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At Jeff’s Shed, Melbourne, 7 and 8 October, annual All Energy Expo and Conference was an outstanding event, big Expo so many new products, especially battery storage systems, to save, not export, daytime excess solar PV, to use it after dark, so you don’t buy power from grid. Conference side was excellent, 5 simultaneous streams of presentations, about energy systems, small as well as large, products, possibilities, politics and prospects.
Final VIP speaker, on day one, was Right Affable 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 no plans to cancel them.
Greg was complimentary about every aspect of Expo. In conflict with track record, supporting big grid power, 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%. 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% 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, steel. But, does ignoring their emissions, really reduce our liability?
About promise for 2030, Greg pitches ownership of 26 to 28% as his own initiative. Next breath he’s comparing with rest of world, especially USA. Coincidentally, their promise is also 26 to 28%. Yet Greg advises our 26 to 28% will actually be 50% 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% bigger than USA. If we both reduce by the same % then both before and after, our emissions reduction is 50% more than USA. But our emissions remain 50% higher. 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 speaker was Lord Deben, Thatcher era, long serving Conservative 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 any climate change news from Australia, our 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 chance of stopping warming under 2degC is already long gone.