Sustainable Living

National Bioenergy Day is Wednesday, October 18

Renewable Energy World - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:59

"Bioenergy" is use of any organic material, such as forest thinnings, residues, agricultural waste or urban wood waste, to generate heating, cooling and/or electricity. Many independent power producers across the United States and Canada produce electricity for the grid using bioenergy. Hospitals, college campuses, school districts and government buildings also use bioenergy for heat and electricity.

Categories: Sustainable Living

Coalition balks on Finkel target but will unveil energy and emissions policy

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 17:00

Guardian Essential poll finds 65% support for doomed target recommended by the chief scientist Alan Finkel

The Turnbull government is poised to unveil a new energy investment framework that will impose obligations on the electricity sector to reduce emissions consistent with the Paris agreement. It will also create new reliability obligations to ensure there’s enough dispatchable power in the system.

Cabinet, and the government’s backbench committee on environment and energy, considered the government’s new policy on Monday night before a party room debate slated for Tuesday morning.

Related: Cabinet meets to discuss Coalition energy plan – as it happened

Related: The world is going slow on coal, but misinformation is distorting the facts

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Tesla Fires 400-700 Workers

Renewable Energy World - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 13:33

Tesla Inc. has fired an undetermined number of employees following a series of performance evaluations after the company significantly boosted its workforce with the purchase of solar panel maker SolarCity Corp.

Categories: Sustainable Living

How to Balance the Solar Efficiency Equation

Renewable Energy World - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 12:00

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s solar cell efficiencies chart depicts confirmed conversion efficiencies for research cells from 1976 to date, for several PV technologies. But as conventional crystalline silicon (c-Si) PV modules approach peak efficiency, with the leap from lab to life—or from demonstration to mass production—occasionally taking over 30 years, the final question is: what is the additional watt class worth?

Categories: Sustainable Living

This is what America's eco city of the future looks like

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 11:49

Georgetown mayor Dale Ross is ‘a good little Republican’ – but ever since his city weaned itself off fossil fuels, he has become a hero to environmentalists

When the caller said he worked for Harry Reid and the former Senate majority leader wanted a word, Dale Ross assumed it was a joke. “OK, which of my buddies are messing with me today?” he wondered.

He shouldn’t have been so surprised. Ross is the mayor of Georgetown, population 65,000, and he has become a minor celebrity in environmental circles as a result of a pioneering decision in 2015 to get all the city’s electricity from renewable sources.

Related: 'The war on coal is over': EPA boss to roll back Obama's clean power rules

When it comes to making decisions based on facts, that's what we do

Isn’t that sort of like putting a Band-Aid on somebody that has terminal cancer?

Related: Texas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not the planet

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Categories: Sustainable Living

The war on coal is over. Coal lost | Dana Nuccitelli

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 10:00

Coal can’t compete with cheaper clean energy. The Trump administration can’t save expensive, dirty energy.

Last week, Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced, “the war on coal is over.” If there ever was a war on coal, the coal industry has lost. According to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, many old American coal power plants are being retired or converted to natural gas, and new coal power plants aren’t being built because they’ve become more expensive than natural gas, wind, and solar energy:

The share of US electricity coming from coal fell from 51 percent in 2008 to 31 percent in 2016—an unprecedented change. New UCS analysis finds that, of the coal units that remain, roughly one in four plans to retire or convert to natural gas; another 17 percent are uneconomic and could face retirement soon.

Two more coal plants to close in Texas. Believe that makes 12 this year nationwide:

I would do away with these incentives that we give to wind and solar. I’d let them stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources, and let utilities make real-time market decisions on those types of things as opposed to being propped up by tax incentives and other types of credits that occur

I will sue to stop the Trump Admin’s irresponsible and illegal #CleanPowerPlan repeal, which threatens NYers public health & environment.

Those who cheer the EPA’s move should remember that President Obama initiated the Clean Power Plan in 2015 in the face of Congress’s inaction on climate change. Without effective legislation to combat climate change, a future president could just as easily go down the path of executive action and regulations again. The best answer here is for Congress to pass legislation putting the market to work on solving climate change.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Cabinet meets to discuss Coalition energy plan – as it happened

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 06:11

The government prepares to release its energy security policy but faces further opposition from Labor and gets more bad news in the polls. Join us as we update you through the day

7.09am BST

The parliament is winding down and so am I, so let’s take a quick look at what we learnt, what we have ahead of us, and what we know as we wrap up the day.

6.41am BST

Popping back into the Senate and Pauline Hanson is annoyed there is even a debate about raising the voting age – and that she is getting blamed for it.

The Queensland senator, who made the claim on morning television in a debate with the Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young over raising the smoking age to 21.

6.33am BST

The Business Council of Australia chief Jennifer Westacott, was having a chat to David Speers on Sky and said she hopes the energy policy we’ll hear about tomorrow, after tonight’s cabinet meeting gives it that final tick off, will be considered without bias, from any side.

“Let’s just all, tomorrow, just put it to one side for a minute, let’s look at the detail and I make that point to business as well,” she said.

6.10am BST

Eric Abetz has timed his media release “Let’s put pensioners before Paris” for just before cabinet is due to meet to finalise the government’s energy policy.

Here’s some of it:

In this morass with our haemorrhaging budget deficits we send over $180m to some UN climate fund. This is borrowed money, which our children will need to pay back with interest. And to whom? You’ve guessed it – China. A country which can keep increasing its emissions with our coal, develop its economy and wealth so it can lend money to Australia so we can pay the fund, yet pays nothing itself.

“These are just some of the stark facts which provide the backdrop against which the examination of the Finkel review needs to be undertaken. The review threatens rather than promises virtual central command and control, reviews, programmes, studies, calculations and at the end of it a 42% equivalent clean or renewable energy target with unbelievably cheaper energy prices.

6.03am BST

Well, this is one way to liven up the afternoon

I'm in love. My latest purchase. Genuinely faffing about whether to bring to Canberra or put up in the family room. #auspol

6.02am BST

Foreign minister Julie Bishop has announced Nicola Gordon-Smith’s latest move.

From the statement;

Ms Gordon-Smith is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Consular Policy Branch. In Canberra she has held a range of positions, including Chief of Staff to the Trade Minister, and Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister. She has twice served overseas at the Australian Embassy in Brussels, most recently as Deputy Head of Mission. Ms Gordon-Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from the Australian National University.

5.57am BST

The Senate has moved on to Matters of Public Importance. Today’s debate is on “the suggestion that young Australians aged 18,19 and 20 be blocked from participating in democracy by raising the voting age to 21.”

That has been put forward by the Greens senator Rachel Siewart, but we can thank Pauline Hanson for the topic, after the One Nation leader suggesting raising the voting age by three years to stop all those “no idea” yoof, who have “never held a job”, earlier this month. Sigh.

5.50am BST

Indi independent MP Cathy McGowan has also dipped a toe into the energy debate.

McGowan introduced the Renewable Energy Legislation Amendment (Supporting Renewable Communities) Bill 2017, calling on a “dedicated focus in funding for community energy projects” from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

5.46am BST

What can we take from that question time?

The government thinks it is on to a winner with its energy policy (and that triple bottom line) and the opposition is just as sure it can start picking out the flaws. The NBN questions not only managed to annoy the prime minister, they also signalled some of the issues Labor will begin campaigning on – the NBN reached 6m homes in August. And you don’t have to go far to find someone ready to complain about it.

5.26am BST

5.24am BST

Greg Hunt gets the final dixer on new drug listings and Turnbull, who it must be said, looks very pleased with how this question time has played out, calls time.

While we still don’t know what the energy policy will look like, we did get a hint from Turnbull on what it will involve in this attack against Bill Shorten.

The leader of the opposition has been in favour of an emissions intensity scheme, he’s been in favour of a clean energy target, the only thing they have got in common, he doesn’t understand how either of them work. He doesn’t know the difference between a renewables target and an emissions reduction target. One slogan after another, and I say to the leader of the opposition, we will deliver a careful energy plan based on engineering and economics, designed to deliver the triple bottom line of affordability, reliability, and meeting our international commitments. And that is in stark contrast to the ideology and the … idiocy inflicted upon us for years.”

5.17am BST

Emma McBride brings the parliament back to … the NBN. And she’s got a case study.

“We are now in the fifth year of this prime minister’s mismanagement of the NBN. Is the prime minister aware that students at the central coast school can’t connect to the NBN even though Fountaindale has had the NBN since … last year. What sort of incompetence means that [the] cemetery behind the school has an NBN connection but the school doesn’t?”

5.15am BST

I do not have 1,000 words, so I present you these.

5.08am BST

Oh I hadn’t realised it was that time yet. We are moving quickly today! Christopher Pyne is gifted his regular slot to talk about how terrible the terrible unions are.

“It goes to a question of if this leader of the opposition is not prepared to stand up to the CFMEU, despite all their heinous crimes, how will he stand up for Australia’s national interests on the overseas stage? How will he stand up for Australia’s national interests in Australia and beyond if he’s not on prepared to stay enough is enough to the CFMEU?”

5.05am BST

In the Senate, the Greens have been asking Michaelia Cash, representing the immigration minister, about plans to close the Manus Island detention centre.

Cash confirms that Papua New Guinea will close the regional processing centre by 31 October and will provide alternative accommodation for refugees in Manus province. Refugees eligible for transfer to the US can go to Nauru. Non-refugees will be sent back to their country of origin – voluntarily or involuntarily.

5.05am BST

Julie Bishop receives a dixer to talk about her recent visit to North Korea, where she reiterates her call for the rogue state “to abandon its illegal tests, to return to the negotiating table, and to direct its resources and energy into alleviating the suffering of the North Korean people”.

Then we move on to our non-energy issue – did anyone have the NBN?

5.00am BST

Tony Burke breaks from our scheduled energy attacks to talk about Bruce Billson

“On the 10th of [September], the Prime Minister promised to conduct an investigation into Bruce Billson. Will the Prime Minister verify this letter [saying] the investigation did not speak to any ministers, did not review the public documents that are tabled in this Parliament? Can the Prime Minister confirm the investigation involved Mr Billson simply giving an assurance that he had complied with the code?””

4.56am BST

He’s still red though.

4.54am BST

Back to dixers–and it’s Barnaby Joyce’s turn at the box, which just thrills Labor.

Katharine Murphy, who is in the chamber, reports that as Joyce rumbles to his feet, Labor MPs can be heard shouting “one for the road, Barnaby” and “give us a haka”.

The reality is, that we need cheaper power for irrigation, we need cheaper power for meat processing, we still believe, we still believe that blue collar workers deserve a job. The Labor party believes that blue collar workers are politically incorrect. There is nothing that – when we see them come forward, and keep talk about targets that are going to put working men and women out of a job, shut down the manufacturing industry, more people out of a job, we are doing everything in our power to keep these people. You can either have cheap power, or you can have cheap wages, or no jobs. We believe in cheap power, and we’re going to bring it about.”

4.50am BST

Tanya Plibersek is up.

“My question is to the prime minister. The prime minister has said a clean energy target would, and I quote, ‘Certainly work. There is no question it would work”. Does the prime minister stand by that statement or has the member for Warringah been drafted to lead the government in developing a new energy policy?”

4.47am BST

Back in the Senate for a moment.

One Nation’s Pauline Hanson has asked the defence minister, Marise Payne, why the Australian defence force is paying for gender reassignment surgery after a report that 27 personnel have been treated for gender dysphoria in the last five years.

It’s invidious to to try and distinguish between one health condition or personal circumstance over another. In no way does treatment of personnel with gender dysphoria diminish the strongest possible support for returned service personnel.”

4.46am BST

The Greens MP Adam Bandt has the floor. He also wants to talk energy.

“After the government scrapped the carbon price, pollution went up. It went up in 2015, again in 2016 and this year too. You’re making climate change worse, but over that time, wholesale electricity prices have doubled, too. Instead of letting climate deniers dictate your energy prices, wouldn’t it be better to increase the renewable energy target, so that we cut population, cut power bills, and keep the lights on?

4.41am BST

Scott Morrison takes a dixer on just how amazing the government has been in tackling rising electricity prices (very amazing, with plans to do more, is the short version) and then Bill Shorten is back.

“I refer to the prime minister’s previous answer, where he claimed he had obtained contractual commitments from the big gas companies to supply more gas. Given this is a contractual agreement, can the prime minister confirm what penalties will apply to the big gas companies under the contract, and will he table the contracts to the parliament?”

In short, it’s an agreement, as a contract. Of course it is. Of course it is an agreement, it’s a contract. You can use whatever semantics you like. The bottom line is, we have, we had the character and the commitment to bring those gas companies to Canberra and get them to do the right thing by the Australian people. And the Labor party did nothing. Nothing. The Labor party allowed gas to be exported from eastern Australia, without doing anything to protect Australian consumers.”

4.32am BST

Labor’s energy spokesman Mark Butler steps up to the dispatch box

“My question is to the minister for energy. In his presentation to the Coalition joint party room room, he confirmed that a clean energy target lowers prices. Given the energy minister told the government’s own party room it would lead to lower prices, why is the government caving into the demands of the former prime minister, by abandoning the clean energy target, that would save Australians money on their power bills?”

4.24am BST

Heading to the red chamber for a moment.

Labor has targeted the government leader in the Senate, George Brandis, on power prices and the government’s abandonment of the clean energy target.
Asked about Tony Abbott’s speech in London, which included the claim that climate change is “probably doing good” and likening policies to combat climate change to “primitive people … killing goats to appease the volcano gods”, Brandis replied:

“I haven’t actually read Mr Abbott’s speech but I’ve seen some reports, and I’ve seen some extracts on the Insiders program yesterday morning. He made some interesting anthropological observations about people sacrificing goats to volcanoes or something like that. I note what Mr Abbott had to say, Mr Abbott is entitled to his views, but life … is too short to read everything that all of one’s political colleagues have to say, no matter how interesting they may be. Rest assured, the views of the Australian government are the views of the prime minister and his cabinet not the views of a backbencher.”

4.23am BST

Lucy Wicks, the member for Robertson has been gifted with the first dixer.

“My question is to the prime minister. Will the prime minister update the house on what the government has done to ensure that energy is affordable and reliable for hard working families and businesses, including in my electorate of Robertson,” she said.

4.19am BST

Bill Shorten has the floor and asks about … energy DING DING DING.

“On the 9th June, the energy minister stated: The prime minister said it very clearly in his press conference, there a number of [reasons] for the clean energy target. It it’s technology-neutral and it lowers energy prices. [A Labor wag interjects with “really?” in their most quizzical tone of voice.] Why is the prime minister caving into the member for Warringah for abandoning the clean energy target, a target that saves Australians money on their power bills?”

We have gone out to the retailers, and ensured that they deliver the best deals to their customers. And thousands ofAustralian families are paying less for electricity now, saving hundreds of dollars a year, in many cases,than they were before. Of course the single biggest factor in pushing up electricity prices in recent times has been the price of gas. Why is that? Well, the Labor party in government allowed gas to be exported from the east coast of Australia, without paying any attention to the need to protect the domestic market. We took strong action and we delivered a commitment, a contractual commitment from the energy companies, to supply more gas, and as honourable members know, wholesale prices have been coming down as a result.”

4.11am BST

The remainder of those speeches have been moved to the Federation Chamber. The House is standing for a moment’s silence.

4.09am BST

Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are speaking on a condolence motion for Indigenous activist Dr Evelyn Scott, who passed last month.

4.02am BST

The Senate has passed a government competition law bill instituting an “effects test” – prohibiting conduct that has “the purpose effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition”.

However, the government removed a provision of the bill to increase penalties for secondary boycotts to $10m after opposition from Labor, the Greens and crossbench. Labor opposed the measure on the basis it would imposing higher penalties for sympathy strikes, further watering down unions’ right to strike.

3.58am BST

Given the theme of the day – energy, energy, energy – we can expect question time to be chock full of energy attacks. But there is always at least one surprise. Any guess what today’s random topic will be?

3.49am BST

Question time is about to begin, so get ready for that.

Also – here is a thing that happened

On @sunriseon7 this morning Pauline Hanson tells me get it through your head Sarah climate change "isn't because of humans" #OneNationFail

3.25am BST

It’s been one of the quieter starts to parliament for some time. It’s given some of the MPs, like Labor’s Anthony Byrne some time for some candid (cough) contemplation

Just enjoying a brief moment in one of the many beautiful gardens surrounding Parliament House.

3.00am BST

Scott Morrison addressed Citigroup in New York late last week and has promised there are “better days ahead” for the economy.

My speech to global investors in NY about Australia's solid economic growth story. Full text here:

2.44am BST

It’s a four-flag situation

2.39am BST

Stranger in the house update

Christopher Pyne is on Sky talking about how busy the government is in parliament this week.

2.31am BST

A bit of a housekeeping in the Senate, with Arthur Sinodinos still absent. The senator revealed earlier this month he is fighting cancer.

Michaelia Cash will represent his portfolio of industry, innovation and science, while the attorney general, George Brandis, will represent Trade, Tourism and Investment.

2.26am BST

Labor MP Ed Husic has delivered a speech on the motion regarding Australia and its key ally the United States of America. The House spent 50 minutes discussing the relationship.

But Husic, who said he has visited the US every year since 2005, has had an epiphany of sorts in the wake of the travel ban Donald Trump has been working so hard for since his election.

Donald J Trump is calling for a total and complete shut down on Muslims entering the United States until that country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. I can’t believe that this is where this great country has got to. And then it exercises that ban. And it shuts out people on the basis of faith. I visited the country in that point of time before the inauguration, friends saying to me that it is probably premature to think that it is not right to visit again sometime later. But I think it is wrong, that a nation that can promise so much on the basis of freedom can shut out people on the basis of faith, and do it that way. I think it’s wrong. And against what America stands for.

I think of the words of Paul Keating, who said that ‘once they have pawned the crown, it is hard to reclaim the inheritance’, and he is right. What America is doing to itself and the way it is behaving, is so disappointing to so many of its friends. I can’t see myself going back to America while this is being maintained. I can not think of people like me and my faith, being taken out in front of their children in a line, queuing up to visit the States, just on the basis of faith. America, I think the world of you. But I cannot, and people like me, cannot be shamed by you. This is not the promise of the America we love. America is better than this.”

2.07am BST

The government has just passed the amendments to its media reforms, as negotiated with the crossbench in the Senate, in the House of Representatives.

2.02am BST

Perhaps the god of thunder had some tips on energy policy?

1.55am BST

Quick look into the parliament: The amendments attached to the media reforms bill by the Senate are being debated in the house (where they will pass) and Malcolm Roberts is talking about the “sharing of ideas” as being “even sexier” as part of his speech on the Competition and Consumer Amendment bill. That may not have been the greatest time to tune in.

1.34am BST

Back to other issues which don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense lately, but on a ground we are more familiar with: ACCC head Rod Sims is attempting to talk about the draft report on electricity prices, without discussing the politics, to which we can only wish him luck.

Asked about the clean energy target, Sims had this to say:

Look, our focus is on affordability. We’ve spent a lot of time working out what’s driven prices up. And we’ve done that. And now the focus is going to be on how do we address all those issues to get prices down? As we all know, there’s three objectives in relation to our electricity sector: there’s meeting the Paris targets for emission reductions, and that’s obviously very important. That’s the clean energy target. Secondly, there’s improving reliability. And there’s a range of things happening there. And, thirdly, there’s a focus on affordability. And when you look at our work, you see that the biggest causes of higher electricity prices are higher network prices, higher retail costs and margins. That’s what we’ve got to be looking at.

1.30am BST

From the ‘so strange it can only be Australian politics’ file comes this story.

I’ve tried three times to condense this for you but, well, there are a lot of moving parts to this situation and not a lot of them make sense. Take a bow Australian politics. It’s only taken 1.5hours into the parliamentary sitting to completely flummox me. (You can read the story here. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.)

1.17am BST

Bill Shorten has also had a bit to say about the energy debate this morning – looks like we are getting a sneak peek of what awaits us during question time!

Will the real leader of the Liberal party please stand up, is basically the theme here:

Well, first of all, what is the point of asking the chief scientist of Australia to write a full report on climate change and energy, and then not follow the recommendations? It is very clear that Turnbull faces a test in the next 24 hours. It is a test of whether or not he is running the Liberal party and can back in what he believes, which is a clean energy target, or if Tony Abbott is running the Liberal party and they’ll dump a clean energy target. Labor has made it very clear, from even before the final report of the chief scientist, that we will work with the government to do something to lower energy prices in this country. But what we see is the government can’t even work out what they want to do, and long-suffering consumers and business are the people paying the price, with higher energy prices, because this government is at war with itself.

1.10am BST

We have some pictures rolling in from this morning’s events. Just a reminder, the indomitable Mike Bowers will be back with us tomorrow.

12.54am BST

Brendan Nottle from the Salvation Army has been greeted by MPs outside parliament after walking from Melbourne to Canberra to raise awareness about homelessness.

Wonderful to welcome @brendannottle to Parl House after walking 703km from Melb to Canberra to raise awareness for homelessness

I understand that what you’ve done today is not only drawn attention to the 100,000-plus people who are homeless, including 17,000 kids, not just all of the challenges, but what you’ve done, Brendan, is you’ve given politics a little bit of self-respect. Because you walking up this hill and those 700km beforehand, you are saying that you trust the political system and the parliamentarians to be fair dinkum on homelessness, to be as fair dinkum as you are, to be as fair dinkum as this group. We will not let you down. Thank you for making me look at this parliament with different eyes today. You are a rockstar, mate.

12.48am BST

But it looks like Labor won’t be joining Richard Di Natale on the picket lines if Adani’s Carmichael coalmine in Queensland goes ahead.

The Greens leader told Sky News on Sunday that if his party could not stop the mine in the parliament, they would do it by standing in front of the bulldozers. You can read more about that here.

Labor is clear that the one matter before the federal parliament is the question of a concessional loan to the Adani project and federal Labor is definitely opposed to any of the subsidies. Beyond that, there are a range of different views about whether this is a project that stacks up economically and environmentally. My position has been made clear on a number of occasions publicly. But the matter before the Australian parliament is whether taxpayers are going to subsidise this operation in the Galilee Basin.

12.42am BST

Labor’s energy spokesman, Mark Butler, has held a press conference to discuss all things energy. He was criticised by Mathias Cormann this morning for rejecting the government’s energy policy before seeing it – speaking to the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, Butler said if there was no clean energy target, then Labor was out. This morning, he was a little more open to listening to the government:

We want to wait and see what comes out of the cabinet discussion tonight and tomorrow. We still do hold out some hope that Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg will see some sense, will support the broad coalition of support that exists for the clean energy target and come up with something sensible tomorrow. If they don’t, we’ll have to consider our position, we’ll talk to business groups, the energy sector and other stakeholders about what the way forward should be. But the test today is for Malcolm Turnbull, not for Labor. We’ve indicated our position. We’ve shifted from our election policy, a substantial shift, to try to develop some bipartisanship around this question. The test now is that there are two paths for Malcolm Turnbull: Tony Abbott’s path or the path urged on him by pretty much everyone else in the community.

12.37am BST

The NSW Nationals leader, John Barilaro, has had a chat to Laura Jayes on Sky after the Nats’ byelections over the weekend which left heartland seats Cootamundra and Murray – once among the safest in the state – reduced to marginals.

So while his party won, he’s not feeling overly celebratory. He told Jayes he thinks what is happening federally has a lot to do with what happened in NSW over the weekend.

I think the default position when that happens is the government of the day, irrespective of ilk, gets marked down. However it is also a frustration that issues that aren’t of great relevance are hijacking all the oxygen, and for us it is a great grind to keep talking about the important day-to-day issues – and let’s face it, power prices and cost of living and power prices for businesses [are] absolutely some of those.”

12.22am BST

Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, is talking at the same international relations conference as Julie Bishop.

In a transcript of her speech, Wong lays out a number of ways Australia can work better with China:

I’ve identified six main principles that I think will help us to engage better with China. There is no overarching simple answer to how we engage with China; we constantly need to steer through the intersecting dimensions of issues and opportunities.

First: we must have a clear idea of what our national interests are, and recognise where they may and may not align with those of China.

12.00am BST

The parliament will welcome a special guest today.

The Prime Minister will welcome His Excellency Mr Michael D Higgins,
President of Ireland, to Parliament House at 10am #auspol

11.56pm BST

The bells are ringing! Which means parliament is about to officially get under way.

11.55pm BST

Labor’s climate change spokesman, Pat Conroy, has been doorstopped on his way into parliament today.

There are plenty of ways in and out of parliament without walking past the media. So if MPs choose the doors where the cameras are hanging out, it’s because they have something to say. Today Conroy had quite a bit to say about energy, the ACCC report and Tony Abbott:

We’ve got a doubling of wholesale energy prices because of two things: skyrocketing gas prices, and all this government is doing is talking about it and not taking concrete action; and secondly the investment strike.

We’ve had seven coal-fired power stations come out of the system in the last four years with no replacement dispatchable capacity because people don’t know what the rules of racing are.

The Finkel review said if you can provide some certainty around a bipartisan energy mechanism that would get investment flowing and that would lower power prices, and the energy minister agreed with him as recently as two months ago.

Nothing has changed. This government will use the ACCC report as cover to back away because they are craven and cowardly, and they are more worried about what Tony Abbott can do in their party room.

11.49pm BST

Here’s a little bit more from that speech Julie Bishop was giving to the AIIA:

Australia is seeking to serve on the UN human rights council, the first time we will have served on this body. The vote takes place at 2.00am our time, so I will be able to tell you tomorrow how we went. We put in a very strong campaign and received a lot of written pledges for offer to serve on the human rights council campaign and we have most certainly put forward a very strong case to bring a very principled and pragmatic approach, just as we did when we served on the security council and we had five themes in relation to gender empowerment and freedom of speech and strengthening democratic institutions and human rights institutions and Indigenous rights and the like.

11.38pm BST

Does Malcolm Turnbull “have to fall on his sword – FOR THE GOOD OF THE PARTY, MR ABBOTT,” as Hadley very animatedly asks?

Well, the Newspoll count was Turnbull’s test, not Abbott’s, the former PM says, but he doesn’t say whether he agrees with Hadley.

I think the focus shouldn’t be on the polls, I think the focus should be on being the best possible government. Let’s see what comes out of the cabinet … it has got to be right, we have to get it right and I hope that a lot of very serious thought has been given to this matter by minister Josh Frydenberg, a bloke I respect.

11.32pm BST

Ray Hadley is straight into the London speech.

“It’s nice to see that people were listening; I am not sure if all the people who were criticising it have actually read it,” Abbott says.

11.25pm BST

A quick wrap of some of the interviews this morning: no one is worried about the Newspoll (that would be the one showing for the 21st time in a row, the government is less popular than Labor) and energy solutions are on their way.

Paul Karp gave us a wrap on what Mathias Cormann had to say on energy a bit earlier – the finance minister also said he was not worried about the poll and, as the next election approached: “We are hopeful that we are able to convince a majority of people in the majority of seats to support the Coalition again.”

11.16pm BST

Julie Bishop is speaking at the Australian Institute of International Affairs National Conference. We only caught the beginning of it, before Sky News diverted to something else, but she opened the speech by saying there was a chance in the foreseeable future that Australia could sit outside the worlds 20 biggest economies.

She said:

[Taking] one PWC study as one guide, by 2030, Indonesia, Pakistan and Thailand will all have larger economies than Australia. Vietnam, Bangladesh and the Philippines will be approaching parity with Australia in absolute economic size.

.@JulieBishopMP also notes the majority of emerging powers in Asia are not US allies, unlike in the second half of last century

10.57pm BST

Parliament officially begins at 10am – you’ll find the house schedule here and the Senate here. Cabinet is meeting today, where the government’s energy policy will get its final tickoff. Then it heads to the Coalition party room on Tuesday, and from there, the world.

10.51pm BST

Speaking of policy that has dropped off the agenda, the government’s controversial citizenship changes, which caused uproar in April when Peter Dutton announced them, look to be heading nowhere fast. The Nick Xenophon Team maintains it cannot support the legislation in its current form, with Nick Xenophon encouraging the government to “go back to the drawing board”.

10.33pm BST

Remember the company tax cuts the government promised at the election? Scott Morrison does and last month he signalled he would be working to get it back on the agenda.

The Business Council of Australia also hasn’t forgotten – but it says the government would need to go further than its plan to drop the 30% rate to 25% over 10 years if Australia wants to stay competitive in a changing international tax landscape.

10.25pm BST

For those wanting to plan out their life (what’s that?) the parliament sits for a week and then heads straight into budget estimates, while the house sits.

The Senate is scheduled to sit for a week without the house from 13 November, before the final two sitting weeks at the end of November/beginning of December.

10.04pm BST

The finance minister, Mathias Cormann, has blasted Labor for ruling out bipartisanship on energy policy when it hasn’t even seen the Turnbull government’s alternative to a clean energy target.

Cormann told Radio National that Labor’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, was “incredibly reckless and irresponsible” in his comments on Sunday, and accused him of “getting way ahead of himself”.

It’s always dangerous to lock yourself in before you’ve seen what is on the table. The government will put forward a policy framework that is in the national interest … focused on bringing down the cost of electricity, that is focused on improving reliability of energy supplies, on making sure Australia can continue to meet our emissions reduction targets.

10.03pm BST

It’s only been a month since the last parliament sitting but for many MPs it feels like a lifetime.

But, as always in politics, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And on that point, we are picking back up where we left off, with energy the buzzword on everyone’s lips.

The change in net satisfaction is one to watch. This was outside the margin of error.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Wild is the wind: the resource that could power the world

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 13:00

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 wind rips along the Humber estuary in Hull. It’s the kind that presses your coat to your back and pushes you on to your toes. “A bit too windy,” shouts Andy Sykes, before his words are swept away. He is the head of operational excellence at the Siemens Gamesa factory, which supplies blades – the bits that turn – to windfarms in the North Sea. At 75 metres long, they are hard to manoeuvre when it’s gusting.

Inside the vast factory hall, the blades lie in various states of undress. Several hundred layers of fibreglass and balsa wood are being tucked into giant moulds by hand. There are “naked” blades that require paint and whose bodies have the patina of polished tortoiseshell. Look through the hollow blades from the broadest part, and a pale green path, the tinge of fibreglass, snakes down the long tunnel, tapering to a small burst of daylight at its tip.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

'This is the future': solar-powered family car hailed by experts

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 06:39

As the annual solar race across Australia wraps up, a Dutch entry averaged 69kmh from Darwin to Adelaide and resupplied the grid

A futuristic family car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid has been hailed as “the future” as the annual World Solar Challenge wrapped up in Australia.

Related: How green is Britain’s record on renewable energy supply?

Related: Renewable energy generates enough power to run 70% of Australian homes

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Dumping clean energy target is 'dealbreaker' for Labor's support

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 00:57

Shadow climate change minister Mark Butler says scrapping the target ‘won’t get the support of the Labor party’

The shadow climate change minister Mark Butler says Labor won’t support the Turnbull government’s new energy policy if it dumps the clean energy target recommended by the chief scientist, Alan Finkel.

With the Turnbull government expected to press ahead with its new energy policy this week after consideration by the cabinet and the party room, Butler issued a clear public warning on Sunday that the loss of the clean energy target meant there was no prospect of bipartisan agreement between the major parties.

Related: Failure to act now on energy policy will just trigger Groundhog Day | Katharine Murphy

Related: Frydenberg signals government poised to abandon clean energy target

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Power-to-Gas for Renewables Integration Is on the Rise

Renewable Energy World - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 19:06

Power-to-gas (P2G)—the conversion of electrical power into gaseous energy carriers—is a quickly improving and potentially disruptive energy conversion technology. 

Categories: Sustainable Living

Can De-Extinction Save Our Planet? An Interview with Britt Wray

Earth Easy - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 17:44

The world of Jurassic Park may not be as far off as we thought.

The post Can De-Extinction Save Our Planet? An Interview with Britt Wray appeared first on Eartheasy Blog.

Categories: Sustainable Living

Time-of-Use Rates Will Turn the Tables for Energy Storage

Renewable Energy World - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 16:26

It is not always good to be first. Last June, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) was the first utility in California to hit its net-metering cap and move to Net Energy Metering 2.0 (NEM 2.0). Now, SDG&E will again be the first utility to start the shift to time-of-use (TOU) period, effective on Dec. 1, 2017.

Categories: Sustainable Living

Policies for Biomass Criticized in the European Union

Renewable Energy World - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 13:38

Europe must prevent using trees and crops as a way to meet renewable-energy requirements or it will risk further increases in food prices, deforestation and land grabs, environmental groups said.

Categories: Sustainable Living

Solar’s Remarkable Survival in the Most Extreme Weather

Renewable Energy World - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 21:00

As the Atlantic continues to churn out some of the deadliest storms on record, the repercussions continue to rock the South and southeastern U.S. Whether it is the physical impact of the recent storms on solar projects or the economic impact throughout energy markets, how do these events affect the solar industry, and to what extent?

Categories: Sustainable Living

New airplane biofuels plan would 'destroy rainforests', warn campaigners

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 17:17

Plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes would lead to clearing of rainforests to produce ‘vast’ amount of necessary crops

A new plan to accelerate production of biofuels for passenger planes has drawn stinging criticism from environmentalists who argue that most of the world’s rainforests might have to be cleared to produce the necessary crops.

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with an 8% leap reported in Europe last year and a global fourfold increase in CO2 pollution expected by 2050.

Related: MEPs vote to ban the use of palm oil in biofuels

Related: The Amazon's new danger: Brazil sets sights on palm oil

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Second Unit Now Online at Sarulla Geothermal Plant

Renewable Energy World - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 16:16

Nevada-based Ormat Technologies this week said that the second unit of the Sarulla geothermal power plant in North Sumatra has begun commercial operation.

Categories: Sustainable Living

Do Solar Owners Love Solar the Way Gun Owners Love Guns?

Renewable Energy World - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 13:29

There has been talk for years about the need for the industry to mobilize rooftop solar owners into one group that together would represent one large voice in favor of solar-friendly local, state and federal policy. With more than 1,000,0000 installations in the U.S., that voice would certainly be loud and strong.

A loud, centralized voice couldn’t be more important in U.S. politics right now, where the Trump administration is eying tariffs, policies and rules that could crush the solar industry. One such initiative is the recent DOE directive that is looking to re-write the rules around compensation for power plants, a move that would pay solar and wind facilities less than coal or nuclear generation for the energy they produce. 

Categories: Sustainable Living

Draughty homes targeted in UK climate change masterplan

Guardian - Renewable Energy - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 13:28

Ministers publish long-delayed blueprint for hitting target of cutting emissions by 57% in next 15 years

Millions of draughty homes in England and Wales will be insulated and overhauled by 2035 to save families as much as £300 a year on their energy bills, under the government’s climate change plans.

The long-delayed blueprint for how the UK will hit its binding target of cutting emissions by 57% by 2032 includes about 50 policies supporting everything from low-carbon power and energy savings to electric vehicles and keeping food waste out of landfill.

Related: UK climate change masterplan – the grownups have finally won

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Categories: Sustainable Living

How to Submit Comments on Perry’s Proposal for Grid Reliability

Renewable Energy World - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 12:59

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the process for approving Secretary Rick Perry’s proposed rule on grid reliability and resilience pricing, it’s important to get to know the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) online system.

Categories: Sustainable Living
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