At Jeff’s Shed last month, the annual All Energy Expo and Conference was an outstanding event.
It’s a big expo – so many new products, especially battery storage, to save, not export, daytime excess solar PV, to use it after dark, to save buying power from grid.
Conference was excellent – five simultaneous streams of presentations, about energy systems, small as well as large, products, possibilities, politics and prospects.
Final VIP speaker on day one was Minister for Environment Greg Hunt with all kinds of good news like new Office for Climate Change and Renewable Energy Innovation. His activity in previous days included visiting CEFC and ARENA, offering assurance that both will survive.
Greg was complimentary about every aspect of expo. In contrast with previous positions, he says he anticipates big exodus from big grid electricity, especially if big operators don’t get with new opportunities, investing in DE (distributed energy), especially with storage and reducing prices.
Specifically, Greg reminded us about surplus capacity, as much as 30 per cent.
So some generators need to quit, reassuring us, surprisingly, that government will not be offering any taxpayer cash golden handshakes.
Obviously, emission reduction target, before UNFCCC in Paris in December, for both 2020 and promise for 2030 is important.
Greg says “we can now do this easily, no need to do anything”. He went on to explain that because of reduced demand, the 5 per cent target is less. Additionally, during RET was review, he removed amount of energy consumed by EITE (emissions-intensive, trade-exposed) industries. These are biggest consumers, like aluminium smelters, cement and steel. But, does ignoring their emissions really reduce our liability?
About promise for 2030, Greg pitches ownership of 26 to 28 per cent as his own initiative. Next breath he’s comparing with rest of world, especially USA. Coincidentally, their promise is also 26 to 28 per cent.
Yet Greg advises our 26 to 28 per cent will actually be 50 per cent bigger reduction, per capita. How can this be? Without any explanation from Greg, it can only be that Australian emissions, per capita, right now, are 50 per cent bigger than USA.
If we both reduce by the same percentage, then both before and after, our emissions are 50 per cent higher than USA. Smoke and mirror trickery here.
Greg was very upbeat, repeating “absolute confidence…” and “rock solid, rock solid…” on each topic. It’s not known if Greg was aware that morning keynote international speaker was Lord Deben, Thatcher era government Secretary of State for Environment, with NGO community calling him “the best Environment Secretary we ever had”. Notable mention is, in UK, he says they cringe in anticipation of climate change news from Australia, the country with most bountiful supply of solar and wind resources, along with excellent track record developing science and technology, cringing because of consistently stupid policies of our politicians, like ERF, completely sold out to coal, oil and gas corporations.
Here’s hoping PM Turnbull will actually revive clean energy industry. Actual prospect of stopping warming under 2degC is already unlikely without target of less than zero emissions in 10 years.
Bernie McComb, Cowes.