Environment

Feb 5, 2018

Crikey’s pocket guide to lesser known alternative energy sources: part I

We're all familiar with the state of solar and hydro, but the energy sector in Australia is bustling with other options. We take a gander at some of these.

Chris Woods — Freelance journalist

Chris Woods

Freelance journalist

Animal waste is part of a plethora of newer energy sources

Australia is in the middle of a renewables investment boom that, despite just constant disappointment and uncertainty at the federal level, will see the country reach our Renewable Energy Target earlier than predicted.

But while solar panels, wind turbines and hydropower are the most popular forms of renewable energy, the truth is Australia has much weirder stuff going on. Crikey talked with Climate Council energy and climate solutions analyst Petra Stock to see what else is going on in Australia.

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11 comments

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11 thoughts on “Crikey’s pocket guide to lesser known alternative energy sources: part I

  1. Roger Clifton

    We are fiddling with trivia while the climate burns! Every romantic indulgence in renewables requires a massive backup by gas, emitting fossil carbon. These are not solutions; they are distractions. We are failing to face facts.

    If we are to limit warming to 1.5°, we must eradicate all fossil carbon fuels by 2050. That is “eradicate”, not “reduce”. This deadline is in your lifetime. Neither is the process of getting to net zero emissions a problem for the grandkids to worry about. It is ours. Today.

    We have a nuclear size problem, it needs a nuclear size solution. The grandkids will condemn us for failing to use it.

    1. Wayne Cusick

      Renewables do not have to be backed up by gas plants – they can be backed up by hydro, pumped hydro storage, batteries and heat storage.

      I suggest that the only nuclear technology that would be appropriate is nuclear fusion, but since that is still many years away from being viable, it won’t happen.

      btw Gas plants usually replace coal plants, and there is benefit for climate change in doing just that.

      1. Andrew Reilly

        I like my nuclear fusion reactor 150M km away, thanks. Where it is now.

  2. zut alors

    Some interesting facts & figures here. Looking forward to part 2.

  3. Peter Wotton

    I understand that all Queensland sugar mills now store excess cane fibre ( bagasse) which is burned during the year to provide energy for the grid during the year outside the crushing season. The eight big Wilmar ( the old CSR ) sugar mills generate almost 25% of the renewable energy in Queensland , greater contribution than the relativekly small TableLands mill.
    https://www.wilmarsugarmills.com.au/media-centre/249-fast-facts-on-our-cogeneration-23-november-2017/file

    1. Andrew Reilly

      I was surprised to see how much of Europe’s energy is coming from biomass: http://reneweconomy.com.au/graph-day-renewables-overtake-coal-european-electricity-supply-33695/
      Very promising, IMO.

      1. AR

        You might enjoy the ‘cash for ash’ rort run by the Proddies in Northern Ireland a couple of years ago.
        The wizard idea of paying 150% of the cost for wrong foot farmers to heat their animal factories using biomass – pine sawdust pellets shipped from Canada.
        Win-Win-Win for the fossil fuel industries.

  4. klewso

    “Pig racing”? There’s that much at chop? …. Still it’s better than a photo of a bucket of Jethro.

  5. AR

    For extracting calorific content, it’s hard to beat pig shit. The problem is finding enough people willing to commit slow suicide by eating all that bacon.

    1. Peter Wotton

      Worked for Aunt Entity in Mad Max Beyond the ThunderDome

      1. AR

        Ah, the Electric Acid Granny, good times.

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