Carbon Economy


Coal-mad Coalition embarrasses itself

Cross-posted from Reneweconomy. [Coalition] Senators Chris Back and Jonathon Duniam – were included in the dissenting report to the Senate inquiry into the resilience of electricity infrastructure in a warming world…In essence, the Coalition’s report was a collection of renewable energy myths that might have been collected from far-right anti-wind and climate denying websites: For


Coalition moves to install anti-carbon price

From The Australian: The Australian understands that after the Coalition’s decision to rule out an emissions intensity scheme, which puts a price on ­carbon in the electricity market to encourage investment in renew­ables, the government is warming to an alternative market signal that would put in place a 50-year rule for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired


Renewables not saving the world…yet

Via Macquarie:  Last week we hosted BP’s Chief Economist, Spencer Dale, to hear the oil major’s latest views on the likely trajectory of global energy markets. A key industry reference point, the Global Energy Outlook 2035, is a deep dive into future energy scenarios and has major implications for renewables and climate change analysis.


Records tumble through Straya’s “angry summer”

From the Climate Institute annual report: KEY FINDINGS 1. The Australian summer of 2016/17 marked the return of the Angry Summer with record-breaking heat especially in the east of the nation. The Angry Summer was characterised by intense heatwaves, hot days and bushfires in central and eastern Australia, while heavy rainfall and flooding affected the


Turnbull tech wreck spreads from NBN to renewables

From Crikey: Just like his broadband policy, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he wants energy policy to be technology neutral. Perhaps he should re-examine his broadband policy before embarking on clean coal projects. When Turnbull kicked off his 2017 by targeting Labor on energy prices and security, he said the government needed to be


As gas and power prices rocket, Straya to ban home batteries

Last week, the local gas price, which determines prices in the National Electricity Market (NEM), rebounded to $11.01/Gj, roughly 400% higher than the long term average. Meanwhile, the very same Australian gas was being delivered in Japan for $8.45Gj, roughly two thirds below its long term average price: The reason is the east coast gas cartel.


Shorten reaffirms 50% renewables target

From Reneweconomy: Opposition leader Bill Shorten has accused the Coalition government of policy vandalism on energy, and committed to an emissions intensity scheme that he insists will deliver Labor’s target of 50 per cent renewables in the country’s electricity system by 2030. In a landmark speech at the Bloomberg headquarters in Sydney on Thursday, Shorten


Who uses Australian electricity?

By Leith van Onselen The ABS yesterday released its annual energy account report for 2014-15, which revealed that Australian households have become more energy efficient: “Despite a small increase in energy use, Australian households are becoming more efficient in their use of energy”, said Lauren Binns from the ABS’ Environment and Agriculture Branch. “On average,


One Nation drongo vs CSIRO on renewables

It’s a world turned upside down. From Reneweconomy: The Australian government’s chief scientific body says there is no apparent technical impediment to reaching 100 per cent renewables for the national electricity grid, and levels of up to 30 per cent renewable energy should be considered as just “trivial” in current energy systems. The CSIRO estimate


BHP gouges itself with gas

Via The Australian: BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie, who took a $US105 million cost hit at the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South Australia after recent blackouts, says the nation’s renewable energy schemes could raise costs and reduce power security while having no impact on emissions. The head of the world’s biggest


APRA warns on climate change risks

Guest post from Kate Mackenzie of the Climate Institute. APRA’s Geoff Summerhayes on Friday delivered a whole speech entirely about climate change risk at the Insurance Council of Australia conference on Friday. It’s the first time any of Australia’s financial authorities have so clearly addressed this topic (although many of their international peers have been doing so almost two years). So,


SA to nationalise power market?

Big news here: Federal and state energy ministers will today be told by the Weatherill Labor government that it will “retake control” of South Australia’s fragile power network so blackouts “do not happen again”. The Weatherill government, which faces an election in just over 12 months, maintains last week’s forced power cut to 90,000 homes


Pathetic Labor folds on RET

From Giles Parkinson today: Federal Labor has effectively abandoned its 50 per cent renewable energy target after its leaders failed hopelessly to identify the obvious arguments to defend the policy. Instead – less than a week after the Coalition made idiots of themselves by bringing a lump of coal into Question Time, Labor appears to have


Devine retribution: Most stupid ever?

I’ve had a run-in with our Miranda over climate change so I completely get this, from Giles Parkinson: Heaven knows the competition is stiff: every day throws up extraordinary claims by any number of columnists in the Murdoch media. But we think we have found what could be the dumbest thing ever written by a


How smart solar can protect vulnerable power grids

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Some commentators seem to be worried that our electricity networks are facing an impending voltage crisis, citing fears that renewables (rooftop solar panels in particular) will threaten the quality of our power supply. These concerns hinge on the fact that solar panels and other domestic generators can push up voltages, potentially


Electricity death spiral hits WA

By Leith van Onselen The electricity “death spiral” has, for a long time, been a key risk facing electricity generators/distributors globally. The “death spiral” arises when demand for power declines, due in part to customers taking up solar, leading to higher prices to cover fixed network costs. That is, the more people that take-up solar


New coal plants wouldn’t be clean and would cost taxpayers billions

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Following a campaign by the coal industry, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has argued for new coal-fired power stations in Australia. But these plants would be more expensive than renewables and carry a huge liability through the carbon emissions they produce. Major Australian energy companies have ruled out building new coal plants.


As Trump elevates coal, 2016 records warmest year yet

Juxtaposition is a nice word. Just as the world gears up for a new oligarchy – two days before the US presidential inauguration – comes news from NASA that 2016 was the warmest year on record. From the source: Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to independent


Speech impediments and predicting the unpredictable

My favourite Economist section, The Technology Quarterly recently came out with a focus on voice recognition. The key reason for the focus is that Microsoft Switchboard reached a 5.9% error rate – which is the same error rate as a human transcriber and considerably better than the average offshore call centre operator I’ll bet… There are


Manufacturers to suffer under no gas reservation policy

Australian energy policy 101. Build enormous LNG plants for export only, reserving none of the cheap energy locally? Check Actively discourage any renewable energy production while heavily subsidising dirty coal power plants? Check Sell off publicly owned energy utilities to private sector who then gold plate it for excess profit? Check Household energy bills rising


BOM Climate report is sobering

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has published an extremely sobering report on the nation’s (and world) climate, with figures showing that 2016 was the fourth hottest on record for Australia. From the ABC: Assistant Director for Climate Information Services, Neil Plummer, said 2016 was an “eventful year” with significant climate drivers affecting the country’s weather.


Australian carbon emmisions blow out

From the AFR: Australia is on track to miss its 2030 carbon pollution reduction target, with official data released ahead of the Christmas break showing emissions are still rising. The federal government on Thursday made public the official quarterly emissions data for the year to June showing an increase of 0.8 per cent on the


Do-nothing Malcolm blows out carbon emissions

From The Australian: Australia is facing an energy “trilemma”, and urgently needs to implement a clear policy on reducing carbon emissions or the nation will fall well short of its Paris climate change targets. According to the ABC, the preliminary independent report into the country’s electricity market says Australia is not on track to meet


Do-nothing humiliation as states mull own carbon prices

Revolution! From The Australian: South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has warned the states could defy the federal government and introduce carbon prices in their respective electricity sectors “in the absence of national leadership”. …Mr Weatherill, who will join his state and territory colleagues at a Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra tomorrow, said he