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Blown away': rooftop solar PV installations surge by almost half

PETER HANNAM APRIL 14, 2019

Australian rooftops added a record of almost 500 megawatts of new solar photovoltaic capacity in the March quarter, as Victoria's incentive scheme stoked a 90 per cent increase in that state's installations.

Data gathered by Green Energy Markets show the sector added about 45 per cent more capacity of solar PV - in systems of 100 kilowatts or smaller in size - compared with the January-March period a year earlier.

 

Solar panel installation on Michael Peters' house in Balgowlah Heights.

Solar panel installation on Michael Peters' house in Balgowlah Heights.

"It's usually a little bit slow in January and February but [previous records] have really been blown away," said Tristan Edis, director of analysis at Green Energy Markets, a consultancy firm.

The first-quarter installations of about 482MW were led by Victoria, where the Daniel Andrews government's $2250 rebate per unit helped propel that state above sunnier neighbours Queensland and NSW.

Green Energy Markets expects solar PV capacity on rooftop will top 2000MW this year, or about a quarter more than the previous record annual total achieved just last year.

Apart from the Victoria fillip for the PV market, consumers remain wary of high power prices since few have seen much relief from retailers. "That's reinforcing the momentum," Mr Edis said.

The additional solar panels added during the first quarter will deliver their owners a reduction in bills of more than $850 million over the next decade based on current electricity prices, he said.

The ongoing rally in renewable energy is greater in large-scale solar and wind farms, with more than 8100MW under construction. Victoria is also grabbing the lion's share of the 20,000-plus jobs generated by these projects.

According to Green Energy Markets, Victoria has created 7580 jobs from the wind and solar farms being built. That tally is more than 52 per cent greater than the number of similar jobs in Queensland and almost double those being generated in NSW.

In March, renewable energy sources supplied about 19.7 per cent, or 3839 gigawatt-hours, of the electricity to the country's main grids, the consultancy said. That supply was enough to power about 9.5 million homes, and saved the equivalent of about 2.7 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide.

The installation of small-scale solar PV totalled more than 23,000 last month, with the average size of residential units reaching 6.6 kilowatts. That section of the market employed some 7857 people in March, with Victoria's 2134 pipping those in NSW and Queensland, with about 2000 in both.

If the rate of rooftop installations were to continue until 2022, the forecast extra generation of more than 10,000 gigawatt hours would alone top the annual electricity generated by AGL's Liddell coal-fired power station. The Hunter Valley plant is scheduled to shut down that year.

The growth of the renewables sector could slow sharply in coming years without clearer energy policy, particularly at a national level.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has lately signalled it will penalise large-scale wind and solar projects that are being built in areas where there is limited grid capacity to absorb more.

The Renewable Energy Target, which has been the main support for new large-scale generation in recent years, may yet be met ahead of its 2020 goal.

Federal Labor backs the Turnbull government's National Energy Guarantee as the overarching policy to replace the RET, while the Coalition is promising to help underwrite new generation capacity if re-elected.

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-24/electric-aircraft-transport-disruption-coming-need-to-plan-ahead/11041940

Move aside electric cars, another disruption set to occur in the next decade is being ignored in current Australian transport infrastructure debates: electric aviation.

Electric aircraft technology is rapidly developing locally and overseas, with the aim of potentially reducing emissions and operating costs by over 75 per cent. Other countries are already planning for 100 per cent electric short-haul plane fleets within a couple of decades.

Australia relies heavily on air transport. The country has the most domestic airline seats per person in the world. We have also witnessed flight passenger numbers double over the past 20 years.

Infrastructure projects are typically planned 20 or more years ahead. This makes it more important than ever that we start to adopt a disruptive lens in planning. It's time to start accounting for electric aviation if we are to capitalise on its potential economic and environmental benefits.

What can these aircraft do?

There are two main types of electric aircraft: short-haul planes and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles, including drones.

The key issue affecting the uptake of electric aircraft is the need to ensure enough battery energy densityto support commercial flights. While some major impediments are still to be overcome, we are likely to see short-haul electric flights locally before 2030. Small, two-to-four-seat, electric planes are already flying in Australia today.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VIDEO: A look inside Australia's first electric plane (ABC News)

 

A scan of global electric aircraft development suggests rapid advancements are likely over the coming decade. By 2022, nine-seat planes could be doing short-haul flight (500-1,000km). Before 2030, small-to-medium 150-seat planes could be flying up to 500 kilometres. Short-range (100-250 km) VTOL aircraft could also become viable in the 2020s.

If these breakthroughs occur, we could see small, commercial, electric aircraft operating on some of Australia's busiest air routes, including Sydney-Melbourne or Brisbane, as well as opening up new, cost-effective travel routes to and from regional Australia.

 

Why go electric?

In addition to new export opportunities, as shown by MagniX, electric aviation could greatly reduce the financial and environmental costs of air transport in Australia.

Two major components of current airline costs are fuel (27 per cent) and maintenance (11 per cent). Electric aircraft could deliver significant price reductions through reduced energy and maintenance costs.

Short-haul electric aircraft are particularly compelling given the inherent energy efficiency, simplicity and longevity of the battery-powered motor and drivetrain. No alternative fuel sources can deliver the same level of savings.

With conventional planes, a high-passenger, high-frequency model comes with a limiting environmental cost of burning fuel. Smaller electric aircraft can avoid the fuel costs and emissions resulting from high-frequency service models. This can lead to increased competition between airlines and between airports, further lowering costs.

What are the implications?

Air transport is generally organised in combinations of hub-and-spoke or point-to-point models. Smaller, more energy-efficient planes encourage point-to-point flights, which can also be the spokes on long-haul hub models. This means electric aircraft could lead to higher-frequency services, enabling more competitive point-to-point flights, and increase the dispersion of air services to smaller airports.

While benefiting smaller airports, electric aircraft could also improve the efficiency of some larger constrained airports.

For example, Australia's largest airport, Sydney Airport, is efficient in both operations and costs. However, due to noise and pollution, physical and regulatory constraints — mainly aircraft movement caps and a curfew — can lead to congestion.

 

With a significant number of sub-1,000km flights originating from Sydney, low-noise, zero-emission, electric aircraft could overcome some of these constraints, increasing airport efficiency and lowering costs.

The increased availability of short-haul, affordable air travel could actively compete with other transport services, including high-speed rail. Alternatively, if the planning of high-speed rail projects takes account of electric aviation, these services could improve connectivity at regional rail hubs.

This could strengthen the business cases for high-speed rail projects by reducing the number of stops and travel times, and increasing overall network coverage.

 

What about air freight?

Electric aircraft could also help air freight. International air freight volumes have increased by 80 per cent in the past 20 years.

Electric aircraft provide an opportunity to efficiently transport high-value products to key regional transport hubs, as well as directly to consumers via VTOL vehicles or drones.

If properly planned, electric aviation could complement existing freight services, including road, sea and air services. This would reduce the overall cost of transporting high-value goods.

 

Plan now for the coming disruption

Electric aircraft could significantly disrupt short-haul air transport within the next decade.

How quickly will this technology affect conventional infrastructure? It is difficult to say given the many unknown factors.

The uncertainties include step-change technologies, such as solid-state batteries, that could radically accelerate the uptake and capabilities of electric aircraft.

What we do know today is that Australia is already struggling with disruptive technological changes in energy, telecommunications and even other transport segments.

These challenges highlight the need to start taking account of disruptive technology when planning infrastructure

Where we see billions of dollars being invested in technological transformation, we need to assume disruption is coming.

With electric aircraft we have some time to prepare, so let's not fall behind the eight ball again — as has happened with electric cars — and start to plan ahead.

Jake Whitehead is a research fellow at the University of Queensland. Michael Kane is a research associate at Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute.

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worth watching its about costs.

 

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As I have often posted the miss direction by our media on for example...When will China & India""' do their bit is beyond sad... 

Any time you hear that in the future then show them this.

China’s quest for clean, limitless energy heats up

A powerful fusion reactor built by Chinese scientists is at the centre of a critical mission for the country to create a limitless, clean energy source.

AFP
news.com.auAPRIL 29, 201910:16AM
 
 
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A new form of renewable energy - compact fusion

 
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A ground-breaking fusion reactor built by Chinese scientists is underscoring Beijing’s determination to be at the core of clean energy technology, as it eyes a fully-functioning plant by 2050.

Sometimes called an “artificial sun” for the sheer heat and power it produces, the doughnut-shaped Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) that juts out on a spit of land into a lake in eastern Anhui province, has notched up a succession of firsts.

Most recently in November, it became the first facility in the world to generate 100 million degrees Celsius -- six times as hot as the sun’s core.

Such mind-boggling temperatures are crucial to achieving sustainable nuclear fusion reactions, which promise an inexhaustible energy source.

EAST’s main reactor stands within a concrete structure, with pipes and cables spread outward like spokes that connect to a jumble of censors and other equipment encircling the core. A red Chinese flag stands on top of the reactor.

“We are hoping to expand international cooperation through this device (EAST) and make Chinese contributions to mankind’s future use of nuclear fusion,” said Song Yuntao, a top official involved in the project, on a recent tour of the facility.

China is also aiming to build a separate fusion reactor that could begin generating commercially viable fusion power by mid-century, he added.

RELATED: The race to harness the perfect energy source

RELATED: The Z Machine and the pursuit of nuclear fusion

RELATED: Scientists to create the world’s first man made star

This handout picture released by Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics, shows a vacuum vessel inside the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) device at a laboratory in Hefei, east China's Anhui province.

This handout picture released by Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics, shows a vacuum vessel inside the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) device at a laboratory in Hefei, east China's Anhui province.Source:AFP

Fusion energy has yet to achieve the milestone of actually generating more energy than is required to get the process going but holds the immense potential of curing humanity’s energy woes forever.

Billions of dollars have been promised for the ambitious project. EAST is part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, which seeks to prove the feasibility of fusion power.

Funded and run by the European Union, India, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea, and the United States, the multi-billion-dollar project’s centrepiece will be a giant cylindrical fusion device, called a tokamak.

Now under construction in Provence in southern France, it will incorporate parts developed at the EAST and other sites, and draw on their research findings.

UNLIMITED POWER, MEGA BUDGETS

Fusion is considered the Holy Grail of energy and is what powers our sun. It merges atomic nuclei to create massive amounts of energy -- the opposite of the fission process used in atomic weapons and nuclear power plants, which splits them into fragments.

Unlike fission, fusion emits no greenhouse gases and carries less risk of accidents or the theft of atomic material.

But sustaining the high temperatures and other unstable conditions necessary is both extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive -- the total cost of ITER is estimated at 20 billion euros (A$32.5 billion).

A ground-breaking fusion reactor built by Chinese scientists is underscoring Beijing's determination to be at the core of clean energy technology, as it eyes a fully-functioning plant by 2050.

A ground-breaking fusion reactor built by Chinese scientists is underscoring Beijing's determination to be at the core of clean energy technology, as it eyes a fully-functioning plant by 2050.Source:AFP

Wu Songtao, a top Chinese engineer with ITER, conceded that China’s technical capabilities on fusion still lag behind more developed countries, and that US and Japanese tokamaks have achieved more valuable overall results.

But the Anhui test reactor underlines China’s fast-improving scientific advancement and its commitment to achieve yet more.

China’s capabilities “have developed rapidly in the past 20 years, especially after catching the ITER express train,” Wu said.

In an interview with state-run Xinhua news agency in 2017, ITER’s Director-General Bernard Bigot lauded China’s government as “highly motivated” on fusion.

“Fusion is not something that one country can accomplish alone,” Song said. “As with ITER, people all over the world need to work together on this.”

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https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/uk-becomes-first-country-in-world-to-declare-climate-emergency/11074582

The UK has become the first country in the world to declare a national climate emergency following protests and acts of civil disobedience from a grassroots environmental group that launched in October.

It's a spectacular success for the Extinction Rebellion, while most climate protests have failed to capture the attention of the public, media and politicians. Although the declaration on its own does not mandate action on climate, it was the first of the protester's three demands, along with reducing emissions to net zero by 2025, and creating an assembly of citizens to lead the government on climate issues.

On Wednesday in the UK, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the government to declare the climate emergency: "We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now."

We have no time to waste.

The proposal, which demonstrates the will of the parliament on the issue but does not legally compel the government to act, was approved without a vote.

Extinction Rebellion said in a statement: "This is the first step in the government telling the truth about the climate and ecological emergency.

"Pressure on politicians will now increase as nothing but decisive action will suffice."

What happened?

The Extinction Rebellion has changed the paradigm of climate protests, according to Leo Barasi, the author of Climate Majority, a book investigating how to shift public opinion about climate change.

He's also written a Master's thesis on whether climate protests will ever convince lawmakers to act on climate change (his conclusion, they wouldn't).

"I found that extreme weather sometimes influences public opinion, while UN climate conferences and IPCC reports often trigger media coverage and parliamentary debates," Barasi wrote on his blog.

"But climate protests generally have little direct effect on any of these."

Police officers attempt to remove climate change activists who have locked their hands together

Police officers attempt to remove Extinction Rebellion climate change activists who have locked their hands together.

Getty

For the thesis, Barasi looked at public protests from 2006-2014 and found no examples of them leading to debates in parliament, while every UN conference or report, and half of the extreme weather events, were mentioned in the UK parliament.

Then came the Extinction Rebellion (XR).

For 10 days in April, tens of thousands of people committed acts of civil disobedience, including blocking traffic across the Thames, gluing themselves onto trains, graffiting the headquarters of oil giant Shell, and blockading the stock exchange.

And it apparently worked: The protests led to two separate parliamentary debates, and these were capped this week by the successful climate emergency motion.

The UK media has also mentioned climate change more in April than it has at any other time in the last five years - including during the Paris Agreement negotiations in 2016.

Skip Twitter Tweet

FireFox NVDA users - To access the following content, press 'M' to enter the iFrame.

 

It's official...

Thanks to #ExtinctionRebellion protests, Attenborough's BBC One film and @GretaThunberg's UK visit, April 2019 has now overtaken Dec 2015 (Paris COP) as seeing the most mentions of "climate change" in UK media over past 5 years.

(& still 5 days of April to go)

 
 
 
 
 

As Barasi points out, during April there's also been a rapid increase in the number of Google searches for climate change coming from the UK.

google-searches-data.jpg

UK searches for 'global warming' (red) and 'climate change' (blue) in the last 90 days (top) and since January 2004 (bottom).

Supplied

Interestingly, Australia saw a sharp spike in searches for climate change on March 14 - the day of the national climate strike. If we assume google searches are a good indicator of public attention, Australians hadn't been this engaged by climate change since 2010.

Google searches in Australia for 'global warming' (red) and 'climate change' (blue)

Australia searches for 'global warming' (red) and 'climate change' (blue) in the last 90 days (top) and since January 2004 (bottom).

Supplied

How did the protests work where others have failed?

But showing the protests have worked doesn't help explain why this happened now, in April 2019, after apparently failing every other time.

One theory is that the climate denial movement has run its course.

Richard Black, a former BBC environment correspondent and author of Denied: the Rise and Fall of Climate Contrarianism, told the Guardian the BBC appears to have stopped giving air time to climate deniers to 'balance' the debate.

Mainstream media is now taking the issue seriously, he said: "The facts have changed. And in the end, if you want to be credible you have to go with the facts."

Environmental protesters from the Extinction Rebellion

Environmental protesters from the Extinction Rebellion in London on April 15, 2019.

Public opinion also seems to be shifting.

Some have put that down to David Attenborough broadcasting a hard-hitting climate documentary, The Facts, on BBC One. Also, his eight-part Netflix series Our Planet, which conveys the heartbreaking realities of environmental collapse.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student climate activist who initiated the school strike for climate movement last year, visited the UK over Easter; she made headlines and delivered another surge of public interest.

A poll published this week found that nearly 63 per cent of the British public supported the UK declaring a climate emergency and 76 per cent would vote differently to protect the planet against climate change.

According to the ABC's vote compass, the environment is rated as the number one issue by 29 per cent of respondents, a massive shift from just 9 per cent in 2016.

The latest Ipsos poll found 23 per cent of Australians rated the environment among their biggest worries this month compared with 14 per cent in July 2016.

It found anxiety about the environment was most pronounced among those aged under 25 but there has also been a marked rise in the number of older voters ranking it among their biggest worries.

The 2019 triple j What's Up In Your World survey of young people found climate change was the most important election issue.

Last year's survey asked about the most pressing issue affecting young people. That time, climate change languished fourth on the list: now it appears to be gaining momentum.

 

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Over the past two weeks ... two I think major milestones where achieved.... In many ways this makes me ill that the news below is not reported by the ABC who indicate this is want they want but good news or major renewable milestones just don't make even social media in Australia ... 

1] In England they have gone a month without using any coal fired power stations and believe this year they will reach 3 months without using coal and have reduced coal to about 16% only of their peak usage and under a hard right government [hint hint Tony and Jones boy}.... further by I think it was sometime in 2021 they will not use coal fired power stations at all.

2] In the US [of all places given Trump} last month they created move energy from renewable's than from coal & gas.and similar to England they think about 3 months over the next year and by I think they said 2022 they will be producing more energy from renewable's than coal & gas.

The entire f.......k.....g world is moving this way and we have dip sticks still arguing and as Cyth's link above shows we still have people arguing the case for coal & gas...  

The last time I voted for the ALP was Keating ... but the Libs have lost it on climate change and just tell and say so much BS and it will hurt them big time on Saturday..... 

 

 

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So what a surprise, the delayed emmisions report for 2018 shows that emissions are up.....again.....not that most Australian citizens care...

 

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14 minutes ago, Cynth said:

So what a surprise, the delayed emmisions report for 2018 shows that emissions are up.....again.....not that most Australian citizens care...

 

Sad that the electorate doesn't care about it - would rather save their franking credit refunds

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The ditching of the Carbon Tax should go down in history as the most disgusting and disgraceful action undertaken by a Coalition govt in history.

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7 minutes ago, wendybr said:

The ditching of the Carbon Tax should go down in history as the most disgusting and disgraceful action undertaken by a Coalition govt in history.

wendy, while I agree with you, you have to remember that the coalition had the backing of the people at an election. They campaigned to repeal, were elected, and did what they said they would. If anyone is to blame it's us, the electorate at large, or to be more precise those who have voted for the coalition in the last 3 elections and in whom the voters have put in place members and senators who have voted accordingly. Until climate change starts to burn holes in peoples wallets nothing will change.

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Yes...this is true.

It came down to people being promised $500 a year in electricity bill reductions.

And a proportion of the electorate was mindlessly led by the nose to "axing the tax"....that "great big tax".

Sigh.

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PS I'll always mainly blame Abbott. :pardon:

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, wendybr said:

Yes...this is true.

It came down to people being promised $500 a year in electricity bill reductions.

And a proportion of the electorate was mindlessly led by the nose to "axing the tax"....that "great big tax".

Sigh.

I have no doubt that vested interests...ie coal...etc played a part but in all reality the ALP did not help itself with it's conduct....Rudd/Gillard/Rudd which played into Abbott and his backers hands. A shame for the country but it is what it is and we fight the good fight till something like a change of govt or policy happens.

Edited by sonar

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46 minutes ago, wendybr said:

The ditching of the Carbon Tax should go down in history as the most disgusting and disgraceful action undertaken by a Coalition govt in history.

Nah, I'd say it's the bastardisation of the NBN

The fact that I'd rather use my 4G to do work at home on my work laptop rather than my wi-fi connection is absolute BS

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1 hour ago, Unlimited said:

Nah, I'd say it's the bastardisation of the NBN

The fact that I'd rather use my 4G to do work at home on my work laptop rather than my wi-fi connection is absolute BS

Lol to me...but there you go.

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I am a huge fan of Elon Musk and he is despised by the fossil fuel industry and they advertise a lot on traditional media in the US.... anywho CNBC a right wing channel on one of their leading investment shows wanted to put out another negative Tesla story.... they did not run this vid ...

Its beyond funny seeing the guy doing the interviewing trying to get negative comments from the investor.

 

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This article points to the effect of lobbying by the fossil fuel industry. 

Australia missing out on huge cuts in emissions through energy efficiency failure https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/12/australia-could-cut-emissions-halfway-to-paris-target-under-global-energy-standards?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

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3 hours ago, Paul01 said:

This article points to the effect of lobbying by the fossil fuel industry. 

Australia missing out on huge cuts in emissions through energy efficiency failure https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/12/australia-could-cut-emissions-halfway-to-paris-target-under-global-energy-standards?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard

That was a good pick up... 

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21 minutes ago, Midfielder said:

That was a good pick up... 

If we changed our appliances away from always being on standby, it would make a difference too.

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On how much coal is burned?

Not likely. 

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It's been a while since I've seen stats, but I think I recall it being something like 7% of the average power we use goes on appliances being left on standby.

Collectively, that's a significant waste of power and money. And a stupid/wasteful contributor to emissions.

 

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