Author Archive: roman

Environment groups send open letter to PM: Protect the RET

The federal government continues to try and destroy the renewable Energy Target. So far the ALP has refused to do a deal to reduce the current RET, and the Greens firmly oppose any deal. It’s vital that the community remind the PM that there is overwhelming support for renewable energy, and that most people want more, not less renewables. Recent polling on the RET shows that more than 88% of Australians would like to see the Renewable Energy Target either increase or remain at the current level of 41,000 GWh.

This morning we have joined with 22 other groups to urge the PM to keep the RET at the current target of 41,000 Gwh. Check here for the letter.

Please add your voice

1/ Please cut and paste the letter below to the Prime Minister (please feel free to personalise it and add extra information) and send it to the PM via his website.

2/ Post it on the PM’s facebook page

3/ Send him a message by Twitter. Eg:

PM @TonyAbbottMHR I support renewable energy for climate action, jobs, investment. No cut to the Renewable Energy target… Read more >>

An Open letter to the PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 3.09.17 pmDear Prime Minister                                                                                                   24  March 2015

We are a diverse group of leading organisations who represent a broad cross section of people in Australia.

We, and millions of Australians, believe that powering our nation with renewable energy is common sense.

We call on you to honour your government’s pre-election commitment to keep the 2020 Renewable Energy Target at the level currently legislated, including the Large Scale Renewable Energy Target of 41,000 Gwh.

To re-instate business, investor and household confidence, we would welcome clear commitments beyond 2020 to accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy.

Showing leadership on the Renewable Energy Target will be a win for jobs, for households, for our health, our economy, and our environment.

The 2020 Renewable Energy Target has strong public support. More than 88%* of Australians would like to see the Renewable Energy Target either increase or remain at the current level of 41,000 GWh. With 84% of people indicating it is important the Federal Government invest in renewable energy. Australians think it’s smart to invest in renewable energy instead of dirty coal. The Renewable Energy Target is also enabling more and more people to take control of generating their own power and managing their bills. Solar homes have grown from the hundreds to the millions in less than a decade.

The Renewable Energy Target creates sustainable jobs. The Renewable Energy Target has generated more than 24,000 jobs, and is forecast to generate tens of thousands more. People working in the 1000s of small Australian businesses installing solar panels, as well as larger businesses building and maintaining wind turbines, solar and biomass plants are at risk. Sadly, renewable energy companies have already had to lay off staff due to the government’s plans to cut the Renewable Energy Target. Maintaining and growing the Renewable Energy Target provides a solid foundation for new sustainable jobs in Australia.



Our last FoE Notes was inadvertantly a repeat of the previous issue. For those of you who suffered an unintended feeling of deja vu, our apologies. We shall take steps to try and prevent a recurrence. Still wrangling the new technology, after all.

This issue has a few items about trade deals and La Via Campasina. While perusing the draft terms of reference for the Nuclear Royal Commission, some questions occurred to us about the cost and nature of “next gen” nuclear reactors. We found a few articles which tackled these issues, so we though we’d draw them to your attention, as well.

Please feel free to pass this on to any friends who may be interested. They can subscribe, if they wish,  using the form at bottom left on our website’s home page.


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What is the carbon footprint of renewable electricity?

As part of an analysis of the carbon footprint of nuclear power, Keith Barnham notes the footprint of renewables. The british Climate change commission (CCC) has recommended any new power stations should not exceeed 50 gCO2/kWh.

When comparing the carbon footprints of electricity-generating technologies, we need to take into account carbon dioxide emitted in all stages in the life of the generator and its fuel. Such a study is called a life cycle analysis (LCA).

There are other gases such as methane that are more dangerous greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. The most reliable LCAs take all greenhouse gases into account and present equivalent carbon dioxide emissions.

In a recent paper in Energy Policy, Daniel Nugent and Benjamin Sovacool critically reviewed the published LCAs of renewable electricity generators. All the renewable technologies came in below the 50 gCO2/kWh limit.

The lowest was large-scale hydropower with a carbon footprint one fifth of the CCC limit (10 gCO2/kWh). A close second was biogas electricity from anaerobic digestion (11 gCO2/kWh). The mean figure for wind energy is 34 gCO2/kWh, and solar PV comes in a shade under the 50g limit, at 49.9 gCO2/kWh. Bear in mind that rapidly evolving PV technology means that this last figure is contantly falling.

It’s a lot more difficult to do the calculation for nuclear power, because of the concentration of uranium affects the energy to enrich; the costs of decommissioning (dismantling and waste disposal) are poorly known. Barnham’s article goes into more detail about the wide range of estimates and their assumptions.… Read more >>