Empowered locals gain momentum in times of energy turmoil

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In The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse on 5 October 2016 we meet liberal ex-senator Peter Rae at the All-Energy 2016 conference for a talk about the federal government’s spin and mistruths around the renewable energy targets in South Australia and Victoria, and we talk about Reenergise Geelong’s new survey, Divestment Day, and the initiative Cycling Without Age which is currently looking for potential partners in the Geelong region.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 142 on 94.7 The Pulse:

» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)


» Subscribe to ‘The Sustainable Hour’ podcast — via iTunes or via your own podcast/RSS software


“If the threat of climate change is a serious threat to humanity, why are we collectively setting emissions targets which are decades in the distance? We can’t afford to wait that long, not when we have the power to make a change at our fingertips. We don’t have to wait for someone else to tell us what to do. It’s as simple as flicking a switch. 

Once businesses and households have access to real-time data they will be empowered to take affirmative action for a clean energy future. There’s no question that renewables are a big part of the solution, but being efficient with energy is something everybody, everywhere can do.”
Tim Bray, CEO Ecocentric Energy, in the October 2016 issue of the magazine Ecogeneration


 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

Links, excerpts and more information about what we talked about in this Sustainable Hour


Peter Rae
Peter Rae – at the All-Energy conference in Melbourne

Peter Rae: “This is to the disadvantage to Australia”

“It is time for the liberals in the Liberal party to stand up and be counted,” said former Liberal senator Peter Rae, when we met him at the All-Energy conference in Melbourne on 4 October 2016.

Peter Rae is chairman of the International Renewable Energy Alliance.

Here’s a transcript of the four-minute interview which you can listen to on the player above. We asked Peter Rae to comment on the current imbroglio in relation to the renewable energy development in Australia. He replied:

“I think that I could say that as a former Liberal senator, as somebody who has been a member of the liberal party virtually the whole of my life, since I was at university, I believe that the liberal party has divided itself into the ultra-right and the middle ground. There are a lot of people in the middle ground in the Liberal party who support the values and attitudes which I support. I believe that any rational person does that.

There are people who are trying to protect the coal industry, because that is what their electorate is wanting them to do, or some other reason they are protecting that industry. But the shame, I believe, is on the part of newspapers like The Australian which misrepresents, repeatedly, without publishing the alternative, what the issues are in relation to renewable energy.”

So what would be your advice to people in the Liberal party who are in this sensible middle ground? Is there a forum for them? Is there somewhere they can go, because right now they can’t go to the Prime Minister, can they?

“Well, I think we can make our views known to the Prime Minister. I think we can also make our views known at state councils, electorate meetings of the Liberal party, and branch meetings. It is time for the liberals in the Liberal party to stand up and be counted, because there has been a tendency for the strong right to take advantage of the situations which have arisen to move the Liberal party further to the right than it probably has ever been. And I think this is to the disadvantage to Australia.

Australia is not ahead of the rest of the world, but rather are quite a long way behind the rest of the world, and missing out, to our disadvantage, on a lot of the things that would give the Australian economy a boost, such as domestic manufacturing, such as the modernisation of the grid, the improvement of network connections, the introduction of a much greater rate of distributed generation – these are all things that we need to be doing. People are mislead at the moment about what is the cause of some of the problems such as the ones we have experienced in South Australia, some of the ones we have experienced in Tasmania. There you had two absolutely extraordinary weather events which created ammunition for people to say that renewable energy is not reliable.

Well, in the Tasmanian case it wasn’t the renewable energy that was unreliable, it was failed technology. In South Australia it was a freak storm on the second occasion, and on the first occasion it was bad planning. Just bad planning. So what we need to be doing is moving much more rapidly towards a review of the whole of the way in which we present electricity distribution and generation in Australia. We need more community power, more distributed generation, we need to be taking into account and planning for electric motor vehicles, we have so many things that we need to be doing, but they are only just on the edge of being touched or virtually not at all. So, the opportunity is in front of us, and I just hope that the governments, when they meet, will recognise that there is an opportunity for not only energy advantage and the way in which people have security in their energy supply, but also an opportunity for manufacturing and industrial development to take place in Australia, increased employment, increased opportunities, and… let’s get on with it!”



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Dorthe Pedersen
Dorthe Pedersen – via skype from Melbourne

Dorthe Pedersen: How Geelongians could be ‘cycling without age’

Click on the player to listen to the eight-minute interview with Dorthe Pedersen

Dorthe Pedersen from Denmark is in Australia to help promote the Cycling Without Age project.

The idea with Cycling Without Age is to say “When you and your legs get old, you still have the right to experience the city and nature close up from a bicycle…” The project was started by a group of Danish cycling enthusiasts who – as they write on their Facebook page – “want to “build bridges between generations and to reinforce trust, respect and the social glue in our society” as they “dream of creating a world together, in which the access to active citizenship creates happiness among our fellow elderly citizens.”

“Active citizenship” in this regard means getting up on a rickshaw – one of the modern Christiania-bikes, where you can have two passengers sitting in the front seat, and there’s a noiseless motor with electric battery helping to push the bike at the back.

Right now, Cycling Without Age is going around Australia to talk with anyone who’s interested. They are also ready to come to Geelong, if anyone would like to see such a project take off here. There are five rickshaws riding for Cycling Without Age at the moment. Three in Melbourne, two in Canberra and one in Tasmania.

We talked with the project leader over skype – Dorthe Pedersen. She just landed from Denmark in the weekend, for a short stop in Melbourne before she heads off to Tasmania.

Should we start a chapter of Cycling Without Age in our city, Geelong? Put your hand up! Contact Dorthe Pedersen! – as she told us, you can find her contact details on the ‘About’-page on www.cyclingwithoutage.org

We’ll keep you posted about the event when Dorthe Pedersen is coming to Geelong to give a presentation and show a half-an-hour film – it is likely to be on 29 or 30 October 2016.


In The Sustainable Hour, Dorthe Pedersen told listeners:

“I have just arrived in Australia with a big passion to spread the word about Cycling Without Age. Of course it is a cycling scheme, but in a sense it is actually a way to enhance quality of life at a late age. With Cycling Without Age we offer bike rides to elderly nursing homes or care home residents. It is a chance for the community to come and interact. It is a way of bridging generations, where younger people will come out and give pedal power to these rickshaw bicycles, and at the same time the elderly are being reconnected to the society around them because they now get access to their city, of their local area that they would otherwise not have a chance to enjoy because of their lack of mobility and the lack of freedom that you endure when your mobility isn’t very strong.

The scheme is setting up shortly, nation-wide in Australia. We have got affiliates to the international umbrella organisation Cycling Without Age, and we have got affiliates here in Australia, especially in Tasmania, Victoria and Canberra areas. What they all are looking at is to promote the program and start it up in their local community. Some people will be placing the rickshaws within care home facilities, and others are going to have it as a community bicycle, so they will be offering bikerides to people who are still living in their own houses. Maybe working together with senior centres or whatever local associations that have a passion for elderly people as well.

Right now we are waiting for the first rickshaws to arrive in Australia, and then we are going to launch the program with various activities around Melbourne, Canberra, and Hobart. We are still looking for more programs to get started, and for local communities to take upon this scheme, and it really doesn’t matter you are an already established care home facility or whether you are a senior centre, or a community centre, whether you are an individual or whether you have got an organisation behind you, whoever is interested can actually take it upon – we will be able to collaborate and help you start the scheme.

I am hoping that listeners of The Pulse would like to make contact and hear more about it. We have a chance of giving trial weeks to associations or care home facilities where they would have a rickshaw with them for one week, and I am happy to come around and give a more in-depth presentation of the whole scheme and the effects, what the elderly, but also what the ‘pilots’ – those who are pedelling those rickshaws – are saying that they gain from this. Whether it is quality of life, whether it is reinvigorated family relations, whether it is better sleep or cutting down on medicine – all these side effects that you actually get from these wonderful bikerides.”

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Update: Dorthe’s visit in New Zealand

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» Stuff – 10 October 2016:
Arvida rolls out ‘trishaw’ bicycles for residents throughout the country

» Read more on www.CyclingWithoutAge.org

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Dan Cowdell
Dan Cowdell

Dan Cowdell: What Reenergise Geelong’s survey taught us

Dan Cowdell, member of Reenergise Geelong’s committee, tells us about the findings of Reenergise Geelong’s solar survey.

The Geelong & Surf Coast Solar Survey was conducted online during an eight month period from February to September 2016. The survey had 481 participants, 299 were within the City of Greater Geelong region and 182 from the Surf Coast Shire.

Respondents ranged widely in experience with solar power. Just less than half of survey participants already had solar installed. The other half were residents who did not have solar installed and of this group, 36 percent had received quotes but had not proceeded to installation. Key findings:

Renewable energy is overwhelmingly popular. 99% of respondents were supporters or renewables and wanted to see more renewable energy generation within the region.

There is considerable support for a local renewable energy target (RET). 95% of respondents wanted 50% renewables or higher by 2030, and 83% wanting 100% renewables by 2050.

Respondents who did not have solar installed are interested in getting it. 67% are interested and 27% may be interested.

There are a number of barriers stopping respondents from installing solar. The top barriers to getting solar are financial constraints, confusion about product choices and costs, and trust.

Respondents want a solar bulk buy program among other types of assistance. The preferred types of assistance are. 1.) Solar bulk buy where you purchase as part of a group, 2.) Independent recommendations on which solar installers are good/trustworthy, 3.) Assistance to help calculate solar potential savings. 4.) Council-arranged finance that’s paid back through council rates.

Respondents consistently prefer energy distributors to be investing in renewables and battery storage. 99% of responses wish to see an increase in usage of energy generated locally through investment in renewables and rather than investment in higher capacity poles and wires.

There is interest in investing in large scale community energy projects. 36% of respondents are interested in joining others in the community to invest in larger scale renewable projects around the Geelong and Surf Coast region. A further 51% indicated they “may be interested” in investing.

The survey was created to help better understand how the community can be supported to gain access to solar power. It was designed to identify the barriers and drivers that influence the uptake of solar power and to highlight the best ways to increase residential rooftop solar in the Geelong and Surf Coast region.

» Read the survey report (PDF)

» Read more about the survey and about ReEnergise Geelong:
www.ReenergiseGeelong.org

The issue of trust

In the interview in The Sustainable Hour, Dan Cowdell told listeners that according to the ReEnergise Geelong survey, one of the top barriers to getting solar on the roof is lack of trust – people not knowing which installers are actually trustworthy. Who can I trust with the information about how big a system I need? Who should I be listening to?

“The solar industry has a history of companies that appear out of nowhere, slap some cheap systems on the roof really quick, and then, the next thing, that company is gone, or has reopened under a new name. So there are reasons where people have issues with trust,” Dan Cowdell said.

» Read more about the topic of trust in this blogpost:
Climate inaction linked to culture of cutting corners

Origin’s new product ‘Solar as a Service’

“The energy retailer estimated that Clonard College, a Catholic girls secondary school located in Geelong, Victoria, could save $51,000 over a 15 year term with Solar as a Service.”


Origin advertisement: How Businesses Can Save On Electricity Costs

“If you own a business, Solar as a Service could benefit you. Rosalie from Origin talks about how you could reduce your electricity costs, without buying a solar system.”

Published on youtube.com on 14 September 2016

» Read more



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Caroline Danaher
Caroline Danaher speaking at Geelong Green Drinks on 28 September 2016

Divest: Move your money out of fossil fuels

Caroline Danaher’s five-minute speech at the Geelong Green Drinks on 28 September 2016 at Beav’s Bar

On Divestment Day people got together at 12pm at Johnstone Park in Geelong to go to each of our four big banks and let them know that we don’t think it is acceptable that AFTER they’ve pledged to stick to the general Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, after promising us this, they have continued to finance fossil fuel projects with investments of over five billion dollars. $5,600,000,000 – according to Market Forces. That is on top of the 65 billion dollars they have put into coal, oil and gas projects since 2008, when ‘The Inconvenient Truth’ that we have to stop doing this became common knowledge. So what are they thinking?

» Read much more on our blogpost about Divestment Day 2016


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Calling all parents: Walk to School




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Turnbull
If our health minister and PM were walking to work every morning they’d be setting a great example. But sadly that is not the case. They walk to work ONE morning to help this campaign, which is sympathetic and nice, but the real leadership by example is lacking – and that is unfortunately a big problem in this country. Good intentions turn into hypocritical, hollow gestures because there is no substance behind them.




 ADDITIONAL: 

In other news

From our notes of the week: news stories and coming events we think you should also know about


“Our global leadership in combating climate change now presents us with a massive opportunity to enjoy industrial success as we put clean energy at the heart of our industrial future.”
~ Greg Clark, UK Conservative Business Minister

GOOD NEWS:

Clean energy gets cheaper every day

Clean energy costs have been dropping across the board since 2008, according to a new report from the Energy Department in the United States. The cost of land-based wind turbines is down 41 percent, rooftop solar is down 54 percent, and utility-scale solar power plants are down 65 percent, all prompting growth that would have been hard to imagine just a decade ago. Last year solar panels and wind turbines accounted for more than two-thirds of the power generation installed on the American power grid.

» Revolution Now

Global wind capacity grew 16 per cent over the last year

The worldwide wind capacity reached 456,486 MW by the end of June 2016, out of which 21,714 MW were added in the first six months of 2016. The total installed wind capacity is expected to reach 500 GW by the end of 2016, as an additional capacity of over 40 GW is expected to be erected worldwide in the second half of 2016.

New annual installations in 2016 is expected to reach at least 65 GW, adding just 1.5 GW more than in the previous year. The increase in the first half of this year is similar to the first half of 2015, when 21,6 GW were added.

All wind turbines installed worldwide by mid-2016 can generate around 4.7 per cent of the world’s electricity demand.

The global wind capacity grew by 5 per cent within six months (after 5.8 per cent in the same period in 2015 and 5.6 per cent in 2014) and by 16.1 per cent on an annual basis (mid-2016 compared with mid-2015).

“Wind power shows robust growth also in the year 2016, and the good news is especially that we can see strong markets now also in Latin America and in Africa. With the expected 500 GW installed wind capacity by end of this year, wind power will contribute 5 per cent to the global power supply. A major reason of concern is, however, the global trend towards auctions which is endangering the driving role of small and medium sized players. It has already slowed down most of the European markets, so that Europe has already lost its long-term leadership to Asia,” said Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General of the World Wind Energy Association.

» The full version of the WWEA Half-year Report can be downloaded from:
www.wwindea.org (PDF)



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Carbon inequality

“The richest 10% of people in the world are responsible for around 50% of global emissions.

The richest 10% have average carbon footprints 11 times as high as the poorest half of the population, and 60 times as high as the poorest 10%.

The average footprint of the richest 1% of people globally could be 175 times that of the poorest 10%…

The poorest half of the global population – around 3.5 billion people – are responsible for only around 10% of total global emissions attributed to individual consumption, yet live overwhelmingly in the countries most vulnerable to climate change.”
~ Oxfam: Extreme Carbon Inequality



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Our submission to the Australian Government

» Centre for Climate Safety – 8 October 2016:
Submission for the parliamentary inquiry into the Paris Agreement

» Tweet:

***

What did you do once you knew?

it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?
surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?
what did you do
once
you
knew?…

~ Drew Dellinger, ‘Hieroglyphic Stairway’

***


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CALENDAR


Monday 10 October: World Mental Health Day

The day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. The World Mental Health Day is supposed to allow you to unplug from your workplace and refocus, which can make you a happier, healthier employee.

» www.who.int/mental_health

» Huffington Post:
6 Very Good Reasons To Take A Mental Health Day

In Australia, the annual Mental Health Week begins this weekend, and we’re marking all of that with a blog-post in our CLIMATIC ROOT TREATMENT series on climatesafety.info – it is called: ‘Benefits from understanding the connection between climate and mental health’. And a warning if you think of printing it: it is 26 pages long.

The point is that WHEN we take action on climate change, good things happen – also in terms of how we connect and live together, and how we interact in our local community.



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Tuesday 11 October: Sustainability event at Ocean Grove

The Barwon Heads Sustainability Group and Ocean Grove Coastcare invites to a discussion and presentation on 11 October 2016 from 6.30pm to 8pm.

Representatives from the Barwon Heads Sustainability Group and Ocean Grove Coastcare will come to the library to chat about what’s happening in our coastal areas. Key points will be on learning more about the Sustainability Group, Plastic Bag Free Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, community solar initiatives, and how people can help protect and care for the coast.

This is a free event, and it’d be great to see a strong community involvement; it’s something that is very important especially considering our delicate coast.

Ocean Grove/Barwon Heads
Cnr Presidents and The Avenue, Ocean Grove
Phone: 03 5255 4218
www.grlc.vic.gov.au



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Melbourne CLIMATHON Challenge 2016

On 28 October at LAB-14, the EU Centre will lead Melbourne’s participation in the 24-hour Melbourne CLIMATHON Challenge, where participants will tackle the challenge of making Melbourne a more resilient and sustainable city.

28–29 October 2016 – from Friday 6pm to Saturday 6pm

Melbourne joins over 40 cities worldwide in this 24-hour challenge, where teams compete in developing innovative urban climate solutions.

THE CHALLENGE: How can the impact of individual choices by residents, workers and visitors be made more visible to help transform Melbourne into a more resilient and sustainable city?

Join forces with other like-minded entrepreneurs, students and innovators and get coached by local leaders from government, business and academia to help solve Melbourne’s climate challenges and make our city more resilient.

After 24 hours of intense collaboration and solution-finding, the best ideas will be selected by a jury of Melbourne stakeholders and the winning team receives coaching and support from the EU’s largest public-private partnership, Climate-KIC, to move their idea forward in Melbourne.

Venue: LAB-14 at Carlton Connect Initiative, 700 Swanston St, Carlton, Melbourne
Register now as a group or individual and take part in Melbourne’s sustainable future!


» See more on www.eucentre.unimelb.edu.au

» Flyer (PDF)




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Acknowledgement

We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the environment and with the climate for hundreds of generations. It is not clear – yet – that as European settlers we have demonstrated that we can live in harmony for hundreds of generations, but it is clear that we can learn from the indigenous, traditional owners of this land.

When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…



The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore climate change are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?




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One comment

  1. Thanks to all the people who have been sending in suggestions for people for us to interview and ideas for topics to cover. Both Mik & I love this work. We are continually inspired by the amazing people we come across. People who are working flat out on sustainable solutions. Long may it continue

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