ENERGY

The renewable energy train is unstoppable. The NEG needs to get on board

What’s that on the horizon? Ah yes, renewable energy. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas On the face of it, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), adopted as Coalition policy at a party room meeting yesterday, appears to promise the certainty that industry, consumers and experts have desperately sought for the past decade. But beware: there is a renewable energy train coming down the track that...

What’s wrong with big solar in cities? Nothing, if it’s done right

Residents near big solar projects are often concerned they cause glare and noise. Electrical and Mechanical Services Department Headquarters rooftop solar, Hong Kong/Wikimedia Commons Many of us are familiar with developments of big solar farms in rural and regional areas. These are often welcomed as a positive sign of our transition towards a low-carbon economy. But do large-scale solar installations have a place...

Let the light shine on super-fast wireless connections

Light can be used as a high-speed form of wireless communication. Shutterstock/ra2studio We live in a world of wireless communications, from the early days of radio to new digital television, Wi-Fi and the latest 4G (soon to be 5G) connected smart devices. But there are limits to this wireless world. With the prediction of 12 billion mobile-connected devices by 2021 and a...

Australia falls further in rankings on progress towards UN Sustainable Development Goals

Australia’s exported greenhouse emissions are higher per person than Saudi Arabia’s. AAP Image/Richard Wainwright Australia is performing worse than most other advanced countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the global SDG Index, which compares different nations’ performance on the goals. According to the SDG Index, released yesterday in New York, Australia is ranked 37th in the world – down from...

Better boil ya billy: when Australian water goes bad

Just what is coming out of your tap.Steve Dorman/Flickr Many Australians take it for granted we can drink untreated tap water, without worrying about the health effects. However, a recent audit criticised the regulation of pollution in the massive Warragamba Dam drinking water catchment, the biggest single metropolitan water reservoir in Australia. Read more: Why does some tap water taste weird? The Auditor-General’s report found that...

Higher energy prices are here to stay – here’s what we can do about it

Australia’s energy prices have doubled since 2015.  Photo by José Alejandro Cuffia/ Unsplash The good news is that after two years of big rises, wholesale electricity prices have fallen somewhat since mid-2017. The bad news is that prices are still much higher than they have been for most of the past 20 years. And the worse news is that we...

New coal doesn’t stack up – just look at Queensland’s renewable energy numbers

As the name suggests, Windy Hill near Cairns gets its fair share of power-generating weather. Leonard Low/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons As the federal government aims to ink a deal with the states on the National Energy Guarantee in August, it appears still to be negotiating within its own ranks. Federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has reportedly told his partyroom colleagues that he...

If you need a PhD to read your power bill, buying wisely is all but impossible

Energy bills are becoming to complex to understand. Shutterstock A recent survey found that Australia’s power companies are less trusted than media companies, banks and telcos. Customers hate electricity bills – not least because they are so complicated. But we can learn much by analysing them closely. One feature that deserves close scrutiny is the all-pervasive discount. In electricity retailing, all but...

Lowy Institute Poll shows Australians’ support for climate action at its highest level in a decade

The survey revealed 84% support for renewable energy among the Australian public. AAP Image/Lukas Coch The annual Lowy Institute Poll on Australian attitudes to the world and global issues for 2018 has been released. Among a series of interesting findings, one thing is clear: support for climate action and renewable energy continue to grow. In response to the survey’s questions on climate and energy,...

Plain sailing: how traditional methods could deliver zero-emission shipping

The Avontuur recently completed a sail-powered transatlantic cargo voyage. Timbercoast On May 10, the 43.5-metre schooner Avontuur arrived in the port of Hamburg. This traditional sailing vessel, built in 1920, transported some 70 tonnes of coffee, cacao and rum across the Atlantic. The shipping company Timbercoast, which owns and operates Avontuur, says it aims to prove that sailing ships can offer an environmentally...

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