21 September 2012

Greens flick the switch on feed-in tariff - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Greens work with Labor towards the gutsiest environmental target yet in Australia

Someone is ACT-ioning here:
The ACT Greens are flagging a new solar feed-in tariff scheme as part of their election plan for a 40 per cent cut to Canberra's greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
The party shares ACT Labor's target for 90 per cent of the ACT's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.
"We will have an annual target. Built into that will be a price regression mechanism so that as the uptake increases through the year, if we're getting close to that target point the price will start to come down," [Greens spokesman Shane Rattenbury] said. 
I say, finally someone has read the tools and mechanisms incorporated in the original Feed-in-Tariff design from Germany, not just the headlines, and at the same time has been able to communicate it all the way through!

Read the full report on ABC News

20 September 2012

REN21 - Renewables Global Status Report

Help us spread the word!

That at least is the message from REN21, the publisher of this amazing piece of work.
On over 170 pages it touches on all relevant areas in the distribution and installation of Renewable Energy in the world.
Very nice too is the interactive map which gives one-click-access to all Policies, Targets, Shares, Installed capacity, Energy production, RE Economy for every country.
Very nice.

Here's a snippet from their website:

The 2012 edition of REN21's Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) was launched on 11 June together with its sister publication UNEP’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment (GTR).
The findings in the 2012 GSR speak to the cumulating effect of steady growth in renewable energy markets, support policies and investment over the past years. In 2011,
Renewable sources supplied 16.7 % of global final energy consumption where the share of modern renewables increased while the share of traditional biomass slightly decline
118 countries implemented RE targets with more than half in developing countries
Investment in renewables increased 17% to a record $257 billion, despite a widening sovereign debt crisis in Europe and rapidly falling prices for renewable power equipment,
Photovoltaic module prices dropped by 50% and onshore wind turbines by close to 10% bringing to price of the leading renewable power technologies closer to grid parity with fossil fuels such as coal and gas.
These are just a few of the trends found in the GSR 2012 that illustrate the significant and rapidly growing share of renewables in energy markets, industrial policy and investments, moving renewable beyond “niche” status.
The 2012 GSR places a special focus on rural renewable energy by highlighting the main trends in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The perspectives provided in the GSR are further detailed in the REN21 Renewables Interactive Map, where country specific renewable energy developments are highlighted.
So, please help spread the word, don't believe the words of Liberal politicians, Republicans and other arch-conservative climate-change-deniers and fossil fuel lobbyists stating that renewables are too expensive, don't cut the mustard, or whatever they bring forward to protect not the climate but their pockets.

18 September 2012

North American Windpower: Global Study Finds 85% Of Consumers Want More Renewable Energy

"Consumers are demanding more renewable energy in the grid." - Morten Albaek, Vestas

IMHO this is just another indicator for the suspicion that those with vested interests in fossil fuels are influencing our politicians against the overwhelming will of the people:

A new global study reveals that 85% of consumers want more renewable energy, and 49% are willing to pay more for products made using renewable energy.
The survey, performed by TNS Gallup and commissioned by Vestas, asked consumers about their preferences for renewable energy.
In addition, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Corporate Renewable Energy Index Report 2012 (CREX) found that renewable energy is also becoming more favorable to corporations. In 2011, net corporate investment in renewable power capacity outpaced that of fossil-fuel generation ($237 billion for renewables versus $223 billion for additional fossil-fuel generation).
Companies in the CREX
The CREX main findings:
  • Global investment in new renewable capacity has continued to rise. In 2011 net investment in renewable power capacity outpaced that of fossil fuel generation ($237bn for renewables versus $223bn for additional fossil fuel generation)
  • Many companies are making a significant commitment to renew¬able energy through direct investment in on-site generation (40% of renewable electricity purchases in 2011).
  • The voluntary procurement of renewable energy has grown in recent years, and this is set to continue, but the pace of growth will depend on political and regulatory support.

The GCWS main findings: 
  • 45% of consumers surveyed perceive climate change as one of the top 3 challenges facing the world today.
  • 7% believe that it is the single greatest challenge facing the world today, with only the financial crisis identified as the top challenge by more respondents.
  • 85% of consumers surveyed say they want more renewable energy
  • 74% would get a more positive perception of a brand if wind energy were the primary energy source used in its production. 
  • 49% of respondents express willingness to pay more for products made with renewable energy
  • 62% of respondents say they would be more willing to buy products from brands using wind energy
  • 52% of consumers believe that the transparency of the energy mix used in product production is too low.

Download the 2012 CREX index here
Download the 2012 GCWS study here

10 September 2012

WA can power world electricity 50 times over, if only for infrastructure

Got some spare poles and wires - anyone?

 Image: Worklife Siemens

The amount of electricity hypothetically produced from all suitable areas, is 908,000 TW h/year while the total global electricity consumption in 2008 was 18,000 TW h/year.

Study author and Stockholm University's Lucas Dawson consulted 10 key stakeholders; the Western Australian Office of Energy, Horizon Power, BHP Billiton, Worley Parsons, Lycopodium Minerals, Australian Venture Consultants, Midwest Energy, Bright Generation, WA Sustainable Energy Association and Sustainable Energy Now.

Stakeholders were asked to rank criteria important to parabolic trough technology including; land availability and incline, access to electricity infrastructure, auxiliary fuel supply, load, water supply, weather and solar radiation supply.

Availability of solar resource, access to water and proximity to roads, load and auxiliary fuels were highly ranked.
Read the complete article on Science WA

Doesn't look like anyone sincerely interested in installing the necessary infrastructure, it is oh so much easier to keep the status quo.

06 September 2012

$130 billion saving possible now by decentralised energy grid

$130 billion savings that no one in power wants.

Excuse the pun, but it is fitting: People in power in Australia shy away or even fight enormous opportunities for all the wrong, selfish reasons:
Politicians are fearing to lose their big donors, the fossil fuel industry; big utilities fearing the loss in value of their assets such as poles and wires and the power stations themselves; last but not least the resource industry supplying the utilities with coal, oil and gas.
Find a great article on the Science Network of Western Australia:

A CSIRO report has highlighted that a lack of incentives and appropriate policies are hindering Australia’s uptake of Distributed Energy (DE), a readily available way of decreasing carbon emissions, increasing electricity and water efficiency, and creating billions of dollars in savings.

Good stuff!