For the past five years we’ve been tracking the superb renewable energy activism of the Port Augusta community in South Australia in their quest for a solar thermal power station.
2016 marked the end of six decades of coal-fired power generation at Port Augusta and now we finally have the announcement of a replacement that will provide dispatchable renewable energy, using CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) technology.
It’s quite brave leadership from the South Australian State Government. They’ve had to put up with a year of denigration and ridicule from the Federal Government for an ambitious transition-to-renewables program. But they’ve pushed on relentlessly, culminating in the announcement of the world’s biggest battery storage last month and now the solar with storage plant announced this week.
To protect Australians from worsening climate impacts (eg more destructive storms, intense heatwaves and worsening bushfire conditions) and in line with our Paris Agreement commitments and carbon budget constraints, Australia needs pathways to transition as rapidly as possible away from coal, oil and gas to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
But the Finkel review has little to say about our Paris Agreement commitments. Instead it focuses on ensuring a reliable electricity grid and reducing the price of electricity.
Brian: Your Port Augusta plans outlined in your June 2016 launch were for 1,700 collector tower modules which were expected to generate 110MW in winter and 170MW in summer. Is that still the plan?
Steve: The proposal is now to stage the project starting with a 100MW power station with 800 modules. This would do just under 50MW for 24 hours in winter and over 70MW in summer. More importantly, it will do 100MW for shorter times per day (peak hours) which is when the need is greatest.
This configuration could (would) be “cut and pasted” 5 times to give 500MW and completely replace the old to power station. Continue reading →
By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.
But no matter what, the Paris Agreement does mark a turning point, and sends by far the strongest signal yet to banks, investors and industry. One might ask where they have been looking in the past decade if they haven’t already read the signals. Has it been gross negligence or haven’t they read their own disclaimers that past performance should not be taken as an indicator of future returns on fossil fuels? How can it be that they’ve wilfully ignored the risk of stranded assets?
“This marks the end of the era of fossil fuels. There is no way to meet the targets laid out in this agreement without keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground. The text should send a clear signal to fossil fuel investors: divest now.”
An early start, walking with the AYCC/SEED crew to Gare du Nord under streetlights and a sinking moon, since we’d heard it might be difficult to get in today with all the leaders in town.
On the shuttle bus (navette), I met Yhro from Niger. We discussed deforestation, desertification and the unsustainable use of groundwater (nappe phreatique).
My entry into Le Bourget COP21 venue was slow while security officers took an inordinate interest in the Catholic Earthcare and Multifaith SA banners, but I was allowed through once they’d been closely scrutinized and deemed harmless.
Once in a lifetime a truly game-changing event reshapes global society. Think back to 1833 when the British Parliament finally bowed to public pressure and the Slavery Abolition Act was passed. Now in our lifetime Polly Higgins is campaigning tirelessly to do for Earth Rights what the abolitionists did for Human Rights. And the goal is in sight.
Coal has played a pivotal role in modernising the global economy. But if we had a second shot at the industrial revolution, would coal be at the centre? Would we design an economy that viewed Australia – as a senior politician recently described – as “an island of coal, floating upon a sea of gas”? Or would we put human ingenuity to the test and generate a sustainable economy powered by the sun and the wind?
Thank you all so much for coming. I’d like to add my acknowledgement to the Kaurna people and acknowledge their sovereignty was never ceded.
Three years ago I attended the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations in Cancun, Mexico. It was there standing alongside people from places like Fiji and Nepal – whose homes were already being impacted by climate change and hearing how they were organizing to fight for theirs and our future – that I learnt how important it is that our movement listens to the people being most impacted by climate change and the burning of fossil fuels, whether it’s rising sea levels, extreme weather events or the high rates of cancer that plague coal communities.
It was this lesson that led me to dedicate myself to working alongside the Port Augusta community to campaign for a replacement of the ageing coal stations on the edge of their town with Australia’s first concentrated solar thermal plants with storage.
polyp.org.uk – New Internationalist magazine cartoonist
It’s simple really. If you want good things to happen, invest in them. If you want to stop bad things happening, cut off their funding.
But that’s not yet occurring. Banks, super-funds and governments keep investing in activities that we know are rapidly destroying the life-support systems of our planet, and it must stop.
That’s why the Bill McKibben Tour this week is so powerful and so important. Bill is a passionate advocate for divestment – getting out of investments in fossil fuels – and his presentations are clear and memorable. If you know a banker, a superannuation fund employee or a government worker, invite them to join you at one of the events on the Bill McKibben Do the Maths roadshow. You can book now for live events in Canberra – June 5th (with internet simulcasts to Adelaide, Hobart and Perth), Canberra National Press Club – June 6th, Melbourne – June 7th and Brisbane – June 9th. Continue reading →
I figure you’re a decent chap. You’re quoted as saying: “We are focussed on growing our business responsibly, managing risks rather than taking them and approach our role in society with a heightened sense of duty and care towards our customers and the communities we serve.”
You’ve achieved that on one level. Your branch staff are some of the most efficient, knowledgeable, helpful and best-trained workers I’ve come across in retail banking. Well done.
But there’s a serious problem with ANZ activities on the national and international level. Consider these two questions:
Would you say it’s wrong to do things that are seriously harmful to the planet’s ecosystem?
Would you say it’s wrong to profit financially from doing things that are seriously harmful to the planet’s ecosystem?
So that’s the issue. Is it true that ANZ Bank continues to invest in fossil fuel exploration and extraction? Is it true that ANZ Bank and its investors continue to make profits from destroying the planet’s ecosystem?