Carbon Economy

24

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

36

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

61

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.

58

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

85

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

34

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

51

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.

8

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

10

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

46

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

17

Parallel PM Abbott rules out carbon price

From The Australian: The Coalition has vowed not to ­introduce an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity sector, as Malcolm Turnbull seeks to quell a backbench revolt over climate change policy and target Labor over its plans for a new price on carbon. In a reminder of the policy fight that cost Mr Turnbull his

10

Coalition tears itself a new one over carbon price

It’s all so very BORING: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces a fresh outbreak of party disunity over climate policy, with backbench MPs questioning the government’s timing, scope and tactics after a formal review of the Direct Action plan was finally announced. Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg on Monday launched the long-awaited review – which controversially promises to look at

36

Do-nothing Malcolm’s Direct Action doing nothing

From The Guardian: The federal government’s Direct Action carbon reduction policy appears to be running out of steam, with participation from industry dropping, the cost of the program rising and the budget for emissions reduction nearly exhausted. The Clean Energy Regulator announced on Thursday it would pay a further $367m to polluting industries, in return

59

Arctic heat wave “scary”

From the FT: Scientists are struggling to understand why a burst of “scary” warming at the North Pole has pushed Arctic temperatures nearly 20C higher than normal for this time of year. …“We’ve been processing this data since 1958 and we haven’t really seen anything like this at this time of year,” said Rasmus Tonboe,

84

SA’s storm of renewable liars

Peter Martin delivers a mighty serve today on the SA blackout: Within minutes of the blackout, Twitter was alive with comments such as: “Bring back coal to SA! – this is bloody unacceptable to have a whole state sitting around in the dark. Aren’t we a developed country?” That one came from @rubensohn_gemma, a Sydney resident

33

Global CO2 emissions begin to plateau

From Domainfax: Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry have stabilised for a third year in a row, in a shift that will reduce the risks of dangerous climate change if the trend continues, researchers say. CO2 emissions from the two sources last year were steady at about 36.4 gigatonnes, slowing from a pace

24

World Energy Council: Peak oil in sight

From the World Energy Council: THE WORLD’S PRIMARY ENERGY DEMAND GROWTH will slow and per capita energy demand will peak before 2030 due to unprecedented efficiencies created by new technologies and more stringent energy policies. Since 1970, demand for energy has more than doubled. New technologies to 2060 will keep energy demand growth moderate relative

0

PBOC signals more yuan weakness

The PBOC this morning fixed the yuan at its lowest since 2010: The market has since pulled back but I’d expect it to continue. Capital outflow has not stopped, from Investing in Chinese Stocks: M2 figures come out next week, but unless M2 growth was brought to a standstill in September, reserve coverage of M2

9

As boomers melt planet, millennials melt ski resorts

From Knight Frank’s annual ski property review via FTAlphaville: The UK’s decision in June to leave the European Union has not led to a sudden market downturn nor have we seen sales in their early stage of negotiation fall through. Vendors across Europe are less reliant on British demand, there is a broader cohort of buyers

65

NASA visualises the hottest August on record

From NASA: August 2016 was the warmest August in 136 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Although the seasonal temperature cycle typically peaks in July, August 2016 wound up tied with July 2016 for the warmest month ever recorded.

7

The Chinese propery bubble that just won’t die

From Soc Gen today: … asset price appreciation seems to be worryingly unstoppable. Especially, housing market indicators continued to show a brisk momentum in sales and prices, but a muted construction recovery. Even the officials at the central bank admitted that there is a bubble. New starts growth weakened to 3% from 8%, but housing

3

Some more Chinese stimulus appears

A renewed drumbeat for infrastructure, via Macquarie: A recent Chinese State Council meeting held by Premier Li gave a more progrowth tone with a pledge to enforce more active fiscal policy in China. Infrastructure investment is mentioned as a key way to support the economy, policy banks are encouraged to increase credit support to investment

9

Paris Climate Accord races to beat Trump

From the FT: China and the US, the world’s two largest carbon polluters, have both ratified the Paris climate change agreement in a big boost to efforts to bring the UN accord into force. …The joint move on Saturday highlighted the determination of both presidents not to let differences over territorial claims in the South

11

Carbon pricing easily beats Direct Action

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Australia’s largest listed, carbon intensive companies say management lost focus on carbon matters, abandoned energy projects and didn’t have the commercial imperative to produce long-term strategic action on reducing emissions after the carbon tax was repealed, new research finds. Our research looked at the comparative views of emitters before and after

23

Climate risk evolution from the loon pond

by Chris Becker Hallelujah. The new minister for science is actually a minister for science! The newly returned Turnbull Government is giving climate risk management another chance by reviving climate research from the beleaguered CSIRO, which faced ridiculous – bordering on criminal – cuts to its budget in the Abbott and post Abbott/Turnbott days. More

50

NOAA confirms 2015 highest everything for global warming

From the Socialist Fifth Column, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Greenhouse gases were the highest on record. Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, rose to new record high values during 2015. The 2015 average global CO2 concentration was 399.4 parts per million (ppm), an increase of 2.2 ppm compared

14

Will Tesla ever be fully green?

Cross-posted from The Conversation: Like Henry Ford before him, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is taking a new approach to car making. Where Ford focused on manufacturing a car that the mass market could afford, Musk is keen to build a vehicle that the environment can bear. Much has been made of the use

31

Busting the latest renewable energy myths

Cross-posted from Independent Australia: Dodgy data, the Coalition and the Murdoch press have again presented a spectacular performance in renewable energy misinformation, writes RenewEconomy‘s Giles Parkinson. IT APPEARS that the South Australian conservative Opposition may have been the original source for the dodgy numbers that formed the basis of an erroneous front page story on The Australian last week, about wind generation in