Renewable energy

“Any leader of any country who believes that there is no climate change, I think he ought to be taken to mental confinement. He is utterly stupid”, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said on August 31.

The Liberals 'National Energy Guarantee' — which is a wholesale rejection of climate science — is also a sophisticated political ruse. It must be rejected.

Participants at the 2018 Beyond Coal and Gas Jamboree

The burgeoning movements against coal and gas projects, to defend the Great Barrier Reef and to conserve precious water resources were boosted by the Beyond Coal and Gas Jamboree held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland over May 31 to June 3.

More than 350 activists from around Australia joined international guests from the Pacific, the US and India at the fourth Beyond Coal and Gas gathering.

Port Augusta solar power plant in South Australia

The federal government's National Energy Guarantee (NEG) policy, which was announced last year, was given provisional approval by state governments at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in April, subject to further negotiation on details, including the emissions targets. What does this mean for renewable energy and climate action, key issues affected by Australia's coal-dominated electricity grid?

“If we want to look after people and the land as we repower New South Wales [with renewable energy] we have to fight for it”, George Woods from Lock the Gate told a large rally of First Nations people, farmers and city-dwellers who took over Martin Place near NSW Parliament on March 24.

South Australians headed to the polls on March 17 to decide whether they would return the incumbent Labor Party to power after 16 years or hand government to Steve Marshall’s Liberals, with Nick Xenophon’s SA Best as a significant political force.

The results saw the Liberals win, overcoming their recent history of factionalism and disunity marked by ongoing leadership battles. Optional above the line preferential voting was introduced this election, but a redistribution of seats proved more detrimental to Labor.

The consequences of South Australia’s election result on March 17 will be felt far beyond the state’s borders.

It was barely minutes after the SA Liberals, led by Steven Marshall, were declared winners that the federal Coalition began crowing that this was good news for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s signature policy, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).

Another United Nations climate conference (COP23) is over — though many people would have barely noticed, given the lack of media coverage. The Paris Climate Agreement is locked in and, contrary to the Coalition’s inetrpretation, Australia needs to ratchet up its emissions reduction.

This is a useful time to reflect on where Australia sits globally on climate action and what areas are of concern.

A new report has found it would cost $1.3 billion more to keep the Liddell coal-fired power plant in New South Wales open beyond its use-by date, than to replace it with a mix of renewables and other sustainable energy solutions.

Renewable energy projects currently under construction in Queensland are set to create a comparable number of jobs to those of the controversial Adani new coal project, if it proceeds. The growth of renewable power generation will create more jobs than have been lost in coalmining.

Victoria became the first state to have a Renewable Energy Target (RET) written into law on October 20. The Victorian RET has been set at 25% renewable energy by 2020, and 40% by 2025.

For a long time, Australian governments have believed that the private sector should run the electricity sector. Successive governments have used market instruments to incentivise reducing emissions, by supporting renewables, discouraging coal use, or both.