds told Reuters, declining to name projects the company rejected……..https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-renewables/australias-solar-wind-boom-to-power-past-grid-woes-in-2019-idUSKCN1PE0V8

January 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

CSIRO/AEMO study says wind, solar and storage clearly cheaper than coal 

REneweconomy, Giles Parkinson

Even adding two and six hours of storage with batteries or pumped hydro still leaves the cost of “firm” solar and wind power cheaper than any fossil fuel alternative…….https://reneweconomy.com.au/csiro-aemo-study-says-wind-solar-and-storage-clearly-cheaper-than-coal-45724/

January 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Thanks to Leonardo Di Caprio’s foundation, Australia leads in research on renewables plus energy efficiency

January 22, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Australia’s energy trends: we could be 100% renewable sooner than you think

Australia could hit 100% renewables sooner than most people think, Guardian, 

Not since the invention of the steam engine have we seen the pace of change occurring in energy systems around the world. In Australia our electricity system is changing rapidly, from new technologies and business models to changes in policy and perhaps even regulation. As the year begins, here are five energy trends you should expect to see in 2019.

1. More action towards 100% renewable energy

Last year was a boom year for renewables. Despite rhetoric from some political quarters talking up coal and talking down renewable energy, we installed more solar panels and wind turbines than ever before. There are at least 40 large-scale wind and solar projects in construction in Australia, totalling over 6000MWs of new generation capacity. This means renewables will continue on a steep growth curve as analysis by the Melbourne University Climate and Energy College shows.

This rapid growth in renewables and soon battery storage is at least in part driven by a corresponding reduction in cost. Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis reveals a compound annual reduction in cost of battery storage of 21% over eight years. Facts such as these are the engine driving us towards 100% renewables at a pace much faster than most pundits think.

At a political level California has just legislated a move to 100% renewables, while at home South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT are on track to be net 100% renewables in the next few years. With everyone from tech billionaires to school students demanding 100% renewables, pressure for a more rapid shift to renewables is likely to continue to build.

Many still think that 100% renewables can’t be done. In 2017 ANU, Energy Networks Australia and CSIRO joined the ranks of Australia’s leading institutions on energy that have now done their own plans to show Australia can reliably achieve 100% renewables. This takes the number of 100% renewables plans for Australia to more than 10.

In the corporate sector, global initiative The RE100 has arrived in Australia. This initiative which encourages companies to commit to 100% renewables has seen global companies headquartered outside of Australia such as Carlton United Breweries and Ikea lead the way. In late 2018 Commonwealth Bank became the first Australian company to join, signing a large power purchase agreement in the process.

2. Solar for renters and other locked-out energy users……..For a long time these households have been in the too-hard basket for policymakers and industry alike. However, there are signs that in 2019 this could be changing. The Victorian and South Australian governments have announced policies to support 50,000 rental properties to access solar, and for South Australia, batteries also. In NSW the government is trialling a program of solar for 15,000 low-income energy rebate customers. These are small steps, but if scaled could start to change the current trend towards solar energy haves and have-nots.

3. Community energy going gangbusters

Communities are also taking matters into their own hands, developing innovative community-owned clean energy projects and implementing plans to move to 100% renewables. Despite a lack of interest from mainstream energy players and little policy support, Australia’s community energy sector has grown to more than 105 groups and 174 operating projects. Most famously the communities of Yackandandah and Daylesford……

4. A battle between good and bad hydrogen

Hydrogen fuel is not a new idea, yet in 2019 hydrogen is likely to make significant strides towards becoming a major part of our global energy ecosystem……..

5. Clean energy elections

No 2019 trend article is complete without mentioning the upcoming elections. According to researcher Rebecca Huntly climate change is a top issue with the electorate and as such both the NSW and federal elections are going to have a focus on climate and energy policy whether politicians like it or not…….https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/14/australia-could-hit-100-renewables-much-sooner-than-most-people-think

January 15, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

The problem of hazardous waste from discarded old solar panels

I have long been worried that environmentalists are seen to be enthusiastic about renewable energy, seeing it as the panacea for the world’s climate woes.  Solar power is a great technology for replacing polluting fossil fuel power, but it’s only a part of what needs to be done – in the urgently needed transition from our wasteful CONSUMER SOCIETY to a CONSERVER SOCIETY.  It must not become a contributor to the waste disaster. 
Waste crisis looms as thousands of solar panels reach end of life,  https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/waste-crisis-looms-as-thousands-of-solar-panels-reach-end-of-life-20190112-p50qzd.html By Nicole Hasham, 13 Jan 19,Thousands of ageing rooftop solar panels represent a toxic time-bomb and major economic waste unless Australia acts swiftly to keep them out of landfill, conservationists and recyclers say.

Australia’s enthusiastic embrace of rooftop solar has brought clear environmental and economic benefits, but critics say governments have dragged their feet in addressing the looming waste crisis.

As of December more than 2 million Australian households had rooftop solar installed. The uptake continues to grow due to the technology’s falling cost and rising electricity bills.

Photovoltaic panels last about 30 years, and those installed at the turn of the millennium are nearing the end of their lives. Many have already been retired due to faults or damage during transport and installation.

The nation’s environment ministers in April last year agreed to fast-track the development of new product stewardship schemes for photovoltaic solar panels and associated batteries. Such schemes make producers and retailers take responsibility for an item across its life cycle.

However, Total Environment Centre director Jeff Angel, a former federal government adviser on product stewardship, said action was long overdue and the delay reveals a “fundamental weakness” in Australia’s waste policies.

“We’ve had a solar panel industry for years which is an important environmental initiative, and it should have been incumbent on government to act in concert with the growth of the industry so we have an environmentally responsible end-of-life strategy,” he said.

Mr Angel said photovoltaic panels contain hazardous substances and “when we are sending hundreds of thousands of e-waste items to landfill we are also creating a pollution problem”.

“It’s a systemic problem that [applies to] a whole range of products”, he said, saying schemes were badly needed for paint, batteries, floor coverings, commercial furniture and many types of electronic waste.

Photovoltaic panels are predominantly made from glass, polymer and aluminium, but may also contain potentially hazardous materials such as lead, copper and zinc.

Australian Council of Recycling chief executive Peter Schmigel attributed delays in product stewardship schemes to both “bureaucratic malaise” and unfounded concern about cost.

The national television and computer recycling scheme, which since 2011 has required manufacturers and importers to participate in industry-funded collection and recycling, showed that regulatory measures can work, he said.

“Recovery rates have been out of sight since the beginning of the scheme, nobody has said anything at all about there being an inbuilt recycling cost. It generates jobs, it generates environmental outcomes and yet for some reason we have policymakers who are hesitant about [establishing similar schemes] for solar PVs and batteries,” he said.

Victoria will ban electronic waste in landfill from July 2019, including all parts of a photovoltaic system, mirroring schemes imposed in Europe.

Sustainability Victoria is also leading a project examining end-of-life management options for photovoltaic systems, which may progress to a national program. The issue is particularly pertinent in Victoria where a new $1.3 billion program is expected to install solar power on 700,000 homes.

Sustainability Victoria resource recovery director Matt Genever said there was strong support from industry, government and consumers for a national approach to photovoltaic product stewardship. Final options are due to be presented to environment ministers in mid-2019.

He rejected suggestions that plans were progressing too slowly.

“The analysis we’ve done in Victoria … shows that it’s in 2025 that we see a real ramp up in the waste being generated out of photovoltaic panels. I certainly don’t think we’ve missed the boat,” he said.

A report by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2016 found that recoverable materials from photovoltaic panel waste had a potential value of nearly $US15 billion by 2050.

Reclaim PV director Clive Fleming, whose business is believed to be the only dedicated photovoltaic recycler in Australia, said it recycles 90 per cent of materials in a panel. The company has been lobbying for state bans on solar panels entering landfill.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority said it has commissioned research to better understand how e-waste, including solar panels, was managed. The panels can be dumped in NSW landfill, however given their life span they were “not a common item in the waste stream”, it said.

The Queensland government is developing an end-of-life scheme for batteries used in solar systems and other appliances.

A federal review of the Product Stewardship Act was expected to be completed last year, but the Department of the Environment and Energy is yet to present a report to the government.

Mr Genever hoped the review would result in a broader range of products being subject to stewardship programs and take steps to ensure voluntary schemes were effective.

Both the Smart Energy Council and the Clean Energy Council, which represent solar industry operators, said a well-designed product stewardship scheme was important and should be developed through cooperation between industry, governments and recyclers.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Despite Tony Abbott, renewable energy investment has been promoted by Labor and the crossbench

Senate crossbench gave renewables $23bn boost by thwarting Abbott’s plan https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/06/senate-crossbench-gave-renewables-23bn-boost-by-thwarting-abbotts-plan, Paul Karp @Paul_Karp Sun 6 Jan 2019 

 Decisions by Labor and crossbench to save clean energy agencies encouraged investment, report says The Senate’s decisions to stop Tony Abbott abolishing clean energy agencies helped create renewable energy projects worth $23.4bn, a new report says.

The Australia Institute says decisions taken by Labor and the crossbench between 2013 and 2015 to save the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) have now secured $7.8bn in public funding and investment for clean energy.

Together with the renewable energy target – which was retained but reduced to 33,000GWh by 2020 – these measures will cut greenhouse gases by 334m tonnes over their lifetime, compared with 192m tonnes through the Coalition’s emissions reduction fund.

The Australia Institute released the Saved by the Bench report alongside polling that showed Australians supported the Senate’s role as a check on government power but were split on whether it blocked government legislation too often. Continue reading

January 6, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, uranium | Leave a comment

The electric-car revolution is here, but is that a good thing for the environment? 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-12-08/electric-cars-revolution-environment/10589270  By environment reporter Nick Kilvert for Life Matters

The electric-car revolution is well and truly upon us.

Key points

  • Car batteries could be used to power homes and the grid
  • The mining of rare earth metals for batteries often has an environmental cost
  • Expert advice is that the best transport of the future doesn’t even involve cars

There were more than a million bought worldwide last year.

In Australia, 2017 sales were up more than 4,000 per cent compared to 2011.

By 2035, it’s estimated that there’ll be over 11 million electric cars bought every year worldwide, and more than half of those will be bought in China.

But they take more energy to produce than petrol and diesel cars and often they’re charged from a dirty electricity grid.

And producing enough batteries and magnets to power them is going to place a huge demand on rare-earth metals — the mining of which has a bad environmental track record.

So is the electric-car revolution actually going to do us more harm than good?

What if I charge my electric car with coal?

Transport is Australia’s third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 19 per cent of our total emissions last year.

That includes planes, shipping, and trucks, but around half of that comes from our petrol and diesel-powered cars.

The beauty of an electric car is that once it’s charged, there are no emissions being pumped out of the exhaust pipe and into the atmosphere.

And if you can charge your car from a renewable source, like solar during the day, you’re effectively driving an emissions-free car.

Most Australians though, if they want to charge their car overnight, will be plugging into the grid.

The average running emissions budget of a petrol-powered car sold in 2016 was 182 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g CO2/km).

Charging an electric car on Australia’s cleanest grid — Tasmania — has an emissions cost of just 27g CO2/km, or around one-seventh the emissions of petrol. In South Australia, that goes up to 95g CO2/km — still around half that of petrol.

In fact, in every state except Victoria, you’re producing less emission by driving an electric car charged from the grid, than by driving a combustion-powered car.

If we’ve got a chance of meeting our modest 2030 Paris target of 26-28 per cent emissions reduction on 2005 levels, greening our grid could have the two-fold benefit of greening our transport.

n 2019, researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) are looking at rolling out vehicle-to-grid technology at a couple of demonstration sites.

The technology is already in limited use in Japan, Europe and the United States, and an electric vehicle model will be released in Australia next year with vehicle-to-grid charging capability.

Vehicle-to-grid capacity effectively means that an electric car and its battery can be plugged into a house to provide power when other sources, like solar, aren’t available, according to Jake Whitehead from UQ.

“In the first instance, that could be for powering the building, supplementing the solar and the built-in battery storage,” Dr Whitehead said.

An average three-person home in south-east Queensland uses just over 15 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity daily.

The top-of-the-range electric vehicle currently on the Australian market has a battery capable of supplying more than 100 kWh from a single charge.

This means an electric car battery can easily supply the energy needs of a house overnight, and the driving needs of its occupants during the day, as long as there’s at least an hour of downtime to top up at a supercharging station.

According to Dr Whitehead’s calculations, electric car batteries have the potential to supply all our household energy storage in the future.

“If you look at the light vehicle fleet in Australia — just over 14 million cars and light commercial vehicles — if all of those were to be transitioned to be electric … you would have enough potential energy storage across that fleet to power the entire country across every sector for an entire day,” he said.

“If you could charge and discharge every day, that would essentially mean the entire fleet could run the country all year. So there’s all this potential there, but we’re a long way off 14 million EVs [electric vehicles].”………..

What’s better than an electric car?

Side by side, electric cars are a better environmental option than internal combustion vehicles.

Oil drilling and refining does, after all, come with its own equivalent set of environmental and geopolitical baggage.

But with China and India’s growing middle classes, it’s estimated that more than 500 million electric cars will have been produced worldwide by 2040, putting a massive strain on raw materials. Even if mining adheres to the strictest environmental parameters, deforestation from mining operations is inevitable and at odds with a sustainable future.

Better than both fuel and electric car options is no car at all, according to Martin Brueckner from Murdoch University.

While Dr Brueckner sees a role for electric transport in the future, he argues that we need a fundamental overhaul of how see transport.

“We’ve basically adopted wholeheartedly a US model of city development — an inner city and sprawling suburbia,” he said.

“As the density increases we’re now looking at clogged city arteries … it’s impossible basically, having large cities functioning using that old way of thinking.”

Instead, he’s advocating for better infrastructure, where cities are designed around public transport rather than cars.

According to the ABS, Australian cars travelled an average of 37 kilometres each day in 2016 — a couple of hours at most.

Replacing individually owned cars with car-share models could also cut down on the number of cars, according to Dr Brueckner.

“[Electric cars] don’t change congestion issues, it doesn’t change pedestrian-unfriendly cities and all the problems that are associated with that,” he said.

“We need whole new mobility concepts. In all likelihood it would also be electrified, but not necessarily individual car-based.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-12-08/electric-cars-revolution-environment/10589270

December 10, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Plans for Australia to become a renewable energy exporting superpower

December 6, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | 1 Comment