Australian Beyond Coal Campaign Launches

Beyond Coal - Renewable Energy

Seven major environmental organisations have kicked off a campaign demanding an end to coal fired power generation in Australia – sooner rather than later.

Australia currently has 19 coal burners and according to a Climate Analytics report released to coincide with the Beyond Coal campaign launch, Australia is the only OECD country in the G20 relying on it for more than half of its electricity supply.

Coal still supplies about 60 per cent of  Australia’s electricity –  well above the G20 average of 41 per cent. It’s the single largest culprit for greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, accounting for approximately one third of our total emissions.

Far from being an “overachiever“, the report states Australia is one of the worst performers in the G20 and the worst among G20 OECD countries in terms of policies and activities to reduce coal dependence.

It’s a crazy situation given Australia’s wind and solar energy resources, and range of energy storage options available. However, it’s not just about installing more turbines, solar panels and batteries (in whatever form); grid infrastructure will need to be brought up to scratch and the right policies in place.

The groups involved in the Beyond Coal campaign are:

  • Environment Victoria
  • Greenpeace
  • Friends of the Earth
  • The Climate Action Network Australia
  • The Sunrise Project
  • NSW Nature Conservation Council,
  • Queensland Conservation Council.

Beyond Coal is calling on the Federal Government to develop a plan to retire and replace coal-fired power stations across the nation by 2030.

Renewables Cleaner, Cheaper And More Reliable

“Phasing out coal and replacing it with renewable energy is the single most important thing Australia can do to bring down emissions at the pace and scale needed to curb dangerous climate change,” said CEO of Environment Victoria, Jono La Nauze.

Aside from reducing our carbon emissions, and end to coal would also see a reduction in other toxic substances spewed into the atmosphere such as mercury, sulfur dioxide and particulate pollution. Fully embracing renewables wouldn’t be just a cleaner option, but also cheaper and more reliable.

For example, early this year  around 40% of Victoria’s coal generating capacity was out of action during a heatwave event while solar power soldiered on. A recent report from the Victoria Energy Policy Centre stated the main risk to reliable supply in Victoria is the demonstrated unreliability of all three of Victoria’s brown coal generators. It recommended the Victorian Government consider accelerating the development of renewable generation in the state to improve reliability.

More on Beyond Coal and Climate Analytics’ report: “For Climate’s Sake, Coal Free by 2030” can be found here.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. They should stop letting the older generation interfering with the younger generation and so they have a future

  2. Interesting how representation of domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems owners, is conspicuous by its absence, in the Beyond Coal Campaign.

  3. Brian Gardner says

    All very well when these loony lefties want the government to abandon coal fired stations but have little to replace them with. Renewables won’t make it, the numbers just don’t add up…

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Brian

      I’ll just cut you short there and ask you what you mean by renewable won’t make it and the numbers don’t add up. As I write this, half of this state’s electricity consumption is being met by wind and, despite the sun being low in the sky, solar. Over half of South Australia’s electricity consumption is now met by renewable energy.

      • Brian Gardner says

        Hello Ronald

        The money thrown at renewable’s for the return does not stack up. Glad you mentioned South Australia of which I consider a basket case in following down the renewable path. While I champion solar power per se I don’t see a big future in it meeting our energy needs. We are on each side of the fence regarding this so I will leave it at that.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Brian

          You are more than welcome to leave it at that, should you choose to do so.

          But in my personal opinion that’s not good enough. Because it’s not a matter of personal opinion whether or not renewable energy is cost effective. Here are levelized costs of energy:

          https://www.lazard.com/perspective/lcoe2019

          It shows that new renewable energy is competitive with new fossil fuel capacity. This is still the case even if the cost of fossil fuel externalities (health & environmental costs) are not accounted for or if the cost of storage is only included for new renewable capacity.

          We live in a compulsory representative democracy and so have a hand in choosing our leadership. I think all of us who can think have a responsibility to carefully consider these matters and examine the evidence until we come to at least spitting distance of the truth. Then act in a responsible way based upon the conclusions we arrive at.

          Sometimes you have to bang your ideas against a wall and if they break, make some better ones.

          • “We live in a compulsory representative democracy and so have a hand in choosing our leadership.”

            From a web page on the World Wide Web (the creator of which, has condemned political parties, for debasing it);


            of particular note, regarding the federal parliament of Australia, is the declaration by the then Chief Judge of the High Court Of Australia, Murray Gleeson, at The Ninth Lucinda Lecture, Monash University, 24 July 2001, “The Shape of Representative Democracy”, where he said, of the Australian Constitution that the Constitution does not provide any right “that all voters can please themselves whether to vote and whom to vote for”. So, as stated by the then Chief Judge of the High Court, the Australian people do not get to choose the members of the federal parliament of Australia. We do not get to elect them. We are prevented from having a democratically elected government.

            And, as acknowledged by that Chief Judge of the High Court of Australia, regarding the “referendum” that gave “approval” for the Australian federal Constitution, women and Aborigines did not have suffrage – “bearing in mind the context in which the Constitution was framed. Most Australian women were not entitled to vote. No one was compelled to vote. Aboriginal Australians were not counted.”

            So, the Australian federal Constitution was not approved by a majority of the Australian people, by way of a referendum of all Australian people.

            Now, let us see whether this post also gets censored, as have other of my ( and, apparently, only of my) posts.

        • Brian Gardner,
          You state:
          “The money thrown at renewable’s for the return does not stack up.”

          Really, Brian, evidence please? Just because you say it is so, doesn’t necessarily mean it is so.

          Perhaps you’ve been relying on bad sources of information and propaganda from the fossil fuel (and nuclear) boosters – are you being duped by ‘fake news’, Brian?

          IMO, some sections of the media and ‘gobs for hire’ seem to be convinced they know better than the experts and compelling evidence.
          Example: https://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/episodes/fires/11736656

          IMO, there is clear evidence there are far more subsidies “thrown” at fossil fuels. Per an analysis commissioned by the International Monetary Fund, in 2017, global fossil fuel subsidies grew to $5.2 trillion (representing 6.5% of combined global GDP). Australia’s annual subsidies total $29 billion (representing 2.3% of Australian GDP). Australian fossil fuel subsidies amount to $1,198 per person.
          See: https://reneweconomy.com.au/global-fossil-fuel-subsidies-reach-5-2-trillion-and-29-billion-in-australia-91592/

          An International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report found just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for a global transition to clean energy.
          See: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/01/fossil-fuel-subsidy-cash-pay-green-energy-transition

          And continuing to burn fossil fuels could potentially kill us all through the consequences of dangerous climate change leading to civilisation collapse – if we allow it to happen.
          See: http://www.climatecodered.org/2019/08/at-4c-of-warming-would-billion-people.html
          Also: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/dangerously-close-tipping-points-may-trigger-climate-cascade-20191127-p53ej7.html

          Perhaps you think this is all a hoax – ‘fake news’, Brian? I’d suggest getting it wrong can have ultimate consequences – can you afford to get it wrong, Brian, for your sake and your family’s (if you have any)? Or don’t you care, Brian? Do you want to see it all go to ruin?

          Fortunately, more and more people are waking up to how serious our predicament is and want effective action to mitigate it.
          See: https://www.southernhighlandnews.com.au/story/6510858/no-more-room-to-stand-climate-change-forum-attracts-large-crowd/
          Also: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/21/climate-crisis-politics-voters-targets-action

          You also state:
          “While I champion solar power per se I don’t see a big future in it meeting our energy needs.”

          What is/are your solution(s), Brian? What path do you see we should be taking for “meeting our energy needs”? Or are you just here to malign renewables and disparage people you disagree with (e.g. “loony lefties”)?

    • Hi Brian,
      You seem to have glossed over this article and confused Beyond Coal with the radical Extension activists.
      Achieving 0 coal is completely achievable, in fact if you have read other articles Ronald has posted Victoria’s Domestic Solar output is doing so well that the grid’s their tied to doesn’t know what to do with the excess.
      Also our Vic coal is unreliable, just look at this months brown and blackouts during Melbourne heat waves.
      SA was the proving ground, which has successfully and financially confirmed Solar + Wind + Battery; not only works but is financially lucrative.
      Purchasing Batteries for States and investing further into domestic and business solar, boosting expansion into Wind and Solar farms is great for jobs and growth both are great for the economy, Infrastructure to utilize renewable energy also needs improving.We have the space, the Sun and Wind, not utilizing these natural resources and instead coal mining and fracking has no benefit to our society, its money to big corps who are determined to control the populations utilities and reap the rewards at not cost to themselves

      @ Brett I am one of those neanderthals, I didn’t vote in labuor as as their policy’s were weak, their party was fragmented. Labour may have brought in some good things but unlike their predecessors they offered less distinction between themselves and the Libs.

      • EDIT: Comment removed because it’s basically just complaining. Especially given how much better off the proletariat are here compared to the United States. Our capitalist oppressors are clearly a bit crap compared to theirs.

      • MADMADRID,
        You state:
        “…confused Beyond Coal with the radical Extension activists.”

        I suspect you mean the activist organisation known as Extinction Rebellion. MADMADRID, is it “radical” to want to avoid your extinction (or the extinction of your loved ones)?

        Based on humanity’s current emission reduction commitments so far and the latest climate science, the Earth is heading towards 4°C of warming above pre-industrial age within this century. A 4°C rise would make equatorial regions uninhabitable, together with more than one-fifth of a decline in crop yields, a decline in nutritional content of food crops, and chronic water shortages.
        See: http://www.climatecodered.org/2019/08/at-4c-of-warming-would-billion-people.html

        The link above includes an embedded YouTube video of an interview (reportedly in early Aug 2019) between the host of BBC HARDtalk, Stephen Sackur, and Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam, which has prompted some social media responses. From time interval 15:11, Hallam says:

        “If grannies turn up to a meeting, are in tears about what’s happening to their grandchildren, it’s not… it’s not what I’m doing that makes them sit down on the road. It’s the same with teenagers. Teenagers are shitting themselves about what’s happening for the future. They’ve got another fifty, sixty, seventy years to live on this planet. By that time there could only be a billion people left. I mean, that’s six billion people that have died from a starvation or slaughtered in war. I mean, the scale of it is beyond the imagination, isn’t it? And this is… this is the biggest problem, is the elites, and the BBC, and the conventional media, has simply not grasped the enormity of what’s happening.”

        It seems to me Sackur was then momentarily flummoxed by what Hallam had just said. IMO, it’s a confronting message, but I think it needs to be said (and heard by many people). The science is indicating, on our current trajectory, a world where less than a billion people are likely to survive by the end of this century. We need to urgently and effectively act if we wish to avoid this potential consequence.

        MADMADRID, is it “radical” to want to fight for your own survival, or the futures of your children and grandchildren (if you have any)? You may disagree with the methods that Extinction Rebellion utilizes, but how far would you go to protect your family and the people you care about? Something to ponder…

        Hallam isn’t the only person delivering an unpalatable, but necessary message. See Ian Dunlop’s comments in response to Elysse Morgan’s question from time interval 10:14:
        https://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the-business/2019-07-08/extended-interview-with-ian-dunlop/11290026
        Also: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/03/australias-climate-stance-is-inflicting-criminal-damage-on-humanity

        More people are beginning to realise that governments have not been looking after their best interests. But will it be too late to turn the ‘ship of state’ around?

        You also state:
        “…its money to big corps who are determined to control the populations utilities and reap the rewards at not cost to themselves”.

        I would suggest it’s all short-term, and wilfully ignorant thinking for these elites. Escalating dangerous climate change will mean these businesses soon won’t have sustainable markets and an economy in the longer-term as civilization descends into chaos. The “big corps” elites mostly (if not all) have families too, that I suggest won’t be fully immune/insulated from the escalating social chaos. It’s in everyone’s interests to effectively mitigate climate change … unless IMO, if you are intent on being a suicidal mass murder.

        Wouldn’t it be a dark irony for those that continue to promote and profit from the burning of more fossil fuels (and I include the ‘gobs for hire’ too) that they contribute in some way to perhaps the future suffering and early demise of themselves and the people they care about, due to the escalating ravages of dangerous climate change and consequent growing social chaos? Getting it wrong can have ultimate consequences!

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