Søren Hermansen, a farmer and community energy expert from a small Danish island, has been travelling around Australia speaking with communities about how to switch to 100% renewable energy. The Australian Wind Alliance’s Andrew Bray listened in on a talk in Inverell in the New England tablelands to pick up some hot tips on how communities can lead the way on energy transition in Australia.
According to Hermansen community ownership, local innovation, and government leadership were key ingredients in the successful transition to 100% renewables in his home town on Samsø Island. While the transition proposal was initially met with concern by some members of his community, plans to share the benefits and create local economies eventually saw wide spread support and engagement.
“We did this together” is the general attitude says Hermansen.
Read more about the Samsø experience in Andrew's opinion piece here.
After a week of energy policy talk dominated by the Turnbull government’s outspoken support for new coal power generation for Australia, the independent energy research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance has joined the growing chorus of voices saying, “umm, I don’t think so."
This article reprinted from Reneweconomy outlines why coal is fast becoming yesterday's hero.
Check out Australian Wind Alliance National Co-ordinator, Andrew Bray’s Video of his recent trip to the Wimmera Plain and his published Opinion Piece.
In Victoria’s dryland farming region south of the Mallee scrub and east of the South Australian border lies the flat expanse of the Wimmera Plains. Horsham is the major town in a region largely dependent on the wheat and sheep industries with expansive plains dotted with flour mills and grain storage silos.
The shambolic government display this week makes it look as if the ‘climate wars’ that have gridlocked Australian politics and hobbled climate action for at least a decade haven’t gone away. And again, wind and renewable energy policy is under a cloud.
Earlier this week, a crowd of Australian Wind Alliance members and supporters were treated to an exclusive ‘on the couch’ session with Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio.
Minister D’Ambrosio was interviewed by Sophie Vorrath, Deputy Editor of Renew Economy and One Step Off the Grid following the AWA’s 2016 Annual General Meeting.
Minister D’Ambrosio spoke about the Victorian Government’s deep commitment to the State’s Renewable Energy Target to drive jobs and investment in the state. And if they manage to lure some business away from NSW well that wouldn’t be too bad either.
It’s not often that both ends of the climate change policy spectrum - the new technologies we’re moving to and the old technologies where we’re moving away from - come to the fore on the same day, but on 3 November, 2016 that’s what occurred.
The PM re-opened the discussion on coal power this week with some pretty bullish comments.
While in Brisbane, the PM declared coal will be part of Australia’s energy mix for “many, many, many decades to come” and made the rather fretful statement that “strangling the Australian coal industry is not going to do anything to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions”.
What happened in South Australia on Wednesday 28th September?
A one-in-50 year weather event hit South Australia with severe thunderstorms and damaging winds exceeding 90 km/h. Hail the size of golf balls struck the state with 80,000 lightning strikes reported. The severe storm resulted in catastrophic damage to power infrastructure with multiple transmission towers taken out.
Wind power did not cause the blackouts
The failure of South Australia's energy network was due to the severe weather event, pure and simple. A mega-storm knocked out 23 transmission towers and high-voltage power lines. Storms of this magnitude will knock out the power network no matter what the main source of power is; coal or wind. As a standard safety response, the South Australian energy system was isolated from the National Electricity Market.
Wind power was supplying 50% of South Australia’s power as the lights went outs
South Australia’s wind farms were generating nearly 1,000 megawatts of power into the state’s electricity system (approximately 50% of the state’s energy demand), before the mega storm tripped the network at 3.48pm on Wednesday 28th September. The graph below shows that the wind farms were shut down when the network failed to carry the energy they were delivering.
Attempts to blame renewables are not only unfounded, but irresponsible.
A range of commentators and politicians used the South Australian blackout to make baseless claims about renewables. Defenders of the fossil fuel industry have been quick to condemn renewables despite there being no evidence that renewable energy sources were linked to the power outage.
This mega storm is a wake-up call for Australia.
Climate science shows that we will experience more extreme weather events like this mega-storm as the temperature rises and we have a wetter and warmer atmosphere. We need to rapidly reduce our greenhouse emissions.
What’s at stake
The NSW Planning Department has developed a new Planning Framework for wind farms in NSW. It replaces the existing Draft Guidelines for wind farms which have languished in draft form since 2011.
There are some positives in the new framework but an overzealous approach to ‘visual impact’ threatens to sharply reduce the amount of new wind energy in NSW.
You can lodge a submission to the Department telling them that this new framework needs to focus on building more clean, renewable wind energy.
SUBMISSIONS CLOSE FRIDAY 16th SEPTEMBER.
There are so many reasons that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, or ARENA, should have a bigger and stronger role in building Australia's clean energy future. But instead, the government wants to cut $1.3 billion from this successful organisation, dropping early stage clean energy developers off a cliff and cutting Australia off from the clean investment boom that's going on around the world.
You can have a look at the kind of things ARENA have been doing here.
We've just made a submission to the Senate Inquiry looking at this plan, which is below.
In the meantime, contact Labor leader, Bill Shorten and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and ask them to save ARENA!