The role of increasing ocean temperatures appears to be clearly implicated in the upgraded impact of El Nino. There is mounting evidence that higher ocean temperatures are also impacting on world’s coral reefs, more than a third of which face major bleaching, including the Great Barrier Reef.
Renewable capacity growth continues with development of two large scale solar projects. The first, in northern Queensland, colocates and combines a large solar project with a large pumped energy hydro storage project. The second, a large utility-scale solar voltaic plant in Broken Hill, will soon join a sister large scale solar plant in Nyngan, with the last of 677,760 solar panels being installed in Broken Hill recently.
Signs of shifting values in the finance sector were evident this month, with shareholders concerned about losses and stranded assets pressuring AGL and Origin for faster responses on emissions reduction and superannuation funds pushing resource companies for provision of more detailed reporting on the risks posed by climate change to their business. The news from this sector is mixed, however, with the Investor–State Dispute Settlement provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership threatening to allow large corporations to challenge efforts to tighten environmental laws and regulations at local, state and federal levels.
Community energy is of great interest to our group and appears to be developing momentum. Energy storage innovation, particularly the development of batteries, is predicted to drive a revolution in power grids. Home energy integrated solutions are now available; battery storage makes sense to consumers on the current feed in tariff and cheaper batteries are inevitable with economies of scale. We imagined the evolution of cooperative clusters of 10 residences with solar panels feeding into a joint distributed energy scheme - something akin to a water supply cooperative, such as at Hamilton Park.
Our sessions are always full of interesting topics which can only be touched on in this report. There is much more to write about – but this will have to do for now!