If you noticed a graph on the header that was giving you a certain message, it could be because The Global Warming Policy Foundation has an academic board with luminaries such as Professors Carter, Lindzen and Plimer. I don’t know whether Matt Ridley as a science writer has committed any crimes against science, but I was interested in the following table, which was derived from a US Government source:
The table gives levelised costs of new generation resources in the US in terms dollars per megawatt-hour.
The document also contains this quote from Robert F Kennedy Jr:
Surprisingly, America has more gas generation capacity – 450 gigawatts – than it does for coal. However, public regulators generally require utilities to dispatch coal-generated power in preference to gas. For that reason, high-efficiency gas plants are in operation only 36 per cent of the time. By changing the dispatch rule nationally to require that whenever coal and gas plants are competing head-to-head, gas generation must be utilised first, we could quickly reduce coal generation and achieve massive emissions reductions. — Robert F. Kennedy, Financial Times, 19 July 2009. (Emphasis mine)
Shame, Obama, shame!
Meanwhile here’s a selection of items on renewable energy, many from Climate Spectator.
It seems that subsidies for renewable energy and biofuels will come under increasing pressure as the budget deficit is reigned in. Currently there is a tax credit of 45 US cents per gallon on biofuel and a tariff on imported ethanol of 54 cents a gallon. But
the US Department of Energy issued more than $US2.2 billion loan guarantees to solar plants, clearly signalling that the Obama administration remains keen on building up the country’s renewable power capacity.
And Connecticut passed legislation to set up the first development bank in the US for clean energy and efficiency projects.
Better Place plans to bring the first switchable battery vehicle, the Renault Fluence ZE, to Canberra in early 2012. The medium-sized car should sell for around $30,000. In addition
Better Place will then offer a battery leasing arrangement that will include the cost of the battery, access to charging stations at home and in public areas, and the cost of the electricity, as well as navigation services, 24-hour customer service and support.
Researchers report a new solar cell based on colloidal quantum dots (CQD). The technology harnesses both the visible and the infrared rays, achieving in principle up to 42% efficiency, compared with 14 to 18% in solar cells currently used on the roofs of houses and in consumer products.
California-based start-up Alta Devices has achieved a record solar-cell efficiency of 28.2%, a mark, nearing the “theoretical maximum” of 33.5%.
More work needs to be done before it becomes commercial.
From the same post (scroll down to Wanted: Eureka moments) the federal government last week launched its Australian Clean Technologies Ideas Competition – a national competition aimed at helping to make local innovation a global success.
“Australian clean technologies businesses were worth $22 billion in 2010 and the sector employs over 25,000 people nationally. The government’s goal is to develop a sector that helps Australia meet the growing needs of a low carbon economy,” innovation minister Kim Carr said at the launch. “The Australian competition will promote a uniquely Australian take on developing this high-tech, high-skill sector and, I hope, result in some ‘Eureka’ moments.”
The Australian PV Association (APVA) reckons that solar PV could be between four and 11 times more effective as a way to cut greenhouse pollution than the Productivity Commission has calculated.
The Commission claims that the cost of emissions reduction achieved via solar PV is $432-$1043/tonne CO2. According to the APVA, the true figure is $90-$95/t CO2, depending on the installation location.
The article says that crossover with grid prices will be reached in four years and cites reports of similar developments in other countries.
Barack Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu is in charge of the government’s “SunShot” Initiative which aims to get baseload solar cheaper than grid electricity by 2020.
Lane Crockett, local General Manager at Pacific Hydro, believes that the renewable energy industry has been subject to increasing venomous attacks in the media.
These attacks range from being poorly informed, to outright misinformation, and all are orchestrated in a way that leads you to believe that a series of well-funded, politically-motivated campaigns are underway.
The 100% Renewable Energy campaign conducted 14,000 conversations confirming that over 90% of Australians want more renewable energy and that 75% want to see a price on carbon.
in June 2010 Pacific Hydro commissioned research into attitudes towards our future energy supply focusing on a number of Victorian regions where wind farms were either operating or were proposed. This research revealed that people living in these areas overwhelmingly supported wind energy over gas and coal. 81% were supportive of wind energy being built in their region.
Similar results came from a Climate Institute poll, conducted nationally by Auspoll in June 2010, that showed 86 per cent of respondents wanted to see more renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal power.
in April 2011, the Clean Energy Council engaged Newspoll to conduct a nation-wide poll which found that over 80 per cent of respondents wanted to see more renewable energy.