27 Dec

Solar Power Versus Fossil Fuels – Solar Wins On Price

Australia has a raging debate on the green sector and in particular the will or lack of will to address the ‘dirty’ brown coal based coal fired power generators and their future. the argument generally goes that:

  • solar power is too ‘intermittent’
  • we need to continue our dependence on coal fired thermal power stations because they offer the lowest cost for electricity generation in Australia
  • ‘renewables’ do not offer a long term replacement solution for 100 percent of Australia’s energy needs

The Facts:

Solar power is now on parity with coal and gas generated electricity. If we look at the environmental damage these forms of power generation create and the associated ‘costs’ of mitigating that damage then the economics of carbon based electricity production look very bad.

A recent article in qz.com reports that:

“Solar and wind is now the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries, the WEF reported in December (pdf). As prices for solar and wind power continue their precipitous fall, two-thirds of all nations will reach the point known as “grid parity” within a few years, even without subsidies. “Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement. “It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.””

The full article can be found here

Solar Battery Storage

The ‘intermittency’ ‘problem’ for solar panels systems, that is the fact that they only generate electrical power during daylight hours has been the longstanding issue with solar – in terms of it rivaling coal generated power. The emergence of solar battery storage systems like Tesla’s and Panasonics means that within 10 to 15 years MOST Australian homes can be grid independent – or up to 85 percent according to the CSIRO and CEC.

The future for ‘green tech’ is looking bright!! – Bob Brown, my hero, would be happy!

27 Dec

Bring Bob Brown Back!!

I have been very disheartened to see internal divisions within the Greens. I know Bob bob brown - bring him back - please!!Brown had served the Greens for ever and a day but since he has left i simply have NOT been happy with the new leadership. As this article states:

“Bob Brown has said the Left Renewal splinter group established by unnamed Greens members looks like a hoax, warning that no member who rejects law and order should remain a member of the Greens.

“When no one will put their name to such a litany of anti-Greens policies, under the guise that it is a collective without individuals, you have to suspect the whole thing is a joke,” the former Greens leader said.

The group’s statement of principles says: “We further rejected state-mediated oppression in all of its forms and recognise that violent apparatuses like the police do not share an interest with the working class.”

Brown said the group’s statement was so out of line with the Greens movement, the environment almost fell off its agenda.

“Its central tenet of rejecting the state and the police is also a rejection of the Greens charter, which upholds the right of citizens to law and order,” Brown said. “No member of such a group could agree with the charter or remain a member of the Greens.””

I wonder if the growing ‘disenchantment’ from Greens membership will ulimately bring about some kind of positive change in the leadership of the party AND if their is a real possibility that Bob brown may yet return?



27 Dec

Melbourne Surf – Solar Powered Adventure at Ocean Grove

Think Melbourne Australia is not a renown surf spot? Think again. My mate of 20 years plus Phil Sidney invited me on a wild surf trip along the coast line of Melbourne, Victoria solar panelsAustralia. As you will see from looking at the map of Melbourne below, because of the weird shape of the coastline, there is actually over 800 km of potential surf beaches. Phil is a Torquay fan and has surfed the entire coast, east to west for years. We had 3 weeks ‘roughing it’ along the surf beaches to the west of the city – an amazing time.

Torquay Cove was a bit flat initially but much better after sun down. Late one afternoon waves were about 4-6ft mostly,and a couple of faster closeouts, it was very easy to judge which direction they were coming  from or where they would break and over all it was so cool and nice and close to shore , shallow water and the Toruay pub (ha ha!). Phil and i  caught a handful of decent waves for the 2 1/2 hour drive from Frankston ,though i must say the cold water bought tears to my eyes. A couple of Phil’s friends and I went out around 6:30am-9:45am, very brisk – its located just  south of the famous Ale House. The waves were ok and it looked like the SE did fill in a bit with the SW wind swell and there some good 5-6 wave sets on offer so we had fun before a weird breakfast Phil made for us – more on this later. On some occasions we had 6-7 foot faces and some pretty funky rights and lefts, although a bit crowded by the time we left. We are longboarders , though we saw shortboarders  over the North end.

Solar Breakfast!

Phil is s legend – he can fix anything and build absolutely anything you can imagine…

His Kombie van has the best solar powered fridge, stove and lighting. He acquires a bunch vw kombie classic!!of  solar panels and to invested in the solar inverter and got some skilled labor to create a large solar PV panel array that was designed to be installed on Melbourne roof’s to supply solar electricity into Melbourne homes. The advice and parts were supplied via Ron at Integal Solar  , who is knowledgeable about all things solar – hardware, panels, invertrers, solar feed in tariffs and solar rebates in Melbourne – that is the main reason why solar power in Melbourne is on the up and up, as the Victorian State Government subsidises home solar panel installation in Melbourne. Phil’s Melbourne home had 40, yes 40 solar panels of the roof and generates 5k watts of solar power on a sunny Melbourne day (not many of those – joking Phil!). Phil’s house is in Frankston and has a massive north facing roof – perfect for solar power. He reckons the solar installation has not only cut his power bill, but, wait for it, he actually makes a small income from them as the extra power the solar panels produce is fed back to the main electricity grid and the Victorian Government pays a ‘solar feed in tariff’ meaning he gets a credit on his power bill! As a renewable energy boffin , Phil used the extra solar panels to power his Kombie – bottom line is we had a fantastic solar powered meal cooked courtesy of my good mate Phil!