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Which of Simon’s pathways to carbon neutrality do you prefer? [With poll]

By johnboy 5 December 2011 24


Simon Corbell has announced his proposed pathways to the promised carbon neutrality of 2060.

The options are:

    Pathway1: involves the use of renewable energy as the main strategy for achieving emissions reductions. The purchase of a small component carbon offsets is also included, as current modelling indicates that switching to renewable energy for the total ACT electricity supply will be insufficient to meet the 2020 reduction target. The cost of this proposal per capita in 2020 is $216.32 and per tonne of CO2-e abatement $39.00;

    Pathway 2: involves reductions in GHG emissions from building energy efficiency, sustainable transport and waste recovery with the remaining emissions reductions achieved through switching approximately two thirds of the ACT’s electricity supply to renewable energy. The cost of this proposal per capita in 2020 is $12.20 and per tonne of CO2-e abatement is $2.26;

    Pathway 3: is a modification of pathway 2, involving energy produced through installation of gas fired electricity generation rather than renewable energy. Reductions are still achieved from building energy efficiency, sustainable transport and waste recovery under this pathway. Carbon offsets are proposed as gas is a lower emission, not zero emission, technology. The cost of this proposal per capita in 2020 is $(82.99) ( a net benefit) and per tonne of CO2-e abatement -$15.38 ( a net benefit);

    Pathway 4: Similar to pathways 2 and 3, reduction in GHG emissions are achieved from building energy efficiency, sustainable transport and waste recovery. This pathway proposes the purchase of carbon offsets rather than pursuing changes in electricity generation to achieve the targets. The cost of this proposal per capita in 2020 is ($82.99), (a net benefit), and per tonne of CO2-e abatement -$7.24, also a net benefit; and,

    Pathway 5: This pathway proposes the purchase of carbon offsets to achieve the 2020 emissions reduction target in its entirety. The cost of this proposal per capita in 2020 is $131.80 and per tonne of CO2-e abatement $25.00.

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24 Responses to
Which of Simon’s pathways to carbon neutrality do you prefer? [With poll]
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I-filed 6:27 pm 15 Dec 11

How does the ACT Government propose to make the Canberra Glassworks carbon neutral? Their power consumption is phenomenal – and I believe they use imported glass from the USA and Germany and very little recycled glass. Glass is a very beautiful material – but I can’t see a justification for pouring ACT residents’ tax revenue, resources and money into offsetting such a massive carbon wastrel. If there’s a powerful argument to spend outlandish resources on art glass, let’s hear it.

wallabyted 4:33 pm 15 Dec 11

Buckets of money get spent on policing and speed cameras to reduce the road toll (with debatable results), yet on another arm of the clean energy debate the climate change skeptics conveniently ignore – or deliberately forget – that vehicle emissions are responsible for more than double the annual road toll of deaths in Australia. This was even voiced by a Federal Liberal MP during question time debates on carbon reduction initiatives.
What are these lives worth ? Can we really justify spending money to prevent “accidents” when we blatantly allow the fossil fuel industry to poison twice as many people with exhaust fumes ? Or should we be spending at least twice as much to move to cleaner transportation ? I like my car as much as anyone, but I would much prefer the ACT government force car dealers to sell a percentage of emission free vehicles as they already do in so many places overseas (yes I know of the Miev and the Leaf but these do not accommodate a family). I doubt most Australians would realise even China is ahead of Australia with regard to government programs to encourage the uptake of clean energy alternatives. I applaud Corbell’s motives but Im not sure his advisors are really with it, have they even bothered to properly compare the cost of the GAS powered station with equivalent solar installations ? Solar is cheaper as soon as you look beyond one government term – but their constituents are all only around for the short term aren’t we (at least in the eyes of politicians) ?

wotsinaname 10:12 am 09 Dec 11

Which of Simon’s Pathways do I prefer? None of the above….

Pathway 3, with a net benefit of $83 per person looks very good.

Two issues that arise from the plan:
1. The ACT has passed legislation to build large-scale solar power stations with 210 MW of generating capacity. Is this “Pathway 6”, and do we need it?
2. Sydney City is introducing distributed gas power generation, so that “waste heat” can be used to provide heating and cooling (“Tri-generation”). ( ) The result is a dramatic increase in efficiency compared to a large 240 MW gas power station – 85 per cent of energy in the gas fuel is used instead of only about 50% for the large power station. “Tri-generation” / Distributed gas power generation is NOT one of the Five Pathways in the ACT Plan.

The CSIRO has developed a technology to the commercial-ready stage that adds solar energy to gas. (Solar thermal reforming of methane + water: ). The benefit is that “SolarGas™” embodies 25% more energy, storing solar energy for use whenever it is needed. Combine this technology with the approach being taken by Sydney City (that it borrowed from London) to achieve the best outcome (least-cost, greatest efficiency) that current technology has to offer.

We can only hope that bids for the ACT’s Large-scale solar power system include the CSIRO SolarGas™ technology.

2604 7:21 pm 06 Dec 11

Thumper said :

p1 said :

damien haas said :

Not mandating double glazing or solar hot water for new constructions.

I never did figure out why these two didn’t happen 30 years ago? We had solar hot water when I was a kid, and double glazing is everywhere in colder climates. While it would add some costs to new houses, a suitably long phase in period, and the economies of scale of it being compulsory would negate that (not to mention the cost saving over time….).

So does anyone know why it has never happened?

Much easier to ban plastic bags than to actually do anything worthwhile.

I’d like to see massive government subsidies for solar hot water, double glazing, water tanks, etc so that people can retrofit their houses and really make a difference to energy consumption.

On top of that all new buildings should be fitted out with the above.

Yes, it will cost a lot of money but the result regarding the environment and consumption should outweigh the intial outlay in a fairly short time, one would think.

Oh that’s right, it will cost money

We discussed this a couple of weeks ago. The issue is that the windows cost so much, and that natural gas heating costs so little, that it isn’t worth the expense. In econo-nerd speak, the return on investment doesn’t justify the initial capital outlay of purchasing the windows. That much money stuck in an ING direct account would almost certainly generate enough interest not only to pay your entire heating bill, but to offset all your household cabon emissions using a service like Greenfleet.

My 2c on the OP: pathway 3 or 4. If the environmental outcomes of each pathway are equal, we should go for the cheapest one.

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