We read an article by Greg Mullins, a former Fire & Rescue NSW commissioner who has 47 years of experience in fighting fires. He said these fires are unprecedented and are burning in places and at intensities never before experienced - rainforests in norther NSW and tropical Queensland, and the formerly wet old-growth forests in Tasmania. This drought which has been made worse by climate change is more intense than the Millennium Drought, with higher levels of evaporation due to higher temperatures. This has dried out the bush and made it easier for fires to start, easier for them to spread quickly, and enabling spot fires to start twice as far ahead of the main fires as we would normally expect.
For most of this year the news about climate change has been very depressing with very little good news and so I decided that we would finish the year looking at some positive developments. An obvious place to start was to look at the developments with renewable energy. Rooftop solar installations set a new record during October and there are now more than 2.2 million homes and businesses in Australia with small scale rooftop solar installations.
We also learnt that the output of wind and solar generation was greater than the output from brown coal for the entire September quarter. This was the first time that had happened for the whole quarter.
More good news was that renewables, solar, wind and hydro, combined to deliver more than half the power into the National Electricity Market for ten minutes on Wednesday 6th November. The continuous rollout of rooftop solar (mentioned above) was a key driver in reaching this achievement.
We also heard about the potential for hydrogen to be a game-changing technology in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Hydrogen is a versatile fuel capable of powering everything from household appliances to transport to industrial processes, and can be stored in our gas pipelines or shipped overseas.