We hope that you have enjoyed time with friends and family this month, and that the Easter Bilby came to visit. Need a pick-me-up after returning to the usual routine after the holidays? Enjoy this good news story about some new baby bilbies here in Townsville. May is absolutely filled with events, so make sure you keep an eye on your inbox and follow us on Facebook to keep up-to-date!
In this edition:
- Hinchinbrook stall in Cardwell
- Member Event: Wednesday 1 May
- Clean Energy Rally: Wednesday 8 May
- Green Drinks: Friday 10 May
- Candidates Forum
- Postcard Art Exhibition Opening: Friday 17 May
- Some Reminders
Clean Energy – finally, the revolution is on (Qld Government Information meetings).
If you haven’t been watching, the energy revolution is on – the rapid transition to renewable energy is taking off. Nothing like what it should be yet but it has started, it is picking up steam very quickly and it is unstoppable. And believe it or not, Queensland, not South Australia, and central and north Queensland within it, is leading (more on this to come in this blog space).
The Queensland Government is holding community information events next month on its policies to 1. transition to net zero emissions by 2050 and 2. adapt to the impacts of climate change. The link for registration at the Townsville event is here. The link to the two strategies is here.
The organizing questions are:
What does climate change and a low-carbon world mean for you, your business and your community?
What is the Queensland Government doing to lead our shared response?
I was fortunate to receive a related briefing from the Dept. of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) with Queensland Conservation Council and other NGOs late last month before departing for Townsville. Sadly, the public meetings will not include political decision makers, just the committed and enthusiastic DEHP public servants who finally are on about implementation of these generally progressive but still very modest policies.Read more
The Powering North Queensland Summit organised by the Australian Solar Council and the Energy Storage Council was held in Townsville on August 31. The list of speakers included Curtis Pitt, local MPs and senior management from a dozen renewable energy projects - Copperstring, Genex, Infigen and more. “Community groups” were encouraged to attend; NQCC was represented by the President, Gail Hamilton. Dr Bill Laing, NQCC member and committed campaigner for solar energy, also attended and was kind enough to send us his summary. Here it is.
At NQCC, we believe the economic downturn owing to the closure of coal mines in recent times is a great opportunity to kickstart the Queensland renewable energies sector.
Australia is the sunniest and windiest continent on Earth; with 3139 hours of 'bright sunshine' per year, North Queensland even beats Darwin for the best place to utilise solar electricity. We are one of the leaders in domestic solar power uptake with over 29,000 homes powered by rooftop solar in the Townsville electorate of Herbert alone by 2016.
What Is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is any endlessly replaceable source of energy. For example, there is no limit to the waves which will wash up on the beach, so by using waves as an energy source, you're using a 'renewable' source of electricity. Fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, are referred to as non-renewable sources of energy because there is a finite amount of these resources in the ground. Once all fossil fuel sources are used up, we will no longer be able to create energy with them.
There are many different types of renewable energies in the clean energy mix including wind, solar PV, solar thermal, hydroelectricity, wave power, tidal, and geothermal.
Pros and Cons of Renewables and Non-Renewables:
|Fossil Fuels||- Existing Infrastructure
- Cheap Energy Source
|- Difficult To Obtain
- Damages The Environment
- Contributes To Climate Change
- Industry Workers Incur Higher Rates Of Injury And Illness
- Accidents Have Huge Consequences
- Requires Large Amounts Of Transport and Materials
|Renewable Energies||- Free Energy Source
- Minimal Environmental Impacts
- Opportunities For Market Growth
- Many Different Applications
- Low Maintenance
- Technology Is Improving
|- Needs New Infrastructure
- Less Efficient
- Storage Is Expensive
Opportunities In The Renewable Energy Market
In North Queensland, the opportunity to utilise solar technology is overwhelming. The market growth for solar energy is astronomical with the technology creating unprecedented employment growth in the sector. Renewable energy employed over 8.1 million people worldwide in 2015 alone. The price of solar is becoming more affordable every year- in 1975, 1 solar watt cost $101.50; these days it costs about $0.45.
With climate change well underway and the North Queensland economy in trouble, there has never been a better time to begin the renewable transition to renewable energies. North Queensland should be a pioneer for renewable energy technology and applications. Townsville residents have made one of the largest individual investments in rooftop solar out of the rest of Australia. This shows that Townsville residents already know there are benefits in investing in renewables- we just need our government to follow suit.
Have a look at our blog post about NQ jobs in a renewable energy economy here to understand the employment opportunities that come with leading the transition.
We need to replace our current fossil-fuel-based lifestyle with one that relies on clean, renewable energies.
What You Can Do To Get This Movement Underway
By investing in renewable energies, we can create a low-carbon society, and we can do it far more quickly than seemed possible just a few years ago. Here are three easy steps to get North Queensland well on the way:
- Invest in rooftop solar or a community solar project.
- Make a phone call/ write a letter/ schedule a meeting with your local state or federal MP, or a member of council to let them know you think renewables would be a great investment for Queensland.
- Write a Letter To The Editor in your local newspaper about renewables.
Click here for all our blog posts relating to Renewable Energy, and here to check our archive for older posts.
• Last updated 9 Dec 2016; links updated April 2018
“While Adani’s Carmichael coal mine is beset with opposition and financing problems, the contrast to the go-ahead of yet another renewable, solar power station couldn’t be clearer” said NQ Conservation’s Maree Dibella, after news of the commencement of the $126 million Kidston Solar Project was announced by the Queensland Government yesterday.
“These are just the sorts of projects that conservationists support. It’s really exciting – an unused mine site being transformed into a renewable energy production and storage powerhouse” said Ms Dibella.Read more
This is a post by outgoing Community Campaigner Jacob Miller.
The Adani Carmichael Project has increasingly benefited from State and Federal Government support while the list of financial institutions distancing themselves the project continues to grow. Supporters of the mine try to justify the project, citing the supposed economic benefits for North Queensland and even go so far as to claim coal from the mine will help India reduce its carbon emissions. This post is going examine and dispel the myths that are being used to prop up the case for the Carmichael project.Read more
This study on the viability of a Floating Solar Farm on the Ross Dam is a guest post by Elly Hanrahan, an intern for the North Queensland Conservation Council. All views expressed are the author's and not necessarily those of the NQCC.
Townsville is currently experiencing its driest 11-month period since records began in 1841. With no action on water security from any level of government, desperate residents have formed the newly created Facebook group called ‘Water For Townsville Action Group’ in order to come up with a plan to secure Townsville’s water supply into the future.Read more
On Friday 7th October, NQCC coordinated the Townsville event for National Divestment Day. We went to our banks and gave them the message that if they continue to choose fossil fuels, then we will choose a different bank.
Customers turned out across Australia on the 7th and 8th of October 2016 to demand real climate change action from their bank! ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac were held accountable to the fact that they promised climate change action but continued to fund the expansion of the dirty fossil fuel industry. Accounts were closed, cards cut up and more letters of warning from customers who are ready to move their money if the banks don’t deliver real climate change action.Read more
The Burdekin Dry Tropics Natural Resource Management (NRM) Plan was officially launched on 26th August. It is the only one of its kind in the region and forms the blueprint for how the community can work together to protect and sustainably manage our natural resources for the next 10 years. Read the Burdekin Dry Tropics NRM Plan here.
One of the first actions of the new Australian Parliament last week was the introduction of the Omnibus Bill; a suite of policy measures aiming to save $6 billion. One of the savings measures is to strip the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) of $1.3 billion of its funding. NQCC doesn’t think that this is a good idea. Let us explain why…
What is ARENA and why is it important?
ARENA was established in 2012 and is an independent, commercially oriented Commonwealth agency. It’s two objectives are to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. Along with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, it is a key institution implementing our movement away from fossil fuels and towards the renewable future.Read more