Despite our politicians, renewables march on
Posted on 24 July 2014 by e-news
Switch on to our e-news! Switch off fossil power.
The next e-news will be published on Thursday, 7 August, so get your contributions in to us then, by 11am.
We have a bumper issue packed with good news on the energy front, jobs for you to do from your desk under our Slacktivism section, and workshops you can get involved in.
We also farewell Margaret Rasa from our Committee. Marg has worked tirelessly for MASG, flying our flag with politicians of all stripes and travelling the countryside to promote our work. Thanks Marg, and please read on below as we are looking for new people for our committee.
And for the first time – formally – we welcome our MacR supporters to the MASG mailing list. We have merged our lists, and those of you who formerly were on the MacR list are now with us here. We’ll still send you specific communications relating to our work on renewables, but for general news and to keep in touch with us … here you are!
Advertise with us
Advertise in the MASG newsletter and website and you will reach an environmentally conscious audience of nearly 1000 in the newsletter, and more on the website, tailor-made for your environmental product or service. Call Andrew about our competitive rates on 5470 6978, or email.
What will you do for a safe climate?
Our government has failed us by repealing the carbon price. Now is the time to show Australia that our politicians might have voted against climate action, but we didn’t.
GetUp is campaigning to save the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and is launching a massive “switch” where organisations and their members leave the big three energy providers for pro-renewable energy retailers.
We want the RET to be protected and we want more investments in renewable energy in Australia. So we’d love you to switch your energy retailer to a pro-renewable energy retailer – Powershop – easily and at no cost, and show the big three that we want them to support the RET.
You’ll find all the information on the GetUp campaign here, the context and how to switch for a better power provider. If you’ve already decided to switch, do it here!
Farewell to Marg and call for new Committee members
Marg Rasa, Chair of MASG, will be stepping down from the Committee of Management effective from 25 July. The Committee members would like to thank Marg for all her hard work and tireless advocacy for MASG in particular and renewable energy in general. We will greatly miss her drive, commitment and not least, her sense of humour.
With Marg’s departure we are calling for nominations to the MASG Committee. You’ll need to have a strong interest in climate change and sustainability, and an understanding of governance and risk, particularly in relation to not-for-profits. Previous experience in fundraising strategy would be welcome.
The time requirement is a monthly meeting, plus reading and contributing to the development of submission and policies, and a willingness to contribute to the success and future direction of the organisation.
If this sounds like you, please submit an Expression of Interest to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, 29 August.
Castlemaine Divestment Workshop
We are organising a Divestment Workshop on 24 August, at the Uniting Church Hall, 10am-4pm. $10 donation for a great local lunch. Stay tuned for more information in the next issue! And on a similar note, churches representing 500 million Christians pull their fossil fuel investments.
A global church representative group has announced that it will pull all of its investments from fossil fuels, citing that it is no longer ethical to do so. The decision by the World Council of Churches (WCC), an umbrella group representing 345 churches or more than half a billion Christians worldwide, is seen as a major boost to the so-called “divestment” campaign encouraging pension funds to no longer invest in fossil fuels.
The WCC said it decided to no longer fund oil, gas, or coal at its central committee meeting in Geneva, and urged that its members, including the 25 million-member Church of England, do the same.
DIY with MASG
This fortnight, a picture tells it all.
In the community
MASG has been flat out with community activities recently.
Chewton Community Plan
We’ve been represented on the Chewton Community Plan meetings. The Plan has been particularly looking at waste and reducing tolerance for illegal dumping. There has been discussion around reinvigorating Chewton Landcare and establishing a community garden.
Twin Peaks Mountain Bike Park
In Harcourt we have had continuing representation on the Twin Peaks Mountain Bike Park, and Damian Drum is making a crucial announcement tomorrow about the park – (it’s expected to be a funding announcement). Fingers crossed, this will be a boon to Harcourt’s and the Shire’s residents, as well as mountain bikers around the state.
Taradale Primary Fun Fair
The Taradale Primary Fun Fair is on this Saturday, and MASG, The People’s Solar and of course the Taradale Primary School communities will be out celebrating in full force, and raising funds for Taradale’s new solar panels.
Waste-Wise and Sustainable Events
We are assisting at the free evening workshop on Thursday, 24 July at 6.30pm in the Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine with a session on Waste-Wise and Sustainable Events. Tonight!
We are helping host a FREE energy-saving workshop and training session at the Maldon Neighbourhood Centre next Monday:
Standard and Poor’s warns ‘King Coal’ will lose its crown and put assets at risk
US-based credit ratings group Standard & Poor’s has become the latest financial market heavyweight to lend its voice to growing concern that the majority of the world’s remaining coal assets could end up stranded, risking billions of dollars in investments and threatening the economic security of exporting nations.
In a report released on Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said that, despite the dominant position still held by coal in the world’s primary energy and electricity markets, and the sheer size of global coal reserves – enough to last more than 110 years at current production levels – in an increasingly carbon-constrained environment, most of those assets would wind up having no economic return.
Why it makes sense to pair solar with electric vehicles
In thinking about possible pathways for a low or zero carbon economy, electric cars running on sunshine are an increasingly attractive option.
A recent survey found that 32 percent of electric vehicle (EV) owners in the western US have solar panels on their homes. We don’t know how many of the miles driven come from those panels, because they may not be sized appropriately to supply both the home demand and the vehicle demand. Regardless, it is clear that as prices for PV and EVs continue to fall, more and more homeowners will opt for what we can call the PV4EV solution.
Utilities face new challenge in rush for home storage
Australian electricity utilities face a new challenge from a fast-growing interest from Australian households in home energy storage.
Numerous companies are poised to roll out home energy storage solutions in coming months, and all solar installers and distributors report a growing rate of inquiry about battery storage.
According to his estimates, the annual rate of installations of battery storage in Australian homes could reach around 1,000 by the end of the year, but this is just scratching the surface of the market.
Australia installed 65MW rooftop solar in June
Australia’s coal and gas fired generators may complain of over-capacity in the electricity market – hence their opposition to the current renewable energy target – but that is not having an impact on Australian households, which continue to install rooftop solar at higher than expected rates.
ARENA puts $18.5m to solar, wind and storage in Coober Pedy
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is investing $18.5 million to help Energy Developments install a hybrid system solar, wind and storage that will take the outback town of Coober Pedy to 70 per cent renewables.
The South Australian town – famous as the former “opal capital” of the world – now relies exclusively on costly, imported diesel, and a 3.9MW diesel power station.
But the new project will look to integrate 2MW of solar PV, 3MW of wind, and a 2MW, 750kWh battery storage set up. This could account for 70 per cent of the town’s needs.
CEFC to provide $120m to unlock Australia rooftop solar finance
CEFC brings in US solar giant SunEdison to Australian rooftop solar market, and helps local manufacturer Tindo. All told, $186 million will be deployed to expand solar financing and power purchase agreements to avoid up front costs of rooftop solar.
The Clean Energy Finance Corp has announced funding of up to $120 million to help break down financing barriers to rooftop solar, and open up the market to renters and others by removing up front costs.
The commitments by the CEFC include $70 million in senior debt finance to bring US solar giant SunEdison to the Australian market and open up a range of new finance products that include leases and power purchase agreements. Sun Edison will provide a further $46 million.
Climate Action with a mouse
Solar to be charged under the radar … so sign a petition
Last week it was revealed that in early January, under the radar, energy retailer Simply Energy introduced a 14c-a-day levy on Victorian solar users. That charge brings total fixed fees to $400 a year for Simply Energy customers – an extra $51 on top of what non-solar customers pay!?Simply Energy appears to be the first retailer in the country singling out solar users with extra charges in this way.
Tell Victoria’s Premier Denis Napthine and Energy Minister Russell Northe to protect solar homes from unfair charges.
In November Victoria will hold its state election and there are at least 430,000 solar voters across the state. Can you tell Premier Napthine and Minister Northe to stand with Victorians and regulate to guarantee that no energy companies can unfairly charge solar homes?
Sign the petition to Minister Northe and share it with your friends and family.
Email Matthew Guy
On Wednesday this week, the Napthine government acknowledged there are problems with state wind farm planning laws. We’re all aware of the blanket bans on wind farms in the windiest parts of the state, and the 2km right of veto that allows householders to block projects.
A lesser-known problem with the laws applies to wind farms that are already approved. The planning laws locked companies into using old technology, as they were not able to make minor modifications to use more efficient turbines.
The Napthine government has announced it will amend wind farm planning laws to let wind energy companies use the best-available technology – which is a result of our consistent efforts highlighting the problems with the Ted Bailleu-era anti-wind farm laws. This is a welcome amendment as a positive step forward by the government on wind energy, but more steps are needed to create jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector.
Send an email to Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy. Thank him for taking a positive step on wind energy, and ask him to take further steps to end Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind legacy.
What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, responding in May 2013 to those pointing out the need to stop using the Earth’s atmosphere as a sewer. That’s all.