APPEA Boss Must Retract Misleading Statements on Coal Seam Gas

Independent energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions condemns misleading statements made by the fossil fuel industry in the wake of the APPEA's (Australian Production Petroleum Exploration Association) belated release of the report it commissioned into the climate change impact of Coal Seam Gas.

Matthew Wright, executive director of Beyond Zero Emissions says:

'The report's conclusions are contrary to claims made by APPEA boss Rick Wilkinson in The Australian, where he claims that "activists have a blind spot when it comes to the gas industry's greenhouse benefit." The APPEA report clearly shows that Coal Seam Gas is more greenhouse gas intensive than coal when used for electricity generation whether it's in Australia or China.'

'Rick Wilkinson's claim that "Gas is widely accepted as a cleaner energy source than coal on all counts," is wrong and a greenwash myth that has been generated in the communications departments gas industry majors, Origin, Santos, AGL, QGC and by APPEA itself.

'APPEA should be called out for spinning its analysis to support the unsubstantiated conclusion that CSG is cleaner than coal. Mr Wilkinson should immediately retract the inaccurate public statements made today or risk damaging the credibility of the organisation he represents.'

Community Groups Call On Premier O’Farrell To Back Wind Power In NSW

Environment, health and community groups have gathered in Sydney today to discuss the future of wind energy in NSW. As electricity prices continue to rise for most NSW households, the groups have welcomed reports from South Australia that wind power is cutting pollution and lowering the wholesale market cost of electricity.

Nature Conservation Council of NSW CEO Pepe Clarke said, “NSW should join South Australia who are not only benefiting from the reduced emissions of wind power but cheaper energy prices at the same time. Wind power is a mature technology capable of providing a proven, cost‐effective way of meeting the NSW government’s 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020 target”.

Beyond Zero Emissions strategic director Mark Ogge said, “Right now, there are more than $10.4 billion worth of wind farm proposals waiting for the green light to generate enough power for more than 2.3 million homes. A huge opportunity for new investment and job creation awaits NSW”.

100% Renewable campaign spokesperson Lindsay Soutar said, “The state government’s own research, together with local community surveys of more than 12,500 people show high levels of public support for renewable energy. Nearly 90 per cent of people we spoke to supported the introduction of more renewable energy as a way of managing rising energy prices”.

Baillieu Government Anti-Wind Stance Closes the Door on Cost Savings

Changes to the planning rules for wind energy projects introduced by the Baillieu Government will cost Victoria hundreds of jobs and billions of dollars in investment.

Beyond Zero Emissions’ Executive Director Matthew Wright says wind energy developments will reduce the cost of electricity:

“Wind provided 20 percent of South Australia’s electricity last year and delivered cheaper electricity for South Australians. When the wind is blowing it provides the cheapest source of electricity to the network and reduces the need for more expensive electricity generated by coal and gas power plants,” explains Wright.

“The Baillieu Government’s changes are a roadblock to Victorian families and businesses realising the savings that South Australians experienced in 2010.”

BZE Executive Director pictured on front of 2011 Sydney Whitepages

Beyond Zero Emissions is pleased to have been awarded the prestigous opportunity to be pictured on the front of the Sydney Whitepages by Telstra owned directory publisher Sensis.

BZE Executive Director Matthew Wright is pictured on top of the Sydney Theatre Company with their new largescale rooftop solar array with the Harbour Bridge in the background.  The array was partly sponsored by Suntech CEO and China's third richest businessman Dr Zhengrong Shi and former UNSW solar photovoltaic researcher.

The photovoltaic group that used to host Dr Shi is the global leader in photovoltaic cell performance holding efficiency records in the lab.

Carbon Price Response: A Small Step Forward, But Hard Yards Remain

Climate and energy security think tank Beyond Zero Emissions welcome the Labor government’s carbon price package negotiated with The Greens and lower house independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor. The proposed legislation will start the process of transitioning Australia from a 19th Century fossil fuel economy to a 21st Century renewable-powered cleantech economy.

Beyond Zero Emissions Executive Director Matthew Wright said the government’s decision to plan for a 100 percent electricity sector is an important step toward Australia’s zero-carbon future:

“The government has accepted the challenge layed down by Beyond Zero Emissions less than 12 months ago with the release of our Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, which is still Australia’s only feasibility study for a renewable energy powered economy. Tasking the Australian Energy Market Operator with planning for a 100 percent renewable energy sector will encourage a rigorous public debate about the best mix of renewables to achieving that goal.”

While the carbon price package is a step forward, hard yards remain. Matthew Wright said:

“The proposed ‘clean energy future’ legislation reflects the politics of climate change but not the science. The world’s carbon emissions are continuing to grow rapidly, so it’s important for the government to strengthen its initial climate change offering where possible.”

Climate Policy unFiT for getting Rooftop Solar down cost curve to negative abatement cost by 2015

The Gillard government has ignored the most successful policy in the world for rolling out renewables deployed and reducing carbon emissions: the German renewable energy Feed-in Tariff.

Internal analysis by Beyond Zero Emissions shows that the use of a Feed-in Tariff to get solar panels onto every rooftop in Australia would add just 1.2 cents to the cost of electricity over 20 years.  This is the total cost of getting solar panels everywhere and ultimately reducing electricity bills for many Australians.

By 2015 with appropriate support leading up to that date we could have solar panels installed generating cheaper electricity than buying fossil fuel electricity at the household or business meter.

Matthew Wright said:

“For a rooftop solar revolution Australia needs a Feed-in Tariff.  This will complement appropriate mechanisms for wind power (RET or Feed-in Tariff) and large baseload solar thermal with storage (Feed-in-Tariff) and deliver the 100 percent renewable energy economy that AEMO will model for us.”

“Simply put, Feed in Tariff is the cheapest mechanism to actually succeed in getting carbon abatement as seen in the Productivity Commissions report on Germany,”
added Wright.

Contact: Matthew Wright, Executive Director, +61 421 616 733

Clarification Needed on ‘Clean Energy’ – Scarce Investment Dollars Should Flow Only To Renewables

Beyond Zero Emissions welcomes the establishment of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The Greens have been successful in striking forest burning out of the definition of renewable energy but have failed to negotiate the end to the practice of hybrid gas/solar plants. Without clarifying what constitutes ‘clean energy’, Australia risks wasting billions of scarce renewable energy investment dollars on unnecessary and polluting gas/solar hybrid power plants.

All solar thermal plants to be built in Australia with support from ARENA and the CEFC's $10 billion funding pool must include molten salt thermal storage configured in a 6-10 hour storage peaking arrangement or in a full 15-17 hour baseload configuration.

Govt Must Exclude Polluting Gas from Clean Energy Investments To Prevent Environmental Damage

Beyond Zero Emissions welcomes the new Clean Energy Finance Corporation to support the rollout of renewable energy in Australia.

The $1 billion guaranteed funding for renewable energy is welcome. However the $1 billion unspecified portion per year needs to explicitly exclude fossil gas. Conventional gas and especially coal seam gas is dirty. In fact, due to dodgy accounting on fugitive emissions coal seam gas impacts are likely to be 80 to 150 times higher than claimed by industry.

Beyond Zero Emissions Executive Director Matthew Wright says:

“The worst thing we can do for the environment at this juncture is to back fossil gas. The building of a gas plant will lock in up to 60-years of gas burning, causing between 50 and 110 percent of the emissions of existing coal plants. This is due to new accounting on the total lifecycle of coal seam gas.  If Australia has a gas future it will be based on an eastern seaboard coal seam gas boom. Beyond Zero Emissions calls on the government, greens and independents to not allow the coal seam gas false start.”

“Gas is a diversion not a shortcut. Coal Seam Gas is a flashpoint dividing communities around the country,”
says Wright.

Contact: Matthew Wright, Executive Director, +61 421 616 733

Carbon Price Response: Retired Coal Plants Should Be Replaced With Renewables

Beyond Zero Emissions welcomes the Government, Greens and Independents carbon price package which starts the process of Australia's transition from a 19th century fossil fuel dominated economy to a 21st Century renewable energy cleantech economy.

The announcement that 2000MWe of coal-fired power generation will be closed down by tender is welcome.

The government should not be paying out too much for assets which were purchased by businesses that failed to do due dilligence on the environment and market in which these facilities would be operating.

Beyond Zero Emissions Executive Director Matthew Wright says:  

“We have known for years that coal and gas causes climate change. So any significant government money put into this compensation for big polluters is a potential rip off of the Australian public.”

Labor’s Solar Flagships: Smoke and Mirrors…and Coal Seam Gas

Picture: The Gemasolar baseload solar power tower in Spain.

The Federal Government's choice of picking French state owned nuclear giant Areva to build a Solar plant based on out‐dated technology is a move that has surprised the climate and energy security think‐tank Beyond Zero Emissions. The proposed plant near the controversial coal seam gas fields at Chinchilla is a missed opportunity to build Australia’s first baseload solar plant.

“The rest of the world is seizing the opportunity to use low‐cost molten salt energy storage technology to build truly baseload solar thermal power plants” says Mark Ogge, renewable energy campaigner, Beyond Zero Emissions.

“Surprisingly the Gillard government has picked outdated and inferior linear technology with gas backup in a cynical attempt to justify destructive coal seam gas extraction on prime agricultural land in Queensland’s Darling Downs,” says Ogge.

Questionable Benefits from Taxpayer Funded Research on Unproven Clean Coal Tech

The Australian government has spent millions of dollars worth of taxpayer money on research into Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and allocated millions more in the 2011-12 budget. It’s time for the Gillard government to be transparent about the progress of CCS. It shouldn’t be throwing away money on the ‘clean coal’ pipedream.

Beyond Zero Emissions call on the Greens to use Senate Estimates and balance of power from 1 July to push government to reveal:

• How much public money has been spent on Carbon Capture and Storage to date
• How much has industry contributed, given its promise to put in $1 billion
• What is the evidence that CCS is progressing as predicted
• What is the cost-benefit of to publicly funded research into CCS compared to research to make proven renewable energy technologies cheaper

To Secure Climate Credibility, Govt Must Invest Carbon Price Revenue in Clean Tech

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has used a National Press Club address to announce that 50 per cent of proposed carbon price revenue will be allocated for household compensation. To lock in its credibility, the Gillard Government must allocate the other half to clean technology projects.

Matthew Wright, Executive Director of Beyond Zero Emissions (2010 Young Environmentalist of the Year) says:

‘The government must stand firm against the greenhouse mafia and use the remaining funds for investing in cleantech projects for the public good. It’s the only way for Gillard to lock in her credibility on this issue.’

Response to Auditor General’s Report on Renewables: Price Increases From Solar Feed-in Tariff Pale In Comparison To Infrastructure Costs

Today, the Victorian Auditor General released a report evaluating the effectiveness of state government policies for increasing renewable energy generation. The report estimates that achieving the solar energy target by 2020 would cost $2.4 to $3.4 billion and increase average household electricity bills by $23 to $47 each year.

While the Auditor General’s numbers are reasonable, they paint an overly pessimistic picture without proper context:

Beyond Zero Emissions Support Climate Action Rally

LATEST UPDATE (15/3/2011) - The rally for action on climate change had an attendance of around 8000-10,000 people, while the climate change denier rally had only around 200-400.

MELBOURNE—Today, Melbournians will rally to support action on climate change. The show of people power will demonstrate that the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his supporters are out of touch not only with climate science but also with public opinion.

Beyond Zero Emissions will stand with the community and allies from Getup, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Environment Victoria, and the Union Climate Connectors, to support action on climate change.

Matthew Wright, Beyond Zero Emissions Executive Director and 2010 Environment Minister’s Young Environmentalist of the Year says:

“Beyond Zero Emissions support the public rally for action on climate change. Mr. Abbott, the extremist shock jocks and climate change deniers are out of touch with public opinion. The Australian Government must stand firm against this scare campaign and deliver policies that help build a renewable energy economy.”   

Matthew Wright adds:

“A carbon price combined with a national feed-in tariff for large-scale baseload solar will set Australia on track for a jobs rich and prosperous future. Delaying or preventing action threatens our economy and our climate.”


When: Saturday March 12, 11:00am

Where: Treasury Place, Melbourne

The Good Doctor Does It Again… Dr Karl Spruiks For Renewables

Australia’s legendary science communicator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki has once again made the case for renewable energy on Seven’s Sunrise program. For the second time in a fortnight, Dr Karl has used his position as part of Mel and Kochie’s ‘Brains Trust’ to educate Australians about baseload solar thermal power.

Executive Director Matthew Wright says ‘the Beyond Zero Emissions team think it’s great that Dr Karl has once again pointed to our joint Zero Carbon Australia research initiative with the University of Melbourne to back his calls for a renewable energy future’

‘Dr Karl is right,’ says Matthew Wright, ‘Australia can get started today to achieve this bold vision of powering the nation with 100 percent renewable energy in ten years’

You can watch Dr Karl’s 60-second pitch for renewable energy here, and download a copy of the Zero Carbon Australia plan here

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