Thursday, April 30, 2020

Australia could get 90% of electricity from renewables by 2040 with no price increase

On windy nights only, presumably.  What do you do when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine? They talk blithely of pumped hydro and batteries but omit to mention that the costs for both are vast while the output is trivial

Australia could get 90% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2040 without an increase in power prices, according to an analysis by the energy and carbon consultancy RepuTex.

Under current government policies, the country is on track to have 75% of its electricity generated by renewables within 20 years, but the analysis suggests a weak federal policy framework would lead to wholesale prices rising for a period after 2030.

RepuTex’s latest outlook for the national energy market finds investment driven by state policies, including renewable energy targets in Victoria and Queensland, will help keep wholesale electricity prices down throughout the 2020s.
Zali Steggall calls for investigation of Coalition plan to underwrite gas, hydro and coal power
Read more

But it says wholesale prices would rise again in the 2030s without federal policy to encourage investment in new clean energy generation before ageing coal-fired power stations close.

RepuTex examined two scenarios, one that forecasts wholesale electricity prices under current government policies, and another that forecasts prices under the Australian Energy Market Operator’s more ambitious “step change” scenario that uses a carbon budget in line with the Paris agreement. It has made a summary of its report and methodology, but not the full report, available on its website.

Under current policies, Australia would reach 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 75% by 2040, despite the absence of a federal policy framework beyond the underwriting of new generation investment scheme.

The report finds new investment would be driven by state-based policies and renewable energy targets, which RepuTex forecasts would bring about 17 gigawatts of new capacity by 2030, along with 4GW of rooftop solar and 3.5GW of new storage capacity.

The falling costs of clean technology would put pressure on coal and gas generation and lead to 18GW of thermal capacity exiting the market by 2040. It forecasts wholesale prices would remain at roughly the current level, between $50 -$70 a megawatt hour, over the next 10 years. Wholesale electricity prices have fallen by nearly 50% over the past year.
Energy companies will face pressure to lower prices as wholesale costs tumble
Read more

“As new renewable energy and storage projects such as Snowy 2.0 are commissioned, along with the continued uptake of small-scale resources, traditional volumes for black coal and gas-fired capacity are likely to be eroded,” RepuTex’s head of research, Bret Harper, said.

But the report finds that a disorderly closure of coal-fired power stations would push wholesale prices up in the 2030s in the absence of federal policy to guide investment.

RepuTex found that an increase in wholesale prices could be avoided under the more ambitious scenario, forecasting that average annual prices in the 2030s would remain below $80/MWh. The step change scenario sets out an emissions budget for the electricity sector that would lead to decarbonised energy systems by 2050, in line with the Paris agreement commitment of keeping global heating below 2C.

RepuTex forecasts this scenario would lead to Australia reaching 70% renewable energy generation by 2030 and 90% in 2040, and that the combination of more renewable energy, improved storage technologies and a carbon budget would be “fatal” for coal-fired power.

“The most interesting thing is we can have this decarbonised energy system and it won’t cost any more,” Harper said.

“In fact, it costs slightly less. Just in the last year even, energy storage costs have really come down, whether it’s battery or pumped hydro.”


Coronavirus in Australia: Eased restrictions ‘not too far away’, Scott Morrison says

Eased coronavirus restrictions are “not too far away”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says, adding there is one thing all Australians need to do to speed up the process.

So far, more than 2.8 million people have downloaded and registered with the government’s COVIDSafe app.

Morrison likened having the app to applying sunscreen when being in the sun, saying millions more need to download it. “I would liken it to the fact that if you want to go outside, when the sun is shining, you have to put sunscreen on,” the PM said on Wednesday. “This is the same thing.

“If you want to return to a more liberated economy and society, it is important that we get increased numbers of downloads when it comes to the COVIDSafe app,” Morrison added.

“This is the ticket to ensuring that we can have eased restrictions and Australians can go back to the lifestyle and the many things that they previously were able to do, and this is important.”

The PM said he wants Australia to become “COVIDsafe” - which means “we can release the pressure”.

“We can release some of the stress which is in families and individuals across the country from isolation, and ensure they can get back to work, school, back to normal, get back to sport,” he added.

Morrison said he couldn’t see international travel “occurring anytime soon” but looks forward to when life in Australia goes back to normal. “The risks there are obvious,” he said of international travel.

“The only exception to that, as I have flagged, is potentially with New Zealand, and we have had some good discussions about that. “But I look forward to the time when Australians can travel again within Australia.”

He said mass gatherings wouldn’t be happening soon either, but flagged places of worship could open for private prayer.

“I look forward to the time where they can see, whether it is the AFL, the netball, the NRL, or whatever code they support, and being able to watch that again.

“But I can’t see them going along to a game for a while, those larger mass gatherings. “I can see, I suppose, the opportunity for those seeking private prayer in a place of worship, I can see that happening.

“I can’t necessarily, though, see the larger services occurring again.”


Coronavirus Australia: Deal could hold key to PM’s own kids returning to school

In a dramatic escalation of the fight to get teachers back into the classroom, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce a plan to put some “sugar on the table” and allow private schools to bring forward up to 25 per cent of their annual funding.

And the deal could hold the key to his own daughters Abbey and Lily returning to their Sydney private school after the Prime Minister complained he could not send them back until normal classroom teaching resumed.

The Prime Minister has insisted he would send his kids back to school “in a heartbeat’’ this term as long as the school was offering proper classroom teaching.

“I mean, they were sitting in a room looking at a screen, that’s not teaching, that’s childminding,’’ he said. “And schools aren’t for childminding. Schools are for teaching and they’re for learning.”

Sources have told that the NSW Government could be plotting a course towards a similar June 1 deadline for a majority of kids back at school, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirming: “We will see a return of face-to-face teaching from 11 May, and then will consider accelerating a full return to school as soon as possible.”

Education Minister Dan Tehan wrote to private schools on Tuesday night, noting recent claims that some private schools could be forced to close as cash-strapped parents fall behind in fees or switch to the public system. He is proposing to allow private schools to bring forward funding they would otherwise secure in July.

Schools can use the cash to purchase COVID-19 supplies including hand sanitiser and ‘deep clean’ classrooms.

In the letter obtained by, Mr Tehan insists that the medical advice is clear: it is safe for students to return to classes.

“There is very limited evidence of transmission between children in the school environment and … on current evidence, schools can remain fully open,’’ he writes.

“The purpose of this payment option is to financially assist … schools in their response to COVID-19, while also encouraging them to re-engage with their students in a classroom-based learning environment.”

To be eligible for the first payment of 12.5 per cent, private schools must comply with the condition of approval imposed on 9 April 2020 to be open for physical campus learning in term 2 and to have a plan to fully re-open classroom teaching by 1 June 2020.

For the second payment of 12.5 per cent, schools need to commit to achieving 50 per cent of their students attending classroom based learning by 1 June 2020.

NSW Catholic Schools CEO Dallas McInerny said for those schools that had offered parents fee relief the offer could prove attractive.  “There are educational and economic reasons why we want kids back in school. I think from week 3 you will start to see more of our schools heading back to full tilt,’’ he said.

“The main constraint is the availability of staff. Some Catholic schools have responded very generously with fee relief for families affected by COVID-19 and for those schools, this could prove attractive.”

Independent Schools Association CEO David Mulford said increasingly parents wanted children to return to classes. “I think there’s a growing sense parents want children back at school now,’’ he said.

“Noone has ever said it’s going to be the best solution, online learning. Some people thrive and others don’t. Some subjects thrive on it and others don’t.”

But the proposal is set to spark a furious backlash from teachers’ unions, who warn the rush back to classes is “risky” and could spark a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

According to the Independent Education Union representing teachers at private schools in Queensland and the Northern Territory, the current case to reopen schools to all students is a high-risk strategy.

Dr Adele Schmidt said current calls for schools to reopen ignored established research regarding the potential for students to infect scores of contacts with a disease in a given day.

“So much is still unknown about this disease and a shift back to ‘business as usual’ in our schools is a fraught and dangerous one – relying on claims that have not been well tested nor peer-reviewed about the infectivity of COVID-19 in students and students themselves as infection agents,” Dr Schmidt said.

“While early data on transmission of COVID-19 in New South Wales schools would appear to confirm that transmission among children is less common than for influenza – we don’t yet have robust data on virulence of the coronavirus in question.”


Australia Post hires hundreds, puts posties into vans to deliver parcels

Australia Post has put hundreds of its posties behind the wheels of delivery vans in an effort to keep up with a huge surge in demand as self-isolating Australians are buying more online.

The national postal service will also hire 600 casual workers across its network and call centres to manage the surge, which has led to "significant" delivery delays across the country.

Parcel volumes have been at Christmas-like levels for weeks, averaging almost 2 million a day since just before Easter. This marks a 90 per cent increase compared to the same time last year, acting chief operating officer Rod Barnes said.

"For the last four weeks, we have been operating our processing and delivery services seven days a week, with our dedicated staff working on rotation over the 24-hour period, each day," he said.

"We appreciate that delays can be frustrating and want to reassure that our people are working hard to get customers' parcels to them safely and as quickly as possible."

The company has also repurposed 15 sites across the country and turned them into processing facilities to sort parcels, and has chartered an additional eight freighter flights as the shutdown in commercial aviation limits access to passenger plane deliveries.

Australia Post has received regulatory relief from the federal government, which has lifted parts of its community service obligations to allow letter deliveries every two days in metro areas. Letter demand has halved in recent weeks.

Two thousand letter-delivering posties will now be retrained to deliver parcels, which the postal service hopes will reduce strain on the broader delivery network.

"In the last weekend alone this additional staffing allowed us to accept and process an unprecedented 3 million parcels into facilities from ecommerce customers," Mr Barnes said.

"To assist in getting these parcels to customers' doors, we have refocused 700 of our people, a mix of posties and drivers from our StarTrack business, to provide additional van deliveries across the country."

Mr Barnes asked for compassion in this unprecedented time and warned abusive behaviour towards employees would "not be tolerated".


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: