Wave Energy

Wind & Solar get the thumbs-up. #auspol #StopAdani

One of the biggest criticisms against wind and solar energy has been quashed
Akshat Rathi

One of the biggest criticisms of the renewable-energy industry is that it has been propped up by government subsidies. 

There is no doubt that without government help, it would have been much harder for the nascent technology to mature. But what’s more important is whether there has been a decent return on taxpayers’ investment.

A new analysis in Nature Energy gives renewable-energy subsidies the thumbs-up.

 Dev Millstein of Lawerence Berkeley National Laboratory and his colleagues find that the fossil fuels not burnt because of wind and solar energy helped avoid between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths in the US between 2007 and 2015. 

Fossil fuels produce large amounts of pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, which are responsible for ill-health and negative climate effects.

The researchers found that the US saved between $35 billion and $220 billion in that period because of avoided deaths, fewer sick days, and climate-change mitigation.
How do these benefits compare to the US government’s outlays? “The monetary value of air quality and climate benefits are about equal or more than state and federal financial support to wind and solar industries,” says Millstein.
Between 2007 and 2015, Quartz’s own analysis* finds that the US government likely spent between $50 billion and $80 billion on subsidies for those two industries. Even on the lower end of the benefits and higher end of subsidies, just the health and climate benefits of renewable energy return about half of taxpayers’ money. If the US were to stop subsidies now, those benefits would continue to accrue for the lifetime of the already existing infrastructure, improving the long-term return of the investments.
What’s more, those benefits do not account for everything. Creation of a new industry spurs economic growth, creates new jobs, and leads to technology development. There isn’t yet an estimation of what sort of money that brings in, but it’s likely to be a tidy sum.
To be sure, the marginal benefits of additional renewable energy production will start to fall in the future. That is, for every new megawatt of renewable energy produced, an equal amount of pollution won’t be avoided, which means the number of lives saved, and monetary benefits generated, will fall. But Millstein thinks that we won’t reach that point for some time—at least in the US.
The debate whether subsidies to the renewable industry are worth it rages across the world. Though the results of this study are only directly applicable to the US, many rich countries have similar factors at play and are likely to produce similar cost-benefit analyses.

Press link for more: QZ.Com

A new project off the coast of Australia may make wave power a reality.

NO LAND stands between Antarctica and Australia’s west coast—just a vast ocean, rippled and rocked by the Roaring Forties. For centuries these westerlies, which blow between latitudes 40° S and 50° S, powered ships sailing from Europe to Asia. These days, they are also creating waves in the world of renewable energy. At the end of February, a demonstration project designed to use the ocean swell they produce went live. As a result Australia’s largest naval base now gets part of both its electricity and its fresh water courtesy of the ’Forties.

Carnegie Wave Energy, in Perth, has been working since 1999 on what it calls CETO technology. Ceto was the ancient Greek goddess of sea monsters, and Carnegie’s particular monsters are buoys that resemble giant macaroons. They float a metre or two below the ocean’s surface, bobbing up and down in the swell and generating electricity as they do so. The current version, CETO 5, has a capacity of 240kW per buoy. Three of the beasts are now tethered to the sea bed 3km from HMAS Stirling, on Garden Island. They also help to run a desalination plant on the base, for fresh water is a valuable commodity in Western Australia’s arid climate.

Press link for more: The Economist

Global carbon emissions experienced zero growth in 2014. 

In what has been described as a real surprise by the International Energy Agency (IEA), annual global emissions of carbon dioxide experienced zero growth in 2014, even as the globe’s economy continued to grow. According to IEA data CO2 emissions for 2014 were 32.3 billion tonnes, the same as 2013, meanwhile the global economy grew by 3 per cent.

While this is not the first time that growth of emissions has stalled, on previous occasions it was coupled with a significant economic downturn such as the Global Financial Crisis in 2009 and the collapse of industrial production with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

On this particular occasion it appears to be driven by structural changes in China and decarbonisation and enhanced energy efficiency across China, the United States and Europe.


Press link for more: Tristan Edis | businessspectator.com

Pressure is growing. A relentless climate movement is starting to win big, unprecedented victories around the world, victories which are quickly reshaping the consensus view.

The good news is, that pressure is growing. In fact, that relentless climate movement is starting to win big, unprecedented victories around the world, victories which are quickly reshaping the consensus view – including among investors – about how fast a clean energy future could come. It’s a movement grounded in the streets and reaching for the photovoltaic rooftops, and its thinking can be easily summarised in a mantra: Fossil freeze. Solar thaw. Keep it in the ground. 

Triumph is not certain – in fact, as the steadily rising toll of floods and droughts and melting glaciers makes clear, major losses are guaranteed. But for the first time in the quarter-century since global warming became a major public issue the advantage in this struggle has begun to tilt away from the Exxons and the BPs and towards the ragtag and spread-out fossil fuel resistance, which is led by indigenous people, young people, people breathing the impossible air in front-line communities. The fight won’t wait for Paris – the fight is on every day, and on every continent.

Press link for more: Bill McKibben | theguardian.com

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING by Naomi Klein Guardian climate campaign 

The Guardian is embarking on a major series of articles on the climate crisis and how humanity can solve it. In the first, an extract taken from the Introduction to THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING by Naomi Klein, the author argues that if we treat climate change as the crisis it is, we don’t just have the potential to avert disaster but could improve society in the process.

Living with this kind of cognitive dissonance is simply part of being alive in this jarring moment in history, when a crisis we have been studiously ignoring is hitting us in the face – and yet we are doubling down on the stuff that is causing the crisis in the first place.

I denied climate change for longer than I care to admit. I knew it was happening, sure. Not like Donald Trump and the Tea Partiers going on about how the continued existence of winter proves it’s all a hoax. But I stayed pretty hazy on the details and only skimmed most of the news stories, especially the really scary ones. I told myself the science was too complicated and that the environmentalists were dealing with it. And I continued to behave as if there was nothing wrong with the shiny card in my wallet attesting to my “elite” frequent flyer status.

Climate change has never received the crisis treatment from our leaders, despite the fact that it carries the risk of destroying lives on a vastly greater scale than collapsed banks or collapsed buildings. The cuts to our greenhouse gas emissions that scientists tell us are necessary in order to greatly reduce the risk of catastrophe are treated as nothing more than gentle suggestions, actions that can be put off pretty much indefinitely. Clearly, what gets declared a crisis is an expression of power and priorities as much as hard facts. But we need not be spectators in all this: politicians aren’t the only ones with the power to declare a crisis. Mass movements of regular people can declare one.

Press link for more: Naomi Klein | the guardian.com

A new study finds that human-caused climate change was a major trigger of Syria’s brutal civil war.

A new study finds that human-caused climate change was a major trigger of Syria’s brutal civil war. The war that helped drive the rise of the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) was itself spawned in large part by what one expert called perhaps “the worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilizations began in the Fertile Crescent,” from 2006 to 2010.

That drought destroyed the livelihood of 800,000 people according to the U.N. and sent vastly more into poverty. The poor and displaced fled to cities, “where poverty, government mismanagement and other factors created unrest that exploded in spring 2011,” as the study’s news release explains.

The study, “Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought,” found that global warming made Syria’s 2006 to 2010 drought two to three times more likely. “While we’re not saying the drought caused the war,” lead author Dr. Colin Kelley explained. “We are saying that it certainly contributed to other factors — agricultural collapse and mass migration among them — that caused the uprising.”


Press link for more: Joe Romm | thinkprogress.org

Burning coal for energy is responsible for 54% of Australia’s GHG.

Burning coal for energy that remains Australia’s dirtiest industry, responsible for a whopping 54 per cent of emissions in 2013-14.

In a country blessed with abundant solar, wind & wave energy resources this is criminal negligence. Ignores all the warnings from climate scientists & destines future generations to mega droughts, more intense cyclones & metres of sea level rise. 


Press link for more: Sophie Vorrath | renew economy.com

BP says CO2 emissions unsustainable, warns on global warming.

BP has warned that carbon dioxide emission levels from burning fossil fuels are unsustainable unless the international community unilaterally introduces tougher binding regulations on atmospheric pollution. 

The stark warning from the UK’s second-largest oil company came with the publication on Tuesday of its closely-watched long-term outlook for global energy markets, which predicts that CO2 emissions will increase by 1pc per year, or 25pc in total, through to 2035. 

This rise in pollution would be worse than the current rate, which scientists have said would have a negative effect on climate change. The United Nations is seeking to limit the increase of the average global surface temperature to no more than 2C, compared with pre-industrial levels, to avoid “dangerous” climate change, and will hold a major conference in Paris in December to agree on a firm system for restricting emissions.

Press link for more Andrew Critchlow | telegraph.co.uk


Solar power set to become cheapest source of energy over next decade, German think tank says.

Solar energy is set to become the cheapest source of electricity in many parts of the world within the next 10 years, according to a new report released by German think tank, Agora Energiewende.

The report was commissioned by the independently funded organisation, designed to steer Germany towards its 80 per cent renewable energy target.

Chief executive officer Dr Patrick Graichen said they wanted to see if recent falls in the cost of photovoltaics would continue.

“The finding is there’s no end to the cost decline in photovoltaics,” he said. 

“The technology still has further improvements so we expect that within the next 10 years photovoltaics will become, in many regions of the world, the cheapest source of electricity.”

Press link for more: Annie White | abc.net.au

Annie White | abc.net.au

Anti-Fossil Fuel Movement Grows.

Don’t look now but the anti-fossil fuel movement is quickly building momentum.

Climate activists have campaigned against oil, gas, and coal for years. And while legislation in the U.S. Congress addressing climate change seems as remote as ever, outside of the beltway the anti-fossil fuel movement is building support at a breakneck pace.

Consider the series of wins that environmentalists continue to rack up.

The Keystone XL pipeline seemed destined for approval several years ago with an oil-friendly Secretary of State in Hillary Clinton and a largely indifferent President in the White House. That all changed when environmental groups led by 350.org made the project a defining issue for the Obama administration. Nearly five years after protests began, the pipeline appears close to being killed off for good.

Or look to New York, where late last year, after several years of grinding opposition, Governor Andrew Cuomo finally banned fracking indefinitely. With vast reserves of shale gas located in the Marcellus and Utica shales in large swathes of southern and western New York, the fracking industry was stunned by the defeat.

Press link for more: Nick Cunningham | oilprice.com