16 July 2013

The WA Government considers power bill change - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

PV as scapegoat for losses from poles and wires

In 2009 Western Power published their proposal for a "Bi-directional Reference Service and Associated Tariff" which then already targeted Households with solar PV to pay for losses incurred by peak power demand - in vain. This proposal had to be published for public comment and - despite its complicated architecture trying to hide the true intent - in the end wasn't put into practice after strong opposition.

This time it isn't that clandestine an approach, the Barnett government is growing bolder. On ABC TV news on one hand the "Energy Minister Mike Nahan says changes to the way household energy costs are structured will not result in higher prices.", on the other hand they state that "rapid increase in the number of households installing rooftop solar panels has contributed to a drop in energy consumption and a revenue shortfall for state-owned power companies.
So the State Government is considering changing the way West Australians are charged for energy use, to protect the long-term viability of the state-owned power grid."
"What we would do is [reduce] the user charge and increase the fixed price," he said.

This means that PV households - which are still connected to the grid but using less power from it than other households - will hardly benefit from a price reduction for the use of electricity and instead will be forced to pay more for poles and wires. They had invested 1000's of dollars earlier in PV attempting to becomes less reliable on the grid, to become a bit more self sufficient, to save a dollar or two, and to do their bit on climate change.

Instead of reading the signs of the times by admitting their power policies have failed and need shifting, e.g. by modernising the grid towards a smart grid (in the non-controlling but load balancing sense) and penalising high power usage the state government tries to save their stone-age assets in favour of modernising an industry, protecting everything that looks like, feels like, and smells like mining; trying to lure the unwary voter with low prices for consumption which in turn would encourage even higher consumption, in these times when use of fossil fuels is indicated left, right, and center.

Don't be fooled by the COALition government (aptly named after their favourite industry?!) trying to taint their true intentions with words such as "We are [also] generating less electricity from coal - that is good, that's what we wanted." The libs have never intended this hence their actions towards the opposite direction:
"Dr Nahan says about 2,000 households are applying to install photovoltaics (solar panels) every week and the government must change its charging system to reflect the trend" ... to recoup lost income for the state budget.

14 July 2013

Wind to Double and Solar to Triple in 6 Years : Discovery News

Latest prognosis of the conservative International Energy Agency

... is painting a picture stakeholders in the fossul fuel industry can't be liking very much:
"Total renewable electricity generation grew strongly in 2012, increasing by 8.2% from 2011. In absolute terms, global renewable generation in 2012 exceeded the electricity consumption of China. Part of the strength in 2012 growth stemmed from stronger-than-anticipated hydropower production, particularly in China. Yet it also reflected a continued rapid build-out of non-hydro sources, whose generation rose by 16% year-on-year. Among the OECD regions, non-hydro renewable generation was the second largest source of power generation growth in 2012, expanding by 90 TWh. By comparison, gas-fired generation rose by over 150 TWh, while both coal and nuclear declined."

Read the executive summary of the report in full.

With Tony Abbot (Liberals) vowing to scrap the price on carbon and Kevin Rudd (Labour) going half the same way Australian politicians appear to be still trying to buck the worldwide trend ignoring the will of the majority of Australians who in record numbers have installed solar PV on their roofs.
Question remains why the same majority acts as if there are only the aforementioned political parties which do everything to satisfy the billionaires of the country who run the coal mining, fossil fuel power generation, and media industries.

10 June 2013

When Big Coal goes solar | Business Spectator

Are they getting the message?

Or is it more sinister and ruthless, in that they see the good in renewables and decide that the quick buck can be made today with fossils which is for others to pay today and tomorrow?
Maybe it doesn't matter, make of it what you want. I believe it will be an advertisement for renewable energy, especially that the old school is not only using but also displaying use of the new school.
For that bit they deserve to be congratulated.

Don't forget to read the full article, very well done on Climate Spectator.

19 May 2013

Dyesol Announces 'Quantum Leap' In Dye Solar Cell Efficiency : Renewable Energy News :

In 2010, solid-state DSC performance was at just 5%, but today ...

... the performance that has been achieved is a lot higher: 11.3% at full sun!

While this is still way less than the "normal" panel efficiencies achieved today, it is of particular interest as this technology doesn't rely on being installed as a panel.
"DSC technology is described by the company as "artificial photosynthesis" that uses an electrolyte, a layer of titania and ruthenium dye deposited on glass, metal or polymer substrates."
But it has even more advantages, about which you can read on Energy Matters

07 May 2013

New Battery Efficiently Stores Solar and Wind Energy | The Daily Fusion

New Battery Efficiently Stores Solar and Wind Energy | The Daily Fusion

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have developed a relatively cheap, long-life “flow” battery that can be used to mitigate power fluctuations from solar and wind energy plants, therefore enabling them to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.
These diagrams compare Stanford/SLAC’s new lithium-polysulfide flow battery design with conventional “redox” flow batteries. The new flow battery uses only one tank and pump and uses a simple coating instead of an expensive membrane to separate the anode and cathode. (Credit: Greg Stewart/SLAC)
The new Stanford/SLAC battery design uses only one stream of molecules and does not need a membrane at all. Its molecules mostly consist of the relatively inexpensive elements lithium and sulfur, which interact with a piece of lithium metal coated with a barrier that permits electrons to pass without degrading the metal. When discharging, the molecules, called lithium polysulfides, absorb lithium ions; when charging, they lose them back into the liquid. The entire molecular stream is dissolved in an organic solvent, which doesn’t have the corrosion issues of water-based flow batteries.
“In initial lab tests, the new battery also retained excellent energy-storage performance through more than 2,000 charges and discharges, equivalent to more than 5.5 years of daily cycles."

02 April 2013

Suntech Bankrupt and Bosch Dropping Out of Solar | The Solar Drop - DIY Solar and Solar Energy News

Suntech Bankrupt and Bosch Dropping Out of Solar | The Solar Drop - DIY Solar and Solar Energy News

Good news for consumers, but somehow frightening to watch how the companies which did the heavy lifting in making Solar PV affordable have to make way for others.
Well, who knows how strongly this was a matter of manipulation versus forces of the market?
Maybe a sign of what might happen to the fossil fuel industry some time down the track?

14 February 2013

Liberals to break up DEC if elected - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Break them up, send them away, make them ineffective ...

... so that the path to even more mining gets less and less obstructed by those at DEC who are nothing but an administrative pain in the neck!
Or so the Liberals' motivation seems to be. Why not send the Department of Mining and Petroleum in the country, to where the mining is?
Make them live and work right in the middle of the proposed fracking fields?

Do they really believe that one can eat money?

02 February 2013

On its way from Australia - even worse carbon emissions

The world's second largest contributor of new CO2 emissions from fossil fuels if fully realised

It is hard to believe but reality everyday: The more evidence we have that alternative energy production becomes cheaper and more and more available, the more conventional, fossil fuel production get pushed by politicians and, of course, conventional corporations.
Queensland and New South Wales have endured the sixth once-in-a-hundred-years event in 10 years in the from of floods, fires, storms and droughts. Yet the corresponding state premiers cut back on renewable energy incentives, undo projects and prefer to pay for damage done by these catastrophes over investing in preventive measures.
The NSW bill last year was around $800 million for damage on public property alone, preventive measures were paid for in the order of merely $8.4 million, of which most was research.
One can only hope that if Canberra moves to protect Great Barrier Reef heritage status this would put a decisive stop to expansions in this respect.

Unfortunately I doubt it.
Maybe the campaign behind the following would work?

12 January 2013

Chilean authorities approve 3.1 GW solar project

Australian Authorities are still in love with king coal

© Gilberto Perez / Wikimedia Commons CC-by-SA

09.01.2013: A total of 3.1 GW of PV projects have been approved by the authority Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental (SEA) in Chile, according to the December report of the Chilean renewable energy research institute Centro de Energías Renovables (CER). The PV projects currently under examination for approval have a total capacity of 908 MW. The report notes that despite the increase in PV projects submitted during the last months, the country has only 2.4 MW of on-grid PV system power up and running, while 2.5 MW of projects are under construction. Furthermore, the report reveals that 4.8 MW of small-sized off-grid PV systems have been installed in the Chile. Source: Centro de Energías Renovables (CER)

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:

08 January 2013

STUDY: Renewables Can Supply 99.9% Power by 2030

STUDY: Renewables Can Supply 99.9% Power by 2030 - Solar Feeds

“Aiming for 90 percent or more renewable energy in 2030, in order to achieve climate change targets of 80 to 90 percent reduction of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the power sector, leads to economic savings,” said authors of the study.

How so? Just read the article published recently on Solar Feeds.
It only will not happen, as corporations of opposing interest are way too strong for a fledgling industry trying to kill the establishment. And eating their own lunch? Does anyone seriously believe that Chevron, Shell, Exxon etc would voluntarily transform their own business of printing money?

I don't.

The same thing goes for Australia where king coal is at the helm of energy politics. Beyond zero emissions have costet this scenario earlier for Australia.
If only the people weren't so phlegmatic in decisive numbers, they could at least try and influence at the course at the ballot box, but no ...

06 January 2013

Solar farm gets planning nod - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

30 MW solar power project approved near Kerang

… or at least the planning for it.

The shire's Jason Russell says while the development is not guaranteed, the planning approval will allow it to begin.

Read the full story on the ABC website.

Being a possible development in Victoria I am sure the established coal industry will fight nail and tooth to find reasons why this project and similar ones being looked at cannot go ahead.