Articles on Renewable energy

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No such thing as a free lunch: nuclear power can do what many renewable energy systems have not yet done on a large scale - deliver. Flickr/Gretchen Mahan

Low-carbon electricity must be fit-for-service (and nuclear power is)

To paraphrase George Orwell: “All electricity is created equal, but some of its generating technologies are more equal than others”. This is a crucial point – emphasised but typically overlooked – in the…
Solar photovoltaic and onshore wind could be the cheapest sources of electricity by 2030. SustainableDevelopment

Australian energy cost estimates: experts respond

Renewable energy sources such such as solar photovoltaic and onshore wind could generate the lowest electricity costs in…
Sign of things to come: a depleted Lake Hume in 2007, when the big dry still had a couple years to run. Flickr/Tim J Keegan

Climate change and Victoria: high time to innovate, adapt, and cope

Victoria has entered a critical decade in the race to adapt for the stresses of climate change, according to a new report from the Climate Commission. Following the release of Victorian climate impacts…
Green innovation: the upper compression ring of the Olympic Stadium main roof truss is made from 2,600 tonnes of surplus gas pipes. London 2012

Has the London Olympics really gone green, and what can the Gold Coast Games gain?

For seven years, the London Olympics Organising Committee has been striving to live up to the sustainability vision it set itself. It’s been a long, honest fight. On the eve of the Games, how well have…
Battery research is improving renewable energy’s ability to provide power around the clock. Argonne National Laboratory

Explainer: storing renewable energy

Storage is one of the highest technological barriers to the spread of renewable energy. When the sun is shining, the tide turning or the wind howling, how do we collect that energy and keep it to use when…
We’re banking on business as usual to solve our environmental problems, but we’re likely to be disappointed. Tony.../Flickr

The carbon tax: markets won’t deliver necessary emission cuts

Australia will introduce a carbon tax on Sunday at A$23 per tonne of carbon. In 2015, an emissions trading scheme (ETS) will replace the tax. The aim is to cut Australian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions…
A cleaner, more efficient Australia will blend smart grids and meters with renewable power’s growing capacity. Pictured: Spain’s Gemasolar concentrated solar thermal power plant. Gemasolar

Challenge 13: smart energy demand and renewable supply

In part 13 of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Mark Diesendorf argues that it is high time we got smart about power: how we generate it and how we deliver it. Global challenge 13: How…
Do you see the light? Solar costs are comparable to fossil fuels, and are falling 45% annually. Flickr/MyEye85

Newsflash: solar power costs are falling below fossil fuels

Recent postings to The Conversation have enlivened the debate over the “Great Transition” that is underway all around the world from the fossil-fuelled energy systems of the 20th century to the renewably…
The ones on the left are on their way out. Richard Brand

Energy myths exposed: King Coal or King Solar?

In our Conversation article, King Coal dethroned, we suggested that renewable energy investment was now outstripping fossil fuel power investment. Many welcomed the news that the future was arriving sooner…
Lack of political will is holding back Australia’s solar innovation: here, AREVA Solar’s CLFR technology. Solar Dawn

Serious about renewables? It’s time to refloat the Solar Flagships

Australia knows how to provide public leadership in the complex coordination of public events. Just look at the recent staging of the opera La Traviata on Sydney Harbour. It was a one-off event that required…
Australia is trying to decarbonise by 2050. The technology is there, but we need an economic revolution. Owen James

Australia to hit 2012 Kyoto target, but don’t get excited

The recent announcement that Australia is on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol target for greenhouse gas emissions is an indication of satisfactory performance, not an exemplary outcome. The target is 108…
The Big Dish, developed in Canberra, could be a renewable energy winner if the government focussed funding. WizardPower

Time for government to pick a renewable energy winner

Let’s start with a question: why has Denmark been so successful in renewable energy creation and uptake? It can’t be that Denmark is a windy place (although that helped) or that it was a social democratic…
ANU’s “big dish” solar is the envy of Asia, but the Australian Government has turned its back. AAP

Wake up Australia, and take a lesson on solar from Korea

I am here in Seoul, the burgeoning and confident capital of a burgeoning and confident Korea, to investigate the country’s formidable “Green Growth” strategy. Back in August 2008, the Korean government…
Campbell Newman says Queensland’s carbon-reduction policies aren’t needed under a carbon price, but what does he mean? AAP

State climate schemes still worthwhile under a carbon price

In justifying their recent abandonment of state-based climate schemes, the governments of Queensland and Victoria have both claimed that the schemes will be redundant under the federal emissions trading…
Emissions spiked, thanks to more intensive energy use. Louis Vest

The emissions rebound after the GFC: why greenhouse gases went up in 2010

Recessions are not the way to permanently cut greenhouse gas emissions. Global emissions surged during 2010, cancelling out the reductions from the global financial crisis (GFC). Emissions took off in…
A behind-the-scenes subsidy is likely to stick around longer than a cash subsidy. bicyclemark/Flickr

As solar hot water gets axed, what is the logic in industry subsidies?

The sudden cessation of the Federal Government’s subsidies to solar hot water installations illustrates why subsidy-seekers mostly prefer industry assistance to come in hidden forms, rather than cash…
Most forms of energy generation are a blight on the landscape: why single out wind? eidlog42/Flickr

Not a level playing field for wind power

Wind farms make noise. Coal fired power stations pollute the air and atmosphere. Coal-seam gas mines pollute underground water aquifers. All electricity generating sources, to some people, pollute the…

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