CEFC a distraction, not a solution: We need a comprehensive renewable energy policy

Renewable energy think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) has today released its response to the government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) legislation.

To download it click here.

BZE opposes the CEFC in its current form, as it will not secure any extra renewable energy over the already legislated target of 20% renewables by 2020.

Additionally, the government’s flawed definition of “renewable” and low-emissions technology means the CEFC may end up funding dirty, fossil-gas-burning projects.

BZE asks whether the policy is designed to obscure the difference between government-defined ‘clean energy’ and truly clean renewables.

BZE’s statement outlines what will really support renewable energy expansion, in particular a national Feed-in Tariff. This would support key renewable energy technologies such as baseload solar thermal power plants.

To download the statement click here.

For further comment, please contact Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions on 0421 616 733.

The minister for tourism signs tourism industry's death warrant

Martin Ferguson, the Federal Minister for Resources Energy and Tourism and previous head of the ACTU, today signalled that the mining industry will take precedence over tourism and manufacturing, despite the enormous damage it is doing to these industries.

In a speech in Brisbane today, Mr Ferguson acknowledged that the mining industry was damaging the rest of the economy, and then went on to blame the rest of the economy.

Worley base case baseless but coal seam gas still worse than coal

A new WorleyParsons report states that gas plants can have higher emissions than even the worst coal plants, but under-estimates the problem by relying on misleading assumptions.

Understating the true level of coal seam gas (CSG) emissions will lead to massive gas fields being approved erroneously. It will also allow companies, including major clients of WorleyParsons, to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars through carbon liabilities that would need to be paid if emissions were properly accounted for.

"Deliberately failing to measure and ignoring potentially massive carbon liabilities is tax evasion" said Matthew Wright Executive Director of climate and energy security think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

This report illustrates the clear need for a comprehensive INDEPENDENT measurement and research of lifecycle emissions of gas. It is simply not adequate for government and investors to rely on research from companies with half a billion dollar contracts with oil and gas proponents, who would benefit enormously from underestimation of emissions.

WorleyParsons has a $500 million contract to develop an LNG field for QGC.

Media Release: Solar: IPART recommends NSW power rip off


The failure to recognize the contribution that rooftop solar systems make to the national energy supply, is ripping off all Australians, says leading renewable energy think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

BZE’s Executive Director Mathew Wright, urges the NSW government not to follow the recent decision by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), which will see solar power owners losing thousands on the value of their purchases.

"All electricity consumers should be very worried at the rip off being perpetrated by IPART.  All New South Wales electricity consumers will be ripped off whether they install solar panels or not as all consumers benefit with lower bills thanks to solar, not just the owners
of systems", says Matthew Wright.

IPART solar feed-in tariffs report

Gas emissions up to seventy times worse - immediate moratorium a must

Unconventional gas emissions up to seventy times worse than industry claims - immediate moratorium a must

Real time air sampling of gas fields in the US has shown leakage rates of up to over seventy times greater than the rates assumed by industry and accepted by government in Australia.

The study by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado, has found rates of fugitive emissions fugitive emissions up to 7.7%, with a mean of 4% .

"If US government agency NOAA is offering a hard estimate at 4% for a field north of Denver in Colorado then Australian fields are likely to have that sort of rate of release if not more, says Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions

NSW and QLD governments must halt all gas mining to protect farms and food exports


Beyond Zero Emissions is calling for a complete cessation of CSG mining and exploration activities across NSW and QLD following the verified leak of toxic chemicals into the environment at a NSW CSG field owned by SANTOS.

"All CSG activities must stop to protect farming, state and national governments must order an immediate cessation of exploration and extraction across NSW and QLD in light of the continued problems that are plaguing the industry" said Wright

"It is obvious that Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining is resulting in the destruction of our natural environment and poisoning of our waterways and land" said Matthew Wright Executive Director of climate and energy security think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

"Following a series of ongoing issues at multiple sites, it is clear that these problems aren't going away and this industry can't operate safely or in a way that doesn't pose a significant risk of harm the community" said Wright.

"Our hardworking farmers rely on untainted clean water in order to supply safe food to consumers in our cities, SANTOS and other operators such as AGL and QGC are gatecrashing established agricultural communities with their toxic mining practices and destroying the very land the nation relies on to be able to meet the demands for our daily fresh food and vegetables." said Wright

Flagship projects are duds

Ferguson run Flagships has picked losers not winners.

Feed-in tariffs have been shown time and again to be the superior market-based policy instrument for getting the best renewable energy deployed. However, if the government chooses to use grant mechanisms, the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism need to get a lot better at evaluating technologies.

Through Solar Flagships the government wanted to showcase one photovoltaic and one solar thermal plant.

Flagships Fiasco Ferguson Un-FiT

Today, climate and energy solutions think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions called on Minister Ferguson and the Gillard Government to stop picking losers through a renewable energy grant system and instead back a national feed-in-tariff (FiT)

"The reason to choose feed-in-tariffs over grants, guarantees and other schemes that Ferguson has picked, is that they provide a level playing field for investors and they actually get renewable energy built"  said Matthew Wright Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions.

"State based feed-in-tariffs achieved $5 billion worth of renewable investment last year in Australia, more than any other scheme has ever achieved."

"In cloudy Germany the 2012 feed-in-tariff scheme achieved over $30 Billion investment in solar alone."

Foot off the gas:Grattan wrong on solar, wrong on feed-in tariffs

The new Grattan Institute report "No quick fix for Australia’s future energy challenge" contains misleading comparisons, flawed analysis and glaring omissions on vital energy issues confronting Australia.

Australian Car Manufacturing must go electric

Australian car manufacturing to become extinct unless we shift to electric vehicles. "The Australian car manufacturing industry will suffer a "Kodak moment" (they announced bankruptcy this week) if it fails to shift from polluting internal combustion engines (ICE) to efficient electric engines, said Matthew Wright Executive Director of climate and energy security think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

"It is unfortunate that successive Australian governments have been throwing good money after bad continuing to prop up an unsustainable auto manufacturing sector with little result."

"Subsidies supporting a 19th Century fossil fuel-based transport sector are about spending our hard earned money now to sell out our future" said Wright

Solar programs pay for themselves and reduce the cost of electricity

This is an updated version of what was published in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

Solar energy benefits the state by providing electricity at much cheaper rates than those of traditional sources, writes Matthew Wright.

It may appear counter-intuitive, but getting millions of solar panels onto rooftops saves more money than it costs. Feed-in tariffs enacted by state governments have enabled ordinary Australians using their savings to build a solar power station at home benefiting the community.

When those solar households who had saved to get their panels installed under the solar feed-in tariff programs export their solar production to the grid, which occurs mostly during higher demand daytime periods, they are given a slightly higher than average retail rate for the electricity they are selling. The prices they have been paid are relatively meagre when compared with the ridiculously high rates paid to big coal or gas power plants.

At the same time that little solar households who have invested their money in a rooftop power station are being paid between 44¢ and 60¢ per kilowatt hour, the old power companies with their dirty belching coal and gas plants are receiving as much as $12.50.

In other words, the coal and gas guys are being paid as much as $11.90 more than a home solar generator for just one unit of electricity, or 20 times the solar price.

WorleyParsons has publicly promulgated a falsehood in relation to BZE.

Media Release 18 Nov 11

WorleyParsons has publicly promulgated a falsehood in relation to BZE. WorleyParsons state in their media release dated 10 November 2011: "Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) engaged Worley Parsons to prepare a report to analyse the life cycle GHG emissions for Australian gas compared to other energy sources. BZE and WorleyParsons subsequently agreed not to proceed with this report."

It is true that BZE engaged WorleyParsons to prepare this report. The engagement is in writing, and a copy is attached. However there has been no agreement not to proceed with this report. Let WorleyParsons show any evidence or written agreement in support of their public assertion that the parties subsequently agreed not to proceed.

TRANSCRIPT - Radio National: Coal seam gas report 'suppressed'

TRANSCRIPT - Radio National Breakfast: Coal Seam Gas Report 'Suppressed'

November 14, 2011

Fran Kelly- It’s been hailed as the low carbon fuel to help us transition to a clean energy future, but in recent months, some have started to question the climate credentials of the so called ‘unconventional gas’; coal seam gas and shale gas.
Greens leader, Bob Brown says ‘the jury is out’ on whether gas will actually deliver  greenhouse gas emission savings.
So back in June, a renewable energy think tank called Beyond Zero Emissions, tried to get to the bottom of the matter, commissioning a report designed to compare whole of life cycle emissions from coal seam gas and shale gas, with other energy sources - resources including shale, coal, and renewables.
Now Beyond Zero Emissions claims that consultants Worley Parsons are refusing to hand over that report, as our environment editor Gregg Borschmann reports, Worley Parsons rejects that claim.
Gregg Borschmann- In the Australian policy response to climate change, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of gas. Gas is going to helpcut Australia’s greenhouse emissions.
Martin Ferguson- This is a major long-term benefit to Australia. Gas is clean energy, it is about the transition to a lower emissions economy.
Gregg Borschmann - That was Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson speaking on Breakfast two weeks ago. But as the new coal seam gas industry booms, and shale gas looms, what if these unconventional sources of gas, turn out to be little better then digging up and burning coal.
Matthew Wright- The upper management or the board has actually stopped us from  receiving the report and we believe that’s on the basis that the report has some pretty explosive detail.

Worley Parsons suppresses explosive gas emissions report under gas industry pressure

An explosive report demolishing gas industry claims that coal seam gas is "clean energy" has been suppressed by the Board of the company that wrote it.

The report was commissioned by the not for profit renewable energy research group Beyond Zero Emissions and fully completed in September.

Worley Parsons have a $580 million contract with Queensland Gas Company for engineering and procurement services for the company’s massive Queensland Curtis LNG project.

"We have a contract for the delivery of this report. The report has been completed, and the fact that its findings are inconvenient for the gas industry and Worley Parsons is not a good enough reason for its suppression. It is of the utmost importance that the proper scientific research into the true emissions impact of coal seam gas sees the light of day" says Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions. "We need to clear the air on gas emissions."

This report supersedes a report selectively and repeatedly quoted by oil and gas industry lobby group APPEA, but hidden from public view until its release under pressure a few days ago.

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