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Renewing the renewable energy debate

By Kim Fischer 27 July 2015 80

wind

Regardless of whether you think that using clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar is the “right” thing to do for our environment, within a few years it’s going to be the smart thing to do financially.

Renewable energy has become a hot topic for both Federal and ACT politicians. The Federal Government has directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop investing in rooftop solar and wind farms, with Joe Hockey chiming in to the debate with complaints about the aesthetics of the wind farm at Lake George.

Meanwhile, Bill Shorten has just announced that the Federal ALP will adopt a target of 50 per cent renewable energy for Australia by 2030.

Initiatives to increase renewable energy use often face scare campaigns about the high costs of adoption. However, these campaigns ignore the incredibly rapid improvements in renewable energy technology. Just in the last five years wind power generation costs have dropped by more than half, and solar generation costs have dropped by nearly 80 per cent.

Wind power generation costs are now almost identical to coal and in the best case scenarios, substantially cheaper. While rooftop solar installations still require a substantial feed-in tariff to be financially attractive, larger “utility-scale” solar installations are cost-competitive. With innovations like the 1.5MW solar power plant in a box, solar power today is a simple and scalable way for countries to increase their power generation capacity.

The second common objection to renewable power is that it cannot be a base load power source – that is, to provide continuous energy at low cost. However, wind farms spread over a large geographic area are actually a very consistent power supply because there is always wind somewhere. Solar power also works well because the sun shines brightest during peak periods of electricity usage. New technologies such as molten salt thermal storage are also proving to be an effective way to store excess solar power for delivery to properties at night.

The ACT Labor Government is leading the country with its goal of getting 90 per cent of Canberra’s power from renewable energy by 2020. The Government already purchases power from a number of solar and wind power sources, with the locally built utility-scale Royalla Solar Farm opening in September last year.

After a second Australia-wide auction to purchase additional wind energy, two-thirds of Canberra’s energy will come from wind and solar power sources. Even once 90 per cent of Canberra’s power comes from renewable sources, household power bills are only predicted to rise modestly, with household energy-efficiency initiatives helping to offset the impact of price rises.

When it comes to renewable energy, it is now clear that Tony Abbott and the Liberals are on the wrong side of history. Given that the cost of wind and solar power will continue to decrease, within 15-20 years the debate on whether renewable energy is a good idea or not will seem as old-fashioned as anyone who thought the introduction of universal health care was a bad idea.


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Renewing the renewable energy debate
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rubaiyat 8:54 am 04 Aug 15

Typically when the discussion is on global issues the Head in Sand lobbyists drag endless red herrings over single mostly irrelevant examples to distract the less experienced amongst us down another deadend rabbit hole.

Click on the NASA sea level link and there are two graphs one based on worldwide data going back to 1870, which has nothing to do with the painfully petty arguments sited by dungfungus, and worldwide satellite data over a shorter but still lengthy period of time that confirms the first.

No cherry picking time periods to suit the arguments of bloody minded individuals desperately clinging to petty, pointlessly wasteful and unsustainable lifestyles, just because any change, no matter how much for the better is unthinkable.

No isolated irrelevant anecdotal “feelings” or convenient lapses of memories or childish refusal to look at mountains of well researched and cross checked data.

I wonder what the communities who have lived for hundreds if not thousands of years on low lying land around the world would say to the petty trivial self indulgence of the privileged few who calculate they will not have to face the direct, immediate and inevitable consequences of their own actions.

rubaiyat 10:40 pm 03 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

In case you haven’t heard it is snowing in Hobart this morning (that’s sea level)

So why am I not feeling colder, and why am I seeing October snow in August?

All this science is so boring!

rubaiyat 8:35 am 03 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

ChrisinTurner said :

All-of-life costs of wind have been lower than coal since 2013. See (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source). Old coal fired generators are being retired and will not be replaced by coal because it is not economic. No energy company in Australia is planning to build any coal-fired generators.

The demand from industry in Australia for reliable coal fired electricity is declining. Smelters have closed and manufacturing industries are closing down more because of the cost of labour and not that is may be cheaper to use wind generated electricity.
If you studied economics you may recall that production is the result of demand.

Certainly some of us have studied economics and the reason Australian industry has been closing down is due to the decisions of successive governments, mostly LNP to successively remove our tarrifs in return for poor “Free Trade Agreements”. That has left left Australian industry largely exposed whilst our competitors have blocked whatever we have advantage in, other than raw materials. This has produced wild currency swings that have further endangered our exports and our jobs.

The ideological claims of unilateral lowering of barriers being good for Australia have not been demonstrated and there has been no post agreement analysis that I can find. The two that I examined, the Thai and USA agreements turned out to be hugely advantageous to those two countries, who massively increased their exports to us whilst our exports to them either fell or stagnated.
There is also the effect of once off gains of selling off the farm, to pay of our never ending trade imbalance, that the LNP ignore in their obsessions with everything else.
The few areas we have a natural advantage in, mining and some agriculture are either largely foreign owned or in the process of being moved offshore, or are disadvantaged by the very FTAs that were supposed to open up markets to us. Agricultural trade in particular is nearly completely distorted or protected by foreign subsidies and import bans that by opening our own market we are dooming them to competing with dumped imports and no way to fight back.
China is on worldwide hunt to buy up prime agricultural land. Having shot our Agricultural industry in the head that should release plenty of unviable properties for the Chinese to buy up.
On the IPR front we allowed America to largely block ours whilst vastly extending the term of their IPR.
We have lastly freely permitted both foreign and large Australian corporations to shift their earnings overseas and remove the ATOs take on the huge earnings they make here.
By making life hard for Australian enterprise and easier for foreign corporations, the economists theory is it will toughen up the local enterprises. Or kill them and force them offshore to get the same deal as their competitors.
Which is it that you are observing?
With Dumb and Dumberer in charge we are going to see more of the same old same old.

dungfungus 8:21 am 03 Aug 15

Antagonist said :

dungfungus said :

Now, as for rising sea levels, the stuff about Port Arthur is anecdotal and isn’t backed up by official records.
Records tell the true picture and there is no better example than those kept at Fort Denison.
Professor Bob Carter says it how it is here:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/tide-turns-on-sea-level-alarmists/story-e6frg6zo-1227153125261

Sorry dungers, but the Port Arthur measurements are *not* anecdotal. They are based on real measurements taken by real people. Even if we conveniently ignore the Port Arthur data, there are enough measurements from around the world that clearly show rising sea levels. The world once relied heavily on the seas for travel and trade, and so reliable records go back a very, very long way.

I am reminded of a child who does not want to hear an answer, so they cover their ears, smile, and do that cute little dance while chanting “I can’t hear you … I can’t hear you”. I think the saddest thing is you will see climate change and many of its associated problems within your lifetime. And your children’s lifetimes too.

There is a very detailed explanation of the Port Arthur, Fort Denison and other locations in Australia at this link: http://www.john-daly.com/deadisle/
This is part 1; a link to Part 2 is within the article.
The best evidence I have that there has been no (or imperceptible) sea level rises in the past 60 years is my revisiting the same sites on the NSW coast that I first visited 60 years ago.
I am not concerned in any way for my children’s future in respect of “climate change”.
We are going to have a bigger and real problem with overpoulation which potentially could cause a lot of pollution problems more serious than “carbon” ones.

dungfungus 8:19 am 03 Aug 15

rubaiyat said :

I know it isn’t real science like school Bunsen burners or talkback radio, but I am at the snow and looking at a lot of boulders, bare ground and only a dusting of snow on the hills. With rain in the depth of our Aussie winter. We wouldn’t be skiing if it wasn’t for the outrageous electricity bill the resort has has to pay to manufacture the man made snow.

Rain over the weekend followed by snowfalls was forecast for the alps on Friday. In case you haven’t heard it is snowing in Hobart this morning (that’s sea level) and that doesn’t happen very often.
As you acknowledge, man made snow is ensuring that you are able to ski (on the lower levels) between natural snowfalls so why don’t you celebrate man’s scientific achievements in snow-making instead of suggesting climate change is ruining your holiday?

rubaiyat 10:59 am 01 Aug 15

I know it isn’t real science like school Bunsen burners or talkback radio, but I am at the snow and looking at a lot of boulders, bare ground and only a dusting of snow on the hills. With rain in the depth of our Aussie winter. We wouldn’t be skiing if it wasn’t for the outrageous electricity bill the resort has has to pay to manufacture the man made snow.

dungfungus 4:49 pm 30 Jul 15

ChrisinTurner said :

All-of-life costs of wind have been lower than coal since 2013. See (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source). Old coal fired generators are being retired and will not be replaced by coal because it is not economic. No energy company in Australia is planning to build any coal-fired generators.

The demand from industry in Australia for reliable coal fired electricity is declining. Smelters have closed and manufacturing industries are closing down more because of the cost of labour and not that is may be cheaper to use wind generated electricity.
If you studied economics you may recall that production is the result of demand.

Antagonist 4:21 pm 30 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

Now, as for rising sea levels, the stuff about Port Arthur is anecdotal and isn’t backed up by official records.
Records tell the true picture and there is no better example than those kept at Fort Denison.
Professor Bob Carter says it how it is here:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/tide-turns-on-sea-level-alarmists/story-e6frg6zo-1227153125261

Sorry dungers, but the Port Arthur measurements are *not* anecdotal. They are based on real measurements taken by real people. Even if we conveniently ignore the Port Arthur data, there are enough measurements from around the world that clearly show rising sea levels. The world once relied heavily on the seas for travel and trade, and so reliable records go back a very, very long way.

I am reminded of a child who does not want to hear an answer, so they cover their ears, smile, and do that cute little dance while chanting “I can’t hear you … I can’t hear you”. I think the saddest thing is you will see climate change and many of its associated problems within your lifetime. And your children’s lifetimes too.

ChrisinTurner 2:33 pm 30 Jul 15

All-of-life costs of wind have been lower than coal since 2013. See (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source). Old coal fired generators are being retired and will not be replaced by coal because it is not economic. No energy company in Australia is planning to build any coal-fired generators.

dungfungus 3:05 pm 29 Jul 15

Dreadnaught1905 said :

I do enjoy dunger’s dry humour, and often consider his comments to be quite witty – in their own little way.

However, I do have to disagree with him on some points he has raised in this discussion.

The Fuel Tax Credits scheme may not be a subsidy, according to Treasury (and the Productivity Commission Agrees (http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2012/May/Fuel_tax_credits_are_they_a_subsidy_to_fuel_use)

However, they do present a benefit to their recipients. The Mining Council of Australia stated that the mining sector “received” 2.3 Billion dollars from the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme. (Parliamentary Business Committee, Abbot Government Commission of Audit Final Report, par. 2.40).

If the mining sector received 2.3 billion (42% of the total) of the Fuel Tax Credits, then that is money which can be counted as a direct cost to Australia, and ergo, the Australian Taxpayer.

It may not be a subsidy, per se, but the effect is essentially the same.

As regards sea levels, the CSIRO are quite sure that there is statistically significant rise in both base sea levels and tide levels. They “have used a combination of historical tide-gauge data and satellite-altimeter data to estimate global averaged sea level change from 1880 to 2014. During this period, global-averaged sea level rose about 23 cm, with an average rate of rise of about 1.6 mm/yr over the 20th Century. The sea level record indicates a statistically significant increase in the rate of rise from 1880 to 2014.

(http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html)

Thanks for the compliment but when it comes to scams like the man made climate change one we are discussing on this thread, I am deadly serious.
Re the matter of subsidies -vs- rebates/tax credits, if you are going to use the argument you have chosen then we will have to call personal tax deductions and subsequent tax refunds as subsidies also.
That means that a TV presenter like Tony Jones claims his Zegna suit as a tax deduction and we others (dressed by Lowes) subsidise his refund. Is that OK with you then?
Now, as for rising sea levels, the stuff about Port Arthur is anecdotal and isn’t backed up by official records.
Records tell the true picture and there is no better example than those kept at Fort Denison.
Professor Bob Carter says it how it is here:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/tide-turns-on-sea-level-alarmists/story-e6frg6zo-1227153125261

Dreadnaught1905 12:20 pm 29 Jul 15

I do enjoy dunger’s dry humour, and often consider his comments to be quite witty – in their own little way.

However, I do have to disagree with him on some points he has raised in this discussion.

The Fuel Tax Credits scheme may not be a subsidy, according to Treasury (and the Productivity Commission Agrees (http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2012/May/Fuel_tax_credits_are_they_a_subsidy_to_fuel_use)

However, they do present a benefit to their recipients. The Mining Council of Australia stated that the mining sector “received” 2.3 Billion dollars from the Fuel Tax Credits Scheme. (Parliamentary Business Committee, Abbot Government Commission of Audit Final Report, par. 2.40).

If the mining sector received 2.3 billion (42% of the total) of the Fuel Tax Credits, then that is money which can be counted as a direct cost to Australia, and ergo, the Australian Taxpayer.

It may not be a subsidy, per se, but the effect is essentially the same.

As regards sea levels, the CSIRO are quite sure that there is statistically significant rise in both base sea levels and tide levels. They “have used a combination of historical tide-gauge data and satellite-altimeter data to estimate global averaged sea level change from 1880 to 2014. During this period, global-averaged sea level rose about 23 cm, with an average rate of rise of about 1.6 mm/yr over the 20th Century. The sea level record indicates a statistically significant increase in the rate of rise from 1880 to 2014.

(http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_few_hundred.html)

dungfungus 11:14 am 29 Jul 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

The world has been burning massive amounts of fossil fuels for centuries and there has been no change to the climate so what is the problem you see?

Here is a graph from a recent World Meteorological Association report:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/07/09/you-cant-deny-global-warming-after-seeing-this-graph/

read the details here:

http://library.wmo.int/pmb_ged/wmo_1119_en.pdf

…and from NASA:

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/115/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/land-ice/

Why is it then that I don’t feel hotter and the air I breathe seems the same?
And of course, if the ice was melting the seas would be rising wouldn’t they?
All this scientific stuff is very boring.

rubaiyat 9:22 am 29 Jul 15

What exactly is the difference between those who deny everything, despite mountains of data and countless real world examples, and those who say OK it exists but we should do nothing, or more subtly, something but not anything that would actually alter the outcome.

The effect by either is the same, total inaction in the face of a serious threat.

Both have the same desired effect of letting polluters and their mates, carry on business as usual, causing maximum harm for minimum benefit.

The failures to act fuel the geopolitical conflict, middle eastern violence and bigotry, and Russian Neo-Imperialism, all financed by petro-dollars, and causing the push on refugees fleeing the conflicts.

This is before the second stage conflicts and food refugees that will result when the enormous amount of prime agricultural land in the world’s fertile river deltas and coastal areas is progressively submerged and/or salt damaged.

For people in the first world who think they are immune from the consequences of their own actions and inactions, there will be direct damage to many of the world’s major cities which in nearly all cases are close to sea level.

The cost will be astronomic as one crisis leads to another.

Meanwhile here in Australia we are held hostage, in the backseat of the gas guzzling convertible, by the Thelma and Louise of Climate Policy, Abbott and Hockey hurtling towards towards the cliff as part of their ideological suicide.

dungfungus 6:47 pm 28 Jul 15

Yet all the “experts” and their cheer squads on this thread cannot show me one place on earth where the oceans have risen dramatically (commensurate with the alarm displayed and the predications made).
And Co2 levels are higher than whenever they were when sea levels were metres higher than the same time, well, so what, because nothing is changing.
I am proud to be a sceptic after reading all the feeble arguments you people come up with.

rubaiyat 6:07 pm 28 Jul 15

Here is a fascinating piece on why evidence has very little effect on peoples’ beliefs on this subject:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-determine-the-scientific-consensus-on-global-warming/

All we can do is every time they claim the moon is made of cream cheese we consistently point out that it is not, has been demonstrated that it is not, by people who have actually gone to the moon and dug in with a spoon to check, and that believing such nonsense is the height of stupidity.

rubaiyat 5:49 pm 28 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

The world has been burning massive amounts of fossil fuels for centuries and there has been no change to the climate so what is the problem you see?

Here is a graph from a recent World Meteorological Association report:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/07/09/you-cant-deny-global-warming-after-seeing-this-graph/

read the details here:

http://library.wmo.int/pmb_ged/wmo_1119_en.pdf

…and from NASA:

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/115/

and again:

http://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/land-ice/

HenryBG 4:59 pm 28 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

Examples of tax credits given exclusively to the fossil fuel industry please.

A text-book case of Denial from Dunfungus there.

Never mind the International Energy Agency – what would they know?
“The IEA’s latest estimates indicate that fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $548 billion in 2013”
http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/resources/energysubsidies/
Never mind the International Monetary Fund – what would they know?
“Eliminating post-tax subsidies in 2015 could raise government revenue by
$2.9 trillion (3.6 percent of global GDP), cut global CO2 emissions by more than
20 percent, and cut pre-mature air pollution deaths by more than half. After allowing for
the higher energy costs faced by consumers, this action would raise global economic
welfare by $1.8 trillion (2.2 percent of global GDP). ”
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=42940.0

Yes, never mind the experts, let’s listen to the cranks peddling their fact-free views instead.

HenryBG 4:52 pm 28 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

Show me the receipts for the MILLIONS OF TONS of pollution they pump out please.

I can’t see any pollution; where is it?

Can you see the radiation that escaped from Fukushima? Where is it?
I guess that doesn’t exist either then.

HenryBG 4:51 pm 28 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

The world has been burning massive amounts of fossil fuels for centuries and there has been no change to the climate so what is the problem you see?

Yeah, apart from CO2 levels now being much higher than at any time in the history of our species.
Apart from palaeo-history showing that current temperature and CO2 levels are historically associated with sea levels of between 8 and 60 metres higher than we have now.
Apart from the last 10 years global temperatures all being hugely above-average for all of recorded history.

Apart from that, yeah, nothing at all is changing…

Antagonist 4:40 pm 28 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

justsomeaussie said :

chewy14 said :

And secondly, my point was that we shouldn’t compare climate science to car mechanics, accountancy or any other field that we have much more certain knowledge in. An expert car mechanic is not comparable to an expert climate scientist in terms of the certainty of their knowledge.
We aren’t talking about certainties, we are talking about risks and probabilities from a base of knowledge that is incomplete although constantly improving with each year.

If you aren’t a climate scientist how can you comment about probability and risk of climate chance? Since the people who are trained in this area, the people with the data all are seemingly singing off the same sheet.

Do you know who has bet on climate change? The Pentagon so despite their perceived right wing biases they recognise that the instability created by large scale environmental events will impact the region.

The second is reinsurers, that is the gigantic insurance companies that insure your every day insurance companies.

So the question isn’t about what are the costs if we do enact some type of environmental taxes, yes we’ll stifle growth but if we don’t and the worst happens then we are literally left with no economy to argue about. This video sums it up well https://youtu.be/zORv8wwiadQ

They both have accepted the climate data presented and have adapted their business to meet the changes to the environment.

Dungafungus seems to have a primary school level knowledge of this topic so I’ll ask again “what evidence do you require to be wrong”?

When I was at primary school, climate “change” certainly wasn’t in the curriculum.
Climate is slowly changing as it always has. The only other change is that thousands of “climate scientists” have appeared from nowhere with theories about our climate changing but no evidence of it so whether the assumptions are right or wrong is totally academic.

And was not on the curriculum when I went to school the first time either. So you could try doing what I did. Go to the BoM website yourself. Download the raw data from any BoM site in Australia with continuous temperature data for the last 50 years or more. Plot mean monthly temperatures against time (if you are clever the BoM website can do it for you). Describe the trend you see. It is that easy. And you can do similar things using proxy data such as the Vostok ice cores which go back about 420k years.

You can try to sit there and hide behind the ‘… only accurate to within a few percent and therefore not rock solid’ fantasy, but all science works this way. What you are arguing against is not science, but is in fact statistics. Statistics get used in all kinds of places outside of science – like the insurance industry or ABS for example.

9.5 out of 10 scientists agree that climate change is real. Including me.

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