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.

Is sustainable economic growth even possible?

The respected science journal Nature highlights the question on the 50th anniversary of the controversial book: The Limits to Growth

Lead author Donella Meadows wrote that the book The Limits to Growth “was written not to predict doom but to challenge people to find ways of living that are consistent with the laws of the planet”.Credit: Alamywebsite

by Editorial, 16/03/2022 in Nature

Are there limits to economic growth? It’s time to call time on a 50-year argument: Researchers must try to resolve a dispute on the best way to use and care for Earth’s resources

Featured Image: Meadows et al., 1972, The Limits to Growth: A report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. A scanned version of the complete book can be downloaded for free from The Club of Rome’s website.

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

Extreme weather costs will hurt insurance co’s and you!

Payouts for increasing damages from floods, wildfires, and winds hurt the insurance companies. They must choose to not insure the risk or recover costs from customers

Lismore locals clean up after their town was again inundated, this time by record flood levels.(AAP: Jason O’Brien)

by Michael Janda, 12/03/2022 in ABC News

Insurers brace for rising flood damage amid climate change, and they warn you should too: As New South Wales and Queensland clean up after what are likely to be the costliest floods in Australian history, insurers have a stark warning — prepare for things to get worse, especially along the east coast.

Featured image: Lismore floods regularly. This picture of the town is from the 2017 inundation.(ABC North Coast: Ruby Cornish) from the article.

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

Putin’s fossil fuel led invasion of Ukraine hurts everyone

Big Oil in the US hopes to pump a lot more oil for the EU to burn while the EU works to expand renewables

Inside Climate News explores what Russia’s oil and gas industries might have to do with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and how this involvement may affect people around the world and their industries and governments — especially where action on the climate emergency is concerned.

Putin’s war machine is fueled by Russian oil and gas. He turns the money from selling these resources into a powerful military capability to project his ego across the world. As did Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Qaddafi in Libya.

The oil and gas industry makes up as much as one-fifth of Russia’s Gross Domestic Product, which is relatively small, less than half the size of the GDP of the United Kingdom, even though it has more than double the population. Oil and gas accounts for 60 percent of the nation’s exports and 30 percent of federal budget revenue, giving Putin a large pot of money for which he is not accountable to citizen taxpayers.

From the article:

A convoy of Russian military vehicles is seen as the vehicles move towards border in Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on Feb. 23, 2022 in Russian border city Rostov. Credit: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images via Inside Climate News

by Marianne Lavelle 06/03/2022, in Inside Climate News

Whatever His Motives, Putin’s War in Ukraine Is Fueled by Oil and Gas: The U.S. oil industry is hoping to fill the immediate void with increased oil and gas exports, while the EU moves in the longer term to replace Russian gas with renewable energy

In addition to the immediate events of driving fuel prices through the roof, the US petrochemical industry is taking advantage of the situation to expand their export infrastructure in hopes to lock in future supply contracts (and the associated carbon emissions) for years to come. Putin has done them a great favor by creating marvelous new opportunities for their businesses.

As explained in the article Putin’s War has a range of other effects on the American fossil fuel industry. What is not discussed in this article, is that the war is also providing additional incentives to replace fossil fuel power generation with renewable energy resources.

Rather than subsidizing still further expansion of the carbon emissions that are killing Earth’s biosphere, we should take advantage of the price differential between the increasingly costly production and transport of fossil fuels with the rapidly reducing costs of harvesting freely available renewable energy resources to totally eliminate requirements for burning fossil carbon.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has committed to mining coal, saying developing economies need Australian coal to grow, after a major report found Australia must keep 95% of its coal reserves in the ground to keep global heating below 1.5C. ‘We will keep mining the resources that we’re able to sell on the world market.’ [Presumably this also applies to gas in the “gas led recovery”.] Though he added: ‘We obviously anticipate that over time world demand for these things may be declining’. Morrison was also asked about news the British government gave up demands Australia make emissions cuts as part of its trade deal.’Well, it was about trade. It wasn’t a climate agreement,’ he said. / Guardian Australia 09/09/2022

To do this most effectively we need to replace our puppet governments and their fellow travelers working for the benefit of fossil fuel industries by electing intelligent and ethical people who are publicly committed to putting action against the climate crisis as their number one priority in Parliament. Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System is designed to provide you with information about candidates you can use to help you determine your preferences and quickly apply then on your ballot paper when you vote.

Featured image: Russian military weapons destroyed and seized by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. / Uploaded a work by Міністерство внутрішніх справ України from / licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license / Attribution:

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

Western fossil fuel industry helps to power autocrats

After a long history of helping Putin, the Western oil giants are only now leaving Russia. Perversely this may benefit China.

Thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several fossil fuel giants are severing long-standing relationships with Russia and its oligarchs, which would seem to put the brakes on the further growth of fossil fuel production in Russia. Foreign Policy reviews the sordid history of these these and similar associations in the past, and considers their likely impacts on the climate emergency, autocrats and their oligarchs, and the fossil fuel special interests.

For example, BP has owned 19.75% of Russia’s Rosneft, supplier of the fuel being used to invade the Ukraine. It’s divestment only executed after the invasion started, has knocked the bottom out of the Russian oil market and may delay key development projects. It should stop financing and technology transfers Rosneft needs for its future growth.

Despite people being shocked by BP’s Russian involvement, Foreign Policy notes that this goes back to before 2014 when Russia invaded and annexed the Crimea – and was clearly favorable to BP’s bottom line – let alone Putin and his cronies.

In fact, Western oil companies often partner with autocratic, corrupt and repressive governments, e.g., in Africa, Arabia, and in the Americas to the detriment of almost everyone else as described in the Foreign Policy article:

Working pumpjacks are seen in the Montebello Oil Field in Montebello, California, on February 23, 2022. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images / via FP

by Alexandra Gillies, 04/03/2022 in Foreign Policy

How to Stop Oil Companies From Propping Up Kleptocrats: The industry’s belated withdrawal from Russia is a welcome move, but energy giants could do more to avoid bolstering corrupt and repressive regimes.

The profits from these associations, make big oil even more powerful and damaging to the environment than they would otherwise be. One wonders how much Big Oil has contributed to the Australian COALition Government’s love and support of the fossil fuel industry in our country? The political context and implications are crystal clear.

For years as Scotty says below in his own words, our LNP COALition puppet Government has been supporting the mindlessly greedy fossil fuel special interests in preference to ordinary people. Both the industry and the puppets work first, to deny the science that shows us the world is warming at an accelerating rate from the continued burning of fossil carbon; and secondly, to fill our thought space with endlessly distracting humbug and blather so we won’t pay attention to what they are doing. Burning fossil fuel clearly comes first before acting on the climate emergency!

Do something about this. Vote Climate One! our Traffic Light Voting System will help you easily use our preferential voting system.

Featured image: oil refinery plant Yaroslavnefteorgsintez in Yaroslavl town, Russia. Русский: нефтеперерабатывающий завод, вечер / / via Wikimedia Commons / Author Svtk44

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

Great idea! photovoltaic covers for irrigation canals

Good for agriculture: Save scarce water from evaporation to pay for installing solar panel covers, supply energy, and generate profits

by Dan Gearino, 24/02/2022 in Inside Clean Energy
In Parched California, a Project Aims to Save Water and Produce Renewable Energy: Plan calls for building solar canopies over canals, and may be the first project of its kind in the United States [but not elsewhere]

Featured image: A conceptual rendering of solar canopies covering part of Turlock Irrigation District’s 110-foot-wide main canal, near Turlock, California. Credit: Turlock Irrigation District. From the article

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

Offshore wind generation set to grow fast in USA

Projects in pipeline promise more than Biden’s 30 GW by 2030, but struggle for financing. Why can’t govt. provide it in climate emergency?

by Emma Penrod, 17/02/2022 in UTILITYDIVE
Offshore wind on track to hit, possibly exceed Biden’s 30 GW target by 2030

Two independent analyses completed this month have determined that the U.S. is now on track to deploy at least 30 GW of offshore wind generation by 2030, meeting a key goal established by the Biden administration.

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

What will it cost the world to achieve net zero by 2050?

Following on from Estimating the social cost of [uncontrolled] greenhouse gas pollution, what is the likely cost to shut down the emissions?

by David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon 14/02/2022 in Marketplace
What would it take to reach net-zero global emissions by 2050?:

More than 70 countries have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by mid-century. And in order to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects the world would need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Such a transition would require colossal change throughout the global economy, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, citing an average of $9.2 trillion in annual spending on physical infrastructure through 2050— $3.5 trillion more than current yearly spending.

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

Estimating the social cost of greenhouse gas pollution

US Federal courts consider this vexing question: how much do greenhouse gas emissions cost society and who should pay this cost?

Jim Krane & Mark Finley, 13/02/2022 in The Conversation
What is the ‘social cost of carbon’? 2 energy experts explain after court ruling blocks Biden’s changes: When an electric company runs a coal- or natural gas-fired power plant, the greenhouse gases it releases cause harm – but the company isn’t paying for the damage. Instead, the costs show up in the billions of tax dollars spent each year to deal with the effects of climate change, such as fighting wildfires and protecting communities from floods, and in rising insurance costs. This damage is what economists call a “negative externality.” It is a cost to society, including to future generations, that is not covered by the price people pay for fossil fuels and other activities that emit greenhouse gases, like agriculture.

VC1 News Editor’s comment: Australians need to think about this in the run-up to our election. The costs to human society from human triggered global warming are already reaching catastrophic levels. If we cannot stop and reverse the warming process, near-term human extinction is likely. The social cost of this would be literally infinite (any costs divided by zero humans left is infinite). In other words, if we wish for our families to survive into the future, we need to spend whatever it takes to stop the warming. This won’t be helped by a present puppet government that continually denies and downplays the reality and often works to block any effective action against the carbon emissions of its puppet masters. Use Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System to replace them with people who will put climate action at the top of their to-do list if elected.

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