BZE Stationary Energy Plan

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The Stationary Energy Plan is a roadmap for how Australia's electricity could switch to 100% renewable power within a 10 year timeframe. The Plan has had a big impact on public policy, and the …

The Stationary Energy Plan is a roadmap for how Australia's electricity could switch to 100% renewable power within a 10 year timeframe. The Plan has had a big impact on public policy, and the Australian government is now commissioning its own plan to show how Australia's electricity could be 100% renewable.

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  • I don’t know a lot about Rugby, but who could resist the passion, energy and commitment of FuifuiMoimoi? He’s got that look, doesn’t he? That “don’t mess with me” look.
  • It’s not quite as obvious, but these people have that same passion and commitment. They are some of the people who helped to research and write the Stationary Energy Plan published by Beyond Zero Emissions in conjunction with the Energy Research Institute at the University of Melbourne in 2010. What was it that got these people fired up to put hundreds of hours of work into a plan that would outline how Australia’s electricity sector could go 100% renewable in just 10 years?It was the same thing that got me fired up to come and talk to you tonight.
  • This beautiful planet is our home – and 7 billion humans have filled every corner of it. This generation of human life, our generation, is the healthiest, longest lived, richest and most comfortable generation in the 300,000 years since Homo Sapiens evolved. The energy resources that have given us the means to build cities of concrete and steel; travel in cars, trains, and planes; benefit from medical science and enjoy cultural wonders, are fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. Although they have given us all these benefits, every stick has two ends, and, as you know, mainstream science has identified the carbon dioxide from fossil fuels as the key factor that is causing global warming and climate disruption. Let’s look at this warming.
  • This graph from the Potsdam Institute shows global temperatures from 1900 and projects forward to 2100. You can see that between 1900 and 2000 temperatures rose a little. [They rose by 0.7C]. The second part of the graph shows expected temperatures over the next 100 years.This pink area shows the predicted rise in temperatures if countries do not take action to reduce their CO2 emissions. This is the Business As Usual scenario. By 2100 global average temperatures will be 4-6 degrees warmer. These are averages for the whole globe including land and water, equator and poles. Temperatures over land will be higher than over water, and there will be local extreme highs that are much higher than anything we know today.Right now, with 0.7C warming, new high temperature records are being broken at an increasing rate. It’s not just one or two days at 42C, it’s a week in a row. Like we saw in Sydney in 2011. This is not our grandmother’s weather.Mainstream science recommends that countries take action to ensure that temperatures do not rise more than 2C. They call this the guardrail.
  • Professor Schellnhuber [Shell-en-hugh-ber] from the Potsdam Institute says – The difference between 2 degrees and 4 degrees is human civilization.This is not contested by mainstream science. We need to let this sink in. Perhaps we need to wrestle with it for a while. We certainly can’t ignore it.Of course we all want to choose the 2° option. We want the Guardrail.
  • We, all of us, the smart guys like Professor Schellnhuber, the strong guys like FuifuiMoimoi and Frank Puletua, are fighting for our children and grandchildren. We’re not negotiating. You don’t negotiate with gravity. We’re in a fight.We need to tackle this with the “Don’t mess with me” attitude of a father protecting his children, a mother protecting hers.And where is the fight?
  • The fight is with our carbon emissions. The more carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, the warmer it gets. From today, another 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide will take us to an average global temperature that is 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Think like a scuba diver – we’ve got a ration of 565 gigatons. When it is used up we can’t use any more. We’re already in the danger zone. That’s when scuba divers head for the surface – fast! At current emission levels (31.6 GT in 2011 and rising every year), we will reach the 2 degree guardrail by 2030 and extreme weather events will have quadrupled. We need a roadmap for Australia to reduce its carbon emissions quickly. We’re aiming at zero. Zero Carbon Australia.
  • Today I plan to cover four points. We’ve already looked at the need to reduce carbon emissions. Next I will outline a roadmap for how to do that. Then I’ll look at the benefits.And finally, we’ll look at some actions we can all take.
  • This roadmap shows the route from Glen Innes to Grafton. The Stationery Energy Plan gives us a roadmap for the route from 8% renewables to 100% renewables.Right now 92% of Australia’s electricity is generated from coal, gas and oil. We have to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and we have very little time to do it. We need a GOOD map.
  • Beyond Zero Emissions, or BZE for short, is a climate and energy think tank that focuses on conducting research into solutions.BZE is independent and has around 600 volunteers throughout Australia. These volunteers, many of whom are trained professionals, contribute their time for free.A handful of staff act as research directors and volunteer coordinators.Our success relies mainly on private donations from ordinary people making monthly contributions.
  • In the two years since it was published, the idea has gained traction, and right now the Australian Government is commissioning its own roadmap that spells out how the electricity sector can transition to 100% renewables.
  • The Zero Carbon Australia project, or ZCA, is a detailed roadmap for the transition to a decarbonised Australian economy in ten years. It’s ambitious because if you prove the ambitious plan, you prove the less ambitious ones as well.The latest and most credible science tells us that this transition is necessary to maintain a safe climate. The world is already fast approaching dangerous climatic tipping points.Because we have to act now, the plan uses only existing, commercial, off-the-shelf technology.Promising emerging technologies such as geothermal or wave power, which are still in the developmental stage, were not incorporated in the plan. Finally the ZCA maintains energy security and reliability, food and water security, and protects our standard of living.
  • The first question is – How much electricity will be needed? This graph shows our estimate of the demand for mains grid electricity through to 2030. Our estimate is made up of three types of electricity use:Blue shows current uses by householders, businesses and industry.Yellow shows additional demand from processes like heating that will switch away from fossil fuels to electricity.Red shows additional demand from the electrification of transport – EVs, hybrid trucks, electric trains. Having determined how much electricity needs to be provided by renewables, we turned to look at the renewable resources available.You’ll see that we expect demand in the blue section to decrease. This is due to two things – greater efficiency, and increased uptake of rooftop solar. This is a reasonable expectation that is in line with international experience where places like Germany and California have much lower electricity usage per capita. Two years ago, when we wrote the report, this was widely pooh-poohed. So we were particularly pleased to see the latest figures that show that demand has begun to fall.Altogether, our plan provides for 325TWh.
  • Having seen how much electricity will be needed, we turned to look at what resources are available. World solar resources – Australia has outstanding resources. Technically, Australia has enough solar resources to meet the entire energy demand of the whole world for all purposes.
  • We also have excellent wind resources. Hundreds of kilometres of land areas across large areas of the country, as well as a strip of ocean around more than three-quarters of the coastline.  Australia also has extensive geothermal potential. It isn’t included in the plan because the technology to tap it is not at the commercial off-the-shelf stage. Australia has fairly limited hydro resources, and the easiest resources have already been utilised, so new hydro doesn’t feature in the plan.
  • ENERGY DEMAND CURVESo how much power do we need to produce? Here is our projected energy demand curve scaled up into the future. We calculated how much we will need in 10 years time by taking the average annual power used in 2008 and 2009, and scaling it up for a decade ahead, based on the assumptions in our plan. That comes to a total of 325 Terawatt-hours in a year. That’s 40% higher than in 2008. And that black line shows how demand varies across the year. Detailed modelling was done over 2 years using half hourly wind and solar measurements from the Bureau of Meteorology. This was combined with information on Australia’s electricity demand.This black line represents Australia's actual electricity demand for 2008, sourced from the National Energy Market operator, scaled up to the projected electricity demand for 2020, used in the ZCA scenario.(The total demand for the year, as we mentioned earlier, will be 325 TWh)
  • Wind supplyThe light blue is the projected electrical output from the 23 wind regions over the entire year. You see how much it varies, so we need additional power that that is flexible, and can always match the difference between demand and wind supply in this graph.This power source is baseload solar thermal.
  • Solar Thermal supplyWhen we bring in the electricity from the 12 solar regions, represented in orange, you can see that because it is dispatch-able, it is able to meet demand almost year round. Solar thermal electricity can be dispatched from generators using the molten salt storage tanks, to fill the gap between the amount of wind energy coming onto the grid and the amount of electricity we need to supply to meet demand at any time.
  • Hydro and Biomass back up supplyAnd for the short times where there isn't enough solar or wind resource, a combination of existing hydro and a small amount of crop waste bio-mass is used to co-fire the molten salt tanks to ensure 100% demand is met.Together, the wind generators and solar thermal can provide the reliable baseload power Australia needs, and also meet peak demand.This is 100% renewable, zero emissions technology meeting Australia's full energy demand for an entire year.
  • I want to take a little time to share some of the details of the Concentrated Solar Thermal technology that is proposed in the Plan. It is a technology that has been around for a while but recent developments with molten salt storage allow it to dispatch power 24 hours a day. And the technology is at the point where it is being deployed in commercial situations in countries like Spain, the US, Morocco and Tunisia. This picture shows the Gemasolar plant in Spain that began operating last year. It produces 110 GWh/year - sufficient to meet the needs of 25,000 homes. You can see that it is a large field of mirrors, 2,800 mirrors, that focus the heat of the sun onto a central tower. It is quite beautiful, isn’t it? Like the pattern of seeds in a sunflower.Solar thermal uses the same principles as regular electricity generators that use steam to turn turbines.
  • Most power stations use coal, oil, gas or nuclear power to boil water and make steam. This is Hazelwood power station, and the kind of coal mining that is destroying valuable farmland in places like the Latrobe Valley and the Hunter Valley.Concentrated solar thermal generators use the heat of the sun to boil the water.
  • The Plan is based on these extra large wind turbines. Made by Enercon, they have a 7.5MW capacity.Right now wind power is the cheapest, most technologically mature, renewable energy source. The Plan outlines 23 wind regions across those windy parts of the country we saw on the wind map. Each wind region would have 330 of these turbines.
  • Our plan is not the only one that gives a roadmap for a continent-wide electricity grid based on renewables. The Desertec plan covers Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.Solar thermal is a big part of this plan, and new plants are being commissioned in Morocco and Tunisia.Saudi Arabia has budgeted $109 billion over next 20 years. UAE also.
  • NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) has just done the same detailed exercise showing how the US (lower 48) electricity could be 80% renewable by 2050.So, our roadmap shows that we can meet Australia’s electricity demand using solar thermal and wind generators along with an enhanced grid.But the question remains how much will it cost? Do we have the capacity to roll out 200 Concentrating Solar Thermal Plants and over 6,000 wind turbines?
  • We started by looking at the need for an energy revolution. The laws of physics describe the role of greenhouse gases in warming the planet. We must act.Then we looked at a roadmap for action. We see that we have the technology, the capacity and it is affordable.Let’s take a quick look how this energy revolution will benefit all Australians, especially our children and grandchildren.Most important is that we will stay within the 2C guardrail for safe climate. This means that our children and grandchildren will enjoy the same climate that all of humankind since Homo Sapiens have enjoyed. This is the climate where all our foods, plants and animals evolved. Almost as important is that the world’s ecosystems will continue to work as they always have. Just one example – the oceans today are more acidic than they have been for 25 million years. Already coral reefs are dying. If oceans continue to get more acidic by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, then small shell creatures at the bottom of the food chain won’t form shells and they’ll die out, taking all the creatures above them on the food chain. 1.4 billion people depend on oceans for their protein. Least cost pathway to decarbonise our economy. The later we leave it, the more it will cost.As we saw earlier, Australia has the best solar resources in the world. Within the lifetime of your children or grandchildren, coal, oil and even gas will be phased out. North African and Middle Eastern countries are positioning themselves to be major exporters of solar power in the post-oil era. Australia has the opportunity to position itself as a major energy exporter to neighbouring countries in Asia.Right now, Australia is on track to spend $1.2 trillion importing foreign oil over the next 30 years. We could invest this money in 100% renewable energy technology and secure our climate and our future.So, where to from here?
  • There are two ways you can help Australia’s energy revolution.On the personal front, you can reduce your coal, oil and gas consumption. Energy efficiency, rooftop solar or solar hot water are good things to do. Small things like green shopping bags as well as big things like home insulation.What you do makes you part of Australia’s energy revolution.As well as making personal changes, we need to advocate for changes in the whole system of electricity generation.
  • One way you can do that, is to take an interest in Port Augusta in South Australia. Pt Augusta is home to both of South Australia’s coal generators. The town has lung cancer rates that are 50% higher than the state average. The coal plants are being phased out, and the local community is lobbying to have Australia’s first solar thermal generator built in their town. This could be the first of the 200 that need to be built in the next 10 years.
  • Thank you for your time and interest. I encourage you to find your own “Don’t mess with me!” attitude and support this energy revolution.You can keep in touch with BZE’s work by signing up for our newsletter, or buy a copy of the whole detailed Plan for only $15. I have a few here.


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  • 4. Business as usual 2° ‘Guardrail’
  • 5. “The difference between 2° and 4° is human civilisation.”
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  • 7. 565 gigatons CO2 in the
  • 8. Zero Carbon Australia Need Roadmap Benefits Action
  • 9. 100% renewables 8%renewables
  • 10. Science based - Solutions focused • Research & Communications • Completely independent • Technical experts • Staff coordinators • Run on your donations (BZE)
  • 11. Intro Slide Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy PlanA plan to repower Australia with 100%renewable energy in 10 years
  • 12. 2 5Buildings Industrial Processes 6 3 RenewableTransport Energy Superpower 4Land Use
  • 13. Guiding Principles• Blueprint for a Zero Carbon Australia in 10 years• Accept mainstream climate science• Use commercial off-the-shelf technology• Maintain or enhance: • Energy security and reliability • Food and water security • Standard of living
  • 14. Efficiency + other fuel + transport 325 TWh
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  • 17. Three components to 100% Renewable EnergyConcentrated solar Wind power Upgraded thermal power electricity grid
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  • 22. Concentrated Solar Thermal
  • 23. Traditional Power Generation
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  • 25. Concentrated Solar Thermal with Storage CENTRAL RECEIVER (TOWER)
  • 26. Solid saltHot & cold tanks Tank interior
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  • 28. Zero Carbon AustAustralia’s Renewable Energy Gridgrid: 2020 Australias renewable energy 2020Solar Region Solar, Wind and GridWind regionCurrent linesNew HVDC lineNew HVAC line
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  • 31. Investment: 3% of GDP for 10 years
  • 32. Economic Cost over 30 years 325TWh/yr electricity
  • 33. Economic Cost over 30 years 325TWh/yr electricity
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  • 35. Action> Personal - reduce your coal, oil and gas consumption> System change - support Australia’s energy revolution
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