The renewable energy revolution is happening

Guest in The Sustainable Studio on 11 October 2017 is Dan Cowdell from Geelong Sustainability. He is the project coordinator of Geelong’s first investor-financed community energy project. We also talk with Tom Hunt who is member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-profit advocacy organisation focused on national policies to address climate change. And we play excerpts of speeches held by Christine Couzens, the Victorian government’s Member for Geelong, and Vicki Perrett who is Geelong Sustainability’s president. More info on below.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 190 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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“You can lobby as much as you want, but why in the world would we build a coal power station, why would we build a nuclear power station, when the costs of doing that are so much more than building a solar farm, or a wind farm? Just on pure finances, this is going to happen: the renewable energy revolution is happening. I just think: good luck trying to stop it.”
~ Dan Cowdell, project coordinator for Geelong Sustainability’s community energy projects, in The Sustainable Hour no 190


“Let’s create a world which runs entirely on green energy.”
~ www.orsted.dk, Denmark’s leading energy company

From black to green

» You should see this inspirational video from Denmark’s largest energy company

While our politicians are making appalling and short-sighted decisions that result in record heat waves, destructive bush fires and hurricanes, flooding, extreme rains, prolonged drought and rising sea levels, citizens and businesses are quickly stepping up to do what is needed to protect our families from the growing dangers of climate change.

For instance, here is an energy company which has understood which way the wind blows and is transforming itself “from black to green”, as they say. And for that same reason they now change the company’s name: It used to be called DONG, which was an abbreviation for “Danish Oil and Natural Gas”. This no longer reflects what the company works with, so the company has now changed its name to Ørsted – inspired by the surname of the Danish scientist who discovered electromagnetism.

We think this is brilliant! What should hold Geelong back from picking up that same mindset and creating sustainable businesses that will continue to thrive long after the industries based on fossil fuels have disappeared?

So far Ørsted has installed every fourth offshore wind turbine on the planet. By 2025 they expect to have installed enough offshore wind turbines to supply 30 million people with clean electricity.


“We need leadership from our elected representatives to support the transition to a clean energy future and ensure that rural Australia and dairy farmers like me can benefit from the renewable energy revolution.”

» Weekly Times – 3 October 2017:
Time for some leadership on renewable energy


 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

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



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» Herald Sun | Geelong Advertiser – 9 October 2017:
Solar panel program at Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) complex in North Geelong

» ATA – 12 October 2017:
Sunulator in Vic community solar first

Geelong Independent published this article about the announcement on 13 October 2017:

The $400,000 figure mentioned in the article above is incorrect, Dan Cowdell told us. It was included in the government’s media release, but is not the cost of the MACS solar system, it is the total cost of Geelong Sustainability’s project which includes the costs of the solar installation costs, the Government funding for the establishment of the model, project coordinator pay, the first year of operational costs, plus about $60,000 of in-kind contributions

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Geelong’s solar steps

How to get solar panels you can trust and afford: Use the Solar Steps, a free email course.

THE SOLAR STEP: “OUR COMMUNITY IS OURS TO CHANGE”
The Sustainable Hour on 23 August 2017 interviewed Suzie Brown from Ocean Grove, one of the founders of Reenergise Geelong

» Listen to the podcast

» Read more about Solar Steps on www.reenergisegeelong.org



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“There is nothing left wing about a solar panel or a wind turbine. When the new technology of cars displaced the old technology of horses, few politicians, or economists, saw the internal combustion engine as a left-wing issue. While it’s true that early cars weren’t as reliable as good old-fashioned horses, faith that technology would improve over time was once a defining characteristic of right-wing optimism.”
~ Richard Denniss in Canberra Times


Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Tom Hunt

Radio interview with Tom Hunt about Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

» Citizens’ Climate Lobby Australia

» AFR | Financial Review – 3 October 2017:
There’s no avoiding a price on carbon
“Dare we hope that Malcolm Turnbull and his parliamentary colleagues will finally emerge from the current energy-policy chaos with a more coherent and less costly plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions?”

» Read much more about climate change in Mik’s October 2017 ‘Climate Clippings’:
Change is in the air – and we don’t mean climate change



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Dismantling the US Clean Power Plan

As Mik mentioned in the program, president Trump’s climate-denying EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken the first steps to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the United States’s most effective tool for combating climate change and protecting the air we breathe.

“This is one of the Trump administration’s most dramatic, most despicable, and most dangerous moves yet,” writes NRDC. Accordingly, just in the last two days, over 66,000 activists have spoken out against the Trump administration’s assault on the Clean Power Plan via NRDC’s petition.



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Huge turnout: Stop Adani’s coal mine

What a turnout down Eastern Beach for our StopAdani Geelong human sign! Over 200 people showed up to help us form a human sign, above all expectations.

Protests all over Australia showed similar levels of engagement with over 18,000 people coming together to show their anger over the Adani project. The Australian people are concerned and upset about the reckless way our politicians plan to wreck our climate and disregard our safety even further than what is already happening with not only allowing but supporting and subsidising gigantic coal projects such as the Adani coal mine in Queensland.

» Read more




 ADDITIONALLY: 

In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we didn’t have time to mention but which we think you should know about


Geelong Council installs new solar systems

City of Greater Geelong is “harnessing the power of the sun to reduce our environmental footprint,” the Council reports in its latest newsletter. Six of the municipality’s buildings will have solar panels installed as part of a Zero Carbon Buildings Program.

The program includes installing systems, ranging from 30kW to 100kW, at the National Wool Museum, Bellarine Aquatic & Sports Centre, The Grove Community Centre (Ocean Grove Library), Leisurelink, Anakie Road Depot and the Arena.

“The program will reduce Council’s electricity bills for these sites, which will benefit the City and the broader Geelong community. The new solar systems will help deliver an emission reduction target of 50 per cent by 2020, set as part of the City’s Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy.”
Works will start in October 2017.





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Helping locals save on their energy bills

Hobsons Bay City Council has a target of zero net emissions by 2030. Currently it runs a ‘Positive Charge’ campaign, where Council helps residents install solar panels through a reputable supplier and at a great price.

This is inspiration for Geelong. When will we see Geelong Council get into doing something similar for Geelong residents? Installing solar is an action residents can take to save money and help reduce carbon emissions at the same time.

Mayor of Hobsons Bay Councillor Sandra Wilson said:

“Council understands that the solar market can be confusing and difficult to navigate so to make it easier Council has engaged independent energy experts, Positive Charge, to provide reliable and independent advice on the suitability of solar for you. They can also help you source an obligation-free quote from a carefully selected, reliable and reputable solar supplier, approved through the Clean Energy Council. More than 140 households have already signed up when we ran the program two years ago – they are already making savings on both installations and bills.”

All systems available through this offer come with a 25 year performance output warranty on the panels and a 10 year warranty on the inverter and installation.

The program, open until 30 June 2018, follows on from Council’s Community Greenhouse Strategy and its target of zero net emissions by 2030.

» For more information, visit the Positive Charge website:
www.positivecharge.com.au




Mik adds:

We want stability and a thriving community. I am convinced solar energy will be a part of the recipe for that. It is the prerequisite for creating a healthy and safe environment for us all.

I personally can’t wait to get solar on the roof of our home and a battery on the wall providing the energy we need for our all-electric house, our EV and our e-bikes.

Enough with gas that can explode or kill us while we sleep.

Enough with coal that pollutes the atmosphere, disrupts Australia’s weather patterns and kills the Great Barrier Reef.

Enough with the lies and manipulation from elected leaders who everyone knows serve commercial interests of the fossil fuel industry rather than us, the citizens they were originally voted in to serve.

The clean, electric and renewable energy future for all is as inevitable as the Internet was when we started working with that back in 1993-1994. The only question is how long the fossil fuel industry will be able to delay this progress.

I can’t wait to see the transition roll out, and that is why I try do do my bit – and also why I support Solar Citizens.

» www.solarcitizens.org.au/solar_survey



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Who wants to know the truth about soaring power prices?

» ABC News – 25 September 2017:
The truth about soaring power prices: wind and solar not to blame


“The real issue is that, fundamentally they don’t believe climate change is real or that humans have adversely affected the planet.”

“So much political and corporate capital has been invested in climate denial, not to mention money, that it will take many more catastrophes before our supposed leaders accept the loss of face involved in reversing their denial. The cost to the Australian community will be enormous, but that is of no concern to these self-centred ‘representatives of the people’.”







» The Conversation AU – 27 September 2017:
Renewables will be cheaper than coal in the future. Here are the numbers
“The price of new-build renewable energy is expected to fall significantly relative to new-build coal energy in coming years…”


» Renew Economy – 29 September 2017:
Queensland council saves $1.9m in grid costs from single Tesla Powerpack
“A Queensland local government council has installed what is believed to be Australia’s first off-grid solar and battery storage system to include a Tesla Powerpack, as part of a micro-grid powered “electro-chlorinator” that will help maintain local drinking water quality 24 hours a day.”


» Sydney Morning Herald | The Age – 14 October 2017:
‘Tide has turned’: Global rating agency says climate economics trump politics
“The global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy will continue regardless of political action such as President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement or outbursts from ex-Australian prime ministers, a senior ratings analyst says.”


» The Japan Times – 14 October 2017:
Balance of power: Shift toward renewable energy appears to be picking up steam
“More and more people in government and industry are embracing the renewable energy revolution. Trade shows in Japan draw thousands of people nationwide, from hundreds of firms, both small and large, and are often supported by both METI and the major utilities. There remains a high level of hope for the future as Japanese entrepreneurs and corporate leaders check out the latest advances in solar panel technology, wind turbines, biomass generation, battery storage technology and smart grids.”


» The Guardian – 16 October 2017:
Wild is the wind: the resource that could power the world
“Wind isn’t just mysterious, destructive and exhilarating – capturing just 2% of it would solve the planet’s energy needs at a stroke. And as the windiest country in Europe, Britain is at the forefront of this green revolution.”


» The Guardian – 3 October 2017:
Electric car owners ‘can drive for free by letting energy firms use battery’
“Savings from a new scheme will cover the £350-£400 annual cost of charging a Nissan Leaf,” says electricity supplier Ovo


» The Cheat Sheet – 27 September 2017:
If Tesla and Other Electric Cars Win, Here’s How Much Oil Companies Lose
“Companies, such as Tesla, could change the oil industry forever…”


» Reuters – 12 October 2017:
Paris plans to banish all but electric cars by 2030
“Paris City Hall said in a statement France had already set a target date of 2040 for an end to cars dependent on fossil fuels and that this required speedier phase-outs in large cities.”


Shell’s post on Linkedin.com


China shuts coal mines down

“When Treasurer Scott Morrison visited Beijing last month, he was told China was shutting coal mines because they ‘aren’t consistent with the government’s environmental objectives’.

China’s biggest coal hub, Taiyuan in Shanxi province, banned the sale, transport and use of coal on October 1. The city produces a quarter of China’s coal output. Across northern cities, 44,000 small coal-fired furnaces will be shut by the end of October, and 72 coal-fired generators will close. China has stopped construction on 150 gigawatts of planned new coal-fired power generation capacity until 2020.”

Read the article:

» Sydney Morning Herald – 13 October 2017:
In China, the war on coal just got serious





» Washington Post – 2 October 2017:
Death of gas and diesel begins as GM announces plans for ‘all-electric future’


“It doesn’t make sense that no one is using this industry to get us out of the crisis.”
~ Sergio Muruzábal, director of a Spanish turbine plant





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MEDIA RELEASE – 20 October 2017

Victoria’s energy future secured as Andrews govt’s Renewable Energy Target becomes law

In a historic moment for Victoria’s energy future, the Victorian Renewable Energy Target today passed the upper house in state Parliament and will become law.

“This is a historic day for Victoria’s energy future, and a victory for the community who have long made the case for the Victorian Renewable Energy Target” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson.

“The success of the Victorian Renewable Energy Target is thanks to communities, businesses and workers from Portland, to Geelong, Yackandandah, Macedon and Melbourne”

Friends of the Earth congratulates Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, and the Labor government, branding its energy policy achievement an act of national leadership:

“The Andrews government is leading the nation with a vision for jobs and investment in renewable energy,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth spokersperson.

“While the divided Turnbull government only offers ill-considered thought bubbles on energy, the Andrews government has shown leadership on the Victorian Renewable Energy Target,” said Pat Simons.

“Victoria’s Andrews government has set the bar for smart energy policy in Australia.”

The passage of legislation was also welcomed by prospective wind farmers from Barunah Park, Kevin and Jenny Blake:

“Renewable energy is extremely important to us, as we have seen the effects of climate change personally on our farm. We are very excited to host turbines as this will help minimise the effects of climate change in the future.”

“This legislation will also help provide us with a means to dought-proof our future earnings and keep our farm sustainable for our children and grandchildren.”

The VRET passed with the support of upper house Greens MPs, Fiona Patten of the Reason Party, Local Jobs 1st MP James Purcell.

Friends of the Earth was critical of the Matthew Guy opposition, who stuck to their pledge to vote against the VRET even though renewable energy enjoys strong support among Liberal party voters.

“In 2017, it’s unacceptable for politicians to vote against policies to tackle climate change,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s climate change spokesperson.

“With unprecedented bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and parts of Victoria experiencing a record dry June, now’s not the time to be blocking action on climate change.”

“Victorians will remember the opposition’s vote against renewable energy jobs and cheaper power when they go to the polls in 2018.”

ADDITIONAL INFO:
The Victorian Renewable Energy Target is expected to:

Create 10,000 jobs in wind and solar across the state, from wind tower manufacturing in Portland to cable making in Tottenham, transformer manufacturing in Glen Waverley and Benalla, and warehousing/training in Lyndhurst.

See Victorian households save an estimated $30 on their power bill each year. Small-medium businesses will save $2,500 and big businesses will save $140,000.

Victoria’s renewable energy rollout of 5,400 MW will cut electricity sector emissions up to 16 percent, helping the state meet its legislated net-zero emissions target by 2050.

Friends of the Earth coordinated the community campaign for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target since 2014.







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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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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
Pete Seeger, American singer