Before the Abbott Government Australia had a wind energy industry, it wasn't developing as quickly as it needed to in order to do our share in limiting climate change, but it was developing. PM Abbott did all he could to slow renewable energy development in general and to put a stop to further wind farms in particular.
As shown in the image on the right, Malcolm Turnbull has said things that indicate he is serious about climate change action, but his lack of action, indeed, his blatant opposition to action on climate change since becoming Australia's Prime Minister suggest that he has put ambition before scruples.
Malcolm Turnbull in August 2010"We are as humans conducting a massive science experiment with this planet. It's the only planet we've got... We know that the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic. We know that extreme weather events are occurring with greater and greater frequency and while it is never possible to point to one drought or one storm or one flood and say that particular incident is caused by global warming, we know that these trends are entirely consistent with the climate change forecasts with the climate models that the scientists are relying on... We as a human species have a deep and abiding obligation to this planet and to the generations that will come after us."
A terrible injustice
This was bad enough, but in July 2018 the man who 'blew the whistle' on Australia's illegal (and very unethical) behaviour was being tried for treason.
John Menadue published Senator Andrew Wilkie's coverage of this matter in a speech in the Australian Senate on 2018/07/02. (I believe it is illegal to use the victim's name at the time of writing.)
The whistle-blower deserves a medal rather than a jail term for his action, it is Alexander Downer who should be jailed.
The National Energy Guarantee (NEG)
Fortunately, as I understand it, the NEG mandates only a minimum level of renewable energy development. Actual renewable energy development will most likely be very much higher than the government's pathetic target.
On present indications, while the government does all it can to slow the adoption of renewable energy in Australia, as demonstrated by the NEG, it seems that they will be overtaken by developments. Australia's coal fired power stations are ageing and will have to be progressively shut down; at the same time renewable energy options are becoming cheaper. In a nation with Australia's renewable energy resources, new-build coal fired power stations are not economically competitive with wind or solar PV (and nuclear is even less competitive).
All the indications are that renewables will go from strength to strength in the future.
Brown coal to hydrogen?
The coal project, on the other hand, would normally be expected to put many tonnes of climate changing and ocean acidifying carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for each tonne of hydrogen produced.
The remaining $400m is apparently to come from a Japanese consortium – led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) – and the Japanese Government. This is a pilot plant, so no-one would be expecting it to make a profit. I cannot imagine why they would want to touch such a hair-brained scheme without promises of huge subsidies.
Why hydrogen anyway?The great advantage of hydrogen as a fuel is that when it is burned only steam is produced; most other fuels release carbon dioxide. If the hydrogen is produced from renewably generated electricity, as is proposed in several projects in Australia and elsewhere, this makes sense. To burn coal to produce hydrogen makes the whole thing absurd!
The Conversation; Explainer: how do we make hydrogen from coal, and is it really a clean fuel?
Carbon Commentary; 2017/07/05, Chris Goodall; "Hydrogen made by the electrolysis of water is now cost-competitive and gives us another building block for the low-carbon economy".
For shear stupidity this project even eclipses Tony Abbott's 'Monash Forum'.
In an article written by Sophie Vorrath and Giles Parkinson in RenewEconomy titled "The stunning numbers behind success of Tesla big battery" and published on 2018/05/11 it was reported that:
"The Tesla big battery in South Australia has already taken a 55 per cent share in the state’s frequency and ancillary services market, and lowered prices in that market by 90 per cent, new data has shown.
Various estimates have put the cost savings to consumers from the FCAS market alone at around $35 million, just in the first four months of its operation.
That’s a pretty good bang for the buck for the estimated $50 million investment by the South Australia government. South Australia is the only state that has experienced a decline in FCAS prices over the past few months."
“By all means, have the world’s biggest battery, have the world’s biggest banana, have the world’s biggest prawn like we have on the roadside around the country, but that is not solving the problem,”Morrison said Tesla boss Mr Musk was clearly very good at promotion. “I think he saw [South Australian Labor Premier] Jay Weatherill coming.”
For a Federal Treasurer to be so greatly in error in an important financial matter is quite shocking.
You have let down the Australian people, who want action on climate change and are strongly in favour of renewable energy.
You have even failed your own right wing, who seem to provide you with your instructions. Renewable energy has gone ahead in leaps and bounds, despite your (and their) best efforts to stop it; at the time of writing there were nearly 3GW of wind farms under construction in Australia, far more than at any other time; it’s the first time ever that at least one wind farm has been under construction in every Australian state. And, of course, there’s a huge amount of solar power being developed, and energy storage too.
I've listed the wind farms under construction in Australia
elsewhere on this net site.
South Australia's success in its adoption of renewable energy in the face of strong opposition from the Turnbull Government is described on another page.
Some of the more notable renewable energy developments in Australia are listed
The royal commission has exposed a huge range of illegal and unethical conduct by the banks and insurance industry.
Why was the Turnbull government so strongly opposed to it? You'd have to wonder if it was the greedy and wealthy looking after their own interests at the expense of the rest of us.
The Turnbull government has continued the policy of previous Coalition governments in strongly supported the coal industry while trying to slow renewable energy development.
The fact that air pollution from the burning of coal kills millions of people each year seems not to bother them, nor does the climate change damage from the burning of fossil fuels.
It seems the coal industry is not causing enough killing for the Turnbull government, he wants Australia to manufacture and export machines and devices that are more directly aimed at killing people.
There are far more ethical industries in which Australia could be involved, renewable energy is just one example. Australia has huge renewable energy resources waiting to be developed, huge potential to become a world renewable energy leader, and huge potential to export renewable energy and renewable energy technology.
Australia could be an example of a country that does good in the world, rather than a country this is big on exporting death.
What unethical industry will PM Turnbull propose next?
Australia could produce and export heroin, ice, cocaine, etc. – there is big money there too, and it's probably no more unethical than weapons and coal? Does that appeal PM Turnbull?
In May 2018 "a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast that demand for copper, high-purity nickel, cobalt and lithium used in the manufacture of EV battery packs was forecast to rise 31 times, 42 times, 19 times and 29 times respectively to 2030, as sales of EVs [electric vehicles] soar to 30 million by 2030."
Sophie Vorrath wrote a summary for RenewEconomy on 2018/05/22. "At current commodity prices, BNEF says, the supply of these materials for batteries would be worth $US75 billion in the year 2030."
What wasn't mentioned in the RenewEconomy article was the fast-growing market for home batteries and utility-scale batteries.
These may well prove to be a greater growth industry than EV batteries.
Sophie Vorrath wrote an article for RenewEconomy giving the real reason for the wholesale electricity price spike: the sudden failure of one of the generation units at Victoria's Loy Yang B power station. Wholesale prices went to over $10,000/MWh in both Victoria and SA.
The cause seems to have been the heatwave conditions; quoting from Ms Vorrath's article:
"The sudden outage of the Loy Yang B unit is the 13th failure of a major coal unit this summer."
"Thursday’s unexplained outage of Loy Yang B caused the near instant loss of 530MW of capacity, and sent prices soaring in Victoria (to more than $12,900MWh) and South Australia, to a peak of $14,600/MWh."
Of course no minister of the Turnbull Government would ever say a critical word about a coal-fired power station.
Josh Frydenberg, Australia's federal Minister for Environment and Energy, continued to attempt to rubbish South Australia in an interview broadcast on the ABC's Radio National. On the interview, in which he attempted very unconvincingly to deny Australia's increasing greenhouse emissions, Mr Frydenberg said that SA burns "80,000 litres of diesel an hour, just to keep the lights on". It seems that if all SA's new diesel generators, designed and used for emergencies only, were to run for an hour at full tilt, they would burn 80,000 litres of diesel.
According to Mr Holmes à Court the generators have burnt less that 40 tonnes (about 45,000 litres) of diesel in total to the present. By way of comparison, the Port Augusta power stations, the closing of which Mr Frydenberg has strongly criticised, burnt 67 tonnes of brown coal every hour. Unlike the emergency diesel generators, the bigger of the two coal-fired power stations, the Northern, used to run continually for months at a time.
Mr Frydenberg hates renewable energy, but he seems to hate South Australia even more, presumably because of SA's
highly successful adoption of renewables.
PM Turnbull's condemnation of a terrorist who was responsible for the death
of some 22 people in Manchester is the grossest hypocrisy when he is involved
that will bring about the deaths of enormously more people and do
incomparably more harm.
What Mr Frydenberg did not say was that the transition was taking place in spite of the COALition's best efforts to stop it.
The Turnbull government has continued the harsh treatment of refugees that was put in place by previous governments. At the same time they have done their best to slow Australia's change from fossil fuels to renewable energy and, as the Senate Committee recognised, climate change will greatly increase the numbers of refugees.
The Turnbull government's support for the fossil fuel industry and opposition to the renewable energy industry is exacerbating climate change and so leading to a long term increase in security threats.
This is another form of hypocrisy, on the one hand the Turnbull government justified setting up the Australian Border Force on the grounds that there was a major threat from people trying to get into the country and at the same time it is taking actions that will increase that threat.
According to The Guardian all of Australia's big four banks have now ruled out funding, or withdrawn support from, the Carmichael Mine. Quoting The Guardian:
"NAB ruled out funding the Carmichael project in September 2015, a month after Commonwealth Bank parted ways with Adani as project finance adviser.Westpac's forth point shows yet again that Australia needs a price on carbon; something that the Turnbull Government has consistently, and pig-headedly, refused to countenance.
The CEO of ANZ, Shayne Elliott, in effect ruled out financing the mine last December when he predicted a downward shift in the bank's exposure to coalmining would continue for the foreseeable future."
RenewEconomy reported, 2017/05/02, that 15 other banks around the world had also refused to fund the mine.
"Declining gas production may result in insufficient gas to meet projected demand by GPG [gas powered generation] for supply of electricity from summer 2018-19.In recent years the total annual electricity consumption on the National Electricity Market has been around 200 TWh per year, so the projected 363 GWh short-fall is only 0.18% of that total.– To meet electricity supply needs, the NEM [National Electricity Market] requires either increases in gas production to fuel GPG, or a rapid implementation of alternative non-gas electricity generation sources. If neither occurs, AEMO projects that declining gas supplies could result in electricity supply shortfalls between 2019 and 2021 of approximately 80 gigawatt hours (GWh) to 363 GWh across South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria."
Renewable energy systems, especially wind and solar, could and should be built at greater rates than at present. However, gas fired electricity is valuable for keeping generation up to the peaks in electricity demand; some types of gas-fired power stations are well suited to providing power exactly when it is needed, wind and solar PV cannot do that (although solar thermal with storage can).
Demand for gas could be reduced in several ways:
PM Turnbull has said that this, going from zero to 50% in 17 years is dangerously rash.
Coober Pedy is a small town 750 km north of Adelaide. It is not connected to the eastern Australia National Electricity Market (NEM) grid. The town has had a small, 0.15 MW, wind turbine since 1991, but has relied mostly on very expensive diesel-powered generators for its electrical supply.
In 2017 the town was adding two 2 MW wind turbines, 2 MW of solar PV and batteries. They are going from near 100% diesel-generated power to 50% renewables in a matter of a few months!
PM Turnbull, if the SA government is rash, what are the people of Coober Pedy?!
PM Turnbull blamed the 'load-shedding' on our renewable energy. This was quite dishonest. The low winds were forecast, the low level of wind power was expected, the high demand for power to run air-conditioners was expected. There was ample generation available had Pelican Point No. 2 gas-fired power station been called in; it was not.
This was a simple case of poor management by AEMO.
Further, the SA state government has little direct control over the day-to-day running of our power supply since Liberal Premier John Olsen privatised our electricity supply – after promising not to before the election that put him into power. AEMO reports to the Federal Energy Minister, so if any politician needs to take responsibility for the load-shedding it would seem to be he.
PM Turnbull has simply and quite dishonestly used this event to further the
interests of the coal industry that is one of the main drivers of
climate change and
and is responsible for
millions of deaths around the world every
year from its air pollution.
A power outage affecting 11,000 customers in the Sydney suburbs of Burwood and Strathfield at around the time of peak electricity demand (around 4pm) was not caused by load-shedding, but would have reduced power demand at a critical time.
South Australia didn't have an aluminium smelter that could curtail its power consumption the day before.
PM Turnbull, is there any significant difference between this event, in mainly coal-powered NSW, and the event the day before, in more renewables-powered SA?
These are not needed and not wanted by most of the Australian people; both large-scale solar and wind power are expanding and there is little increase in electricity demand from the grid. The continuing installation of solar power on the roofs of Australian homes as well as the increasing number of utility-scale solar power stations (like the one in the photo on the right) is also reducing demand for new fossil fuel power.
The Coalition are proposing heavily subsidising new coal-fired power stations because banks and investment funds will not support them – simply because they are a very bad investment.
As Frank Jotzo, Director, Centre for Climate Economics and Policy, Australian National University, wrote in The Coversation,
"New coal plants wouldn't be clean, and would cost billions in taxpayer subsidies".How absurd and unethical it would be for the Australian government to heavily subsidise the building of more coal-fired power stations for this killer industry when they are not even economically viable?
"Major Australian energy companies have ruled out building new coal plants. The Australian Energy Council sees them as "uninvestable". Banks and investment funds would not touch them with a barge pole. Only government subsidies could do it."
In August and September of 2017 there was climate change linked devestation in southern Asia and North America: record monsoonal flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, record flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, unprecedented wildfires in Canada and the north-western USA. At the time of writing, another hurricane, Irma was leaving a wake of destruction on its way to Florida.
How many more disasters like this will it take for you and your government
to state taking serious action over climate change PM Turnbull?
Another port on the GBR coast will result in silting of the reef. The many ships that go into and out of the port will add to pollution and there will be accidents, spillages of fuel and groundings. Finally, of course, the last thing this planet needs is another coal mine to add to the greenhouse emissions that are the main cause of disastrous climate change.
The context of the map on the right can be seen on CoralCOE.
Great Barrier Reef
suffered worst bleaching on record in 2016, report finds, BBC.
South Australia suffered two such events – exceptional winds and rains – in September 2016; the first on 14-15th and the second on 28-29th. The second of these events, coming on top of already saturated soils, caused flooding and the loss of grid-electricity over the whole of the state.
There are four major power transmission lines connecting Adelaide to the north of the state; 22 or 23 power pylons on three of these were blown down. We were told that the state's power system could have handled the loss of two of the transmission lines, but three were too many; the system had to shut down to avoid further damage. (The saturated soil combined with high winds caused some of the pylon's legs to pull out of the ground; others were simply bent over by the force of the wind.)
What does this have to do with the Turnbull Government?
The Turnbull Government did its best to blame the power outage on SA's
high level of renewable energy!
True to form, they continue to mindlessly support the coal industry (one of
the main causes of climate change and the increasingly frequent violent
weather events) and denigrate renewable energy.
Blaming damage caused by burning coal on the renewable energy industry is
classic Orwellian political reasoning by a political party devoted to the
dying coal industry.
Yet the Turnbull Government is still opposing the change to renewable energy and considering giving a billion dollars of taxpayers' money to shonky coal mining company Adani so that they can increase the pollution of the atmosphere we all share.
For more information, see Climate Change Disasters.
As of early February 2016 Mr Turnbull in his PM's hat seems to have betrayed all of these ideals.
|The Climate Change Performance Index: Results 2015|
Produced by Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network of Europe
Note Australia's position; second last of 61 nations.
"Since joining the "very poor" group last year, Australia has lost even more ground and now comes in last together with Canada and Turkey."The graph on the right, is from the CEDEX (Carbon Emissions inDEX) report from data to February 2016.
It clearly shows that during the period in which the Carbon Tax was in force, from July 2012 to July 2014, total emissions from fuels (the grey line on the graph) fell steeply and then rose steeply when the Abbott Coalition Government repealed the Carbon Tax.
The repealing of the Carbon Tax, which the graph indicates was highly
effective at reducing emissions from the Australian energy sector, was a
crime against the younger people of
Australia and the world, and a crime against future generations.
The increased emissions since the repealing of the carbon tax, which could
easily have been avoided (by keeping the Carbon Tax in force), are convincing
evidence of this crime.
Climate science denier to head environment and energy committeeIn late August 2016 climate science denier Craig Kelly was named as the head of the Coalition's Environment and Energy Committee.
PM Turnbull, before becoming PM, has said that he wants action on climate change. This move shows much about who is in control of the Coalition, and it does not apear to be Mr Turnbull.
What about our grandchildren?I have a son, a daughter and three grandchildren. If humanity keeps on burning fossil fuels at anything like the current rate the world that my children and grandchildren inherit will be a very inferior place to the world that we all have known.
PM Turnbull has a son, a daughter and two grandchildren. Does he not care about the world that he is going to be responsible for handing them? With his unconditional support for fossil fuels and implacable opposition to renewable energy, he seems to be doing his best to destroy it.
The coal industry is dying, the renewable energy industry is growing exponentially, yet PM Turnbull and the Coalition, apparently blind to the future and living in the past, are desparately trying to hold back the tide. This is not only environmental madness, it is economic madness.
Australia has among the highest per-capita greenhouse gas production rate of any nation on the planet. We therefore have a greater responsibility than any other nation to reduce our emissions; but instead of leading the world we are perhaps the most recalcitrant of all the nations in the global effort to save the future for our grandchildren.
It would be interesting to know what conversations PM Turnbull has had with his son and daughter about the damage he is responsible for.
How can a man knowingly do such evil? I cannot imagine how he can live with his conscience.
Great Barrier Reef bleaching
This being so, will you change the decision to allow the Carmichael mine to go ahead? Will you start taking climate change seriously?
The context of the map on the right can be seen on
Increasing damage to the reef at the same time as trying to reduce the damageIn late April 2018 the Turnbull Government announced that they would spend $500 million of taxpayers' money on trying to alleviate the damage to the GBR that is largely caused by climate change and ocean acidification.
This is happening at the same time as the Turnbull Government is looking for more ways of burning coal, and so increasing the rate of climate change and ocean acidification. Just one of the ways that the government is trying to increase coal burning is the brown coal to hydrogen project announced only a short time before this 'save the reef' package.
I'm sure that the reader will not need any further explanation in order to see to stupidity of this.
The sixteen hottest yearsThat the GBR is suffering is not surprising considering that the sixteen hottest years in the history of reliable global temperature data have all occurred since 1998 – as shown in the table on the right. (See NOAA, USA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Authority.)
PM Turnbull, how much damage to our planet are you willing to tolerate before you do something significant about Australia's exceptionally high emissions?
A questionable giftIn 2018 PM Turnbull and environment and energy minister Josh Frydenberg provided funding to a small company under questionable circumstances with the claimed aim of protecting the Great Barrier Reef. For more information see the Guardian article by Lisa Cox: PM personally approved $443m fund for tiny Barrier Reef foundation
Australia came third last among 58 nations ranked on climate change performanceIn an assessment on climate change performance conducted by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe released at the Paris climate summit Australia managed to come ahead of only Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan; my country was beaten by 55 of 57 other nations, truly a shameful performance.
For more read the article written in The Guardian by Lenore Taylor, 2015/12/08.
Australia's electricity generation industry, where is it, where is it going, and where might it go if we had good government?
The colours indicate the type of electrical generation:
As the graph indicated, most of our electricity was coming from coal-fired power stations. This is a pretty typical snapshot of Australia's electricity generation mix.
What we could be seeing if we had serious action on climate changeIn early 2003 South Australia had no wind power. In 2015 an average of about 40% of SA's electricity was coming from wind farms; the proportion on the graph is typical. There is no reason why 40% or more of the electricity for the whole of Australia couldn't be coming from wind farms by now.
While solar generates much less power in Australia than wind at the time of writing, solar also could easily generate 40% or more of Australia's electricity. (The data for the graph were collected early in the day when the sun was low in the sky and solar power was modest.)
What we are seeing under our present governmentAustralia ranks 53rd in the world in population, but sixth in the world in the CO2 produced by its electricity industry; it has 0.3% of the world's population, but produces 1.5% of the world's greenhouse gasses; it is well up among the worst greenhouse polluters on the planet. This gives Australia and all Australians an ethical responsibility to reduce the harm we are doing to the planet.
By early December 2015 it wasn't looking like Malcolm Turnbull as PM was going to substantially change the shameful situation in which Australia is one of the most greenhouse gas polluting nations on the planet.
The future of energyThe writing is on the wall; the era of energy from fossil fuels is coming to an end; it must be if the planet and the next generations are to have a future not greatly damaged by climate change, air pollution and ocean acidification. The coal industry is facing its end days at present, other fossil fuels must and will go not long after.
We must accept that the future is with renewable energy; there is no other option that can be sustained.
We have two choices: we can cling to the dying fossil fuel industry like a drowning man grasping at a straw, or we can make a bigger effort and swim to the nearby renewable energy lifeboat. The first option may be the most profitable in the short-term, but will cause irreparable damage to our planet; the second option will minimise the damage to the planet and will give us the best long-term economic result.
Australia has huge resources in wind and solar power. Why are we not developing them?
Decreased run-off due to higher carbon dioxide levelsResearch done by Anna Ukkola and Albert Van Dijk reported on The Conversation on 2015/10/21 links higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels with reduced run-off in "subhumid and semi-arid" part of Australia. The map included in The Conversation article indicated that the wetter parts of the Murray-Darling Basin are all within these zones.
Considering the importance of the Murray-Darling to Australia's economy, do
you see this as yet another reason to act on climate change PM Turnbull?
Leave if you don't like Australia
I've lived in this country all my life, I believe all my grand-parents were born in this country. I love this country, but I don't like the way it is going.
Australia is among the worst greenhouse polluting nations on the planet. We should be fixing this; we are not. Our government is doing as little as possible about greenhouse gas production.
Our national anthem says "We have boundless plains to share", yet we send refugees overseas and lock them up under appalling conditions.
The Howard Government involved Australia in George W. Bush's Iraq war, which was immoral, unjustified, unethical, and in the end hugely disastrous. Subsequent governments continue to follow the US lead, wherever it may go.
I don't much like this country the way it is being run at present, but I will try to change it for the better rather than leaving.
Prime Minister Turnbull, can we hope for something better soon?
How serious will climate change be?
The graph on the right attempts to summarise the result. Apologies to those not mathmatically inclined, it had to be logarithmic if it was to have any chance of showing the numbers involved.
An important difference between ACC and other disasters, and no doubt one of the reasons that ACC doesn't get the attention it deserves, is that while the other disasters would happen in hours, days, months or at most a few years, the worst effects of ACC will probably take a century or more to develop.
PM Turnbull, how can we continue to 'fiddle around the edges' of ACC rather than take serious action and retain any self respect?
Minister Hunt and off-shore wind turbines
This is curious, even bizzare, because we have many excellent unused on-shore wind farm sites and off-shore wind power costs about twice as much as on-shore.
Off-shore wind power is attractive in those countries that lack the space for more on-shore wind farms, for example, Denmark with 113 kW of wind power installed per square kilometre. Australia has only 0.5 kW per square kilometre (World Wind Energy Report 2014).
One has to wonder if there is some sort of hidden agenda in this PM Turnbull? Could it be a move to discredit wind power by looking into the costs of off-shore wind power and then claiming wind power in general is too expensive?
Or is it simply that Minister Hunt knows very little about wind power? That would not be surprising since he, like all the Turnbull Government, seems to be fixated on fossil fuel energy rather than renewables.
Air pollution from coal
Coal pollution is the most dangerousJustin Worland wrote a piece in Time on 2015/12/02 under the headline "Coal Is the Most Dangerous Pollutant for Heart Disease".
The research showed that air pollution from the burning of coal for electricity generation was something like five times as damaging to our hearts as was general air pollution. The research also showed that Diesel traffic-related soot was associated with heart disease deaths but that particulate air pollution from both wind-blown soil and biomass combustion were not.
PM Malcolm Turnbull is known to have serious concerns about the burning of coal and the resulting climate change, yet he still follows the Liberal party line and promotes the dying coal industry. Will this news give him any second thoughts? I suspect that ambition will win-out over his conscience, again.
The health study report can be read at
Environmental Health Perspective.
China's cancer rates "exploding"; ABC"China's cancer rates exploding, more than 4 million people diagnosed in 2015, study says". Written by ABC's China Correspondent Matthew Carney, 2016/03/24.
"In some of the industrial provinces, lung cancer rates have increased a staggering four-fold" and the cause seems to be air pollution, largely due to coal burning.
"Cancer has been the leading cause of death in China since 2010, with lung
cancer causing the most deaths."
Energy povertyThe Turnbull Coalition government tells us that exporting coal to India is a wonderful thing because it lifts so many people out of "energy poverty", but the air pollution from the burning of that coal also kills 1.1 million Indians each year as reported by Think Progress. (More information on this can be read via links on another page.) You can't enjoy having electric lights if you are dead.
We'd be doing the Indian people a much bigger favour if we were to help them develop renewable wind and solar power to lift them out of energy poverty without the pollution from coal-burning.
Renewable energy and electricity costs
Electricity costs have gone up Australia-wide, not just where there is new renewable energyMike Sandiford wrote a piece for The Conversation, 2017/07/20. He included a graph from the European Commission's latest electricity market update (on the right) showing that since Josh Frydenberg became Australia's Energy Minister wholesale electricity prices have risen steeply, at least doubling from around 20 Euros per MWh in September 2015, even reaching a peak of well over 100 Euros for a short time in early 2017.
Minister Frydenberg has notoriously criticised South Australia's renewable energy for pushing prices up, but since South Australia's electricity demand is about 7% of Australia's total it plays very little part in Australia-wide electricity prices. About 80% of Australia's electricity demand is in the three eastern mainland states and they are predominantly powered by coal.
Plainly, wholesale electricity costs in Australia are not going up because of renewable energy.
Mike Sandiford is Chair of Geology and Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor,
University of Melbourne.
South Australia, renewables and electricity costsAustralian media (particularly the Murdoch-owned media), Liberal and National party politicians and other supporters of the fossil fuel industries have claimed that increases in retail electricity costs in South Australia have been due to that states high level of renewable energy.
The table on the right shows that electricity expenditure in the period from 2006 to 2016 has increased more in the predominently coal-powered states of Victoria, NSW and Queensland than they have in SA. (Most of SA's renewable energy was built in this period.)
The Australian Capital Territory is transitioning to 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and also has some of the cheapest retail electricity prices in the nation. As can be seen in the table, the ACT's growth in electricity costs is also among the lowest in the nation.
It seems that any honest person would put down the electricity price rises to
causes other than renewables.
100% renewable power and cheapest electricity in AustraliaRenewEconomy reported on 2016/04/29 that the Australian Capital Territory government had a target of 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and at the same time was retaining the lowest power prices in the country.
The ACT's Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Simon Corbell, said "We are demonstrating through these policies that not only is a transition to a renewable energy future achievable, it is affordable and is creating jobs."
This demonstrates that renewables now are highly competitive with fossil fuels, especially including coal. This being so, why would anyone choose coal in a world that must reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible?
You'd have to wonder why the Turnbull Government is doing all it can to discredit the renewable energy industry and the federal Labor Party's modest emission reduction aims other than to undemocratically support the coal industry against the needs of the future of the planet.
The Great Barrier Reef is playing the part of the canary in the coal mine; the canary is dying and showing us that the atmosphere has become dangerously loaded with inappropriate gasses.
Electric vehiclesAustralia's take-up of electric vehicles is lagging far behind other western nations as well as China. A quote from Gizmodo:
While Australians have been keen adopters of innovative green technology such as rooftop solar generation and household batteries, our uptake of electric vehicles is woeful compared to that of similar countries worldwide. In recent years, market share of EVs has reached as high as 0.75% in the US, 0.58% in Japan, and up to 1.1% in the UK – while they make up only a paltry 0.01% of the Australian market.Puting this another way, Australia's market share of EVs is 1/58th that of Japan, 1/75th that of the USA and about 1/110th that in the UK. (The statistic on electric car sales in Australia came from CarsGuide.)
The lack of take-up of electric cars in Australia has been attributed to a corresponding lack of incentives provided by the Australian Government, in contrast to other governments around the world.
Of course the Turnbull Government is opposed to EVs because they don't burn fossil fuels.
The deficit only increased during the Abbott and Turnbull Governments.
In February 2016, having achieved nothing toward improving the government's income/expenditure ratio, PM Turnbull announced a huge increase in spending on 'defence', at a time when there were no obvious external threats to the nation. (Terrorism was a minor threat, but not one from which conventional armaments could protect the nation.)
(At the same time the COALition has destroyed the wind farm construction
industry together with many, many renewable energy jobs.)
Backing a dying horse
Australia has huge potential for renewable energy developments, including particuarly, wind, solar and wave power. This is obviously the way of the future of energy, at a time when we must reduce greenhouse gas production and when the costs of renewables are continually declining. Australia's renewable energy potential gives us a big natural competative advantage against other advanced nations, should we ever get a government willing to develop the industry.
In regard to uranium mining, the South Australian Royal Commission into the nuclear cycle had recently stated in their provisional conclusions that nuclear power in South Australia was too expensive to be viable. nuclear power had previously been shown to be much more expensive than at least some renewables elsewhere.
A proposal to reopen an old, dirty, uneconomical coal-fired power station.
October 2016Is your government totally in the pocket of the coal industry PM Turnbull? Your Resources Minister has proposed using taxpayers' money to reopen SA's coal fired power station.
The Northern Power Station at Port Augusta was the dirtiest in the country in terms of emissions per KWh of power generated, it was old; it was an obvious choice for closure as a means of reducing emissions; but it was not closed because of the damage it was doing to the world. The coal resource at Leigh Creek was mostly mined-out, but the main reason the power station was closed was because the owners decided it was uneconomical to keep it open.
If the Turnbull Coalition government was to use taxpayer's money to reopen this old power station it would have to be one of the most unethical acts ever by an Australian government (at least since Liberal PM John Howard got Australia involved in the Iraq War) and Australia would be even more an international climate-inaction pariah than it already is.
You know, don't you, that we should be closing more coal-fired power stations, not reopening closed ones. You know this, but you also know that if you do the right thing the right wing of the Liberals – who seem to be running the party at present – will take your job away from you. Have you considered doing the right thing because it is the right thing? It's not as if you need the PM's salary, you are a very wealthy man.
PM Turnbull, you have a family; even if you put your own ambition before the good of the world, do you put it before the future of your children?
Read more on this proposal to turn back the clock in the Sydney Morning Herald.
It seems that everyone other than the Australian Coalition parties know that 'the end is nigh' for coal. Burning coal causes millions of illnesses and deaths each year from air pollution, and it is one of the main causes of climate change and ocean acidification.
There is more on Sundrop Farms elsewhere on this site.
Exporting coal to IndiaThe Turnbull Coalition government tells us that exporting coal to India is a wonderful thing because it lifts so many people out of "energy poverty". It's just a pity that the air pollution from the burning of that coal also kills 1.1 million Indians each year. Perhaps the coal supporters would tell us that life is cheap in India and this doesn't much matter.
I can't help thinking, though, that we'd be doing the Indians a bigger favour if we were to help them develop non-polluting renewable wind and solar power to lift them out of energy poverty.
Poll: Government losing the argumentA poll conducted by Essential Report, dated 2017/02/21 and summarised in The Conversation shows that the Turnbull Government is not convincing the Australian public that "coal is good, renewables are bad" no matter how many times they repeat the message in one form or another. Just a couple of quotes from The Conversation:
More than seven in ten (71%) said the government was not doing enough to ensure "affordable, reliable and clean energy" for households and businesses. Only 12% said it was. Fewer than one-quarter (23%) of Coalition voters thought it was doing enough. 62% of these voters said it wasn't.To read more, follow the links above.
A letter to PM Turnbull15th October 2015
Dear PM Turnbull;
I will make my main points right at the start:
The wind farm development has been a positive all around for my region. The wind farms provide employment, income for all the farmers who host turbines, and the operators of all the MN wind farms provide substantial community development funding.
There is no good reason that this success should not be repeated in many regions around Australia.
I'm sure that you know as well as I do that wind farms harm nobody's health.
Will you do the right thing for Australia and the world, and support renewable energy development – and serious climate change action – in Australia?
Follow South Australia's lead?
Something in the air?
There's a pattern forming here.
Australia's normally docile marsupials are turning vicious, and even Peter
Dutton, federal Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, has become
This, unfortunately, typified his entire prime ministership; kowtowing to the right wing in the hope of retaining his position as Prime Minister rather than standing for something ethically worth supporting.
On this siteBase load power: the facts
Climate change, natural disasters and what we should be doing
The end of coal
Greatest crime in history
Impressive renewable energy developments in Australia
Liddell coal-fired power station; why it should close
Major threatened disasters compared
Mid-North South Australia, leading the nation in renewable energy
Northern SA's renewables
SA's very successful adoption of renewable energy
Wind power in Australia
On the InternetThe Juice Media: Help us Make Government Ads Honest.
ABC 4 Corners, Digging into Adani: The dubious dealings of India's corporate colossus.
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction report: The human cost of weather-related disasters 1995-2015.
Renew Economy; AGL ridicules Coalition request to keep Liddell [coal-fired power station] open extra 5 years.
The Conversation; Why coal-fired power stations need to shut on health grounds, David Shearman, 2016/11/28.
AGL's statement on the Liddell closure.
The Uninhabitable Earth, Annotated Edition, by David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine.
IndexACT – 100% renewable power and cheapest electricity in Australia
Australia's greenhouse emissions
Australia comes third last
Backing a dying horse
Bad management, not renewables
Banking royal commission
Banks rule out funding Adani's Galilee Basin coal mine
Brown coal to hydrogen?
China's cancer rates "exploding"; ABC
Climate change and national security
Climate science denier to head environment and energy committee
Coober Pedy goes from diesel to 50% renewables in a few months
Electricity costs have gone up Australia-wide
Electricity generation, where is it going?
Exporting coal to India
Follow South Australia's lead?
Future of energy
Future of mining is with metals for batteries
Gas supply shortfall predicted
Great Barrier Reef bleaching
Grandchildren, his and ours
His last act
Hornsdale Power Reserve
How many disasters will it take?
How serious will climate change be?
Ideology and idiocy
Increasing damage to the Great Barrier Reef at the same time as trying to reduce the damage
Less run-off due to higher carbon dioxide levels
Leave if you don't like Australia
Letter to PM Turnbull
More 'natural' disasters caused by climate change
Morrison (Treasurer) shown to be ignorant or biased or both
National Energy Guarantee (NEG)
National security and climate change
Off-shore wind turbines
Poll: Government losing the argument
Reopen an old, dirty, uneconomic coal-fired power station?
SA, renewables and electricity costs
SA's storms and power-outage of September 2016
Something in the air
Subsidised new coal-fired power stations?
The man who has done the most?
Warmest years on record
Who is our PM?