Climate is a very topical subject now and the news is mostly bad.
There are however many positive ideas being developed and our IdeaSpies Climate Editor, Jeremy Wright AM, is tracking them. These are the latest ten:
1. Welcome EV Battery developments from Honda and Toyota
Japanese Car makers are catching up with Chinese and US brands, with recent announcements regarding their EV intentions.
With new factories from Honda and Toyota, EV battery production is forecast to grow by 430% from 95.3 gigawatt hours (GWh) in 2020 to 410.5 GWh in 2024, according to GlobalData.
Ford’s 3 new battery plants will enable 129 GWh a year of production capacity. General Motors’ four new battery factories have annual capacity of 140 GWh, while VW is aiming at six battery plants operating in Europe by 2030 for a total of 240 GWh a year.
2. Time to come clean on EV Transition
A newly released Australia Institute report provides a clear pathway to an EV future: "Introducing fleet fuel efficiency standards would reduce transport emissions, save motorist money, increase availability of electric vehicle models, and reduce Australia’s reliance on imported oil".
If the standards had been implemented in 2016, $5.9 billion in fuel costs would have been saved along with 9 million tonnes of CO2, says the report.
Time to come clean on a real EV Transition.
3. End of the Climate wars in Australia and US?
The Australian Government has voted in legislation that includes a 43% emission reduction target by 2030. This is a substantial breakthrough and reflects the views of a new make-up in Parliament - as well as the will of the people and their recent vote.
Meanwhile in the US a Bill involving $369 Billion on environmental and energy initiatives looks set to pass, thanks to Senator Joe Manchin changing his mind.
The Australian legislation comes after 10 years of climate inaction. However the US Bill will be a pacesetter for the rest of the world.
4.The Big Switch - transition to an all-electric future
Saul Griffith’s The Big Switch – Australia’s electric future – is a far-sighted analysis of why we should rapidly transition to a renewable-driven all-electric energy future. Significant efficiencies are available in both the supply and demand of energy. Also, Australia is very well placed to easily satisfy local energy demand cheaply and export energy either directly or in value-added materials. The other big reason for rapid transition - It could save the planet.
5. Net Zero Transition accelerators - Aust-US Partnership & new Investment platform
The US-Australia Net Zero Technology Acceleration Partnership was signed Tuesday 19 July 2022 by Australian Climate Change and Energy minister Chris Bowen and the United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm:
"a huge milestone in ramping up the US and Australia’s shared commitment to ambitious climate action and energy security" said Minister Bowen
Meanwhile Octopus Investments Australia has launched its $10 billion renewable energy investment platform for institutional and wholesale investors, including superannuation firm Hostplus and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The portfolio already boasts Australia’s largest operational solar farm at Darlington Point, New South Wales
6. And now sand batteries as heat pumps?
Finnish researchers have installed the world's first fully working "sand battery" which can store green power for months at a time. This could solve the problem of year-round supply, a major issue for green energy - using low-grade sand - the device is charged up with heat made from cheap electricity from solar or wind. The sand stores the heat at around 500C, which can then warm homes in winter when energy is more expensive
7. Tesla Megapack positioned to kill off Coal- and Gas-fired power
Tesla has introduced the Megapack, a battery the size of a shipping container designed to kill coal- and gas-fired “peaker” power plants - providing 'dispatchable generation'. Tesla is pitching the Megapack batteries as a more climate-friendly alternative that can store renewable energy when electricity demand is low, and then pump power or 'dispatch' back onto the grid when demand peaks.
Tesla installed its biggest battery installation ever - 730MwH - in April 2022 (photo above), which will help California power utility Pacific Gas and Electric replace natural gas plants it plans to phase out starting in 2023.
8. Australia can Transition part III - SunCable stage 3
Plans for the world's largest solar panel array have taken a step closer: SunCable, the solar energy company backed by Mike Cannon-Brookes and advocated by Prof Ross Garnaut has endorsement from Infrastructure Australia, for the enormous economic benefits it will create. It involves the Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink), which will export solar power from the Australian outback to Singapore via a submarine transmission link.
The endorsement ensures that the project can advance to third-stage, “investment-ready” status on Infrastructure Australia's priority list, opening the door for government funding
9. Australia can Transition part II & Boards will change
Governments and Boards will be rolled if they are not acting on Climate - that's the conclusion from the recent election and the collapse this week of the AGL Board (Australia's biggest polluter).
It was not only Mike Cannon-Brookes but several major funds that forced AGL to backtrack on the de-merger - that was aiming to quarantine the company from necessary emission reductions.
Many other funds and activist shareholders are placing pressure on industrial polluters to also address Paris CoP21 targets (set in 2015).
Watch this space!
10 Big Oil Reality Check - time to change direction?
“Big Oil Reality Check,” was released 24th May 2022 by Washington, DC-based Oil Change International in collaboration with over 35 global organizations. The report, which updates a 2020 study, analyzes the latest climate pledges of BP, Chevron, Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Shell, and TotalEnergies against alignment with the 1.5C temperature goal in the Paris Agreement. The report lists over 200 expansion projects by the majors over the next 3 years that could create an additional 8.6 billion tonnes (Gt) of emissions. All eight companies’ climate pledges were judged as grossly insufficient! Time to change direction?