Community batteries: Managing green energy on grid?

Existing fossil energy grids were not planned to manage and distribute renewable energy and require either $$$ re-engineering or new thinking

The approved “Summary for Policy Makers” that begins the third part of the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 6th Assessment Report, was issued late yesterday after receiving political sign offs after considerable discussion with sponsoring governments. Despite attempts by several governments including Australia’s, to deny or downplay aspects of the report, even this rendition of the scientific findings forecasts an extremely dire future from continued global warming if it is not stopped and reversed below the 1.5 °C level. Fossil fuel burning must stop! (see video).

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5C,” said Prof Jim Skea, a co-chair of the report. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”

The implication for the biggest culprit, fossil fuels, is clear: it’s over. The IPCC states that existing and currently planned fossil fuel projects are already more than the climate can handle. More projects will lock in even greater emissions and our journey to climate hell.

Damian Carrington, 05/04/2022 in the Guardian. It’s over for fossil fuels: IPCC spells out what’s needed to avert climate disasterAnalysis: The third part of the panel’s report makes clear a century of rising emissions must end before 2025.

As strong as the present report is in discussing the dire consequences facing humanity if we fail to stop and reverse the warming, the whole IPCC process is structured in such a way that it cannot help but understate the magnitude and likelihood of the risks. I document and discuss this issue at length in my presentation: Some fundamental issues relating to the science underlying climate policy: The IPCC and COP26 couldn’t help but get it wrong.

Vote Climate One’s local community in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges has been aware of the need to replace fossil fuels for decades. It has a long established interest in renewable energy projects including the establishment of a community owned ‘Power Park’ supporting wind and solar generation together with battery storage. Unfortunately, this has been stalled for years by state government bureaucracy, not helped by relentless attacks on the harvest of wind energy by Federal and State COALition governments, beginning with Tony Abbott (then PM), Barnaby Joyce (then Agriculture Minister) and Joe Hockey (then Treasurer).

With the major project still stalled, and aware of difficulties incorporating big renewable energy generators into the fossil energy grid, the Macedon Ranges community group recently won state government funding for a feasibility study and community engagement program to implement energy storage and batteries at the community level. This project is detailed in the webinar video: “What is a neighbourhood battery and why should I care?“. Even without the local energy farm, the ability to localize and manage energy storage at the community level should considerably reduce the problems anticipated from incorporating renewable energy sources into the fossil electricity grid. This offers a way to facilitate the generation and use of renewable energy at the neighborhood level while reducing peak demands on the fossil network.

Our featured article from the ABC explores this ‘neighbourhood battery option’ in some detail:

  • Virtual Power Plants versus community batteries
  • The most effective scale, size, and location
  • Community battery program initiatives by local community groups and councils.
  • Lack of trust in retailers, long identified as a problem in Australia’s energy market, is highlighted as a barrier to the adoption of commercially run community battery programs.

This 464kWh community battery in the Perth suburb of Port Kennedy means local residents don’t need their own home battery.(Supplied: Western Power) / via the article

by James Purtill, 05/04/2022 in ABC News

A community battery ‘like a corner store’: Is this the future of home energy storage?

When Australia’s first community battery trial came to the Perth suburb of Alkimos Beach in 2016, Kelly was sceptical.

“There was a whole lot of discussion about whether it would save us money or not. The fee structure was quite complex,” she said.

Eventually, her family took a punt and signed up to the trial.

“And it did save us money. It was at least $100 every two months.”

Read the complete article….

What does this all tell us about our governments’ concerns and abilities to solve the climate crisis?

Many communities are already well prepared to switch from fossil to renewable energy sources as soon as the supply and distribution issues can be resolved. Given that governments supposedly exist to protect and keep their citizens safe from external threats (i.e., global warming) in this case) we should be able to expect that that they would be promoting and facilitating the growth and spread of renewable energy technologies. But, at least in the case of Australian federal and some state governments, they are dong precisely the opposite: denying the science, and blocking and humbugging efforts to research, develop, promote, and roll out renewable technologies across all of our communities.

We have to replace the COALition Government in Parliament with people we can trust to put action on climate change as their first priority before we can have any hope that the government will do its job to facilitate and support effective action to stop global warming. Not only do we need to replace Capt Humbug and his troop of fossil fuel puppets, but the clean-out should also include micro-party members such as mining multi-billionaire Clive Palmer’s one-man fake news bureau Craig Kelly, and Pauline Hanson’s anti-science nut Malcolm Roberts.

If you doubt my interpretation, let them tell you in their own words how hard they are working to keeping their patrons’ greenhouse gas emitting industries keep growing in the face of the oncoming climate catastrophe.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is supportive of Australia’s fossil fuel industry – and particularly coal, which he… says will be around for “decades to come”. “When it comes to the coal industry, it’s worth $35 billion to us every year in exports, and that’s money Australia needs to grow our economy,” Mr Morrison said. “What you need in today’s energy economy is you need to continue to run your coal-fired power stations for as long as you possibly can and that is our policy … we want them to run as long as they possibly can.” Coal-fired power stations will continue to run to back up renewable power sources, although Mr Morrison said gas would play a larger role in the energy mix in years to come. Mr Morrison added that building a new coal-fired power station would be difficult because of the state government planning powers, which would “probably never allow them to do it”. For the video see: The Australian, 14/03/2022, Commentary/coal-will-be-around-for-decades-to-come-scott-morrison/video. See also ‘We will keep mining’, says Australian prime minister Scott Morrison about the future of coal.

If that wasn’t enough, here’s a choice of some of Scotty’s thinking about stopping our slide down the slope to runaway global warming and possible near-term extinction

We’ll keep mining!
09/09/2021 via the Guardian

We need to get the gas from under our feet. We’ve got to get the gas!
The future of power: What’s behind Australia’s push for gas-fired energy | ABC Four Corners

We need to turn away from the the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with the kind of business as usual Scotty from Maketing and his fossil fuel puppets are spruiking!

It seems to taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, wake up! smell the smoke! see the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment WG2 Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

Scott Morrison and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing essentially nothing to organize effective action against the warming. In fact all they doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything and everyone we may care about.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future. Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System will help you use your preferential votes wisely on behalf of our young one’s future.

Give the children a future worth running towards rather than misery and probable death in the collapsing shambles of global mass extinction along the road to Hothouse Hell

Featured Image: Community battery in WA. / from Your Guide to Batteries, Western Power

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Given his history is anything he says believable?

Scotty from Marketing and Capt. Humbug are good names for a PM who is clueless how to discuss the physical realities of the world we live in.

Featured image. Aside from his failure to know a fact when he trips on it, there are some other things he doesn’t do well either….

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Great govt. planning! Boost fossils not renewables

COALition continues funding fossil fuel patrons while neglecting/cutting 21st Century green/ renewable growth industry sector. Who benefits?

Renewable energy generates 1.6 times the electricity used by Australian households, with 2021 the fifth year in a row of record new capacity. Photograph: SolStock/Getty Images / from the article

Australia’s renewables boom fading as investors lose confidence, energy council says: Clean Energy Council says Morrison government’s lack of ‘meaningful policies’ and leadership on climate could mark start of downturn

Australia’s boom in rooftop solar and large-scale renewables is fading as investors lose confidence, with the lack of coordination by the Morrison government partly to blame, according to the Clean Energy Council.

The warning comes as the industry marked its latest record year for household solar, wind and solar farms, and big batteries. Renewable energy’s share of the electricity supply reached 32.5%, doubling since 2017, the council said in its annual report.

Read the complete article….

Featured Image: Logo Renewable Energy by Melanie Maecker-Tursun V2 green. Melanie Maecker-Tursun Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

What ‘Mr Doesn’t Hold a Hose’ thinks of Global Warming

Budget papers show Morrison government plans to cut climate spending if it wins election: Reduction in spending across clean energy agencies represents a 35% annual cut over four years.
By Adam Morton, 29/03/2022 in The Guardian

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

What Mr ‘Doesn’t Hold a Hose’ thinks of Global Warming

Budget papers show Morrison government plans to cut climate spending if it wins election: Reduction in spending across clean energy agencies represents a 35% annual cut over four years.
By Adam Morton, 29/03/2022 in The Guardian

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Beware! Scorned woman tells all about big man in life

Liberal senator, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, demoted to unwinnable place on NSW Liberal ticket, hangs out Capt. Humbug’s dirty laundry

Liberal senator calls Australian PM Scott Morrison a ‘bully’, with ‘no moral compass’ – video, Source, ParlView 29/03/2022 in the Guardian

Editor’s comment: Clearly Fierravanti-Wells is a scorned and angry woman with a meat cleaver. Nevertheless, I think she is speaking truth here. This was a close packed formal statement to National Parliament taking 9:45 minutes! She seems to have the evidence to back up her comments.

Is she describing people and a government we can count on to keep Australians safe in the face of the escalating climate emergency?

Vote Climate One‘s Traffic Light Voting System ranks ALL candidates in all electorates on their commitment to prioritize action on climate change if elected. Green light candidates have publicly committed to do this in an easy to use way. Climate Sentinel News works to provide evidence based reporting of facts and opinions about what is at stake in the upcoming election.

Featured image: Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, ©Parliament 2018 via CFV Facebook Page

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Bin there, done that! Can we bin certain politicians?

Hornsby Council is having a political storm over bins that’s too big for a teacup. Where do rejected pollies go? Recycle, compost or landfill

This bin war is famous enough to make the Daily Mail

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Tropical forests are turning into net greenhouse gas emitters, pushing us closer to the precipice of no return on the way to Hothouse extinction.

Part 4 of David Spratt’s guidebook to events along the road to Hothouse Hell: Overheated tropical forests are turning from carbon sinks into net greenhouse gas emitters.

In this part of his narrative, David Spratt leaves the polar regions he discussed in Part 3, to see what is happening to tropical forests (and other habitats). Tropical forests, notably including the Amazon Rainforest, are switching from sinks removing greenhouse carbon from the atmosphere to emitting greenhouse gases as they struggle to adapt to increasing temperatures.

Photosynthesis, the biochemical process that uses energy from light to shift electrons around to combine 6 CO₂ and 6 H₂O (water) molecules to make sugar (C₆H₁₂O₆, the basic carbohydrate that both fuels and forms the basis of most living matter) involves a complex cycle of enzymatic and electron transfer steps that are temperature sensitive. For most plants living in moderate climates, the rate of photosynthetic carbon capture increases as they get warmer, until, inescapably, there is a point (called the thermal maximum) when steps in the process begin to fail, causing the the rate of carbon capture to decline rapidly as temperature rises further. Also as the plant is increasingly stressed by rising temperature it burns more carbohydrate to fuel repair and maintenance so its CO₂ emissions also begin to rise rapidly. Spratt explains:

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon [dark green].
Image: Chatham House

26 January 2022

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (4) Forests and the Amazon: A faltering carbon sink

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red
Fourth in a series.   
Read 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

The plant-based terrestrial biosphere may be understood as including the world’s land-based plants, soils, derived dead organic matter, such as litter, and soil organic matter. 

Plants photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide and water to produce sugar (glucose) and oxygen. Around 30% of the additional carbon dioxide (CO₂) produced by human actions has been drawn down from the atmosphere (mitigated) by increased plant photosynthesis. This adds to the land-based sink of stored carbon. But plants also respire, for example at night and in winter, by converting oxygen and stored glucose back into water and carbon dioxide. 

As the planet continues to warm, a point of warming is reached — the “thermal maximum for photosynthesis” — after which combination of the rate of photosynthesis decreasing and the rate of respiration increasing results in the net flux of CO₂ from the atmosphere decreasing.

Together with more severe droughts and wildfires that also add to plant-based CO₂ emissions, the total amount of carbon stored in the terrestrial biosphere (the land sink) then starts to fall. This may be understood as a tipping point, a threshold beyond which large change is initiated in the terrestrial biosphere.

Brazil’s Amazon basin forest emitted more CO₂ than it has absorbed between 2010 and 2019: it gave off 16.6 billion tonnes of CO₂, while drawing down only 13.9 billion tonnes. “We half-expected it, but it is the first time that we have figures showing that the Brazilian Amazon has flipped, and is now a net emitter,” said study co-author Jean-Pierre Wigneron. Another study concluded that southeastern Amazonia, in particular, is acting as a net carbon source (total carbon flux minus fire emissions) to the atmosphere.

Read the complete article…..

Spratt’s article here refers mainly to tropical forests flipping from net GHG carbon sinks to net GHG emitters. The added GHGs then serve as positive feedback to increase the planetary greenhouse effect and thus force global average temperatures higher. What he does not discuss here (but may cover in subsequent parts of this series) is that boreal forests from the temperate to arctic zones are also flipping from being major carbon sinks to being even more potent emitters. This is due to the increasing number, extent, and ferocity of wildfires turning living and dead biomass into GHGs, combined with setting on fire especially carbon rich peat soils, releasing still more GHGs; and in the Arctic, contributing to the thawing of permafrost releasing still more GHGs including methane from the decomposition of methane hydrates stored in and under permafrost. These flips from sink to emitter begin slowly, but because of feedback amplification the flip may go to completion quite abruptly. (Last year I researched and wrote in some detail about how these processes work in the Siberian permafrost region: Portents for the Future – 2020 Wildfires on the Siberian Permafrost).

This is scary stuff. There is a large and rapidly accumulating body of evidence showing that humans started global warming started with the carbon emissions of our Industrial Revolution. We have probably reached a point where positive feedbacks will continue driving global temperatures higher even if we achieve zero emissions. At this point there is no evidence that anything we have done to reduce anthropogenic emissions is slowing the accelerating rise of any of the three major greenhouse gases, or that we are reversing the growth of global average temperatures. If we do not actually stop and reverse the warming, continuing positive feedbacks over the next few decades will drive us and the biosphere we need for our survival through the gates of Hell to a world that will be too hot for most species of life (including us) to survive.

I have said many times, and will undoubtedly say many times more that the fossil fuel industry special interests, its puppet representatives in many of the world’s governments, and friends in the print and social media have over the last 40 or so years until now managed quite successfully to deny, mislead, misrepresent, distract, delay, or block any effective action against their greenhouse gas emissions or their profits from thermal power generation. In Australia, beginning with the Abbott Government the LNP COALition and a few fellow-traveling independents & minor parties have been almost totally effective in preventing ANY very effective action to stop global warming (i.e., by doing everything they can think of to keep us on the downhill road to mass extinction and the end of the human species.

If we are to leave our only planet in a state where our children and grandchildren will have a future, Capt. Humbug and his wooden headed puppets must be removed from Parliament and replaced by trustworthy people who have committed if they are elected, to place action on the global climate emergency as their first priority in office.

Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System explains how you can use australia’s preferential voting system to do this.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.