Australian clean energy challenges, innovations and solutions

Day 1 highlights

The first day focused on significant issues affecting the energy industry including Australia’s potential as a clean energy superpower, the politics of clean energy, and financing renewable energy development.

How do we position Australia as a global clean energy superpower? In his Plenary address, Kane Thornton, Clean Energy Council. set the stage for Australia’s clean energy future: “Our industry now stands ready to electrify Australia and establish us as a global clean energy superpower.”

Australia has faced recent energy challenges but there is a long-term pathway to provide clean, reliable, affordable energy for Australian homes and businesses explained Daniel Westerman, CEO, Australian Energy Market Operator.

On the scope and urgency of the clean energy transition, Chris Bowen, Australia’s new Energy Minister says “This is not a whole of government effort. This is a whole of society effort. We have 90 months to do it.”

In the panel discussion on Australia becoming a clean energy superpower. Angela Carl, QIC Global Infrastructure, explained the investment scale needed to transition to clean energy: “There is currently $1 trillion annually being invested in renewables globally, however we need to be investing $5 trillion annually to meet global emissions reduction targets by 2050!”

Finally, how will Australia decarbonise heavy industries? Australia’s decarbonisation efforts have been focused on electricity generation. With net zero targets to meet, Australia needs to accelerate its decarbonisation of heavy industry.

Day 2 highlights

Day two had several streams focusing on the key parts of Australia’s clean energy transition including renewable energy zones, integrating distributed energy resources into networks to enable the export of low-cost clean energy into adjacent networks, clean energy careers, and Australia’s hydrogen opportunity.

The breakfast briefing on the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap discussed the roles of government and corporates in providing clarity and on swiftly building new renewable energy generation.

Saul Griffith, author of The Big Switch for electrifying Australia, explained pathways for households and businesses to accelerate the clean energy transformation. It’s exciting to see how electrification reduces energy requirements. The blue line is the cost of solar and electric households with electric vehicles, and the black is the cost of a fossil fuel business-as-usual approach.

Energy Next 2022

Energy Next was a two day exhibition showcasing the latest solutions from clean energy and energy management companies, it was located next to the Australian Clean Energy Summit.

Energy Next also featured a Solar Masterclass from the Clean Energy Council, providing solar designers and installers with current expert advice on major design and installation issues currently facing the solar industry.

The Digital Trade Guide outlines the exhibitors: Energy Next Guide 2022

What is it like to own an electric motorcycle?


We’re talking with Nigel Morris, electric motorcycle aficionado of the first hour.

With a background in manufacturing, Nigel knew how to make things, but the world of electronics and batteries was all new to him. In the early 1990s, every single system had energy storage before grid-connected solar was a thing and Australia had a small but innovative off-grid solar industry.

A baptism of fire in how to make solar, electronics, and batteries reliable, combined with a passion for motorcycles was the perfect breeding ground for an electric motorcycle obsession.

In the early 2000’s Morris got his first ride on an electric motorcycle in the US and was instantly hooked “For the next ten years, every time I rode my motorcycle, I daydreamed of how to get all the fun without the emissions.”

No less than twelve years after his first taste of an electric motorbike, Nigel became the proud owner of a 2010 model Zero DS from California’s Zero motorcycles, a pioneer in electric motorcycling. Limited to a maximum range of around 40km the bikes were strictly inner-city commuters and short duration off-road, but renowned as fun and loaded with torque.

in 2015 he swapped his vintage Zero for a new 2014 model, a bike that could do almost 100mph, required virtually zero maintenance, and range had more than doubled to around 150km.

Long distance riding

Long-distance riding on a Zero was possible but it utilised a low voltage battery pack, with a nominal 120VDC battery, whereas DC Fast Charging has a minimum DC voltage of 300V, therefore rendering the few fast charging stations available, useless to electric motorcycle owners. From about 2017 onwards announcements and prototypes were starting to flow from well-known brands – KTM, Piaggio, Honda, BMW, and even Harley Davidson. In 2020, Morris got a phone call from a friend and fellow journalist, podcaster, and blogger Giles Parkinson who is the editor for The Driven, an EV-focused website. “Nige – Harley have invited us to go to the Australian launch of their new all-electric Harley Davidson Livewire. We assumed you might like to go and have RSVP’d for you?

And the rest as they say is history.

Nigel never thought of himself as a potential Harley Davidson rider, but the way the Livewire looks and handles, combined with its power – 0-100 km within 3 seconds- justified the fairly heft price tag for Nigel. He now can complete a 420km zero-emissions ride in a day, demonstrating the huge difference that DC fast charging makes. And needless to say, without having to spend a dollar on fuel.

Riding without the sound

The single most common question about riding an electric bike is if one doesn’t miss the sound that has been synonymous with motorbikes ever since they came into existence. Morris: “I have a deep and visceral emotional connection between the sound of a motorcycle and the thrills that it embodies. We emotionally interpret them to be one and the same. But I have utterly re-learned this. The conventional sound of a motorcycle remains evocative, but it’s become superfluous to how I get my kicks – along with heat, vibration, and maintenance.

The pictures tell the story. In just a year, Zero Emissions Solutions has held more than 20 Solar My House parties and webinars, two Electric Vehicle webinars and a Solar Open House day. Our volunteers have attended Mosman markets, delivered flyers and hosted parties. After lengthy research, we have partnered with two businesses with renewable energy at their core.

We’ve built a core group of volunteers and found friends and colleagues across local government and not-for-profit organisations. We’ve won two grants and helped people put more than $250,000 worth of solar panels on houses in the Northern region of Sydney. This is roughly equivalent to planting nearly 5000 trees, or saving of nearly 2 million kilometres of fossil-fuelled driving!

All that remains is to say thank you to all the brilliant people and organisations who have walked alongside, including:

Mosman Council, Northern Beaches Council

Diamond Energy, Solarpro, the Good Car Company

Beyond Zero Emissions, Manly Food Coop, Mosman Chamber of Commerce, Mosman Community Connect, Mosman Community Gardeners, Mosman Environment Group, Mosman IGA, Mosman Parks & Bushland Association, Mosman Rotary, Northern Beaches Climate Action Network, Our Blue Dot, Pioneer Clubhouse, Solar My School, Wingecarribee Net Zero Emissions, Zali Steggall OAM MP, Zero Emissions Byron, Zero Emissions Noosa, Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Selective Campus and Mosman Public School

Our Advisory Team and all the individuals and businesses who have said ‘yes, sure, what can I do?’ And last but definitely not least, a heartfelt thanks to all our amazing volunteers, many of whom star in the video.

Have a fabulous break and we hope to see you in 2021.

We are a not-for-profit association of volunteers working across the Northern Beaches and the North Shore. We operate as part of the national Beyond Zero Emissions network. Our focus is on practical projects that will accelerate our transition to net zero emissions.

 

“What happens if my electric car runs out of electricity?”

It’s a question Anton Vikstrom, sustainability champion, electric vehicle expert and co-founder of the Good Car Company, has answered many times. He doesn’t hesitate.

“You pull over and call roadside assistance,” he says with a wry grin.

That’s before he explains that it’s quite hard to run out. The car gives realtime updates on your remaining mileage, and you can use various apps to plan your route. Australia has a growing network of fast chargers. Plus in an emergency, unlike a petrol car, you can recharge at any standard powerpoint.

Anton will be back to answer more questions at our second webinar on Electric Vehicles on Wednesday November 11 at 6pm. He will also explain how the Good Car Co imports low mileage recent second hand electric vehicles from Japan.

Electric cars aren’t going to fix climate change on their own but they are an important part of a zero emissions future. They’re also really smart pieces of technology. There’s something very exciting about a car which is virtually silent, needs little maintenance and runs on sunshine. If you join our community bulk-buy you could be driving one sooner than you think.

Our last Electric Vehicle Webinar was a sell-out, so we recommend you register as soon as possible, and please tell your friends and family to get on board too: https://events.humanitix.com/accelerate-wed-11-nov

Please contact Ursula Hogben with any questions: electric@zeroemissionssolutions.org

It’s going to be a fun journey.

It was one of those lightbulb moments. Ursula Hogben, founding member of Zero Emissions Solutions was filling up her car at the local petrol station when, chatting to her kids, she said, ‘it’ll seem really strange to you in the future that we all put petrol in our cars and all drove around burning fossil fuels.’ Her son’s reply pulled her up short.

“Mummy, it seems really strange now. Why wouldn’t you just have a battery and fill the battery up from the sun?”

Yes. Of course. Why wouldn’t you? It was the starting point for the next Zero Emissions Solutions program, Zero Emissions Vehicles.

Video conference + Q&A, Wednesday 11 November 7 pm to 8 pm, EV Essentials + Affordable EVs. Special guests: Anton and Anthony from the Good Car Co. Book your free ticket here: https://events.humanitix.com/accelerate-wed-11-nov

“If you’re trying to make a difference it feels really incongruous to then be filling your car up with fossil fuels each week and emitting greenhouse gases as you drive around,’ says Ursula. “We want to help people move away from fossil fuels and be part of industry level change. Supporting active transport, E bikes and EVs gives everyone low emissions choices.”

Electric cars in Australia

Electric cars — EVs, as they’re known in the business — are the exception in Australia, but that’s changing as manufacturers and consumers rush to catch-up with the worldwide shift to low-emissions transport. Elon Musk’s high performance Tesla has made electric cars desirable, and now other manufacturers, along with government incentives in some countries, are making them affordable. But what’s available? How do they work? Where do you get them? What do they cost?

ZESN’s Electric Transport working group has been doing the research and finding out answers to these and many more questions. Next week, Ursula will host the first of ZESN’s regular events to share what they have learnt. Accelerating your transition covers why people are buying EVs, how EVs perform, the financial savings (and the environmental benefits), and features guest speakers who will be more than happy to answer questions.

“We want to help make EVs more accessible. We looked at options and we’re glad to partner with Good Car Co a Tasmanian-based company pioneering the import of low mileage, reasonably priced (from $19,000!) second hand electric cars with a guarantee and user support. We’ve also done a research review of Councils installing EV chargers to help people who can’t charge at home.  We’re very excited that Mosman Council is installing an ultra-fast charger soon!”

Webinar coming up

If you’re even slightly curious affordable about electric cars, don’t miss Accelerating your transition. Our events are informal with plenty of time for questions, and Covid-safe online for the moment, so you can join the conversation from home. EV owners will be there to share their stories, and we’ll be taking registrations from interested parties so we can make a Good Car Company bulk buy a reality.

Maybe you’ll be driving an electric car sooner than you think.

Tickets for Accelerating your transition are FREE but limited so please register soon!

Video conference + Q&A, Wednesday 11 November 6 pm to 7 pm, EV Essentials + Affordable EVs. Book your free ticket here: https://events.humanitix.com/accelerate-wed-11-nov